Sony SACD-1 for SACD and Redbook, and Meridian for CD's only.
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When I was researching CD players in the same price range, I came up with some of the same models that you have. Some tough choices. However,I took a chance and bought a brand new Consonance CD 2.2, and I haven't looked back. It sounds great. Based on reviews that I read, it beat a couple of the players that you mentioned. Hope this helps.
I vote for using a DAC instead. I have been comparing CDPs and DACs over the past several weeks and I was auditioining the newer models. The Electrocompaniet DAC sounded clearer, more detailed and thru a wider soundstage than the Mephisto II.X. The Chord DAC was even better. The Audio Logic DAC is also very good if you want to playwith tubes. I have the Sony SCD-777ES with Talon speakers. The Sony with the Talons sounded very harsh and bright that is why I did the auditions. The DACs made a huge difference. Email me if you want to chat.
Thanks for the replies so far. I have been looking into the Consonance as well, but am not familiar with the company and am consequently concerned re: longevity etc. Are they in any way affiliated with Rowland?
The Sony has continue to crop up as a top contender, due to the ability of playing both Redbok and SACD. But I have heard widely varied opinion of Redbook playback on the SCD-1. The nearest audio store from Cincinnati is Progressive in Columbus, about 100 miles away, making this even more difficult.
Regarding the DAC, I am using the Camelot Uther mk2. and am pleased with this unit (no preamp needed). The thing is, I am not really unhappy with my system, sonically, as it is. I have actually gotten to the point where I can sit back and release myself from the "critical listening syndrome". But I feel that the system has largely "outgrown" the transport a bit. The Lambda is also an older unit. And, while it has not given me problem one since I owned it, I think it may be time to upgrade. Too bad that Spectral SDR is out of my financial reach!!
C'mon 1741, there's more to being an audio enthusiast than pecking away at a keyboard! Get off you recently turkey-stuffed butt and drive yourself to the dealer. ;-)
100 miles is nuthin! I figure a 90 minute drive would be worth it to go evaluate something that's important to you. If the dealer shows you a good time, buy something you like and be happy that YOU picked it after hearing it yourself, and not because somebody here told you it was good.
Of course, don't waste the dealer's time if you're planning on buying used off of Audiogon. That wouldn't be fair to the dealer. There's a lot of expertise at that dealer, and customer service, something that you're not going to get buying used. (And no, I'm not a dealer, just someone with a Moral Center and a conscience)
1. I am a vegetarian.
2. I just ran the Chicago marathon and am rarely just sitting around my computer.
3. There is MUCH to be said about consistency regarding human experience and perception.
Yes, in Plato's Theatetus, we learned that perception is NOT knowledge-- the senses can report erroneous information. However, for example, when 80 out of 100 people say that a specific CDP is very good, there is bound to be some validity in investigating the claim further. I am not asking other people to make a decision for me. I am gathering information from people who have had direct experience with this gear. It will not neccessarily be the end of the endeavor. Progressive audio does not carry ANY of the CDP's in question. It would simply be a matter of good chance that they might have some of the used CDP's on my list. Further, they happen to carry Proac, MIT, and Spectral- the very foundation components that are contained within my system. This is an investigative process, and I am seeking all sources of knowledge on the subject. What you gave me, however, was self-evident and rather patronizing. Moral center?? I think I hear the turkey calling....
1741, I don't own any of the players on your list, but if I were looking to buy I'd consider that the SCD-1 has received consistently good reviews. Over time, because of it's place in SACD history, this player may prove to be an in-demand used item. And, there are many options available for modification if you decide to take the player to the ultimate level of performance. If I was in the market for a player from your list, the SCD-1 would be my choice.
My intent was to make a joke and have some fun, as indicated by the wink & smile ;-) Get it?! I was having fun with the remark you made about the dealer being 100 miles away, which could indicate thet you didn't want to make the drive.
I was not saying that you were unable to come to your own decision either, but there is a lot of that kind of insecurity around here. I am NOT the first nor will I be the last to encourage someone to make up their own mind.
I was also taking a swipe at people who believe everything they read here, or pump a dealer for info & expertise, then screw him by buying off the Internet, then bitch later about there being no decent dealers...another common bitch on the 'Gon)
I wasn't looking for a pontificating theological speech (quoting Plato? pulleeze!) full of irrelevant generalizations about what people (qualified or otherwise) think around here, nor was I deserving of your unnecessary snobbery and nastiness.
What happened to my thread??? Golden Ears: My intent was to gather information and what I get is someone who steps up on a soapbox and then becomes indignant when I confront the misplaced comments. Go to a different forum if you want to discuss buyer's ethics. And, it might be a good idea not to make assumptions about intentions in posting a thread such as this one. Your comments may well have been in jest, but they read as condescending, as mentioned previously. If the former is truly is the case, then I apologize for my abrasive reply. But there is nothing theological about a discussion of perception, especially when it is in direct relation to your assertion that my thread was pointless.
I have to agree with golden ears. If your are going to spend that much money you should definitely demo them or at least get a loaner. Other things to consider if you need a player with volume controls if you are not using a preamp. System matching, audiomeca Mephisto II may not have enough gain with certain preamps.
Agrre with golden ears. I dont care how many people recommend a product, if i cant hear it/demo it then its a no go. People have different tastes, different systems, different priorities. All of the players you listed are good players, great players in some systems, not so great in others.. Why would you take the chance that it might not work for that kind of cash?? Oh, and relax, it was pretty obvious that golden ears was just kidding around.
To all of those above who gave relevant replies to his thread, I thank you for your suggestions and offering your experience of the CDP's. You have been very helpful. To all others, who seemed to not have a F'in clue about the point of asking a completely reasonable question to obtain direction in finding a new front end in my system, go find something useful to do with your time other than stating the obvious. I was not asking anyone to make a decision for me, I was merely gathering opinion. Some people need to find a life outside of this site in the organic, yet realize its potential to do some informal research.