If you want bottom end control and extension this is a no brainer.....Esoteric.....stop your search.
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Wow, I don't get the above two posts......The man asked for bottom control and extension, not some off topic banter. Esoteric is known for this while ARC is known for a sometimes flabby bottom end. Is mushy and flabby MUSIC? I don't think so. Answer the question directly, don't provide useless banter b/c you may own the piece. By the way, the X03SE is commonly referred to as one of the most MUSICAL cd players out there...sounds like you two jokers are insinuating the X03 is not musical or does not cast a large soundstage. Dead wrong.
I'm running a Esoteric X03SE with ARC VT100 MkIII, ARC LS16 MkII, AP Virgo III and JL Audio F112. So you can see, I'm a big fan of ARC, but what I say is that if you like to listen to MUSIC and you want a HUGE soundstage, then it's a no brainer...X03SE...which is exactly what some others have said about the CD8! It may just be that their performance is comparable. And I agree with Acurus, the bottom end extension on the X03SE is devestatingly low. The other big plus with the X03SE is SACD. It is a shame that SACD has not gained better acceptance because it is so superior to redbook CD.
I am using a cd8 with a ref 3. The bass is VERY tight and not at all "flabby". Better bass control is one of it's strengths compared to the cd 7 which I used to own. What you would enjoy in your system however comes down to your own personal taste but the cd 8 has excellent " bottom end control". High frequency " extension" is harder to quantify but for a tube player the cd 8 sounds clear as a bell and very natural. There is a very long thread here on "type 1" vs. "type 2" cd player catagories and the two players represent good designs of each. They are different but what is better is up to you not the clearly biased opinions of others. - Jim
I am happy to have generated this discussion. To fine tune my dilemma, I have always loved ARC gear. I had an old SP6C for years then went to the BAT31SE and it was quiet but too dark and went back to ARC ref 3. I enjoy the bloom and was thinking the Ref CD8 would provide system synergy and was leaning more toward it. Like others have mentioned, the X03SE is cheaper and I don't know if its bass is "better" or not, but musicality is important also. I guess I'm trying to convince myself that the bass of the CD8 is worth having and would be more analog like than the X03, unless I'm mistaken. Please, more input. Keep going, I love this discussion.
I ,too, am a big fan of ARC.
I own the LS26 and CD3 and am looking at the REF110 or CD8
for my next upgrade move.
The Esoteric and ARC both make great sounding units and both have different sounds.
It depends on what sound you're use to listening to.
My CD3 sounds better with my ARC pre-amp than the other brand I had.
i have the esoteric p3-d3 combo - this was compared side-by-side with the ARC CD-7. although the CD-7 is great for the $$$ the p3-d3 was easily its better. more low end control and better soundstaging throughout the spectrum.
the CD-7 is the best bang for the buck as its ALOT cheaper than the esoteric combo but its not quite as good if money is no object.
The p3-d3 also benefits alot by adding the G-Os word clock - another definite step up.
im using ARC Ref3 and Ref 610 monos driving Dynaudio Masters..
As somebody mentioned the ARC Ref 3 is a little bloated in the low end but its so incredibly musical that it has still bested every other preamp ive tried.
yes - another 2 cents worth..\