The best CD player with volume control

I own an ARC LS5III and have for the last three years. I had always planned to include more than just a cd player into my system. It hasn't happened. I am considering on selling the ARC and running direct. I have made to many mistakes in the past. I can spare about $5,000. Can it be done?
The Resolution Audio CD50 soundly and wholeheartedly beats EVERY one-box, direct-amp-drive, red book-CD-only player under $10,000 that doesn't upsample (Levinson 39, Wadia 830, 850, 860). The CD50 won't be in production again until this summer, but can be had used for around $1600 ($3000). I sincerely wish you could hear mine now. Come visit it if you can make it to the southeast US anytime soon. THAT SAID, I suggest that since you're willing to spend $5000, you might want to invest that money right now, let it grow for 6 months or more, and consider getting an integrated DAC/Preamp like the Boulder 1012 ($15,000). The digital circuitry can be turned off, when not listening to a digital source. THIS FREES YOU UP TO GET INTO VINYL NOW! With all the stellar reissues on LP, this is truely a SECOND GOLDEN AGE OF VINYL, so you should enjoy it while it's here. Anyway, the Boulder 1012 is sure to kill everything else (at least with 2 channel digital media), if it even comes close to living up to the claim of a true 144 dB of dynamic range (I believe this is both with analog and digital sources). It might require an external upsampler (I'm not sure), but the price on even the best upsamplers is, and should continue to be, falling very rapidly. I've not heard the Boulder myself yet, but hope to soon.
What do you think of running the ResCD50 through a pre amp? I have a Joule but also like it direct into my atma-sphere otl's. One seems far more detailed the other has a lot more body. Decisions decisions. People tell me I might get listener fatigue from all that detail and that I am not listening to music as much as details. Others say that a pre amp can only be additive. Do I just trust my ears? Steve
i've owned a cd-50. it's great. but there's one better. the BIDAT with volume control.
No offense, Richie, but I'd have to hear for myself, in my system. I'm very doubtful of your claim, unless it upsamples. Who makes this BIDAT? Bring yours by, if you're ever in the southeast. STEVE, yes, trust your ears. If it's not dynamic or "rich" enough, try MIT cabling, and get better power cords and a Bedini Ultra Clarifier. My CD50 and Krell could start avalanches, and is very close to my analog (not the very best rig, but decent)...
I usually read these posts and am tempted, but today, it seems that I have many opinions to express...First up, the Resolution Audio CD 50 is a very nice unit. If you are looking for a euphonic sound quality which mimics a warm analog source such as vinyl, this may be the player for you. On the other hand, a higher resolving sound typical of this presentation can be had from Naim gear, and I believe the Naim sounds better. Carl seems to have very many ideas about various gear, but is unaware of the Museatex BiDAT designed by Ed Meitner, a true digital pioneer and a great amp designer. Museatex is a part of the ADS family and is based in Canada. John Wright works with Ed and they can be reached for deals on some great digital front ends for a very reasonable cost. Richie, I agree, the BiDAT is a very good unit. One more reference to Carl. You state that"...If it's not dynamic or rich enough, try MIT cabling, better power cords and a Bedini Ultra Clarifier". Why not take the monies you would spend on all of that signal altering gear and shop around for a better performer which might have a higher cost than the CD 50, but you could probably afford if you have the budget for these accessories! There are a number of units out there offering 18, 20, and 24 bit resolution, digital or analog volume controls, and too many features to list. Audition as many of these units as you can, as there is no substitute for a listening experience with your own gear in your own room. It may not be a very quick process, but one which can be most rewarding. By the all the tweaks for later, when your bored!
Whoever you are, JRT, you couldn't be more wrong about the CD50, me, or vinyl. This proves that you have no personal experience with either the CD50, or vinyl. There's nothing even remotely euphonic about either! You need to be more honest with yourself and the rest of us. It's my paranoid opinion that you are one of AG's webmasters, since you were able to shut down parts of their server when I tried to post the "real" reply to you. This is my only reply to you, since I'm avoiding personal entanglements from now on, and everyone will be better off for it.
