What's Absolute Best Upsampling CD Player $2K-$3K?

I'm looking in buy a USED CD player to upgrade my system. I want to spend $2000 - $3000 for a good used upsampling CD player. My amp is Classe 401, Piega P10 speakers and Krell HTS 7.1 Pre-Pro. I'm presently using a Marantz DV8400 double-duty for audio and video. I can keep the DV8400 for DVD's and get a good dedicated CD player for red book CD's.
I see Electrocompaniet sell, second hand, sell in your price range.
Look for the EMC 1-UP.
Jeffjarvis: Yes I've seen them. I don't know anything about them. Are you familiar with them? I think they use a spider clamp to place on top of the CD.
The EMC-1 is a wonderful sounding unit. I heard this on many occasions at a local dealer and was mightily impressed. I ultimately got the ECD-1 DAC and used this until I crossed paths with a Manley Ref DAC. For the value, the Electrocompaniet products on the used market are tough to beat.
I owned an EMC-1UPSE, great player, very analog sounding with a deceptive amount of detail. Excellent player to get rid of a case of digititis, or bleeding of the ears as it is also known. I just bought an Ayre CD-7e and it is still breaking in but I am very impressed with it as well. You can get a new one for $3000 or used for less, but it competes with anything under $5000 for sure. A little more energetic than the EMC with a bit more pronounced top end, but very musical to be sure. Another one everyone raves about at this price is the Resolution Opus 21 but I have not heard it and cannot comment, but you may want to check it out as well.
I agree with the EMC 1-UP SE suggestion. I also owned the Spider Clamp and found it's value questionable over the stock clamp. Proof of this is found circumstantially in the fact that no other manufacturer of a top loading, puck/clamp based transport is offering a "spider" type clamp. In my opinion, the Spider Clamp was an attempt by Electrocompaniet to stretch the profits of the EMC 1-UP SE CD player.

Nevertheless, the stock EMC 1-up SE is a terrific value.

I've owned for quite some time one of the finest CDP's I've had a chance to hear. While rather unknown to the audience in the States, and not enjoying the lofty desirability status of some of better-known products, Gamut CD1 is a spectacular machine, IMO
(1) Electrocompaniet is out of business; and

(2) There is no agreement that upsampling CD players necessarily sound better (the ARC CD3 Mk II at $5k, and the Zanden DAC at $15K, are two great players that intentionally avoid upsampling).
Nevertheless, Raquel, the poster asked about upsampling CD players.

Electrocompaniet is now part of WestControl, so it is has undergone a transformation and is not out of business.


I have owned the EMC 1-UP SE in its stock form and in its Empirical Audio modified version. I have owned half a dozen other world-class CD/Universal players that are upsamplers and non-upsamplers. The best I've found thus far is the APL Denon 3910. It's interesting to note that Alex Peychev originally sold his APL Denon 3910 as a non-upsampling machine and now sells it as a 24 bit/ 88.2kHz upsampling machine because he believes it sounds better.

If you really want to experience upsampling vs. non-upsampling for around $2000, I'd suggest taking a look at the Stello DA220 DAC for $1195 NEW and an Empirical Audio modified Sony DVP-S7700 (approx. $850). For around $2000, you'll have a state-of-the-art upsampling (or non-upsampling) redbook playback system. What could be better than the ability to choose?

Gentlemen, you have all given me a good insight into the availability of players in the $2K-$3K range. It seems this thread drifted into the EC territory a bit. I have no issue with EC and would certainly consider it, except I don't know how convenient/inconvenient the top loading aspect with the clamp would be. Does this EC have a tube sound or more neutral sound?

Also, I am not particularly set on an upsampling CD player. I have flexiblity in that respect. Just looking to maximize my dollars. One of my concerns of a modded player is the performance and "re-saleability". Any comments and other recommendations? Thanks
Well, Tekhifi, since you've dropped the upsampling criteria, your question has basically expanded into a "best $2000-$3000 CD player" thread. There are dozens of existing threads on that topic. I'd suggest a thread search.

