Best CD player

I'm building a system and looking for recommendations on a used CD player. I have a budget up to $4,000. Also your cable recommendation please.

Vandersteen 5 speaker
Placette active preamp
Bat VK500 amp

Thanks Joe
sell the placette passive use the money for a used Audio Aero Capitol has preamp built in.
I'd recommend a new or used Sony SCD-1. A very nice unit both sonically and it's fit'n finish.

Is it the best? No, but what is? But it can't be too far away.

I'm using Harmonic Technology Pro Silway Mk II interconnects.

-IMO (because some think I'm too factual)
I would consider Audio Aero Capitole or Levinson 390S if you can pick either up (and you may need to stretch, but either would be worth it)...

I am told you should also consider Sony ES or the SCD1, though I can't personally comment.

Good luck,
The Electrocompaniet player has served me well and can now be bought with the 24/192 upgrade.
I third the Audio Aero Capitole recomendation, sell the placette and you'll be there.
I like the Levinson 39/390S, but right now it seems that the Aero Capitole is THE hot CD player-- haven't heard it myself. Great choice of speakers Jw;>)-- I use Syn. Res. spkr cables and ICs with mine. Cheers. Craig
So many people that i respect have said such good things about the Audio Aero Capitole that it HAS to be good. Other than that, the Electrocompaniet is a very nice sounding unit. The earlier non 24/192 EC-1 smoked the SCD-1 in a head to head comparison in my opinion. Not even close. The salesman that was demoing both units also agreed wholeheartedly. Sean
Don't count out WADIA! There is a lot of hype about Mephisto and Capitole at the moment. Not too many people have even auditioned them because they are so rarely to be seen. Sure they are excellent players but Wadia is a rock in digital research since the beginning and their players are heavily reliable and extremely musical.
Good luck!
Sell your preamp, get a used Audio Aero Capitole here on Audiogon for $4000.

Aida_w- Could you share with us what you felt to be the differences between the mephisto II, Wadia and capitole? It strikes me as odd, because most who hear either player(capitole or mephisto) end up getting one. Also for the price of Wadia digital there are far to many for sale at any given time-makes me wonder; but we all listen and want different things from our systems-an audio melting pot here at audiogon!
Aren't the current "hot" "top" 1 box players:
(just so happens that these first 5 players are all 24/192 players, hmmmm, I wonder...pattern?)

1. Audio Areo ($6900)
2. Mephisto ($6600)
3. Electro EMC-1 ($5000)

and new up and comping stars
4. Gamut CD-1 ($3000)
(some have said this competes with the top 3 for quite a bit less money.)
5. Cary 306 ($5000)

861 ($7950 = $8000)
850 ($5000)
301 ($3200?)
Levinson 390s ($6000)
I am forgetting some I know but this is just to give an idea anyway.

TOP SACD PLAYERS- I am sure I am missing some but Sony is pretty clearly the leader in this category so if a person wanted SACD, Sony would probably be a safe and sane place to be.
Sony SCD-1 ($5000 - several other sony players are thought to deliver near the SCD-1 quality for less money but I am not as familiar with their model numbers because sony puts out units at the speed of light (777 and the 9000SE I think)- also for a mere $2500ish you can get some mods done on the SCD-1 that supposedly will bring close to the standard of the top players mentioned above)
Accuphase DP-85($16,500)
Marantz SA-14 ($2900)
Marantz SA-12S1 ($3800) does DVD also

I have order the Gamut and will tell you what I think after I get it (they are back ordered right now). Not a good looking player but its got it where it counts. I have owned the original EMC-1 and the Wadia 830, 850, and 860x and have heard the Cary 306 so I will tell you what I think, best I can, after having a chance to do some listening after break in.

happy hunting,
Why so many Wadia out there? They have been around quite a while with the same models.

Didn't mention in my previous post...I have also briefly heard the SCD-1 and Levinson 39 but was not particularly impressed but, in all honesty, the situations weren't optimal.

