I own the EMC1 MK2 upgrade. It is musical, without glare, terrific detail and extended bass. A data point you may wish to consider: It is easier to find the EMC1 at a reasonable markdown than the AR CD3, at least when I was shopping.
I compared the two when I was in the market and ended up with a CD3.... As the previous poster stated, low chance at finding one under MSRP or used...there is a reason for that - It is a GREAT player...
I have not seen an ARC CD3 in the used market since it's release last year. I've listened to one and it sounded nice but would need to take it home and compare it to what I have now before I could make that kind of commitment and even then I would never pay retail. Another near impossible piece to find used is the Theta DaViD II with progressive scan WHAT'S UP!!!
J_k, setting aside the price issues, how would you characterize the sound between the two players and what was your deciding factor(s)?
Can't comment about the Electrocompaniet but I auditioned the CD3 against thePhilips SACD.with all reference Audio Resarch electronics and the Vandersteen model 5's.Too close to call both were musically invovlving players.SACD didn't blow it away by a long shot,but it is much cheaper and does a good job.The quality of craftmanship on the CD3 is superior and so it's re-sale value ,as with all ARC cd players ,should be good.
I've also heard the CD3 against the Metronome ,,,the Metronome (no balanced outs)didn't even come close.
I've heard the Sony SCD-1 in surround mode and was impressed with it's quiet b.g. and overall sound,it sells for the same as the CD3,build quality is high,but i didn't hear the cd playback on it and I didn't like the surround mixes.Personally I would try to find a dealer who has your electronics and see if you can listen to both .maybe get a loan out on either one of the players and audition at home.... the best way to do it .
Final comment the CD3 is that it's an exceptional player,very analogue sounding with plenty of dynamics ,detail and punch.You won't regret the purchase,as a previous poster said it is a GREAT player! And for what it's worth all the ARC players were Stereophile class A,and I expect the CD3 to folow suit.
My deciding factor, which isn't very quantified... The music was much more real and true sounding. Different recordings sounded very different compared to the EMC1.. To my ears, EMC1 was slightly colored in my system...I felt like tweeking.. CD3 just disappeared and sat down and simply listened to the music. I have heard better players, but at 2-5 times the price.
Kubrickorange (great moniker, by the way--real horrorshow) some of the people replying to you haven't indicated which version of the EMC-1 they've compared to the ARC. There is a big difference between the original EMC-1 and the 24/192 version, and (supposedly, although I haven't heard it) another big difference with the latest upgrade. I have heard the CD3 and the Electrocompaniet w/ the 24/192, and thought the EMC was better--not by much. A little better bass, a little more 'analog' sounding. Now that may have been a system synergy thing, but both are great players for sure. You can get a used EMC1 24/192 relatively cheaply.
Oneprof, what do you think is a fair price to pay for a used EMC1 24/192?
I would suggest it's splitting hairs and only your ears can tell you which one you prefer, though my guess would be that if you heard one and never heard the other one you would be perfectly happy with your selection. I have the 24/196 EMC-1 and I love it. Paired with my Mcintosh MA6900 integrated and Tannoy D500s I'm very happy. I know I'm at a good point because when I listen to music I'm just note sure how much better a CD can be to my ears and what "better" would be. I suppose if it projected a holographic image of the musicians I would be impressed by the upgrade. Hey, I better patent that idea : )
I will add that I prefer the appearance of the EMC-1. The black goes well with my Mcintosh and being a trained designer I can never let go of the industrial design of these products.
Kubrickorange, I just checked the classifieds here. Up until a month or so ago, there were always 2 or 3 used EMC1's available; now there are none. The new list is 5500; I don't know if that includes the latest upgrade or not. When they were available used (WITHOUT the latest upgrade) they were going for anywhere between 2500-3000, depending on condition, usage, etc. I payed more toward the high end of the scale, but that's because the one I bought had very few hours of usage--wasn't even broken in yet.
Kubrickorange, I would think a fair used price on an EMC-1 mk2 (without latest upgrade would be around 2600-2800. I shopped the heck out of the used machines on a-gon a few months back, and finally purchased a true 9/10 24/192 unit (w/o latest upgrade) that was "like new" for 2650 plus shipping. The prices seemed to be hovering right around that spot for clean 9/10's. Although I have not heard the CD3, I do so admire the EMC-1 mk2, and I have never once regretted the purchase. The player has all of the qualities I admire, superb tight, deep bass, that "right" amount of musicality, and oh so smooth. Yes, as others have suggested, a VERY analog-sounding piece. It is funny, when I purchased my player I had a very pleasant telephone conversation with the seller (who is a self-proclaimed analogphile with a nice analog rig--BTW Cheers Paul!:-), in which he even remarked how the EMC-1 brought him the closest to that analog sound of any other digital source he had thus experienced. Upon my first listen he was so right. Wow. It is quite simply a great piece, and one of my best audio purchases. I next plan to update my pre (possibly to Pass x1) and am hoping for the best. Best of luck to you whatever player you choose. Sorry for length.
I have owned the EMC1 for about a year and it is a great player. The build quality is second to none. I have also listened to the AR CD3 for hours in a complete Audio Research system. The bottom line is this - both are outstanding players and you can't go wrong with either player, but I certainly would not give up my EMC1.
For everyone who posted....thank you! I agree, the best would be to audition both in my system, but I am interested in buying a clean used player and don't want to waste a dealer's time when I'm not going to buy new.....I simply can't afford it. My budget is around 3k and I felt if I wait some period of time, I could go with either one. Again, many thanks thus far for all the contributions.
I saw a CD3 for sale today at a-gon
Glen, saw that too. Still on the fence though. Ideally I would like to listen to both. I have been thinking about getting together with some audiophile types in the local area (don't know there are any with this gear)and see if it would be possible to demo them with my gear.
that's a lot of cash to throw down just to try something. I know I've done it more than once so I can definetly relate.
I now have the itch to try the new Mark Levenson transport and outboard dac combo. Talk about sticker shock, still waiting for them to hit the used market closer to the 50% off price range so I only have to pay 10 grand. OUCH!!!
I love my EMC-1 MkII also, and do wonder if ANYONE who's compared the latest UP-grade could carefully compare the performance? So far I've only heard kneejerk generalizations.
NEW MkIIs can be had (isn't there an ad RIGHT NOW?) for under $3k. Good Luck.