Budget of 7000gbp what top flight one box cd player do i buy any recommendations please

my budget is around 6000gbp im looking to buy my last silver disc player but i need it to provide high end sound quality if hooked up to a lap top, second hand is fine,

I have only ever played silver discs so this is my preference but i am looking into the computer audio i have not followed the computer audio route as i have 1000s of discs and wondered can i just rip the HD download onto a blank disc and just play that so maybe the player i am after does not need computer connection, i am finding it a quite difficult decision on what to do or buy, my thoughts were Esoteric K01 used i did fire the gun but the seller pulled out so i am back to square one 

any help or advise i very much appreciated thank you
Redbook only, or??

SACDs often have better recording & mastering -- even if the SACD format itself is not better, it can sound better due to that.

Then there is HDCD which a lot of releases had for some years.

I do not know of a player with both HDCD and SACD....

No matter what, you will want to audition Ayre, and also the el cheapo Oppo 205 - do it blind and see what happens...

I would leave your high res downloads where they are and play them directly.

www.computeraudiophile.com  might be a good site to ask on

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i used to own an MSB TECH Diamond dac with universal transport i loved the sound of dvda,

since letting it go for financial reasons i have auditioned a lector707 with psu7t

Esoteric k03 which i really like,

i have 1000s of redbook cds and probably 200 sacd/dvda ,

i would love another universal player for the better format discs, i noticed HDCD SACD DVDA all sounded good on the MSB but the Esoteric sounds even better with just standard cds playing,

the lector had the lovely valve sound buy the excitement and dynamics of the Esoteric is pulling me towards a k01 with a budget of 6/7k gbp i am very open minded thanks for your response
post removed, yes it seems to have the player was due to be delivered last weekend i can not get hold of the seller i thought the price was quite good 5750gbp 2013 model, it looks like i am back to the drawing board, have you any recommendations please i would prefer a one box player thank you

if you read the start of discussion i mention the k01 it was very disappointing  not to have got it 
i am really stuck for the money i am scratching my head, maybe the opo is a good idea
mains OP114 posts06-02-2017 1:13pmhi
i used to own an MSB TECH Diamond dac with universal transport i loved the sound

If you liked this combo so much, which is a ladder multibit dac.

" MSB has always championed the use of ladder DACs based on networks of simple passive resistors. Since the accuracy of the resistors in this type of design is key, MSB uses hundreds of expensive, finely tuned, "aerospace-grade" resistors in each DAC module".

The I would stay with this type of conversion process sound, which I also like, and only look for cd players that use Multibit dacs. There are a few, even new.
As they do the right thing by (RedBook 16/44 24/96 or DXD) which are pcm.

Cheers George
any recommendations please George its a shame MSB do not offer a one box there prices are out of my league now even tho i know the UK importer hes had nothing but trouble from the select dac its turned out to be an absolute nightmare going back and forth then compared to franksin Belgium which walked all over it, MSB has got a bad name in the UK for being unreliable i must say i had no problems with any of mine 
I remember a reviewer giving me about three cd players that were now using discrete Multibit dacs and I posted them up, one for memory was a US the other two were European. You have to search my posts for their name as I can’t remember.

But seeing your looking at older Esoteric’s I know these two are using R2R ladder Multibit dacs, they are still expensive used as people are starting to hang on to them.
ESOTERIC X-01 8 X Burr Brown PCM1704’s
ESOTERIC X-03 4 X Burr Brown PCM1704’s

Also these i love.
Mark Levinson No.39
Linn CD12 mk3 which is what I use.
Naim CD-555 with optional 555 power base, this is my pick!!

There are heaps of new dac now, but you want a cdp.

Cheers George
@mains sorry I didn't see the reference to the K01 in your original message which is why I deleted my post

Anyway  seeing as you are in the U.K. How about the Linn CD 12 or the Naim CD555 system (ok two boxes if you add the PSU)

However if I was you I'd stretch your budget a bit 😉 And hold out for a Neodio Origine. If I wasn't so committed to DCS I'm sure that's what I'd have
I recommemd you should seriously look into computer audio. Rip your CD collection to a hard drive and look for a DAC. For gbp6000 you could buy an excellent PC or MAC a back up hard drive as well as a great sounding DAC. I use iTunes interface with BitPerfect application to ensure my DAC gets fed the original file sample rates (no PC sample rate conversion). I use optical Toslink out from a dedicated Mac mini for music playback. Other options include USB to the DAC.

I had well over 1000 CD and it took me a few months to burn everything.

