Which CD\SACD?


Looking for a 2nd hand CD\SACD player.
Seeking for high levels of inner resolution, rich sound, and musicality.

Budget is up to $2,500.

Any help and information would be greatly appreciated. 


Have you tried the Oppo 105.
A used Marantz SA-11S2 or SA-7S1 would fit your criteria pretty nicely, IMO. They would likely be at the upper end of your budget, though--especially the SA-7S1.
Haven't tried the Oppo.
I thought the price drop of those pure cd and\or sacd players, might be an opportunity to purchase a real high-end unit.
Is the Oppo that good?

I just put my John Tucker/Exemplar Oppo 93 up for sale on another forum. It is the best under $5k cdp I have heard. I just bought a ModWright Elyse DAC ($7K). And while the Elyse is better, the Exemplar 93 can holds it's own with aplomb.
I have an Oppo 105D with the full ModWright upgrade and, while it does many things well, it cannot complete with a high-end dedicated SACD/CD player. 

If you don't need the other things the Oppo brings to the table, with your budget, you can definitely find a demo or slightly used player that will check all your boxes. 

I second the Marantz idea.
You might find a used Ayre C-5xeMP in that price range.  In my experience, the Ayre can provide the sound you seek.
Look for Denon DVD-5910, I used to own this player.  IMO, last true reference player produced by Denon.  

You can get it probably under 1K. 
I'll "third" the Marantz--listening to my SA-11S2 right now and it's just "right" whether I'm listening to redbook or SACDs.  Today's lineup has included The Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" (both discs--CD), Karajan's Beethoven's 9th (SACD), Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" (SACD), and Tony Bennett/Bill Evans (XRCD).  
I've never heard the Oppo, modded or unmodded, described as "rich".  

I'll "fourth" the Marantz suggestions.
Used Krell SACD Standard MKIII!
Add the Cary 306 SACD player to your list. The reviews are spot on. I love mine.
I have the Oppo 105. Nice but not in the high end league. Try Ayon Cd 07 new or used Ayon CD5
"I’ve never heard the Oppo, modded or unmodded, described as "rich"."

My modded Oppo 103 was rich sounding. There, now you’ve heard it. Is it possible my Oppo sounded rich because it was the most extensively modded Oppo on the planet? Maybe.
geoffkait, who did the work on your Oppo 103 and what mods were done? 
sort of on point, but have any oppo 103 owners notice that the volume level thru its analogue outs is significantly lower than thru its digital outs?
The first and second round of mods were done by Ric Schulz of EVS and included analog and digital mods, the Audio Magic Pulse Gen ZX box, high speed clock, Oppo Mods Linear PS, the one with massive toroidal transformer, with upgraded capacitors. The third round of mods were done by yours truly and included one of my spring-based ceramic tile vibration iso stands, complete double mu metal wrapping of toroidal transformer, cork isolation for circuit boards, WA Quantum Chips galore, constrained layer damping for toroidal transformer, Mpingo discs for CD transport compartment, Marigo VTS dots for most capacitors, replaced Oppo cover with clear Lexan, Codename Turquoise scattered laser light (visible red spectrum) treatment for CD tray, Dark Matter invisible light absorber for CD tray, mu metal/copper/3M AB5100s anti RFI treatment for all ribbon connectors, and quite a few PWB tweaks as well, you know, foils, Red X Pen, Magnadiscs, that sort of thing.
Cary 306. Add Esoteric for SACD playback only.
geoffkait, that was an Oppo 103 just like it was a Toyota Camry that won the Daytona 500 yesterday....

You referred to it in the past tense, so why did you give it up after so much work?
I second the Ayre C-5xeMP. I have one in my system. Phenomenal.
Parasound discontinued their Halo CD 1.  Not much in terms of future-proofed technology, but an excellent spinner that you might be able to pick up at a great price.
I recently purchased a used Modwright Oppo 105D and upgraded the tubes. I also bought an Audio Research CD7 at the same time. I spend more time listening to the Oppo.
Theothergreg said,

"geoffkait, that was an Oppo 103 just like it was a Toyota Camry that won the Daytona 500 yesterday...."

That’s why there are such things as modded Oppos or modded anything.

"You referred to it in the past tense, so why did you give it up after so much work?"

Good question. One reason is there was no more room in the Oppo. ;-)


both the Parasound CD1 and ARC CD7 are highly regarded for CD playback. Which brand(s) of cabling are you guys using?

Anyone using an Audio Aero spinner?
My two channel system is fully balanced and I run all balanced Transparent Reference both from CD7 and the Modwright Oppo105D to the preamp and amps.
Find a nice used Esoteric K-05! I got mine for $2800 and it is a beauty. Sounds wonderful too and doubles as a DAC.

