best CD player or DAC under $1000


What is the best CD player or DAC for under $1000.00? How musical can a player or Dac be fot that money?
84audio
I think the best buy out there is the Adcom 750. That retails for 1250, and you can pick up a used one for $750. Next to that is the Denon 1650. It's their $1000 retail player. I have heard the Rega Planet is a great player too. If you want to go CD only the Sony XA7ES, and the Cal Audio (cl10?) have variable outs and are very good sounding. I own the XA7ES. The Resolution Audio line, and the Theta Miles CD player can also output directly to amp, but I have not heard them. All of these can be had for 1300-1800used, and 2000-3000 new.
You can get a used/demo Audio Note CD-2 for $800-1000. It's a tube output honey. Especially these days, people are unloading them to upgrade to the CD-3; I'm thinking of doing this myself. In any event, the CD-2 is smooth, sweet, and unintrusive. Jeff
YBA CD Integre, I tried them all, best player to my ears, close second was the NAD Silver series...
The Omega IV DAC from www.avahifi.com
The Ah! Tjoeb 99 is a truly awsome player for well under $1000.00 I think it is much better than the Rega Planet. You can see reviews at audioreview .com It is a smooth wonderful player with a tube output stage and You really can't go wrong.
None of this players, mentioned above, can even come close to the quality and the sound of the Linn Mimik. Ah!,Adcom will fall apart after first 3 months of use...and don't be fooled by "tube" output stage of Rega it is not what you would think of tubes...it is boring player. Sony is good and NAD is OK!
Has anyone listened to the Jungson Moon Harbour? Comparisons?
Dear "84"--

I will add my vote for the Sony CDP-XA7ES. I had to buy some good separates to beat it and then not by much. I still have my Sony and am willing to part with it for a reasonable price if you might become interested. Shipping will probably cost $100 UPS ground because I do not have the original box and it is a heavy machine. The only other thing in this price range that I might recommend, even though I have never owned one is a used Meridian 508. But you will probably not get a 508.24 in your price range. Perhaps a 506 or 507. Good luck in your search!

84audio:
"...How musical can a player or Dac be ?"

...just add the dAck 2.0 if the essence of musical playback is a priority. You can try before you buy.
Jolida JD100 with NOS tubes.
Tube Research Labs modded Sony ES2000 might be worth a look for you.
I think you can get one for around $800 including unit and the mod.
Good luck in your search.
I agree with Lkdog, the TRL/Sony C2000ES is a very special player.

The sound is very addictive ...
Museatex Bitstream can be bought completely modified for around that much. I doubt there is any DAC out there that sounds better in the similar price range.
I have Music Hall CD25 modified by Sound Odyssey. It's a performance stage 2 upgrade. Sounds very good. I think it is musical enough in my system. You may want to check it out. They have 30 day return policy. Modified player is only $845 including shiping. Oh, and I compared it directly to Marantz SA-8260 and if I was blind folded, I wouldn't tell the difference. Marantz player is also an SACD unit, but Music Hall will only play cd and hdcd. But it does it very well. Marantz is about $1000 I think. Another suggestion is DAC-1 by Benchmark. Read great things about it, but unfortunately have no experience to share. Good lluck.
Strange that no one mentioned the Benchmark DAC1?
CMK look at my reply before, Benchmark is mentioned there...
The latest Tube Research Labs Sony modified model 2000ES is without peer, in my humble opinion, for its extremely low cost vs. performance ratio. I have been switching between an APL modified Phillips and the Sony modified TRL now for about a month in the same rack. Granted, it took the TRL about 700 hours of continuous break in to come up to the musical level of performance that distinguishes the APL from its competition, but once this level of musicality was achieved by the latest TRL, the cost/performance ratio weighed heavily in my mind. There can be no accurate comparison between these two companies because of the cost. The TRL being solid state won't exaggerate female vocals, like they are close miked, when they're not,and that uniquely is a characteristic of tubes, but the TRL does recreate a level of performance that makes the unit worth four to five times its cost, and just as much of a delight to listen to. I find myself listening far more to the TRL modified Sony and wondering, why people pay upwards of $ 4000 for any level of transitional CD, SACD or DVD playback when they can get this level of performance now for a pittance. If it is mere build quality,that one is after,that is not the modifier or mod, but the manufacturer of the base unit and its manufactured cost. I would like to send TRL a Denon or Esoteric and step back, but what for, when the difference can go into a Franklin Income Fund. I hope this answers the above question. I like both units very much. It just happens the $ 875 TRL 2000 is a recent occurrance and I don't usually spend multi thousands of dollars to achieve world class sound that is only world class for a couple of years, when new and better (mods) technologies crop up. I didn't know about the TRL Sony 2000ES MOD or its existence prior to purchasing my new condition, used APL, but the experience of having both is an eye opener and a listening pleasure.
My vote is for the Jolida JD100.
As far as DACs go, if strictly speaking of less than $1000, I'd have to say the Benchmark DAC1. Go up $200-300 from there, and I think there are a few DACs that you'd also have to consider, including the April Music Stello DAC and the Bel Canto DAC2.
Thank you speaker art for sharing your experience. I agree, TRL is offering a huge improvement for little money.