Excellent DAC are Benchmark, Mytek, Bryston just to name a few. Better to get a brand new DAC to ensure latest in format support and interfaces as well as those with reputable jitter rejection (like DSD format, Tidal MQA format if you like that, USB interface in addition to conventional digital audio)

Buying a legend in its day but what is now a used boat anchor does not make a lot of sense given the direction that audio is going (streaming). Over the last few years CD are less and less available and stores like HMV are shutting down - whatever your opinion on streaming vs discs the future is forcing us all towards computer audio....
Look for an Esoteric K01x or dCS Puccini.
Its so confusing, a used Esoteric k01 at 5750gbp seems a bargain as i will use the digital volume control, streaming i have no real knowledge of , computer audio i have no knowledge of , i understand the future is forcing us all towards computer audio, does all computer audio sound better than a K01 playing silver discs? sound quality is much more important than simplicity i think i will have to read into computer audio before i pull the trigger 
There was a Esoteric X-03 here last week for under 2K.  It uses the Burr Brown 1704 R to R ladder dac.  It sounds incredible and it also has Esoteric's BEST transport as well.  I have the UX-03 which is the same machine , plus DVD which is the only difference.  It is 60 pounds of greatness.
DACs (including the DAC portion of a disc player) are evolving rapidly, so an older $7,000 player may be lower in SQ than one that is much less expensive now.

I did what shadorne outlined above a few years ago and have not looked back.  I still have a CD player for HDCD conversion, and need one for video anyway.  But it is rarely fired up -- I just use my DAC.
There was a Esoteric X-03 here last week for under 2K. It uses the Burr Brown 1704 R to R ladder dac. It sounds incredible and it also has Esoteric’s BEST transport as well.
mains , grab this if it’s still available. Don’t walk, RUN!!!


Cheers George
Sorry no, this is the SE, I don’t think it has the PCM1704 Multibit converters in it,
as it does sacd(delta sigma), unless it down converts the sacd to pcm, then it could be multibit with 1704 

Do your homework and check if it has the PCM1704 converters. Maybe it has both, 1704 Multibit and Delta Sigma converters.

Cheers George
George, it does have the PCM 1704 dac and mine does sacd.  All Esoteric players do sacd.. I have the exact same unit. Sound is to die for.

I would suggest you think out side the disc player and go NAS for your collection and a streamer/DAC player for your digital and eliminate the old disk player tech all together. invest in a top quality DAC and digital storage system like the Blue Node 2 type of idea or computer based even. I think you will get better longevity and long term satisfaction by  eliminate the disc player now and invest in a storage playing system. I did two years ago and have not looked back. Here is a link to a great resource to help you start your research. 


I find a NAS and a network player running ROON is one of the best ways to enjoy your whole collection (at the tip of your fingers) and start into streaming from places like Tidal.

I would not invest into a CD payer I feel as many I'm sure its a waist of money at this point.

 When Vinyl is out selling CD's you have to move on and get a network system that's capable of hi rez as well. If you need help let me know I can point you to more recourses as I did the similar thing two years ago.  

@mains i  trust you have the nous to ignore these naysayers suggesting you dump your disc player and give in to the call of serving and streaming. I've just spent the day at the LAAS and I can say that without a doubt that all of the rooms serving material by Tidal or off their servers or USB sticks sounded awful. Invest in the type of one box solution that I and others have recommended and if needs be at a later stage add a DCS network bridge or the like if you need to add computer audio. 

Best sounds by by far were off reel to reel or vinyl, but then again maybe I'm just an old dinosaur 😏
I would suggest the new Musical Fidelity NuVista CD player. Built like a tank, plays beautifully, great aesthetics IMO. I have one and love it. Listening to it right now.
wow, what a can of worms has been opened,
i have spent many years building up some very expensive high quality discs,
i am very grateful to everybody for their advise, my ideal source would be a universal player with the option to include computer audio as time and funds permit 
i love the sound of dvda over sacd but enjoy well recorded sacd over standard cd,
i am a great fan of Neil Young, hes music sounds great on all silver discs but hes HDCD and DVDA are amazing,
there is a rumour in the UK a Top company are launching a universal player but to use computers your only option is to rip the music onto discs and play them in the player,
i did have my mind set on the k01 and was willing to sell on my dvda collection,
i do not do any form of multi channel, its strictly 2 channel only
the Esoteric k03  sounds great i prefer it to my MSB set up, going by that i thought the k01 is the answer,
would the Esoteric x03se sound better than the k01 ? thanks again to everybody, in the UK i am 230v are the X0or other Esoteric players universal voltage? 
The X03SE uses the PCM 1704 R to R ladder dac, theK01 uses the AK chipset.  I prefer the 1704 dac, it sounds much more analog like.
Att: mains


Mark levinson No.39 one of the ones I recommended for the best PCM (RedBook Cd) replay, R2R Multibit and does HDCD, also has volume control.


