1. only buy something you can audition or try...2. don't spend too much...the dna of all current players is closer than ever.....3. look into older models from levinson, sonic frontiers, and the above mentioned naim.....they still have what it takes, and they are reliable.
You may want to try the ARC ref 3 I believe it is; it listed for around 10g usd. I listened to one awhile back and as a redbook only player it is very good. You might want to consider the dcs stack if seperates are your thing.
The ARC Ref 3 is a preamp. You probably either meant the older ARC Ref CD-7 which lits for $8995.
If money wasn't an object, I'd probably check out the APL NWO 2.5, which I believe sells for a cool $25K.
Accustic Arts transport and dac with a Verdig Sextet cable is a top contender at approximately $16,000.
Yup, it was the reference cd7 just as you mentioned. Nice player but would not buy one as I would prefer a universal player instead. My modded Sony comes to mind. I heard it through the reference three.
At the same list price of the single box APL NWO 2.5T -- which is a heavily modified TEAC UX-1 or X-01, you can also buy the newest twin box player from TEAC: the P03/D03. I have auditioned it a couple of times already, and it is a stunningly sounding unit.
How about Meridian, or SimAudio? Or Wadia?
Of course, EMM or dCS,as well as Esoteric (Teac) but they play SACD as well.
I recently changed from a Cary cdp to an Esoteric X-03. I am amazed at the level of detail and ambiance the Esoteric is capable of extracting from the cd. By far, it is the best sounding cdp to my ears. I love it so much I am selling it...to upgrade to the P3 D3 combo.
Of course, all of this is subjective....
You can also include Metronome Technologie CD4 or T2i signature in this price range : they seemed to be better than EMM combo on DC's, sound like vinyl, and are not tubey like Audioaro can be !
DCS is "digital sounding" if you don't buy the full verdi + verrona + elgar plus
Esoteric is to analytical, and not enough musical - for me
I have the new Accustic Arts Dac mk IV and Drive One mk II. It is the best digital I have heard, but I have yet to hear the new Exemplar/Shanling T100 or the Esoteric P3/D3 combo. As always with digital, there will be something new tomorrow.
I do have many sacds and miss them so I am going to have to look into a sacd player.
Try to listen to MBL 1621/1611 or the smaller 1521/1511 combos. Personally I think that's all one can ask for, but that's me. I've never heard anything as natural as the 1621/1611 combo, it's almost scary sometimes.
I am really happy with the Reimyo 777, pretty close to my analog rig.
Reimyo cdp 777 the (realy) best ever made, 10 levels better in my system then my last cd player the Krell 25sc.
I've heard a number of very good players, though not in side-by-side comparisons. I know it is not a one-box player, but the Audionote (uk) DAC-5 Signature combined with a good transport is a definite contender --beautifully musical, relaxed and natural, without being sluggish or inarticulate.
I've heard the Reimyo and really like its delicate, open and airy top end. If it has any fault, it would be that it lacks a bit of weight and impression of a completely solid image (the same impression I get with some SACDs).
The Naim CDP555 provides the kind of solid, grounded feel to the image that I like. Vocalists and solo instruments sound real and present -- grounded in a specific point in space both side-to-side and fore and aft. I have the opportunity to get this player as a relatively cheap upgrade to the CDS3 I own, so I am doing just that. However, I should say that it really offers a relatively subtle improvement to the sound of a CDS3. The CDS3, while not a "bargain," is, to me, quite an improvement over the rest of the Naim line -- so much less mechanical sounding.
Good luck in your search.
Try auditioning the new Spectral launched at CES. I has no SACD playback and is designed solely for Red Book CD and HDCD in mind. Apparently it will list for a cool US$17-18K and was recommended by Robert Harley from TAS too. Most importantly you mustbe able to audition it.
Oracle 2000 transport and Accustic Arts dac MK4 with Stealth Sextet digital AES connection between the two, absolutely amazing.
Best CD Player Money can buy?
To my ears Metronome Technologie's Kalista Transport with C2A signature DAC. Non digital or more like Vinyl sounding, rest of the equipment needs to be same caliber to get most out of this combo. High quality 6922 tubes improves the performance. I am in to 5 th month since I bought the combo and have discovering my old CD collection all over again!!
I have also listened to Zanden's combo and that would be my close second choice. Metronome edges Zanden out in slightly higher resolution without loosing musicality. The Kalista Transport's better looks a big plus.
Nilthepill, what does the rest of your system consist of?
Dev, I just sent you an email....
I have owned over 60, and I am done....APL NWO 2.5T
711smilin, lots of luck. I use to say this, but now know that this is lifetime affliction.
Newly; just curious.....is there something about the EMM Labs SE gear that causes you to want something different? i understand the desire to have the best and am not being critical.
i've owned the CDSD SE and DAC6 SE for the last year or so and i have been very happy. i have found that every system tweak brings more and more detail and musical energy from the SE gear. particularly recently a few power grid tweaks really dramatized the advantage of SACD over redbook.
i have not heard every new piece of gear out there but my guess is that at the level of difference we are speaking here most of the stuff already mentioned above would be choosen based on system and taste context. digital gear with tubed outputs is typically at a disadvantage in an already neutral and natural system. ss output gear is many times at a disadvantage in a 'challenged' rooms and setups. then one's musical reference comes into the picture.
there are many excellent digital players......at least get some SACD's and enjoy what they bring before you go redbook only.
just my 2 cents.
