CD Player recommendations for a SET system

I thought I'd post this in the Amp Pream forum for the SET experts. I have 211 mono blocks and DB-99 speakers. I am trying to find a CD player which will give some dynamics to the sound. Budget is about 2k for a used player. My system sounds very good currently (using an older sony CD player) but large scale orchestra sounds somewhat conjested. Vocals and smaller scale music is great. What CD players have you SET users found that work best in the combo.

Congested sound with large-scale orchestral music suggests that the issue is with the amp/speaker combination. How does it sound with large-scale choral works? I find choral works to be the most demanding for tube amps.

You need to first determine what is the cause of any issues you are having with the sound before hunting down another CD player. Just because it may be the cheapest, component in your system does not necessarily mean it is the limiting factor.

I appriciate your thoughts- I do feel that the CD player is the weakest issue in the chain. I want to get a decent CD player 1st prior to looking at interconnects etc.

How about I refocus the question. Of the CD players which are out there- in the 2k range used-- which does the best job at keeping large orchestra peices unconjested?
Modwright Sony 999ES. Several available used for around $1500. Nothing will compete in this price range.

Best if the Modwright has the X03 clock upgrade. Also, Modwright now has a tube rectified power supply, which can be purchased as an upgrade. I suspect this would be a worthwhile investment.
Tickfight, I think that Larry gave you the best answer A good CD player might improve your problem but it won't solve it. I would be looking at room acoustics and speakers if I were you.

Having said that, I recently had a good listen to a Consonance Droplet CDP which you may be able to find around $2k secondhand if you are lucky. Excellent detail resolution and superb dynamics.
I 2nd Tvad's ModWright recommendation. I've used one in my 300b SET system and you won't be disappointed.
Good Listening!
I also agree with Larry. I heard a Conrad Johnson/Matiin logan set up, a Cayin 300B/Silverline Sonata set up, several Audio research set ups, I also had a KT88 chinese apm on demo, and all did not deliver classical very well. The CJ and Cayin offered orchestra as flat, very flat, worthless in fact. The Chinese KT88 amp was bloodless.
Though not all the above are set amps, in general when it comes to classical/orchestral/choral, tubes amps (Especially set) have one hell ofa time making it work. My Jadis Orch refer does produce sufficient fq's to bring out classical with some body. Mind you this is the smallest of Jadis, more in this case for classical would be better.
Note: my next amp will be the Cayin 845 monos/single 845 per block. Not the dual 845's per block!!!
btw I have the tube cayin17 cdp/ had the opamps changed and the tubes are Sovtek's grey plates/1970's/Upscale Audio. The Ops made a nice improvement, the Sov's made a nice improvement. I'm now going to change the caps to mid price Mundorf's.
For the money, this is a very nice cdp. The local tech guy doing the mods says he likes how Cayin has the unit designed. And justifies the money in the mods.
Bottom line, if you want full bodied orchestra, you need a a tube amp that can take on the complexity thrown at it.
Not sure if the 845 tube will deliver the goods either.
A true low watt set will not reproduce classical in a DYNAMIC manner. Dynamic = decent bass, decent highs(the Jadis is a tad weak in the highs, roll off) There I said it again just to be clear.
Good luck.

You asked a CD question and the Modwright answer is supurb. I agree.
Thanks for the responses thus far.

Larry, I may have been too hasty in my thought process. Indeed it seems that what I am asking regarding non-congestion in complicated multi-layered music IS the weak point in a SET system.

So the question becomes- am I asking too much? CAN a SET owner have both the wonderful intimate sound of single voice and smaller band music AND feel the energy and detail in full scale orchestra music?

For those who answer YES to the above-- What were the system components that were being used?

In regard to the Modwright Sony 999ES it is intriguing indeed. Interesting too is the overwhelming response to this CD player. When I see this I think two things-

1) that this CD player is the one to get
2) I have ran into a marketing campaign.

Please understand, I am in NO WAY trying to insult anyone who has posted- I am just being transparent with my thought process.

