MF dac and reference players

Hi folks and happy new year!

I am still deciding between the traditional single box player of very high quality or a transport - dac combination based on a reasonable price point. My favorite dac is the Musical Fidelity A324. Can you recommend any dedicated transports that are compatible with this dac (either out of production or a steal for the money) that will yield excellent results?

I also want to share my favorite price no object single box players and a few comments about them with all of you and perhaps get some of your own.

1. Linn CD 12 - outstanding and coherent with all music. Obscenely overpriced. Errs more on the engaging side and not the dry. Can't really call it warm unless the recording was made as such.

2. Musical Fidelity Tri-vista - at $14K less than the Linn, this remains, so far, the best single box player I have ever heard although the Linn is a very close second. I have yet to hear the Nu-Vista as a comparison and would welcome comments to that effect.

3. Burrmester 969 - Not too much to criticize except the price. Not as dry as I expected. Very engaging, harmonicly rich and detailed at the same time. Heard this player with the ASL Hurricane and that was a combination to be reckoned with.

4. Mark Levinson 390S- this player shocked me with it's soundstage size and overall detailed coherence. Still on the "sterile" side which I find all designs from this company to be and which I do not like. Yet it's the most musical thing from this company I have ever heard. The closest comparable player would be the Moon Eclipse which I like better than the Levinson but was also slightly on the sterile side.

5. Sony XCD777ES - Very accurate, unforgiving yet musical and rhythmic with anything you throw at it. Especially in "redbook" mode. Not as sterile as you would think.

6. Rega Planet 2000 - To paraphrase a reviewer: gives up a small bit of dymanic range and detail at the frequency extremes for a very well balanced presentation. Couldn't agree more and I am considering purchasing the first version and using it as a transport if it will work with the MF dac.

7. Wadia - this company really is a polarizer when it comes to opinions. Recently heard the new model that has an option to remove the digital inputs and outputs. Listened to it with a halfway decent B.A.T. solid state amplifier. Very musical and detailed player. Gets harmonics correct and in that system wasn't as sterile sounding as the Levinson and Moon. Very much aware of this company's checkered past but very glad to see that they are still around and would welcome any comparisons to the above.

Thank you for reading.


I use a Proceed CDD with my MF A324 and they go along very well. I had the chance of comparing this CDD transport against others (Cal labs, modded Music Hall and others) and it blew them (albeit we tested them with an EAD 9000 DAC). I use a Kimber Illuminations D-60 digital coax cable. The CDD can be found quite cheap these days at the used market.
I agree with the previous post, If you like the MF sound, get the Tri-vista and a rega and save a lot of money and still be totally competitive with the mega buck players.
You should also consider Vecteur L4.2 (MSRP $2,290). It makes a great CD player as well as transport if you desire to mate it with MF DAC like the Tri-Vista 21 DAC (MSRP $2,395). The Tri-Vista 21 uses the Burr-Brown DSD1792 and has subminiature 5703WB tubes. This way you can have SS and tubes, depending on your moods or your materials. Just a thought.