Last CD player?

Earlier this year, I bought a Bryston 4BSST2 power amp and a Bryston BP26 pre amp.  Recently I purchased a pair of PMC fact 12 speakers.  Both produced a marked increase in sound quality.

My source at the moment is a Meridian 588 cd player, which is about 12 years old.  The transport was repaired about 2 years ago, and some capacitors replaced.  I play only redbook cds, but I may look into downloading hi-rez files later.

I am wondering if buying a new cd player would produce another big improvement in sound quality.  My budget is between £5,000 and £10,000.  I have read glowing reviews of the Moon 650D and the Esoteric K05x and K03x.  The latter is rather at the extreme end of my budget, and I am curious if it is hugely better than the K05x.

I am trying to build a see-me-out system, so durability is important.  The gear I bought earlier has a 20-year warranty, which inspires confidence.  Esoteric products have a warranty of just 1 year.

I would be grateful for any opinions or suggestions.

To me the best allocation of resources would be to buy a high quality DAC, this would improve the quality of the 588 and give you the flexibility to listen to files and other sources through it.
at this price level the warranty should be lifetime.
My Esoteric gear came with a 3 yr. warranty The Ko3x is a great unit.
If you are already a Meridian owner why don't you look there?  I'm on my third version of the 808. 
I have thought about buying a DAC, but I am somewhat confused about if it is necessary to couple that with an expensive transport once the Meridian dies.

I agree the warranty should be longer; if I buy the Esoteric, and it packs up after 13 months, I would find it difficult to buy another one, financially speaking.

68pete: did you compare the K03x with the K05x?  If so, did you notice a huge improvement?

I am reluctant to consider the Meridian as I would also be paying for a pre-amp.
My last CD player is the new Musical Fidelity NuVista CD, companion to the NuVista 800 integrated amp. It's fabulous. I've had it since last December, and I love it. You won't read much about it here. Try to find one to listen to.
REGA ISIS valve spinner... 

Rega has two bespoke matched serial number transports specifically set aside for each unit sold.... No worries here.

it also has a direct USB input into its high-end DAC that is controllable from tthe remote so you can play all your digital downloads stored on external hard drives ... Nice touch ...

Google the reviews .... a $12000 MSRP Goliath killer of units at more than double cost ...Actually try to audition it and then stand back ....
I have never owned a hifi component with valves.  Do they need replacing regularly?  I have read that the supply of Nuvistors is limited.  Is it so that the Nuvista's output only uses the valves in the non-balanced oujtput?

I'll have a look at the Rega, thanks.  There is a stockist not too far away.

Nuvistor tubes are known for remarkably longer life ~100,000 hours, than almost any other type of tube. Yeah, they are probably tough to get. I would think Musical Fidelity would stock them for service since they sold so many models that use them. Cheers,
I would recommend a DAC. Bricasti is very high end and they take very good care of their customers, meaning very very inexpensive upgrades as well as service. Use your Meridian as a transport. They work you way into a storage/server, on which you record your CD's. So put all your music on a hard drive. 

I too only play RB CDs, and have an Esoteric K-07 CDP. I have now moved to a server based system and use my K-07 as a transport. Sadly it has not seen much action since the conversion, I would sell it,but there is no market for high quality CDP without taking a bath. My suggestion would be look at something downstream in both the Moon and Esoteric the Moon 260D or the discontinued Teac Distinction series. Both are excellent transports that most likely will be used occasioning and at a much lower price point. Good luck in your search!
The Bricasti indeed has excellent reviews, and I like the fact that they do upgrades at a reasonable cost.  Hopefully, that would also be the case here in Britain.  Coupled with an OK transport, it looks like a possible way to go.  Even if the transport needs replacing or fixing once in a while, that would be affordable.  Does a transport make a big difference to sound quality?

From what I read, the Esoteric players are solidly built (the K03x weighs 28 kg), and have an excellent DAC, as well a sufficiency of digital inputs.  One would hope it would last for a very long time.  It amounts to putting all the digital eggs in one basket though.
Sorry if they seem like a stupid question but how does one use a CD player as just a DAC? Is it just a matter of connecting the output of the CD player to an input of a DAC instead of the preamp or the CD player needs to have separate output from the transport portion. Thanks.
@kalali You can use a CD player as a Dac if it has a digital input and you feed that input from an outboard transport or streamer but the situation you describe is using the CD player as a transport, it spins the disc reads it and sends the info via a digital output to an outboard Dac. And yes there has to be a digital out you cannot send the signal from the analog outputs to a Dac.

Got it, thanks. I overlooked the idea of using the digital output on the CD player.

Musical Fidelity apparently have plenty of Nuvistors and their bases. They have very long life. 
Buying an external DAC gives you more options. You can pair it with a (relatively) cheap transport. Since the CD mechanisms are the part that fails most often, you can just replace the transport as required.

You can also stream hi-res files through it.

I just upgraded from a Sony S9000ES to an Esoteric DV-50S.

For redbook CD I ran the digital out from the Sony into a Teac UD-501 DAC. It came very close to the redbook performance of the Esoteric (SACD however, was not even close).