Transparent MusicLink Super single ended from Esoteric to Classe Sigma SSP.  Transparent MusicLink/Wave Ultra the rest of the way to speakers.
If you do decide on the Denon, I have a very nice one for sale. It is a Denon DVD-5910 CI and it is also a multi-regional version.


I am not familiar with Oppo or Marantz, but I recently acquired a Classe Audio Omega SACD-2 SACD player. It plays regular audio CD's, HDCD's and of course SACD's. You can also up-sample the sound quality of all regular audio CD's, but of course can not perform this function with SACD playback as it is of course unnecessary. As far as price, it originally retailed for $8000.00 when manufactured from 2004-2008. I have heard many players, and this is one exceptional sounding SACD player! Also the build quality and components used are ALL TOP NOTCH! I of course did not pay $8000.00, but it was a chunk for this player! I can't imagine finding another player of this exceptional quality for under $2500.00, but if you are patient and do some looking you may be able to find one! There also was a recent listing on AG for a similar Classe SACD player, so you may want to look into that one. I am of course SOLD on Classe, but I am sure you can find other manufacturer's of the same build and quality from Krell, Macintosh, and a few others. If you want any other info on the Classe Omega SACD-2 let me know, and good luck in your search.

Thanks! for sharing- jasonsim
It is good to learn that Esoteric and Transparent cabling is a sonic match.
Keep me posted audiojtk67
I want to read more about your Omega SACD player.
Happy Listening!


Just let me know what info you would like to know and I can provide you with some additional info.


I have both the OPPO 105D with mods and the Ayre C-5xeMP.  I far prefer the Ayre.  OPPO can be too brittle and overly precise on the highs, particularly if your system leans toward the bright side. 
Thanks.  I truly think that once you hear an Esoteric you won't want anything else.  My SACDs and XRCDs, gold MoFi's sound just as good as my LPs on my VPI Classic 4!
I have heard several Esoteric models, and none of them have induced me to buy one. 
None of the Esoteric units I heard sounds anything like what the OP is asking about. Rich sound and musicality are not words that I associate with Esoteric players.

Now, that said maybe you can tune the sound in that direction by using warm cables, like Transparent. I suppose there's many ways to accomplish the same goal. 

The OP hopefully has a chance to listen to some players, as sonically the Esoteric and Marantz are very different sounding players, who each have their admirers. 
The Esoterics I've owned, while good performers overall (especially the X-01, which was highly modded), just did not engage me over the long haul. My Marantz, on the other hand, has. 

When I've listened to the two manufacturers back to back, it sounds like two companies with two totally different conceptions of what live music sounds like. Neither conception is wrong, per se, but IN MY OPINION, Marantz's idea of live sound, as engineered into their Reference-line products, is closer to what I hear when I go to a concert.

Yes, the Oppo is not a rich player, IMO.

There are far better spinners in the marketplace.

Esoteric...the Oppo is buget in comparison especially in SACD format


does Classe' still offer service and parts for their spinners?

I said I wouldn't have another CD player, sold my McIntosh MCD500 on Audiogon, as I've been using a media server...but the server hard drive packed it up, is back at the factory being re-imaged or replaced, so I thought...since I have an external DAC I'm really happy with, why not snag a transport, just bought a PS Audio PWT.  I have their P10 Power Plant and DirectStream DAC, happy with both of those as well.

As I've gotten deeper into digital, I think the best way to go is with an external DAC.
Anyone using an Electrocompaniet CD/SACD player?

which player did you buy?
When I transitioned to having hi-res digital files on a music server I sold my former SACD player.  I still buy CDs, record them in iTunes as 44.1/16 AIFF files, transfer them to the server, which outputs them to my external DAC via the coax connection.

Long-story-short, the hard drive on my music server became corrupted, had to be returned to the manufacturer to be re-imaged, and one of my audio buddies got me interested in a CD transport, which I snagged last week on Audiogon.
The combination of this high-end transport & high-end external DAC produces the best level of detail I've ever experienced!  Better than the 192/23 AIFF files thru the USB port on my laptop, or the coax port on the music server!

Bass is distinctively more defined, the sound stage is markedly improved, and the highs are much better (you can actually feel the timbre from cymbals vibrating!)

I'm thinking, over time, DACs will continue to improve and become more cost-effective, so I think it might be wise to consider a transport/DAC combination, instead of a CD player with a built in DAC.
Anyone using a Marantz DV-9500/9600 ?
Marantz UD9004 ?