Nobody with any info on these players? At the close out prices (1/2 price) this is a very tempting player.
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Here's a post I responed to with my experience living with the CD-1. It is my current player.
I owned both an Ayre CX-7e and an Electrocompaniet EMC-1UP for about 60 days (at different times). I'm not good at lofty descriptions of how audio components sound, but I'll try in layman's terms. Between these 2 I liked the Ayre more than the Electrocompaniet, but unfortunately that's not saying much. I suspect the EMC-1UP is VERY system dependent because it does have a "sound". I found it was too lush to my tastes. Perhaps they were shooting for a "tuby" sound? The "sh" sound when sung was very mushy sounding to me. I A/B'd an SS pre and a tube pre with the EMC-1UP and found it sounded better with the SS pre. It was like swimming through soup with the tube pre.
The Ayre was better but only in the fact that it had absolutely no character sound, but I found it swung too far to the opposite extreme. I found it dry and lifeless. There are going to be many that post contrary to my findings, so as always system synergy is a key factor.
FWIW my test system was Spendor S9 speakers, Gamut C2R (the SS pre) and a Lector ZOE pre (tube pre). My amp is a Musical Fidelity a308cr. All interconnects are Analysis Plus Sole Crystal Oval.
IMO the Linn Ikemi, Resolution Audio Opus 21, Bel Canto CD-1 and Musical Fidelity A5 beat both of the above mentioned players. (I've A/B'd all of them with my 2 pres)
Your results will vary ;-)
I take it you liked the sound of the Bel Canto better than the Resolution Opus 21 or the Musical Fidelity A5? That MF A5 seems to have quite a stable reputation. (As does the Resolution Audio Opus 21)
Does the RA Opus 21 have a livlier, more magical midrange and high end compared to the Ayre? What about the Musical Fidelity A5 in contrast?
The Opus 21 and MF A5 are fine players but both have "quirks" that bother me. The 2 box set up of the Opus 21 was more a gimmick to me and a nuisance. As with the name of their company, it does have incredible resolution but I'm not sure that is always a better thing. On some disks the Opus 21 sounded harsh to me.
The MF A5 is good as well but the CD tray FLYS open and close at a blinding speed and quite noisy. The industrial cosmetics of the MF A5 are not my cup of tea.
Bel Canto is a local company (I live in Minneapolis) so I do like supporting the home team too, hehe.