New CD player for an Ayre cx-7e

I've just purchased an Ayre Ax-7e, which I should receive next week. Right now I have a Rega Saturn which is, of course, a great player that I've enjoyed over the last year. However, I've compared for myself and read reviews that the Ayre performs WAY better when using the balanced inputs. The Saturn has only single-ended outputs so I think I'll be looking for a replacement with balanced outputs soon. An Ayre cx-7e might be a logical matchcup, but I'd like to open the field to other chioces, hopefully in the $1,0000 to $2,000 range. BTW, I already have some anti-cables IC's waitng for the new source. Any suggestions?
Ayre CDP is a great choice.

Having said that, I am using the Transporter with Ax7e with great result.

Going from SE to Balanced is not WAY better, it's noticeably better, appreciably better, but not substantially better.
I actually tried an AX-7e with a Marantz player (can't remember the model) and, when switched from the single ended to the balanced outputs/inputs, not only way there a more detailed sound and blacker backgorund, about 6db's were gained. (My preferred listening level was 6db lower in the amp volume control when using its balanced inputs). Does this sound normal?
Yes this is normal. When 6db's are gained, your volume level will have to be decreased from what it was as you have gained more in detail and lowered your noise floor which translates into blacker backgrounds as you have described.
As for the anti-cables IC's, keep in mind that they take a long time to break-in(200-500 hrs.with 500 being the optimum) so be patient! A lot of folks aren't and that's why you see some negative reviews on them because they're not given enough time to break-in. They will sound good right out of the box but they go thru a metamorphosis over time(between 100-150 hrs.) where they will sound soft in the bass and restricted in the highs but after 400-500 hrs. they will sound better than any cable out there costing 35- 40times more.
I'm using a Rega Apollo and SlimDevices Squeezebox thru a Benchmark DAC into my AX-7e. The Benchmark has both balanced and single ended outputs which makes it easy to switch back and forth to perform A-B comparisions. I too have noticed a reduction in floor noise and appreciate the difference enough to not even consider using single ended anymore. You will notice that the Ayre is very sensitive to cabling. I'm using Transparent cables and am quite happy with them, so I can't really comment on the anti-cables. I did use anti-cable speaker cables on a tube based system in the past and got irritated at the inflexibility of them (not to mention the very low WAF). I am interested to hear how you make out with the anti-cable ICs.
Just saw a Raysonic 168 FS this morning on AG. FABULOUS! Plus, it can be used direct out which I am doing. The output section is so good I sold a $2900 preamp
Thanks for the input. I'll try the anti IC's when I get a player with balanced outs, so we will have to wait for that. However, I have to say that last night I wired my quad 21L's with 2 pairs of 8-foot anti-cables and I think I'm in for a treat! The only thing I hoping will change with break-in time (at least 100hrs.) is for the bass to get a tad stronger. However, out of the box they sound better that the straighwire rhapsody's I'm using. I agree with Todd on the WAF issue with the cables, but I have my own, VERY small, listening room which is WOB (wife out-of-bounds)so that's no problem. I'm being offered a Cary 306 SACD locally. Would this be a good choice (i'm not sure I'll be able to listen to it in my system, so I'll have to take a chance)? what would be a good price? Thanks again.