I was going to suggest the same thing as I think Mikelavigne suggested. If you buy a selection of SACDs of music you enjoy, you might find that it is worthwhile keeping the emmlabs. My opinion is that at this level of digital playback, it is the other changes one makes in the system which matter more.
i would like to add for clarity; my EMM Labs SE redbook performance is better than any other i have heard.....in my system, to my tastes, to my ears. i have not heard everything out there and at the top of the heap the differences are not large.
Sacds are an fly in most top-end players. They don't play them. I am going to have to have a separate sacd player. The new hard-drive systems such as the Memory Player will have no sacd capability, or at least all that I know of, lack the ability to play sacds. Since the EMM equipment converts redbook into dsd, it avoids this problem. Unfortunately for me I don't like redbook so converted on the EMM equipment.
In agreement with what a few members have already suggested, there is no need to purchase a separate redbook-only CD player with your Meitner. Its redbook performance capability is quite good. It is an added plus that it also plays SACDs well.
In general a dedicated SACD or redbook player does not necessarily guarantee that each will yield the best possible performance for its respective format. I have heard a significant number of multi format CD players outperform highly regarded redbook-only players when using only redbook CDs. If you end up purchasing the best redbook CD player, then great! There are some very good redbook-only CD players already suggested. However, acquiring one, does not mean that you will not find a multi-format player that can outperform it on redbook CDs.
Here is an example: A group of fellow audio crazies and I recently heard some of the very best cd players side by side. We compared them in a blind, controlled, level-adjusted manner. The players were the latest iteration of the EMM Labs (CDSD SE /DCC2 SE) Signature Edition, latest single box unit from DCS, current top of the line Meridian, an APL NOW 2.5T and a Resolution Audio Opus 21 modified by Great Northern Sound. All of them play redbook and all play SACDs, except for the Opus 21. For details you may want to visit this thread (but only when you have the time; it has gotten quite lengthy with about 136 replies):
The performances of the top three players we ranked are excellent on both SACD and redbook CDs. So the need to purchase separate redbook only player is not necessary for any of them. In fact, when using redbok CDs alone, all the multi-format players outranked the superb redbook-only player in the lineup.
It is worth mentioning that among this heap of highly regarded, top-of-the-line players we evaluated, the performance differences were noticeable. They were certainly noticeable enough for us, in a blinded, level adjusted manner, to determine the better of any two players we compared. Further, the performance differences allowed us to arrive at fairly conclusive overall rankings, which was consistent in the two separate systems used (despite the use of a different set of recordings for each system).
You probably should check out Spectral Audio.
expensive but worth it, Both are top rate red book & both play sacd.
for $10,000 retail, i'd definitely put the accuphase dp78 on this list.
just heard one at dealer's showroom and i must say, i was blown away!!
I would take a serious look at the Nova Physics Memory Player if you're serious about redbook. I should get mine next week. I previously owned the EMM seperates.
I have an Ayre c5xe Univeral player thats a killer... Highly recommended. Never heard anything better....
Agreed on the Ayre C5-xe for a one-box player.
I do not know which player is the best, but if I would have some cach now, I would go for Accuphase ... probably DP67 ... that is more than enough ...
brother. Sa11 is a bargain, SA 7 is supposed to be even better
but I have not heard it, i own a SA11. Both play redbook&SACD
I currently have side by side an ARC CD7 ref and a Nagra CDC. The ARC is fuller, analog like. The Nagra is really impressive it digs on the CD finding nuances and detail that no other CD player can find. Which is better? It is not possible to say, both can be used to build fantastic systems. I have compared it with the Reymio 777 of a friend in his system the tonal balance was quite different, the Reymio has more bass and is brighter, but the Nagra was more detailed.
BTW, it is true what they say the CDC sounds much better is single ended (RCA) mode forget the Stereophile review if you do not need balanced mode.
Which one I will keep? Do not know yet ...
As far as I know, one of the best was Zanden transport/DAC.
It seems that Metronome Kalista Ref is a fraction better. I had a unique chance to listen and compare both at one place. If I will go for money no object I will pick up Kalista. It is just fantastic in all ways
Get a Esoteric X-01 D2 、 a G-0RB and a Mexcel DA-6100 BNC
Rent a temperature and humidity controlled storage and store all your Vinyls in it.
The Reimyo transport and dap are a great redbook solution .
Cd transport far the best is the jadis jd-1
Vantagechile, I had a Jadis. It is a classic, in my opinion, and looks great,but there are several better transports.
Ι think that the best cd player money can buy today is the EMM LABS CDSA or Combo if you need a preamp.IMHO.
so many suggestions. a new CD player is the hardest decision, or is it cables! too many choices there as well. ; )
i don't know what is the best CD Player out there, but this guy i know of from another board is pretty hard core audiophile and he would say it is the APL NWO 3.0GO. His review of that player was recently posted on the APL website forum (see below).
The Spectrals too 'spensive anyway...
The Bow Technologies ZZ Eight, 2007 edition.
From experience of ownership (its my current CD player), i can now positively suggest this particular machine.
I heard the mbl system and it sounded very good to me.