Ooops sorry, it's not mint, it has problems.

Cheers George

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I'd recommend looking into the Audio Note CD 3.1x. It should be well within your budget.

Since you live in the UK, I would look for Meridian 800 series or DCS product. Also, should be much easier to set a home audition before buying. You have not said what is the rest of our system, but even if you did, it would be wise to hear it before you decide. 
the rest of my system is a townshend audio allegri passive pre and a pair of the top of range NordAcoustic Class D monos xlr input only driving soundlab dynastats , all isolatuion is Townshend Audio seismic podiums and corner bars that sit under the legs of my copulare 10 year old solid heavy rack, i have used both valve and solid state cd players before my favourite digital disc are dvda then sacd/hdcd then standard cd thank you
+1 on the Audio Note CD 3.1x recommendation, I run an Audio Note DAC-3 Signature and it's fantastic, people who go to AN sound  usually end up staying there. Very musical.
Since you like the Esoteric, why not wait for another to come up for sale. I love mine it sounds great and is built like a tank.
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DCS Puccini is good.  
DCS is not so highly regarded in the UK anymore,years ago they started out selling via a dealer network then they killed it themselves buy selling direct, there ended up with so many second hand pieces on the market no one ever purchased anything new,
i still like the original Elgar plus stack, but the Verdi was the weak link, i believe the new range does not use Esoteric transport or play SACD anymore, and the prices are beyond mental,
A very good friend of mine has got a link into the factory and sells all the traded in equipment even some refurbished Elgars, they were a great DAC and can be picked up cheap, he mainly gets the Scarlatti range, in a few years he will get the new stuff if anyone wants hes details private message me hes been going years, i listened to a lector audio cd707 with psu7 very nice but redbook only i have heard news a big UK company are going to bring to market a reference Universal player i know some reviewers that have heard it prototype and its meant to be very special i believe its going to use a pioneer transport but no idea what one
@mains re DCS the Vivaldi models still use the Esoteric VRDS transport and play SACD, the Rossini models (hence your one box option) do not. 

Perhaps if you stretch you might buy this 😏  New Vivaldi One Box
hi ,
very sorry my mistake but i stand by the prices are mental but what serious pieces of kit my 7000gbp couldn't buy the feet lol
Since you appear to be firmly settled into the the ultra top-tier performance and quality build strata, may I suggest the REGA ISIS valve cdp as a contender?

Google the reviews, but better still, go and actually personally audition one. It is no pretender,

with a UK focus, go cruise the pinkfish audio forum(s) for a further "local" perspective on audio forum discussion, audio trade sales, and audio private sales.



The reason the world is moving to digital files streamed or on hard drives is because the digital files can be identical to those on the silver CD. They can also be much higher resolution and 24 bit - so better than CD quality. These digits or bits are identical and provided you have a high end DAC like a Ayre QB-9 or Benchmark DAC3 then these digital files residing or streamed from your PC will sound better than any older generation high end CD player.

The performance of the latest DACs are a major improvement over previous generation technology - look at Benchmark DAC tech specs or NAD M51 or Bryston BDA 3 or Chord Hugo or many others - on all measures S/N, jitter rejection, channel separation etc - these players are way better than old boat anchors.

Of course if you like a particular tubelike euphonic coloration then you can find that in modern DACs too (Ayre have slightly more harmonics and sound great) or if you are looking for a certain sound then an older generation high end player might be the way to go but it will be your taste that should be the deciding factor -NOT an Internet forum as there is no best coloration but ONLY what you prefer. Best only applies to neutral performance as it can be measured ruthlessly with instrumentation - and this kind of "best" is not necessarily what many audiophiles are looking for but a few of us prefer a neutral sound (generally it means we are totally happy with the speakers we own and are not trying to fix a problem there)

