So I can’t directly answer your question. However let me describe what I do because it will be within your budget.
I output the DSD layer from SACDs with my Oppo 105 transport over HDMI into my Bryston DAC, which has HDMI inputs. Oppo doesn’t make players any more, but you can use a Sony Universal Player for the same transport function. The Sonys go for a few hundred dollars, the DAC for around $4K
Both the Technics and Marantz newest SACD players are worth your time to investigate. I was a big SACD tech enthusiast, but my experience did not live up to the hype. Some 10 years ago I specifically bought a Oppo 105 to play SACDs, but was not blown away. I replaced the OEM PS with a significant linear power supply (LPS), which definitely helped redbooks, but not so much SACDs.
I'd add the Denon A110 to your list - great sounding player and transport. I own it - sounds great. I liked the return to CDs and the ability to play SACDs so much I purchased a Marantz SA-10 for my other (balanced) system.
I own a previous iteration of the Denon, and is indeed a very good player
I would go with a second hand Esoteric SACD player at your price range.
I can’t remember the brand or model of the CD/SACD player that went belly-up two days after the warranty expired (was it a Marantz?), but the Sony XA 5400ES I replaced it with has been nothing but excellent. It may not give me be quite as high a fi as my Hi Rez Streaming or my analog rig but it still delivers plenty of enjoyment. I listen to it all the time...not the least because I have a heck of a lot of silver discs.
Marantz KI Ruby if you can find one.
Yamaha. It will last forever.
@gregdude what do you mean last forever??????? never brokwn????????
The Technics SL-G700 is a fine player that also has streaming capability. Its build quality is among the best I've seen. There is a newer M2 generation recently introduced that has replaced the former AKM converters with ESS converters - possibly on account of supply issues in the wake of the AKM factory fire. I haven't heard the new model but reviews suggest it is as good or better than it's predecessor.
I have owned, in order, a Marantz SA-8004, a Denon DCD-A100, a Denon DCD 1600NE, and currently a Denon DCD-A110. Each has been a noticeable improvement over its predecessor. The DCD-A110 was the largest step up.
What Denon calls AL32 Processing has improved the playback of redbook CDs so much that it takes away some (but not all) of the reasons to buy SACD's.
Esoteric hands down however in your price range a used one. +1 @stereo5
I love my Marantz SACD 8005 but enjoy the Marantz 30n even more. I make this recommendation having a McIntosh MCT500 in my primary system. Back to the 30n, it runs so extremely well and the HEOS app and streaming capability/Roon tested fits my needs very well. In your price range and available in silver or black.
Thank you to the OP for starting this topic, I have been on a similar search to update my Marantz SA-8004 in hopes of taking my disc spinning game up a notch. Marantz 30n, and KI Ruby have been on my wish list, and I've been looking at some older McIntosh players like MCD210. I'm a bit nervous buying a player of that age. My preference is a player that leans towards musical more than analytical. This is the first I've heard of the Denon A110, but it's mentioned several times in this post, so I'm adding it to my list.
@wjob can you expand on the sound differences between the Denon A110 and the Marantz SA-10? Is the SA-10 on par with the best of the best players?
@erock79 can you expand on the differences between your Marantz 30n and your McIntosh MCT500? I've been dreaming of a McIntosh SACD player in my system, but just struggle to come to terms with the price they command. The 30n comes in at a price point that doesn't give me heartburn, but I know there's no free lunch. If the MCT500 is that much better, I'll start saving.
My system is McIntosh C2200 to rebuilt Allen Organ C3 tube amps driving GR Research XLS Encores. It sounds great, but it's not as megabuck system like many here.
@onebean - I have the Marantz and Denon in different systems, so I haven't done a head-to-head. From what I am hearing, the Marantz is a little smoother on the top end and a little less forward overall. Both are excellent players. I haven't heard any of the big $$$ players apart from a show here or there, so hard to say it is the best of the best. Some people have reviewed it as such. The dealer I purchased it from also sells Esoteric. When asked, they said the difference is small. Probably a matter of taste/system matching.
I bought a used PS Audio transport that radically improved the sound of all of my CDs, including SACD. I'd also argue for the importance of the I2S/IIS (HDMI) output on any CD player. (Of course, your DAC will have to have that input.)
Not sure about "best," but Marantz 30n is very good, and there are tons of reviews to help you figure out if it might be the one for you.
I upgraded to a Marantz KI Ruby from a Marantz SA8005 (I had an SA8001 before that). I wanted to buy my "last" SACD player and Music Direct was closing them out for $3k. The sound is very close between the two but I think I can hear a little better soundstage with the Ruby. One of the reasons I got this player is that Marantz designs and manufactures the drive. It is one of the best drives you can buy and I'm counting on Marantz to have spares if it ever fails. I've had three Marantz players and never had a drive fail. On the other hand I bought a $4k PS Audio Transport and the cheap-ass computer grade drive they put in has failed three times. Pure junk.
It looks like you can still buy a KI Ruby from other vendors for 3 grand even though Music Direct is sold out. That is my recommendation.
