This probably won't be of interest to you, unfortunately in my view, but in recent weeks myself and another A'Goner have fortutiously, and independently, discovered the potential of the Cal Alpha and Sigma DAC's when driven by the Digital section of a seperate CDP. His was the Rega Appolo and mine is a Wadia 302. If interested you can do a search for his, or my, prior comments (all within the past few weeks) on this revelation (to us anyway).
Audio Aero Prima MKII with the new Sony transport. Used may be a few hundred more than your specified figure.
I like my NorthStar 196 Transport and DAC very much, almost analogue in sound. Works well with good solid state amp. Will set you back somewhere in the 1000-2000 range.
If you can locate a used Sony DVP-NS900V send it off to TRL for their standard mod package and for about $1000 or so dollars you'll have exactly what you are looking for.
Otherwise, if your existing CDP has a good transport, try a non-os DAC like the Audio Mirror (many other good one out there as well) which including a real nice digital cables will set you back about $900.
add a electrocopinet dac..
An Audio Aero Prima
could be the ticket.
Shoe, I have to think that the so-called 'hyper-detail' that you mention may not be so hyper after all. Rather it may just be detail perhaps bordering on good to excellent.
Real musical enjoyment is in all the little nuances, dynamics, tempo, dead-silent backgrounds between the passages, etc. and this can only be brought out from a system capabile of revealing such detail.
However, as I'm sure you know, the more revealing a system is for the good(music), the more revealing it is of the bad stuff too, such as time smear, noisy AC, etc.. The bad things turn the music presentation into a compressed, 2-D, hash or digital-like sound with negative sibilance, all of which increases with volume and after about 30 seconds is rather harsh on the ears. Especially at louder listening levels.
If the so-called 'hyper-detail' is a turnoff, then it most likely is the result of listener fatigue which in turn is most likely the result of having no or improper line-conditioning and/or poorly designed interconnects and speaker cables, and/or one or more inferior components and/or speakers in the chain.
Often times the recently purchased component may incorrectly be labeled as 'hpper-detailed', fatiguing, or worse.
Regretably, you are not alone. But rather than fuss over the effects and rob yourself of many hours of potentially fantastic listening pleasure, why not properly address the cause(s)?
cyrus 6, revox sc22, roksan kandy, exposure
Audio Refinement Complete Alpha
rega is certainly on the warm side.
marantz also on the warm side if you want sacd, too.
bel canto dac2 is also worth considering.
Shoe, I'm curious as to your impressions of the Jolida in your system. Are you looking for something in between the hyper detail you now have and the Jolida?
Meridian 508.24 is smooth & silky.
Rega planet or Rega Jupiter.
Entrope: I* have considered the Meridian 508.24 and the Audio Aero may be a consideration also.
O.K some more info on my part may help. I have VMPS RM 30 speakers with about 140 hrs on them, an Arcam FMJ CD 33 and a Bel Canto Evo 2i Gen. II integrated amp. The RM 30 is a fantastic speaker, quick, utterly revealing, highly dynamic with extended quality bass.
However it is not a "warm" speaker , more neutral than the Revel F 30's I had before. But I have given up that warm sound for a more accurate, detailed presentation. I love the detail but miss the warmth and would like to somehow add a little to the system. The Arcam throws a wide soundstage with depth and loads of detail however it too may be on the neutral side of things and it seems to hold back nothing either.. Maybe I can create a better synergistic system here by changing my CD player.
When I listen to a good recording things are quite good actually, but anything recorded "hot" with exagerated highs or splashy constant "pshhh" cymbals or pop music etc. things become downright irratating. My room is horrible for bouncing around the high freq. also. I can't listen to the same old "good" recordings over and over..
For smooth and rich cdp at about $1000, I would go with Cary 303/100 or 303/200. Modwright (platinum mod) sony would be even better if you can find one for cheap.
Your system synergy seems to lean toward surgical precision rather than a comfy massage.
I notice there is not a tube in sight in your gear. I am running the Meridian 508.24 through a Reference Line passive preamp to Atma-Sphere M60 MkII.3's. Speakers are Silverline Sonatas. It is all I want as far as detail, bass and transient speed plus warm without being bloated. Some recordings still suck due to the high resolution but most are listenable.
