ML 390S vs dCS Verdi/Purcell/Elgar Plus

Currently owing a ML No 39 as digital source, I am planning to upgrade my system to either the new ML No 390S or (very expensive...) a dCS Verdi/Purcell/Elgar Plus combination. I have no heard the No 390S yet, but people have told me this is an absolute fantastic processor which has little in common with the No 39 and is even near SACD sound (?!). What interests me is whether the quality difference justifies the extreme price difference between these components. Any other recommendations welcome on upgrading my source.
the 390S shares quite a lot with the 39. It is my understanding that the is field upgradeable, and the only change is replacement of the analog board. Check with your dealer, but this is what my dealer has told me. Same DACS.
you cant compare the both,not same price range not same level .one is 600 mercedes other is 200 mercedes.
mercedes 200 is good but isnt 600.right? ok, so which choice is analogous to the 600 benz? -cfb
Actually, the only reason I was considering upgrading to dCS is the possibility of upsampling (I owe approx. 8,000.00 classic CDs and this is the music I will listen to during the rest of my life). I am not interested in new formats but in how to get the most out of my existing library (Is my current collection a hidden goldmine?). Mark Levinson has published an article on what they call the "myth of upconversion" ( It is quit convincing I must say. But the dCS articles ( and Robert Harley's comments in the Complete Guide to High-End Audio too! I do not know what the situation in the US is, but here in Europe the possibilities to listen to such expensive components are non-existing so we have to decide on the basis of literature and reviews and, of course, the Audiogon forum. I would like to emphasize that all advise concerning the very best digital sources is welcome! I am seriously considering to go for either dCS (Verdi/Purcell/Elgar Plus or ML 30.6; maybe the 390S.
If you own 8000+ CDs, I would strongly recommend you the Accuphase DP-75V CD player. Results indicate that the Accuphase player is way smoother than the dCS gear which is slightly "analytical" as dCS people have been closely working with studio engineers and CD mastering facilities and prefer the extra analyticalness. See stereophile for a deatiled review of the Accuphase v/s dCS. For an audiophile who own 8000+ CDs, a simple one-box unit of the highest quality as mentioned above should be the "priority" as opposed to a separate CD transport, upsampler, dac etc and associated cables. I was earlier using dCS gear and have now switched over to the DP-75V and must say, the accuphase has "soul" and more musical. The DP-75V also supports addt. cards so the unit is future upgradable and also accomodated future expansion.
Hi. I have another idea for you. I've heard the ML39, ML30.6& ML31.5, EMC-1 I, RA CD55, Sony SCD-1 and Meridian 508.20. To me they are all within the same performance window with slight variation as to sonic signature, but not overall level of performance. After reading and seeing the separate DAC I bought a AudioMeca Mephisto II. I was replacing a Sony SCD-1 which had a near identical level of performance with the RA CD55. Right out of the box the soundstage increased from about five feet deep running from the plane of the speakers back to about fifteen feet deep running from my feet. It sounded like music and felt live and real. Ridiculously I started tapping my foot. Not something I spend a lot of time doing regularly.

Clearly something special happened. So, I'd like to suggest that you look into Mephisto II. I use it with ML335, PS Audio 600 and Dunlavy SCIV's. Seems kinda special.

Good luck.

Bill E.
koen: if you truly want the best sound from cd's, i'd suggest you consider the boulder 1012. it is superior to every other dac i've ever auditioned, including those by burmester, mbl, the accuphase 75v and the 100/101. the boulder unit is a pre/dac, eliminating the need for a separate pre. it's built-in voltage alternatives (factory set) allow its use throughout the world. the december s'phile has a review of the boulder 1012 worth reading. -cfb
Bill, i have listened to the above and still prefer my Linn CD-12. especially for classical listening the continuousness and musicality will be very rewarding. i have a Marantz SA-1 that gives me a great reference to judge the CD-12 against. for dedicated cd listening it is hard to beat....and it will make your cd life simple and beautiful.

i have not heard the Audio Aero 192/24 Capitol which would be another strong contender.
Mike, I find the Capitole excellent -- but not quite in the same class as CD-12, the big Lurne, Burmester, Goldmund or Boulder. Haven't carefully auditioned the big ML, so I can't venture an opinion. Also, I listen to classical, so others' mileage *will* vary.

On the other hand, Koen lives in Europe, so price-comparisons could be different, i.e. ML would be expensive vs. A-Aero, Goldmund, Burmester (superb sound that never really gripped me... I wonder why).

Nevertheless, I subscribe to Cornfed's idea of the (expensive) Boulder: you get a good pre (that is sold separately, & at a price, if I'm not mistaken) into the bargain.

Cornfed: could you compare the sound of the Boulder vs. a MLev -- just to give Koen a benchmark?
o.k if your have a 8000 cd and you looking for something for all your life as a cd player.
if you can buy as a player go for teac p-0 or cec tl-0mk2
and cream de la cream for converter is kondo's new ongaku converter and digital cable think about kharma enigma for power cord fim gold and jps aluminata.
I wouldn't spend that much on CD replay. The CDs themselves probably won't last as long as the players, sorry to say, making big bucks digital a little silly in my opinion.
But money is meant to spend, yeah oh yeah....
Every once in a while I re-read something stupid I wrote and this is one of them. What I meant to say was the the ML39, SCD-1, RA CD55 and EMC-1 I were in the same performance window. Clearly the high end separates of ML aren't.

Bill E.
I would suggest going with the 390S which I have heard versus the dcs. It has new dacs, new analogue boards and an incredible user interface with big characters that you can read from afar. Don't understimate this, the dcs have very small displays and you need to be very close to know exactly what you are listening to. The volume control is kind of strange too. Also be careful if using them straight with Levinson amps. Levinson amps don't have input capacitors and the internal relays within the dcs cause "chsssk" noises that are very audible when relays change status (i.e. when muting, changing filters). Hope this helps