Which makes more sense? - CD player vs SACD

Hi, I'm building a 2-channel hifi sysstem around my pair of Harbeth P7ES3. Now I'm using a very modest Philips CD player from 14 years ago.

I intend to upgrade my source in the near future - either a CD or SACD player. FYI, I have a collection of about 70 CDs and don't have any SACD of LPs. BTW, I do plan to get into the turntable in the future.

But I figure I'll need to get a decent CD/SACD player before I get into turntable.

What're your thoughts? Any good sounding CD or SACD player around $1K - new or used, that you can recommend?

SACD is moribund; I would stay with a CD only machine, the level of performance will be higher on CDs.
what are you using as an amplifier for your harbeth speakers?
SACD is definitely not moribund if you like classical, jazz or classick rock. Look at the Esoteric remasters, the Universal Japan SHM-SACD's, and the numerous releases on small labels! Even being pretty well resourced, I cannot afford to buy them all! Unfortunately, if your musical interest lies outside these genres, the pickings are quite slim.
In the $1,000 and under range, I would get either the marantz SA8004 CD/SACD player which just won The Absolute Sound's Digital Source of the Year award. It is clearly a CD/SACD player but also has digital inputs that will allow you to use a music server or PC as a source, which will open up the world of CD-quality and high-resolution downloads as well. Here are some reviews:


The other player that is a no-brainer in your price range is the Oppo BDP-95 universal player (CD/SACD/DVD-A/DVD-V/Bluray). It won The Absolute Sound's Budget Product of the Year and Stereophile's Digital Product of the Year awards. It has a USB that will allow you to play downloaded music files off of a USB memory stick but it will not support PC or music servers as a source. There are numerous reviews of the Oppo BDP-95:


Hope this helps and good luck.
uf you buy an sacd player , you will want to buy sacds. that's your chice.

in most cases the redbook layer will sound better played on a cd player.

as to recommendations, i would try to find one having a tube. instead, you could consider using your phillips transport and buy a minimax dac for $600. if you want , you could look for a decent transport for the remainder of your budget, in lieu of the phillips. perhaps, there is some kind of "server" or laptop that you can buy for no more than $400. I am not an expert on servers or laptops. i use the ps audio perfect wave dac with the minimax.
In 14 years you have only collected 70 seedees?

This doesn't sound like your hobby......

70 cds in 14 years?
I think cds are not the way to go.
i have around 1k cds on my 8 years in the usa
I remember my evenings at union square virgin Records part of my american dream.
Now i am into vinyls a budget set up give me more pleasure than dgital.
Keep exploring you might want to check on comp audio or hi resolution files.
Good luck
Rega Rp1+rega brio R rega speakers.
you will be happy with the sound and your bank account also will thank you..
impressive Rega.

Just want to clarify, I was in the hobby 14 years ago when I had a collection of about 70 CDs. Then, I switched my interests to photography and RC planes for many years.

Now that I have a much bigger house, I'm coming back to hifi at a 'full force' :)

I bought a pair of Harbeth P7ES3 and am using an old Philips CD player and a Yamaha receiver as amp for now.

I'll gradually build up my hifi system. Next would be pre/power amp and a CD or SACD player.

Is the SACD more expensive than CD? How about getting into LPs? Am I jumping too far ahead?

+1 on the Rega system. I'd use the Harbeth and just add the Rega Brio R and Rega Dac. Plug your legacy player into the DAC until you decide if you really want to do more listening to CDs or if you want an SACD player, and then get the new Apollo. Decide later if you want RP1 or RP3 turntable. I had the Brio 3/Apollo combo and it was great. I also understand the Exposure 2010 line goes well with Harbeth and you could also get matching components from them. I don't know if either of these lines is"full force" enough, but both should provide a lot of satisfying listening experiences. Creek is another option. If you can find dealers in your area for any of the lines, you can audition them as see which you prefer.
It really depends on your budget.

I think on one extreme, the no compromise SACD players would play CDs just as well as a standalone unit of comparable price but sound even better with SACDs. Think Playback Designs, EMM Labs and dCS.

But on a low end, you could find a dedicated CD only player sound better than a combo SACD/CD player of the same price.

If your budget can stretch to an Oppo 95 and you have plans eventually for a multichannel system, that's the unit I would get first.

I think a good 5.1 track is tremendously great fun not just for SACDs but DVDAs and also BR titles, plus you get to buy some DVD Audio discs for a reasonable price than some OOP SACD titles. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here has just been released on BR and SACD.

While I have a stereo only SACD player (XDS1), there are times when the 5.1 tracks just sound more enveloping.

Just be prepared to spend on many OOP titles as well as Japanese only pressings (not that cheap). Hoping to get my Oscar Peterson Trio SHM SACDs and Tubular Bells before Christmas! :)
I second Cmalak on the Marantz SA8004. It sounds excellent for SACD, CD, and streaming Logitech Touch FLAC. It is the digital swiss army knife. I have found no shortcomings with it sonically speaking. I can't wait until I can get a chance to listen more! I have not felt that way about my system in a long long time.

I have about 40 SACD's for now. I was in to the music sever thing for a long time...never seemed right to me, despite several dacs, mac mini, etc...just way to much fussing around. I still use the touch but SACD and redbook sounds so right I can't pull myself away.
sACD is not moribund. I have been buying quite a few classical and jazz pieces, and there is rock available. I find the sacd layer to be superior to or equal to the cd layer on hybrid disks, and many high end dealers will use sacd or hi rez digital for demos.

As for vinyl you will have to pay several times the price of the marantz or oppo unit that have been reccomended. I find it hard to justify both sources if you are just getting back into this hobby. For the 5g's plus you will spend on a TT, arm, cartridge and phono pre, you can buy a lot of music!
check out oppo bdp 95; best of both, even three worlds if you would integrate blueray/
Personally, I think you should scrap the cd and sacd thing and go with your choice of music server and DAC. This can certainly sound better than redbook cd from all but the most expensive players, and you can't beat the convenience and fun factor. Not to mention that it is the future of what we do.

There are a lot of good ideas here already. I'll throw a few more in the pot.

Look for the Virtue Audio Piano M1 for CD only. It's definitely in your price range, looks great and sounds great.

For SACD, There are plenty of good suggestion already. I'll suggest getting a used Denon 3910. They were ~$1500 new, but can be had used for $200-300. Then you'd have a huge chunk of change left over to spend on music. I think they compare well to Oppo/Marantz suggestions.

Also, there is a here on Audiogon who is selling a modded Denon 3910 that could conceivably be better than any of these, and I think he's asking about $800. I'm not sure if he's still selling it, but the 3910 mods are generally wonderful. I think he's also throwing in a bunch of SACD's.
Hi, thanks for all the feedbacks and thoughts.

Cmalak, thank you for including the review links for Maranta. It's very informative.
R0817...I think you can't go wrong with either the Marantz (which will allow you to access it as a DAC as I mentioned via digital inputs) or the Oppo (which gives you the ability to spin any silver disc you want incl bluray). For the sub-$1K price point, those are the units to get. Shop around and you should be able to get them in the $800-$900 range new and used should be a little bit better than that. If you buy used, I would use the remainder to buy a lot of silver discs. You can buy used CDs from your local audio store for as little as $1 a disc. Good luck.