To JRT Is the Museatex in anyway related to Muse electronics
Check out a used Accuphase 75DP. They listed at 10K. There have been four or five listed in AudioGon the past three weeks from $3500-4250. They're sold. Nuff said.
My feelings are to go with any of the Wadia players. I own a Wadia 860 and if you have any inclination towards Vinyl my feelings are that you will like the presentation of the Wadia. I personally find CD's very sterile and uninvolving as compared to quality and audiophile vinyl pressings. I had given up on CD's even after hearings the best Burmeister, Boulder, Spectral, Mark Levinson, YBA, and DCS had to offer. The notes keep getting clearer, sibliants kept getting clearer, recordings kept sounding even closer mic'ed but the timbre and richness of analog was gone. The music had no soul and though it was clear- it did not fool me into thinking that I was listening to an actual instrument. I was always amazed at the clarity, but not moved emotionally by the music through CD. Then I heard the Wadia 860. Liked it so much I scrapped all my other spending plans and bought one immediately. I have been content ever since, and do not even have the desire to upgrade to SACD. The Wadia plays music. The others play Audio.
John, "wow, that's just fantastic...that's really what I think...oh, by the way, which one's 'pink'?" I'm glad that you are getting such good results with your 860, but my CD50 does EVERYTHING you have described, and I still prefer vinyl. To each his own, and all the best...
The wadia's have been around long long time with their digital volume control, and they have it together for sure. When the model 6 came out, i bought one , then almost all models followed, up until the 27/270 and the 860. for CD playback, i would still go for the Wadia's, but i invested mucho dinero in my current turntable setup.... but..If i ran into an used wadia 16, i will take it home ! i like the 16 very much, for whatever reason it does. want to share some thoughts on the Vinyl / CD thing though. What i read time after time is people stating: The "warmth" of vinyl and analog..[or tube amps] I find this to become annoying, because i find a good turntable to sound not'warm'at all.. its just the music, there is no such thing as 'warm'sounding analog, or vinyl. if a recording or pressing or whatever is COLORED in SOME way, it is plain colored period. that is what a REAL good turntable let's you hear. Now, it is understandable that most digital listeners are quiet 'fed up' with their CD sound, and so this saying starts to become a thing on it's own, "Now this CD player sounds like an warm analog record" or; "this CD player sounds like a warm sounding tube amp" or just a step further..[wish upon a star quote:] "this cd player sounds like an LP without clicks an pops" I start to wonder how many hifi freaks really are able to listen to a GOOD vinyl playback system these day's... Has the philips advertising really brainwashed those who could not listen for themselves? "perfect sound forever" Enjoy your music, be it vinyl or CD... [i have peace of mind].
I've always said that, and agree with you. Analog does not sound "warm" at all, and whenever somebody has said that to me, I know they don't know what they're talking about. I too am at peace, and I enjoy both CD and vinyl very much, and wonder why others can't do both. It's the only way...and it's not as if nearly ALL the top reviewers don't feel likewise, either.
I have not heard several of the players under disucssion here, but to share my own experience: I evaluated the Wadias, both the 850 and 860, at home. I liked them a lot but didn't feel moved to spend what they cost. The salesman, so confident that the Wadias were the cat's meow, told me to go to another dealer and try the Levinson No. 39, just to satisfy myself. "You won't like it," he said, "but you should try it." I did, and to my tastes, it was clearly preferable. Whereas the Wadias were doing everything technically well, somehow the wholde did not equal the sum of the parts (plus I hated their remote). The Levinson seemed to me unfailingly musical. I loved it, I bought it right away, no reservations, still happy 2+ years later. I'd love to hear the Resolution Audio and the BIDAT. But the moral of my story is that our preferences are very personal and it makes sense to listen to as much stuff as you can, regardless of who says what blows what away.--Dan
Drubin, "makes sense to listen to as much stuff as you can"...that's exactly right!
as a wadia 850 owner, i suggest (after listening to as much as you can and re-reading john's posting): either waiting to purchase wadia's 851 new or searching for an 860x or 850 here. by the way john--i too am no where near motivated to go sacd. at least, not until wadia does.
