Eastsound E5

I have done something that I don't normally do. I just ordered the newest version of the Eastsound E5 CDP from Cattylink.com (based in Hong Kong?) without being able to return it if I don't like the sound. The Eastsound Minimax has gotten some really great feedback on internet forums and press, but the E5 is supposed to be their best player. I know one who actually own one (Maxxc) and he thinks it's the best CDP he's ever used. And only for under $800 from Cattylink and they throw in a high grade PC for free that mates well with the CDP. According to Maxx, there is a Canadian dealer who put it up against his $9000 CDP and found the E5 better in overall sound. Any other who has heard or actually own one? Sometimes some of these Chinese gear are just too good to pass up.

You have confused ESound and Eastern Electric, the maker of the Minimax. Either way, I own an E5. I bought mine from Cattylink as well. Ufortunately, I cannot compare it to much as it was my first real venture into a digital front end. What I can say though is that it has an extremely quiet background and has allowed me to start buying more music instead of more gear.

Jump over to Head-Fi dot org. They have a few threads discussing that CDP. Nothing but superlatives describing it save one or two owners that had to send it back due to tracking problems.

There was a recent Canadian Group buy on it and I think someone in the US is also trying to get a Group buy on it as well.
Dan, you're right. I got Eastsound and Eastern Electric confused. Do you hear a difference between the XLR and RCA output?

B18, yes I did check out the headfi site, and all seem to love the sound. I was worried about possibly running into transport problems so I'm having Cattylink run their 120 hour QA test (they'll burn it in for free and check to make sure no problems arise). I was told the technicians will wear gloves when handling the E5 during the QA test to insure no scratches get on the chassis. The player just exudes quality in terms of the components used and sheer mass (30 lbs), but that doesn't guarantee trouble free operation so it's nice to have the QA test as some measure of insurance.

I was just informed by Snowy that he will offer the E5, the Silver Raincoat PC, and Xindak silver fuse + free QA test, if requested, for $710 total (including shipping to your door - 3 days by DHL) for all US buyers. It's a great deal IMO. I can't think of any US dealers who would go out of their way like this for their customers.

Furthermore, I originally wanted to get into SACD and also asked about the getting the Shanling SCD-300 SACD player in addition to the E5 to use as a standalone SACD player and E5 for redbook. But Snowy tells me, although the SCD-300 is a very good player for the money, the E5 will better the performance of SACD playback of SCD-300. Snowy is a real standup guy. Instead of trying to sell me another player, he recommended I stick with the E5. I find that most SACD players don't sound that different regardless of price when playing SACD, unlike redbook CDP.

I'm always on the lookout for awesome deals, and this really seems like the real deal. Just want to pass the message along to all fellow audiophiles.

I don't have any XLR cables so I haven't been able to try that out yet (I know Maxx has), but from what I have read on the net and heard from Maxx, the single ended outputs are superior. Hope that helps and thanks for reminding me about that fuse. It will be interesting to play around with that...

Have been trying to find everything I can on these units also. What little bit I have been able to find makes them sound like giant killers. What I would be particularly concerned about if buying from Far East is warranty and/or service, and what kind of help you would receive if there was damage in shipping. Don't know about DHL but horror stories are everywhere about claims with both UPS & FedEx and that is when you have a cooperative seller trying to help from their end.
Cnut, there are risks involved from buying from overseas you can't avoid. Snowy tells me you get a 1 year warrenty from Eastsound but you will have to pay for shipping, so be ready to plunk $100-200 if you choose to send it back for repair. The posivitive side is that this player is so cheap for what you get (according to those actually own them) so if something does go wrong you're haven't lost so much financially. As I have mentioned, you can choose to get the 120 hr QA test. I am aware of only one owner who had problem with the E5 after several months of use, and his was not the latest version of the E5 with more improvements to the transport. Personally I don't want to spend $4000 on a CDP, when I can get something comparable for $700 - the risk is worth it for me.
In terms of shipping, Cattylink took the extra step of almost triple boxing the unit (don't know if this is standard or if I lucked out). What I mean by this is that the CDP was double boxed and then some cardboard from other boxes was used to create a psuedo third level of packaging via tape and those really large staples. In any case, I must agree with Drac. The risk is worth it.