Recommend digital source for opera & classical?

I'm planning a major upgrade to my system and I'm a bit confused since there are so many high end CD players out there these days.. I thought a good way to start would be to ask the pros: what would you recommend for someone who listens mainly to opera and classical music?

It must absolutely not be cold, I can't stand that.. Also needs to be non-fatiguing since I often listen to entire operas in one setting. I guess I put the biggest emphasis on the music, although I do appreciate high resolution, imaging and all that. Vocal reproduction is the single most important aspect, in any case.

An added bonus would be if it didn't break down completely when playing historic recordings - something I enjoy a whole lot and would like to continue doing. E.g. sound quality is sometimes quite limited.

Cost is no object but a stellar price isn't mandatory. Nice design is a plus. Separate transport & DAC is not a problem but not required either.

This will likely be paired with mbl speakers and possibly mbl amps, or possibly Peak Consult speakers and different amps.. None of that is decided yet. It would be very nice to audition a few CD players at this point though.

By the way: I value Red Book playback most of all, SACD is a bonus but is not required. Stereo playback only, no multichannel capabilities required or desired, no video and so on.

I did read a lot of threads here in Agon, but there was little music discussed that I could relate to so they didn't leave me too much wiser I'm afraid. I don't care about technology, only music. :-)

Thanks so much in advance!
I would definitely put the new Wadia one box on my audition list. Have only heard excellent things about it so far but there are many others you should hear as well.
Another vote for Wadia. Also look up information about the modifications available from Steve at Great Northern Sound for the Wadia. I wish I could have him work on my 850, but he can no longer get the parts to upgrade the 850.
TRL modded Marantz 8001
Osgorth, I would recommend you take a look at my thread and review regarding the following:

1) Reference DACS/ An overall perspective, it will provide for you a terrific amount of information on digital front ends that will be helpfull to you.

2) Accustic Arts Combo (Drive1-MK2/DAC1-MK4), which I believe is one of the best digital front ends offered today for a reasonable amount of money.

And, yes all the above information really is revolving around redbook not SACD performance at the reference level. A final thought, if you are considering seperates the Stealth Sextet cable is the "BEST" I have ever heard and its performance makes a significant difference for the better with all digital gear. I have a review regarding the Sextet that will give you more details.
Thanks for your suggestions! I had more or less ignored Wadia, do their new players compare favorably to the current big players out there? A comparison with others and a description of its sound would be nice if anybody has the experience.

I should mention that I'm a fan of analog playback, and so would probably be interested in the Metronome gear but I can't find one to audition where I live so I'd have to travel to see one. Any experiences with this brand?

The players on my list so far is:

- Metronome CD-5 Signature, T2i combo, Kalista + C2-A combo
- Accustic Arts Drive MK2 + DAC MK IV
- mbl 1521/1511 and 1621/1611
- ARC Reference CD7
- YBA Passion 1000
- perhaps the EMMLabs CDSA or CDSC/DCC2 SE

So far I've heard the mbl 1531 single box player and the 1521/1511 duo, and they are promising indeed.

I'm currently listening to Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 3D via a headphone setup, and this is an emotional player that I like. It's not state of the art these days though, it lacks in refinement and resolution compared to the new gear I've heard.
Interesting that the Reimyo CDP-777 is not bring discussed in several threads talking about top CD players. Why do you suppose that is?
Tvad: I don't know. I have never seen it, don't think it's sold in my country at all. Do you own one? How do you think it would fare on my listening preferences? Thanks
As I listen to identical music (in inverted order: orchestral & opera), here are some thoughts. These are heardly the last word on the subject, of course: (in no order)
*Burmester 001 -- this is very good and provides powerful output & an attenuator & can be used directly into the amp
*Wadia 581 -- also a good player which usefully offers output voltage adjustment. This also has volume control facility. I preferred the sound via my external TVC, but the musical results are extremely good in direct connection also.

*Yba 1000: a nice sounding (i.e. the music has coherency). I found it best with a big power supply (optional I assume?). Its output is very low, so preamp with gain seems absolutely necessary. The hi frequencies (such as they may be on cd) are v. good.

* EMM labs is very good as a combo -- but very expensive if you buy it only for the 44.1 facility. I've listened to & enjoyed a combo using the preamp facility. Sometimes, however, music sounds a bit like solving a mathematical equation. This should be easy to resolve when the system is at home.

*ARC cd7 -- sounded lovely to me, but I found the above to be more to my liking (esp. for the price)

{My own cdp does not offer the detail resolution of those mentioned above -- so, untypically, I won't recommend it. In its favour, it reproduces dynamic content and musical coherency well.}
Thanks everybody for the suggestions, most appreciated!

Teajay, yes, I've read your comprehensive thread and it has helped a great deal. Not being used to audiophile speak I'm finding some things hard to understand however, but I guess I will learn soon. :)

Did you or any of your skilled friends try the top end MBL transport/DAC? (1621A/1611E) I find very little information about this combo on the internet. Since I will be running an MBL system this is my obvious first choice, I've however been unable to audition it yet.
Ayre does Sacd and DVDA in 2 channel with no video boards to muss things up, a friend bought one and seems to like it alot.
Osgorth, I have not had the pleasure of listening to the reference MBL digital combo. However, if you leave a post on the Reference DACS: An overall perspective thread regarding these pieces and address to Branimir, who's got great ear's and listens to virtually all the top digital gear in the high end world, I'm sure you will get the information on the MBL pieces you are looking for.