Esoteric DV-50: Any cdp's Significantly better?

Is there are anyone out there who has compared the Esoteric DV-50 to a number of dedicated red book only players (or other universal's) and found one that is SIGNIFICANTLY better?

I stress significantly because in my humble opinion the redbook playback (if comparison unit is just a cd cd player only )must be significantly better to justify losing DVD-A, SACD and DVD-Video capability.

I keep hearing there are better one box solutions and being a die hard 2 channel fan I would sell my DV-50 if I found a player in the same price range that sounds significantly better. But every time I do an AB comparision to other well respected units the DV-50 has slayed each and every one.

So far, it has eaten the lunch of the Classe CDP-10, Ayre CX-7, Linn Ikemi, Cairn Fog Vers. 2, Cary 306/300, Arcam DV 27A and CD 33T, Myryad CD 600, etc. It even betters a Sony SCD 777ES/MF Tri-Vista 21 transport/dac combo that I previously owned. I'm only comparing the DV-50 to single box cd or universal players, but I just wanted to mention the Sony/MF combo. I'm sure there are some dac/transport combo's that will handily beat the DV 50.

Some may say that the DV 50 should beat all the above because the of price point ($5,500 vs. average price of $3,000 for the above players). But I disagree since conventional wisdom says that stand alone players (especially with the pedigree of those mentioned above) should produce better redbook than a universal player trying to be a jack of all trades. Only the DV 27A does video plus audio. By the way, I was very impressed with the 27A as just a cd player. Of all the above I would say the Ayre was the best.

Next on my list is the Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP and the Resolution Audio Opus 21. However, I must tell you I am really impressed with the DV 50 and all the great reviews are absolutely true. I've noticed that many people who are using it or comparing to other players are using the RCA analog outs instead of the balanced outs. There is a significant improvement in sound if you use the balanced outs and I'm only interested in hearing comments from people who have compared it against other players using the balanced outs on the DV-50.

My system components are as follows:

B&W N803's speakers & HTM-1 center
Cary Cinema 5 (5 x 200) amp
Anthem D1 Statement pre/pro
Esoteric DV 50
Acoustic Zen Satori Shotgun speaker wire
Nirvana SX balanced interconnects from DV-50 to Anthem
Acoustic Zen Matrix reference II interconnects from D1 to Cary
No after market power cords or isolation equipment

My system sounds great! Those who comment please make sure to specify what specific improvements you heard over the DV 50 and what cdp were you comparing it against.

I would like to make a Couple comments about what has been
said about my friend AVGURU's system.
First,I have listen to AVGURU's system on many occasions
and each time I have enjoyed myself.
Second, I thought the DV-50 sounded great in his system lots of deatil and tight bass.
Third,I am APPALLED by the name Calling of a certain Individual(you know who you are)!!!!!!!!!
This is not KINDERGARDEN!!!!!!!!!
Fourth, I think an APOLOGY should be given to AVGURU!!!
Last but not Least,Lets all sit back and ENJOY THE MUSIC!!!
Audio_girl, speaking of uncalled for remarks, you might take a look at yours. While I had a _slight_ preference for the modded DV-50 based upon limited listening well off center, that's what it was - slight. I could happily live with any of the three. I would prefer to let the others weigh in with their opinions, as they have more experience with them.

And yes, I agree with Kerry - let's post the list of CDs and cuts played. I don't have the list but know several of you wrote them down.

Can the participants break down their scores? Please list the categories and how you scored each contestant on each category. That way each viewer can see how you scored the players on the category they consider important.
Units: APL 3910 DV-50 ModWright 9000
Soundstage - 4 4 4
Rhythm & Pace 4 5 5
Depth of Image 5 4 4
Bass 5 5 4
Midrange 4 4 5
Treble 4 4 4
Musicality 4 4 5
Dynamics 4 4 4
Bloom 4 4 4
Inner Detail 5 4 4
Vocals 4 4 5
47 46 48

Some of the numbers are relative in that it would have been more accurate to award .5's to a specific player in certain categories.

In that case, the totals might change a bit, but the order would not. I had a clear preference in my own mind for #1, #2, and #3.

Of all the categories, I had some trouble with "bloom," which I decided to treat more like "palpability." Maybe that is what Bon intended, or maybe not.

Fives were awarded when something jumped out at me as being especially noteworthy (in a good way). So when you see all three players receiving fours, that's my way of noting in some cases that all three performed very well in that category and I could not distinguish a clear leader or laggard.

- Eric

you're absolutely correct! at this level of performance, it's not often that any player will blow another away.

To the folks who made this comparison possible,

Thanks so much for your efforts!