I like the Ayre AX-7. If you can find a Wadia 302, that's another good one.
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I think Chayro has a point ... Consider either the EAR Acute 3 or the non-DAC EAR Acute offered here on audiogon. You won't be disappointed in the sound quality of this fine design.
No affiliation to either seller. Just a Acute owner who'd like to see others enjoy a really outstanding sounding player.
I personally think the industry pulled a fast one on us with the idea of using stand alone dacs. One of the elements that you were comparing when buying a CD player was how good the DAC Chip was in it. I hold on to the old fashioned idea that the CD player should have a really top notch DAC. Stop playing into this crazy-ness. I'm sure the industry is delighted with us doing separate DACS, they get to charge you roughly twice what they could charge for a good deck with of course a good dac section! for crying out tears.
I personally think the industry pulled a fast one on us with the idea of using stand alone dacs."
Actually, you can make a pretty good case for the opposite. If you remember when CD's were starting to get popular in the late 80's and early 90's, someone figured out that jitter was degrading sound quality. And that it was much more prevalent in transport/dac combos. At the time they found one of the best ways to reduce jitter, was to use a single box CD player. As a result, a lot of very high end CD players were made and they outsold component CD players by a large margin.
Dac's are getting very popular now because so many people are using a PC as a transport. And to answer your question as to why there are not many disk players with digital inputs, its that the industry is getting away from disks in general and the demand keeps getting lower. So, if manufacturers started putting optical transports in all the dacs they build, you could say that you're being charged for something you don't need.
A modded Oppo should allow you to add a PC, if and when that should become your source. I'm using an EVS modified 103 and it's great, light years ahead of the stock sound. The Oppo's are built to last. But, give Ric a call; he's great to talk to in general and he'll be glad to freely discuss All your long-term options, regardless of whether or not you want to go with him from the start.
Many great suggestions here! But my vote is for a high end CD player. With under $4k you can get a very fine stand alone SACD/CD player, like one of the Esoterics, the Ayre, high end Marantz, personally I just got the Cary 306. I thought my Sony was high end, until I heard the Cary! And it has D/A in and out, so it's DAC can be used by other gear, ie computer. Keep the Oppo for playing all other formats, and buy a used CD player of the high end variety. A few reviews should help you decide which ones might lean toward your tastes. My 2 cents, worth about a cent and a half.
At ZD 542
I am unfortunately deeply aware of the DAC as a critical piece of gear to the new(er) generation of audiophiles. I am active on Head-Fi where I would venture a guess that the vast majority use computer servers and the audio component of choice is called a DAC/AMP.
Yes in view of this trend the industry is now paying serious to DACS are they are very very important. It should be noted that the Head Fi community does not buy very expensive, high end gear, probably because most are young and just starting to amass their fortunes I still use a CD player for much of my music with the so so dac and it's fair transport. A consequence of a miserable divorce, with a huge change in my living space and income will make getting a truly fine CD player a questionable endeavor. If I follow the pattern of a head fier I too may end up buying only a dac. My previous comment reflected a situation when I was buying good CD players. I even have one my ex won't yield out of spite.
Personally i'm waiting on the future replacement for the Oppo 105 (not the Super Darbeen version, or whatever dinkee update comes out in the meantime), then I might send that to Dan for the full truth mods (just to spin the occasional SACD & play dvd's). But to answer the OP's question, I would look for a 2nd hand Accuphase DP-75V..gorgeous looks & still a classic. They can be found for about $4k in good shape if you're patient. Here is a link fyi - http://www.accuphase.com/pdf/dp75v_e.pdf
It's going to be a matter of personal preference; I've owned a Berkley and a Lampi Dac but preferred my ModWright Sony 5400 by a large margin.
Both were very good Dacs but they just didn't have the soundstage, imaging, natural tone and vividness of the ModWright. No interest in any Dac, but maybe some NOS 6SN7s...
I have an upgraded Oppo and can say for sure it is very good. But its not better than a $750 DAC I know of - which admittedly is better than a lot more expensive DAC's. The difference is the Oppo is very laid back and sweet - that DAC is quite balsy. Based on that I would get a DAC - but make sure it is actually better from a comparison. If that's a bit difficult for some reason (eg you cant get a hold of DAC's to compare) then get the Oppo upgraded.
whatever you do do not use EVS, (the biggest runaround of all time)
total crock of bull too. the guy is as broke as can be and will add virtually nothing to the piece and then run you around like a broken horse until your broke and dead. take my advice and don't use EVS. Absolutely the worse possible person on the planet to chose from and a rip off artist too who does not do what he says. period.I have examples of what kind of runaround I had and what kind of work was done and what kind of a rip off he is.
