For SACD fans only

Want to upgrade my SACD playback, currently have Oppo 105-D, which has been fine, but the weak link in my setup. I have a Hegel H390, Raidho XT-2’s and Ansuz cabling throughout, including the DTC distribution box. Currently love the system synergy, sound and setup, but want to upgrade.

So my question for the forum is-- I have narrowed it down to a couple of options and would like to hear thoughts...

1- PS Audio Perfectwave SACD transport, which is now on sale for $4000, and a DAC. I could wait for PS Audio’s forthcoming new Directstream DAC, which they say will utilize the same galvanic isolation in their Perfectwave transport. The reason for the match is the I2S connection, which can deliver "pure" DSD. I believe that a Sony chip is necessary. Another DAC option is to go with a Holo Audio May KTE DAC for around $5000. It has the I2S input, but I don’t believe it will play the "pure" DSD layer.

2- Esoteric K-05XD or Esoteric K-07XD SACD player. Two players not currently available but will be in the next month or 2, for I believe $8500 and $7500 respectively. Esoteric has confirmed to me that they will be available shortly. The nice thing here is that you get 2-in-1, both a high-end transport (one could argue the best available transport at any price) and also a fantastic DAC. I have read reviews of the Esoteric K-03XD, which is available and has the "Master Sound Discrete" DAC. The K-05XD and K-07XD will also use the "Master Sound Discrete" DAC-- reviews are that this is a big step up from previous Esoteric models, and sound fantastic. They have a USB input and other digital inputs, so you can utilize the internal DAC if I should use a server or go the streaming route-- or both.

Currently don’t use a server or streamer, but both options give me that flexibility. One box or 2 boxes? (Holo May DAC would make it 3 boxes!)

Won’t be able to audition unless I buy both and then return one.

Thoughts? Thanks

I went through a similar process a few months ago.  I ended up going a different route:  digital out to a D.BOB (~$1k) to my DAC.  I bought a good, short HDMI cable and a good coax cable, so the total outlay was less than $1500.  

This allows playing all disks the Oppo can read through a much better DAC than in the Oppo.

If I hadn't gone this route I, too, was looking at the Esoteric universal players (which are great), but that seemed to be a waste when I already have a DAC I like a lot (Holo Audio May KTE)
Use your Oppo to rip your SACDs.  It's very easy.  Then feed them into any good DAC.  You can easily beat the one in the Oppo.  That's how you get the best sound out of them.
@achipo: yes, I did think about the D.BOB, but I'd need to add a DAC like yours-- the Holo Audio May KTE is definitely on my short list.  But thinking that the Esoteric is 2-in-1, best transport available at any price, plus a fantastic DAC, for $7500-8500.  So 1K for the D.BOB and 5K for the Holo Audio May DAC puts it at $6000.  BTW the DAC in my Hegel doesn't cut it for me.  Demo'd the Oppo as a transport into the Hegel and the sound just isn't comparable.  Better via the Oppo.

@secretguy: "no actual improvement"?  you think that a step up from the Oppo to either a PS Audio Perfectwave SACD transport with a Holo Audio May DAC-- or-- an Esoteric K-05XD or 07XD is not an improvement?  I think it would be a massive step higher in SQ, in either case.  IMHO.

@melm: It's not easy.  I've tried it.  For some reason the player will not respond to the software that I downloaded and tried on numerous occasions.  So it won't initiate a rip.

I AM a SACD fan. It is a lot easier to rip and play them that spending bucu money and time to spin them live.
Over i2s to a DirectStream.
For me.

And no "actual improvement" statements are unsupported and meaningless.
It’s obvious that NO ONE wants to spend up for no improvement. That does not actualize it.

Ripping IS easy. PM me for details.
Ever think about a mod for it. I know Daniel Wright from Modwright did have one for the Oppo. Not sure if he still does. He modded my Pioneer LX500 and it is stunning!
@audiosaurusrex: No he nor anyone does Oppo 105 mods anymore.  I think he said that the 205 is better than the 105 mod, so it's not worth it.  But thanks for mentioning.

Everyone is trying to save me $$$, but that's not the issue for me.  It's just trying to decide between the two options that I wrote about.

Do yourself a favor and buy an Esoteric player.  They are one of the best built and sounding players.  I bought a Esoteric UX3 (same as X3 but also plays DVD audio) in 2012 and would not trade it for the world. I paired with an Acrolink (Esoteric brand) power cord and interconnects.  Best sound I have ever heard from digital. 
Marantz SA10. Bettered my Esoteric K01 and sounds great on regular CD’s also.
@hamr: thanks for the idea.  K-01 is 2 or 3 generations ago for Esoteric.  I'd be interested to see a shoot-out between the SA-10 and the new Esoteric K-05XD or K-07XD.  But new Esoteric's not out yet.
As Fuzztone brought up. Perhaps it is useful to remember CDs and SACDs are disks with computer files on them. Those files can be relocated to a hard drive, network drive, or they are available on internet servers through streaming services. The resolution is dependent on the amount of data and format of the files. A CD or SACD player is a box combining a physical transport, streamer, and DAC.
I have the Oppo 105D and The PS Audio DSD Dac AND their Direct Stream Memory Player with the I2s And it's AWESOME!

