Well, if you don't have to have a carrousel, look at the anthem CD-1. There was one posted here just a couple days ago. It's a six disc changer, elevator style. It sounds very good.
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You know part of this equation is your d/a playback equip. I have several systems and have high quality single disc players for individual play. I also have distributed audio in which I use sony multidisc players. I do not use the decoding capabilities of these players but rather run them through my surround preamps for decoding. The only time can discern a major difference is when I compare that sound to a hide end single disc player, which is superior. Bottom line for all your playback in my mind is the preamp decoder.
Your options basically are to find a really good multi-disk player (there are some out there but they are very hard to find) OR punch out and get an outboard DAC. Here your options are several. Depending on the money you wish to spend, there are recommendations all over the place. I've actually got two different setups that would work that I need to get rid of but neither of these may fit your demands. Your first decision is whether or not you wish to keep the player you have and go with the outboard DAC. Good Luck.
I third the Sony 555ES. I currently have a Sony CA80ES 5 disc carousel which is very good for the price. I bought it new 3 years ago and it has NEVER had any issues whatsoever. I really enjoy it. Sony makes a good product IMO and they have the economies of scale to make its value super high. Good luck - Arthur
I recently purchased a used Anthem CD-1 and had it upgraded/modded by Chris Johnson at Parts Connexion with: Audiocom Superclock II, Bybee purifier, new/better caps, Telefunken CCa tube and better RCA outputs. After about a month of listening, I can say that I am very satisfied with the sound of this player and the convenience of the 6-disc changer (much like the vertical cartridge systems in car audio).
Chris, who was the founder and designer of Sonic Frontiers/Anthem, said that the 6-disc changer mechanism in the CD-1 is very robust. Also, the power supply is very solid. Although its only been a month, I would have to agree, as my 4 to 5-year old unit appears to be working very well (phew!) and is quick when switching to the next disc (I don't use random much, as I prefer to listen to one disc at a time). It's a little more time-consuming to load and unload discs, since it has to be done one at a time, but it feels so solid compared to a caroussel.
This was not an inexpensive solution. However, for about $2,000 US, I don't think I could have done much better and still have the convenience of a changer.
Yep, I agree with the 2 guys above me. I compared the CL-10 to the Rotel RCC-1055 I posted about previously. The CL-10 is better made, has a smoother carousel mechanism, and sounds better, although, the disply on the CL-10 is antiquated. And, the CL-10 is scarce as it is no longer made because Cal Lab has folded up.
A friend of mine likes Cal labs but she has lots of problems with them. She has an Icon 2 and a CL-15 and both have had 3 costly repairs EACH and since the company is history, getting them fixed isn't too easy. She said she will throw in the towel the next time one of them quits and get somthing else. I listened to them at her house and they did sound good - on par with my system (Sony CA80ES 5-disc with McIntosh/Paradigm ref). Her system was very different however so I shouldn't compare too much. I would like to audition the RCC-1055 but haven't had the chance yet so I didn't mention it above. I believe the previous model, Rotel RCC-955, was reviewed pretty well too. Arthur
I heard an Adcom changer with a Bel Canto DAC, through a very nice system (Sonic Frontiers and B&W N802). It was awful. Not that it made any ugly noises, it was just boring and non-musical. Changing to an Anthem CD-1 showed an immense improvement in every way; detail, soundstage and especially musicality. If I wanted a changer, that's what I'd get. A good DAC won't save a mediocre carousel.
One thing that can be said is that I haven't seen too many of the Anthem's come onto the 'goN. I'm looking though, just in case I find one. Your points are echoed elsewhere. The issue of musicality and soundstage are near and dear to my heart and thus it gives me pause to look for anything different. I'd post a wanted but there's a guy in Canada with one out there and he hasn't gotten a response. We'll see what turns.