What CDP gets really close to vinyl?


Hello, I have been looking for a CD player that is truly airy, transparent, and in this sense similar to vinyl. So far I did not have much luck. I tried a variety of brands, from Rega to Meridian to Ayre, and now own an EAR Acute. Each of these players is wonderful in its own way, but the sense of spaciousness, air, the "I am there in the symphony hall" feeling has never achieved what I can get with a good turntable and good cart. Has anyone had better luck?
ggavetti
I've had good luck in this regard with my current music server/network player/DAC configuration in my rig.

Not by chance. I have strived to get both my vinyl and digital to sound right to me. They may not be exactly the same, but are very close.

Then again, I like vinyl, but am not one that thinks it is necessarily the end all for good sound. Some do and I doubt they will ever be satisfied with digital no matter how good.
My freind was at his brother in-laws place that is really into vinyl. He took his CD player with him, it was a very highly reviewed Sony player and he told me by comparison he had to play some SACD's to approach the TT's ability to have that expancive hall sound.
So I'm thinking that you need 24bit files to match the quality.
While I listen to my CD player I feel I have a great sound stage with deep imaging, but I don't have a TT to compare with.
My CD player upsamples to 24/382. But it doesn't sound as good as his Sony which upsamples to 24/192.
I think some of the SACD's approach vinyl but not redbook.
Just my 2 cents worth.
I much prefer and normally listen to vinyl.

I think SACD is as close as your going to get. You may want to consider investing in a SACD player.

Have Fun!
Your source is only one part of your system. Unless you have a complete well matched system you may never obtain those sounds. The last thing I added to my system that seem to finally give me what I had been searching for was a cable. I have both a digital and analog front end.
none, it's all about the DAC. Get a good stand alone DAC that effects your music the most.

In fact, if you download your CD's to digital files, then run the music through a good DAC off of a music server, I think it sounds much better than CD. You take much of the mechanical error out of the equation.
but the sense of spaciousness, air,
This may sound a little strange but when I was auditioning speaker cables in my home I found the Nordost Frey's gave me just that. In fact my first impression with the Nordost was they seemed to be thin and lean sounding. But the more I listened to them I picked up air between the instruments and vocals. After hearing that I bought them.
I know that doesn't help you since you have 2 sources and you are looking to get get similar sounds with everything else being the same. I do have a Meridian G08 and just thought I'd mention what I heard in my stytem.
Check out any Modwright Sony or Denon player. They come up used on Agon quite a bit because everyone wants the latest and greatest player. It's as close to vinyl as I've heard. I've owned the Modwright 9000 and currently until it craps out someday, the Modwright 9100 with all mods. It is also a sacd player, and will play dvds too. It sounds preferable on several well recorded cds to a very good analog setup. I was THE anti-cd dude for 15 plus years--never had a player I liked so I didn't buy one. The Modwright's changed my mind and sent me on a cd buying spree in the past 3 years. Look up reviews on them.
About seven or eight years ago I purchased a used Resolution Audio CD50 and thought this "thing is pretty good." The more I listened to it the more impressed I was. Not long after I sold off my vinyl collection. Every once in a while I feel a twinge of regret but that's only natural. I honestly can't count how many times I've tried to replace this cdp with something better.
Now the CD50 is very old technology and should have been surpassed by now but it just sounds like music to me. That statement should sound familiar to any vinyl lover.
If the transport dies and can't be replaced I'll contact Jeff Kalt at Resolution Audio to see what it would cost to have it modified for use as a dac.
I agree with the comments made by Zmanastronomy, Steelhead and Macdadtexas. I own an ARC CD-7, which is a fine CD player. However, I recently started to reacquaint myself with my old vinyl. I serviced and upgraded my old TT, and bought a new cartridge. Frankly, I was very surprised by how good the old vinyl sounded compared to the CDP, even with the old TT and beat up records. I suspect the problem with CD has to do with the formatting. The technology is 30 years old.

My problem is that I am not familiar with the new stuff coming on line. However, at some point, I may start exploring the benefit of using a DAC, e.g., the ARC DAC-8.