I have an oppo 203 but bought a $42 Sony and ripped all my SACD and all other formats to my NAS. I use Roon (you can use other pc programs like jriver) to send to my Sonore Signature SE which uses optical to disconnect the computer network from my system. From there to matrix spdif 2 to I2S to PSAudio Directstream. I am super pleased with result. Complex setup but other Sonore Rendu and maxtrix can be done for $1500 and you have the I2S to Directstream. No Discs to change.
@igor1069: Don't get what you are saying.  If you have the DS Memory Player and their DSD DAC, why would you need the Oppo 105D at all?  

When you are ready to get rid of the Oppo, let me know what you want for it.

@toddalin: will never get rid of the Oppo.

@larry5729: you're joking, right?  I have so many CD's and SACD's that are not on Tidal.  Who wants to be at the mercy of Tidal...not me...

Was looking at the Esoteric too, but I ended up going with the Marantz SA-10. I won’t bore with the details but the Marantz just sounded better than anything else I tried under $20k. 
You’ll never hear the difference, but it's your money to waste as you wish.
I would not pay that kind of money for any of the ones mentioned, that’s insane. Just pick up a nicely used Marantz sa8005. New, it was $1200. Too bad Marantz discontinued it, as now you can't touch a Marantz sacd player for that kind of money...
@fred60  No matter what you do, I recommend getting a Sony UBP-X800M2 (or similar) for $250 or thereabouts.  This way you have something to fall back on the next you might need it...

Plus, if you buy the Sony first you have something that a high-priced player needs to best or else it goes back to the shop.

I'm not sure your age, but I saw at least one post suggesting you wouldn't be able to hear the difference.  I'm 66 and my hearing is nowhere near what it once was.  In other words, this Sony's output quality exceeds my hearing capabilities.

Why not try a Sony (or comparable) and buy yourself a piece or two of vintage equipment just for fun.  Like a reel to reel?  Or a sweet turntable and cartridge?  Or that tube preamp you probably want?

Whatever you do, enjoy it!

I replaced my Oppo205 with PSA SACD transport and could not be happier. When pairing with PSA Directstream DAC using I2S connection they are hard to beat. The Mk2 of DS DAC supposedly comes out soon and it should be even better. 
I bought my first SACD player earlier this summer. It was the Marantz 30N. I really love it and started to build my SACD collection.  I also use its built in streamer and internal DAC. Since I recently upgraded my pre/power amps, I also want to upgrade to a separate streamer and a dedicated SACD player. 
I already ordered the auralic altair g2.1. Now I am shopping for a SACD player. Following this post   
Hi! I had a similar question and finally I decided on the Esoteric K03XD and I couldn’t be happier.
I was also able to try a master clock and where the improvement was most noticeable were with the SACD disks.
My concerns with I2S connection (via HDMI) are the pin-outs are not standardized AND I am not clear if it can transmit DSD signals to a I2S input of a DAC.  I've inquired with Denafrips' dealer on this  very issue and if my memory is correct, he is not aware if PSAudio I2S has worked with DSD to their DACs with I2S.  So.... caveat emptor !
Go with the Esoteric- I replaced my Oppo with the Esoteric and it just crushed it in sound quality. 
I have the Oppo 105.  I have a lot of SACDs.  The biggest improvement was buying the Bryston DAC3, which has HDMI inputs.  Program the Oppo to output DSD over HDMI and sit back and enjoy 
I bought a 105 new and played it that way for years. It is well know that the 105s biggest issue is/was the power supply. One day while surfing ebay I came across upgrades to the power side. First I did the Furutech- silver wire and a jumper to bypass the 110/220 switch. I was shocked at the level of improvement, so then replaced the OEM power supply with something like this, the product page included excellent DIY photo/instructionss. The combination was about $500 and well worth it to me.

Note that I use the XLRs for SACD, and for redbook I have it connected via 1.5m Pangea Premier SE digital coax cable to my Audio Alchemy DDP-1 + PS 5 power supply. IMHO, I would have to spend 2-3Xs more to better it


@tweak1: Thanks-- that looks really interesting, I think that I'll try the Furutech sliver first.

I have a Denifrips and Topping DACs which I love...but when I try to play SACDs thru my Marantz SACD player ...No sound comes out and I was told that a DAC won't play a Sony licensed SACD.....What's up...You guys all sound like there's a way to play SACDs thru a seperate DAC.
Of the choices you mentioned I'd go with the Esoteric.  I recently acquired a (used) Luxman D-06u and it puts my Oppo UDP-205 to shame; a full degree of magnitude better, IMO, and I imagine the equivalent offerings from Esoteric would do the same.
Luxman will be coming out with their 05 and 07 SACD players but I don't know the dates.  
I've had the McIntosh MCD85 SACD for six months.  I know SACD/CDs are not a McIntosh core product, but I've been completely satisfied with the performance, reliability and ease of use.

