Modwright Sony 5400 or Modwright Oppo 105 are very good sounding players.
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10-16-15: Dorkwad+ 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.
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!