What is your “nothing left to be desired” CD set up?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LakeMountain, May 27, 2021.

  1. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer Thread Starter

    Over the years I have owned a few CD players and each new one has been (slightly) better than the previous one. It is not that I had shopped in a higher price class in real term money, but it seems more that technology is still evolving.

    Vinyl was and still is my “listing for hours and never getting tired, goosebump raising, etc. “ listening enjoyment. CD was also great, but more for convenience and it could not quite achieve the magic to capture my attention for hours.

    But, my CD sound has been catching up and recently it has joined the “league of extraordinary listening experience” side by side with my vinyl system, which I also had been upgrading over the years! You can see all in my profile.

    Did anyone have a similar experience? And what is your success CD set up?
  2. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

    Mine is a Mcintosh mvp831 used as a transport into a Mcintosh d100 dac for 3 or 4 years now. It's probably been a month or more since I've used my tt (Clearudio emotion with a Stradivarius mc cart). The digital is on par with vinyl and being that it's more convenient and I'm getting lazier it's been my go to format for a while now.
  3. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Forever

    Newport Hills, WA
    Sad that the original Rega Planet player is long out of production (and apparently spares no longer available) ... that machine was the best CD deck I've ever heard.

    I've currently got a Naim CD5/FlatCap XS combo which I love to bits (sorry.) If I had to replace, I'd probably get the current-model Rega Saturn. I've heard that Audio Note CD decks are amazingly natural-sounding players, but haven't had the chance to hear one. Apparently they don't have the filters which cause some of the issues that bother people about other CD players.

    I don't know if they're doing them anymore, but Decware used to modify a common model of CD player, I read that it was a very musical device.
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
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  4. MonkeyMan

    MonkeyMan A man who dreams he is a butterfly?

    Boulder 1021
  5. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy

    Colorado foothills
    For quite a long time I had a very nice Marantz/Philips CD-80 with the revered TDA1541 chip. It developed a problem I didn't feel like dealing with and sold it (with the problem disclosed) for a good price.

    For the past three years I've had an elderly Onkyo Integra DX-706 with the most unique eclectic component list I've ever seen. Built like a tank, sounds marvelous. I'll run it til it drops.
    arcamsono and LakeMountain like this.
  6. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Washington, D.C.
    It's been a while since I had a CD player ( I've ripped my CDs to a server), but, the player I did have was quite nice. It was the no longer manufactured Naim CD555. My current server is a Naim ND555. I had a chance to hear the crazy expensive Audio Note 5th element CD transport and DAC combination, but, it was just being broken in for the new owner so it was not really set up to hear everything it was capable of delivering. It had better be nice, given that the combination costs a touch more than $300k. Other setups I heard with Audio Note DACs sound very good to me also.
  7. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer Thread Starter

    Nice systems! I am also using a CD transport (Cambridge CXU). It provides flexibility to play any format via the CXU, but using a specialized DAC (S512 Sparkler) for CD.

    And I indeed I also only put on vinyl if I have ample listing time available. Then I enjoy the procedure, of playing the cart warm (I do at least 1/2 hr) and selecting and possibly cleaning the records.
    motorstereo likes this.
  8. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident

    New Zealand
    Yamaha CD-S2100. Beautiful piece of kit and sounds amazing. Also used as a DAC for streaming.
    tillman, shug4476, siebrand and 5 others like this.
  9. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer Thread Starter

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  10. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer Thread Starter

    Here is an interesting paper on NOS DACs. Not saying that NOS is the only solution, but Sparkler combined an old Philips NOS successfully with a proprietary D/A processor. NOS DAC
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  11. Tony C.

    Tony C. Forum Resident

    I owned, and was very happy with an Electrocompaniet EMC 1-UP for many years. I replaced it last year with a Moon 260D transport, fed through a Pontus II DAC, and am delighted with the sound.
    jonwoody, Tim 2 and LakeMountain like this.
  12. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    Marantz 30n. Too new to comment but so far very good.
    SocProf, jusbe, Dred and 2 others like this.
  13. hoytis

    hoytis Forum Resident

    I've been using the Audiolab 6000 CDT transport. Super happy with it. Another system I use a TEAC PD-501HR which can handle hi-res as well. I've been running that through a Yaqin tube buffer for some serious audio delight. I'm not sure what a high-end player would sound like, but for now these do an excellent job for me....as I, too, spend most of my time on vinyl.
    LakeMountain and ssmith3046 like this.
  14. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    The answer: Wadax

    I, too, have upgraded my digital front end a few times over the years. I had a 90s Rotel and then went for wifi streaming with Logitech for several years. I got a Cary 306 SACD Pro, which gave me hope that digital greatness was coming. Next, a Playback Designs MPS-5 (with hardware upgrades). Whoa.

    And now, just recently, I'm ditching physical disc spinning for good. Thankfully, my new Cary Audio DMS-700 offers a unique digital implementation designed by (????) in addition to the expected high quality power supply and analog stage designs. Good grief, what an unexpected upgrade.

