I own the MK2 (with SE upgrade) and recently listened to the new Capitol Reference at a dealership. I dont recall the SE designation but maybe it was. Night and day difference, absolutely not. It did however appear to have better resolution than mine.
I can't think of too many things that I would improve over the Capitole Mk 2 other than resolution. Of course, with the improved resolution a couple of other related items are invariable going to improve along with it.
Thanks guys. Resolution is welcome so long it doesn't mess up the world class mid band.
I have had at home 4 out of 5 AA Capitole players (and owned 2 of them):
Capitole mk II
Capitole mk II SE
Capitole Reference (which really should be called mk III)
Capitole Reference Signature.
"SE" on the old model and "Signature" on the new model is the same modification. Only name is different. It consists of cap upgrade (SE/Sig models use ultra expensive teflon V-Cap capacitors vs Hovlands found in the cheaper models), cryo-treated tubes and some damping pads under the caps.
IMO, regular Capitole mk II vs regular Reference is a close race. Same goes to Capitole mk II SE vs Capitole Reference Signature.
Now, regular vs SE/Signature, is a different story. No mater if you compare the regular Capitole mk II to Capitole mk II SE or Capitole mk II to Capitole Reference Signature, there certainly IS a very substantial difference.
Having said that, IMO Audio Research Reference CD-7 CDP is much better player than all Capitole players, and is now cheaper as well.
I went from Capitole mk II to Capitole mk II SE, then MBL1531. Now I have CD-7 and could not be happier.
Elberoth I'm told (same dealership)that the Capitol sounds better through the balanced outputs using RCA cables and adaptors rather than straight out of the single ended outputs. Any comments?
Elberoth2, Can you tell us some of the sonic differences between these cd players and why you think one is better than the other?? Thank you
Sorry to wander off course, but DCCAs question reminded me how much of an improvement in the Capitol you can also obtain from a good PC. I'm sure everyone has their favorites, but I recently switched to the DCCA Reference One on my Capitol and it was a very nice improvement indeed.
I have never tried the RCA or XLR/RCA outs. I always stayed balanced, becouse of the system/cables I have had at the time.
As I said before - the only meaningful difference is between regular and SE/Signature models. The sound much more transparent, have much better microdynamics and improved resolution. Soundstage depth and portrayal of space is also improved. Regular ones sound a bit slow and veiled in comparision.
I would have to agree with Elberoth as to the difference, as I stated previously, as to the improvement over/to the MK II. That being resolution, which in many cases helps with the dynamics (macro and micro) and frequently better focus in the sound stage. I have only heard the Sig. not in my system, but my feelings were similar to his. Just for the record though, this is not resolution like one would get with an Esoteric, for example. But still greater, noticeably so, than with the MK II.
Just bought AA Reference SE second hand 1 year old. My old AA Capitole MKII (not modified) sounded better with no harshness in the upper middle as the Reference. Something to do with break in? This one has 2-300 hours.
No, I don't think this has to do with break-in as it is a one year old used unit. Though 15-20 hours should show some differences if it is related to this at all. I suspect it is the difference in sound between the two units. The Cap II is very warm - a "beautiful" sounding player. You are hearing more of what is on the disc, without being warmed out, you are hearing the more of the details and higher resolution. If you have a friend that has a more detailed/resolving system that yours, ask them to listen without saying anything about the "hardness". If they comment about the same issue, then you either have a bad unit/dieing tubes (unlikely if only 1 year old) or it doesn't mix well with your other components (unlikely considering your past player). Have you gotten the unit fairly well isolated from vibrations etc. . .
While the SE is more resolving, few would say it is harsh unless they are so accustomed to the Cap II sound that any additional resolution will seem that way. I would definately get some other people to listen to it, even if it means driving an hour or two to find somebody who has the same unit, bringing your along.
I'm not sure what is happening to the newer AA SE player you have but I have not experienced this problem with mine.
I just want to say that in addition to good mechanical isolation (symposium, sra, hrs) and a good powercord, the AA players also require some very good interconnects to show their potential. They DO NOT works well with silver cables in my experience. I moved from the Cardas Golden Reference cables to the Kubala Sosna Emotion cables and the difference was immediately noticeable.
In keeping with the original thread, I started out with the MKII and had the SE upgrade done. I find the added resolution also extends to the highs where increased spatial cues are more evident. This addressed some of the perceived roll-of/sweetening in the highs present in the original MKII. Also a touch better in microdynamics and soundstaging but if one really wants to improve that they should try a WELL ISOLATED whest audio dap.10u ... this really helps the Capitole in soundtstage locking. Overall, the difference was NOT night and day ... in fact it was audible but nothing to write home about (if you know what mean). For those who has the original MKII models, keep enjoying them and get yourselves a good bottle of wine to celebrate what you have.
There was a mention about the resolution of the Esoteric players. It is markedly better than what Audio Aero offers ... especially in terms of soundstage layering ... BUT ... they are nowhere near as musical sounding (just like the Emm Labs and Modwright players). These players emphasize jump factor and transparency over analog sound. To my ears they sound more digital in this respect. If one wants to combine all the wonderful qualities listed above with musicality... then they should consider the APL NWO 2.5T player at $30000. A real tour de force in musicality, trasparency, soundstanging, etc ... so many areas that it just destroys everything out on the market right now.