Have a look at the Audio Aero cd players.In the priceclass of the above,the Capitole.Always a firm favourite with exhibitors at the shows.Prestige SACD player,a bit more expensive.Very nice looking machine.
APL modified Denon 3910 has had very strong support in the forums and from audio friends.
If looking to spend less...Audio Aero Prima Mk II(newest model with Sony mechanism}.I use mine with the balanced outputs,brass isolating cones and a Signal Cable Magic Power Digital Reference powercord.Soon to ad a PS Audio UPC 200 powerconditioner.....
Happy hunting !
Go for the Supernova. The problem with tiny companies like Audio Aero is that if and when down the road you need parts for service, you'll be out of luck. Or, if the importer changes or there is no more importer all of the sudden, then the resale value is down the drain. Most buyers want some kind of garantee that the product will be able to go on and hold its value. Sim has been around for over 25 years, and they have a 10 year warranty. Plus they are known for sound, I've listened to the Supernova, and it is awesome for the money.
If you don't mind a universal stereo format player, check out the Ayre C-5xe, it is three separate players in one, i.e. when it uses SACD hardware, the CD and DVD-A hardware is turned off, when it uses DVD-A hardware the CD and SACD hardware is turned off and when it uses the CD hardware, the DVD-A and SACD hardware is turned off. It receives A+ ratings from Stereophile, if that means anything to you. I did a demo with it and bought it right away after having demo-ed stand alone CD players in the same price range and above for months because none manage to sound nearly as good. It has balanced and unbalanced outputs.
If you are looking for a more dynamic musical player, this is the one (the Burr-Brown 1792 chips decode HDCD BTW, in case that is useful to you as it was to me). It competes with players double the price easily. I was actually listening to the BAT VKD5 earlier today through a BAT amp on Avantgarde Duos, and it is no comparison in sound quality to the Ayre C-5xe whatsoever IMO, neither are the Audio Research CD 3 or Sim Audio Super Nova players. Be prepared for a long wait though since they are currently backordered due to high demand. I hope you decide to demo it before you rush into buying any of those other players... You won't regret it if you can afford the $6K (USD), and if you can't afford it, I would consider saving up for it, which is what I did. 8)
I feel that I must step in here and speak for the 'tiny' Audio Aero company and it's North American importer 'Globe Audio' of Canada.
I had an almost 2 year old Audio Aero Prima CDP with the now troubled Philips transport . Upon sending the Cdp to the american repair facility for it's third transport replacement, under warranty, I was treated to a brand new up to date model with the Sony transport, at NO CHARGE !! It can be tuff to find that kind of customer service in the large corperate world !
My hat is tipped to Audio Aero and Ken at Globe Audio !!
They are great people to be associated with . Thanks Guys .
Jkalman - Did you actually compare and A-B the BAT to the AR CD3 or Sim Audio Super Nova? I am interested because I've heard the BAT Vk-D5 (6922 tubes) recently. (This was Not the "SE" version). I've also heard the Super Nova and the Audio Research CD3 MKII. But none were on the same system. So it's hard to draw any meaningful conclusions.
I liked the BAT VK-D5's soundstage depth, bass, detail and musicality. It displayed more air than my Bluenote Koala Tube CD Player. I've heard the BAT CD player twice and it never failed to impress me. That is not to say that the Ayre isn't better. I heard the BAT VK-D5 on an all BAT system using VK31SE Pre and BAT VK250 Amp, Cardas Cabling throught. The presentation was warm, but quite involving, spacious and musical.
The Super Nova was played through Sim Audio Amps and Martin Logan Vantage speakers. It was incredibly romantic and musical as well.
The Audio Research CD3 MKII may have impressed the most. IT was played on an all Audio Research system with Wilson Benesch Curve speakers. It was quite remarkable that it is not a tube CD Player. It had everything going on. Bass, soundstage, excellent instrument placement, vocals were right size and not bigger than life, ecellent detail and air.
I've read many reports that the Ayre's tend to be quite detailed, and perhaps dry and somewhat analytical. I welcome your comments.
i owned the bat vk d5 and reviewed the sim audio eclipse. i found both players a bit harsh and unforgiving. i recently sold my bat player and am looking for another cd player.
i brought my bat player to a friend's system and he felt that the oil filled caps and the 6 volt tubes were responsible for the harshness in the cd player.
i preferred the audio research cd1 to the cd3, as the former provided a smoother presentation.
i am considering the Melody Hifi player, the Lector 0.6 and the Prima Luna Prologue 8.
I was wondering if you have heard the Bluenote Stibbert in comparison to the other units? I have been thinking about purchasing it. Bob
I own an ARC CD3MkII and it is a very dynamic and musical player. However, it is best run balanced. If your setup doesn't allow for balanced connection between cd player and preamp, don't bother with ARC as you will get at the most 85% of its performance.
Baranyi - I have not heard the Stibbert. The dealer I bought my Koala from said they liked the Koala as much or better than the Stibbert. Allegedly it has a lot of the same technology. But I think the Stibbert has a better power supply, and of course, the suspension.
The Bluenote Koala is very dynamic, detailed, quick, has amazing deep bass. For a tube CD player, it has the quickness of a solid state player, but with some tube sweeetness on the highs that make them very neutral and non-fatiguing. It's Very nice sounding player. I simply prefered the BAT. My main complaint about the Bluenote is the remote. It is very directional and takes a few button pushes to get it to engage. (yes I tried new batteries) But once the music starts playing ...mmmm. sweet. If you like a front row presentation, the Bluenote Koala will blow your mind. If you prefer a more laid back sound, look elsewhere. FYI - I am likely going to sell my Koala and try something else.
Thank you very much for your thoughts. Bob
groberts3, you alluded to something very important, namely presentation.
a front row sound is indicative of forwardness which is a form of coloration. most recordings,are probably row 5 to mid hall and the microphone is placed above the seats.
a laid back or rear hall perspective is also a form of coloration. it is inconsistent to suggest that one likes neutrality and then prefers a front row or rear hall presentation.
by the way i auditioned the koala and found it lacking in warmth. it sounded like solid state. i replaced the stock tubes with amperex tubes but the sound barely changed.
what cd player(s) do you consider laid back, if any ??