CD player how much to invest

I sometimes wonder should I invest more in digital playback in the future. My current CD transport is a CEC TL51x with a Wadia 12 DAC.
From shows and visits to friends I have learned that there are better CD players out there then my combo, but at what price. The AMR CD-777, is a little better but at €4000 twice the cost. The AMR CD-77 and Nagra CDP are even better still but they cost 10 times or more then my combo.

But is it worth the investment even if I had the money. I believe that with say €2000 you can buy a good CD player That is maybe 90% of a €10.000 CD player.

However I do think that speakers and turntables have a higher return on investment sonic wise. A friend of mine will bring his Jadi Symphonia with Electraglide powercord + Harmonic Tech Magic Link I interlink. To compare. I somehow doubt it will be much better, it may be different but better I don't know.

I am wrong to think that? Are more expesive CD player really a lot better then mid priced and if so how come?

Sorry for my rant, but when I was thinking about upgrading my set and maybe buy an other CD player would it be worth the money? Will I hear a difference etc.
i just recently acquired a dedicated cd player, my first. i have to say that it was indeed worth it. previously i was playing my digital sources through my dac via imac/itunes as well as from my dvd player. but all i got to say about the cd player is wow!!! it is so much more resolving and involving. it actually meets and sometimes exceeds my vinyl playback.
Unless you have some particular reason to be unhappy with the sound you're getting, why consider getting something else? There will always be something more expensive and someone that will tell you that it's better than what you have. Unless you come home unhappy with the sound of your stereo don't get caught up in the hype.

I've heard systems that are far more expensive than mine and in a side by side comparison likely sound much better, but mine still sounds great to me so I have no reason to spend more to maintain happiness.
Mordante...that is a very subjective question because some people are willing to pay a huge premium for that last 5% or 10% improvement and others are not. Only you can answer this question for yourself.

I know it is a highly subjective question. It was or better yet it is something I myself am struggling with. I all boys I like new toys. So I would love to buy a new CDP, a shiny new toy. But then?
If I were to buy a Wadia 12 plus CEC TL51x I would have to spend about €2000, a Nagra CDT is about €12000. I think in most cases spending the difference of €10k anywhere else in an audio system, amps, turntable, phono amp, speaker etc will yield a better result
Now I'm not saying this is true. It is something I currently believe, and like all believe whether religious or audio believes need to be challenged.

So who will challenge me?
Ironically, the only other forums that I've participated on that have less concensus are religious forums. It amazes me how similar the discussions in audio and religion really are. The biggest difference is that there isn't a judgement day where we will find out who's audio system is really the best.

1."But is it worth the investment"-Only you can decide;In my case it was a firm Yes.

2. "That is maybe 90% of a €10.000 CD player"-.true.BUT,isn't in true for everything else too?

3."Are more expesive CD player really a lot better then mid priced "..OF COURSE!!!!Without a shadow of a doubt!!Of course the rest of your equipments must be up to it too

4."if so how come?"many reasons,mainly better power supply,better parts,better brains designing them ,etc...

I think you should really put dcs Puccini ,Neodio,and Wadia in your list .
"However I do think that speakers and turntables have a higher return on investment sonic "-I beg to differ.I think the law of diminishing return is true for almost alll the equipments,especially loudspeakers..

"I somehow doubt it will be much better, it may be different but better I don't know."-The same is ESPECIALLY true for loudspeakers too
For about $12k you can buy a Nagra CDT. The Boulder 1021 is about €24k I have heard them both at a dealer show. Now to be honest I don't think the Boulder is a lot better. Not even sure if it is better at all. So the difference is about $12K. That difference will buy a set of Sonus Faber Amati instead of the Guarneri, etc. The difference between $12k and $24K speakers is IHMO a lot bigger bigger then $12k CD player and a $24K CD player. I think at a certain price point audio doesn't get much better just a different taste.
"I don't think the Boulder is a lot better"-you are right,but Try the Nagra CDT vsPuccini?Now there's something else.Likewise a Puccini vs Scarllati stack....the differences are not subtle.Actually I have found out that very few manufacturers know how to make digital gears well,If youn stick with the well known digital specialists I think you are OK.It si easier,WAY>>>>easier to get a well made speakers than well made digital gears

BTW,I personally prefer The Nagra to Boulder 1020,even though it is cheaper.
The difference between the Nagra CDT and the DCS Puccini is about €3000, the DCS being the more expensive one. So what are according to you the digital specialists? If I were to improve my current digital set, where would you look, what brands models etc? For say a budget between €1000 and €2000 plus what I can get if I were to sell my CEC TL51x and Wadia 12. I don't mind 2nd hand but I don't want anything older then a few years. There are a lot of decent CD players out there that once they are broken they can not be repaired since the parts are all gone. Players that come to mind that might be better are Naim CDX2, Luxman D-05, Symphonic Line any model, etc but I have no idea if the actually are better, just sound different or sound the same. I'm open to suggestions.
For 1-2K Euros,here are my suggestions;

1.dcs P8i -used

2.EAR acute-used

3.Luxman D-05

I believe your Symphonic line intergrated will matc superbly with dcs,the Naim might have too much of its own personality
I would look to modify the CEC and the dac. Upgrade the clock and power supply in the CEC and add transformers to the DAC. You do not have to spend much to do this and the results can be much better ten any other mass producted unit you can buy for more money.

