This question has beeen asked many times before. Unfortunately for you, there is no right or wrong answer. However, you will get replys that would support both choices. FWIW, as a generalization, but not a rule, I tend to prefer the former over the latter.
YOU have to do the listening, so the only really important opinion is YOURS....sorry.
If you want more opinions from others regarding this topic, you can always search the archives.
The 'best' for you is what sounds best, as J said. Forget the 'new/old' thing. However, to me 'old' is tubes, I always lean that way, no matter what the vintage. Yes, I am still stuck in the analogue era, which to me always sounds much better then digital. Will blu-ray audio change this? Maybe. I am waiting for Miles/Blue to be released this year. Never forgotten is that the source is analogue, so maybe the can never be improved on.
Leaving aside the mega expensive dCS,Meridian 808, and Zanden type ones I belong to the school that the older ones were better. The Zanden is in fact built with old technology. Many newer ones are built with parts that were designed for other purposes and measure well but lack sound quality. This topic has been covered in HIFICRITIC, they take no ads so have no need to praise the latest things. I use Meridian transports and an Audio Synthesis DAX from the early 90s. The big companies lost what interest they had in CD years ago and so the usual trickle down benefits of new technology has not occurred, they have been devoting their efforts to products that have never become successful, like the various DVD audio formats. IF you want to try a contemporary player get a V-DAC from Audio Advisor for $299 [refundable if you don't like it] It is amazing and even better with an upgraded power supply. I would experiment with a new digital cable, I think there has been progress there. Currently I am using a Transparent Reference [$1700 new] with my $299 V-DAC and $200 Little Pinkie PS. I am getting new caps in my DAX to see if it improves the performance.
Goldmund equipment is top quality and you would have to spend more than 2k to better it today. imo.
That is hard to say. I still have an old California Audio Labs Delta and Sigma II that I bought in the early 1990s. some years ago I replace the Delta transport with a Theta Jade and that made a big difference. Eventually the Jade stopped working and I started looking for a replacement. I auditioned quite a few players as I used my old Delta again. Finally I bought an Audio Research CD7 which I have been very happy with. Recently I heard an old California Audio Labs Tempest II SE that had been modded. I owned one of these in the late 1980s. It was in a lot of ways similar to my CD7. I have found that both the transport and DAC can make a big difference in the sound and that new is not always better. Though in general transports mechanisms in both the "top of the line" players and stand alone transports have improved quite a bit in the last few years.
Do you have many SACDs or DVD audios? I did not so I chose to go with a dedicated CD player. Thanks to Microsoft HDCD is pretty much dead. SACD and DVD Audio never really caught on. The number of SACDs available is very limited.
I would check out players/dacs with a significant new technology, Minimum Phase or apodising filters. Meridian, Ayre, PS Audio and a few others have players/dacs out with this technology.
These filters eliminate or reduce the pre-ringing or pre-echo that is an artifact of the cd recording process. Pre-ringing is the reverse of echo, you have echoes of sounds before the sound itself.
Pre-ringing is measured in microseconds, so you don't actually hear echoes, but to my ears sound quality is greatly improved when they are removed. If you are trying to avoid harshness, glare or listener fatigue you would be especially interested in this technology.
Marketing for CD players is all about numbers. There really isn't anything else to talk about with CD playback and the prices aren't getting any cheaper. In order to get better sound than you have now you will have to spend a lot more than you did when you bought the Goldmund and the PS Audio. If you do decide to buy something else let me know how much you want for your Mimesis 12 and Lambda Transport.
I agree with most of the comments, you aren't really going to do much better than you have on CD performance. If you intend to stay with CD, then I wouldn't worry too much about missing out on anything because you probably aren't.
However, if you are interested in other formats and high resolution, I would consider 2 options. First, try the $500 Oppo Universal Blu Ray player that does just about every disk format out there right now (SACD, DVD-A, Blu Ray Audio, CD, etc.) Second option; wait until you are ready to try file based playback. I am a big believer that this is where digital playback is headed, but there are a lot of competing ideas, hardware configurations, and file formats right now. The good news is that we should have clearer choices emerging in a couple years.
I agree with the choices Tomcy6 mentions (Meridian, Ayre, PS Audio). I own the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC and absolutely love it. I'm doing high resolution playback with a laptop and looking forward to the new Bridge card that will stream from a network drive (no computer needed!). The convenience can't be beat, and though setting everything up is not that easy just yet - the major players are in the process of making it simple.
Were I in your position I think I would give the Oppo a try and see if it floated my boat. You won't loose much money on it as you can turn it around here quickly if you don't like it. I think Oppo even has a 30 day trial period.
i own the perfect wave dac and perfect wave transport. the cal aria, cal tempest, wadia 2000, zanden, audionote cd 2. the ps audio is a fair performer.
i owned goldmund gear. i think some of the older tube gear is competitive with the goldmund.
So it seems most of you agree that the Separates DAC/CD TRANSPORT by Goldmund and PS Audio are a better option than a $2000 range more updated single unit Cd Player....
I begun this thread because a friend of mine made a comment on my gear, according to him, my GOLDMUND MIMESIS 12 DAC is totally obsolete , he claims that any CD-DVD Player "over the counter" at Walmart or Target beats my Gear simply because they have "newer" technology, regardless of anything else, such as parts quality, shielding, the fact that they are DAC/CD Transport and very well built by 2 respected manufacturers.
He thinks like a Computer Geek , he puts in perspective the fact that any new computer perfoms better than ANY 15 year old Computer. No matter if the old computer was a top of the line $10,000 USD computer on that time, he says any $400 USD desktop beats it.
That makes sense, but he claims that the same rules apply to a DAC, that in retrospective, a DAC is a computer, decoding the bits on the CD, so that it why he claims any cheap CD-DVD player of today, can beat ANY 15 year old or more CD Player or DAC, simply because the decoding technics are much better today...
I try to put in to context other factors, such as parts quality, design , etc. But he I could not change his mind....
You can't compare digital playback to computers. 20 years ago no one was running Windows 7, but the CD standard is the same today as it was 20 years ago. The latest fancy DAC chips aren't really necessary running 25 year old software standards, just like a 2 GB computer wouldn't mean much if you were only running computer software from 1990.