New digital front end

I am on the verge of purchasing one of the following. I would like to solicit feedback from anyone who has listened or compared the following:

1. Theta Compli/Gen VIII
2. Emm dcc2/cdsd
3. Ayre 5xe
4. Wadia 861se
I am very close to purchasing the Theta GenVIII but I am intrigued with the EMM gear. I have read about the signature upgrades. Thanks in advance
If performance is the goal, I'd like to suggest adding to your list the the APL modified Denon 3910 or better still, the APL NWO-1 (an APL modified Esoteric ux-01 which also incorporates the best transport mechanism).

Performance-wise both units are potentially without equal and should msrp around $7k and around $19k respectively.

Stehno, but realistically when can one actually take delivery of a NWO-1 or NWO-2? It seems to me from what's I've read and heard that it will be months. Is that your understanding?

Earflappin, I would imagine it all depends on APL's current workload. Yes, it could take a month or two. I know that with the 3910s, APL was getting quite backlogged because of demand.

Rumor has it (and that's all it is) that the vast majority of his time will be spent solely on the NWO-1. And because of the price point, the NWO-1 should not be quite as in demand.

For those that have the patience for orders to be fulfilled on custom furniture, automobiles, homes, universal cd players, etc., it is well worth the wait.

I am not one of those with patience (or money), but it was certainly worth the wait.

Forget the "upgrades" ... perhaps, now is the time to cash in with so many used emmlabs CDSD/DCC2 up for sale at a good price ! assuming they are in good working order, you will not regret it.
"Forget the upgrades"?

Thom, obviously that's easier said by one who's never heard one of these two APL modded units, then done by one who's heard both and the EMM dcc2/cdsd. :)

I meant the emmlabs Signature upgrades.
Hi, Thom_y. I heard recently about some upgrades with EMM Labs but nothing specific. Do you know what mods were included in the Signature upgrade?
What little I know is found in this recent thread:

Emmlabs thread
Yes, Thom_y, that's the same thread I saw several days ago where I first heard about the siginature upgrade.

I'll admit I'm a little confused about your comment 'forget the upgrades' and then recommending another 'upgraded' product which you admitted there and here to having little or no knowledge.

Anyway, thanks for pointing out the thread. I started reading the posts there a few days back and then forgot all about it.

Earflappin, I thouhgt you had a pretty good understaning about the APL re-organisation/transiton so you were willing to wait till we resume taking orders in a couple of months from now. You were also going to visit Bob with your Linn CD12 and see how it does against his NWO-1. How that went?

BTW, did you read this? :

Hifirabbit's post

or this:

Sychdeli's post

These might answer some of your questions.


I was just recommending to Jetusmc that he consider the original emmlabs CDSD/DCC2, now that many are on sale for a very good price. I am very familiar with these, as I have had them in my room for the last year, and don't think he will regret purchasing them if he can afford them and if the equipment is working properly. As for the value of considering the signature upgrades, time will tell.

Hope this clears things up.
Thom_y, Thanks for the response, and to all the other folks who have taken the time to post.

I am really torn between the Theta Gen VIII and the EMM combo.My dealer, for Theta, Tells me if I purchase the EMM combo I'll be back for the Gen VIII later--but he would say that wouldn't he!!

I am still curious if there is anyone who has compared the Theta to the EMM. Thanks in advance.