I think there is already a thread with this identical subject. . . . suggest you search the archives.
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Well 28k should buy a pretty good cd player. Unless you just want to run a popularity contest for expensive players,you should have a price range in mind---then you should have comparable ancillary "stuff", to go with this "best, regardless of price" AND,--I would want to borrow this 28k player for a weekend before turning loose of my bucks,A?
I agree before I plopped down 28K it would be in my system for at least a weekend. Operative word is "extra 28K" which I serioulsy doubt I will ever have in my budget...unless I get the right 6 balls to come in lotto.
As far as value there are better choices. But when I read
"Regardless of price" the Naim comes to mind. I think in a less than 3000.00 price range a Linn Ikemi is hard to beat
all of course just one mans opinion!
I had the Naim 555 in my system for about two weeks (loan from a friend on vacation). That is a fantastic player. For substantially less, you can get a reasonably close approximation of that sound from the Naim CDS3. I own a CDS3/555PS (power supply from the 555 player) combination. Both the CDS3 and 555 are quite different from the Naim models below them in the line. They have the good dynamics expected of Naim gear, but, to me, they both sound less mechanical and artificial sounding (less of a sense of artificial "enhancement" of the leading edge of a transient). The 555 is just a bit "more" of everything than the CDS3 -- more weight and authority, slightly bigger soundstage, etc.
I have heard, in a dealer's system, the Linn CD-12. That is a sweet sounding player. I don't know how it compares to the Naim, because I have not heard it in my system.
I have also heard the Audionote DAC-5 limited DAC combined with a number of different transports and found it to be exceptionally musical, relaxed and beautiful sounding without being sluggish, murky and undynamic. Quite an amazing DAC, but the DAC alone is way more expensive than the Naim 555.