Analog Lovers and Filterless DACs

Hey vinyl lovers,
What inexpensive CD players or transport/DAC combos give you the most satisfaction?
I might need to downsize my digital rig for other projects, but it only gets about 10% of my listening time, so not the end of the world.
Having read some positives about Scott Nixons, Audio Mirror and Ack, thinking about giving one of these a try...Most CDPs just don't sound musical to me. Suggestions? Thanks,
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The most inexpensive and perhaps even the BEST way to go is to burn all your cds on your computer's hard drive in wav format so your hard drive becomes a transport transporting error-free digital files into a USB dac like The Brick (a tubed filterless DAC from Wavelength Audio) for $1,750 new. You can control your cd collection from your computer or from a palm pilot if it has bluetooth and/or wifi to match with bluetooth or wifi on your computer (which you can add on if you currently don't have in your system.) Pretty cool.

If you need an external drive, I'd go for a Glyph drive. They're widely considered the best for audio, they're super quiet and very opposed to a lacie or something you'd get at best buy. sells them.

Obviously you still need your amp/preamp and your computer needs to have the ability to communicate with them.

I have no experience doing this, just been researching. I'm going this direction currently.

You should check the wavelength site for correct ways to burn cds to your hard drive and other useful tips.
Scott Nixon just came out with a new USB tube dac. Waiting for reviews before junping.

In my big rig I've been using a Bolder modded Squeezebox2 for a few months and I'm highly satisfied; no more CDP's for me.

There are a lot of options when it comes to computer audio:
Squeezebox2 or 3 - stock or modded -apple/win
Roku soundbridge
Digital out to DAC
Soundboard to stereo
And many more options................

Good luck,
I can recommend 2 sources:

1. Ack Dack v2.0 w/ high rez option. I love this DAC, sounds so good. I think a lot of why it sounds good is the battery power, which makes it super quiet and removes A/C noise from the equation. It's a bargain, and a ridiculous one if you consider you don't have to spend extra $$$ on power cables/conditioners. I have a used Dack 2.0 on the way.

2. Music Hall CD25 / Shanling / Onyx? - This CD player has been rebranded with many names, but I hear it's the same player. I have owned one for a long time, and just replaced its stock socketed opamps with OPA627's (about $100 and you just plug them in). It sounds very good for the money. My player was $600 or so new when I bought it, but I hear the same thing can be bought for around $300, thanks to cost savings from China.

Good luck.
Yeah, the USB dac fed from PC is a pretty convenient notion for some, but not practical for me. My computer is also used for business, and I don't want to use it for audio. I also have no inclination to invite Bill Gates & Friends into my listening room. The chore to burn 600 CDs into wave files isn't too thrilling either.

Matt, The Ack 2.0 is a good possibility. How do you compare its sound vs the other CDPs you mentioned? I've heard them & although I agree that they present good value vs. most conventional CDPs in their price range, I still can't forget that I'm hearing a "digital event" when I listen to them. If they are the most analog sounding in my price range(<$700), then I'm just not gonna be happy.

Can anyone else please comment on how the Acks, Nixons, etc. compare sonically to most other mainstream players? Thanks,

Sorry posted my response in the wrong thread.
My Audio Mirror DAC combined with my Alesis Masterlink 9600 is a combination that has served me well. Both have been modified by TRL so they are no longer stock. The stock Audio Mirror was great, but now is even better. Considering the cost of the mods this set-up ran me $2500, $1400 without the mods.

I will actually be moving to a battery powered Sony DVP-NS900V modified by TRL shortly to compare against the existing set-up. I have heard this player (non-battery version) in another system and it is extremely musical. This CDP is non-os so that was a major reason I was willing to try it out.
You can try the Consonance CD-120 Linear or the tubed version. Both are 16 bit, non oversampling, non upsampling with no digital filters or opamps to get in the way. Its a one box solution that sounds great. I have the CD-120 Linear and love it. It only set me back $800.
Thanks Nonoise, good suggestion.
What other players can you compare its sonics to? Cheers,
I agree with Kublakahn. I'm in the process of ripping my CD collection as I made the switch a couple of weeks ago. Using a computer with music stored on a hard drive in conjunction with an outboard DAC will give you amazing results. I replaced my Marantz SA14 SACD player with a computer hard drive server. I added a USB external hard drive to my existing PC and Roku Soundbridge into my Audio Mirror DAC. I’m using iTunes and ripping my music to AIFF files. It's so incredibly convenient listening to music and it sounds better than when I used the SA14 as a redbook transport. I’ve also now have a volume control since my pre amp does not have remote control. No more searching for a CD or having to worry about placing it back in the right place. All your music can be played through iTunes or other similar software so playlists and custom indexing are all possible.

Since you have a PC already, your total investment will be less than $450 to $700 (depending on HD size) plus the cost of a DAC. It’s the best and least expensive way to go.