Jrud, Perhaps I could shed some light on this dilema for you. As I write this I am about ten hours into my first impressions of a CD50 I bought on this site. I sold my Wadia 21 and had anticipated landing a 16 that was available here in Atlanta locally but that fell through. ( I was inteested in getting digital inputs) I had been pleased with 21 and preferred it to a ML39 I owned previously. I have been however in the "something is not quite right" state of mind for some time prior to this move. I have to be honest and state that the only reason I gave the CD50 a try is beacuse of the passioate writings of carl_eber at this forum. I enjoy his comments. I will keep it short and sweet. This is the best I have heard digital sound at anytime in my life. I will spare you all the details because I don't even know how to tell you how good this player is,but will end by saying this has to be the most undervalued audio component of all time(did he really say that?!) and you would be a fool not to give it a listen before trying a more expensive digital source. I can't comment on the BiDat. I haven't even ditched the stock cord yet.
Carl, you commented on the CD50 coming back into production this summer. The only thing on resolution's web site was the CD55 which sounds like a replacement for the CD50. Do you know the deal with what is happening with those two? Also Petland, don't I recall you as having been a huge Wadia fan? If so, then I will have to hear that player since I have always loved the Wadias.
I had heard that it would, but apparently it has been replaced altogether. Given its unique upsampling, it is likely that the CD55 is better (overall) than the CD50, perhaps. HOWEVER.....I certainly am in ZERO hurry to sell my CD50, and am very glad to hear how much Petland enjoys his! You need to try the affordable MIT Z-Cord 2, and then IMHO you'll really be overjoyed! I've also thought that the CD50 is extremely underrated, undervalued, under appreciated, over-obscured, and want to welcome Petland to "my 'un-digital, digtial' world" of bliss with the CD50. I would call it the "un-cola" of CD players, but that would just make everybody think it has a euphonic character. I don't think it has any character at all. It's too bad RA doesn't pay me a commission, but then, I'd be a "salesman", and that would lessen the meaning of whatever I happen to be saying.
to Nhorton, I was a huge a Wadia fan. I thought I was close to the best that 16/44 could sound when I ditched a modified LS22 and bought the 21 over a year ago and started running direct. As we all know in this hobby you don't know what you have until its gone be it good or not so good. All I can tell you is that the CD50 has me at a loss for words. Carl is right in a sense it is pointless to try and describe because I promise people would form incorrect notions of the experience of this player. The best way I can say it, and I'd like to see if Carl agrees, is imagine a digital source that has all the attractive qualities that digital can offer in terms of ultimate resolution, low noise etc, and has absolutely none of the qualities we have have grown to despise. So far in my experiece the CD50 stands in a class of its own at a price point that is absurd in comparison. I wouldn't even call it a giant killer because I think whoever designed this player has taken it in a totally different direction than what is considred the best digital available today. It is unique in the best possible way.
I have the Resolution Audio CD55 It replaced the CD50, which replaced the Levinson39, which replaced the Accuphase DP65 It is a new step above what I had considered to be the very best sounding (hands down) one box player It is 24/96 but better yet Michael has a propreitary new upsampling algorithm from 44.1khz to over 700khz/24 bits It is stunning It still has an awesome dedicated internal pre-amp analog volume control I run it direct into my Lamm monoblocks into VonSchweikert VR6's Detail from 20-20k. No hash no grain no drop out of detail like digital volume controls It is killer
Yes, Petland, I agree. For example, I had to upgrade my vinyl front end, just to keep up with the CD50 in several ways, one being string tone (from cellos to violins). I went from a Benz Glider to a Lo4, in order to do this. Of course the vinyl is now better in every way by a goodly margin, but the CD50 is just intoxicating to listen to............Accujim, how nice for you. But, Petland and I will be enjoying our CD50's for quite some time, and will enjoy the money we saved over buying the new CD55, because the CD50 at its used price surely must be an even better buy than the 55 when new....not that the 55 isn't a world beater, I'm sure it is. Happy listening.
Just wanted to add my vote for the Levison No.39. In my judgement (opinion), nothing else in a one-piece unit comes close to the musicality, smoothness, openess, etc. It's the only CD player I could ever listen to at high volume with no fatique.