Within your budget range, there are a lot of very high quality DACs to choose from. I would recommend looking at Lampizator DACs.
Try sampling some new DACs. Finding one that plays nice with the Meridian and other components is key. Perhaps just take the player to an authorized meridian technician for a check up and a fresh dab of lube on moving parts.

Sounds like your happy with the new amps. I do believe the PMCs are voiced with bryston amplifiers, unless that changed. One DAC to consider, well within budget

Just because its a Bryston pairing doesnt mean you will be as happy with it, Im not suggesting that to be so. But its one to look at. 
Another piece of gear that I am using with Bricasti is the Melco N 1. It has 2 terabytes of storage plus you add more external. It is made by a company called Buffalo out of Japan. It only costs 2K usd and rather then a transport Buffalo makes a CD Blue Ray Burner that I purchase from Office Depot, you can get them anywhere. $150 use. Crazy cheap and the Melco recognizes it and sorts all them music. I purchased a small I Pad and loaded a free software called Music Life from Arcam. I am in Digtal heaven now.
This review gives you whole picture better then I can.

Thanks.  I was having a look at the Melco for when I decide to download and store tracks, rather than listen just to cds.  Good to hear you're happy with it.

My local hi-fi shop is getting the Bricasti in soon, and I hope to be able to listen to it in my own system.  The guy was also recommending the A + T PDP 3000HV cd player, which would be quite a bit more expensive.
Well keep in mind the Bricasti revels nuances in the music is not forward or abrupt as so many players and DAC's. Don't know your speakers. Mine are extremely reveling without being forward, thin and bright. If your speakers are not on the transparent end of things then the Bricasti may not reveal itself as great. Those nuances may get lost in the smog. But the Bricasti will take you into the future rest assured. 
My speakers are PMC fact 12, which are supposed to be quite detailed.

I am looking for a significant improvement over the Meridian 588, and I hope the Bricasti will be able to provide that.

I would try the T+A cd player 1st.  Happy Listening!
Or the Meridian 808 player.
I have my eye set on an Esoteric DV-50. My system is a 100 WPC Rotel receiver, which I think sounds wonderful with my Canton Ergo floorstanders. None of my cables cost more than $70.

My question is should I expect to be able to hear a significant difference in CD/SACD performance over an Oppo BDP-83SE or the like on such a system, or would I be better served getting the 83SE or even a 105 and spending the price difference elsewhere. I am already pretty happy with my analog set-up.
    I would also agree with dac upgrade and run yours as a trans.esoteric make great gear also.I have a m3 nuvista amp and was leaning heavy to snag a nuvista cd.But i instead put a dac3 belcanto on my cambridge audio and used it as a trans.It sound killer .As for finding the nuvista tubes.It is not really a problem,they are available as nos some are matched and prechecked some are not .I have bought a few off ebay in the box tested for 12 bks each just to have .sylvania,rca made nuvista 6w4c i believe.It was the tube mount that was hard to come by from what i was told.I love my m3 nuvista personnally(added revalationaudio lab psu ac cabling and it has been modded in england .

You have a heathly budget so good luck...

   2 channel    imo my cable upgrade on my above trans to dac to pre was huge i acheived it used for about 500bks az reference2 and az mc2 
the oppo 105 is a nice rig,modrighted its serious. there is alot of qualty used dac in the 1g range though ..i got my belcanto for 750. and still use my cd as a trans ..ymmv..

You have a heathly budget so good luck... 
There is a guy selling an Accuphase DP-600 here for $6.5k which would be a very nice, reliable & great sounding player for a long time, however the seller has no f/back on A’gon, and does not specifically state if this example is a local or grey market example. I would recommend only buying an example purchased an from authorized US dealer.

Personally my favorite accuphase spinner is the vintage DP90 + DC91 transport/dac combo. Even today, that is a great sounding player.

Due to the £ falling against other currencies, the price of the Bricasti shot up by about 15%.  I've put that idea on the back boiler for now.

I tried out the T + A PDP 3000 HV for a week.  That was very interesting.  This machine oozes quality.  It is very meticulously built, and has all manner of unexpected enhancements over other machines, such as two power supplies, and therefore two power leads.

To my surprise, to my ageing hearing anyway, it only sounded marginally better than the Meridian 588.  The sound was certainly a bit smoother.  I decided not to buy it for a few reasons: I could hear the transport whir during quiet parts of music, the remote only worked when I stood directly in front of the machine, and not at an angle from my listening position, but mostly because I felt I could not justify the price in view of only a marginal improvement in perceived sound quality.

In the near future, I hope to compare a MacIntosh MCD 550 with the Esoteric K 03x.  I will also listen to the Moon 650D.

I am still hoping that by buying an expensive, modern cd player, I will achieve a big improvement over a relatively cheap, 13-year old machine. 

