your query implies that cost is no object. i, thus, recommend two possibilities: the accuphase dp100/dc101 combo; or, the boulder 1012 pre/dac with a burmester 969 cd transport (other 24 bit, belt drive transports may be substituted but won't likely be quite as beautiful as the burmester). i personally prefer the latter, which (through the boulder) also gives you an excellent included phono stage. -kelly
Badwisdom- As for CD players and not separates or SACD/DVD-A, I'd suggest the Electrocompaniet, the Gryphon (though I don't know if it is still a current product), and the Audiomecca Mephisto II. I can't imagine any one being disappointed with the CD players that I've mentioned. They can hold their own, considering the money difference, against some of the big separates mentioned. Just my .02
You really should track down an Audio Aero dealer.The Capitole Cd Player 24/192 tube output is by far the most amazing cd player I have ever heard.It was in 5/6 rooms at the Toronto Show in October.It was magic.I heard a 1500.00 pair of tetra Loudspeakers hooked up to one of these and the music made gave the few of us in the room the shivers.I read that it was also in a lot of rooms at the Montreal show.
I have heard the best Krell Meridain had at the same show.It was not even in the same leauge.I have also heard the Sim Audio Eclipse which is the second best cd player i have ever heard and the Audio Aero Capitole just kills it.
Sutts who is on this site from time to time has just got one.Please post if you read the thread ith your impresions.
KRELL- bright in your face. Analytical
MERIDIAN- smooth & polite sounding loose bottom end
WADIA- excellent detail high volumes can get bright and analytical
ACCUPHASE- neutral sounding great detail,good base & good soundstage width & can sound a little compressed
LEVINSON 39- best depth and width I have heard yet. I draws you into performances. bass extension is great. Mids have a liquid like texture. And the unit is very natural grain free. STEREOPHILES Review states" the 39 produces music on the most exalted level" also "fine ability to place musicians in space surrounded by air" also " what was noticed most was being drawn into performances-hearing passion where it had not previously revealed itself to me... I just dont think cd standard can get much better than this"...
Just because stereophile loved it doesnt mean you will. It depends on the associated equipment your using. You have some good players to pick from and you will have the final word. All we can do is offer our opinions to you from our exsperiences with the above mentioned gear. I own the 39 and I love it but thats me and my taste. As you can see I have tried a few before buying the 39 just to make sure I wouldnt have any regrets. I have had the 39 for about a month and a half and I dont see myself buying anything else for many years to come. You can also use it as a preamp. I run mine direct to my amp.It has inputs for two additional peices of gear. Well I hope I was of help? Sorry I didnt know about all of the above mentioned.
associated equipment: levinson 335
martin logan ascents
Check out the Audiomeca unit or the EMC-1. List are
$7500 and $4000 respectively. You can buy demo units
for roughly $5000 and $2800. For less try Naim units
but cost is not straight forward as you need power
upgrades which adds to price. Hold out on buying new
until format is standardized.
With what you have listed you can do no wrong. Boy that sounds tacky. I have been serching also. What I have found is that digital is digital and analog is analog. The technology of the two are different. Stay away from products that use this as a selling tool, i.e. belt drive or tonearm style etc. Mark Levinson, Wadia, and Accuphase do digital best. Period. If you like to tweak go for the others it's your money. For me I take the tweak money and I buy the music. Mark Levinson engineers their gear to go from the box to the rack. Of the three I listed ML gives the same high-end digital for less money. Plus it looks great!!! When you go high-end the sound becomes personal. Speakers,amps, and front-ends. Trust your ears and go for what turns your head. For me, Mark Levinson just sounds right! Peace and good listening.
The Marantz SA-1 SACD/CD player. A clear cut winner over Wadia product and Levinson.
ps. Check my previous threads for reasons why the Marantz
SA-1 is possibly the world's best natural sounding player.
Topkat, is the SA-1 tweakable (if applicable)? Could you indicate partnering your equip -- I'm assuming you have a SA-1?.
I'm currently considering a "reasonably" priced CDP to replace my, not so reasonably priced, S-Line.
That's "..indicate your partnering equip...". Sorry! As further indication, I like the sound of the ML 39 --- but, I confess to hoping for a trade-in deal... the 39 is way too expensive for me.
Wow. I'm a bit intimidated by the quality of the opinions and experience of those expressing them. Nevertheless, I recently reviewed a couple of CDplayers and thought you might be interested.
