There's at least one member that was raving about his Pioneer Elite PD-D9-J player and I think it was rated highly against much more expensive units.
I have it's baby brother (PD-D6-J) and have been very happy with it.
Marantz SA-7. I had the same dilemma 3 years ago and do not regret it.
Need to check out the Sony 595. Do agon search for many tips.
I went from the Marantz SA11 to the Ayre C5 recently , expecting only a small improvement , but got much more .( the Marantz broke 3 times in 3 years ) . AS far as your question , SACD was stumbling before , I don't think the appearance of Blueray audio will help it out .
Here are my thoughts:
1. Getting into SACD is a no brainer especially if you are a classical music fan. SACD done right is CLEARLY superior to redbook player.
2. Stretch your budget a bit and get a (used?) dcs Puccini. It trounced every single box player in existence.
3. If you decide for whatever reason to buy Ayre player, make sure you run it fully balanced probably with a matching Ayre amplifier. I always find Ayre products to be rather "thin" sounding.
Crawl over broken glass to get hold of a Sony XA5400ES SACD and then have it upgraded by Modwright. Read all the reviews on here and on the Modwright site. Buy for about $1100 and upgrade for $2000 - suggested to be the best SACD/CD under $20,000. I love mine - it has taken several months to break in and just keeps getting better. It blew away my Musical Fidelity kw SACD which (when it works) is reviewed as very good.
This would be the best investment you could make - top dollar will not beat this unit - it sings
Peter from Perth in Western Australia
Yes I am a long way off - I research Audiogon and over forums very carefully before I buy unheard. Love the Sony !
Try audtioning an Esoteric. You won't find a better built SACD player (or sounding IMO)with the best transport made.
Look for an X-05 or X03se in you budget new or find a P05/D05 used.
Love my EMM CDSA-SE (~ $5,500 used)- reviews are spot on. More natural sounding than my friend's Esoteric P-03/D-03 combo... The only other machine I would consider at a similar price point would be the Marantz SA-7S1 (~ $3k used) with mods by Jena Labs (~ $2K) for total of $5k... Above that it takes BIG $$$ to beat these machines IMO... **Caveat- this is for SACD ONLY. On Redbook, my battery p/s modded 47 Labs Flatfish transport and Audio Note 3.1x Balanced Dac betters the EMM...
as much as i believe the sony 5400 is a good player, and the modwright upgrade is a good idea as well, i will never understand how anyone can confidently state that "it takes months" for something to break in. i've just never bought anything that took a great deal of time to sound differently than day one. maybe day 3 or day 7... even two weeks perhaps.
I have a Denon 5910ci and a Ayre C5xe-mp and there is no comparision between the two. I only use the denon for 5.1 SACD and DVD-A which is rare. Based on your budget you have a number of options, but one question, do have any discs? I have a few and sometimes I think I would have been beter invested in buying the LP's and staying with redbook. But I will add for redbook the Ayre does a great job as well.
get a turntable
I have an Exemplar Denon 5910 (a Denon 5910 extensively modified by John Tucker including conversion to tube output, silver wire, better caps and clock, etc). Until very recently, I had an Ayre C-5xe which I sent back to Ayre for the MP upgrade. Before the MP upgrade, the Exemplar was much better than the Ayre. After the MP upgrade the two players were very close, although different. The tubes give the Exemplar a bigger soundstage with a richer, fuller sound & it brings out the power in the music. The Ayre is much cleaner sounding with less distortion, tighter bass, lower noise floor, more low level detail.
I recently bought an Ayre DX-5, which in addition to CD, SACD, DVD-A, also has a USB input to serve as a DAC for a music server (I'm using a modified 2010 Mac Mini (8 GB RAM, SSD, and linear power supply) with a Locus Design Nucleus USB cable) and it plays blu ray and DVD video as well. I bought it mainly for the USB input and the blu ray video capability, expecting only an incremental improvement in sound quality over the C-5xeMP. I was very wrong. It is a whole lot better than the C-5xeMP and is also better than the Exemplar (though the Exemplar still has that big soundstage and rich, full sound). I have never heard digital sound anywhere near as good as it sounds with the DX-5. It does some things better than my vinyl rig and really narrows the gap between digital and analog. When fed from the Mac Mini with the files loaded into RAM Disc and played through Ayre's Airwave application instead of iTunes, the sound is so distortion-free, fast and right there in the room, it seems almost real.
