I had a Doge6 as well as the MHZS66. I had both modified with nos tubes and vcaps. At the time these units were being referred to as 'giant killers' bettering players costing many K more. At the time I felt the Doge6 had better detail and sounded more analog.
About three years ago I auditioned a used Electrocompaniet ECM 1UP. It was an improvement in all ways that mattered to me displaying an even more defined soundstage with better resolution and detail. Older cds sounded wonderful as the volume was turned up. They lost some of the shrill or edge the chinese players displayed at volume. I enjoyed that cd player for over two years. I learned how good many of the early cd releases. My ears were opened.
I then auditioned my current Esoteric SA-10. I had little reason to believe this would top my beloved electro but it was much better. After playing it for a week I knew it wasn't leaving my system. I have audition other esoterics that fall closer to my price range but you really need to spend many K's on the used market to get substantial improvements in the Eso line IMO.
The Eso and the Electro were both around 2k used.
I am only discussing the redbook performance. The SACD abilty of the SA-10 is the icing on this cake IMO.
One more thing to add.The totally solis state Electrocompaniet sounded more tube like and less solid state then the tubed Doge6 but of course YMMV.
One of the best players I've owned, including 5K and 10K digital setups. I have heard nothing that can touch it at 2K shipped. Just make sure to get the upgraded tubes.
IHBME,on the used market plenty can touch it and do.
That's a very valuable post, Montejay. The OP can sit around and guess which ones you are talking about.
Thank you both for your responses. I've read and enjoyed both of your component reviews, and appreciate you taking the time to respond. I already spend too much time sitting around wondering about audio equipment, so I won't add guessing to the activity list. I think Montejay is referring to the Electrocompaniet and Esoteric players he had recommended, anyway. This has given me a lot of food for thought.
I have heard one of Electrocompaniet's players at a local dealer, although I'm uncertain of the model, and thought it sounded fantastic. And I've heard Esoteric at RMAF and had the same favorable impressions. But those are outside of my budget parameters new and I'm not too keen on making a used purchase of a CD player. Whether of not this is foolishness on my part, I would like the support of a warranty in case I have any problems.
Given that parameter, would either of you recommend anything else? I'm actually considering just updating my DAC first and running an old CD player through it to forestall any decision on a new CD player, but the notion of the tube output stage on the Doge 6 intrigued me. I know I could just buy a tube buffer or a DAC with tubes like those made by MHDT or Eastern Electric, but I was pretty taken with the quality of the Doge 8 unit I already own and thought their CD might offer similar sound and value relative to competing models at the same price point. Would either of you be able to/mind answering a few questions?
1. Where would you rate the Doge compared to something like a new Sony XA5400ES or a one of the newer Oppo units? I could always have them updated by Modwright down the road and see further improvement, but in their stock forms where would you say they stand in relation to the Doge 6?
2. Do either of you have any experience with any of the AH! Njoe Tjoeb units? Or Jolida or Cayin tubed units? Or Cary or Primaluna tubed units? I'm asking because I'm curious where the Doge rates in relation to other tubed units that have been well received and well reviewed? I understand that the Cary and Primaluna units are outside of the parameters that I've established for myself.
3..What do you think of the actual quality of the Doge 6, in terms of durability and construction? Does the transport seem well made or flimsy? Aside from the sound in your system, how does it compare to other units you've experienced?
Thanks so much for your time and consideration in offering feedback and answering questions. It is much appreciated.
Unlike most people here, I will not give you an opinion on gear I've never owned. In my system, I found the Doge6 far superior to the 5400 in the areas that matter to me. The Doge is well-built and the transport is a standard plastic CD transport found in many, many players, including the Ear Acute and the Ayre. They don't look like much, but they do last. Look, you seem like a serious person and I appreciate you wanting to know you're doing the right thing, but nobody could possibly A/B all the players you have listed there. The Doge is good, the Sony is good. I have a $189 Oppo that's good too. The Doge gives you 30 day money back and US support. Try that with your used Electrocompaniet. You're buying a CD player. It's not going to last a lifetime, unless you're very old. Stop anguishing over this and buy something.
HAHA! Point taken. The truth is that I really want the Doge, and was hoping somebody would say something that would talk me out of it. You've failed miserably at that. Thanks, Chayro! I really do appreciate it.
just re hooked up my Doge 6 ( re tubed with vintage mullards)....it really is close to the equal to my mucho expensive Esoteric CDP.....absolutely no mechanical problems with it.
That's good to hear, Auralone. Which Esoteric CDP are you using?
Thank you all, for your feedback and your time. I've decided against any new CD player at this time and will just go ahead and buy a new DAC. Ultimately, I had to be honest with myself about my real listening habits and probably only 10% of my listening is CD based, the bulk of it being computer/vinyl. Given the overall cost of my system, I think spending $1700 for a CD-only player would be a mistake for me right now, especially given the fact that a DAC upgrade is long overdue and more worthwhile for my actual listening preferences. Despite the fact that I enjoy reading Audiogon forums, I tend not to post much. It was nice to see firsthand how helpful the forums could be in providing useful feedback and helping me to work through my own process in reaching a decision. Thanks, guys.
Maybe you would listen to more CDs if you had a good player? People do too much reading and not enough listening. Buying a cheap DAC isn't going to help you enjoy your system. But it's your money and your ears, so enjoy.
As stated in my previous response, buying a new DAC will help me enjoy my system more, as it will improve the quality of one of my two preferred sources for listening. I already have 2 relatively inexpensive DACS that I enjoy immensely and listen to for hours a day. I never said that I planned to buy a cheap DAC. The notion of me purchasing a cheap DAC is your own invention.
Excuse me. There is obviously a big difference between cheap and inexpensive. Enjoy your third inexpensive DAC.