The Shanling will not compete with the other CDPs. The Wadia 861 to me is the best of the Wadias you listed. I have heard the Metronome CDPs but not he one you listed. Over all good for the used prices but not the best I have heard. The Sony will full Kern mods competes with the Wadia 861 but the Wadia is a little softer sounding and the Sony will have slightly more details with the mods. The Wadia can be run direct into your amp if that is important. The Wadia will also work well direct into the JR 12s.
If you have a Audio Research dealer near you, take a listen to their CD 3MKll.
Audiomeca Mephisto 11.X is the best Redbook digital I have heard with the exception of the ultra expensive dCS gear.
I also vote for the Wadia 861se. Best I've heard.
I would also mention the Electrocompaniet EMC-1UP for you to take a listen to.
I have also heard great rumblings about the Wadia 861, but have no personal experience with it.
One of the best for me and for a lot of people :
Electrocompaniet EMC-1 UP.
Consider the Audio Aero Cap in that range, as well.
Muse Ten transport, Muse Model 192 DAC.
Try to audition the Audio Aero Capitole Mark II. It has an analog (tube) volumn control and the latest version also has an analog passthru so that you can dispense with the pre altogether, unless you still likevinyl.
If you do a search hereabouts on audio aero you will find lots of praise for this CD player. I own one and I am very happy with it.
Dennon 2900 with exemplar mod .... save a bunch of money and get sacd, dvd, dvda as an extra. It has just excellent redbook capabilities as well as SACD...that's all I use it for but I hear it is a darn good dvd palyer as well. (I own this unit as well as the Meitner Dcc2/trans and have owned Burmester 979/980, AA cap II, Emc, spectral 3000se/AN3.1x sig...I have no direct experience with the Wadia or Metronome)
WADIA 861 or even better 860 with the GNS upgrade.
I would say The Accuphase DP-75V, Iv compared the Accuphase, Audio Aero, and Audiomeca. In my system the accuphase sounded the most natural and dynamic
Wadia 861 with great Northern Sound Company statement modification. And can be improved by the SE transport upgrade
Marakanetz, since your rec is a bit different can you explain why you
recommend the iBook? It's a noisy transport. Mine sounds like a UFO
However, if you use the hard drive of the iBook it's fabulous. I have it
connected to a Wavelength Audio Cosecant DAC through USB and with
the instant access to hundreds of CDs it's fantastic. I use it in my home
office so I don't have to slep CDs back and forth.
Get yourself a Wadia 861 and have it modified by Steve Huntley of Great Northern Sound. You'll start out with a great unit that's built like a tank and reliable as any in the market today that not only sounds terrific in stock form, but you have the luxury of having someone out there who can really make it better over time.
I will also reccomend the Audio Aero Capitole Mk 2. I had the Wadia 860X, and I think the Capitole is far better especially in regards to naturalness. If you want to save a bundle of money and get a player that can compare to anything mentioned check out the Audio Aero Prima, at a list of 2200.00 it's a giant killer.
If you are into tubes, a Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1 should be considered. Priced well below your price point.
I have owned or auditioned Audio Aero Capitole, Wadia 861se,
Accuphase DP-75v and Audiomeca Mephisto 11.x and I have to say that Audiomeca to my ears is the most analog sounding CDP of them all. All are excellent players in your budget.
I owned a Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1 tube cd player and used it in my system for a couple of years. It is a very nice looking player and the interior layout is like a work of art. The SFCD-1 is HDCD compatible and it has been regarded by many as one of the best single box players available. I would still be content with it had I not auditioned the Granite Audio 657.
It was amazing to me how much better the 657 sounded and is probably the last cd player I will buy. Granite Audio says the music from CD through the 657 rivals SACD players. Although I have not done a direct comparison with SACD in my system, I hear no reason for me to doubt that claim.Granite Audio 657
Another vote here for the Audiomeca Mephisto II.X. I've never heard anything quite the like of this player. It's also the sharpest looking CD unit I've owned. To be honest I did feel that in a shoot out with my Mephisto, the APL mod'ed SACD1000 did better it some in many areas, however, as a transport the Mephisto has no peer in the under $7K range, which would set you up for better DACs as they are developed.
Many, many, many thanks to all who have responded!
My short list is now in order and can begin my search for the synergy I am looking for.