Received my CD-2 on Friday and I'm still amazed and the unit has only about 20 hours. The soundstage extends beyond the boundaries of the speakers with palpable images you can almost touch. The Rega/Bryston combo is good but the CD2 is in another league. This unit captures the ambiance and nuances of the recorded venue with ease. I know layering and depth will come when the units has been run in and I'm looking forward to that day!

I'm definitely happy with my purchase
Those Ayons are like that. Amazing! Your CD-2 will be replaced by the CD-2s in a few months, though.

Do you know what changes are being made?
The (s) stands for "slightly more amazing than the CD-2".
That player rocks. You have chosen wisely.....
No indication on changes, they're launching it at the Munich show, not sure when that is. I'm currently using the CD-07 - I chose it over a PerfectWave Transport/DAC and Wadia 381. Hands down win. Especially as it was much cheaper, too.
they're launching it at the Munich show, not sure when that is.

In May.
I'm going to give the pre a go within a few days and man will I be sad if I have to sell my Belles 21A modified unit.
Hi all,
Being CD2 owners, I'm sure you did your homework :-)
My question is what's difference between CD-2 and CD-3 ?
I don't find much review on CD-3 (obsoleted from Ayon webpage)- I believe CD-3 has tube-rectifier power supply module (2 pieces) ans assume CD-3 would be superior ?

See Douglas Schroeder review on dagogo.com The CD2 is quite good.
The CD3 was a two box unit, with a separate power supply. Ayon has since done away with the two box pieces, and the CD2 should be a significant upgrade over the CD3. Schroeder's review claims the CD2 to be "at least a 15% upgrade over the CD3." It uses the same four 6H30 tubes in the CD3. The kicker was that Ayon reduced the price of the CD2 from that of the CD3.
Anyone have a chance to hear Ayon CD players with an Audio Note System or compare to Audio Note one box CD Players?
No buyers remorse from me. My first player anywhere near that much money.
But amazing is what it did to my system. One of the reviewers of the CD-2 postulated that you would need to spend a fair amount 5000+ at least to acheive the same SQ on a turntable. Any thoughts from you guys with analog experience as to the validity of that statement.
Does it have digital input so it can serve as a DAC?
I don't think so. The CD5 has a digital out, but I don't think the CD2 does. Have to check. The CD2s does have a digital input.

Not so sure on the amount to spend on a TT setup to get the same sound quality as the CD2. I just bought a Clearaudio TT setup (the Champion Limited) for a shade under 5K, and I was told that it would "approximate" the sound quality of the CD5. We'll soon see- the TT arrives in about three weeks. Waiting on the next shipment from Germany.

Besides, isn't the point of an analog setup to surpass the sound quality of CD's?
According to the Ayon website, the CD-2s has two digital inputs, a 75 Ω S/PDIF (RCA), and a USB...

Besides, isn't the point of an analog setup to surpass the sound quality of CD's?

Exactly. My CD-2 sounds exceptionally good in my system, some recordings like FIM's Gilberto and Getz and Oscar Peterson recording were jaw dropping the first couple of spins. 5K is about what I can muster for an analog set-up, so if it can approximate the sound of the CD-5 it will be worth it .

Afc I would be interested in how you like your new TT. and what CDP you have
I like the turntable. The Champion Limited package comes with the Unify tonearm and the Aurum Beta S MM cartridge. Clearaudio screwed up my order- they sent the table with the clear plinth instead of the black plinth. So, as compensation, they upgraded the cartridge to the MC Talismann free of charge. It's got a very detailed sound, more "live" than CD. It lacks the bottom slam of the CD player, though.

Nice, a bit different from CD. I like it, sounds very nice, and I have some stuff on vinyl that was never put on CD.

My CDP is the Ayon CD5.
thanks for the perspective, very helpful. I have been debating getting a TT or not. I do not own any vinyl, so a TT may not be a wise choice for me.
A high end one box solution like the Ayon CD5 may be an option to look into eventually. I think for now I will just purchase more well recorded digital and enjoy the CD2. I know my bank account will appreciate it.
Bassraptor: You are using the CD 07. I have to say I am very tempted by it, it is significantly cheaper than the CD 2. Have you, or anyone else compared it with the more expensive models. I would be very interested in the differences.
I had the CD2 for about three months before getting the CD5. The CD5 smokes the CD2. Better resolution, better bass slam, tighter....just an all around much better performer, as it should be for nearly double the price.