I now have a total piece of junk 105.
My reputation is sterling. No one feels as this person does. All I can say is that there are two sides to every story but I am not going to tell you my side. Don't believe this kind of thing belongs here. All I can say is what he said is not true and actually the opposite is true. That is all I will say. Check out posts by others about my work and conduct and even contact them if you like. I do incredible work and what I do is incredible for the money.....it is nothing like what he says...nothing. I will say no more about this. End of story.
Jwt before you post the type of derogatory comment about a vendor who makes a living by modifying gear and who otherwise has a seeming very good reputation, you might want to provide more details of YOUR personal experience. It sounds more like a rage rant than anything credible. There are ALWAYS 3 sides to a story but you really haven't even provided your side as to what specifically happened with this vendor, it is not fair play by you. btw, what happened between your post below and now?
EVS/ Ric Schultz does a blu- ray modification to the OPPO 95 that's downright addictive and frankly unbelievable until heard. So musical and sweet, extended yet articulate. The digital sound has come a long way, a really long way. I have a beautiful analog set up about 5K and Ric's modified Oppo 95 challenges my TT in many ways and it's definitely got soul and then some. It's magical to my ears. I do of course have the ancillary equipment perfectly matched, amp 25 watt class A pentode into 97 db speakers with dual 12" servo drivers per side and hand built cross over's on top. All for under 10K less cables and ac conditioning. I'll put it up against 50K system anyday and bet I get a least half buying and saving.
the speakers are a kit but awesome, I put it together professionally, the amp is hand built in the US like the speakers all point to point wiring with a nice kicker LIFE TIME Guaranteed on the AMP parts and labor less tubes after 90 days. Speakers are not small but not huge and the subwoofers are state of the art an included in the 5K. I have two other speakers Sonus Auditors w/ rel sub and Revel speakers with Revel sub and my above mentioned systems is decimating the latter two speaker that both cost 8K plus respectively just for the speakers. That mark up is lost value the way I see it and it's taken forever for me to learn this shit. The cables are important regardless of what anyone says. The designers of these components also make cables but I'd try all of them as they are completely affordable and claims are made that they match cost no object but I'm not sure about that. I use very high end cables in all my systems and now I'm hearing some amazing sound. My kids are rocking out most of the time, so I know its really good.
Jwt (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
In addition to the post cited by Tubegroover, the following one from this thread will also be of interest:
I have also had my OPPO 95 modded by Ric at EVS, as well as a Behringer crossover. Both sound great. If Ric modifies your 105, you will find an improvement in the picture as well as the sound. I love watching concert videos even more than movies. Next best thing to being there. If you have a $4000 budget, you could get your 105 modded by Ric, and also get a Schiit Ygdrassil, using the 105 as a transport.
So.. I went up to cities and took my oppo 105D for some comparisons.
I listened to esoteric K07 and Ayre CX7. The oppo seemed a wee bit forward .. but overall I was surprised how good it actually is. Based on this.. I think i'll keep the 105. Its a superb transport that plays everything. The question is to partner up with a dedicted dac or mod the 105. I was think something like PS Audio PWT II .. but not heard these.. Will look around a bit.
I don't know Ric 10 years maybe ago I send my Sony 9000es to Modwright and I did enjoy it for many many yrs until it stops working that's a total 3k loss. for the money I will not send 105 for mod it's too expensive and this is what I felt mod will make the cd sound better but not necessarily musical at the end it's your choice not mine.
I have had a few DCP's in my time from Marantz, McIntosh MCD-500, GNSC Wadia S7i, Burmester 089, and also Oppo 95 and then ModWright Oppo 105. The ModWright 105 sounded the best in my system (Venture speakers, Magnus MA-300, Concert Fidelity pre, Prana Wire/Jena Labs/Purist Audio cables). I now use a ModWright Elyse DAC and Examplar Oppo 93 as transport. This last combo has taken my system to a new higher level.
I've got the 105D on demo right now. I quite like it now that it seem to have broken in a bit. More open highs than I'm used to, which is good, without being fatiguing.
Also excellent as BD player, better than my older Sony, and a joy to use for music and video.
But my focus is 2 channel music and I'm not convinced it's the best option.
The bass is noticably thinner than my other players, not as involving as I'd like.
Definitely a case of give and take.
My choices are :
1.Return it and try the Marantz SA8005
2.Keep the Oppo knowing the resale value is good (or I can use it to replace)
the Sony in my theatre system.