Just curious ... Are you the same "Speaker Art" that I've seen at the trade shows for the past 20 years?

Don't let the $$$ influence your thoughts on the quality of sound. Try comparing VTL to WAVAC. I think you would like VTL better. For the sound and the $$$$.

Beyond that a used/new BEL CANTO dac would be excellent. Or if you are lucky to find a Musical Fidelity TRI-21.

Go for a Marantz 8260 or newer cd/sacd. I don't think you will be disappointed.
DENON 1650AR
Dear people,this thread started life 5 years ago.LOL
I sure hope the author decided on what to buy by now.
Best
True, but it never hurts to see what's available for the $$$.

IMHO, there's only one to consider for $1000: APL/Pioneer 563a. The mod will cost you $600, and sure, you will have to find a 563a for APL to modify, but the results are more than worth it. The CD sound is just marginally behind the excellent SACD performance.

Here's a comparison to another highly regarded player:
http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/hirez/messages/209929.html
Jolida JD100
Audio Mirror D1 Signature DAC
I second the Audio Mirror D1 Signature DAC. I use it with my TRL Alesis ML9600 and it is extemely musical and very analog sounding. This DAC blows away those that cost 2 - 3 times as much and compares favorably to those that cost 4 - 5 times as much. Now that I have my TT back I'm having a hard time going back to vinyl. I like the D1 so much I bought a second one and will have one of them modified by TRL.
Tell me more about the TRL mod. I own an Audio Mirror D1

Pete
Pete,

Having something modified by TRL is like taking a leap of faith. When I was looking at upgrading my digital gear I ran across some posts here on TRL Sony 595 and Marantz SA-14 modded units. I decided to contact Paul Weitzel about modifying my Quad-77, but in the end after several converstaions with him discussing my needs and interests in digital sound he referred me to someone who had a TRL modified Alesis ML9600. This unit is a CDP, CDR, and has the ability to record music to a HD via analog or digital inputs. As it turns out this unit is best suited (by Paul's admission) to be a transport, which ultimately led me to the D1 as the companion DAC.

TRL does not have a "mod" list like other vendors. This scares off some people who absolutely need to know everything that was done to their unit. In talking to Paul about my Alesis I know that they did most of the mods on the digital side which is why he said I'd be happier with it as a transport. The error correction was disabled and there was some chassis dampening done to it. Other than that Paul was mum. I do know that if I take a store bought CD and upload it to the HD, then burn it on the Alesis that the BLER is reduced (this was tested and verified by TRL) and the CD sounds better than the store bought version. I can also record 24 bit CDs.

I know this sounds like a lot of magic dust but in essence you send $550 (standard fee) and your unit to TRL and it comes back with their signature house sound. Very open with a deep soundstage and a sound that is the closest I have ever heard to analog. You should talk to Paul if you have any concerns about TRL capabilities. I will also say if you are happy with your D1 as it is, don't modify it. For me this is a curiosity more than anyhting else as I want to compare the TRL house sound to Vlad's design. I had an opportunity to buy a used D1 here on Audiogon a couple of weeks ago at a great price so that is why I'm going ahead with the TRL mod. Otherwise I'm very happy with the D1 and have just asked Vlad to build me a tube phono stage. So I have faith in his work as well.