Jazzy, if you don't own any old vinyl that you're seriously jonesing to hear, I'd stick with the CD2 for now. Getting a TT to match the sound of that player requires some bucks- and you don't have any vinyl to use with it. Would better spend that money getting the CD5.
Appreciate the advice.Your experience with the Ayon products, and recent purchase of a nice TT setup, is almost perfect information for me to make a decision.The fact that on your system thread and this thread your posts are all reasoned and logical pretty much seals the deal for me, I can save up for the CD5 or find something else to obsess about. I am on a room tuning jag right now!!
The Eastern Electric Minimax DAC plus the CD2 blows the CD5 out of the water. Get one while you can before the demand goes through the roof!
I read a review on the Eastern Electric Minimax DAC and I went and purchased it for $650. There is no way conclusively - positively for sure that this DAC is an improvement, over the Ayon CD-2. I was hoping it would work but it doesn’t. The sound stage is flat and non involving and sharp. I now own the CD-5 and the CD5 is by far superior, than any Minimax combo with an Ayon CDP. With the CD5, the musician is in my room. The Minimax DAC when connected to any Ayon product, in any method, does nothing special. It actually makes the sound closed in.

I think it is more an amplifier anomaly folks are hearing. My friend used it with his Cambridge amp and a CD2 and it made the soundstage really even even worse, but it may have made the soundstage a bit faster, different, but really an ugly combo.

Folks are always looking for the cheap way to outfit a system, but it is a waste of time. I have been there and done that and learned my lesson - you get what you pay for!

Just out of curiousity but why whould anyone put tubes in a CD player? No matter the prices I think tubed CD player are bit of a gimmick. There are many people that like tube amps so I get the feeling that some companies add tubes to a CD player just so it will sell better. But my hunch is that adding tubes to a CD player makes it more expensive and not neccecarely better. Sorry for my rant.
Thanks for the info on the Ayon/MiniMax combo. May have saved me 700.
Drat's no cheap fix to audio perfection*^&%$#@@
Looks like I will need to save up and upgrade the dac chip thru Ayon at some point.
Does anyone have any info on upgrading to the CD2s chip?
Question for Afc: Is it possible that some of the improvement you hear in the CD5 over the CD2, such as resolution and bass slam, have to do merely with its increased output signal (0-4V for CD5 versus 0-2.5V for CD2)? Such a difference can sometimes make a source component sound more vivid and powerful. Did you compensate for this output difference when comparing the two?
I have the CD2 and thought about upgrading to the CD2s, but after hearing the EE DAC after install and cold, the CD2 doesn't come close. My soundstage is deeper, wider with images you can touch. My system is very resolving and I'm hearing things I've never heard and my unit is only 5 days old. Decay notes and the ambiance is unbelievable with pin point imaging even at the edge of the soundstage. The gain does appears to be a little low when ran into my CD2 with an XLR but you'll just have to turn your pre up another 1/4 turn to reach the same SPL. This is a bargain price for a DAC and the BDA-1 doesn't come close. The Minimax sounded better than the CD2 even with a 10 year old RCA cable
Ral, the CD5, as you probably know, has an adjustable gain setting. I've tried all three settings.....on every one, the CD5 shines. It tosses a bigger soundstage, produces better detail, is more authoritative with bass and imaging is superb. It's about impossible to discern the CD5 from the Clearaudio analog rig I just installed. I settled on "medium" gain for the CD5. High gain will blow the doors off, but you seem to lose a little detail with it. Low gain is very similar to medium gain setting, you just gotta crank the volume knob on the preamp a bit more.
After reading the Audio Blast by Doug Schroeder on Dagogo about the Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC, like sheep I went out and purchased the Minimax DAC and connected it exactly as Douglas describes to my Ayon CD5. $650 + tax later, I am sitting in my sweet spot, dumbfounded. The sound was completely 2 dimensional, thin and brittle.
I already own the W4S DAC 2 and the soundstage was little disappointing with the CD5, so I removed it. The CD5 is PERFECT by itself, just Like the musician is in the room!

Don’t waste your time and money - Anyone want to but a Minimax DAC ?

Sorry to hear the Dac is not living up to expectations in your system! You should notice an improvement with tube rolling and so far my 5814A are better than my $100 Tele smoothplates. My CD2 is bright in comparison to the EE, soundstage is richer, wider and deeper. So far I see it as the CD2 sounds digital and the EE sounds like analog. Also, give it time to break in
Just out of curiousity but why whould anyone put tubes in a CD player?
Mordante-below are some comments from the Modwright website that Dan makes about his top modded Sony 5400.


Vacuum tubes are best for amplifying VOLTAGE and SS devices are best for amplifying CURRENT. In a line-level circuit such as this -opposed to an amplifier, tubes require virtually no maintenance.

