Best sacd player

Anyone compared the new meitner gear to the modded sony scd-1 and the accuphase and esoteric gear?
Since I am affiliated with EMM Labs, you might find me to be biased, but I will share with you what I hear.

I have listened to many modded SCD-1's including those by Kern and others. I have had the Accuphase DC-101/DP-100 and almost all of their CD players. I have had the Esoteric X-01, DV-50 and have experience with the P-70/D-70 combo.

None of these players give the lifelike presentation of the EMM Labs. The transparency and ease of the EMM Labs, in my experience, is unsurpassed.

Taking the EMM Labs out of the equation, I would say that my comparisons with the Kern modified SCD-1 and the Acuphase gear clearly had the "full tilt" Kern modified player well ahead sonically.

That being said, I would say the Esoteric is X-01 is better than both the Accuphase and Modded Sony.
What is the cost of emm lab gear-ie the multichan pre/cdsd/dac?I have the VSEI modded scd-1--see positive feedback .com for review.Engineering wise,what makes the emm lab gear so special?
Have you ever heard the Modded APL's ?

Are u in the Chicago area, I would love to compare. I have talked to other Meitner owners who have sould them for the APL.
I actually heard the VSE mod compared head to head with the EMM Labs DCC2 and CDSD transport.

I really liked the VSE Sony mod. In the review, David Robinson mentions a freind that wanted to buy it. It was me. I thought it was such a great value, I was going to get it for my father who got me involved in this sordid hobby :)

David's review was spot on.

The costs for multi-channel are as follows:

DAC 6 - 10k
Switchman 3 - 7k
CDSD Transport - 7k

The costs for 2 channel are:

DCC 2 - 10k
CDSD - 7k

EMM Labs' converts PCM to twice that of DSD. One bit at 5.6mHz compared with Accuphase that takes an SACD and converts it to PCM. Ed Meitner, being incredibly knowledgable in the analog domain, transferred what worked for him there into the digital domain. Brilliant circuit design and short pathways are just a few of the things that make EMM Labs equipment so special.
Jtinn-thanx for the insightful feedback-you are obviously discerning.What are apl?I have been to ed's factory as I live in Calgary.
What percentage is the modded scd-1 compared to the new emm gear eg is the scd1 80/90% as good from your head to head comparison with the newer emm gear?
Alex Paychev Mods digital, his machine was compared directly to the DCC2/SACD 1000 modded transport, and the owner of the meitner sold his and bought the APL. I talked to the owner and 3 more people present at the time, all felt that Alex's machine sounded better than the meitner. I have personally never heard a better, more accurate redbook player. This one plays all formats, sacd, dvd-a, hdcd, even dvd-video. I love it, but, I would love to compare head on, for myself. If I can find a macine I like more, I will buy it. I have benn thru so many this year, and my search continues. For today, I am very happy.
Nreddy: APL modifies Denon 2900s and such. You might look at the long Esoteric DV-50 thread here for more info and some opinions. Aplhifi has participated in that thread.

The EMM gear (& I only have the Phillips transport so far) I have no need for SACDs. All I kept saying to myself when I first had the DCC2/Phillips in my system (w/Kharma 3.2FEs) was "IT'S ALIVE!"
Some layer of artificiality (is that a word?) had disappeared, along with that some subtle irritation that I always heard with digital sources (including SACD) before. This includes the Beatles & Beethoven & everything in between. The paradox is that it is simultaneously more detailed but far less abrasive. It is truly remarkable. I would not hesitate to build an entire system around the EMM gear. I recommend you invest in the EMM gear rather than SACDs.

How did the modified Sony sound on redbook playback?

Nreddy: Percentages are tough. If I had to answer, I would say 75-80%, but how does one truly gauge it.

711smilin: Alex is on record stating that his mods are not as good as the EMM Labs gear, nothing is. I am truly happy you like the APL units, and they represent a terrific value at their pricepoint, but if you want to have the sound the EMM Labs produces, you will have to spend the money. :)
Jtinn, you have me on "record" that EMM is better? Where, when? If you refer to my statement about Meitner being absolutely the best out there, you should note the "all-solid-state" and "for whatever it is". Yes, for all-solid-state and for whatever it is, EMM is unbeatable.

I had both friends and unrelated customers to hear A-B test between DAC6e/SACD10000(highly modded and repaired by me) and the Denon 3910 here in my system.