Playback Design Merlot DAC, A High End Audio Optimised Computer. Your Set for the next few years.
a big thank you to everyone, you have all added some great information, i have only ever owned disc spinners so the computer audio is new to me but sounds like the way to go,
I do not use UK forums i find the USA audiophile scene has got more big hitters with tons of real knowledge not just examples from reviews, 
i was disappointed with my audition of the AMR CD77 i found it had a lack of attack, i preferred the emm labs cdsa se with X upgrades and the metal draw about 10 years old im guessing, i owned a xds1 years back i enjoyed that to but 7 children and 3 grand children  times they are a changing i believe sometimes the answer my friends is blowing in the wind go go BOB I love Neil Young also Comes a time amazing stuff and the MFSL of Old Ways spell binding
I think shadorne’s post has a lot of merit. Some of us oldtimers with a CD collection get automatically gravitated towards a "better" disc player when we get the upgrade itch. However, when you really think about it, aside from the "spinning" portion, everything else making the music is all digital. So, technically instead of "reading" the digits from a round disc one could stick a thumb drive or a USB cable in a DAC and feed the same digits, actually even "better" digits. All that matters is the quality of the DAC and ADC (conversion). In fact, one could even argue using a transport instead of a straight transfer of digits into a DAC could cause some loss in the bits and bytes. It took me a while to make the switch from CDP to computer/streaming audio but it has not only opened up the choices in music available but also in sound quality. Someone said reel-to-reel and vinyl sounded a lot better in shows, and yes I felt the same way after the NYAS but I also noticed the caliber of the turntables they used and most if not all of them were completely out of reach, certainly from mine. I think the cheapest TT I saw there is use was $32K. Didn’t see any R-2-R players.
if i was to build my system around a benchmark dac for example, what else do i require to set up computer audio for very best sound quality please, i use a passive townshend audio allegri mkii 2800k pre amp driving NordAcoustic class D monos from the UK they sound amazing at 2k my budget is more 6k than 7k kind regards john ps if anyone knows of better dacs for the money please can you let me know my friend the digital man use dibbit dacs i have no knowledge of the proper spelling but he swears by them thank you
the Esoteric idea has long gone thank you everyone for your input 
I'm sure someone with more knowledge and experience will chime in with suggestions but depending what "source" you'd like to use for your music, e.g., streaming using subscription service, downloading hi-rez files on a PC, play ripped CDs, etc., your system architecture can vary. One thing is for sure, there are lots of component options out there to meet your needs, regardless of the price point. The higher tech the options, the harder to find in the used market. PS Audio seems to have some good "digital" component options.

First thing you should do is research. then its down to buying enough quality hard drive space that alows a back up of all your music files ( not hard to set up at all) that way you will only have to load your cd/sacd/etc once as thats the biggest time part. second get db power amp cd ripper its one of the best and takes care of the meta data for you and saves in FLAC or better ( Meta data is the names, track names ect)


once all your cds are copied onto your hard drive its just a mater of how you want to acsess your music. with a computer based system or a streamer based system.

 I'd go to https://www.audiostream.com/ Michael Lavorgna ( stereophile sister sight) is a very knowlagable reviewer and has some great step by step help forms and many recomendations on streamers and DAC's. his sight helped me greatly. he will also answer question on the forms he is quite helpful and kind.

once you have desided the how you want to listen its just buy a great DAC and your in digital heaven. I love the fact i get the same or better quality of sound but i can sit back and brouse my music from my seat via a tablet and change it up as my listening mood changes. I also like ROON its a wonderful player/information system that organises your own music your streaming tidal music and alows you to easily explore music related to what your listining to (need an internet conection but you will have that i'm assuming anyway).  all in all you lose nothing but going this route and gain a huge amount of extras. also you gain space in your shelves for more vinyl haha.

lastly you can also go the one box system like the bluesound vault 2 that has the hard drive and streamer built in and then out put the digital to your high quality DAC. Bluesounds Ap for your tablet is quite good as well.

research is your first job.

 i think you will save money in the end.

hi thank you for your in depth explanation, i like the idea of  bluesound vault 2 i will keep everyone updated feels strange no cd player 

If you get a Benchmark DAC 2 or the latest DAC3 then your computer source can be whatever you find convenient. For example, iTunes works perfectly as long as you pay attention to get the correct settings in the software. You don’t have to worry about jitter at all and as long as the bits are hitting your DAC at the correct sample rate of the source file and without any adjustments (bit perfect) then every computer source used to read your files will sound the same.

The only thing you need with a Benchmark DAC is a pair of speakers that are right for you and a high end amp capable to drive them cleanly to whatever SPL you need. If you don’t like your speakers 100% then a neutral DAC may not work and a DAC with some coloration (usually warmth or some pleasant emphasis in bass, treble or mids as needed) would be a better option.

Here is a review of the DAC2 which I use currently. I am waiting for a DAC 3 to arrive to replace it:-


If you have perfect speakers for your taste then the Benchmark neutral sound will be a perfect fit. I can’t emphasize this point enough as there are plenty of other great DACs out there to suit many tastes...and speakers are the largest variable with often the most coloration => the speakers make system synergy an important consideration.

"...feels strange no cd player..."

No worries there. Keep your current CD player and use it as a transport or get a nice CD transport - many options in the high end gear used market, when you have your DAC in the system.

anytime Mains helping is what makes this hobby fun. many on here have helped me so just adding to the hobby where i can with what little knowledge i have.

Oh it will only feel strange until you find your self one night listening to music and exploring new music until the wee hours it is great not having to be tied to that CD drawer.