If you are happy with the Bel Canto maybe trying an external DAC (think tube DAC) would be a less expensive way to see if you are on the right about warming things up with a CDP change or it may just resolve the issue.
I recently listened to the TRL modified Sony DVP-NS900V in a system with VMPS speakers and the sound was fabulous, a great match. Also, this player was used in the VMPS room at CES as their primary source. Brian Cheney purchased a unit of his own and had it modified, that should say something. It will be a bit tough to locate a used unit (they are no longer manufactured) but will be worth it if you can. Call Brian Cheney at VMPS and ask him what he thinks of the player.
If you want warm, then the Prima will be a good match. I have a modified Electrocompaniet, which I love, but the Prima is definitely warm and rich.
The AA Prima is warm & lush. By comparison, the Rega, the Arcam, the Cary & the Meridian sound more chiseled, not warm AT ALL in my opinion. Am I saying that the others sound bad? Nope. But if he wants warmth, the Prima has it in spades over the others. Could have something to do with them tubes, eh? :-)))
My choices would be Meridian 508.24 or Audio Research CD2. Both will be what you're looking for but ARC will have better bass. Neither is bright or hyper-detailed. Both are very smooth. Ways better than your CD33 and will not sound bright on less than perfect recordings. My personal preference would be towards the ARC. But in any case these 2 players are the real deal.
AA Prima, Cary, CJ, Copland
Another vote for the Meridian 508.24. A great cd player, especially at it's used price point. It's essentially a neutral player just on the warm side of neutral--very smooth with good low level detail retreival. It also has one of the lowest jitter ratings that Stereophile ever measured. 146 pico seconds, if I remember correctly.
I've been trying to sort this out for the past 3 years...
In my opinion (and experience) the Cary players will only sound warm if used in conjunction with tubes somewhere else in the signal path. If you go the Rega route you'll get great warm and musical mids but at the cost of rounded out highs and lows... Ideal solution based on equipment that I've heard: Electrocampaniet with solid state gear, or Cary with a tube pre...
You may also want to consider the Audiomeca Keops. It is based on a highly modified CEC belt drive transport, and has the attributes you are looking for.
there is only one warm and rich cd player ever made, namely the cal tempest.
One of the smoothest richest sounding cd players was the venerable pioneer pd-65. Many now use it soley as a transport but it had a very smooth dac. If your system is treble bright or you want a rich sound this may be one of the best and cheapest ways to achieve your goals.
I would listen to the Cary 303/300. Listen to the tube output. It is special.
The Cayin 15, now updated to the 17 version really delivered="smooth/rich" with their tube outs.
I owned both and recently sold the 15.I paid $1K included ship last yr for the 17.
I second Entrope above with regard to introducing a tube if you want to veer towards a richer sound. Re the 508.24, I owned one and a/b'd it against a Granite 657 tube player. I and all who heard the comparison preferred the Granite. It wasn't even close (which surprised me because I'd heard such good things about the Merdian). The Meridian sounded thin--clear, but cool and analytical (too much so)--compared to the Granite. The Granite's tube output likely was part of the reason. The Granite's more $$ than your budget, but I'd check into the recommendations above that have a tube output. Surely you'll find one that sounds rich without sacrificing detail.
I will second the Granite 657 CDP. I replaced a very well respected unit with the Granite and am quite pleased with the outcome ! It just has 'more' of everything that I enjoyed with the old one .
If you can, wait and save up for the Granite, it won't disappoint you. They also offer an in home demo period with a money back guarantee .
Good luck !
My advise is give the Musical Fidelity X10v3 with attendant power supply a try. It may well do the trick and not at any great expense.
I use one in my system & it brings warmth, much better dynamics; Increases fluidity as well as add a little bloom to the sound. I use the MF Trivista 21 DAC which is a pretty good DAC and even then, the addition of the X10v3 brought gains.
No real downside that I can hear. I thought it might affect timing/PRAT but it does not.
Hope this helps.