If your budget goes up to $10K, you should consider the DX-5.
I tried both the Ayre DX5 and the C5 , and found the C5 much better on CD and SACD , so did the audio buds . I sent the DX back and purchased the C5 . The usb port and Blueray option would have been great , but I could not sacrifice sound quality for options . I was very disappointed , I had made up my mind on the DX .
Thanks so far everyone for the thoughts. Verneal if you look at my system you'll see a sota sapphire deck which I enjoy very much and thank you I clearly understand what your getting at.
Thing is, Virtually all of the listening that takes place here is when i'm relaxing after work and usually like to let the "disk" repeat a few times or so before scanning for another title. My SACD collection is getting bigger and would look at it as a plus at the very least for all the redbook cd's to sound better as well.
While were discussing, Does anyone think that I'd be better off saving 5k and going with a BAT which is built like an army tank and may bring better synergy with the amp I use? I realize it's not SACD but am curious as it's only been the Rotel cd player ever in the system so far.
Again I'm very appreciative for all the advice folks
Velocityofhue - If you are considering a non-SACD player in the $5K to $10K range, I recommend you consider the ARC CD8. I have the CD7, the Ayre 5xeMP, the Mcintosh MCD500, and the Marantz SA11S2. Each is in its own system and chosen for various reasons. The CD7 is much better than the others for redbook CD, and I have heard the CD8 enough at my dealer's home to know that it is superior to the CD7. The Ayre is maybe about 85 percent as good as the CD7 for redbook.
Wow, your listening experience is radically different from mine with C-5 & DX-5. My DX made my C-5 sound thin and less real in my system. I do think that the DX sounds a bit more like the old D-1 in that it is smoother and less forward than the C-5, so I can understand that some would prefer the way the C-5 presents the music.
Hello Ed ... Saw your system link , ( very nice ) . I noticed your using W.A. Sophia's , I like them very much . but thought they had a slightly forward sound . I'm using Revel Salon 1's , that Iv'e always felt could have a slightly recessed sound , Careful component matching was always important to make them shine . This may explain our different feelings about the two great Ayre players . I probably sounded overly critical of the DX . I noticed your using the Lamm 1.2 . they are one of the amps i'm thinking of upgrading too. I started a tread about them and the replies seem to recommend the 2.2's for my speakers , what do you think .
I have owned many of the SACD players above including the Ayre (excellent player), but I have sold them all buying a Sony SACD XA5400ES. I also kept my McIntosh SACD/DVD player for dvd-A. The McIntosh looks cool but is not even close to the Sony for SACD sound.
I love the SACD's and have a nice little collection. I can say with certainty the Sony 5400ES continually gives me the best sound.
I recently did what your doing and bought an Esoteric X03SE.Love it.I could have bought an Ayre at dealer cost and passed after hearing several including the Marantz line...and that Sony all are hyping,forgetaboutit,not even in the same conversation IMO, so no need to "crawl over glass"!
Well after hearing what all have said and seeing the tons of options for a cd player available I've decided it's not the disc player but the preamp which should be a priority to replace. This thought came to mind when I became all excited reading about the EAR acute with analog volume control and balanced outs. Just writing that out sounds tempting to replace my disc and preamp in one shot but who do we kid but ourselves. The simplicity of it sounds appealing but it's truly the best sound I seek. No disrespect Tim de Paravicini
Now back to the drawing boards and by the way have set up a listening session with the EMM Labs CDSA SE.
PS, Why would anybody want to crawl over broken glass?Hilarious
Thanks again everyone for taking time to respond.
For a SE preamp, I suggest you consider the best Shindo model you can afford.
I am not familiar with the Salons, but I seem to remember reading that they require a lot of power. If 110 watts/channel is not enough, you may want to consider the Lamm M2.2, which puts out 220 watts, if I recall correctly. It's Class A/B while the M1.2 is class A.
I'm very happy with M1.2s in my system. I love their tonal balance with just a touch of warmth, low level detail, dynamics, and rich fullness. Unfortunately, they seem to yield their best sound with the $$$$ Purist Anniversaries. I hope this helps. Happy to discuss more in an email if you like.
well thanks again folks! If your curious where this thread led to, I ended up getting a VK-3ix preamp and CX-7e player.