I will go do some thread research. Perhaps, however the Sony 999es is my answer. If I go this direction then the preamp becomes important also. Is there a Modright preamp also?
Oh yea, left this out of my last post-

Amfibius thanks for the Droplet recommendation- I have this CD player in my sights along with the Opus 21. I liked these two as they can be used with no pre-amp. However I may need a good pre to occomplish my objective.
In regard to the Modwright Sony 999ES it is
intriguing indeed. Interesting too is the overwhelming response to this
CD player. When I see this I think two things-

1) that this CD player is the one to get
2) I have ran into a marketing campaign.

You are wise to be suspicious and cautious. Speaking for myself, I have
heard the Modwright Sony 999ES in my system against an Exemplar
Denon 3910, Electrocompaniet EMC 1-UP, APL Denon 3910, APL Phillips
SACD 1000 and Marantz SA-14. The APL Denon 3910 has been the best
in my system, and it costs $6500. The Modwright Sony 999ES is tied for
second with the Exemplar Denon 3910. They are both excellent. The
Modwright is a touch warmer sounding than the Exemplar.

But, you were asking about machines under $2k, and the Exemplar does
not qualify. Even used, this player is $3500.

Two local audiophiles each own a Modwright 999ES in systems
quite different from mine, and quite different from the other. The
Modwright sounds excellent in both systems, as it did in mine.

I have absolutely no relationship with Modwright other than appreciating
Dan's products. As I said, IMO, it's unlikely a used Modwright Sony
999ES for $1500 can be touched by another player under $2000. It's the
closest thing to an audio no-brainer that I know.

Modwright has a new modification for the Sony 9100ES, which Dan
claims is even better than the 999ES. I have heard the new player only
briefly at a show with unfamiliar gear. It's $3500. Yes, Modwright has a
preamp. Another very good product, and one that is priced at a real-
world level. This probably sounds like marketing, but I'm simply
answering your question. I'd suggest doing a thread search for more

Finally, I would think your 16 wpc Consonance Cyber 211 monos would
be enough to drive the DB-99, but you might get more drive from a
push-pull KT88 amp.
Thanks Tvad,

In looking through the hx of the threads on the Modright you have been fairly active with it, but your input has been consistent and I do appreciate candidness. Nothing wrong with having an opinion, particularly when others seem to support it.
You asked for a recommendation. I offered one based on your price criteria, and based on actual listening. That's the best I can do.

Good luck!
Thanks Tvad, I appreciate it, really.

There are A LOT of people on this forum with only a small % of them offering up some thoughts (I am guilty of that too). So I don't think it's very sportsman like for others to sit back and pick at the members who do share their experiences and ideas on issues. If I had 6k for a CD player I'd look at the Apple. But I got 2-3K and your recommendations are exactly what is helpful to me.

Anyone else?
I submit marketing campaigns are put on by people usually with zero to very low feedback. Look again please at the feedback from those that responded favorably toward the ModWright unit.
I agree one should always "consider the source".
Good listening!
You may be asking too much from a front end. I don't think changing it is
going to make up for the limitations of your SET amplifier, which you've
described very well. I don't think putting a different front-end will necessarily
make more complex and layered dynamic music sound any less congested.
That is a very typical shortcoming of SET amplification. If you want to invest
some money into your system to get more enjoyment from that type of
music, why not add an alternative amplifier that excels in the areas SET is
lacking? For 2K you can get a nice integrated amp, or power amp, to use in
place of your SET amp(s) and you may find a whole other kind of enjoyment
from that music. I think the difference that direction might offer will probably
be more profound, in this case, than a change in the front end, which it looks
like is already pretty good (you listed a Droplet on your System Page, but
mention and older Sony here in the thread?). Don't get me wrong, I think the
front end is absolutely vital, but I don't think it's the culpret in your specific
quandry. Just a thought.

PS I'm not a "SET expert", but I do play one on TV

Between this and your other thread, it sounds like we're talking about two different issues. One is that the sound is congested, and you want an improvement in dynamics--which you would surely hear with a higher wattage amplifier. The other is that you want better instrument separation and more space in the music, which in my experience is the principal thing that separates a great CDP from a good one. I have yet to hear a mid-level CDP that doesn't collapse the tracks during complex passages.

