Resolution Audio Opus 21 VS Consonance Droplet

Has anyone compared these or heard them side by side? I am trying to make a decision on which way to head. I have tubed mono block amps and DB-99's. I am looking for openness and space in large orchestra music. Dynamics with a balanced presentation. Want to find something under or at 2K.
In my opinion, $2K will not get you what you want. Large scale orchestra music has sounded congested with every CD player I've owned or heard under maybe $3-4K used. That includes the RA Opus 21, which I found to lack weight in our system. Your best bet may be to save for a higher-end, non-tubed player--Naim, Wadia, Ayre--only because many of the tube players fail at the high frequency separation during complex music passages because of an over-emphasized midrange. The Audio Aero Capitole MKII & the APL modded Denon 3910 are two tubed players that meet your requests, but they are at least twice your $2K budget.

Another thing you might try is a good pair of silver IC's. In our SET/horn system, I found every copper IC to blur the highs. Silver will give you (for lack of a better term) a more balanced frequency disbursement in your system. I would also experiment with as open-sounding PC as you can find for your source...Electraglide, DCCA, for example.

Finally, you have great amps & great speakers. I happen to think some cabling changes will help you to get closer to what you're after. But in the end, you will want to move to a source that is commensurate with the rest of your components.

Good luck!
Used Modwright Sony 999 ES. Around $1500.
Grant, I hope Dan is comping you. ;-)

Thanks Boa2,

Wishful thinking on my part I think, just would love to find a great CD player at a reasonable price. Also, lots of good reviews of the Opus 21, some saying it is very close to the Aero.

What about moding? Many say this is the best way to get good bang for the buck?
10-28-06: Jmcgrogan2
Grant, I hope Dan is comping you. ;-)

Jmcgrogan2  (Threads | Answers)

John, I think you're joking, but I'm making a suggestion for a product I
have heard and compared to other players, and a product I'd own
myself. Furthermore, I'm recommending a used model for which
Dan receives no compensation.

No, Dan is not comping me.

Do you have a recommendation for Tickfight?

Thanks for the "heads up" post to this thread, I am aware of marketing within the forum. I am appreciative of who ever gives me input. It's up to me to do with the info what I will. What I don't want is this thread to get de-focused off my initial inquary.

I have another thread regarding the same subject but asking a more open ended question which Tvad has responded to. His seemingly abrupt injection of the Modright CD player into this thread was most likely due to his recognizing I was the same person who he was giving some input to in the other thread.

I posted this in my other thread (in amps) and it seems appropriate here also-


In looking through the hx of the threads on the Modright you have been fairly active with it, but your input has been consistent and I do appreciate candidness. Nothing wrong with having an opinion, particularly when others seem to support it."
Also, lots of good reviews of the Opus 21, some saying it is very close to the Aero.
In my experience, "very close" in audio has never been close enough for keeps.
Nice response Boa2, I'll accept that.
It appears you are considering the Resolution Audio and Consonance players because you can run directly to your monoblocks. Is this correct?

If so, and at the risk of beating the Modwright horse to a bloody and dead corpse, Modwright does offer a direct-to-amp option on the Modwright Sony 9000ES DVD player. This particular Sony does not play CD-R discs, however.

I believe member "2bigears" is running a Resolution Audio Opus 21 direct to a VAC 30/30 amplifier, which is driving Zu Audio Definition loudspeakers. While your systems are not the same, their concepts are similar. You might contact "2bigears" and ask him for some input.
Tickfight/Tvad, Grant was right, I was joking, hence the wink ;-). I've 'chatted' quite a bit with Grant over the years, and I know he is no shill. I just attempted a bit of humour seeing the same reco twice tonight from Grant, but it was just in fun. No ill will intended.

I've recommended certain items more than once myself. :-)

As for the question, between these two players, for dynamics, large orchestra, etc, I'd say the Droplet would give Tickfight more of what he's looking for. The RA Opus 21 is a very nice, smooth liquid sounding player, but can sound rather polite and refined. Not exactly dynamic, the Opus 21 is more recommended for vocals and small jazz quartets, IMHO.

Since I see Tickfight already has the Droplet in his system, I'm inclined to ask what he thinks he's missing.
Tickfight, what about the Droplet leaves you yearning for more? Not dynamic enough?
You have to be careful what you wish for, because there are always trade-offs. You may find a more dynamic unit, only to discover later that it's more grainy in the high's.

