Alesis Masterlink as a CD Player?

Does anyone use this recorder as a CDP in their systems? I'm wondering how it stacks up. A year ago, Michael Fremmer's review in Stereophile compared it to a $5000 MF Nuvista CDP, and said that it was a bit on the cold/sterile side. But how does it compare to a good $1000 CDP? Those in the know, please speak up!!! I'm thinking its use in a second system could "kill to birds with one stone". Thanks.
I used one for about a year as a transport. It was a mess and I should have dumped it earlier. I was using it with my Audiomeca Enkiantus DAC and it used to have trouble locking onto it. It is poorly made (look inside) and I had to send it out for repair. Alesis had gone bankrupt and wouldn't honor the warranty - in fact I never got the $100 rebate that was offered. I just chalked it up to experience.

I know a lot of mastering engineers that love it but I wouldn't recommend it for consumer use as a transport.

Ken Golden
As a cd player it's o.k., but you have to deal with
the fact that there is the hard drive spin noise.
It is audible from my listening position, so I don't
use it as a transport.
I agree with the above two posts not to waste your time with the Alesis Masterlink. I bought a used one to do some
mastering here at my studios (I own a media duplication and editing company). It does a nice job for editing to disc, but has a noise level you will probably find unacceptable for home use.
If you are thinking of buying a CD recorder, there are lots of other options available that produce far less noise. I have a Marantz CDR500 - which is a dual well commercial CD player/recorder - that produces almost no noise and will probably do many of the things an Alesis will do at about half the price. More than likely, would serve as a decent playback unit - as it has RCA, balanced, and digital outputs.
I hope these thrads are not correct. I bought a new Alesis ML 9600 last year and have not used it yet. I was waiting to do some CD recording with a Mark Levinson 37 and 360S Dac. I would like to hear other input. Anyone had problems with theirs. I do not see any on Audiogon for sale, so who is correct? Stereophile or the two who replied to the thread?

I have upgraded both the CDRW drive and the Hard drive
on mine. The new hard drive ( 40 gig ) is much quieter
than the original 4.3 gig. I replaced the CDRW because
it was having trouble reading disc's and was getting
very "picky" about which disc's it would record on.
I'm not complaining about the unit. As a recorder, it
is very powerful. I use mine to transfer vinyl. Usually
record at 88.2/24 and let the Alesis down sample it to
When you get it set up, I would like to know if your 360S
will lock on an 88.2 signal. I tried to lock with my AVP2
and it will not. Only does at 44,48 and 96?


Mark 7767,

I agree with Avideo and Joemt, that is that the Masterlink does fine for what it's designed--record, rudimentary "editing," and burn redbook CD's. I have spoken with a number of professionals who all agree about the ML's value. I'm just getting to know mine. For CD playing, use a conventional CD player. The Masterlink is just not optimized as a CDP. It is better at editing than the Marantz CD Recorder.
Thanks guys,

I plan on using my Alesis ML 9600 to record compilaton CDs for DJing. I hope my Mark Levinson will lock onto the 88.2/24 signal. If not, I have a dCS Purcell upsampler that I can use with the Mark Levinson 360S and record in standard redbook. I have the new one with 40GB hard drive.

Do you think music stored on the hardrive recorded in standard redbook then upsampled to 24/96 and feed into the Mark Levinson 360S will sound good? I would like to store some playlists for party times.
I bought a 9600 to use as a transport based on friend's recommendation, but it is not user friendly in that the remote doesn't have track access by number which means to get to track 12 you have to push play and then push next track 11 times. The other thing I don't like aobut it is mechanical noise, it reads the disc from a computer drive to the hard drive so it makes some (too much for me) mechanical noise as it reads the CD at high speed. As for sound quality (as a transport) I think it has a lot to offer and is similar to using a (what is that thing? I think it is called a "digital time lens") which clocked the player output to a hard drive and reclocked it out with theoretically low jitter. Final analysis (as a transport), not worth it if you want easy track access and don't like exterraneous noise.

I have one. Its not for use as a CD player. Its really a mastering editing tool for high resoluition 24/96 archiving.
I record Vinyl onto it and it comes out very well.

The ML is too noisy and too cumbersome to be used as a transport. It does what it's designed to do quite well, but it was never designed to be used as a transport for a serious audio system. OTOH I do use it as a transport when I want to break-in a component and need to put a CD on endless repeat. I'd rather burn up its cheaply-replaced CD-RW drive on stuff like that than the expensive drive mechanism in my primary transport.
I just read that the Alesis was selected as a class A componnets by Stereophile. Why if all the threads here point to a noisy, complicated to use, poorly built, etc. unit. I guess I will have to hook mine up after I get back to the US to see for my self.
The masterlink is a pro audio tool and does what it does for a price point that has no peers.If trying to get a sub one thousand dollar cdp is your objective there are many choices.Pro audio is a different scene than the audiophile world with reliability higher on the priority list.There are engineers who are also audiophiles but they are a minority and your cd collections sound quality will bear that out.I own a cdp that costs roughly 6x what the masterlink does and the differences are not that great.