How much are you able to spend?
Here's a thought: http://app.audiogon.com/listings/cd-sacd-players-wadia-381i-cd-player-2013-03-18-digital-48103-ann-arbor-mi
There is really only one opinion that matters as usual yours. You have to listen to some other players or transport and DAC combinations and decide whether it sounds significantly better than the current rig.
If you want people to tell you that you should stream and not use a disc player you won't hear it from me. I like the CD and am uncertain about moving to a new technology at this time.
My vote would be to use this opportunity to give computer audio a little test drive. Last year my source was the Modwright tube Oppo 83, which sounded gorgeous, but once I got a taste of what computer audio was capable of- it was a game changer. Now my Oppo is only on DVD duties.
I would break it up into small parts and start with ripping 5 of your favorite cd's and slowly expand from there, that is if you like it.
My budget is $2100 tops (cost of CDXT-SE2)
the tough part is finding the components where you can actually home demo them. I demo'ed a rega dac and it was unimpressive in my system so that made me think that the internal Bryston DAC is good enough thus my quest for a better transport. The 9000ES is good but it is over 10 years old and that makes me think that something up to date would be better. The sony build is very nice...I love the copper cladding!
I'm using a fully loaded Empirical Off Ramp 4 that I bought used. I've used it with 3 different dacs so far and it has significantly improved what ever I use it with. Here's what it did:
- Gave more weight to the music
- Widened the sound stage
- More extension to the highs and low end
- Lots more clarity. It is removing smearing that was occurring that I didn't realize was happening.
I've never heard the BADA or the Art Deco, so can't comment on those.
I believe that upgrading to a stand alone DAC and using the sony as a transport is sound advise. I have a disk player however have found that computer audio input can be as good or better for Redbook CD. If considering using a USB/SPDIF converter, get a DAC that has desired input for computer and disk player.
There are a number of ways to allow for better "reading" of the information by your (old school) CD player.
The benefits in sound reproduction are easily heard, and sometimes startlingly better, simply from applying an anti-static spray -- I use Sonic Tonic from Machina Dynamica, on the label side of the physical CD media.
With more than a thousand CD's owned, I have upgraded the listening experience without changing my transport which is the venerable slightly modified JVC XLZ-1050TN CD player. I also treated with the same anti-static spray every interconnect and speaker wire of the system to enhance both CD and analog vinyl performance.
Additionally, attaching Codenamed Turquoise color strips to the CD tray helps by absorbing scattered laser light, without having to color the edges or label surface of each individual CD with any color marker.
Once you satisfy yourself that you have made major improvement with so little effort, there will probably be a yen to alter the support under your CDP and DAC components, and on and on, fully exploiting the capabilities of what you already own.
I have decided to ride out the cd era with my Sony. Vacation and a less than tactful salesperson consolidated my decision. I will do as Listener57 suggested and continue on with my small modifications such as brass footers etc.
I will wait for the Sony to break and force my hand on which direction to go at that point. Thanks for the opinions.
Well, change in plans.
I went ahead and got the Chordette QuteHD and what a wonderful dac for my redbook playback through my passive pre.
I am on the verge of getting a Cyrus transport but I am extremely intrigued by pc audio sources now, especially that a mini-mac with Audirvana or JPlay or JRiver is much less than a good transport. My head is spinning with questions and from reading all the reviews.