Though both are very fine pieces,my nod will have to go the Capitole .It will be interesting to see the new release of the second generation Captitole as not only is going to a single circuit board(the current version has 3) but as of today I was told the piece will look totaly different.Apparently it also will be able to play SACD(and I am not talking about the Premier which will also play DVDs and will be realeased later this year).Release date is now moved back until mid March.No pictures as of yet,but I have been told it will have no more volume controls,and selectable switch.It will all be done via the remote.
These are two of the best digital pieces available.
The Capitol is a touch more dynamic than the Mephisto 2 and the 2 has more delicacy. The 2 was more expensive at $7500 but the price has been reduced to $6600.
The looks of the Mephisto 2 are stunning which cannot be said of the Capitol.
I am glad to see that they are changing the looks of the Capitol because that was the only apparent weakness in the unit in my humble opinion. I know that alot of Audiophiles feel that the aesthetics do not matter but at the prices people pay for this stuff why should it not be stunning to look at also?
Stewart is absolutely correct.
The new Audio Aero Prestige CD/DVD/SACD player is silver - quite a departure from the black/gold of their other gear. It is pictured on this page - follow the link below:
Most top CD players will play all the notes - you will hear all there is to hear. But - it is the way the notes are played which truly separates a fine CD player from just any mass produced upsampling digital device.
To some people, CD players are CD players they don't hear a difference. To other people there is character, whether it be slam, detail, "analog like" that makes a CD player stand out above the rest.
But to a few of us it is the feeling in our soul when music just sounds right. It is a feeling that comes mostly at the deepest levels of listening - where the others (those who cannot tell) fear to tread or rarely go. It's the heartbeat of our passion and the conveyance of the magic we seek. It's the synergy between each note - the way you can taste it and the way it caresses you as you close your eyes and imagine.
The Audio Aero plays all the notes and it sounds right but the Mephisto takes a listener to a whole new level of appreciation.
Bwhite, your 3rd paragraph interests me immensely -- you put it better than I could ever have!
Do you find that the difference between these two players holds on all kinds of music (I listen mostly to classical & soul/blues)? Cheers
Bwhite I would appreciate it if you would expand a bit more on your observation that while the Audio Aero plays all the notes and sounds right the Audiomeca takes a listener to a new level of appreciation. I have been duly impressed with the Audiomeca having had the chance to listen in my system. But, with all the accolades recently heaped on the Audio Aero one can't help but be intriqued by it. I am in the market for a new cdp and am down to these two. Having not had the opportunity to hear the AA in my system I am reluctant to go that route. Thanks.
Gregm & Pgleekel -
The Mephisto is good in all types of music but I have found will sound better with certain power cords and interconnects. Currently I use Audio Note AN-Vz interconnects and a NBS Statement power cord. This combo produces the most realistic sound I have heard from a player thus far. The NBS gives a weight and power to the music - intense dynamics and speed - the Audio Note seems to collapse the soundstage a little - tightens up the blur of the players - and shows you a realistic life like presentation. The combo is stunning.
When used with a Shunyata King Cobra, and Stealth PGS interconnects, I found the Mephisto to make almost any kind of music sound like something you might hear in a coffee shop. In this configuration it has a way of making blood chilling heavy metal music sound like something from Barry Manalow - I am kidding of course but if you try the combo, you'll know what I mean.
Anything in-between will adjust the Mephisto to suit your tastes.
The Audio Aero has received great accolades recently. While it is a great player - I think the number one advantage is the remote volume output. I am not a huge fan of digital preamplification so I personally do not see this feature as an advantage. A good preamp is the cornerstone of a good system. To do without is fine but - there is something lost in the musicality of it all.
The AA and the Mephisto both use the same DAC and therefore have similar character however I was not able to get to deeper levels of listening with the AA as easily as I was with the Mephisto. Perhaps the Mephisto is a bit more seductive in the way it plays.
The only annoying thing about the Mephisto is its high pitch noise it makes after you shut it off and turn it back on. This noise goes away after a while but with sensitive equipment - can be noticable for a few hours. To avoid this, always leave the Mephisto turned on.
Either way you cannot go wrong with these players however my preference leans toward the Mephisto.
Hey Bri...remember the raves for the EMC-1 MkII? Do ya?
Where's it fit in all this? Ern
Hi Ernie - the EMC-1 MkII is also a fantastic player and much like the Audio Aero in the sense that it sounds right. But compared to the Mephisto doesn't seduce you to listen deeper. The EMC-1 MkII is among the top players available and I must say it too sounded better than my Marantz SA-1.
The trouble I had with the Marantz was that it just seemed so electronic.
The EMC-1 approaches an "analog like" sound quality but truly has a way to go before the "like" can be removed from that comment. I found it had more slam than the AA & AM and has a way of making rock music sound great right out of the box. Compared to other players - the EMC-1 still has a hint of an electronic voice but is capable of producing an organic sound when coupled with the right set of interconnects and a good power cord.
The EMC-1 put me in a party mood.
Bwhite, thanks so much for the reply. I found it extremely helpful. If I may indulge you one more time, I would appreciate if you might comment a bit more on the ics. The audio note is not within my realm. I had been using cardas golden ref on my old cdp and was planning to use it on the Audiomeca that is coming. From your comment on the Stealth I wonder if the cardas may be to polite for the cdp. Other than the Audio note do you have any thoughts on what may be a good match for the Audiomeca-one that will not bring out a softness. Again many thanks.
I bought an Audiomeca Enkianthus DAC. This is the outboard DAC in the Mephisto II. I used it with my Philips CD-80 as a transport, using Acoustic Zen Mc2=Zen interconnects between the two. Smooth liquid midrange. Great high frequency extension. Detail, soundstage, airiness and imaging like I had never heard. Where it did not measure up was in the bass extension, bass weight and overall dynamics department. Even though I loved the characteristics mentioned above, I couldn't live without the power, the attack that I feel a good digital setup should display. The music usually sounded too delicate. I sold the unit after several weeks. Admitedly, I did little experimentation with digital interconnects and none with power cords. I haven't heard the Audio Aero yet.
Hi Pgleekel - The Stealth PGS is very "dull" sounding and the antithesis of dynamic - it has an organic quality and loads of inner detail which make it sound wonderful in certain systems.
Cardas Golden Reference is a punchy - cable. While it can sound "warm" when used between rich sounding components, it is a good cable and might by an excellent match for your system. The only way to know is to try it out.
I usually like to use fine and delicate sounding interconnects between the CD player and the Preamp followed by a more robust cable between the pre and power amp. I find this preserves the low level signal from the CD player.
Why dont you email me off line and let me know what your system configuration is - then I can make a suggestion or two.
I am also using the Enkianthus dac with the Mephisto II transport. One can definitely get immersed into the music with this combo. Rayhall was on the money with the interpretation of the sound however the bass is also very good. I got better results with a ss preamp than the CAT ultimate.
I love the Audio Aero. Not much to complain about, if anything. May be a bit too rich in some systems that already lean that way. I'm keeping the EMC-1 with update. Ain't one better than the other. Just might fit better than the other. You won't go wrong with any of them.
IMO, the Marantz isn't in the same league as any of the other CDPs mentioned.