We chose the 6SN7 for its sound and general popularity among people who love tubes. It ended up being the tube of choice for our Transporter mod, of which we sold hundreds of units!

The tubes are purposely driven VERY conservatively to give 10,000-12,000 hours + of tube life. The circuit is fully auto-bias, therefore no maintenance required. We chose tube rectification simply BECAUSE IT SOUNDS BETTER!
Afc- are you running the CD5 directly into amps or into a preamp? Have you compared both ways?
There is likely something wrong with the system if the EE does not sound better through the CD5 as transport. Perhaps try ajusting the gain on CD5, as this can greatly help or skew the sound, depending on the system.
Afc- are you running the CD5 directly into amps or into a preamp? Have you compared both ways?

I am interested in this also. I am considering a CD-5 to replace my CD-2 and Shindo Aureiges MM. The CD-2 direct to amps was no match for Shindo/CD2
combo. I really like the CD2. I wish I could control the sibilance on decent recordings with the occasional hard hot spots (Wilco Summerteeth) Perhaps it is to much to expect a dac to overcome that in a recording or can the CD5 or MiniMax Dac accomplish that?
I use the CD5 with my preamp. Just like the sound a bit better. Part of the issue, I think, is some prejudice on my part- the gain on the CD5 preamp section is very linear, so you have to crank it up to get high volume. That's in contrast to the relatively non-linear gain on the EAR 868- or probably any preamp- where I don't go much past 10 o'clock before it's all I can stand. Having said that, I could easily live with the CD5 as a one box solution. The preamp section is nice. A little more dry/thin than the EAR. My original intention was to sell the EAR to finance the CD5. In fact, I had a buyer here in less than 24 hours, but he backed out. I'm glad he did, since I now have an analog rig, and the EAR has a great phono section, so I avoided having to drop more cash on a stand alone phono section. The CD5 is a significantly better sounding player than is the CD2 IMO. It's tough for me to ascertain much of a difference between the CD5 and the Clearaudio analog rig I currently run. The 5 just has more detail- bass is stronger, the high end more delicate, and the soundstage has a much fuller impression than does the CD2. Doug Schroeder's review on dagogo was pretty much spot on as far as I am concerned, but I don't know if I would go so far to say the CD5 preamp is as good as anything up to the cost of the 14K VAC Renaissance preamp. The EAR 868 is much less than that.....on the other hand, I know of some people who are very satisfied with the CD5 as a one box unit, and they've traded in some very high end preamps. Nobody really ever said that about the CD2. The biggest drawback to the CD5 as a preamp is that it has only one set of analog output jacks- so if you bi-amp, or run a sub off the preamp, as I do, you're looking at splitter cables to make things work, and that probably costs you something in terms of sonics. It has both XLR and RCA outs, but you can't use both at the same time- you have to choose which one you use via the toggle switch on the rear chassis.

Not sure if you have discovered that the Dac phase switch should be lit red for better sound quality!

Thanks Afc, The CD-5 to my monoblocs and maybe add the Ayon server/player when they release it would be a nice quality minimalist set up.
I will have to get up to LA and have listen.
If Wig is correct about about the MiniMax DAC, I will save the 5K and keep my Shindo and CD-2.
I think I will take it slow and let the dust settle on the MiniMax.
I would definitely take it slow before dropping down 5K on outdated technology. The Minimax is that good and it does get better with tube rolling. Telefunken smoothplates didn't work well in my system, better focus, detail, imaging but the soundstage lacked in comparison to 5814A. I have some Mullards boxplates coming soon which are very musical tubes and should match well in my system. I have updated the fuse to a silverstar hi-fi fuse and JPS digital AC powercord. The level of detail, richness and imaging is fantastic with a deep soundstage. The CD2 is great player but it's even better with the EE. EE sound is much smoother and less fatiguing.
Wow sounds great, no doubt about it in your assessment! Thanks, I am jotting down your upgrades for reference. Good point about the improvement in DAC technology, which is why the quality of the CD-2 as a transport was a deciding factor in my purchase
Damn, it is not that much. I wish it had usb so that when it becomes second fiddle I could use it on my Mac.
I heard changing the tubes on the Minimax was tricky, I am new to tube rolling, What do you think?
Constant nonstop temptations in this hobby!!
It's easy, unless you have fat hands. Just 1/4 turn to remove tube sleeve and pull tube straight out. I wiggle mine a little and it comes right out. The smoothplates were wonderful in my pre-amp but not that good in the Dac which was eye opener since they are $100 and my $20 Jan 5814A are more musical and satisfying but the Mullards will be better when them come in since I have used them in the past. Give the unit time to break-in because mine is sounding better daily and approaching two weeks in which it should be done, just needing 100+ hours on the digital cable now before I can really hear what the Dac can do.
Wig, are you calling the 1704K chip outdated? Sure they are no longer produced, mostly because true ladder DAC chips were expensive to manufacture compared to cheap to make Delta-Sigma DACs. My understanding is that Saber DAC is a hybrid ladder/Delta-Sigma chip. The best CDP and DACs I've heard use the NOS ladder DACs (TDA1541, BB 1704, etc). The Saber DAC may look great on paper and sound ultra detailed, but many do not find them, well, very analogue sounding. Some of the NOS "outdated" chips are highly sought after because of their analogue sound, much like some NOS tubes. So far, my experience with new DACs using new generation chips have be a mixed bag. Many sound too sterile, too digital for my taste. But some like this sort of sound. I've heard the WFS DAC using the Saber chip and was not particularly impressed. The only new generation DAC that has me salivating is the MSB Diamond DAC. It is, however, a ladder DAC variant using aerospace grade ultra precision resistors.
After reading the Audio Blast by Doug Schroeder on Dagogo about the Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC, like sheep I went out and purchased the Minimax DAC and connected it exactly as Douglas describes to my Ayon CD5. $650 + tax later, I am sitting in my sweet spot, dumbfounded. The sound was completely 2 dimensional, thin and brittle.
I already own the W4S DAC 2 and the soundstage was little disappointing with the CD5, so I removed it. The CD5 is PERFECT by itself, just Like the musician is in the room!