So, I guess it's time for extreme audio make-over...
the Naim CD5x should warm things up.
Tickfight, you asked if it is possible for a SET system to produce dynamic sound. For me, the answer is an emphatic "YES"! My system (see link below) consists of a pair of Cary CAD-805AE SET's which put out 50W/ch, these are running a pair of ProAc D38's. I am using the Cary CD-306 CDP.

I am somewhat puzzled that your speakers cannot produce dynamic sound with SET's. VSA claims that the DB99 is 98-99 dB/W/m with a nominal impedance of 8 Ohms. That is a very easy to drive, very efficient speaker. My speakers are 91 dB/W/m, and 4 Ohm - they would be absolute pigs to drive compared to yours!

I am a classical fan also. One thing which I noticed with my new system is that it really shows up the bad recordings. Like, virtually the whole DG catalogue. Listening to an SACD really lifts the sound by a notch - incredible dynamics with natural sounding voices and violins. On SACD's like Carlos Kleiber's recording of Beethoven #7 on Orfeo (you MUST get this if you are a classical fan, BTW!), the orchestra is layered out in front of you and extends precisely to the left and right. It's quite something to hear individual instrumental timbres even in the middle of a fortissimo.

I really don't know what's happening on your end. Like Larry said (and I agree), a new CDP will not correct confused sounding music very well. Maybe it would help if you told us what SET you are running, what tubes, and what CDP you are using.
This thread reminds me of a TNT editorial found in this week's addtion titled "Tell Me Lies Tell Me Sweet Little Lies" - While I cannot offer advice on a better CDP, I think many have hinted that your current speakers and SET power may really be limited in providing the audio enjoyment that you seek for classical music.

I think the best advice is to seek out a higher power amp that really will work with your current speakers.

Just my $.02
This thread reminds me of a TNT editorial found in this week's addtion titled "Tell Me Lies Tell Me Sweet Little Lies"

Interesting article. Thanks. Your link is bad though having added a period at the end of the link. Here is a Corrected Link for that article.

Here's a 2nd for the Naim. I bet it would work magic in your system, even the CD5i which can be had new for ~$1700 and it just gets better from there.
The only way to determine which component is the limiting factor is to actually do some experimenting. If you can borrow some alternatives, you can at least determine if available power is the issue. You could also try different tubes to see if that makes a difference. For example, my amps came from the manufacturer with fairly expensive 5692 driver tubes, but I found alternatives that, to me, sound better.

I like SET amps myself, but if you need more power and don't want to give up too much of "that sound," you should consider pushpull triode amps. I personally find that the kind of tube (triode vs. pentode) is more musically significant than SET vs. pushpull. Simple pushpull amps can sound very, very good. I generally don't like the sound of most high powered pentode amps -- they tend to sound brittle and dry to me.

I am not familiar with the VS DB-99, but I find a claimed "in room" 99 db efficiency rating to be obtuse. What does that really mean and how does it translate to more standardized measurements like db at one watt or 2.83 volts at one meter in an anechoic chamber? If I add in room reinforcement, plus the contribution of the other speaker in a stereo pair, which is, after all, "in the room," I could turn a 93 db/watt speaker into a claimed 99 db speaker. Who knows if even more liberties are being taken with that rating. Consider too, that speakers with the same rating can be dramatically different in how difficult they actually are for amps to drive (depends on the impedance curve and phase angle).
I am using an Accuphase CDP (CDV55v), you can find a used one in the proce range you are.

Hope this helps

Consider too, that speakers with the same rating can be dramatically different in how difficult they actually are for amps to drive
The DB-99 has a 300W amp in the basement, so his amplifiers are not driving them by themselves.
Try to listen to a Linn Ikemi in your system. Adds liveliness to my 300B's.

Wadia 850. Had a Naim CD5 before that. Run the 850 without a pre; it has its own volume control. The 850 seemed expensive at first, but the cost was actually less than the pre, the CD5 and the flatcap "upgrade" that it replaced. I've never looked back.