I will not go into detail, but there are many customers waiting to receive their Denon 3910 now. Few of them have already scheduled a shootout with DCC2/CDSD so the "details" of how EMM compares to the Denon will be out in a couple of months and will come from completely unrelated to me people.

Alex, have you been over to Oneobgyn's house for a listed to his system? I would love to hear your modded 3910 in his system and to do a A/B with his CDSD/DAC6e combo. If you have, I am wondering what were your impressions. If you have not, I would like to arrange a session with you.

As an aside, I have not yet had a chance to schedule an A/B session with you re the dcs stack but I hope to shortly.

Ron, I have heard the DAC6e/SACD1000 combo here in my own system. A very generous customer of mine actually sent me his DAC6e/SACD1000 for a test. In my system, the differences were subtle with SACD and more noticeable with CD.

I'd rather not give details about my impressions but I would love to arrange a listening session with EMM and eventually the dCS. I will probably have a demo 3910 in about 2 weeks from now. Believe it or not, I still do not have my own 3910...:-)

I have heard the EMM and the Denon 3910 A-B test and the Denon was the clear winner. More extented sweeter highs, tighter bass, and a deeper soundstage. I bought the Denon and it has made an incridible differance in my system.

This is exactly why I want to experience this for my self, in my system in Wilmette, IL. Can anyone here make it happen? I will pay.
Hey Jtinn: Check out the thread :Esoteric DV-50 any better? Think you would be interested in participating.
Hi 711smilin,
I'm in Highland park. In 6 months or so I will have a dedicated room. For now, everything is a mishmash. I had the SCD-1, unmodded and the Accuphase DP-85. Neither can hold a candle to the Dac6, CDSD and Switchman that I have now. I had the highly regarded CTC Blowtorch, a superb preamp and am now happily using the Switchman as my primary controller. I also run my home theater and soon my analog system through it.

David Shapiro
David, Good luck with the construction. Lets get together for some tunes, neighbor. I will email you my info. Thanks again

Steve Milin
Is the switchman better than eg Levinson ref 32,atc sca2,meridian,halcro,bat etc and other similar preamp gear?
ps-for stereo and multichannel applicatios?
Alex -what preamp do you use with the Denon?
Nreddy, no preamp is required for the Denon, or any other player with my DAC board inside. The attenuator control is done in the digital domain inside the DAC (remote controlled). This eliminates all problems with analog preamps and attenuators. You can also change fast and slow digital roll off for PCM digital filter and absolute phase by pressing a button on the remote.

I can only comment that in my system, the Switchman is every bit as layered and dynamic as the Blowtorch, and it completely bettered the Rowland Coherence 2, another well-regarded unit. I have heard some of the others you ask about, but not in my system or room, etc. However, the switchman is also multichannel, the reason that I have it.FWIW, my main amp is a Boulder 2060 and my multichannle is a VK6200. My main speakers are Dynaudio temptations and my surrounds are C-4's.

David Shapiro
Hi David - you might ask Frank P what he thinks of the Blowtorch compared to the Switchman. I visited him a few weeks ago and took the 'Torch along since he wanted to hear it in his system. It was interesting :-)
Forgive my ignorance guys-what is the blowtorch?
How is multi channel better than stereo?
Nreddy: it's a preamp.
We are talking about the best SACD player. Two high end manufacturers make their own chips-EMM and DcS. The rest buy off the market available chips and through stringent quality controls and other circuits make do, to sound the best they can.
I am sure Denon has got fire wire or whatever digital connection they've placed for a SACD conversion in one of their amps. Why didn't EMM use this? It's just not the best!
If you are comparing Emm with anything else-do it with the CDSD transport, as it is a key component in performance and hence I would rate this a top notch SACD player to a few others. The modded Philips SACD 1000 is something that Meitner did in the past(probably regretted with all the bbreakdown issues) as that was the only decent sized machine available to take his mods. But that is the past and it's no more available from them. Dead topic- the 1000SACD!
Now Meitner has built all his gear from scratch, yes they will use other OEM's for the base transport, etc. but the flexibility it gives a manufacturer to work from scratch cannot be compared with taking an 'off the shelf' product and tweaking it. No disregard to all the modder's out there, they do a great job satisfying a lot of audiophiles and keeping the competition healthy.
There will also come a time when you have to compare price points and the shelf product may become better value.
Saying that most Meitner and DCS gear for that matter is upgradeable and they once again will take the market lead, till someone works his great gift of modifying a product to close the gap.
Clean question- what do modded people benchmark themselves off-The Market Leader's. Who in all these threads is the market leader-EMM/dcs/Goldmund,etc..
C'mon let's give where credit is due to both players- manufacturers as well as the mods establishers who too do a great job to keep the market active and manufacturers on their toes!

