You may want to consider a modification by Parts Connexion.
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I stopped my <$2k search with a Cairn Fog CPD with the 24/192 upsampling chip. I think there are two listed here on a'gon currently? I would highly suggest giving this player a whirl, it is outstanding for the $ IMO. This peice converted me to a full Cairn set-up. It does all the things you ask, it may just be a little lean in the bass region in some opinions? Not for me however, it's rich midrange and elegant highs make up for anything it may lack, and IMO, it lacks very little.
I recently upgraded from an Ah Tjoeb '99 to a Cary 308 (my budget was less than $1000). I would highly recommend a Cary CD player. I listen to wide array of music (Rock, R&B, Jazz, etc...) and this player performs well with all. And the 303/200 is supposedly a step-up in all regards over the 308.
Bass performance was a big step up over the Ah!. Tighter, deeper and with more slam.
The 308 was also more detailed than the Ah! and a Marantz DV4200(DVD player) that I did the A/B testing with. The DVD player was also stronger in the bass department compared to the Ah!... But the bass did not sound as natural as it does through the Cary.
I have found a couple poorly recorded discs in my collection that the Cary is less forgiving with than the Ah!, but turning off the upsampling helps with these discs...
Also of note is the superb build quality of the Cary! I found it to have the best build quality of any of the players I auditioned (Classe, Arcam CD72T, Nad -- These players I auditioned new in stores so I did not A/B... I found the Arcam too forward, and the Nad too dull sounding. The Classe was good... but I felt I could do better for the money, it didn't seem as involving as the Ah!).
You are in a diferent price point than me so you will certainly have more quality options, but definatly try the Cary if you have the opportunity (it also decoded HDCD which is a nice feature).
Thanks for the thoughtful responses.
Beavis- Have considered the mod for the Jolida, but it is hard to know how much improvement they will make in the areas that are important for me (timing and dynamics- rock or complex music are not its strengh). Also, there are few posts from individuals who have heard both modded and unmodded.
Jh2os- The cairn fog (odd product name) looks interesting- especially for the price. Sounds like it is a sweet, musical player- might be a good match with the bel canto amp.
Scd112- Thanks for the description of the 308- anyone compared the 308 to the 303- is the 303 worth the extra money?
Nzera, you will likely get a lot of advice here, all not necessarily experienced with the Jolida. Just a suggestion...it would be great to ask if anyone has experiecnce with their offerings vs. the Jolida and what their experience is in the difference. For the record, I have no problem with people making recommendations, I'm sure the CDPs mentioned here so far are great units, just would like to know how they compare to the Jolida, make sense?
Hereis one recommendation for the McIntosh MCD 205. It is a changer and has very nice playback of redbooks CD's. Well recorded music sounds awesome and poorly recorded discs are eminently listenable. I also own Sony's XA777ES which I use for SACD. It is a very nice sounding player on both redbook and SACD. Both can be found here on the GON for under 2K. Good luck, and if at all possible try to listen to the players you are seriously considering on your system. Its the only way to know with any certainty.
I recently sold my Cary 303/200 and purchased a Jolida jd 100, stock. Did a few mods myself, dampeneed the inside, changed the tubes to Electro Harmonix and added Herbie Lab tube dampers. I let the player run for about 100 hours. This is when the bass finally came in. It was pretty thin sounding until today, at 100 hours of play time. I have to say, the Jolida is a damn sweet sounding player, different from the Cary, not quite as detailed, smoother and warmer, very NICE. At a much lower price than the Cary 303/200, the Jolida is a great machine. I may miss some of the detail, but I will get over it.
I think Mijknarf has a good point.
So far, I have compared the Jolida to three digital front ends. One being my old Theta Data Basic II/ Audionote 1.1 rig, a Cal Audio Delta/Sigma combo and the stock BAT VK-D5. I preferred the Jolida to varying degrees every time, and so have many of my friends. The other systems were warmer overall, with the BAT being slightly darker. The Jolida has more transparency and detail than all of them, and a slightly cooler midrange with the Electro Harmonix tubes I am using. I may look at some GE longplates in the future, and possibly do some of the upgrades as well, but in stock form with better tubes, it is a tough machine to beat.
I currently own Jolida JD 100 with level-1 modifications from parts connexion other gears are odyssey and speakers are paradigm ref 100 v2, I have to agree with NZera that even though this is a nice player it is doesn't have the attack or dynamics of some other players, before buying this I heard Arcam FMJ-32 in my system its a nice player and is fast and dynamic, still I prefered Jolida JD 100, but it would be nice to have a CD player like Jolida and have a speed and dynamics of Arcam. (By the way I have sylvania glod plated triple mica in JD 100 - nice tubes)
I agree with several of the posts above that the Jolida has its strengths- it is transparent, listenable, reasonably detailed, and sounds great on vocal or acoustic music. However, I have tried a number of tubes, interconnects, balanced power, and platforms- and the Jolida just does not sound dynamic enough for me on rock and complex music. I don't think the problem is elswhere in my system, since for many CDs, a cheap yamaha cdp gets the music across better(albeit crudely)- also vinyl sounds great through a Nottingham/dynavector tt. Mainly want a CDP to keep longterm that works on all styles of music- cairn and naim are probably worth looking into- there are dealers locally.