no way...the 5% rule
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If I had the money (a big if), I'd go for the CD-12. It is much more emotionally satisfying to me. When I heard the two side by side, the Ikemi was an ordinary player and bested by many in and below its price range, but the CD-12 was something special. That extra 5%, or whatever (I think it's higher in this case), is ridiculously expensive, but it would be worth it if I had the money to buy either.
I've listened to both of these and I own the CD12 and the Linn Unidisk v1.1 (which I use for video and SACD). On Redbook CD there is no question in my mind, that the CD12 is way better than either the Ikemi and the Unidisk v1.1. The CD12 is more musically involving and gets the "weight" of the music right. I find the Ikemi and the Unidisk on Redbook to be a bit thin and sterile.
BTW, you should be able to buy a CD12 used for $10-11K. Remember that there are 20 and 24bit versions, with the 24bit sounding just a tad better than the 20bit.
Also, I had the chance to listen to the EMM Labs combo against my CD12 on redbook and the CD12 acquitted itself very well. The EMM Labs has a bit more resolution while the CD12 had a better midrange. At this elite level of performance I find that it comes down to personal tastes...a bit like wine.
Linn equipment continues to be in my experience very musically involving compared to alot of stuff out there. I own the Kisto as well and have been "forced" to listen to its 2 channel pre-amp section while my new pre-amp gets delivered and I was so blown away by what I heard that I called my dealer...he told me that the Kisto has largel the same pre-amp section as the dedicated Klimax Kontrol pre-amp from Linn which has been touted by many as one of the best pre-amps on the market.
Again, Linn is a great company! Wish you luck in your decision.
I've just purchased a hardly used CD12 and paid around $10K for it. So far it sounds very comparable to my existing ML 31.0 & 30.5 combo. If blind folded I can challenge anyone to tell the difference.
The sound stage are similar in dimension even in 3D resolution. The music timbre are also similar, most noticeably in operatic voices.
The only time I think there is a noticeable difference is when I put on the Ottermar flemingo guitar CD. The ML has a bit more attack mainly because the CD12 is slighly lay back/musical.
Did I just throw away $10K? May be! But then the CD12 is a classic.