Buying Hi-End CD Player or Transport..

I'm looking to buy a new CD Player to my Home Theater/ Music System. I have narrowed down to 3 choices:
1. YBA CD1 (Solid State)
2. Balanced Audio Technology BAT VK-D5 (Tube CD Player)
3. Sonic Forntiers SFCD-1 (Tube CD Player)
4. Forsell Reference Transport.

Here is my current system.
Preamp: BAT VK-5i (Tube)
Processor: EAD TM-Signature
Power Amp: Jeff Rowland Model 5
Speaker: B& W Matrix 802 S3

Which would be the best way to go. adding transport or cd player. If buying the transport, I'll use EAD Signature as a DAC. If buying cd player, which one is the best.

Your comment would be very appreciated.
Supakit S.
The two best that I have heard are not on your list. The Audiomeca Mephisto II CD player and the Audio Aero Capitole 24/192. Both use the Anagram dac and are far more analog sounding than anything you have mentioned. They both have incredible depth of stage and incredible resolution with no signs of harshness or thinness. I have not heard their equal at any price.
i used a yba cd1 with my rowland gear and the sound was great
All above mentioned are nice but I would encourage you to borrow a Mark Levinson 39 cd player that has a preamp section and an anologe volume control if you wanted to run directly to your power amp. The sound is so clean and the soundstage is deep and wide like all their products. Great stuff. There are alot of great cd players out there but you can pick up a used 39 for around 3,200 if you can find someone to give you a good deal. Best Regards
Save yourself some cash and get a used EAD transport to feed the processor. They're cheap on the used market these days and work fine.
Take your significant other to Bermuda for a week with the $ you save. But wait til hurricane season is over.
I've heard the Audio Aero with the Joule Marquis OTL amps, preamp, and the Merlin Mellenium speakers at CES and the Stereophile show and it is really good. I'd probably agree with Jtinn. I'd give this one a listen. I've not heard the Audiomeca. Have fun.
I agree with Lev335, the ML 39 CD player is a great choice. And if you want separates, it would be very hard to beat the ML 37 transport used with 360 or 360S DAC. I use this combo, and it is excellent. It can "boogie" on R&R, or sound sublime on classical. Good Hunting. Craig
Since the 39 has been replaced by the 390s and there is a significant improvement, I would not consider the "old" 39. :) The new 390s uses the Anagram DAC made famous by Audiomeca and Audio Aero. The Audio Aero Capitole 24/192 also has a gain control and puts out a hefty 3.5 - 4 v's. It will drive most anything. If all you listen to is digital, I would strongly suggest the possibility of selling your preamp and running the Capitole directly for what could be the best sound. If you want just a DAC, the Audiomeca Enkianthus is fantastic.

I would be careful with Levinson product right now due to the changeover in the 39. I am sure the other units will follow shortly.

The other good news is that very shortly Audio Aero will be releasing their Premier SACD/CD/DVD-V/CD-R/CD-RW/CD-V upsampling player. It should raise some eyebrows.

PS. I have always been a Levinson digital fan, but they seem to be a bit behind the latest technology right now with most of their units.
Agreed with Jtinn-

I use the Capitole 24/192, and wouldn't trade it for anything right now. Also- I drive 4 tube amps directly in a bi-amp config using the balanced and SE outs simulataeously. The larger 170 wpc triode monoblocks (used for bass duty) have volume control as well for flexible gain matching with the mids/highs.

