There are no objective reviews in high end audio. Only opinions. The only sure way is to listen to all of them :)
My personal preference lies with : Audio Aero Capitole, Bow ZZ-8 and Electrocompaniet EMC1 Mk II.
But then again i havent heard EVERY single CD player.
If i had $3500, i would buy the Audio Aero.
Think about the Linn Ikemi which I (and many others) think is the best for under 10k. Of course, I am a satisfied Ikemi owner!
If anyone will sell ther DP-75v for $3500(highly unlikely) I would buy it, but reality is those are closer to $7000 used, retail is $11k so its still a fair price. If you could find a used audio aero that would be your best choice in that price range, it may be hard to locate a used AA Capitole, so I would also second the Electrocompaniet as a good solution. I prefer the sound of the DAC in the 75v to the capitole, but it is also a lot more $$$. I have compared them both my good friend has the capitole and I have a DC-300(which shares the DAC with the 75v), both are top of the line units and would be good choices.
Sony Xa777es for $2000 with the Modwright/JenaLabs $1500 Tubed output stage mod !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Better check out the new Aloia inductive upsampler.It will set the new standard.
I think the very best sound in that price range would be a used Muse Model 296 with the I2S link to a Muse model 8 transport. This should be right about ytour target price and nothing short of dCS can compare. Muse's best digital circuit seem capable of keeping the palpability of analogue without loosing the detail of digital. They are absolutely amazing. I am a classical musician and have never heard the instruments sound so real except live in the best concert halls. The 296 does not have a processed sound (warm or analytical) it allows the instruments and mikes to have their own sounds. Muse is a small company, but I've never met anyone who was unhappy with Muse digital gear.
No objective opinions allowed on this site. Everyone seems to be very loyal to what they've invested in. You can find some honest opinions though. I went with the Cary 306 for the following reasons. Reputable US firm. HDCD and upsampling/oversampling.Front loading, no manual disc clamping or weighing. Variety of digital inputs and outputs. Balanced XLR and RCA analog outputs.It sounds incredible and to me seemed a bargain at just over 2.3k. I got the older one with the PMD100 processor. The new PMD 200 is available now and may be within your price range soon. Read as many reviews as you can. Hear as many units as you can and take the leap. You will not be disappointed in any of the players you mentioned, though some people have a problem with the inconvenience of top loaders. The filtering seems to make a big difference. Here's a site that has some pretty good info on these.
Thanks everyone for your comments. Yes I see a lot of brand loyalty but I'm sure that after checking out a sub set of those avaiable in your price range. I wounder if anyone has experience with the Audio Aero Capitol vs their cheaper CD player? What's the difference (other then $5k) No reviews at all on their sub $2K player.
Regarding Aloia, better take a good look inside before you buy. It may set a standard, but the standard will be for least desirable build quality. Remember, not to long ago all the rave that a certain magazine (you know the one went under)made over the Aloia stuff, 2 months later you can't give the Aloia stuff away.
I'm in the same boat as the asker. What about the new Granite 657 tube CD player at around $2900?
Dmll... I am curious what your findings on the build quality of the Aloia cd player and the sound are. I know the Aloia amps are extremely well built and were better sounding than the Wolcott amps in my system. Did they cut any corners?
Keis-If you want to know the nitty-gritty about the Audio Aero player, send my friend Jonathan an email he goes by the moniker Jtinn-he is VERY knowledgeable about all things audio but the audio aero is one of his favorites. He is sick at the moment but will get back to you when he is well, he will answer any concievable question you could have. To tell you the truth if money was no issue, I would still have a hard time chosing between the DP-75v and the Audio Aero Capitole, with digital there is a point where the law of diminishing returns happens and it happens quick- that is how good they both are and seeing that the Capitole is nearly half the price of the DP-75v it is appearant which is the better "value" in the group. Many people also rave about there Resolution Audio CD-55, though I have no personal experience with it so can offer no opinion. Good luck.
Tireguy I can't fault your taste but the Capitole is a long way from my $3500 mark. Its going for $6800.
Some of you know my feelings about my Electrocompaniet EMC-1 MkII. EC has raised the list to $5k, but a used emc-1 can be bought for around $2k and then easily upgraded by getting the MkII DAC (like I did). I'm so happy with this setup that I got a few of the DAC Kits for other A'goners, and just floated another auction for one if any emc-1 owner out there has any upgrade itches.
Redbook CD playback with thunderous authority yet absolutely grainfree texture and exquisite detail. I just didn't know it could be done! Good luck in your search.