Audio Note CD player? or SACD player?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by audiorocks, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. audiorocks

    audiorocks Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've never heard an Audio Note component but the way I've read their house sound described is exactly what I like. Not looking for a "hi-fi" sound at all. I've been using a computer as my digital source for many years but I'd like to try re-entering the CD player arena and I'm trying to decide between an Audio Note CD player and an SACD player from someone who makes them. I've never heard an SACD which makes this even trickier.

    Is there a maker of SACD players that produces the same character of sound as an Audio Note? If so then I could have the Audio Note style of character plus SACD support. I'm not just looking for great sound but this particular character of sound that is so natural. Tubes not necessarily required.
  2. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I think there is an issue . The AN CD2
    Cd player I use due it's age will use different dac internally to modern SACD
    Players or indeed any cd player.
    So already these players will sound different as a result.
    Personally I think it's a matter of trying
    Different players in your system till you find the right one
    A difficult task.
    The Linn Karik always impressed me.
    Though I Don,t think Linn.make players
    jonwoody likes this.
  3. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    I have two Sony SACD players and both work flawlessly. I don't have a clue as if they sound like Audio Note, I doubt they do. I have on order a Marantz 30n SACD. I don't know how it sounds. But SACD in my experience sounds good regardless if its stereo or multichannel. Perhaps you should buy a used player (what I did) and a few SACD's including a few you are very familiar with before deciding on spending big on the format.
    Sterling1 and Nakamichi like this.
  4. Nakamichi

    Nakamichi The iceage is coming....

    You can pick up SACD players very cheaply.
    The same can't be said for the discs unfortunately but it is well worth getting one.
    I was listening to Blonde on Blonde earlier. The SACD is a lot better than the redbook.
    Infidels is particularly good on SACD.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  5. Buisfan

    Buisfan Forum Resident

    amstelveen holland
    SACD sounds way better, more natural, alas there is no choice regarding my taste of music, so for me SACD doesn't exist.
    Not going to buy/maintain a player for the 5 SACD's I have, while the only one of interest is the MOFI Little Richard SACD, the only one without added reverb and compression.
    trd likes this.
  6. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Louisville, KY
    What ever your perception of house sound, after you hear multi-channel SACD, listening to your house sound will seem to be like drinking a Coke which has gone flat, that's to say, lost it's fizz. Buy a Sony UBP-X1100ES and you can enjoy virtually any sort of stereo or multi-channel music disc, CD, SACD, BD, UBD, and others.
  7. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    I heard the Marantz SA-10 and loved what SACD brings to the table but the cost of the SACDs is kinda painful.
    scobb and jusbe like this.
  8. jusbe

    jusbe Modern Melomaniac

    Auckland, NZ.
    I'd suggest listening to the latest Marantz players that use their MMM digital conversion. They, too, seek to find a presentation of digital that doesn't sound digital at all - but come at it from a different angle to Audio Note. Both approaches have merit, but Marantz is using a more modern methodology.
  9. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    You might want to read this review of AN CD player playing CD vs rather pricey SACD player

    You could get an Audio Note DAC. Then a CD/SACD player with optical outputs. This way you can have Audio Note's non-oversampling digital and analog filterless technology for CD and you also have the SACD for when and if you want to try that.

    The DAC option is better for three reasons:
    1) there are fewer moving parts and will be more reliable - disc drives fail no matter from who
    2) you can use a DAC with both your CD player and from your computer.
    3) you also have an SACD player as part of a Blu-ray player from Sony for cheap.

    Ultimately you have more flexibility.
    Lowrider75, jonwoody and audiorocks like this.
  10. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    You may also want to look into Luxman CD/SACD players. Known to be very smooth and natural sounding.

    And they have multiple digital inputs, so they can be used just as DACs as well.
  11. audiorocks

    audiorocks Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Which Marantz players use the MMM tech?
  12. Morbius

    Morbius Forum Resident

    Brookline, MA
    I use McIntosh's MCT80 transport with their modular DA 1 DAC in an MA5300 integrated amp and I'm quite impressed with it. Strikingly it's as impressive with CD as SACD and has a very natural and convincing presentation with both.
  13. jusbe

    jusbe Modern Melomaniac

    Auckland, NZ.
    As far as I know, the Ruby, the 30n and the SA-10.
    audiorocks likes this.
  14. Lowrider75

    Lowrider75 Forum Resident

    Philadelphia, PA
    I think you need to audition some SACD's and the players. Not every SACD produced has better SQ than a Redbook CD.
    Comparing a typical SACD player to an Audio Note is like apples to oranges. This high-end CD player will provide a higher level of performance with a well mastered CD.
    jonwoody likes this.
  15. Bodhi1

    Bodhi1 Active Member

    From my listening sessions, Audio Note sounds natural and on the warm side. In an sacd player, I'd say Accuphase probably comes closest to that kind of sound. So maybe check out the new DP-570. I would mention APL Hifi which also sound very natural, but they only make a separate SACD transport and dacs/
    audiorocks likes this.
  16. scobb

    scobb Forum Resident

    Sydney, Australia
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
  17. tomd

    tomd Senior Member

    You might want to look at Sparkler Audio from Japan.They have a new top loading CD player called the 515 ballade very musical with a non oversampling DAC that has the smoothness of tubes without tubes and sells for just under 2K
    LakeMountain likes this.
  18. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    So. ME USA
    Interesting player. Have to say on looks alone it wouldn't be something I'd be interested in at the cost of $2000. It looks almost like a DIY kit.

