Differences in sound Esoteric SA-10, SZ-1,SA60?

Looking at replacing my venerable TEAC VRDS-20 and I’m interested in the Esoteric SZ-1. Having had a short listen to the SA-10, I would like to know if the SZ-1 is closer to the SA-10 or SA60.
I’m aware they all use the same chip and transport.
The Bryston BCD-1 is also on my short list.
I’m a little sceptical on the improvement of CD playback having tried some outboard DAC’s such as the Benchmark DAC-1 and found absolutely no improvements over the VRDS-20 when either used as a transport or as a stand-alone player.
I know a lot of you will bring up other players but I’m trying to narrow my decision.
Associated equipment , Bryston BP25, Bryston 4BSST, Velodyne SP1500R, Dynaudio Contour’s 1.3MKIIs.


If you find that you like your VRDS-20 just as much as using it as a transport for a Benchmark DAC1, then I'd say you should stick with your VRDS-20.

I myself have a VRDS-25 and a VRDS-25X.

The 25 is optimized as a transport with power supply upgrades, new clock and digital output board from AES-Audiotuning in Germany. Substantial and obvious improvement over the stock unit when using either a Benchmark DAC1 or a Lavry Black DA10. Haven't tried it using the stock analogue output.

For modifying the 25X, I took a similar approach (except kept the original clock), but also had installed the LC Audio ZapFilter MK II, which is a dumb name for a completely new analogue output stage that uses no opamps, only discrete transistors; also has its own power supply.

Despite the old clock and the old 20-bit DACs, with the power supply upgrades (caps and rectifiers) and the ZapFilter, and some of the digital filtering removed, the 25X beats the modded 25 feeding the DAC1. Haven't yet tried it with an outboard DAC as it sounds so good as it is.

My Teac/Esoteric P70 transport and Universal Audio 2192 DAC/master clock beats both of them, but then, for what it costs, it should, shouldn't it?

So...a long-winded way of suggesting that, given your experience, you might wish to mod your VRDS-20 rather than buying either another player or another DAC.

Hope this helps.


HI Robert:

Do you need multichannel capability via analog outs?
Are you going to play multichannel SACDs?

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