What's best CD player one piece price no object


I am awaiting the new Spectral one piece CD player, estimated to cost $9,500 and to come out early next year. What other players should I consider, given the rest of my system (Spectral amp and preamp, Watt/Puppy 7s, MIT interconnects)? Thanks for the input.
kocsis
I have a Mark Levinson 390s, and I really like it for the colorful dynamics and its ability to give me a sense of the beginning, middle, and end of a sound like a piano note or a drum hit. It's worth an audition.
Levinson 390, Audio Aero Capitole MK2, Electrocompaniet ECM1. Also, Bow made a great CD Player.
Musical Fidelity Nuvista, Wadia 861.
your System could use some tubes so Audio Aero Capitol Mark 2
I second the AA Mk II..
I second Mejames recommendation, the audio aero is simply a wonderful player- any one purchasing a player of that caliber owes it to him/her-self to listen to the capitole II.
Here is my short list of wonderful one box players that i have tried and loved :

- Audio Aero capitole mk II (maybe a bit too much air and quality control isnt top notch)
- Wadia 861 (really REALLY fantastic player)
- Accuphase DP85 (what im currently using and loving it)

Cheers
Xav
I have your same system with WATT/Puppy 6's versus your 7's. I listened to numerous one and two-piece CD playback systemsÂ’ including the Spectral separates. I purchased a Sony XA777ES based on how well it sounded in my system. This is my first CD player. My Basis/Graham/Benz Micro turntable system still sounds much better than any CD playback component(s) I have heard. Until the various digital format issues are sorted out I will continue to depend on vinyl for my best source material and enjoy CD's for their ease of use and wide selection of music. Hopefully technology will eventually develop a digital format that sounds as good as vinyl. When that happens I will no doubt buy a cutting edge CD payback system.
I third Mejames & Tireguy, I'm leaning towards the tube sound, and so far on my posts, the Capitole keeps coming up, overall simplicity-wise and otherwise, no trans/dac/digital cable matching, can be used with or w/o preamp if desired. I'll probably end up buying it after I exhaust all my other options.
The Resolution Audio Opus 21
Wait a month - Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD player just around the corner with an estimated MSRP of $6K.
I 4th the Audio Aero Mk II. Kocsis, it will sound great going direct to your Sprectral amps.
Well, there is also the venerable Linn Sondek CD12... can't forget this one (where is mikel? :-)

-Mike
Accuphase DP85 / 75V , or Kern modded SCD-1.
I have a Sony SCD-555ES and a Wadia 861xi. The Wadia is very much better than the Sony for CD's although the Sony is very good on SACD's. I compared the Wadia to an Accuphase side-by-side and bought the Wadia.
Musical Fidelity nuvista CD.
Audio Research CD3 (a lot like the tube players, but with out the impedence matching problems).
ML 390s
Each choice is great, but it all depends on your prefrences. For instance, for classical the CD3 for jazz the ML, and pop/rock goes to the nuvista. YMMV.
Keith
Audiofederation said it. My price no object player would be the Linn CD12. Just after it I would put the Ensemble separates, the Dichrono DAC and the transport whose name escapes me at this precise moment. I would upgrade the power cords and I would not use an Ensemble digital IC.
Get yourself a Audio Note CDT-2 transport and Audio Note DAC 3 Balanced and you'll be there!P.S. Put a Audio Magic Illusion Digital cable between them.
Wait. Keith Johnson and the boys at Spectral feel at this time that the chipsets available for SACD or DVD-A are inferior for incorporation into a source component. Forget
about tubes for a source, their low level resolution will not be on par with ANY Spectral product you currently own.
Just wait and listen to the SDR 4000 and see if that is what you want. Then go on. By the way which Spectral amp/preamp combo do you have???
Anytime Spectral brings out a new product I get excited. This is a player I must hear. I know how hard it is to wait, but even though I have not heard the new Spectral CDP, I wouldn't be surprised if it ranks with the best players on the market. I may eat my words, but I doubt it.
Please be patient Mr. Kocsis. I think you may have picked a winner. Best to you in your hunt.
Second the Accuphase DP75V. I've had or heard many of the above. The Accuphase is in another league. NO other digital that I've heard in the used price range ($5000) gives you the spacial information of the Accuphase. It is the only digital product that nullified the use of my Tact 2.2X, because it is that resolving and doesn't need room correction to make spacial cues on redbook CDs audible. The difference is the use of multiple ladder DACs. You could make an entire production run of CD players from most small companies with the DACs that are in the DP75V. It also has a great analog volume control that bests every pre-amp I've had going straight in to the amp EXCEPT the Silver Rock. The build quality is far superior to anything mentioned here. They are a bargain because Sony quit producing the transport mechanism, so Accuphase had to discontinue them this year. It is still the best redbook CD player they make.
Second the Accuphase DP75V. I've had or heard many of the above. The Accuphase is in another league. NO other digital that I've heard in the used price range ($5000) gives you the spacial information of the Accuphase. It is the only digital product that nullified the use of my Tact 2.2X, because it is that resolving and doesn't need room correction to make spacial cues on redbook CDs audible. The difference is the use of multiple ladder DACs. You could make an entire production run of CD players from most small companies with the DACs that are in the DP75V. It also has a great analog volume control that bests every pre-amp I've had going straight in to the amp EXCEPT the Silver Rock. The build quality is far superior to anything mentioned here. They are a bargain because Sony quit producing the transport mechanism, so Accuphase had to discontinue them this year. It is still the best redbook CD player they make.
What does it mean that there is so little agreement? Hearing is believing.
Tbg - very good point. In my experience there really is no "best" one box player for every situation. At the top of the heap, they are all very good however each has its share of shortcomings - unfortunately. No matter which digital source I used, I always wanted something more. Certain tweaks took each player closer to some of those wants yet somehow opened a gap elsewhere. Regardless of player, I always felt something somewhere was missing and I was never truly content regardless of which player was on my rack.