Hey, Macdadtexas, got a question. You said that "if you download your CD's to digital files, then run the music through a good DAC off of a music server, I think it sounds much better than CD. You take much of the mechanical error out of the equation."

Could you provide a simple explanation of how a DAC can improve the sound playback of a convention CD that's formatted using the old technology? I would have thought that part of the problem is that the standard formatting technology loses a lot of sound information during digital encoding.

Thanks.
APL NWO-M.
I see posts of people wanting solid state equipment to sound like tube. Cd to sound like vinyl. Why is it so difficult? Just get a tube amp or use vinyl records.
One that costs $90K, as reviewed on the high-endaudio.com site. Sal is drooling, since he cannot afford such joy. Hey, there is hope, if we get to audio heaven.
Audio Aero Capitole Mk II SE comes pretty close in my experience. It does have that sense of spaciousness and air IMHO - could be the tubes. It is a musical and involving cdp. I think I read in a recent listing that Audio Aero has appointed a new North American distributor in the USA, which was something that was missing for some time.
I would argue that you just don’t have the quality of software with cd's (or sacd’s) in comparison to (original) vinyl. No machine can make great sound out of questionable source material.
Agree with the above about source material, really great CDs get close. Get a copy of "Equinox" , which was recorded with superior technology to see what can be done.
"I would argue that you just don’t have the quality of software with cd's (or sacd’s) in comparison to (original) vinyl. No machine can make great sound out of questionable source material.'

On an absolute scale perhaps, however not all vinyl recordings are equally good nor are all CD recordings equally bad. in fact, some vinyl recordings are pretty bad and some CD recordings are pretty good.

So on a case by case basis at least, which is what really matters, CD quality can sound better than similar vinyl, especially if well mastered or remastered.
Well said Mapman.
You should try and listen to "The last record player" by Einstein Audio, amazingly analog sound.
I also like Resolution Audio. I think the Resolution Audio Opus 21 is about as good as digital gets. Compared mine (GNSC modified) with Audio Note turntable TT 2. Could not tell the difference.
Extremey happy with my modded AMR CD-77.1.
Best,
Bob
thanks to everybody for the answers provided so far. it looks like in terms of equipment it might be worth looking into modwright.

as for the quality of the actual source material, are there particular cd manufacturers that are audiophile-oriented? or places on the web that sell especially good stuff? thanks.
Mapleshade/Wildchild.
I strongly SECOND the APL NWO-M. Read the reviews here and by various mags (of its predecessors).

Starts with the best Esoteric transport made, add lots of 32-bits DACs, top-quality parts and genius engineering and you get a piece that is second to NONE in the digital world, IMHO. Literally exponentially better than the APL machine used at the famous San Diego shootout several years ago(from the "thread that wouldn't die" fame). It just does everything "right" without even trying.

If you are lucky enough to hear one, you most likely will start going through your finances to find a way to acquire one. Yes, it really IS that good, IMHO. I have no affiliation with APL at all - just a very happy NWO-M owner.
Burmester 069 with Reference Line Power Supply Unit. You've the best magic sound of vynil without any defects.
Another vote for Resolution Audio Opus 21. Certainly you could get new CD players that come along with latest chips and higher resolution, but somehow the Opus 21 managed to conjure up timbre and tonal hues reminiscent of vinyl that I suspect wasn't even there with the digitial format.

To get the best from this player, a DIN to RCA interconnect is needed to bypass the internal volume control. The DNM Reson is an excellent choice at affordable price.
Ear acute, just a fantastic player, bettered my capitole, by a long shot, most analog sounding player in my experience:
You owe it to yourself to check out Playback Designs MPS-5.

Please read all the reviews for yourself & then audition one.
As close to vinyl as I've heard to date. You won't be disappointed. Also can use the internal dac with a server.
Very flexible.
Do they still make cd players?

Just kidding...*s*
I just picked up a NAD C-565BEE cd player and it is very close to vinyl.
Very rich sounding with lot's of detail.
It's a keeper.
Ggavetti,

Not me!!!!
>>03-20-11: Zmanastronomy
I just picked up a NAD C-565BEE cd player and it is very close to vinyl.<<

Maybe to your vinyl.

