AudioMeca vs. AudioAero vs. Electrocompaniet

Hi, Soon i will be looking for a cdp my choices are: Audiomeca Keops($1800 new) Audio Aero Prima(old model $1500 new model?) or a used 24/96 Electrocompaniet ( around $2200 with potential future upgrade $1K). I'm sure you can't go wrong on any of the 3. However a few comments may help me to make the best choice. I have a Jadis Orchestra(40 watt). So i need a cdp with good low frequency resolution. Thanks
Farhad, Grounding is an interesting subject. While manufacturers are required to have their components built to specifications which allow for grounding, grounding itself in not necessary with every component. The one component in your system which SHOULD be grounded is the preamp. Every component connects directly to the preamp via interconnect cables essence, every component is truly grounded as long as one is. Make sense?

I have dedicated lines in my house with a dedicated ground for audio. The Mephisto sounds the same with and without the ground and I notice no additional hum or noise.
Bwhite..Among all the power cords you have tried the shunyata king cobra, NBS and others. Which do you think will be the best solution for the Mephisto to make it jump to a whole new level, giving it more dynamics and realistic presentaion, better separation between instruments, holographic and better tonal accuracy, more bass definition and last but not least, live and musical than ever..

I'm talking about hi fi nirvana
Fahad74, For the characteristics you speak of - the NBS Statement power cord is the best I have listened to. If you really want the HiFi Nirvana - the NBS Statement plugged into a Shunyata Hydra should do the trick. This will ad a degree of musicality that the NBS lacks (to some extent) and Shunyata is so good at.

I wouldn't use the Shunyata Hydra on any other component however - just the digital
Bwhite..Remember when you mentioned the list of different power cords, and how each of them has it's own sound character and signature. They produce magic when they are connected to the Mephisto. But, some of us can not afford to buy such expensive power cords.

I'm sure that the Mephisto is an extremely excellent player. But, when the Mephisto is connectted to it's own cheap PC power cord, can it still sing naturally and can it still perform magic as well.
Farhad - I understand. But most people who look at a CD player which sells used for around $4,000 wouldn't think twice about using the stock power cord on the unit. NBS Statement power cords sell for around 500.

In my system, I used the Mephisto for a LONG time without an aftermarket power cord. In some ways, stock power cords are pretty decent in the sense that they do not color the sound. Of course aftermarket designs are very good at adding dynamics and various "effects" but the true test of a component is how it performs without the effects. While I have never heard any digital component sound better with a stock cord vs. a carefully selected aftermarket design - I must say the Mephisto is the least likely of ALL PLAYERS MENTIONED ABOVE to react harshly to a stock power cord. For example, the Electrocompaniet EMC-1 sounds lousy (to me) without an aftermarket power cord and can produce too much digital hash and noise which some perceive as "detail" until its gone. The Mephisto seems to produce the least hash and digital artifact of all the players I've ever tested and is by far the easiest to listen to.

Does this answer your question?
Bwhite.. Thank for answering the previous part. But, you have mentioned once that you have listenned to or owned the Accuphase DP 75V before, which used to be one of my favorite player of all times. How do you compare it to the Mephisto, and which of the two personally do you like more..
The Accuphase is an effortless player - it is quieter than the Mephisto between tracks - dead quiet - but then again, so is my 100 Toshiba DVD player (not as quiet as the Accuphase however). Noticing that the Mephisto isn't quiet between tracks leads me to wonder why. I have no idea. As quiet as it is, it is very fast and produces a big, forward sound and dynamic swings making the Mephiso seem slow and relaxed. As The Accuphase moves through a dynamic sweep, it layers the soundstage well and can peak with sweet highs that kiss the air in the room tenderly and then evapoate into nothingness. Not bright and not etched. This was my favorite part of the Accuphase performance. I'm not sure if I described it well or not. But... I often felt that with the Accuphase, the midrange sounded a little off - maybe sterile or electronic but not metalic.. I don't know... just not organic... which lead me to think that when the highs were reached in a complex passage that the Accuphase would go over the top and produce a bright sound -this never happened and always amazed with its tender attention to my ears. Make sense?