After investing relatively small amount of money in an analog source, it became apparent how far off I was in my perception of each players "perfection". What once seemed like steps in the right direction now seemed more like a host of "digital effects" which masked and somehow audibly alleviated several of the flaws primarily related to CD media itself.

Side by side, digital to analog, even at the highest levels of digital technology ... digital sounds incomplete and hence echoes the feelings I had all along - something was missing.

CD only has so much information on the disc. We know this, yet we hope that by using better sources, we can overcome the deficit of information and/or perhaps correct some of the problems most of us hear. In many cases this works and we are happy... However, I often feel as if the difference between various players is more-or-less a simple digital effect employed by the manufacturers to cajole us into believing there is more. Much the same as how companies building Home Theater Receivers (for example) have "Church", "Stadium", "Hall" type settings designed to make us feel as if we are in a different environment.

How far off are we before a manufacturer has an effects switch which changes the sound of a player from Sony to Audio Aero, Accuphase, Audiomeca, Electrocompaniet, etc. at the push of a button?

It doesn't really take gobs of oversampling to make CD's sound good... (Audio Note) but in some cases multiple DAC's sound fantastic (Accuphase) so who is right and who is wrong? They are both worlds apart in how they achieve what they set out to accomplish yet both make the most out of the format.

Of course I am a bit frustrated right now with digital but that said, I have a feeling we are listening to effects in one way or another with each of these "best" players. It all boils down to which of the effects we like the best I guess.
I enjoyed and very much agree with your post Bwhite. But the topic is digital. I also agree that no one will agree what CDP is best. I still have high hopes from the Spectral CDP. I keep hoping someone will come out with a CDP that will come close to a fine TT setup. I am a dreamer. A shortcoming I have never overcome. Maybe Detlof can offer this poor boy some much needed help.
here i am......and yes, the Linn CD-12 is still the best i have heard in my system.....one or two box. i have not heard anything at dealers or shows that i feel is better......but the differences between the better redbook players are not substantial......although they are important. the Linn has less of it's own sound than most other players i have heard.....it is less colored. whether that is what you may want is another question. the Linn has that excellent detail and dynamics, without ever sounding hard or etched....always natural.

the build quality and audio jewelry factor are standard setting.....and it's interface is beyond any other player.

there are 2 CD-12's......an earlier 20 bit.....and a later 24 bit version. my 24 bit player has slightly more detail and dynamics......the earlier 20 bit version has adjustable dither.

if you own any of the other's listed here and are considering upgradeing to the CD-12......save your money and buy a vinyl setup......the performance ceiling there is much higher......believe me.
In a German review, the Lindemann sacd player, the D680, playing cds was judged superior to the Linn CD12. I do not have a Linn to compare, but the Lindemann on cds is better than any transport and separate dac, I have heard.

