I assume you are talking about a redbook player, and not a universal player. If so, you might consider an Ayre CX-7e at around $2K. I also have been looking at different players in the $3K or so range that might significantly improve my system, but I have yet to hear of one that makes me want to upgrade for primarily redbook playback. Maybe the Ayre has good synergy with the rest of my system, but I think it might just be a pretty good player. BTW, I use it single ended, but I have used it both ways and in my system it sounds just as good single ended as it did balanced (with different preamps).
A used ARC CD3 MKII would be worth considering.
In no particular order...
Esoteric DV-50 or (DV-50S)
Wadia 302 (heard it is very similar to the 301)
For what it is worth, at 3k you can expect greatness brand new and with a warranty (e.g. Arcam FMJ, Hagerman tech. dac + 1k dvd player, etc.). If you so choose. When I was shopping, I never found the +5k players to neccessarily suit me any better than the 2k players and sometimes my definte preference was the much lower priced unit.
With regards to the Wadia players, you should also be able to get an 850 for under $3k. I'm not sure how much of an upgrade this is to the 301, 302, & 830.
If you are in US Arcam FMJCD36 is $2000 new right now.
it is one amazing player, plays Sacd as well
Theres a Wadia 850 with GNSC Statement mods to it for sale hear at your budget.
I had one for 7 years and it is by far the best player from the list above.
Awesome player with the mods from GNSC
Btstrg, curious as to your "by far best player" comment....
Have you heard everything on the above list? And if so, in your system?
i think a better question to ask is what player(s) will staisfy a particular preference for $3000 or less. As has been said before, best is very subjective. if there are 10 players suggested to be the best, only one or none of them are. what does best mean ?
Your first thread and you are questioning my comment, good for you.
NO, I have NOT heard everything on the list but 3 of them and with in the past 4 months.
May I ask you what on YOUR list have you heard in your system??
Obviously not the Wadia 302 as you said, you have only heard it sounds like the 301.
What others have you ONLY heard about?? Can you tell us about your system and what players you have had in it?
You give a list but offer no other information as why?
The Wadia 830,301 and 302 hold no weight to a GNSC Statement moded 850.
I have had all 4 of these players (Wadia's) in my system at one point or another.
I now have a Wadia 581.
I probably shouldnt have commented on the others ( non Wadia Players) so I will take that back as I have not heard them in MY system, but please shed some light on YOUR list.
How did you come up with it? If it was word by mouth like the 302 was, it has no validity to it either does it!
firstname.lastname@example.org you can call Steve at Great Northern Sound very nice and knowledgeable guy on allot of cdps he may be able to stear you in the right direction?
Thanks for the reply. So I gather you've only heard Wadia players in your rig.
What Ive heard in my system off the list:
REGA Saturn (I own it.)
Meridian G08 (loaned it for two weeks)
Meridian 508.24 (six to seven hours of listeninga good day)
What Ive heard in my system similar but not exactly off the list:
Wadia 860 (two hoursdidnt mention because above price)
What Ive heard off the list but not in my system:
Wadia 301 (45 mins); I know someone that worked for Wadia and we spoke at great length about the 301 and the 302 and in his opinion they sound near identical.
What Ive heard similar but not exactly off the list nor in my system:
Esoteric DV-60 (2 hoursdidnt mention because above price)
About a year ago, I had been in a similar boat. Why no info: I just wanted to keep it short and sweet. And I believe you should hear it with your own ears to make the "best" decision for you. Because what you or I like isnt necessarily what say that other person will like. In fact, your comment by far the best is nothing more than your limited opinion. Whats the best for one person or even in one system isnt necessarily the best for someone else or even in another system.
Off topic, but since you asked I own a 2A3 Moth Audio amp, Moth speakers, and do a lot of initial listening impressions with the ATH-L3000 and HD650s. I didnt offer any specific information because he didnt ask. I assume he just wanted suggestions. I tend avoid terms like the best since this is a very subjective hobby and to a degree depends upon system synergy.
Ive heard impressive improvements with mods, but you usually pay a hefty premium and if you ever decide to sell its next to impossible to recoup that additional investment. IMO and in general, stock sources sell quicker and overall dont depreciate on a percentage basis nearly as much as sources that have been modified.
I ended up purchasing a new Krell SACD Standard V.2, and I'm ecstatic with my purchase, it exceeds all of my expectations, a real synergy with the rest of my Krell system, plus I get reference-quality SACD to boot. Thanks to all for the suggestions and info., much appreciated!
NOTE: The Esoteric SA-60, for an additional $500, was a close second, but couldn't quiet take-out the Standard in my system. The new Wadia Players, while excellent, are too expensive. I got cold-feet about spending thousands of $ on a used CD Player. "Krell 5-years Warranty = piece of mind"
Consonance Audio Droplet CDP-5.0 - at the upper limit with a $3000 list price.
I have had the droplet in my system for 3 months and am quite taken by the dynamics and musicality of this strange looking 55 pound beast. Review favorably on 6moons.
let me qualify the question: what is the ideal cd player for a bright sounding system ?
Consonance Audio Droplet CDP-5.0
I see the ARCAM FMJ CD36 mentioned. I have seen other posts here claiming that the CD36 is no better than the CD23T. One of those can be obtained here for about $800.
Some great suggestions here, stating my own preference for a musical "Analogue" sound, there are 2 I would recommend. One I own and the other I have heard often
Resolution Audio Opus 21
ARC CD3 Mk 2
I went to a show where the Opus was comparted with a more expensive Esoteric, an X03 I think. The Esoteric clearly was more detailed, perhaps dynamic, but everyone in the room preferred the Opus. Mine has GNSC mods, which make it one of the best Red book only -players I have heard. I think only the ARC ref 7, betters it by any margin. I second getting advice from Steve at GNSC
Mark Levinson no 39 (as dac and analogue preamp) and a TEAC VRDS cd player (as transport). Very good combination.
Go ahead and spring for a NEW Marantz SA-11s2. Not sure you can find any used players costing less that will better this unit. If I were going to buy a used unit under $2,000 I'd give strong consideration to the Ayre CX-7e and at under $1,000 the Arcam FMJ 23 or 33 would merit consideration.
This thread seems to have morphed from "Best sounding CD Player for $3K or less used" to "best analogue sounding CD player...." Regardless, I am surprised not to see the Lector CDP 7T mentioned yet, which typically goes for below $3K used. Both the MkII and MkIII versions IMO are outstandingly musical for the price, and can be considered "analogue sounding" if that label can be translated to; smooth, rich, dynamic, and 3-dimensional, with very good midrange textures and excellent full bass (especially for a tubed output stage); all without being mechanical or digital sounding. I own the MkIII and enjoy it so much that I not only use one in my main music system, but also purchased a second one that greatly improves music playback through my HT system, compared to playing CD's through the Sony DVD player I have in that system. To my ears, the Lector bettered the Stibbert (in my system) by having a fuller, more realistic and more musical presentation. The CX7e I discussed earlier in this post is a different animal, that does nothing wrong, but leans more toward a tidy, precise sound that just doesn't get me as excited about listening.
Loius made his purchase 4 days after posting, in April. Just sayin'.