As great as the Accuphase is, I doubt that anyone would ever mistake it for an analog turntable. In the right context, a Mephisto could be.
Bwhite.. I'm a bit confused. I'm not sure which one you like more. You describe the words with true feelings and emotion. But, I still haven't got the picture clearly. I would appreciate if you can elaberate more, and comment if the accuphase will stand among the crowd singing or will the Mephisto put down and make shame out of the accuphase.
Farhad, my goal with digital was for it to sound more like music. Real music. Good analog recordings on good equipment produce the finest sound I have heard. The Mephisto is simply the MOST analog like CD player of the bunch. The Accuphase is spectacular and I put it just slightly behind the Audio Aero and the Mephisto in a line-up of which player is best. Whenever you get to this level of componentry most of the equipment that occupies the top shelf is spectacular. Various system configurations, interconnects and the like can quite easily make or break a good player at these levels. Therefore it simply becomes more an issue of personal preference and the occasional perceived difference that dictate which is better.

Why I chose the Mephisto over the Accuphase was simply the fact that it produced a more life like sound un my system - it wasn't "in your face" like some of the other players and it wasn't greater than life either - like some of the other players.

For example, some people like to buy CD players because they have "more bass". Well... one must ask his/her self if that extra bass puts the music over the top. Is it still realistic? There are people who like exaggerated bass and there are people who have systems which need the emphasis.

My goal was to produce a system which was neither too much or too little of anything - just the right amount. I don't want a soundstage bigger than the performance and I don't want blurry players. I want the real deal. With my system, I must say the Mephisto comes the closest to producing the realistic performance of any CD player I have heard, however I have spent countless hours and a few bucks tweaking my system's interconnects, and power cords to accomodate the short falls of my system (including the Mephisto) to acheive what I think might be close - it's not really possible but... it is fun trying.

I guess I would say that which CD player is best all depends on you. In some system contexts, I presume a 2nd tier CD player could completely wipe out any of my favorites if it was paired with the right interconnects and power cords. System synergy has more to do with the results you acheive than the individual component. It takes time and energy to produce a system with good synergy and of course it helps to start off with a component we identify as being "the best".
AS said i think Mr. Bwhite has done an outstanding job in reviewing these superior units..however if i could rewrite the title of the thread i would like it to read...METRONOME's line of $2K to $6K vs all other digital units in each price category of the NOME's...reason being...METRONOME is the only lab offering an extensive line of reputable very high quality craftmanship...there is something for almost everyone here...i probably will do a thread on this IF no responce to this post
Hey Thanks Tweekerman!! Guess what?? Well, I sold my Audiomeca Keops. I thought it would take a long time to sell but - as it turns out it didn't. The person who purchased it is certainly enjoying a fantastic player.

Anyhow, what I wanted to tell you all is that I am now using a Sony Playstation 2 as my CD player!! Oh.. Man!!

When is Pay Day??
Bryan you went from owning 3 of the best digital players on the market ..and have regressed to a SONY..PLAYSTATION (what's that?) i feel for can only get better hang in there...if your sony malfunctions i'll lend you my NAD which i don't even listen to lately...because of the dreaming of owning a METRONOME...this hi-end audio really messes with the mind...can't EVEN listen to music for the want of the other woman stealing the heart
Whoa !! You can't begin to compare the Prima 24/192 with
the Capitole 24/192.There are many similarities,but
the price spread is huge.My Prima 24/192 is a great
improvement from any other player I have owned or auditioned.What used to sound 'live' now sounds 'true to
life',and there is a difference.The New Prima 24/192
price went up about $400.00.The New Captiole went through
the roof. Power cable matching is a whole other problem
I have found though.Using a 'Blue Circle'now,seems okay
but I would like to try something else.An Essence ESP?
may be who's to know ?
Peter its true that the thread developed into a review of the bigger brothers, but this was a great opportunity for most of us who do not have an opportunity to audition these superior digital players, and Bwhite's review brought us a good understanding, so could you pick up where he left off and tell us more about this new upgrade PRIMA, i was headed toward the METRONOME V1, but may reconsider my choice
I dicovered a definite upgrade with the Mephisto II transport and Enkianthus dac by using the audio tekne cd transformer. This improved the soundstage and the imaging was even more focused. Definitely more analog sounding. I'm still trying to find out what is inside this little box but there is no translation from Japanese. The transformer is used between the dac and the preamp and can be used with an cd player.
Snook? Are you saying that you are using the $18,000 (hifi farm sells for 11,250) CD Transformer?? Or did you put the lower end version in your system?

