Well, there is no actual 'Best', only subjective opinions of what is best. In your situation and price range I would look for a Resolution Audio Opus 21.
The Audio Research CD-3 MkII is close to your budget and is an amazing machine. A way to get a 'world class' machine is to find an EAD Ultradisc 2000 for about a grand and then send it to Noble Eletronics for SOTA mods for another grand. For $2,000.00 plus your time and trouble you'll have a machine that will holds it's own against anything in the market.
with that budget you have a wide range of players to choose from. But to pick the absolute best player, impossible. I can say their are audiogon members that will tell you including myself. That the old JVC 1050tn player at a price of 150.00 used or an older Jolida tube will sound very competitive compared to newer, and will keep much needed cash in your pocket for plenty of used and new Cd's. This is just my take on newer gear, and many will disagree.
As John said, there is no best.
From my personal experience, I believe a used Modwright Sony 999ES Platinum
edition with tube power supply to be exceptionally good for $1000 - $1500. It's
very close to my $6500 APL Denon 3910, (which has bested several +$10,000
players in a couple comparisons).
I recommend the Modwright highly (and superb customer support too).
BTW, you might be able to find a used APL Denon 3910 for around $2500. If so,
I'd be very surprised if anything comes close in that price range. You'd be in the
big leagues with the APL Denon.
Be the laser assembly has been replaced, as this is the only issue with these
players (it's a Denon issue, not an APL issue).
I do believe the least expensive Amr cd-77 ever on AudiogoN was about $5000. That would be about double the maximium budget of the Original Poster.
I see that the Resolution Audio Opus 21 has already been mentioned a couple of times. I agree that it is a very good choice in the sub $2500 range. I've owned 2 in the past and I sometimes wish I had kept one of them.
A few great features of the Opus 21 are great reliability and outstanding service by Jeff at RA, upgradability from Great Northern Sound (another great company), excellent and stable resale value (they've been about $2200-$2600 used for the last 4 years). Buy one and enjoy it. If you don't love it, re-sell it for little/no loss......
Thanks all. I current have a Meridian 507 24 bit CDP. Would anyone not conceed that the Resolution Audio Opus 21 would blow it away? I am thinking of using the Meridian for a second system, and maybe trying the RA in my main rig. I am 75-90% vinyl but still love certain CDs a lot, especially when the CD bests the LP (Glenn Gould on Sony for example).
I almost got the Lector CDP MK3. Anyone have any thoughts on that versus the RA? It is certainly more expensive. I have learned not to trust price tags in this regard!
There's a Modwright Sony 999ES with one-of-a-kind upgraded power supply
listed now for $1500 (it's a version of the power supply used in the flagship
$8995 Modwright 36.5 preamp).
Buy it and try it. I'm betting it'll blow you away. Save yourself $1000 in the
If not, resell it for little or no loss.
One of the best features of a Modwright component as well. Dan repairs units
he mods at extremely reasonable cost, and he turns them around quickly. He
also honors the warranty on used Modwright components, so the warranty is
transferrable. With Modwright components, one need not have any concerns
about availability or quality of future repair.
I have recommended Modwright because I have owned a Modwright player,
but honestly, I have no desire to promote it over another. However, when the
warranty issue is brought up concerning modded components (which is
certainly valid), then I believe it needs to be addressed with regard to
Modwright so that this company is not lumped together with others.
Modwright's customer service is exceptional.
How many owners have CD players that have required service within the
manufacturer's warranty period (usually 1-3 years)? I have not owned one
that would qualify.
Chashmal, I find some of your lingo a bit confusing. First, you start this thread entitled 'Best redbook CD Player', then it turns out that you are not looking for the best redbook cd player, but the best under $2500.
Now I've already stated that 'best' is a relative term that means so many different things to so many different people that in reality it means nothing. Looking at this thread already this is the 19th post and we already have 10 different suggestions as to the 'best' under $2500 and even one suggestion for the 'best' well over $2500.
Next, you want to know if the RA Opus will 'blow away' your Meridian. Quite frankly, this is audio salesman jargon. In audio, as in many hobbies, one spends quite a bit of $$$ to gain that last 5-10% in performance. If one CDP 'blows away' or 'kills' another CDP, then you have one properly operating CDP being tested alongside one CDP in need of repair (laser issue, cold solder joint, etc.).
While I would prefer the sound of the RA Opus over the Meridian, I'm sure others may prefer the Meridian.....most 'normal' people will hear no difference at all.