    Sparkler Audio | Products | model S515 "ballade"
    lana lang likes this.
  19. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer

    SACD vs CD is not as simple as it looks. A good CD player beats a common SACD player. It is all about what is done with the signal. Almost every top CD brand has its own way. Some excel on algorithms, others on how they treat the analog output signal, or both. You can make a CD sound very close to the original. Just look at the AN CD, or DAC.
    I found a DAC that has an analogue processor that produces the same fascinating sound as my $8k TT. It is the Sparkler 512S for $1k. My CDP serves now just as a transport.
    And given the price difference between CD and SACD, my bet would be on CD!
  20. lana lang

    lana lang Well-Known Member

    hi do you own the Ballade and Ether by any chance- whats the difference between the current and voltage mode? Why is current a good option? Thinking about these - I havent heard either but the design or rather philosophy is intriguing the heck out of me. I look at my Naim amp and players and I like the sound but just feel its overkill.
  21. layman

    layman Forum Resident

    New York, NY
    I auditioned the Audio Note CD 3.1 (their entry level player I believe) hoping to experience some of the tube "warmth" that the player was famous for, but in the end, it was not what I was looking for. It's difficult to describe the sound (or my reaction to it) but I could not help feeling that something was missing (from the presentation). The player (in the system that I heard it in using both Spendor and Harbeth speakers) sounded somewhat flat and uninvolving. I missed the "liveliness" of other players. The sonic image did not sound very 3-dimensional. The sonic presentation sounded somewhat veiled and the sense of P.R.A.T. sounded reduced. In the end, the player was not for me.

    With that said, not all SACD players sound alike. Some can be just as veiled sounding as the Audio Note player (but perhaps for different reasons). The best (sounding) SACD players show an extra-dimension of realism, a textural "authenticity" that the Audio Note player (and really all CD players) lacked (while playing SACD of course).

    I don't think (good) SACD players sound like tubed-output CD players like the Audio Note. I don't think the best SACD players sound like vinyl either, but they do sound remarkably close to the sound of live music (and as far as other formats the closest would be analogue tape).
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
  22. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    I am impressed that the player was still working given it is from the late 1990s to early 2000s before they went all filterless. With the older ones you have to watch for the output impedance relative to the preamp's input impedance. The newer AN CD players have no issues but the 3.1x and the previous models before /xii had issues with many preamps and you needed a dealer to make an internal switch in the DAC. The CD players and DACs were made specifically for their own amplifiers, not for other manufacturer amplifiers. I found the AN DACs and CD players of that time could sound rather thin and irritating connected to SS amps - albeit many SS amps tend to sound thin and irritating anyway :)

    As an interesting aside as you mentioned PRAT, the inventor of the term P.R.A.T (Martin Colloms) is a reviewer for Hi-Fi Critic (and the owner) who ranked AN's DAC 5, Fifth Force, as the top-rated (and thus, the best P.R.A.T.) digital product on the market.
    head_unit likes this.
  23. John Boy

    John Boy Forum Resident

    Winnipeg, Canada
    Check out the Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC, it's built around the same chip as the AN DACs. It a R2R DAC sounds fantastic, very analogue and fluid. It frames the music similar to my DVXV-1s. I'm using it with a Cambridge Audio CXC now. I'm shopping for a better transport now. Considering the PS Audio, Project, Jays & AN. The Audio Mirror is staying, very satisfying DAC. I think they offers a 30 day free trial.
  24. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member

    Los Angeles CA USA
    - There are some really really nice SACDs out there, in particular some of the multichannel titles and 3-channel (the Nat King Cole oh yeah). I don't believe that is due to the technology by the way, but the re-mastering.
    - The "sound"* of a player could be modified using an external DAC...though to get the full benefit then in theory you want a DSD-capable DAC. And a player with optic out or maybe better coax? Hopefully others will chime in about this; I don't have it set up like that.
    - There have been some SACD players with very good audio sections-not sure what is still currently available. I don't know which Audio Note you're looking at or the budget?
    Anyway, I want to be able to play ALL the discs which means I guess I need to get the $249 Sony and that's it.

    *Some claim to hear all kinds of differences. Other people don't notice when they are playing Bluetooth by mistake. Your ears certainly vary from other people's.
  25. layman

    layman Forum Resident

    New York, NY
    I auditioned the AN CD 3.1 using (these) Harbeth Monitor 30 speakers and this Synthesis Metropolis NYC 100i Tube amp (the big amp on the floor in the center):
    SYNTHESIS Art In Music : Metropolis NYC100i 100W Dual Mono Integrated Amplifier

    We swapped the Harbeths out for Spendors, then back in...same/same. Then we swapped in other CD players...problem solved.
    art likes this.

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