I was listening to Magneplanar 3.6s through VTL 750 monoblocks, then a single stereo BEL 1001 amp (I hate to admit it, but on that day with those speakers the BEL came out on top). The CD player was an Ayre (forgot the model number but the dealer claimed it was their "top of the line" model), which was fantastic. However, the dealer insisted on making a substitution. In went the Linn Sondek CD player (I don't recall the exact model name) at US$20,000. Obvious improvement from an already impressive sound. There were 3 of us in the room and immediately all 3 agreed. So what did I end up with? The Cary CD 303 of course! Best of luck, and enjoy the search.
Given the alternatives discussed above you should listen to the dCS equipment. I haven't heard the Boulder but to my ears I prefer it over the ML, Accuphase and Burmeister. The new universal transport should be available in July.
if you bought a Marantz SACD player it sounds good as long as you feed it sacd when you listen to a regular cd you have a regular marantz cd player. Thats a no brainer. Good Luck
I have also compared the Levinson 39 to a sony sacd player that was 5k and even when they used a sacd disk the 39 still sounded better.
Lev335, that's a pretty interesting comment on the 39 vs. the SCD-1. What makes you say the 39 sounded better?
Wow, thx for all the comments.
Frankly, SACD technology leaves me cold. Its been on the market for two years, and yet there are practically no titles over here in Europe. And i have heard the Sony SACD-1 play redbook CD through Martin logans and a Krell Amp, and frankly it is blown away by any wadia, krell or even Electrocompaniet CDPs. My CD collection is all redbook, so there is absolutely no point in me spending $4000 on a SACD player that doesnt play redbook CD nearly as good as the previous makes i cited....
So moving on away of SACD, the only lead i have are the Mark Levinson 39, the Aero Capitol and the Electo EMC-1.
I heard the Electrocompaniet, and i didnt like it much. A bit bland for my taste. I listened to the Krell 250CD, and i was blown away by the soundstage and precision of the music. I am now looking for a CDP to beat the Krell, and that can add more musicality. Suggestions are welcome..
you should try the accuphase 75v. it's the best one-box cdp i've yet heard. -kelly
I know you have a very substantial system. Out of curiosity, what type of digital front end do you use? I think(most)every one here respects your insight into what makes for a great system. Please share with us how you got your digital to where it is today.
MASSVM, I found the Levinson to have more sonic stability than the sony. The sony sounded good when playing sacds but once we switched to redbook cds it sounded aweful in comparison. The dealer was shocked he didnt know what to say. He had asked me to bring my 39 in he never heard one. needless to say he is trying to take on the Levinson line as we speak.
Lev335, whatever you say. The Marantz SA-1 is just another Marantz CD player. Levinson can only wish they can package a player like SA-1. Sure they can copy the Marantz SA-1 for about $15K. I had the Levisnon 39 in my system for 6 months from my dealer friend and the Wadia 27 set up. And having about a dozen audiophile friends listen and compare A/B the Marantz SA-1 is superior to the Levinson 39 in CD playback and another world in the SACD playback. This SA/1 is not your stock run of the mill Philips CD player. E-mail John Atkinson aka Stereophile who is a personal friend of mine.
Just compare parts between the two. You are paying atleast another $2K for the name Levinson. The Marantz SA-1 is a statement piece by the Japanese- meaning they use the best of everything and is hand crafted. They do not make money on pieces like the SA-1 because of the limited production. Marantz makes money on the volume pieces, then you can say what you said in your previous statement. I should know, I had spent +10 years as an in-house counselor for a Japanese consumer electronic firm.
If those where your thoughts why bother to ask me. If I struck a nerve Iam sorry Marantz is Marantz and sony is sony and Levinson is Levinson. Deal with it
What a snobby attitude, Lev. Sony is Sony and Marantz is Marantz on some things, but it is ludicrous to knock the Sony SCD-777ES and SCD-1 or the Marantz SA-1. These are world-class machines, bar none. Sony and Philips took a different approach to designing these players in order to make a significant impact with SACD. It worked. The Levinson player you have is excellent, no doubt about it, but I would take one of the aforementioned SACD players any day. Give SACD a good, objective listen on a broken-in player and you will wonder why you spent $3000-4000 on a conventional redbook CD player. The Sony and Marantz units are also excellent with redbook CDs. Sorry, but SACD will beat anything a Wadia, Krell, Levinson, etc., can do on redbook CD. *Stereophile* claimed that the $30,000 dCs upsampling redbook system bettered SACD, but not by much. Great if you want to spend $30,000. The Sony and Marantz SACD players are incredible performers and great values.