Bwhite, I am using the lower version. Are you familiar with the transformers.
Hi Snook - I have only read about the "CD Transformers" I have no idea what's inside those things or what they're doing to the signal. Folks who have used them seem to really like how they "transform" digital components into something more enjoyable.

What's odd to me is they do it in the analog realm.

How much better does it make the sound?
Heads up to those of you looking at the "lower end" Audio Aero, Audiomeca, Electrocompaniet and other CD players...

Just yesterday I received my second interim CD player (temporary - as I attempt to save up for another Mephisto). I purchased a Sony XA777ES from OADE Brothers for $2,000.

Right out of the box, the Sony really surprised me in that it has a very pleasing signature. I expected it to have the typical dry, detailed, bright and mechanical presentation so many other mass market CD players have but - this one does not. It has a softer sound but at the same time is extended and detailed - interesting character. This character is comperable to the Mephisto in many ways and actually, the Sony sounds more like the Mephisto than the Keops does. The Sony's dynamics are greater than the Mephisto and slightly less than the Audio Aero Capitole. The Sony has an ease about it that is feels very accurate in terms of pace - but is slower than you would expect from mass market gear.

I put the 1 hour old Sony in a test A/B with a friends Mephisto. The Mephisto has a magical quality that is clearly better than the Sony but - I tell you, Sony did an amazing job with this XA777ES player - it is right up there with some of the top players and a real contender.

I doubt that simple break in of the Sony would make it 100% at the Mephisto level but given that there are numerous modifications (including a tube output) for the Sony available it makes me wonder if the Sony has the potential of becomming the better player. A characteristic of the Mephisto I find enjoyable is its "relaxing" feeling - soothing and delicious to listen to. The Sony is not soothing compared to the Mephisto - but if the modifications plus a little break in, power cords, etc. are available then the Sony could very easily slide right in there at the top of the list.
I am interested in this player (Sony XA777ex) and was wondering if anybody has had it modified and what the difference is in the before and after mods. Thanks
An inmate we haven't heard from in a long time,Lorne Cherry, had the full mod done (around $2.5K I think) about 3 months ago. He wrote a lengthy review and posted it here. Check the archives.
Yep.. I read Lorne's review. It is very good. I don't know however if Lorne got to hear his XA777ES with/without the mods. He had Richard Kern of Audiomods perform the modifications

I emailed Dan Wright of Modwright regarding the effects of his mods which range in price from $600 --> $2600. This is what Dan told me I could expect from a modified unit vs. a non-modified unit.

The parts upgrade will lower the noise floor, improve detail and bass response.

The Superclock will greatly improve dynamics and resolution. It simply makes the music sound more live.

The Bybee filters provide similar improvements to the parts upgrade, but take things much further in terms of a dark background and improving air and spaciousness.

The tubed output stage simply sets the unit apart from
other players. It replaces the final op-amp based output stage with an elegant tubed output stage built with 1% precision metal film resistors and Auricap coupling caps. The tube power supply is completely outboard, with DC heaters, a custom Electraprint transformer, hand-made to our specifications. It adds a 3-dimensional quality to the sound, with incredible frequency range, allowing for a touch of tube warmth accompanied with airy highs and no lack of resolution or detail.

The unit with all upgrades was found to perform on the same level as the $6k-$7k Audio Aero Capital 192K upsampling CD player on regular CD's. On SACD, it completely bettered the Audio Aero in every way.
I just read Lorne's Review and it appears that he did get a chance to listen to his XA777ES before and after the mods. While I have only spent a few hours with the Sony XA777ES, I would have to agree with his thoughts on the pre-modification character of this unit. My interconnects are Audio Note Kondo KSL (new AN-Vz replacement) and NBS Statement so the unit would not be quite as "warm" or rolled off in my system as in his system with Cardas and Stealth PGS - but I do know what he means.
Thanks for the great information you guys, it was just what I wanted to read. I'm wondering though, if it wouldn't be better to just order the Audio Aero, or another top brand of cd player, without having to send your Sony all over the place. I don't have a lot of CD's at this time, so was thinking of buying a SACD player and go for quality instead of quantity (SACD's instead of redbook cd's). I know that SACD's are limited at this time. If the redbook quality is very good, I may just purchase it anyway. Thanks again for the thoughtful and useful information.
While SACD can be viewed as limited (something like 400-500 discs available worldwide) by some people I guess it all depends on what suits your taste. I for one can't even think of 30 redbooks cds I want right now so I guess its a preception issue. As for shipping it, if I were to purchase a new Sony and desired it to be modded, I would have Oade send it directly to my "modder of choice" who would then forward it to me once completed. I can personally attest that my modded 333ES is now an entirely different animal.

