What bests the Consonance Droplet

I plan to get the Droplet later this yr, used for around $2K I will consider other suggestions, if you think your's can best the Droplet.
No I've not heard it, only from photos.
Don't mention the Cary 202, I've heard it and does not best my Cayin 17. As far as I recall.
Who knows its possible the Cayin 17 equals the Consonance. But my intuition tells me the Droplet will be a nice "little" upgrade.
I've never heard a Cary 202 and was wondering what features it has...your likes, dislikes? Are you sure you have the correct model #?

I have heard the Cary CD308, CD308T, CD303-200, CD306-200, CD303-300 and 306SACD....I have also heard a Cayin player, albeit briefly. If the Cayin player equals the Consonance, then I have an idea on the sound of the Droplet as I have not heard one personally. I think the 6h30 supertube is way over-rated considering some of the fun of having a tube cd player is to do some rolling, which is really limited by the 6h30.

As far as the Cary players are concerned, I would take any of the Cary players mentioned above over the Cayin player without hestation (and, by your comparison, The Droplet as well). No offense intended but Cary players never cease to amaze me, especially as you move up the food chain in their lineup. Just my opinion and I admit, I am biased toward Cary as I have never been disappointed with the total ownership experience I have enjoyed. I am still in mourning over the sale of my beloved 306-200 (replaced by a 306SACD which is incredible). The 306-200 used for around $2k with the multiple digital inputs makes it one amazing bargain although the 303-300 appears used for $2200-2400 and the tube stage allows for cheap and fun tube rolling.

Your opinion may vary as your post may not truly be seeking out other opinions. To consider "upgrading" to a player that does not outperform your current unit seems baffling to me. If you were just bored at work......well....you got me.

Another option would be the Resolution Audio Opus 21.
Used, about the same price.
Very nice, almost analog sound.
(The only unit I have heard that clearly bests the Opus 21 is the Audio Aero Capitole II, which sounds even more analog like.)

As you can tell, I am an analog first kind of audiophile.
So far, (at least to my ears) no digital source can equal a similarly priced analog source. These two come close, and so I picked up the Opus 21. (It is about half the cost of the Capitole II, which means I can spend even more on my analog system!)

My two cents worth.
Good Luck in your search.

PS Tvad is correct of course. So always buy used, so you can try out equipment at very little financial risk.
I've auditioned both the Droplet and the 17A in home and although they were at different times, I came away with the feeling that the Cayin was the one I would choose. They both are good players but the Cayin just seemed to fit better. Of course, this is the *A* version, although I never heard the 17 by itself.
Bluenote Stibbert Tube Mk.II version.
the naim cdx, a two box cd player is the closest presentation to analog. until you hear it, you have no idea what you're missing.
Eastern Electric's tube cdp with a a few mods will blow it away...don't forget to tube roll as well. And you'll have some cash left over. L'wood
My mistake, Cary 303/200. Sure I did not hear it next to the Cayin on the same system. My friend had the audio Research VT 200 + ARC pre amp and Mirage 1's /Talon Khorus. The ARC amp is way too colored to determine the quality of any cdp. and the speakers didn't help out either. From memory, at least 10 hrs listening, I'd say the Cary was a good sounding player.
Has Cary worked out its quality control issues, as my friend sent his back for repairs at least 2X's, this was 2 yrs ago, maybe its a different unit now.

Driver thansk for your essential imput. I had the Cayin 15, a very nice sound for the money, pd $550 used here on audiogon, the seller had BugleBoys installed. Not sure how much better over stock tubes.
I then bought the 17 (am not aware of a "A" model). The 17 added another notch up on the resolution scale. I felt it was worth the extra $500 spent. I think its worth $1500 If I had to pay it.
I like the inner layout of the Droplet, and was hoping for even more an upgrade in the near future. GH also gives his comments on the 6h30 tubes.
But as you say they were not A/Bed same day, but you say you'd walk with the Cayin.
Well based on that I think I'll stick with the 17 and see about rolling the stock 6922's for a quad of JJ's 6922 Gold Pins at $25/ea, here from Jason.
Will report on the test results.
Thanks for everyones imput.
Baton Rouge
the Consonance Reference 2.2 I picked one up for $800
had replaced the generic opamp with the superb descreet Burson modules which destroy the good opa627 s, or anythng else, + the Trichord dac 4wordclock and their superb never connected power supplys and regulators. I had Graham at Trichord put his 20 years in digital to work .He built custom high speed bridge rectifiers, all the best caps Rubicon, oscon ,panasonics , many Bybee purifiers,all audionote silver wire, hifi tuning silver fuses ,ers tuning sheets,and about 10 others tweaks .including the machine my total investment was $2300.00 and It destroys Any machine at 4x this .please remember as good a machine you think you have like my freind with his Esoteric 3se the parts are decent not anywhere near the best possible ,no company can afford this practice less than 25% of your total is actually in parts on any New equipment you buy ,
that is a fact. This is the most logical way to build a super cd player ,and the stock droplet is not even close!