Happy Listening.
I would second What Bigkidz suggest,IF>>>and only IF you could find someone who knows what he is doing.

If you could,certainly this would be the most cost effective route..

I know a few in our part of the world{Asia},Octave audio in malaysia being one of the most renowned...
So lets for arguments sake say I have my transport and DAC modded.

I did some browsing and it seems there are 3 major players for clock upgrades.
Trichord, Tentlabs and Audiocom So who is the best? Or are they all good?

As for the DAC Bigkidz suggested I have the power supply improved if I understand correctly. Any more suggestions for the DAC?

What else?
Look for a used Cary 303/300. Should be able to find one for less than $2,000 USD.
Thank you for all the replies. Out of curiousity, what does affect the sound more, the DAC or transport? I thought about replacing the DAC for a Audio Note 2.1 or something like that.
Store your music on a hard drive and get a DAC.
I have been looking at a USB DAC. A DAC that USB and coax and maybe spdif optical etc.

The best contenders so far are Audio Note and Pink Faun, maybe BMC as well. But what else do I need. A harddisk device I guess, something like a NAS then we need an interface and a DAC. My main problem is the interface. Should that be a laptap or something else. But I want something with decent size screen so I can browse my CD collection.
lets look at the question based upon economics.

a sale is made when buyer and seller agree on a price.

there is a basic principle that i learned in first college eco. course:

the value in use=the value in exchange.

only you can answer your own question.

listen to and compare digital hardware. at what price points, does the value in exchange exceed the value in use ? this is a subjective question which depends upon your ears and your wallet.

as an example, i won't buy a merceds or audi because i think they are overpriced. it is not a question of whether i can afford something. i refuse to pay more than i believe something is worth. if the seller won't meet my price.

the principle its implicit in most transactions, although there are some wealthy people who will buy something if they can afford it, regardless of price and value.

in conclusion, you will spend as much money, given a budget constraint until the price exceeds its intrinsic value, as determined by you.

no one can assign a dollar amount for you.

i use this principle whenever possible. obviously, it doesn't always work in the supermarket. it can be applied to eating out at a restaurant or going to a movie. this principle works well when applied to expensive products.
Look for a used Cary 303/300. Should be able to find one for less than $2,000 USD
09-24-10: Jburidan

I have all Cary electronics (SLP 05 preamp and A306 amplfier) I ran them balanced into the Cary 303/300 player. I no longer own it. I like Cary products and wanted to love it, but the 303/300 was sonically very disappointing in my setup.
Today I was at the an audio show there I heard the Pink Faun DAC 2 connected to a Mac mini. The sound was better then I had expected. Streaming audio had come a long way it seems. I spoke with the technical man behind Pink Faun. He preferred the burr brown PCM 1704 over the Sabre DAC. He said the Sabre has a lot of nice features but the burr brown sound better. The DAC doesn't have any digital filtering or oversampling it does upsample, I was explained why this was good. It sounded plausible. I'll think I will try one out for a few days.
Hi Mordante, thanks for the update on Pink Faun's DAC2, I went to the white paper on Triple M's homepage straight away. Back in May when I bought my DAC3, Clemens had told me that they were building a reference DAC, I didn't know they were showing it in Utrecht (makes me regret even more I couldn't go). Did you speak with Mattijs there?
Btw, I seem to recall you were looking for power cords some time ago. Pink Faun's PC line are quite superb, should be a perfect match for both drive and DAC (makes me wonder how good the new PCX cords may be ... at a price, sadly).
Have fun auditioning the DAC2, I'm sure you will.
Ho Karelfd,

Yes I spoke with Mattijs there. He seems like a really friendly fellow. To be honest I'm not really sure how to procede from here. I also want to see if I can try out the Olive 4. If should upgrade to the Pink Faun DAC, buy a Olive 4 HD, go for a MAC mini or upgrade my speakers.

To many options.
And yes I was looking for some powercords. I bought a NBS Omega III for my DAC. IMHO NBS cables are really good for digital source components. For amplifiers I would look somewhere else, maybe Shunyata will do better there.
Recently heard the Lukasz Fikus Lampizator Dac. I was very impressed with the sound. Bettered my Museatex modified Bitstream dac in that it was more resolving and more musical. I never thought I would hear a DAC that bettered the Museatex at being musical with more resolution. He has several versions and is a very knowledgeable in the audio field. I would contact him and give one a try.

Happy Listening.
Now may not be a good time to buy a new CD player . With streaming and Hi Res down loads coming into there own , hard drive servers and Blueray music discs showing up and making SACD sound old . Ayre's new DX5 does it all but has only a USB input . I think in the next two years , there will be many future resistant spinners available , for the die hard hi end folks, as well as the do it all crowd .