Why not another Meridian? I have owned the 808.2 and now the 808.3, they are superb!
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I enjoyed my Ayre C-5xe MP with CJ tube gear and Dyn C-1 ii's. Recently traded the Ayre with other gear to get the cj GAT. For just red book cd, I use a McCormack transport with a SMc Ultra DAC; it is killer and easily matched the Ayre on SACD. If you can find a used McCormack DAC, Steve will upgrade it to Ultra DAC status for $1700. Good luck!
I own the Luxman D-05 and use it with dynaudio 1.3se's. I find the d-05 musical with a wide soundstage but sometimes lacking in bass def. and sound separation. I also run a Rega Saturn which may not be as musical as the Luxman, has tight bass and good separation. Your speakers might match luxman better than mine or going up the luxman line.
What's your budget? Meridian 808.3 and ARC cd 9 are probably very good but seem pricey to me. I just saw a Rega Isis for 6k. I'd consider that. There is also a Luxman D-05 for about 3k. I have limited experience and haven't heard esoteric,
I have an esoteric UX-3 and briefly had a pair of the original Dynaudio C1's. I enjoyed the pairing. I really like the Esoteric for sound and build quality. I also like that they have a very reliable service center and believe in repairs. When my CDP starts to show some wear, malfunction, I plan on repairs over replacement. I want to keep my current system for awhile.
Thanks everybody for all the good advice. Since this will probably be my last CD player, I am willing to go as high as 9k. I talked to music direct and they really sold me on the Esoteric K05. Does anyone have experience with this in a similar system.
I feel that while the Dyns are revealing they are not bright sounding and my greatest fear is ending up with something ear splitting like when I had a Krell amp and Nordost Red Dawn cabling. I eventually replaced these with an Ayre amp and preamp and different cables The system sounds much smoother now and sopranos don't have a steely edge. However, I still would like more detailed midbass more sense of ambience and space.
My great fear is ending up with something ear splitting once again, and I am too old to have to go through that again.