    So that said, I'm still going to spill the truth. Digital can get better than nearly all of us have ever imagined. I'm highly confident that Wadax is at the top. Sure, I'd like to hear their flagship and compare to real world pricey options such as dCS Bartok and then to my own. My self-worth doesn't hinge upon the belief that my own stereo is unbeatable. Gonna put a whipping on most of you though. Haha.

    Bottom line.

    There's nothing left right now beyond Wadax.
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
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  15. Purplerocks

    Purplerocks Forum Resident

    Very timely subject for me. 25 yrs ago or so I bought an Ah Njoe Tube which was a modified Marantz; I loved it, it got me close to vinyl type sound. Used it for few yrs and it developed a left channel drop out; Kevin Deal and crew sent a replacement output board for it, worked fine for awhile then started doing same thing again so I ended up shelving it after awhile and moved into the Oppo multidisc players for a few yrs. Most recently was using a Modwright modified BDP105 Oppo and "thought" it was awesome for cd's.
    Late last yr I developed that audiophile itch and decided to step up a bit so to speak and purchased one of the last PrimaLuna CDP8's from Kevin at Upscale. The unit is made by the same co that made the Ah years ago. Anyway, the CDP8 has been absolutely stunning & very vinyl like for me, but guess what? It's developed the same goddamed problem the Ah had; left channel dropping in/out. It's not the tubes, it's deeper. And I'm really concerned/upset/frustrated it's the same issue dealt with yrs ago...so currently waiting to hear from Upscale's service dept.
    But sob it sounds incredible when it works lol
  16. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    I appreciate the rationale for tube analog section in a digital front end, but it's over. Really, it is.

    When you do hear a legit modern digital front end, then you'll have forgotten all about this post.
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  17. caracallac

    caracallac Forum Resident

    The Ken Ishiwata modified Marantz CD-12 / DA-12 is the one that those lucky few who’ve heard one seem to keep coming back to, but they’re real unobtainium.

    The best players I’ve ever heard were the Wadia 16, the Meridian 500 / Theta Pro Gen V, Naim CDS, DCS Vivaldi One and the Chord Blu / Dave. Get your hands on any of these and you’ll have a great CD player.
    jusbe, jonwoody, LakeMountain and 2 others like this.
  18. Woodface71

    Woodface71 Well-Known Member

    I have a relatively modest ATC CDA2, it is the best sound I’ve heard from the medium. After a while you just end up paying more for fancy casework.
  19. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    All the CD's (including all my stray CD-R's, before they're too old to rip) carefully stashed in "magazine"-sized, acid-free cardboard comic boxes, all sitting atop warehouse pallets, under tabletops I can remove, that will give me room to keep sorting-out my comic collection.

    All tracks carefully, lovingly-ripped and -tagged, and at last completely accessible throughout the house via my ethernet, wherever an OPPO or a device is at hand, capable of shuffling through customizable playlists, folders and various smart-shuffle strategies, for maximum flexibility.

    That's the dream.

    And then...comes the standardization of the rips of everything on SACD, DVD-A, Blu-ray, and RCA Dolby surround CD's.

    And THEN...comes a universally-compatible system that goes in the car. :evil:

    -which, I can only assume, will be the Hearse I am finally carted-off in...
    Swann36, tillman, billnunan and 3 others like this.
  20. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Forever

    Newport Hills, WA
    Apologies to the Rega Planet I mentioned above, which was the best affordable CD player I've heard. But the Naim CD555 was easily the best source of any kind I've ever heard. ♡
  21. TubeLife

    TubeLife Well-Known Member

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  22. bluesky

    bluesky Forum Resident

    south florida, usa
    What's your “nothing left to be desired” CD set up?

    I'm an analog LP guy.

    The regular NAD 515BEE Cd player I bought new 10 years ago playing through an '87 Sansui amp with 'Source Direct', playing through AlNiCo magnet 1970 Big Box speakers. Sounds excellent.

    I've never expected very much from CDs. All that I have are fine: all brands of golds, MFSL aluminum, targets, imports, boots, & regular. All sounds just fine to me. Nice really.

    I really do 'think' that the AlNiCo magnets mellow out the digital sound, the starkness, of CDs. I've always thought that. All 3 pairs of my speakers are AlNiCo now.

    Only have one CD that doesn't play - a weird 'manufacture' one, in an even weirder box... an early Charlie Watts. Don't even know if I even have it anymore.
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
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  23. dennis the menace

    dennis the menace Forum Veteran

    I bought an Esoteric K05 Xs last year. Case closed.
  24. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    The Lector CDP 7 mkII tube CD player from Italy, runner up the Lector 0.6 T.

    The best I’ve ever heard, and soundly beats SACDs with the same mastering. It comes with a separate power supply.

    Here’s a review on Positive Feedback.

    Last edited: May 28, 2021
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  25. Gi54

    Gi54 Forum Resident

    A Primare CD 32 as transport through an Exogal Comet dac - sounds just great to these aging ears - but I tend to stream Spotify and Qobuz more these days.
    LakeMountain likes this.

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