Quality Redbook CDP - Your Advice Needed Please


I need to upgrade the source in my high end headphone listening system. I am looking for a high quality redbook player (though I would prefer a great universal player that added SACD and DVD-A but that neither seems to exist or be likely to anytime soon). I do have some specific requirements that include the fact that the unit in question must include remaining track time, remaining cd time, and allow fast forwarding within a track, in either direction from the front panel.My budget is $2500.00 or less either new or used would be fine.
At this point in my research, the following are possible contenders assuming the meet my needs and your recommendations. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts, wisdom, advice, and suggestions regarding the best options available. Thanks, in advance, for your help.

Electrocompaniet EMC I UP 24-192
Musical Fidelity A308
SimAudio Moon Nova
Meridian 508.24
Wadia 850
Arcam CD33T

I guess it becomes boring for members to endorse their own choices but I would say add the Ayre CX-7 to that list-I believe it would probably beat some of those choices.
As a player it has a smooth but not boring sound-and imho is a very natural player with all types of music and really does make that hi-fi cliche true- that you want to listen to your entire CD collection again.
you would be making a mistake not to include listening to the audio aero Capitol 2.
I am currently in the market for a cdp in the under 8k range. My thoughts on all of the top single box players goes as this: Electrocompaniet(price is doubled in the US = not a good value but on top of that, the build is very bad. The cd clamp is magnetic and spins completly off center at all times! It actually slides on top of the cd and gets things so out of whack that the player doesn't read the disc half of the time. The sound is great and at the high end of the list. The front pannel on the sliding cover is glued on and actually will fall off if the unit gets too warm? whats that. Musical Fidelity, no comment as I have not played with one but the company's products look cheap and are those plastic feet on half of their equipment? Nice that they have new models every year so your one year old unit is obsolete now. Sim, the real deal, perfect build,ergonomics,sound is just on the bright side of neutral as apposed to warm side. Worth much more than the 6k asking price. Meridian OK build but very neutral sound though a little bland. Less money and a good vlaue. Wadia, also the real deal-same comments as Sim except just on the warm side of neutral. Can go direct with no negatives! Arcam, for the money great, but not in the same league as all of the others. MarkLevinson, great build and sound,can also go direct. BAT, One of the best deals period. Tube advantage puts it at the top of the list. Audio Research, also cd done correctly and at the top. Audio Aero, the sound is tops, but the build quality is unbelievably bad for the price, I mean electrocompaniet beating incredably bad. Ayre and Gammut are the new generation of cheaper players that do compete with the big boys but look a little less impressive on the build. Audio Mecca great but over built and has a static finish that is the worlds best dust collector. Linn and naim are great if you like that kind of thinking. sorry I put a high priority on build but with all of the cdp's sounding in relative terms close, it's one way to sort things out.
I have a Gamut CD1-R and swear by it. It won out by a hair over the Burmester 006. Both are very highly recommended new, or used.
Resolution Audio Opus 21
Platsolos, I haven't hear the Res Audio. What have you compared the Opus 21 to, and how would you describe it? I've been curious about it but it's so new I can't find much on it. Haven't seen any for sale used either.

From the players listed, I personally would go with the Wadia, great sound and great build quality.
I would recommend the Sim Moon Nova.. Great sound and build quality and Sim is a great company that will stand behind it's products..
Ben: You're right. It is boring when members constantly endorse and re-endorse their own choices.

With that said: Get a GamuT CD-1 like I did! Its relaxed, detailed musicality would be particularly suited for a headphone system. The CD-1 is ALL about extracting the best music out of redbook.

I was also impressed with the Ayre player.

I have heard the A308, Nova, 508.24 and the FMJ. They all have their strong points (well, the first two/three do), but none were close to the GamuT in my experience for sheer listenability and musical fervor. (No, that doesn't mean it has some really creative frequency response.)

Oh. The GamuT also puts out 4 volts. So your headamp will be doing even less work. You could even run passive--who knows; the best headamp could be none at all! There is actually a lot of discussion on that point at headfi.org, here:

Anyway, the 4 volts alone should put the CD-1 on your list.


Check out my review which I just posted under the reviews section/digital. I think you may be surprised the company I have compared it to. Any Qs, let me know!