I owned the Wadia 860x the longest so I will see when the Gamut gets here just how the $3000 player compares with the $8000 Wadia...I think I know.

There has been some wonderful trickle down happening in the one box CD market and with the introduction of 24/192 (and its refinement) boxes are getting better and cheaper. If the Gamut keeps its reputation and truely competes against the big names at 3k it will redefine the standard -:) I hope. I always felt Wadia was expensive but now looking at the EMC, AA, ML, Cary, and AM you realize that state of the art has settled in at around 6k (give or take a little) but I am hoping, for the benefit of the consumer, that Gamut changes that. The other option is to see price increases in the Gamut over the next year or two to bring it in line with the other top players (like the EMC moving from 4k to 5k) fingers are crossed for a "NO!".

happy listening,
The concept of the best CD player is a "myth". If you review the many comments on this site, you will see a wide variety of suggestions regarding what one should or should not buy. A look at the audio magazines also shows a wide variety of comments, opinions and recommendations on this topic. My sense is the associated equipment you have and your own listening experience dictates what sounds good or not good. Based on my own listening experience, I sometimes like a unit that others have liked and visa versa. I also discovered that, in my system, simple things like changing an interconnect cable can make a unit sound much better (or worse). If possible, I suggest you pick several CD players and listen to them using your own music to decide what sounds like music to you. While this is not easy, it should enable you to help make this decision. Of course, if you can borrow the unit to listen to in your own system, the better your final choice will be. Retailers, friends and audio sites will provide you are large list of units but you cannot listen to 50 different units (I do not think). In my case, I have selected two local Retailers to work with and have narrowed my list down to three for additional listening. Your final decision needs to be based on your listening to the CD player in your environment to decide what sounds okay to you.
Agreeable with Hgeifman. Or why not try to do some "benchmarking" with what you would like to hear. Borrow a friend's turntable like starting out with a rega,put on a descent cartridge. There is something in analog that ultimately woes your emotion. Then perhaps listen to a CD unit that is comparable.

Test with different types of music,like fast paced ones.
Almost all too often,even high priced CD players sound confused versus vinyl play. And dont forget about those both frequency extremes.

I've heard how a Forsell DAC outperforms a Jadis and curiously tried a REga outfitted with a Benz micro cartridge,it was a shock to me that at 1:5 cost ratio or over, the TT was a overwhelmingly better.

Let your ears decide,almost everything is relative to combination and compatibility.
Bat VK-D5i, used. Hands down the best redbook cd player I've had the pleasure of listening to. I only wish I had your budget, and could afford it.
The Audio Aero Capitole is in my opinion the best recomendation, As Tireguy suggests, sell the placette and you'll be there.

I have owned many of the CD Transports or Players mentioned. After hearing the Capitol the choice is simple. It is also the most cost effective, because no additional DAC or Pre amp is needed. You also eliminate a lot of expensive cabling.

Good Luck & Good Listening
There is no 'best' anything. There are many well made and designed audiophile components, and even more cables.

If you are unsatisifed with the sound you are getting, focus on the souce material, verify speaker placement and room conditions, then upgrade the speakers.

The rest is pretty much aesthetic, phyco-acoustic game playing, and hair splitting.
Homedesign, you keep spouting off about "source material" and "psycho-acoustics" as if one can not hear differences in components or that one should only listen to good recordings.

How many people would be willing to sacrifice TONS upon TONS of "enjoyable" music that wasn't recorded all that great for a handful of "audiophile grade" recordings of music that was ( many times ) sterile and unmoving ? While i'll always prefer a good recording over a bad recording, i'll still settle for good music with a reasonable recording over "sucky" music with a great recording. There is a difference between "being pulled into the groove" and using a recording for reference purposes.

As to the differences in gear, i'm hoping to have a very well made professional grade multi-purpose ABX switchbox pretty shortly. It was made by Quad and used for testing purposes when designing gear. From what i've been told, there are two of these in existance and i've got a line on one of them. If i can snag it, we'll probably be doing some pretty interesting tests at the Chicago Audio Society meetings sometime soon. Sean