What CD Player to replace McIntosh MCD550?

I want to replace my McIntosh MCD550 SACD/CD player. I like the sound and resolution of the unit but I’ve all but given up on McIntosh for their CD players. This is my third unit since July of 2015. Warranty replaced the first two for bad order transports now this current one (out of warranty) is exhibiting the same problems. I stayed within the product line as my system is all McIntosh. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.


I own both a McIntosh MCD301 SACD player and an Esoteric SACD player.  The McIntosh is ok, the Esoteric is well worth the money in both build quality and sound quality.  Esoteric make their own transports, McIntosh does not.
Thanks for the recommendation, the Esoteric's have great reviews and at the same price point as the Mac. 
I replaced my MCD500 with an Esoteric K-03. I thought it was a significant upgrade in build and sound quality. I liked the K-03 so much, I further upgraded to the Esoteric K-01x.
Bill, what is your budget? What sound characteristics & features (eg:: sacd, DSD/MQA support) are you wanting from your next player? And what is your accompanying equipment? Cheers.
$5k is my budget and needs digital inputs.  My set up is a McIntoish C220 tube preamp and using a MA6600 as a power amp.
We just took back from the original owner a fascinaing CD player, the AMR CD 77. This is a massive 80lb top loader which sold for $8,500.00


The cool thing is the actual laser mechanisim is readily avalaible and easy to replace as long as you are a bit handy.

The player uses the original Philps 1541 dac chip and portrays a very natural and very liquid presentation.

Unlike an Esoteric which uses only proprietary parts for the drive mechansim the replacement part is about $120 the AMR mounted the laser in a brass housing and suspended that entire assembly on damped spings, it took a brand new $9k machine to displace it.

Selling it for $3.5k very nice performance for that kind of money.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Bill, Is SACD a requirement? As that would rule out the AMR player suggested above, as well another tube rbcd player Personally I wouldn’t offer more than $4500 taking into account what was covered in the service. though they’re accepting offers. I previously owned a CD-5s which I modded/tube-rolled & can attest that is a musical sounding rbcd player with good bass. It also has a very good linestage (once modded/tube rolled). That was Ayon’s best work up to the current series now that they’ve got their mojo back. But be aware that both the AMR and Ayon players are made in China. In the case of Ayon - in Koowloon, Hong Kong.

If SACD is a requirement, there is an Esoteric K-03 on A’gon asking $5200. That player also has the digital inputs you need. Though my only reservations are that it is a better SACD player than RBCD player, and has an unecessarily complex set of filter and other settings, although the TAS review provides some setup tips as a hack.

Another option out of left field. Have you considered a high end server/streamer in lieu of a disc spinner? I recently got to listen to and have a play with the Aria Piccolo + which has very good software, a good dac & has an optional fully automatic cd ripper. You literally insert the disc into the ripper & it is automatically ripped to the server which uses Accurate rip. There is also 3TB of HDD storage, or up to 2TB of SSD storage (optional). The new ’plus’ model is a 3rd generation product and has impressive build quality and specs for the money. I believe it has all the features you require, and you should be able to pick up one new with the optional ripper & 2TB of SSD storage for under $5k - http://ariamusicserver.com/products/aria-piccolo-plus/#1519918517070-90078e81-be63
Apropos my post above, If you wanted a higher end model than the Piccolo +, there is the Aria 2 model which has an in-built ripper & options like an external linear psu. Though i'm unsure about pricing.
I have a fair amount of SACD's by far my collection is RBCD's.  I also forgot to mention the new player needs to have an all black face plate to keep the aesthetics of the rest of my equipment. My speakers are Focal Kanta's. 

I've considered going the all digital path, not really sure I'm ready for it at this time. I like hands-on, flipping through the collection until I find what I'm in the mood to listen to.  

This whole ordeal has me questioning how much $$$ I've put into this passion and how many more $ I want to put into it.  Go figure.
There is a Modwright Sony SCD-XA5400ES in good shape FS asking $2700 which is a giant killer at that price point, but it lacks the digital inputs you require. That said you could probably get that player for $2.3-$2.4k & spend the savings on some Stillpoints or Shun Mook iso feet, or a cable upgrade - https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis91bg2-sony-modwright-scd-xa5400es-cd-sacd-players

All things considered, I think the player which ticks all your boxes, and will be a very good RBCD as well as SACD player is the new Ayon CD-10. And that will give you the flexibility to roll the stock 6H30EB tubes with mil-spec DR’s, or warm sounding cryo’d EH 6H30 Gold Pins to get a different/better sound. There is a brand new unit on the ‘Gon asking <$5k FYI, though I’m sure you could negotiate a good deal through your local Ayon Dealer. Hope that helps.