The stock EC has a natural, organic sound. Define what you mean by tube sound vs. neutral sound. Specifically define the term "tube" and "neutral". "Tube" sound has as many definitions as snow in Alaska. A classic CJ tube amp does not sound like a VAC amp, yet both are tube circuits.

You'll lose dollars on a modified player upon re-sale, but the value of the performance boost you gain during ownership of a modified player may outweigh the monetary loss upon re-sale. Mostly, your decision on a stock vs. modified player must largely rest upon whether you plan to keep the modified player for at least two years, or whether you expect to sell it in a short time period. The reason modified CD players drop dramatically when re-sold is directly tied to the drop in value of stock players. Digital technology advances extremely quickly, and therefore CD players are soon replaced with new-and-improved models. It's tough to win the digital re-sale battle on any front. The benefit of modified players is they can provide (or surpass) the performance of stock players costing two or three times more.

Here's my short answer to your question: APL modified Philips SACD1000 with the latest DAC and Upsampler mods. They are usually avaliable for $2000-$2200.
Tvad, a small correction...Alex primarily uses the "upsampling" board to convert 16bit to 24bit words before going to the digital filter. At first he synchronously oversampled to 88.2kHz, but now has decided it sounds best at 44.1kHz...just using it to expand the word to 24 bit. I think there are only two of Alex's units that oversample to 88.2, the rest (most recent) stay at 44.1.

How is your player sounding? Mine has about 500 hrs on it now and sounds incredible. I originally was seriously thinking about taking Alex up on returning it because it was merely "decent" for the first 150 hrs...I'm glad I stuck with it. I must say that it has forced me to rethink some things because I've always been a skeptic when it comes to "dramatic changes" upon burnin. I've always noticed small changes with burnin, but nothing comparable to what I found to be true with the APL. The engineer in me hates when this happens!! LOL
Germanboxers,thanks for the correction. Funny enough,a month ago Alex would have said he preferred 88.2kHx oversampling. Next week he may find something new to change/prefer. He's constantly evolving his modifications to the benefit of us all.

The tray and puck arrangment are not a problem, even with a shelf above. Easy to reach, right in front.
Obviously this is system dependent. There are many in this price range. I would look at Cary, Ayre, Meridian and Musical Fidelity.
Here we go...!
Tvad & Germanboxers: FYI - Alex' latest bit of magic is to DOUBLE the number of DACs/channel, so there are now 4 DACs/channel. With my old DAC's only having about 150 hours on them, cold out of the box the new mod sounds like the upsampling is on, BUT ITS NOT!! WHole new level of transparency and musicality when the Upsampler is on, and again, this player is nowhere close to being broken in yet.
Not too many good ones stock, but the McCormack UDP-1 is a good choice.

Since you dropped the upsampling requirement I'll weigh in. I went the non-upsampling route. I purchased an Alesis ML9600 CD player/burner and hard drive recorder (40GB) that was modified by Tube Research Labs($1500). I also purchased an Audion Mirror non-up/oversampling DAC available on Audiogon that has 4 DACs/channel with Burr-Brown op amps in the analogue section ($500). So far I am very happy with the sound I'm getting using the Alesis as a transport with the Audio Mirror DAC. If I want I can take advantage of the Alesis as a CDP and get upsampling as well.

TRL will mod just about anything, most notably the Sony 595 ($700). There are some TRL threads you may want to check out. Others you may want to look into: SimAudio Moon Equinox and Eclipse, Cary 308T (hard to find used), and Jolida JD-100 (don't be put off by the price and avoid the mods - unless you send it off to TRL). I also have checked out prior to my purchase the CEC TLZ-51 transport and Benchmark DAC ($2300). This was an impressive combination. I just decided that I preferred non-up/oversampling.

Good luck with your search.
Currently for sale on A-gon is a G&D Transforms UTP-1 transport/Entec Number Cruncher DAC. This is an amazing combo. Redbook (non-upsampling)only but it's well worth it.
Dear Tekhifi: Very nice system you own. My advise is that you can look to: Classe, Ayre, Naim, Meridian, SimAudio and the top Denon.

Regards and enjoy the music.