Then you come in with the comment that vinyl is 75-90% of your source material. Now knowing this, I would recommend you just keep the Meridian and spend your $2500 to upgrade your analog rig, table, arm, cartridge, phono preamp, etc.
I know Linn is always coming out with mods for their LP-12. Many, such as Origin Live will mod your Rega RB-300 arm, or maybe you want a RB-1000 or even a Linn tonearm. If you like your Lyra Dorian, try a Helikon....etc, etc.
It would seem to me that you would gain more by upgrading your primary source than by spending all of that $$$ on a source you use only 10-25% of the time.
Just my $0.02, take it for what it's worth.
You know John, I completely agree. If it were not for the fact that I am setting up a second system I would probably get a new phono stage or tonearm.
I still want a CDP for my main rig, and my 2d system will be CD only (because it is for my work space). Thus I am using the Meridian for the 2d system and am thinking of having fun getting a digital upgrade, thus the dilemma.
My budget should have been stated in the heading, again I conceed.
They don't come up often but the Tube Technology Fusion CD64 is an amazing player, I own and love one. It marries the amazing WTA dac from the Chord DAC64 to a discrete tubed analog output stage. I read a rave in HiFi+, took the plunge and couldn't be happier. An alternative might be to pick up a used Chord DAC64 and just use your current Meridian as transport. As you can tell I'm a big believer in this DAC technology, and multiple reveiws have been favorable. Happy listening!
i am considering a lector 7 mk 1. i believe it is either 18 or 20 bit, with a 12at7-based tube output stage.
my friend owns one. i have heard the player many times.
i have seen a couple used, for under $1600. my only concern is the transport.
after what i heard last night, it might seem that the computer and software could be the heart of a digital front-end.
i visited a friend who uses his apple computer to send a wireless signal to a denon transport, via optical cable.
my friend was commenting on the foolishness of audiophiles who buy expensive cd players, when a computer may be a more efficient way to get a digital signal to a dac, than a transport.
OK Mrtennis, it makes sense and probably is in the future for many of us. The question remains how to accomplish this. The whole thing about mixing a computer with high end stereo makes me queasy for some reason.
Are you saying you want the Lector as the DAC and the mac instead of a transport?
By the way I love the Lector, but missed my chance to get an MK3 at a good price. They come up used, but not frequently.
Sony XA7E.S. the sheer number of players that have bowed
down to the Sony continues to grow. The Japanese put both
feet into building this masterpiece of reliability and
ability to resolve, and transfer the entire contents of the
Disc to Your speakers. I am not alone, here is a fellow
Sony owners take...
A nice condition and perfectly working Streophile Class A rated Sony CDP-XA7ES. Bought used 2 years ago but played less than 50 hours as I have many cd players. The XA7ES is one of the best sounding redbook player ever released by Sony and it is on par if not better sounding than my stock Sony SCD-1 and SCD-777ES. I also like the sound of the XA7ES better than the Cambridge 840C that I used to have. A bargain at the asking price. You can add on external DAC for even better performance. You will not find a better redbook player than the XA7ES at the asking price
For $650 a steal.
Enjoy The Music!
Actually, just as much as I hate to admit it, MrT just might be on point on his reco here. Just look at this thread also posted today, to see some high end transport nightmares. Read Trejla's reply in particular, this from an importer/distributor. As Joe puts it so well:
At the very least, if you cannot go with a computer drive now, you may consider an inexpensive transport with a high quality DAC instead of a CDP. One that you can still use when you are ready to make the move to a music server in the future.
At the very least, if you cannot go with a computer drive now, you may consider an inexpensive transport with a high quality DAC instead of a CDP.Another reason a used APL Denon 3910 (with DAC input option - coax only) is a great value right now. Exceptional silver disc player with an exceptional DAC section.
I use mine with a Squeezebox/Apple MacBook Pro combination for really high quality background music (streaming wirelessly...hence it's not reference quality).
i am suggesting using the lector as a one box player, thus using its transport and dac as a digital front end.
by the way, i spoke to ps audio today. during the spring of 2009, they will release the perfect transport, which embodies many of the features a computer embodies. its retail price will be between $2000 to $2500.
i would suggest that it is worth the time to speak to a technical specialist at ps audio to get information about this product.
i suggest staying away from the 24 bit lector players.
at best, listen to the current lector products, before you buy. i reviewed the lector .6 and was not impressed.