In summary- Capitole allowed me to replace 3 pieces (Sim Audio Eclipse CDP; DCS Purcell upsampler; ARC LS-16 preamp) with ONE BOX, AND got superior musicality to boot!
I have not heard either the Audio Aero Capitole or the Audiomeca Mephisto, but I did own the Audiomeca Enkianthus 24/192 Upsampling dac for a short while. Using that as the source of my comments, since the Mephisto contains the same digital-to-analog electronics as the Enkianthus, I sort of agree with Jtinn. The Enkianthus is extremely smooth yet very detailed, an extremely rare combination of sonic traits. Redbook CD's are rounder, more fleshed out and the soundstage is wider. The upsampling effect, which I am trying to describe, I believe is why people describe this player/DAC as more analog than anything they have ever heard. However the upsampling "takes the edge off" these recordings, if there was one. Some of you might think this is a good thing and I would agree generally, but is it always a good thing? The Enkianthus does the intimate recording as well as anything that I have ever heard, but it does take something away which is present and you may find this effect fatiguing, particularly on recordings of grand scale. I would love to hear the Audiomeca gear with a switch which allowed me to defeat the upsampling when I so choose. I am interested to hear the Audio Aero, which I have heard has more dynamics and punch than the Audiomeca gear. Still I would say that the Audiomeca gear is excellent and is a must-hear for some of the best sound that an upsampling digital system can provide.
We have had the opportunity to have many of the players mentioned here at the showroom for a shoot out recently.

First let me state that the Audio Aero ($6000) will not be better direct than going through your Bat preamp. At first it will strike you has more dynamic with greater transparency but it will lose the three dimensional air and the finesse. Many Audiophiles who go the direct route without a preamp and then put in a really good preamp end up purchasing a preamp. As so many things in audio this is a flavor issue but since you have a very good preamp if you buy a player with volume controls try it for a month direct and then put your preamp back in - - if you still like it direct then sell it.

The 2 CD players not mentioned to date that are very good are the Sim Eclipse($5200) and the Electrocompaniet EMC 1 with 24/192 upgrade.($5000)

Of all the players mentioned the player with the most delicacy and finesse is the Mephesito 2($7500) which is my personal favorite. But recently since the EMC 1 has been upgraded every customer who has come to the showroom has liked the EMC 1 better it is more dynamic with greater extension top to bottom - - I believe that is due to the mass of the player 50 lbs and the 18 lb floating platter.

The Audio Aero and the EMC 1 sound very close to each other I would give the EMC 1 the nod on price, build quality, and bottom end extension, and it has no volume control which I see as a positive. If you desire to go direct then the Audio Aero is the choice.

The Eclipse is the only one of all these players with a great remote. If all the other companies would copy Sim they could all improve their remotes. The aesthetics are as spectacular as the Mephesito 2 although sonically it was as good as the EMC 1 until the new upgrade. Realize the regular EMC 1 is a great player but not as good as the other mentioned players although better than the Levinson 39 previously mentioned. Just newer technology and that is everything with digital.

All these players are superior sounding to the Levinson 39 that is why there is now a $1500 upgrade to the Levinson player.

I hope this helps and do not forget the Accuphase 75 V ($11000) and 65V($6500)we have not had the models in here to compare but Accuphase is usually a very impressive product with volume controls although I personally still prefer the units going through a great preamp like the First Sound preamps.

I hope this helps. But you cannot go wrong with any of the players mentioned. Digital is a great value today. Hell Alchemist from Northern London has just come out with their 24/192 Product 8 one box player and it is very close to all the above mentioned players for a retail of only $2400 and it is gorgeous.
I agree with Tacs!
I use the EAD T-7000 transport as my front end of a VERY, VERY expensive system, and am very happy. Over the years, I have upgraded every other part of my system except the EAD. It was a true bargain even at its new price.
I agree with Jtinn about buying Levinson right now. The old No.39 is over priced (even used) when you consider the design is so far behind the current generation of newer players. IMHO, digital technology improvements are significant and new chips and designs have a bigger impact on digital electronics vs amps and preamps whose underlying techology hasn't changed in decades. So even a modestly priced CD player or DAC using current generation technology will likey out perform that megabuck unit that is several years old, believe it or not! My 2 cents....
You may wish to include the new Electrocompaniet EMC-1 MkII with 24/192 DAC in your comparisons. I'm becoming quite enthralled as mine burns in. Good luck.