I have the 508-24. It kicks butt. I also use rca's.
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I own the 508-20 and it was a large leap over the 506 series players. Comparing the 508.20 to the 508.24 makes a lot more since than bringing the 506 series into the discussion. The difference in those two players is much closer with the 508-24 having a little darker background ands maybe a touch better overall presentation. The 508-20 is a class "A" Stereophile player along with the 508-24. The only caveat to the 508-24 is that Meridian lost the source of the original transport that was in the 508-20 and earlier 508-24's. They replaced it with a new transport that, although good, did not have the same stellar dependability of the original. I believe this is a small issue but one of note, however. Either player is about as good as it comes and on the used market, what a buy!
I own a 508/24 and love it! Is it the best? No,but considering all the feedback you read ,most people that have it will tell you its one of the best in its price range. Its been around quite awhile and still holds up very well with the newer generation players. Is it worth the money? no! what is today ?????? good luck
I have the separate 566.24 and 500 for 2 years, then I found better. I can tell you the followings cost less sound better:
Yamaha CDR-1000 (also a CDR) New price is $1200.
Proceed PDT-3 (transport)
Marantz CDR620, CDR615 (transport)
Marantz SA-14 (SACD)
Sony's SCD-777ES or equivalent
Revox 226 (or Studer equivalent)
Apogee DAC's (or Cello re-brand)
Althought there are other good DACs, most are too smooth to match your Mcintosh setup.
Extreme, what have you been smoking. I had the
Revox 226 CD Player. I replaced it with the Meridian 508 20 CD Player. There is no comparison. The Meridian is light years better. Its smoother sweeter and silkier sounding. I'v also heard the Meridian 566 20 Dac, 518 Jitter reducer and the 500 transport and it sounded unbelievable.
My response may go against all of the others but I will give it a try. I have been an audio buff for the better part of 15 years now. I have auditioned much gear, and already gon through the money=better phase of audio. Now I consider products to really excel if the price/performance ratio is outstanding.
The 506.20 is a sleeper product from Meridian and is truly a classic in my opinion. At the price used it is untouchable. I have owned it for years and have yet to find a CD player even close in performance.
The 508.20 has balanced outputs and is significantly more money. The balanced outputs are "created" using op-amps and are not truly balanced. Listening to it single ended I found it to have less bloom and sound drier than the 506.20. I would have to stretch to assume in balanced it sounds better, but personally I don't care. A player anywhere near this amount of money should excel no matter which outputs are chosen.
Buy the 506.20 or 24. They are great.