raysonic 168, like it better than the Droplet I owned....more tonally accurate and very musical as well.
Not to rain on your parade (question), however how would you ever translate (for example) my response wherein I would discuss three CDP's in residence and in constant use, with zero knowledge of the sonics of the underlying set up (my equipment, my room, and the synergy involved) as well as my end goals in setting it up, allowing for my person taste.
Others may choose to comment with out edification but I would ask you why you ask the question. Are you looking for a recomendation so you can purchase a CDP? If so, why not tell us:
1) What is your budget
2) What kind of music do you listen to
3) Identify your other components in the chain
4) What are your sonic priorities
By providing that stuff your have at least some hope of getting some meanful comments from like minded enthusiasts. With out it you'll be no closer to making a decision when its all over than you were before you asked. IMHO, of course.
I love the one that I currently own, a Tube Technology Fusion CD64. I love it because it sounds great, I don't know if that's due to the special DAC, the same one that's in Chord's DAC64 or the discrete tubed analog output stage with dual 6922's? It's definitely the best sounding player I've ever owned. They almost never pop up used, so if you see one grab it. I'm holding on to mine until the day it or me dies. It's the only tubed player that I've owned so I can't really compare it to anything else tubed, sorry.
Blcube - I bought an EAR Acute CD player, having heard that it was very analog-like. I was looking for something that might present certain classical CDs in a more positive light...with less "digititis". It did a very nice job of presenting CDs with less of the CD "edge" that can be very annoying. It has detail and air, but is not what I would call "forward" in presentation. You can also nudge the sound in different directions by tube-rolling.
I would say that, in its price range, the EAR Acute is well-worth considering as a very musical player.
If you are looking at tube cdp's...
Do not make the mistake of assuming that because your are procuring a tube player it will automatically have a richer, warmer sound than all SS players. Not so. Only by comparison to other units, both tube and SS can you determine how any given player stands in terms of "warmth" and a more analogue-like sound.
This is a list of some of the players I have used more recently (past two years or so), and I have arranged them according to their "tube-like" characteristics, with no regard to their being tube based or SS (the list begins with less tube-like/warm tonality and moves to highest tube-like tonality):
Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 with upsampler & PC upgrades (tube)
Rega Apollo (SS)
Rega Saturn (SS)
Ayon Audio CD-1 (tube)
Cambridge Audio Azur 840C* (SS)
* The Ayon and Cambridge Audio were about tied in terms of tube-like tonality and detail, with the Ayon slightly more "solid" sounding and the Cambridge more "airy" sounding.
Why would you focus on a tube in the power supply?A tube in a CDP does not necessarily imply the tube is in the PS. However, tube PS regulation/rectification in preamps is a major transformation compared to "comparable" preamps with ss PS designs.
Blcube: Keep your eyes open for tube DACs, those designed in the 90s such as the VTL Ref DAC and Sonic Frontiers Processor 3. Both of these tube classics along with the Manley Ref used the outstanding UltraAnalog chip sets and were musical masterpieces. The SF just sold here last week for $2400.....what a deal! This with a low cost universal player would be a great value. All these $10-20k here-today-gone-in-6-months players make no sense unless you are willing to take a big hit with each upgrade.
Agree with Jafox. Quality transport with nos dac and tube output as the iceing on the cake - winner in my book.
But then it all comes down to your taste. If music is high on your list....that is how it is done. No need to follow the latest thrends, unless you must.......and I wouldn't be suprised if I see your post a year from now asking exact same question.
But away all top dogs use these "mistery" non-upsampling/non oversampling nos chips - that includes: Zanden Audio 2000 and latest hit, AMR CD 77.
The DAC is where it's at and the state of the art DACs are moving forward very fast. You can now buy with confidence that no upgrade will be needed. IMHO, the new technology is the best when it comes to DACs.
Why exactly should we be confident that no upgrades will be needed if technology is moving forward very fast???????
Sorry but that wasn't your best post David.
You have two schools of thought.
One that was invented and reinvented by famous dCS.
And the other by Yamada San of Zanden Audio.
One tries to use new technology to improve the sound.
The other improves the sound by simplicity and refinement.
The DAC is where it's at? I'm not so sure, IMHO. I see a lot of convergence in the leading brands (Crystal, Wolfson, etc.), and actually I think it's the all-too-often-forgotten analog electronics--particularly the output stage--that could do with some more attention from a lot of makers.
As good as the Cambridge Audio 192 upsampling may sound, it's certainly not night-and-day compared to 96 upsampling chips.
(And in an unrelated side observation, weren't some of the upper-echelon Sim Audio CDPs doing 192 well before Cambridge...?)
Mrjstark, you're right, that was one of my weaker posts. I probably meant to say that DAC and clock development has come so far that you can buy now and stay very happy for many years because further development will yield increasingly small returns in sound quality.
