What is your price range?
15 responses Add your response
You have a similar system to mine- ARC tube gear, but I use Mirage M3si speakers or SoundLab Auras. I have a Wadia 301 cd player but find it to be too bright and clinical. The Wadia is okayish, but I really prefer my Krell KAV300CD. The Krell has all the detail of the Wadia, but much more musical and way better bass - the music seems much more lively. I do like things a little more aggressive and forward than most audiophiles, but with the Krell, I stop worrying how good the gear is and really get lost in the music.
I know I'm not aswering you question. But you should also put the Astin Trew AT3500 plus on your list. You should be able to buy a new one for around $2k I guess and it is very good. I can hold it's own against older more expensive CD players. I have no commercial intrest in Astin Trew nor any other audio brand.
I've had both Wadia and ARC, currently using the ARC CD7 (haven't upgraded it). I much prefer the ARC. I'm thinking about upgrading myself and might make a buyer a good deal on the CD7 (not heavily used as I'm mostly a vinyl listener. If you want to consider the CD7 get in touch with me.
Regardless, I think you'd end-up preferring an ARC piece and it would all go very well in your system (the rest of my gear is ARC and Vandersteen).
I enjoy my ARC CD3MKII very much. I have had it since early 2007. Without going into all the technical listening jargon- it is very musical. It creates a large, open sound stage and finally, with some recent CDs, it even creates a sound stage beyond my speakers just as many records do. It is rock solid reliable and has played every disc I have put in without fail. I use MIT cables. I attached an MIT power cable to this CD player which made an improvement worth keeping. (I wish it hadn't, but it was significant enough to spend the $$$$.) That is the only tweek I have done to this player.
I'll take a dissenting view, based upon the ARC Ref 8. I thought the build quality was poor, particularly the transport. I also thought the presentation was smeared and colored.
The Wadia is not for everyone. It is very clean and precise. In some systems, it can sound dry. It needs very good supporting components and cables, along with a preamp. I think you need to listen to some of these and expand your choices.
Rtn1 - If you open any current Wadia player, and compare the flimsy, all plastic DVD-Rom drive Wadia uses to the cast aluminum Philips CD-Pro2 drive that can be found in all ARC players from CD-3 onwards, you would change your mind.
I agree that the aesthetixc side of ARC line is lacking in general (we somehow developed a liking for it over the years - talk about acquired taste) but the products are extreemly solid.