Why not buy a good transport and separate DAC?
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What is it that you don't like with CD31? It uses Burr-Brown PCM1704-K R2R D/A converters, very good indeed. Newer CD players use Delta Sigma DAC.
Since CD31 has AES digital output for connection to an external DAC, maybe you want to consider getting the recent discrete R2R ladder DACs, including those from China (Denafrips, Holo Spring, LKS).
REGA ISIS VALVE
Rega does something that to my knowledge is unique among CD-player makers: it builds three matched laser mechanisms for every Isis. One is installed in the player, and the other two are stored at the factory. Should the original mechanism develop a fault, the company will always be able to provide precisely the right replacement. That’s taking customer service to a new level.
I purchased a ps audio perfect wave dac w/bridge and transport for a little under 2000 and am very satisfied. I only had an old marantz CD player hooked up to an old audio alchemy dde v3 + dtiv2 for comparison. The ps audio gear is quite a bit smother and more analog sounding to my ears. On the other hand I rarely listen to it anymore after purchasing a VPI scoutmaster here, but still glad I have it and will eventually get in to streaming with it some day.
Opera Consonance Droplet valve cdp is an interesting player and very distinctive in looks and sound. They don’t come up much second hand, and are much sought after so good luck in a hunt for one.
It still boggles my mind that people are willing to drop this amount of dough on a cd/transport in this day and age...
and if you simply must have one then try this one for a fraction of the cost, and use the rest of the money for a DAC.
The Marantz Reference SA-11S3 is an incredible sounding CD/SACD player. Had many exotic type players over the past 30 years and the Marantz Reference SA11S3 sounds so accurate and natural. Built like a tank “38 pounds” . I am very happy with it. It saved me tons of money when selling my other players costing up to $25,000 in other digital setups. In fact I would buy another Marantz SA-11S3 in a heartbeat for my secondary stereo system but they are so hard to find on the market in mint condition.
Apologies if this has been discussed before (as I’m sure it has), but with modern DACs containing asynchronous re-clocking (or cheap re-clockers like the iFi) why do we really care about expensive transports anymore?
I may not have accurately framed the issue and may have just spewed my digital ignorance here - just trying to learn.