Stereophile's A+ vs A rating leaves a question

Looking at the Oct 01 Stereophiles Recommended Components CD players leaves me scratching my head. I'm only slightly interested in SACD and am about to upgrade to a new, and probably last CD player (96 or 192KHz sampling)

The question arises in that Stereophile's A+ rating states that the rating only applies to SACD performance and not to red book CD performance. So if one is first interested in standard CD performance and wouldn't mind having SACD capability the ratings are useless.

I am currently considering the Sony SC DXA 777ES, Muse 190, Meridian 588/508.24, Cary 306/200. A real zoo isn't it.
i can only speak for the 508.24, which was awesoime while i had it. i sold it for the $$$ but now have regrets for doing so. it's a very musical player yet has great detail nonetheless. the bass response rocks too.

as for the others, i have heard great things about the 306 and notso great things about the 777es and muse. go for the meridian or cary.
If you're interested in Red Book only, the Audio Aero Capitole was the CD player that captured the hearts (and ears)of many, myself included, at the Las Vegas C.E.S./The EXPO shows. Great upsampling makes this unit sound very analog like. The usual telltale digital artifacts on the strings was totally absent (to my ears). Also, this unit can be used as a DVD-A converter with a digital input. A very sweet unit! Check it out at Sorry, but due to the controversies surrounding SACD, the limited releases, and mercenary prices for software, I'm just going to wait before investing in SACD format! Happy Tunes
Stereophile's rating system for any component is just the opinion of a few (at most) reviewers-- nothing more and nothing less. I discovered long ago not to get hung up on their ratings.

I heard SACD via the Sony 777ES (in a good system) recently and was not particularly impressed. The music was classical-- the owner (a friend) said the SACDs were more "analog" like. But I could not hear that and much prefer my Levinson M37 transport and 360S DAC. On CDs the 777ES was OK but not great. I agree with Fatparrot in that SACD is not much of format at all due to lack of software.

I can recommend the Levinson 39 as an excellent CD player, with the 37/360S combo being only slightly better. Good Luck and Cheers. Craig
Not one of the players you mentioned is near the AUdio Aero Capitole.I have been fortunate to listen to this player at Globe Audio the North American is the best CD player I have ever heard bar none.
Ok. As of yesterday I'd never heard of the Audio Aero company or the Capitole. Assuming your all right I have reservations about a company that has limited distribution. I don't believe there is a place in Colorado that has it. THe other issue I have is with those mini tube outputs. Hell I was concerned about BATs super tube not being available. It may be the best thing since sliced bread but I'd hate to be orphaned with no replacement tubes available in a year or two with a $6000 unit.

Everyone talks about the 777Es not being up to par. Are we talking about the same unit? I am talking about the SCD AX777ES not the SCD-777ES. The AX is supposedly better then the SCD-1. Since I have not heard the AX (Its only been out for a few months) I am not defending it just think Sony confuses the hell out of us with over use of 777. You'd think they were Boeing aircraft.
Just spoke today with Andy Bowman at Vintage Tube Services (616-454-3467) about this same question of availability. Relax! These tubes (Nu-vistors) are in plentiful supply. The was a story awhile back that Musical Fidelity bought up all of the remaining supply of Nu-vistors. Not true! Also, I believe that the Nu-vistors are good for about 50,000-100,000 hours, or a minimum of 5-10 years, if the unit is left on 24/7! Also, if there is no dealer in your area, you can have one shipped to you from an out-of-state dealer, and save quite a few bucks in sales tax! Happy Tunes!
Thanks Fat. Still have questions about Audio Aero. The company is small, overseas, and only been around 15 years? This is a major investment. It like buying a DeLorean. Great car but who fixes the thing after the bankruptcy?

Small stereo companies, even those with great products do tend to go out of business.
Keis, there are several exceptional after market facilities that do repairs and modifications. If you own a classic piece of equipment, there will always be someone to do the work (look at the old tube gear from the '60's....Marantz, Dynaco, etc. An advantage of a smaller company is that you don't have to pay the HUGE costs of infrastructure and advertising. Hey, how much of your purchase price of a piece Cary or Levinson gear goes to the advertising budget?
Good point. But I wouldn't call Cary large. Levinson yes, as part of Harmon surely is in the hi fi world.