Emigene, I would recommend you take a look at a thread I started entitled, Reference DACS: An overall perspective, that will give alot of the information/opinions that you are asking about. My hunch is that you are looking for what we call a category #2 sonic signature that adds "warmth/musicality" but doesnot sacrifice details and transparency. Type #2 cdp/dacs would include the Reimyo,Accustic Arts,Audio Note to mention a few. Hope this helps.
I believe I know what you are looking for, as I went through a similar process with my Esoteric UX-1 and the EMM products. I think you will find the Esoteric X-01 to be too analytical, especially if the EMM is not statisfactory for you.
The Reimyo CDP-777 has been quite a revelation for me concerning CD playback. If you consider this unit, be sure to use the Harmonic Studio Master AC cable, and use the single ended outputs. The other players you have listed are also excellent; you will have to decide what is right for you.
I've never found the EMM combo cool or clinical. Are you using the CDSD? Also, what cables are you using? They can make a huge difference in the tonal character of the sound. I auditioned the Reimyo, and while it's an excellent player, I found it a little "plump" sounding for my taste. Paradoxically, it sounded a little tizzy in the highs. But these things are so subjective, it's really hard to offer advice.
Steve, Why do you feel the RCA outputs are better than the XLR's?
Emigene; i use the emmlabs and find it very natural sounding. the reference that i use for performance is my Rockport tt and live music; not other digital players.
i have heard the emmlabs combined with the Halcro and Wilson X-2 and Wilson MAXX II a number of times and found that the combination is not a good one to my ears. the Wilson when matched with the Halcro needs some warmth somewhere to attain a natural balance.
even though the Avalon Eidolon and the Wilson's are different; IMHO they would have similar tonal characteristcs.
so i understand your need for added warmth. my point is that your problem is not your source; but the tonal character of your amps and speaker combo. the emmlabs is 'correct' if the system is natural in it's balance.
IMHO your post might give some the wrong impression about the emmlabs.
i also agree with Steve that if you find the emmlabs sterile or cold the Esoteric will be considerably more so in comparison.
BTW, those other players are all very good too and i'm not commenting on which might be best; simply on why you hear what you hear.
The Reimyo's balanced outputs are derived off the single ended outputs. I tried both, and preferred the single ended outputs by a wide margin. My Reimyo is driven by a PS audio P1000 Power plant. The signal cables used are Revelation Audio Labs. These cables have a very defined, but deep bass. This solves the "plump" sound that Hooper heard. I also rest the Reimyo on a Black Diamond Racing Source Shelf with BDR cones under that. This is the game we audiophiles play to get the sound we are looking for. Also, I have a Levinson 32 preamp which is very forgiving at the high end. My system pictures are on Audio Asylum under "Mercman". At this point, I no longer look for the "best", but what makes me happy. I have never enjoyed my system as much as I do now.
Teac X-01 sterile? Ahem! I am playing an X-01 with 550 hrs on it and still its stoc PC. on ARC LS2B (to be replaced by ARC Ref 3), Rowland 7M, MagnePan 3A. Definitely not warmish, but well balanced. . . (sorry I do not like to use 'neutral'. . . it sounds like 'castrated' to me). yet not sterile at all. I play mostly classical chamber music, where a good sustained fleshing out of harmonics across the whole audible range is paramount, and where microdynamics make or break a performance, and where spurious excess energy in sustained treble will make your ears truly bleed.. On the other hand, it is perfectly true that X-01 can sound indeed sterile with some anorexic sounding PCs, like Nordost Valhalla. Try it while driven by a well controlled and balanced PC like a Shunyata Anaconda VX or a Shunyata Python Helix VX and your jaw will drop in awe.
The use of the Harmonix Studio Master AC cable is a must with the Reimyo. This cable sounds like it rolls off the high end on my other components, but sounds just right with the Reimyo. Another example of audiophile BS.
The strange thing is that I DID audition the Reimyo with the Studio Master cord. I used other cords, including the Shunyata Anaconda Vx, and the Studio Master clearly worked best. Still, it didn't change my overall opinion of the player. That said, it's an outstanding unit.
The Reimyo does even better resolution with Crystal Cable Power Cord than with the Studio Master. Some users have found the Reimyo is full bodied, so it does well with more articulate gear and does not need more warmth. Where the other gear is a bit lean or very transparent some would prefer the Studio Master.
Hi. I´ve owned a modded AA Capitole MK II and found it very pleasing - only weakness: it did not play DVD/SACD otherwise I would have kept it.
MY TIP: I just bought a DV-50 S to go the full Reference Audio Upgrade path. I´ve once listened to such a machine and it blew away any redbook player we threw against it (AA Capitole, UX-1, 861SE, Linn CD 12, DP-67, C-5xe).
APL 3910, or NWO, and your done.
through all these very nice thoughts and opinions I would like also to say that Lindemann is also an extraordinary player.
For anyone interesting in reading what an X-01 Limited can do, I have just posted a relatively detailed listening comparison of the Shunyata Anaconda Helix Alpha and Anaconda Helix VX on a thread entitled "A Tale Of Two. . . Anacondas (Helix)". You will find it at:
For the comparison Babybear and I connected the Anacondas to the X-01 Limited in his system.