Check out Spectral.

the Esoteric will cruch the Oppo, especially, in its SACD playback.
Keep me posted and Happy Listening!
Yep, Accuphase is on my must-demo list.
Spectral as well.
Gustard X20 modded by Ric Schultz not a lot of money but a lot of dac. Best of Luck
I was significantly outbid for the Esoteric; but I did get an Oppo BDP-95 for a little over half what they seemed to be going for and about $100 less than the lowest I have seen. 

I can't wait until it arrives!
Keep me posted -2channel8

Happy Listening!
The PS Audio DS dac [$6000.00} and their new DMP transport[$6000.00] would be on my short list. The new transport does native DSD playing sacd's.[still in beta]. Great customer service and they will always make things right if anything should go wrong with any of their equipment. The sound quality is superb. 


I heard the M2Tech at the RMAF in the same room as the very expensive Esoteric and it is not expensive. Might be a good idea to take a listen, you could contain keep it for five years or so, I know I could. Keep the Melco in mind as well. 2K here in what we were accustom to calling the USA. That and the little Buffalo CD burner will replace your CD player and improve the sound as well. M2Tech is made in Italy. : )
Today, I listened to the Esoteric K03x at a dealer about 40 miles away.  I was impressed by the sound stage and the separation of the individual instruments.

The dealer said there isn't a K05x in Britain just now I could listen to.  Has anyone compared the K05x with the K03x?  Is the latter substantially better than the former?
Thanks! for the update- paleo12

are you still going to audition a Macintosh and Sim Moon 650D ?

The K03 was a pretty good sounding CD player. I was a dealer for them. Never had the K05 in my shop.
I still like the idea of a DAC and the  2K Melco.


Since Monday, I have been trying out the Esoteric K05x, and I am very impressed.  I hear things I never heard before; the level of detail is amazing.  Also, the sound stage is large and very precise; I can hear where the different drums are in a drum kit for example.

The only mild disadvantage is this: with some older recordings (the Crosby, Stills and Nash album for example), there is some harshness about the voices.  I spoke with the dealer, who said that Esoteric cd players need about 200 hours to run in, and that this harshness will disappear.  He said also that there is some compromise involved here: the level of detail the player can produce has some disadvantages with poor recordings.

Has anyone had any experience with the running in of Esoteric cd players?  Does anyone have any views or the settings for filters and oversampling when it comes to playing poor recordings?

Hopefully, in 2017, we will continue to see and hear new CD/SACD players!
Has the new Bryston BCD-3 reached the UK yet?  I think you might find it a very synergistic match with your other equipment and, on its own terms, all the CD-player and more that you would ever want.  The first reviews and responses are very positive.
Had a revelation today!  Heard my Krell Vanguard with the Digital board installed streaming my ripped CD's from a Blue Sound Vault 2 through  BSOUND PNode connected by an optical link.  Unreal...absolutely glorious tone and warmth.  Decided to sell my $12k spinner :))
paleo 12
I have had my Esoteric KO 3x for a couple of years now and love it. It does have a long break in and the break must be done for each filter and sampling rate. I do not feel there is a right answer for which filter or sample rate you use. It really boils down to the sound you like in your room. For me some recording sound better with the different filters and sample rates than other did. Best way is to play around with it, to you get the sound that makes you happy.  I some times change  mine up when i go from SACD to red book CD. Good luck
Enjoy Pete
Thanks! for sharing- dave_b & 68pete

Happy Listening!
I'm kinda in the same situation as the original poster (paleo12).  I am in the process of putting together my "last" system.  I have a 50 year involvement in audio systems resulting in a fairly extensive collection of LPs, CDs, and a relatively small but growing collecting of SACDs.  I am late to the digital streaming and music server party but am interested in expanding my system in that direction.  At the same time, the prospect of ripping my entire CD collection (1000+) is a task I am not exactly looking forward to.  I probably want to have a good quality CD/SACD player as a permanent part of my system from now on.  Currently I have a Meridian 508.24 CD player (20 yrs old) and a Sony 5400ES SACD player.  Obviously I use the Sony for my SACDs but alternate between the two for rebook CD playback.  I know the Meridian has to be near the end of it's life, but it just keeps on working.  I also know that the advances in digital playback since 1997 have been significant.  The Sony 5400ES is an excellent player and represents some of the advancements in digital playback but it too is starting to get a little old (7 yrs).  

I am thinking about replacing both of these players with good quality single CD/SACD player that would be and significant upgrade in sound.  So far I am considering something like the Esoteric K-07 or PS Audio's new Memory player paired with their Direct Stream DAC. The advantage of the PS Audio option is that it includes a separate DAC that may make it easier to expand my digital streaming options in the future.  Anyone have thoughts on memory players vs conventional disc players?  What other options should I also be looking at.

I am certainly very happy with the Esoteric K05x, which can also function as a DAC.  I found a distinct improvement over the Meridian 588 in sound stage and detail.  Some people might find it a little too detailed I suppose; one could not describe its sound as "sweet".

A friend of mine burned all his CDs to a hard-drive, and spent a fair bit on expensive gear to play the files.  He said that he did not notice an improvement in sound quality, but liked the increased convenience.

Best of luck with your explorations.
The model we have yet to hear.