SACD and CD sound are simply magnificent; the more I play it the better it gets.  I also connected my Marantz network player to the MCD85 to use the 32bit DAC, it has never sounded better.

Anyone know where I can get a selection of SACDs?  They seem to be a hard to find item.
I would love to own an Esoteric one day, but for now, I really enjoy the performance of my Marantz SA-KI Ruby.
Between going with an Esoteric player and a PS Audio I would lean toward the Esoteric for a couple of reasons not relating to sound quality (I haven't compared them). 

I have an original PerfectWave Transport - the earlier version that only plays CDs, not the new one that plays SACDs. PSA's nomenclature is very confusing. Anyway, this was a $4k transport and it is on its third drive mechanism. I play an average of a 5 or 6 CDs a week. The drive in this expensive transport is just a cheapo off-the-shelf computer drive that can be purchased for about $17 retail. To PSA's credit they have been good to deal with on the two replacements (the second one was after the warranty) but they have told me that it will cost $500 to replace the next one. It turns out that I can replace it myself and I have already laid in a drive for the next time it breaks. I have found out that drive reliability has been an issue for this model.

I've had several pieces of PSA gear over the years and always been happy until this. It is really disappointing that they would equip a $4000 transport with the cheapest computer drive they could find. Based on this experience I probably won't buy another PSA component.

To contrast, I have a Marantz SA8005 for SACDs and it has spun way more discs than the PSA and the transport has never had a glitch (I had it for a few years before the PSA).

I believe that Marantz and Esoteric make their own drive mechanisms and they are much higher quality than something that goes into a PC for 20 bucks. For this reason I think an Esoteric will be better built than a PSA transport.

FWIW, I am leaning toward getting a Marantz KI Ruby SACD player which would be the last SACD player I ever buy. I can't complain at all about the sound of my SA8005 but who knows, the Ruby might be just a little bit better. I'm in no hurry to upgrade.
@8th note:  thanks for the comments.  I think that is why PS Audio decided to go with the D&M transport (Denon & Marantz) in the new Perfectwave SACD transport.  But you have a point.  Esoteric uses what could be considered the best transport available at any price.  FWIW I will not buy any transport/player that does not have XLR analog outputs.  XLR is clearly superior to RCA's.
Who listens to CD’s these days when you can stream hi-res Tidal?

Well, I do and 1,500 and counting. They sound great if mastered well and I heard streaming my dealer with a hi-end DAC and Streamer and nice but not at all impressed, my CD sounded better and the sales guy said well, it hit and miss at times. I grew up on vinyl like I tell my friends to tell me why I should start buying vinyl to just replace 1,500 CDs I own, same for streaming. I enjoy touching and holding a disc, same as well I had my large vinyl collection. Trends are followed, I guess if I had zip I might look at streaming, but I got more music that I can listen to and many recordings will not be on vinyl or streaming, and what would the cost be to just replace the vinyl with 1,500 LP's, Plus turntable, etc. For me, that be $10-15K. 
I'm leaning towards the Esoteric. For a couple of reasons.  First, I've read some reviews of the Esoteric K-03XD.  Second, it's one box.  Read this review of the K-03XD on Music Direct:
Well this is something completely different. I've not had it that long and am still running it through its paces but I'm coming to the conclusion that this outperforms any turntable that I'm familiar with. And this is coming from a true dyed in the wool, buried in the analog camp kind of person. It doesn't sound like a cd/sacd player or like any turntable that I'm familiar with. It sounds like master tape. Pretty convinced now that DSD is the way to go. No streamer i have listened to and I have heard some truly great machines don't sound like this. It has changed my world view about playback systems. The fact that some fifty cent discs from a resale shop can sound phenomenal makes it a game changer. Disc after disc in my collection sound like I never heard them before. I will definitely think twice next time some limited $135.00 plus disc comes out. That's it for now and I will be listening to a bunch of Mofi sacd discs recently purchased of music I already own on Mofi One Step pressings. It should be interesting. One more thing; it deserves an additional star. Score: ******

Pretty amazing review.  Of course I will buy the 05-XD or the 07-XD with a 60-day "satisfaction guarantee", so if it doesn't suit my fancy, I can return.  And one of them will be half the cost of the 03-XD, which is beyond my budget at $15K.

@larry5729 because CD’s sound better than streaming. I’ve tried Tidal and Qobuz and easily preferred my CD’s. 

I’ve also went as far as to rip my CD’s to my external HD and then copied to my Aurender N100H. Using my Oppo UDP 205 connected to my Bryston BDA-3 as well as the N100H connected to the BDA-3 every CD played sounded better than listening through the N100H. 
I also have a PS Audio PST on order. 
@fred60,Just like you, I like SACD/DSD. I think you have made a great choice going with the Esoteric. One piece of information is that the Marantz SA-10 converts everything to DSD internally.Also, ignore posters who say that players/DACs do not make a difference. Your system is highly resolving. So it WILL make a difference. Would like to hear from you once you get the Esoteric.

I highly recommend the PS Audio Perfectwave SACD transport. I dont think there is anything out there that can beat it at its price.