The choice of my new CD player

I’m using a Esoteric K-03SE CD player more than 5 years, currently I’m interest to get a new CDP, my target are:

Esoteric K-03X
Audio Research CD-9
Metronome CD-8 Signature

I love my Esoteric very much, it built like a tank, work very stable and reliable, very analytical and transparency sound. I heard the latest K-03X even sounds much better (Surely K-01X is better but out of my budget). However, I’m interest to try something new, and I heard ARC CD-9 and Metronome CD-8 also sounds very nice. Does anybody compare these CDP? And what is your choice?

PS: In the future, I’m interest to get an external DAC which has complete different sound with my CDP. At the beginning I won’t use it for CAS, what I will do is to use my CDP’s transport and this external DAC to produce different sound, in this case I can have two different choice of sound. So my primary idea is K-03X because the transport system are extremely good.
Modwright Sony 5400 or Modwright Oppo 105 are very good sounding players.
10-16-15: Dorkwad
Modwright Sony 5400 or Modwright Oppo 105 are very good sounding players.
+ 1. I really liked my old modded/re-tubed Ayon CD-5s which I think in stock form is a better player than the ARC CD-9, though i'm going to vote for a fully loaded Modwright Sony XA-5400ES. Dan knows what he's doing & provides great customer service.
+2 on the Modwright units.
The Sony 5400 and Oppo 105 cd drive mechanism is absolutely no match for Esoteric VRDS NEO drive. Not even close. If I were the poster, I would keep what I had. I doubt he would see much difference from the 03se to the 03x.

I have an Esoteric UX3 player and I refuse to sell it because it uses the Burr Brown 1704 r to r dac chip and it sounds so smooth. It is perfect for my very extensive rock collection.

while I have not demo'ed the Esoteric K-03 nor Metronome (no local representation), I have spent time w/ the ARC CD9.

The CD9 claim to fame is that it has a killer DAC section for computer audio applications (and its ilk) If this is your thing the ARC is right for you.

I have had the pleasure of auditioning the DV-50/60 series and really like the SACD playback -1st and foremost.

Keep me posted as you audition these other players and Happy Listening!