Another vote for the Marantz KI Ruby. My only legitimate comparison is to a Marantz 8005, like 8th-note above, that I upgraded from.. The Ruby does a much better job on the high end on my system, clearly delivering content with a clarity and presence not present with the 8005. I particularly noticed the difference early on when playing John McLaughlin’s East Indian group Shakti’s "Natural Elements" redbook CD. L. Shankar’s violin work sounded so wonderful on the Ruby, it alone made me quite happy with the cost of the upgrade before the Ruby even had any hours on it to fully break in.
How it compares to other CD/SACD players is beyond my scope. There was a bit more pricey Yamaha CD player in the running at the time of purchase, but I don’t remember the model number.
@onebean unfortunately the Marantz 30n and McIntosh MCT500 are in totally separate systems so I have not done an AB with them. The MCT500 will of course be highly dependent on the DAC you use. I have a Mac C52 and the results are superb. Interesting point about the MCT500 is the proprietary MCT output, which I believe is superior to coax and optical (I have all three connected and AB them frequently). But you preamp has to be a modern enough Mac to accept the MCT.
Does the Mac provide better value? For most, I think the answer is no, due to cost. McIntosh gear has a high entry price. The 30n contains a DAC and allows streaming operation through the HEOS app. I love these features in a secondary system. But I’m fortunate to be able to invest more in my primary in search of better performance and I love the MCT500 for that. If you have a solid DAC available, I like the idea of saving for the MCT500.
I’m intrigued by the KI Ruby as well but do not own one.
Hey, what about the Samsung DVD-HD841? Affordable, elegant and nice.
Ayre C-5xeMP ! I regret selling mine.
$1-4000 is a great price range. Many, many wonderful Players to discover.
I'm in complete agreement for a used PS Audio SACD player. As someone mentioned before: I'd also argue for the importance of the I2S/IIS (HDMI) output on any CD player. (Of course, your DAC will have to have that input.)
There is one exception to this statement. The I2S (HDMI) output from the PS player will only provide full benefit if your HDMI input has used the same pin configuration as the PS unit has for I2S. PS Audio will provide the pin configuration and even will mention the few brands that use the same configuration that they know of. This works both ways, I tried a Sony player that had the HDMI out and verified that it is not fully I2S. If you are using PS Audio player to PS Audio DAC - it is a given they are fully compatible - and musical bliss is the result! Why I2S has not become more standardized is a travesty. All components of the digital signal align with one simple cable hookup.
McCormack UP1 Deluxe!
If you can ever find one. I have a Opera Audio Consonance reference 2.0 with a tube output buffer which is not too shabby either. BUT would buy a UP1 if I could find one.....
Ok, here's the deal. I have a Modwright modified Marantz 8005 with all the upgrades. What can I do better the front end. I'm not into streaming or computer audio and will only use Cd's and Sacd"s, Luxman or Esoteric around 10K. or so. I know it's a diminishing returns game but want the SACD ability.
Did you not bring-in a Luxman D-07x ? If so, how is the MW 8005 vs. Luxman comparison?
Once you figure out how to rip your SACDs there's no going back.
I use an OPPO 103 to rip which you can get for $200. I load the files onto my Aurender's SSD but you can load them onto a portable SSD and play them through Esoteric gear or whatever.
Spend your money on a decent DAC, get one that plays native DSD. The only SACD I would trust would be an OPPO many expensive SACD player boat anchors out there. Plus switching between SACDs and CDs has always had glitches, except for OPPOs.
Can’t say which to go for, but am adding my 2¢ in hopes of following this thread.
I shudder every time I see/hear someone suggest buying used. A couple years ago I bought a used Sony DVP-S9000ES after reading several complimentary reviews. Unit was being cleared out by a vintage shop going out of business, so it was “as-is” but fortunately not very expensive. Had limited ability to test at the store, but did determine that it would load, play and eject standard discs.
Got it home, only to discover that it wouldn’t recognize or play SACDs, regardless of hybrid or single-layer. Several people more knowledgeable than me suggested the problem was likely the laser, which is harder to find than a unicorn. It’s currently serving as one of those aforementioned boat anchors.
Anyway, I’ve seen good reviews of the Marantz K-1 Ruby, Yamaha, Denon and an Arcam that I think was in the $1200-1600 range. Best of luck, and I’ll enjoy following others responses and thoughts.
Esoteric K01XD. Excellent CD player and DAC
Another vote for the Marantz Ruby, I love mine, but eventually will be moving up to the new Luxman D-07X sacd player.
You cannot go wrong with Luxman nor Marantz.
@tim_p hi, have you compared both? I mena the rubi vs the D 07x? Would be interested to know. Maybe some insights about the Luxman D05u ? Im considering some of this:
Marantz saki ruby
Denon dcd 110
Update us- did you purchase a CD/SACD player?
A used Esoteric is tremendous value. There is a used Esoteric X-03 on A’gon right now for $3,500:
In 2017 I bought a used Esoteric DV-50S for $900. It is now 18 years old and still going strong. Are there newer units that can best it? Absolutely! But not for $900.
I tested its DAC against my Denafrips Venus II. The Venus had a slight edge over the DV-50S. But it was very close.
Denon dcd-a110 110th anniversary edition sacd player is awesome. Built like a tank. The Redbook playback is detailed, slightly warm timbre which creates a big soundstage. The SACD is excellent.