I would love for you to hear the APL 3910, are you anywhere in the midwest?
Sorry 711smilin- New Zealand
711smilin - why don't you just come out and admit it; you're the Borg, aren't you?


I believe the answer to this question is temporal. Digital technology seems to be changing monthly (my impression...not based on empirical evidence). When it comes to those who modify machines, the quality of their end product can change faster than one might imagine, because they are constantly tweaking to refine their mods. One has to make a decision and act upon it, because the longer the decision is postponed, the longer one will be without SOTA digital playback.

It seems to me no matter what digital playback one chooses, one can be certain that something better will come along just as soon the new player is broken in!

What is a SOTA playback-is that what is in emm lab gear?
nreddy - SOTA means State Of The Art.

emmlabs uses 2 different transports. one is a modified philips SACD-1000 and was the 1st transport they used. It had a proprietary link added to it that allowed the whole philips unit to be clocked by the dac6 and to output DSD and the re-clocked data back to the dac. The problem was that the philips sacd-1000 is one of the biggest lemons in history and continually broke. not emmlabs' fault, but they broke regardless.

so, meitner decided to build his own transport, the CDSD. it does the same thing, but supposedly sounds better than the the philips tranport (i haven't heard it) and is built from the ground-up using an OEM philips transport mechanism and all propietary cicuitry.

as far as i know, the cdsd has been pretty much flawless in its operation - not like the SACD-1000 which i own. the one i have plays cds fine, fine it'll only play 1 out of every 4 or 5 SACDs and no MC sacds. (sigh)

but, i have a new used one coming in the mail monday that i was able to get cheap. lets hope this works long enough for me to save up for the cdsd.
I have the VSEI modded sony scd-1-it has stunning cd and sacd performance.Richard Wright has done a stunning job with the sony.He has kept the sacd and cd signal in dsd and bypassed the da convertor completely.I previously had the Linn karik and the stock sony was not as good as the Linn in cd playback.I am not sure whether upgrading to the Emm gear viz cdsd/dac6/switchman is going to give me dramatically better sound.I have just ordered the atc 150 asl pro-cant wait.
nreddy - you're gonna *LOVE* those ATC 150s!
The sony has an amazing rock solid transport.I am not sure how Wright is able to keep the signal in dsd and not convert into analogue.Positive has reviewed the sony 9000 player,but not the scd1.I had the fully balanced conversion done.I have not compared the emm head to head-but will comparing these over the next month or so.
Nreddy, I believe you mean Allen Wright.

Sorry-yes Allen Wright
Alex at APL has now started to add recklocking circuitry to his 3910 designs, and Steve Milin has just received his unit re-moded with it, and has already commented favorably on the change. In a similar vein, the DCS Verona external clock is available in North America and is said to add a lot to the DCS stack. On the other hand, not one, but two different external clocks (G-0 and the Rubidium-based G-0S) are available in Japan for the Esoteric X-01 but unavailable in North America. Has anyone listened to an X-01 with external word clock?
lol lazarus28.

I'm semi-asimulated by smiling. I'm getting the Modwright 999es after reading his thread and the audiocircle dac shootout.

I'm weak minded.

Gotta admire similings energy and effort.
GLAI, you are not the only one who opted for the ModWright Sony. My old friend PSCIALLI also went that route after reading the various shootout findings. He has not received the device yet. But to be fair to Alex, those findings were reported before Alex applied and delivered the new clock for the 3910. Those shootouts in Chicago will have to be redone now. I think the next may be on 12/19 if everything goes according to plan.
Keep us posted as to the shootout outcomes.
Any thoughts on Reimyo?
Glai, Please let me know what you think, I am gonna wait to get another 3910. The 999 is suppose to be wonderful, but does not do DVD-A which can be burnt on CDR's, or HDCD which IMHO is wonderful. Also the Video is not as good. My intention is to use the unit for my SS/HT. Nice research on my threads BTW. Be happy, and enjoy.