Don’t waste your time and money

I am using the Synergistic Research IC's with the CD5, SR speakers cables and it blows away the Minimax DAC EXPERIMENT, which failed terribly in my system. I have a pair of Ayon Orthos mono amps, the CD5 and a pair of Lumenwhite Artisan speakers.


Thanks for posting that. While the CD5 is beyond my price range, I'm considering the CD7 or CD2 or Ayon DAC and was wondering about the new "cheaper" DACs that are getting so much press (Wyred, Minimax, Tranquility). At least the mighty CD5 kicked two of those out of the water...any point of view regarding CD2/CD7/DAC?

Would you recommend removing the tube out of the unit since I'm using a Berkeley Dac? This would eliminate the amount of heat the unit puts out and should be better fot the transport.
I used to own the Ayon CD-2 and could not understand why it was so highly praised. I thought it sounded very forward and lacked detail. Overall, a very fatiguing source. After I sold the Ayon, I received back channel e-mails from other Audiogon members who owned the Ayon, all asking whether I had sold it because it was too "bright". They wouldn't post this on Audiogon. Presumably to protect the value of their investment. But I don't understand the buzz. Certainly, the Ayon CD-2 was as far away from vinyl as any source I have ever used.

For the same money, the PS Audio Perfect Wave stack is far better than the Ayon. For less money, the Eastsound is better.
Hello Mcondon
Perhaps you should consider the Sony CDP at Best Buy, those Sony's, they are very layed back and detailed. I'll bet you will love it.


Sarcasm duly noted. The Ayon CD players receive nothing but positive buzz on Audiogon. My experience with Ayon left me pretty dismayed. I was especially struck when the person who sold me his Ayon then wrote to ask me if I was selling the unit because it was too "bright" (his words, not mine.). More evidence on this front...I recently had an e-mail exchange with another Audiogon member about power amps. As an aside, we discussed digital sources. When I mentioned my experience with the Ayon, he replied that he had just sold the Ayon CD-5 because he did not like it at all and could not understand how Ayon CD players are so well-regarded.

For anyone considering buying an Ayon, I strongly recommend trying to demo the unit if possible. If not they should at least first read Doug Schroeder's review in Dagogo of the Ayon CD-5, in which he ranks quite a few digital sources. The CD-2 comes off looking pretty weak in that review, considering its high cost. I frankly think he was too kind to the CD-2, as I thought my $800 Eastsound E-5 sounded better than the CD-2.
I have Ayon CD-2s. It's not bright. It's a bit on analytical side, detailed but not bright.
Has anyone else noted there are several members who have only ever posted very positive comments regarding Ayon."Ayon is far superior to brand XYZ which I have owned several etc etc.Some of these guys claim to have owned lots of other highend gear but have never posted a single response about the other gear they claimed to have owned.
Just look at the history of some of these posters and you will see what I mean. Do these people really think the other members are that gullible?

Hey Audigoners
Budt, blackwillard, mikesmith & many other user names on the gon; is really image audio in guelph canada! Lets just say that this info comes right from the horses mouth and they plan to stop it. The gon is a fun and educating forum and it is too bad that some use it to sell the stuff they sell.