No doubt the new AA is a killer but at a list price of almost $9K I wonder just how a modded XA777ES player (maybe even a tube version) might fare with an estimated total investment of $4500 in comparison...

Good luck whatever your decision.
if i had a choice of the CAPITIOLE vs the new VECTEUR D-2 trans + an upgraded KORA HERMES dac...$8500 vs $1200+2500...i would not hesitate for a moment and take the V+K..that should be the current winning combo in digital choices these days
tweek- how could you say that? only a select few have heard the new Capitole, I should get mine in about a week and will of coures report the results, have you heard the new unit? if not make such a statement in a few weeks, but from what I am told from those who have heard the unit, it is amazing!

~Tim it possible to have a one box digital player producing musical sound thats worth $8K?..yes my previous post is based on economics...which is my situation..let me know about your new CAPITOLE..give me your honest opinion.. i've got a long way to go for an upgrade to that level..i'm working on speakers..then onto digital upgrade..yea my bad
I have the Capitole MK I, and would love to know what other owners have found as the best aftermarket power cord to use on this CDP...
Hi Sutts - with the AA Capitole.

Number one source cable (in popularity) right now is the Dave Elrod's EPS-2. I haven't been able to get my hands on one yet but from what I have read about these, they are outstanding. You might ask around - do a post on the subject & look for comparisons. You've got a great CDP and it deserves a great power cord.

Otherwise, you might try the Shunyata King Cobra V2 if you are using tube amps/preamp. Try the V1 if you're using solid state.

NBS Statement will certainly liven up the place. Its also a fantastic sounding power cord - but polar opposite of the Shunyata.

Hi Bryan, I will be getting the EPS-2 soon for the Audiomeca CDP. Also, Stewart at Sanctuary of Sound will be getting a $300 replacement for the stock computer cord (alas, David Elrod told me he could design a new one but he's way too busy with work as it is - his speaker wires and interconnects are coming out in the fall).

I'm still recovering from my recent trip to Lyric HiFi a few blocks from my apartment; they had the replacement to the NBS Statement hanging on the wall with a tiny price tag attached with a big number on it - 3750. I thought they must have forgotten the decimal point, but .... they didn't. I never like going home empty-handed, so a bought of couple of interesting CDs, like the Burmester sampler #3
(very smooth).

If you'd like, I'd be happy to send the EPS-2 to you for evaluation in your system as I'm still in the process of setting up mine. The Talon Ravens have nearly fully broken in; I'm becoming an expert of sorts in break-in CDs ;^). My next priority is replacing my duplex outlet and diving into the wonderful world of power conditioners.

To more quickly attend to the main question, I think the Audiomeca not only looks good but sounds great. Now, how about the upcoming Prestige A/V player by Audio Aero which will play everything (I mean SACD / DVD-A / redbook / multichannel, etc.). This kind of makes the current Capitole (at $8.6K) a bit superfluous; although it's an excellent player it will certainly be at least equalled in redbook by the Prestige, and the latter is just so much more flexible.

The Prestige also looks greeeeeaaaaat! (check out the bottom of this page -
Thanks Bryan (re: the powercord recommendations). I have spoken with Stewart at SOS, and done my research (I know another owner who has tried EVERYTHING and swears by hos Electraglide PC's), and apparently the new Electraglide stuff is a notch above the Elrod (especially the new Ghengis Khan)- but then againm for the price, it better be!!
Tweekerman... I'd be interested in hearing how your search has gone. these are among the same players I'm trying to decide upon...