Linn will soon have multiple sacd players but only the ultimate one is to replace the CD12, and Linn is not saying when it will be out.
First of all, thanks for all of your thoughtful responses. I will wait for Spectral, but may audition a few other things, such as ML 390, Audio Aero. My Spectrals are DMC 30SL, DMA 150 SER. 2. I also have Basis/Graham 2.2/Benz TT setup (Benz PP1 phono), and it seems substantially better than my old Wadia CD player. Hopefully my new CD player will get close.
Kocsis, I was told by a friend that Spectral is taking orders on their CDP. This is second hand info, so I could be wrong. Give them a call and ask if they are taking orders. Please let us know what you think of this CDP should you decide to go for it. I was told by a friend, who does not want his name mentioned, that the Spectral CDP will have little, if any competition. I have heard rumors like this before. Knowing this friend who does not, or should I say demands not to be mentioned, says it will be as good as digital can get at this time. Don't like spreading rumors, but this unmentional friend has never been wrong yet. There is always the chance that streak has ended. But he couldn't stop talking how this CDP has no competition. Please remember that this is second hand information, and so far just another rumor. I would not bring this up if I didn't have trust in this persons opinion.
O.K. Brulee.....fess up....what's his damn name???

your post has to be the best tease so far today.....
I made a promise that i am going to break. All my info, and i must say it was the most exciting news i have heard in a long, long, time. It came from Mikelavigne.

Just teasing Mike. My information could be nothing more than the kind of hype I hear from the Accuphase and Audio Aero crowd. Very nice CDPs, but i wouldn't stay awake at night because I only have an EMC-1. I really should not have mentioned anything about the new Spectral CDP. I just could not help myself. I am almost tempted to lay down the $$$ without even hearing it. Maybe this tells you the kind of person your dealing with. Or how influential this person has been on me. Won't be long till we know what it is really made of.
Love my Accuphase DP-85. Used to have an SCD-1 thriough a Dodson 217, and the DP-85 is far better than that combo, in both Redbook and SACD mode. Resolution, imaging, warmth, all terrific.

David Shapiro
TBG-Are you using a pre-amp with your Lindemann? It is my understanding that the Lindemann has variable analog outputs.
Glreno

No , the Lindemann D680 has no variable outputs.

Jason
The comments thus far are very useful. I too would argue that there can be no 'best' cd player, it is purely a matter of your tastes and how it fits in your system. If you are spending a large amount of money I would make sure you can audition in your system to see what suits you best. Unfortunately this can be very hard in some areas. With all due respect to spectral, who made the first great cd player, there is always something else off on the horizon. Find the one that satisfies you and stick with it
Glreno, Vsfang is right; the Lindemann is fixed output. I play vinyl also so I would want to have a selector switch at least.
At one level I would agree as different people look for different aspects of sound reproduction and the same piece of equipment can sound different with different associated equipment. But long before the review mags. can cast their spell on new equipment, you do get vibes that it is exceptional or not. Sometimes, however, it is too expensive to have much impact, such as the Linn CD12. I would entirely agree on finding what you like rather than following the herd.
Why no mention ofthe Meridian 588???
I know I am a little behind on this one but I have had the pleasure of listening to a lot of the above players in my system. All that I have heard have been very good.I currently own a EMC1 with the 24/192. Other players I have heard in my system: The Linn cd12, Nu vista, AVM with 24/96, and Resoltion CD55. Also very familiar with the Audiomecca Mephisto II as my father owns it. I have heard the AA only in systems in New York and have not compared it side by side though I can say it sounded great. Here is how I would rate them: EMC1 gets best dynamics and bass. Mephisto II gets the most "vinal sounding" with its non agressinve fall in love with that midrange sound. The Linn is like mixing the two players together but maybe a touch softer that the Emc1. These are certainly the 3 best players I have heard in my system. The Nu vista did not do it for me in my system. It had a bright and light weight sound in comparison. It was very detailed, transparent and fast but lacked the bottom of any of the other players including the CD55 or the AVM. These are the sleepers in the croud as they both retail for about 3k and offer 85-90% of the "state of the art" performance of the top players. My overall vote goes to the Linn. But because it is 20k -one could buy all of the other players mentioned used for what one Linn would cost and play whichever one suits your taste for the day, I will stick with my EMC1 for now...