9fold- you are exacto-correcto sir, and I commend you.
People have to realize that without companies like Marantz and Sony, to do the R & D, the hi-end industry (especially digital) would suffer. I don't want to put down the small
US hi-end companies, but open up there boxes (CD players). It's mostly Japanese technology and repackaged for a lot more money. As of today the Marantz SA-1 & Sony SCD-1 are the best and everyone else will follow. The Accuphase 2-pc system SACD player is nice if you have $28K. Accuphase is flat out over priced and make money on there statement pieces. Marantz & Sony statement audio pieces are simply to show what they can do which is usually the best.
I say let people like Lev335 have his views. His loss is our gain. And if he read my previous forum, he may understand the gist of it.
Badwisdom. Your inquiry implies that you are seeking a number of things: 1) 'biggest/widest/grandest soundstage' (extended spatial simulation) and 2) a player that will "really immerse" you in the music (high musicality) as well as 3.) a player that will make you forget the speakers.
I do not think that these goals 1. can all be reached at the same time nor 2. be reached simply with a CD player. Take goals 1. and 2. Using airline-grade resonance damping materials, a 3 cm slate support, spikes, a sand-filled tube table, a voltage generator, an NBS Statement PC, a Shakti stone, and a number of home-made dampeners, I have greatly expanded the soundstage of my Audiomeca Mephisto II transport to levels that are not at all comparable to the unit stock out of the box. Since the distance between instruments is so wide, I find myself constantly ripped out of my immersion in the music by the speed at which musical energy shoots from one area of the soundstage to the other (particularly disturbing in non-natural multitrack recording experiments with instrument separation) and am often reminded of the speaker when an instrument is hard panned to one side of the stereo image. Although I have not tried all of the CD players you are considering, I would recommend that you experiment with power supply, cabling, isolation as a means to achieve some of your goals whatever unit you decide to buy.
guys. Iam sorry the sony is good and so is the Marantz. I did a comparison at a dealer and those where our findings. Badwisdom WANTS a redbook cd player not sacd so why are so many people offering something he is not looking for? I offered the best player that I found and simply forwarded my thoughts and opinions. There are MANY great cd players out there it is all about synergy within a system and the 39 works very well with my 335. I would not buy an SACD until software is as available as redbook software.(and who knows if it ever will be they are already talking about dieing out in a few years as laser discs did. There is a small market of people who will spend alot on a stereo let alone $25 on a cd) So with that in mind and also the fact that redbook cds dont sound high end through the SACD thats where I am coming from. Sorry if I affended anyone.
Topkat is right with regard to Marantz and Sony doing the R & D and the other smaller high end companies spinning off from their developments. There is a German high end company that manufactures a $10,000 CD player that is basically a slightly modified and cleverly tweeked Marantz CD 17 (that sells for about a tenth the price). Looking inside the German unit made me feel just a little angry, expecting something original and not finding it. Another example: the circuits inside a new French CD player series are modified CEC. Even the proprietary transport mechanism uses a Sanyo laser. There is a growing industry around Sony tweeks in Europe with around three different companies offering modified Sony red book players with resonance damping, circuit alteration, improved power supplies. It is as if the Japanese provided the framework in which so many smaller companies operate.
Oracle CD2500 cd player: It's looks take your breathe away!
I just got one!
Oracle CD2500 cd player: Its looks take your breathe away!
I just got one!
Audiomeca Mephisto and the Audiomeca Enkianthus dac. Simply some of the best
I understand people who have bought SACD are going nuts about it, but lets look at the facts :
a) the format has been on the market for two years
b) there are less than 500 titles available, and i would say 10% of those are mass market titles
c) Most people who have CDs, have Redbook CDs
d) No format is going to establish itself UNLESS it is successfull on the mass market
You can draw your own conclusions... Mine are, NO SACD thank you very much, at least not now.
Excuse me while i go audition a MLevinson 39 :)
I had the Levinson 39 in my system for 6 months on loaner from a dealer friend ( I do all of his legal work in barter). The Marantz SA-1 as a "CD" player was head and shoulders in everything you want to hear verse the Levisnon 39. In the SACD mode, the Marantz was in 5th gear cruising verse the Levisnon 39 was sluggish sounding stuck in 2nd gear.
So the Marantz SA-1 is not just for SACD playback but a world class CD player. By the way... the Marantz A+ in Stereophile recommenation is correct on there rating.