Not mine.
47 Lab Flatfish + super Audio Note DAC surpasses vinyl set ups I have heard.
Cary SACD with built in DAC that you can use separately with a Synergistic Research Hologram D powercord. You can switch sampeling rates on the fly with the remote.
>>03-21-11: Muralman1
47 Lab Flatfish + super Audio Note DAC surpasses vinyl set ups I have heard.<<

I suggest you've not heard many decent vinyl front ends as that pairing will be trashed by most good analog combinations.
Audiofeil.
Your probably right. I have a very modest turntable and maybe I should have said that.
But, What I stated is what I hear in my system.
Most vinyl lovers have 10X the money that the NAD cost in they're turntables.
Zmanastronomy,
Thanks for the clarification.

You are indeed correct that very good digital costs far less than very good analog.

Enjoy the NAD.
audiofeil, this is probably the first time i agree with you 100 percent.

the best digital i have ever heard was a 1996 top of the line naim 2 piece cd x cd player and separate power supply. but i would not say that it was better than vinyl, just that it was pleasant, minimally timbrally inaccurate and very listenable. i heard this player at the sahara hotel at ces.
>>03-21-11: Mrtennis
audiofeil, this is probably the first time i agree with you 100 percent<<

This is not good.

Perhaps I need to re-think my position.
Audiofeil, you are guessing. I have heard marvelous vinyl systems costing 6 figures. My duo set up brings in the last ounce of detail a recording provides. You would be amazed at how much artistry is available on CDs.
I have very nice digital stuff here when I want to hear material not available on vinyl. Very expensive gear in fact.

But if you want to bring your toys here and have a Muralboy vs. Vinylfeil shootout you'll be embarrassed.

Stomped, crushed, and whipped.

I will serve humble pie of course.

Hot or cold, your choice.
"But if you want to bring your toys here and have a Muralboy vs. Vinylfeil shootout you'll be embarrassed.

Stomped, crushed, and whipped."

That might depend more on who greases the palms of the judges best more than anything!

How much does this job pay? I might be interested!
ah, audofeil, always the contrary one.

i wouldn't continue this behavior too often. it's bad for your health.

however, if i have that much influence over your position, you don't have much confidence in your convictions.
Mrt, be assured you have absolutely no influence over anything I do, read, or say.

Like all reviewers, you are nothing more than entertainment.
I use Ayres top player . When we want a more analog feel we run it into the Levinson DAC . I won't say it sounds like a turntable but it's as close to it as I have heard from a digital rig . With digital like this who needs vinyl .
Audiofeil, I will take you up on that challenge! You will lose. Of course you have to come here, or, pay my fare to wherever you are... hades, I assume.
Audiofeil, I will take you up on that challenge! You will lose. Of course you have to come here, or, pay my fare and shipping of my system to wherever you are.
>>03-21-11: Tmsorosk
With digital like this who needs vinyl<<

When you hear a real honest kick a** vinyl front end, you'll get it.

Until then, enjoy your bytes.

Digital has made terrific advancements in the past 5 years or so. However, a SOTA analog front end is still clearly superior. You're welcome to stop by for a listen.
Vinyl Rules!!!!

Give 'em hell Bill!!
Hello Bill .. I have heard many fine vinyl rigs , at friends as well as in the salons , And I can say a few of them surpassed my digital setup in a few ways but lost out in a few others , i guess were back to personal preference again . But those fine vinyl spinners cost almost five times what my Ayre/Levinson combo did and my dac has many uses .
You are also welcome any time as is any real audiophile . Regards Tim
Sorry muralboy I don't make house calls to hear inferior systems.

You want a shoot out, it's here where any of my vinyl rigs will blast your fisher price digital toys.

Show up or shut up.

Tim, I agree that the best vinyl costs more, digital is more practical etc. etc. However, outside of convenience, a properly designed analog front end does not lose in any way to a digital source. No way, no how. Been doing this far too long. Personal preference? Perhaps, but it's no coincidence that Audiogon's most experience and knowledgable members are vinylphiles not muralboys.

I'm out of here; this is way too easy.