CD player in the $2,500 to $5,000 range


I sold my old system (Bryston, MG 3.6r, Oracle Delphi, Parasound CD player) and have been working on putting together a simpler and smaller system. With advice from others on Audiogon, I bought a lovely pair of Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors, and a Cary SLI-80 Signature. Now I need to pick a CD player.

I listen to primarily piano music, opera, and chamber music (plus a smattering of jazz, from time-to-time). I don't give a darn about the "hi-fi experience." Grain free, no fatigue, timber accuracy, is what I value.

I'm thinking:

Ayre CX-7e
Meridian G08
AR CD3
Marantz SA 11s1

Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

MMC
msmcelwee
I'm a classical and opera lover who found the Resolution Audio Opus 21 lacking in dynamics for large scale music (opera & symphonic). Sorry, RA lovers, IMO it's a decent player but I just didn't like it. As always, YMMV.
With your speakers and musical preference, I suggest you audition the Cary 303/300, the ARC CD3, Lector CD 7T, Ayre CX 7-e, Musical Fidelity A5, used Audio Aero Capiotle Mk II, used Cary 306/200 and a demo Cary 306/300 (which also plays SACD). The Linn Ikemi can be a fine player in the right system (it needs a lively preamp/combo) so audition it before you purchase. I don't think the Marantz holds up compared to the above players. While I haven't heard the G08, past experience with this manufacturer's digital gear tells me Meridian is always worth a listen.

I haven't heard enough of the modded universal/SACD players to have a specific rec on them except someone whose ears I trust loves his Esoteric DV-50. I would caution that - except for the Cary 306 and megabuck options - RB on most unmodded SACD/universal players is not nearly as good as RB on the stand-alone CDPs mentioned above. (This includes the Sonys.) Modded players are another kettle of fish already. If you have mostly CDs, I'd suggest you not sacrifice RB quality for SACD capability.

If you win the lottery the Reimyo CD777 will deliver your heart's desire in spades ;-)

You have some very nice speakers. Don't go for flavor du jour digital. Take your time so you will hear what those SF's are famous for.
Thank you for the thoughtful thread, Rackon. And to everyone else for all the other insightful comments. My instincts tell me to start with the G08. Solid company. Good units are available on the Gon. And if I don't like it (doubtful), there is a market for such a player, and I can try some of the other suggestions.

And when I get this choice behind me, I can start working on a new record spinner. THAT will be fun.

MMC
stretch your budget to 6000$ and get the cary 306 SACD player(fyi there is no 306/300 model).Your upgrade journey will be finished.It's getting rave reviews on audio asylum.....at least listen to it before committing to another player.
Thanks senna - since my Dealer hasn't gotten one in yet (!!) I wasn't sure what the sesignation was - I think of the players in series since I started with the 303/100 and worked up.

All I know is, if it's better than the 303/300 and the old 306/200, then it's one heckuva player (and all the reports seem to agree that is is terrific).
No problem....hope you get a chance to audition the cary 306...:)