Haven't heard it, but would also be interested in knowing how $24K worth of CD player sounds.
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Well, everyone here places a different value on things, including the differences (improvements) between cdp, pres, speakers, cables, etc. To many of us, the differences between a $2000 and a $24000 are not significant enough to warrant the extra expense. However, to others it is. To each their own.
That being said, it would be interesting to read feedback. I personally would love to compare to my current digital setup which I think is very good for my ears, budget, and purposes.
Yes I have heard the Boulder 1021 in my own system. A dealer brought it over along with some other high end equipment.
I'm using the CD7 as my standard player and I have not heard a better CD player than it before...
...until now. I'm a strong supporter of ARC's CD7 musical abilities and I've used both the CD3 MK1 and MK2 for a long time so I'm also very familiar with the ARC sound. But the Boulder is better - marginally so but better. The soundstage is larger in all directions and the focus of voice and piano is tighter.
Just when you think you've reached the limit of how far redbook CDs can be pushed, something comes along and pushes it even further.
But value? That depends on where you pain threshold is.
I heard the Boulder, but went a different route altogether. I've now got a MacMini I'm ripping CD's to (a 1TB external hard drive with matching footprint actually), and feeding a Wavelength Audio Crimson USB DAC, all of which is controlled via a 15" elo touchsreen. Its a more open format, can handle up to 24/96 files (although no SACD), easier to use with the touchscreen, and simply sounds fantastic. All for a little over 1/3 the cost of the Boulder. I'll never buy another CD player. - Pete -
From Rich @ Boulder:
The unit doesn't ignore hi-res, but rather plays the hi-res formats that we're guessing are likely to still be around in the future. Sony has abandoned DSD (no new labels are picking it up and others are hanging onto it because manufacturing costs are low enough not to stop), and DVD-A is already dead.
Also, when we were doing testing on SACD/CD mechanisms, for whatever the reason, error rates for those drives were MUCH higher than dedicated CD or data retrieval mechanisms. When DVD reading capability was added, the already high error rates became even worse.
In the end, we had a choice to make: SACD capability with less accurate read capability and no future DVD playback or initial release with CD playback and no SACD capability. When we factored in that SACD likely has a finite life span, it became an easy choice.
We've recently been listening to some brilliant 24/176.4 kHz .WAV tracks from Harmonia Mundi on the unit, as well as some tracks we had mastered from analog master tapes at 24/96, and they're amazing. If I remember correctly (and I may not because it's been a while), SACD has an equivalent data rate of 24/88.2 kHz. I would wager that the 24/176.4 tracks would produce better sound quality against the equivalent SACD track if mastering choices were the same (the discs are available on SACD, though we can't listen through the same source electronics), and the 24/176.4 .WAV file format will be around for a long, long time in the future.
Hey folks to put the vague discussion to an end.
I use 1021 going directly into 1060. I´ve compared in the last weeks extensively top notch CD-players with built in pre (Wadia 781i, DCS Puccini, Accuphase DP-700, Nagra CDP, Levinson No.51) and I can honestly say driving the 1060 directly (without pre) the 1021 was by far the best followed by the Puccini.
Speakers used were Avalon Indras, cables (borrowed) Tara Labs Zero and Omega.
The 1021 does not have a digital input because it does not utilize an S/PDIF, AES/EBU or AES3 data stream anywhere internally. Practically all digital transports or sources output this type of digital format, with the exception of USB (which has other major issues, but that's another story). The 1021 processes the data from a CD or DVD in its native format and never attaches a clock signal to the data stream, meaning that there's no chance for jitter to occur. To put digital inputs on the 1021 would mean having to convert the data from S/PDIF or AES and would add a lot of processing complexity in addition to opening the door for jitter to infect the signal in a product that's already $24,000, so we opted against it.