None, I would rip all of my music to WAV or AppleLossless files and buy a good DAC coming from a Duet/AppleTV/MacMini/Transporter.
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Lysaker, I second Macdadtexas' idea. I believe the future of digital is not on external media. For $6500, I would buy a dedicated PC with extra drive, rip all my CDs (and/or pay someone to do it), and then buy a great DAC with an extremely well-implemented output stage (note: DAC and O/P stage don't necessarily have to be the same box if you are willing to be creative). I have not heard enough PC-->DAC implementations to even claim much knowledge, so cannot say whether they are up to snuff. However, at this point, the bet I would personally make is that the juice is in the DAC and the jitter-reduction/elimination from transport to DAC, not in the mechanics of the transport itself. Personally, I am intrigued by the Buffalo DAC and by the DDDAC. I am also interested in the cMP (search for cics music player on Audioasylum PC Audio forum) though I have not delved deeply enough into that to know whether it is flexible enough for my goals. Part of the whole thing for me would be a good UI and I don't know much about the cMP UI. I have an inkling I would like to use a small touchscreen anyway, and keep the PC box out of site. In any of those cases, I might try to put in a bigger/better/more$$$ output stage though.
Unidisk SC would be an interesting choice, as it would replace both the CD player and Anthem prepro. You can simplify the system quite a bit. Plus it provides excellent SACD and DVD Audio performance in multi channel, which you may or may not be interested in. The downside is the redbook CD performance, as Unidisk SC is just a-ok in terms of CD performance. If you look at the CD performance only it would be at best a sideway move.
Next option I would consider is to get an outboard DAC with volume control. Benchmark DAC1 or Bel Canto DAC3 will provide pretty much the state of the art redbook performance. You can keep using Simaudio as a transport, but will be replacing Anthem instead. I think that will yield better outcome than replacing the CD player alone. Also you'll be ready for PC based transport later on if you are inclined to rip all your CDs.
Well your speakers have great sound staging and great resolution. I would want to make sure your cd player has great imaging, both width and depth or front to back layering because that can really make magic. Not sure your price range but take a look at Audio Aero. The Capitol does that really well and there have been some on agon. The older models have analogue inputs and volume control and were more expensive. The newer ones do not and are not as expensive so just don't pay to much for an older model.
If you decide to rip your music to your PC you should consider the Modwright Transporter. It has ended my search for a better CD player or DAC. The CD players and DAC's I have owned are, Wadia 20 transport and 27ix DAC, Wadia 861SE, Rega Saturn, PS Audio DLIII (with my iMac as the source) and the Proceed PDT3 and PDP3.
In my opinion, in my system, the Modwright is better than all of those players/DAC's. I have ripped over 18,000 songs using Apple Lossless to my iMac and the Transporter's convenience and sound quality have been a revelation to me. It even gives my vinyl rig a run for the money. YMMV
For 4-5k you can pickup an esoteric x03se on the gon and with a good pwr cord great soundstage and dynamics -remember sound stage is part of the system you have cables -speakers amps pre amps can all affect soundstaging as well as you room and speaker placement ---the x03se is a great player for the money
For the budget you describe I suggest you consider a higher end Esoteric unit that you can buy on A'gon for less than your budget, with full warranty(often seen)& far superior build quality and service life, from a company that takes inordinate pride in allowing customers to maintain & upgrade their units, and that will play virtually all formats other than Blu Ray.
Lysaker, sorry took so long to respond, been at CES/THEShow. I have not heard the Linn, but I had a Unidisc a few years back, and it was a great piece of equipment, I really loved it. That said, when I bought a modded Denon 5910 I thought it was better in every way, especially as a straight DVD player.
That said, I sold the Denon and ripped all of my CD's to a hard drive and bought an Oppo for the rare occasion I listen to an SACD. Though since I finally started spinning vinyl, I stopped listening to almost any other media.
Thank you all for your insights. I making the move to the Linn Akurate DS. I did an A/B test with it and the Wadia 581ise I felt that the Linn smoked it in detail and depth. the staging was not effected by either. being able to pull specific instruments out of the music tracks was amazing. That being said the DS also allows for you to become total engaged in the total music score.
I don't believe my suggestion to "take a look at the Audio Aero Capitol" is marginalized by the fact that I carry the line. I never suggested he call me and buy one from me and until Audiopil mentioned it I am not sure anyone would have known that I am a dealer, so I didn't expect my phone to be ringing off the hook.
Now that you all know I am a dealer, you should know that I have listened to number of CD players at the RMAF and CES so my opinion is based on experience.
In any event I suggest you audition one if you can, Not from me but from your local dealer.