Also, the development has come so far that the nasty glare and congestion of digititus is gone, at least in the best units. That nastyness compelled music lovers to constantly seek more musical players or drove them to their TTs or SACDs and DVD-As (my case). Now that I'm as happy with my digital as my analog, I think that I'll be less compelled to seek. Removing the digital nastyness is huge for me.
BTW, this Wednesday I had to briefly audition a couple of "ordinary" $3000 to $5000 CDPs before I compared my Playback Designs MPS-5 to an Emm CDSA-SE (see my PD review if you're interested in details). After months of listening to my PD, I could only take a few minutes on those lesser machines. Both had that glare (one actually had a tube also) that can make digital so unpleasant.
hi viper _z:
i have not heard all three cd players in my own stereo system. i have heard ecah cd player in a different stereo system. i will comment, but keep in mind that it is somewhat conjectural in nature.
i have auditioned the lector 7 in a friend's stereo system at least 10 times. he has changed the tubes, changed his amp and changed some cable. most of my experiences have been favorable and in mnay instances, i have wanted to own the player myself. i have usually experieneced a slightly warm and always non fatiguing presentation .
i have heard theaudio research cd player about 6 times. i have heard it as part of an audio research stereo system at ces, i have heard it in another room , also at ces and i have heard it at the home of the distributor of the analysis audio speakers. i have not been particularly pleasesd with the results. i find the player to becloser to truth than to beauty. in addition, the tube selection is very limited. moreover, i was not impressed with the bass r4esponse.
i am purchasing an amr 77, for several reasons. it's flexibility of tube selection, sampling rate, and the opportunity to change the capacitor in the signal path, leads me to hypothesize that i will prefer the amr to the other two players.
i have heard the amr three times, but not under the best of circumstances. i will also admit, that i am taking into account, the comments from several people i have spoken to about this player.
i hope this helps.
Thanks for the feedback. I have only listened to ARC CD7 in my system, I think it's strength is that it put the listener at ease with the music, it puts the listener in a very relax mood. It certainly doesn't do all the 'audiophile' things as good as players such as Esoteric. In fact, i find that the CD7 has a much more laid-back presentation than Esoteric X-01, the image size of CD7 is smaller and more 'diffuse', but the CD7 has a very sweet and airy top end which means you can listen to it for a very long long time.
I haven't had the chance to listen to AMR 77, but from what I read, the AMR77 seemed to be more 'forward' sounding, more 'meaty', harder bass, but perhaps not as sweet as the ARC CD7 on the top end? Pls correct me if I am wrong.
For the record I don't own the CD7 because I am primarily a vinyl guy.
i was not impressed with the cd7. it was closer to neutral than sweet. i doubt, but cannot say for sure that the amr 77 is forward. i would think the amr is warmer than the cd7. i would not be buying it if i thought differently. also, there are user controls to alter the presentation and tubes to change, an advantage over the cd7.
I changed my (SS)marantz sa 11 s1 to (tube)audio aero capitol reference.
Marantz is very precise, pin point focus, imaging, excellent timming, more audiophile (not very musical). sounds very good with rock too(metalica)
Audio aero Capitol ref is very musical, relaxed, less digititis, timming is not as good as marantz, vocal is definitly superior than marantz, dosent sound good with rock.
SACD play back of marantz is definitly superior to the CD play back of Audio Aero capitol in every way by a wide margin.
If you like the tube sound you may want to consider the Audio Aero Capitole Reference.
If you like SS sound you may want to consider the Emm Labs or Esoteric players. SimAudio has a player that can compete here too ... their top of the line.
In any case, if you are wandering what the difference between SS and tube players is ... this is my experience:
SS players tend to sound very precise, very sharp and focused in the soundstage. This is very impressive in the short term ... that is until you hear good vinyl or good quality tube players.
Tube players CAN sound softer, less focused in the soundstage but much more refined and non-fatiguing in the long term. Of course this is not always the case and generally depends on the quality of execution.
If you like Audio Aero ... you may want to save up and try the Capitole MKII SE or the Reference. They are both good players and both have an internal preamp which makes it very convenient. I should warn you that th BDR feet that come with the Capitole/Prestige players really limit dynamics and make the sound muddy. You need to change these as soon as possible as well as the stock powercord.
As far as SS vs tube is concerned ... there are always notable exceptions: the MBL player does not sound like a SS playe at all ... in fact it is a phenomenal player. Neither does the APL NWO 2.5 which is another phenomenal player. And the Zanden transport/DAC combo is sheer beauty.
I should mention that I also own a Modwright Sony NS999ES with all the latest mods ... also a tube player but which tends to sound more like the Emm Labs players. In other words precision and reality instead of music and emotion.
The best way is to go out and listen for yourself. Then see if you can audition it in your own setup for a few days.
I would agree with the general opinion on the AR players. I personally do not enjoy this particular TYPE of sound ... it is far too aggressive and one-dimensional for me. Good for rock and metal and dance perhaps but really lacking for music that does not rely on repetitive beats.