If you like email me to discuss further. You may also want to visit the TRL thread here for more information.
EAD DSP 7000-III DAC - used for $400-$700
Hmmm... I wonder which model the oringinal poster ended up getting. Here's my slightly modified question:

What's the best CDP under $1000, new, not used, not modded? I don't care for SACD/DVD-A playback. Does anything from Arcam or Linn fit this description? Willing to go up to 1500 if the quality justifies the incremental cost increase. Would love it if it can play classicals well, i.e. less glare but at the same time retaining detail and bass. Is this too much to ask for a new sub $1500 player?

Thanks.
The Consonance CD-120 Linear would be my choice.
Lavry DA10 here.
Lavry DA10 here.

I second that. Everybody will have their own opinions but I compared it directly against the Benchmark DAC1 in a mastering studio and it was very apparent which one I would buy. The Lavry was more liquid with smoother mids and highs. I also found the sound to have an wider, more open soundstage and more of a warmer, sweeter sound. I looked for some used ones and they only came up after I bought mine new. That being said, used they are a bit cheaper as I believe there is some hype for the DAC1 so if a DA10 comes up used I would recommend one to grab it.
Without question the Lavry DA-10 eats the benchmark for lunch for pure musicality_not etched detail the Lavry is just much more Natural and convincing of live music.I use a oppo digital dvd player and Acoustic Zens best digital cable and Tsnami power cord ,which kicks button any 3k+
combination!
I recently bought the new Xindak dac-8 and it is loaded with top quality parts from Rubicon,WIma Burr brown analog devices with a vacuum tube output buffer stage with remote volume for under $1,000 .In many ways it is much more natural than the benchmark or lavry
http://www.xindak.com/english/products/showditail.asp?id=381
My latest choice would be the Jas Musik tube CD player. The unit uses a single 12AX7 and is one of the best sounding CD players I've heard in this price range.
Yeap, Bob You are on to something since I also share your very positive opinion about Jas Musik cdp. It is indeed nice, sweat sounding and reasonably musical cdp. It is also a pretty good value for what it is - one of those cdp you must audition before you buy anything in that price range.
For several months, I have been using the Lavry DA10 with a few different player/transports and digital cables. Based on a friend's and my own experience it is almost immune to the changes in external equipment. That is, the difference in transports and cables is very, very minor, and most tweaks have little or no audible effect. Perhaps a really expensive transport would be different. I can't comment on many other DACs at the same price, although I have heard a few. I owned a well thought of DAC with tube analog output prior to hearing my friend's Lavry in my system.

Nevertheless, for about $1k I am delighted. Be warned that it definitely has the look and feel of Pro, rather than audiophile, gear. My unit has no RCA output jacks, so we had to do some balanced to RCA connectors. The volume adjustment device is smaller than I would like (I have ham hands), but allows for precise control of output voltage. If it had a remote control it'd be damn near perfect, but I rarely change the level from "46" which is said to represent the 2.0 volt standard CD output. I change volume with my preamp. (Yes, I did try direct drive, more than once, but always came back to using the preamp - but that's another story).
For several months, I have been using the Lavry DA10 with a few different player/transports and digital cables. Based on a friend's and my own experience it is almost immune to the changes in external equipment. That is, the difference in transports and cables is very, very minor, and most tweaks have little or no audible effect. Perhaps a really expensive transport would be different. I can't comment on many other DACs at the same price, although I have heard a few. I owned a well thought of DAC with tube analog output prior to hearing my friend's Lavry in my system.

Nevertheless, for about $1k I am delighted. Be warned that it definitely has the look and feel of Pro, rather than audiophile, gear. My unit has no RCA output jacks, so we had to do some balanced to RCA connectors. The volume adjustment device is smaller than I would like (I have ham hands), but allows for precise control of output voltage. If it had a remote control it'd be damn near perfect, but I rarely change the level from "46" which is said to represent the 2.0 volt standard CD output. I change volume with my preamp. (Yes, I did try direct drive, more than once, but always came back to using the preamp - but that's another story).