Favorite one box C.D.??

Really stuck between adding an external DAC or going to a great one box solution. Some names that come to mind are Cary 306/200, ARC CD3, Electrocompaniet EMC1 UP, AudioMeca Meridian 508.24 as well as a few others. I really like detail yet without the harshness of digital or digital glare. Any and all opinions would be valued.

Good Listening and Happy Holidays to all,

Steve Bachman
Audio Aero Capitole Mark II. Do a search on this one and you will be amazed by the responses. It has all of the digital inputs, volumn control and a wonderfully sweet sound. If you were to get a top quality DAC, Transport and Pre, you could be spending as much and you would not have the Audio Aero.
Naim....nothing more musical that I've heard in a one-box. I have a CD5 with a HiCap (guess that makes it two-boxes, but I do like it fine with one) which is a very smooth and engaging player. I'd also look at the CDX as wellas the CD2. All have a reputation for being very musical one-box players. Have heard both the latter and would highly recommend them too. Don't need the external power supply, but it does make an improvement. Naim started supplying the newer players with optional RCA outputs. Otherwise you may be limited to conversion or use with Naim 5-pin DIN interconnects (Chord makes some good ones, and you can get Naim to build one for you that goes to RCA if you provide the RCA cables). Not enough to warrant the new price of one IMO. Used perhaps. Check the comments and reviews online from owners and reviewers both.


PS Haven't heard the AA the Unclejeff mentions but it has a GREAT reputation as well.
Of the ones I've heard, the AudioMeca Keopps, as a bargain unit, and the Linn Sondek CD 12, at the top end of the spectrum, are the ones that have stood out from the crowd. The Linn really is as good as it's cracked up to be, in my opinion.
Ayre CX-7.
Had a vinyl friend(not literally) visit recently-commented the best digital sound he'd ever heard.
I have owned two of the players on your list, the Cary 306/200 and currently the Audiomeca Mephisto 11.X. I found the Cary an excellent cdp but wanted to go to the next level. I auditioned the Audio Aero Captiole and found it exceptional but was concerened about built quality and somewhat confusion on my part about all the upgrades available on a new model. I finally decided on an Audiomeca Mephisto 11.X and couldn't be more pleased. It is one of the most musical cdp I have heard, the frequency extremes are extended and the midrange is liquid and transparent. Good luck.
How about a BAT with Amperex 7308's and Symposium Rollerblocks
I have a friend who owns a high-end store and I have owned, had in my home, or listened to the Naim, Electrocompanet (pre 192k version), Cary, Audio Aero, Wadia 860, and the Gamut - basically all the big names right now except the mephisto.

They all have slightly different characteristics but the differences in shear quality is very fine. However I will say the Electro is right up there but in the end the Audio Aero is the winner.

The pictures that you see online don't do it justice - the build quality doesn't show in pics but it is quite refined in person. Now the Electro and Mephisto have in the looks department - though most of us will not buy on looks alone (though I am often tempted).

But the two places where the Aero is superior:
1. A warmer more vinyl side which the Electro has also but it is slightly more refined
2. Not only does it have all the goods but it has volume control also which allows us not to have a pre-amp.

Now, I owned the Wadia and it had volume control also but it was digital which meant you lose digits when reducing volume. I tried it many times at my house and at my friends place and we always preferred it with a pre-amp, even an less expensive one.

The Aero's volume control is analog and does not lose anything in the translation so you can actually do without the pre-amp and save that money...or spend it on this one box instead.

8k is a lot of money but if you think about it as a world class CD and preamp it isn't bad. I mean the new Electro SE version is 6k, the Mephisto is 7k, and the Wadia is 8k...for the non SE version...and with each you still need a pre-amp.

Just an aside, in my opinion, the Gamut is best deal.

well, a lot of this is personal preference but this is my experience

enjoy the music (and equipment)

Rec (or anyone else with info of course),
I've heard some uncomplimentary things about the mechanical reliability of the Audiomeca's - have you heard or experienced any such thing? I almost pulled the trigger on a Mephisto II transport, but backed off. I hope I made a good decision :-(

Anyone comment on an AudioNote CDP? I think their one-box is not in the same price-league with some of these.
Wadia 860SE and the Mark Levisn 390S. I bought the 390S after a 20 minute listening session at my dealer.
Note: I did not care for the old 39, the 390S is an entirely new animal! Since you did not list the components in your system, I just suggegested what I like vs what might be a good match for you. Audiomeca Mephisto II also comes to mind. Good Luck.
The Levinson 390S is the best player I've heard and I've listened to many one-box players and transport & DAC combinations. Detailed but very analog sounding with a wide and deep soundstage. The only problem is price, it's expensive (too rich for me right now) and at the high end for players you are considering.