I'll agree with Howard (Boa2) here, you won't find anything that will be an improvement for ~ $2K. You may take a step sideways, but I don't think you can do much better than the Droplet for under $2K. I also concur that trying silver cables or power cords may add the dynamics that you seek.


I heard the Consonance Droplet with a Rogue Zeus amp driving Zu Definitions, and the dynamics were oustanding. The music sounded live. I have to believe the DB-99 are equal to the Zu Definitions in dynamics. I could be wrong...

So perhaps the issue is the Consonance Cyber 211 monos. Member "Tbg" onced these and used them with horns. He recently sold them and is now using a LSA/Exemplar Statement integrated amplifier. You might contact "Tbg" and ask him for his impressions of the Cyber 211. He has a great deal of listening experience and is an exacting audiophile.
Have you considered a tube preamp? A friend and fellow Audiogon member swore by the Resolution Audio Opus 21 straight into his amps, but was missing dynamics like you. He solved this problem with a tube preamp and has never turned back. You could maybe demo one in your system just for experiment sake.
Perhaps this is a loudspeaker set-up problem.
As Elsneb recommends, running it directly into a preamp, bypasses the volume control, and thus gets better sound. The Resolution Audio Opus 21 is a very analog sounding cdp when used this way. It is the best of the units I found in the under $4K range. However, to bypass the volume control, you must pony up some more cash and get a DIN output cable, as the RCA and XLR outputs both go through the volume control. (FYI, I use the Audience AU24 cable for this application.) I find it to have very good dynamics, albeit not analog good.

And, I will readily admit that the Audio Aero Capitole II is a better CDP than the Resolution Audio Opus 21. (The best cdp I have heard actually.) I have heard them in the same system, as my friend replaced his Opus 21 with the AA Capitole II. It sounds even more like a good analog source. (As you can tell, I prefer the sound of analog to digital. And, even the AA Capitole II does not sound as good as a well setup analog source, IMHO.) And, the AA Capitole II costs double the Opus 21, so it should sound better. And, unfortunately, the AA Capitole II is double your budget. If you want the best, and must go directly into your amps, I recommend saving up for the AA Capitole II.

If you have a preamp however, the Opus 21 is a good way to go. (At least in my case it is, as I would much rather put the addition $2K that it would cost to upgrade from my (used) Opus 21 to a (used) AA Capitole II, into my analog system.

My two cents worth.
Tickfight, I assume that you have already done this but in case you haven't take a moment and read the reviews that were done on 6moons by its owner. He reviewed the Consonance Droplet and the latest 'linear' Consonance 120. The interesting part of the review was his discussion of the differences between these two units, that being the way each presented the initial wave form but with different decay. The Droplet having a longer decay and the Consonance Linear having a shorter decay. Both are tubed units so its probably not just because one has tubes. Also, be sure to read between the lines. He is not always direct but he does give clues about possible drawbacks in equipment he reviews.

I mention this only because I think excessive decay is a big contributor to a lack of "openness and space" in all audio electronics. The problem IMHO becomes when the decay is shortened too much and the product takes on an unnatural brightness. Just something to thing about when evaluating your other electronics.

FWIW, from my own recent experience using modest equipment, I would vote for eliminating a pre-amp (if your system allows) in favor of finding an appropriate amp for a CDP which can drive an amp direct.
Heard them side by side many times.....opus is better as clear as that.
Not heard them side by side, but extensively at different times, the Opus by a country mile. I found it more dynamic, detailed, but with no digital harshness. As an aside, I recently heard a friens new Pathos Endorphin, about the best CD I have ever heard, a wide soundstage, smooth, but again retaining detail and the full decay of notes.
I compared the Endorphin with my heavily Modded Shanling CDT100, a much bigger performance gap than I expected, particularly in detail and dynamics. So my next upgrade is an Opus 21, modded by GNSC or the endorphin.
Thanks for those who have responded. An interesting thing has happened. I recently added some supertweeters (Not VSA) which have greatly improved the sound stage congestion. I am now pumped because I know that this set up will sound even better once I get a decent CD player. I am currently using an old Sony NS555EX SACD running and no offence to the old Sony, things I know could be better.