Help on premium cd player

I've been playing around with separates (upsamplers, dacs, transports) seeking like many something that sounds right (like vinyl?). Lately been trying to find a good transport to work with my, largely used, collection of parts. Have now stepped back and realized that I'm already out $3-4,000 and still don't have what I'm looking for, and tired of the search. I want to listen to music. So switching tactics and looking for a really good player in the $3-5,000 range {used), then sell off my "inventory", rationalize cables and rack space and just enjoy (90% classical, jazz and vocals). My candidates, based on reviews and hours reading threads here and AudioAsylum, are

Accuphase dp 65x or 75
Audio Aero Capitole 24/92
Audiomecca Mephisto II
Electrocompaniet EMC-1 Mk2 24/92
Wadia 860x

As an old banker I get a warm feeling if the manufacturer isn't likely to disappear overnight. To those who suggest that I first audition and trust my ears, I agree 100% in theory, but it's not possible where I live.

Comments/recommendations from those who have owned more than one product or were otherwise able to directly compare two or more especially valued.

Oh, my equipment includes tube and transitor pres and amps so I'm flexible, not a zealot for either philosophy!

Many thanks in advance for your contribution. And apologies if this post is too long, just try to preclude questions rather than answers.
I have owned a Mephisto II, RA CD55, SCD-1 and Capitole 24/192. I've heard ML 30.5/31.6, ML39, EMC-1 I +++.

The Mephisto II has a depth of soundstage I've never heard before. The Mephisto II is very precise and detailed. It was in a new range from what I've heard before on redbook cd's. The Capitole 24/192 has an ease that's captivating. I decided to save bucks an sell my ML380S and Mephisto II and get the Aero Capitole and now that it's breaking in, I'm glad.

There is a "blooming" of the bass which I don't hear in the Mephisto or in other ss output stage cd units. It takes some getting used to. It's slightly over puffed. But, it's way more musical than the others, in my opinion. It also resolves the brighter passages and really bright poorly recorded rock cd's I have.

For me, it is clearly a toss up between the Mephisto II and the Capitole and I'm not sure which I'll prefer. While I'm writing this I listening to 40's big bands and I'm wrong. The Capitole does it better. It's amazing.

Good luck,

Bill Eichengrun
As we import the Audiomeca we believe it is certainly a worthy contender for one of the most refined units available.We will show the new Aloia inductive cd player at ces room 1312 and by all indications it will raise the bar just as the 1301 amp and 1101 preamp have.We would urge anyone looking for digital upgrade to look into this unit.They will be available at select dealers in about 30 days.Projected price well under 4000.00.Also gives you a tuner option from add on cube.
Buy a Marantz SA-1 player, if you can find one. Great sound , built like a tank, and sets the standard. If a hi-end American company copied this piece you are looking at a +$15K tag.
The sound is great on both CDs & SACD. The parts and dac are the best money can buy today, regardless what you read.
I should know because I had worked in the studio (now retired) as a recording engineer for both Polygram & CBS Records for over 35 yrs. I've heard the best in all formats and the Marantz SA-1 palyer is a top piece of equipment.

please take some time to check out the new Granite Audio #CD-657 tube cd player ,,, an wonderful unit -- that will let you Enjoy SACD sound quality from your existing Red Book CD library. list price is $2995.00

check it out on our showcase on audiogon and also read the review on the granite audio web sit

if i can answer any questions for you please get in touch ..

thank you
good listening
Of what you have listed, I would place the Wadia first and the Electro second, both for sound quality and for support. The Wadia has the additional advantage of being able to run straight into your amp, if you are able to use this feature. I too am a believer in single-box players, because the best cable is no cable, and the best interface is no interface.
I own a Accuphase DP-65V,and I am very happy!Built to last(inside/outside),noiseless operation,excellent finish,beautiful design and superbly musical.
I have an Accuphase digital pre/DAC DC-300-which uses the same DAC as what's in the DP-75v, it sounds incredible. I am going to a friends house to check out his Audio Aero Capitole, which is suppose to be amazing as well, in fact if I could go back I think I would consider the audio aero unit running direct. I will make that opinion this evening, should be interesting. The electro unit is suppose to be super as well, as is the audiomecca, I don't hear anything good about the Wadia gear, and most that have it are always thinking about selling it. Of course some folks here use the wadia stuff and like it, but I question what they have had to compare it to, try to listen to as many as you can and pay attention to the DP-75v(far superior to the DP-65v, many feel the DP-55v is a better performer then the DP-65v) and the audio aero they would be the 2 I would most want to own on your list. Happy hunting
I'm using (and love) an Accuphase DP-75. It comes REALLY close to analog. However, since you listen to a lot of classical, I question whether ANY regular redbook CD can get strings right! Sorry, EVERY high end CD player or transport/DAC combo falls short on the "strings" when compared to an analog rig that costs even 50% of these premium CD players. But if you're committed to the regular CD format, I would HIGHLY recommend the DP 75. Happy Tunes!
I know i'm doubleing your budget, but if you really want to simplify your life and enjoy "music" from your cds, consider a used Linn CD-12. No, i have not heard all the current "upsampling" cdps but those i have heard fall short of the clarity and naturalness of the CD-12. so far, in my experience, the Linn comes closest to my Marantz SA-1 on sacds. the edgyness of the 16/44 format is gone with this player without the colorations you will find in less refined solutions.
You need to add the Cary 306/200 to your list of CD players to review. Cary is a company that has been around forever. They only recently have been making CD players, but they hit some home runs with their first CDPs.

The 306/200 is one of the best one box CDPs in the world right now. Period. I personally think it is a more natural sound than the EMC-1 mk2 (after comparing both in my system).

Anyway, this and $2 will get you a $2 coffee at Starbucks.


I agree with Mikelavigne. But you can get almost that good by getting the Linn Ikemi (list = $3600). IMHO, the Ikemi sounds better than any other player or transport/dac combo out there (except for the Sondek CD12).
grandpad: just a note to you on your accuphase listings. there is a very significant difference between the dp-75 and the dp-75v (indeed, i think accuphase's product designation is a little wacky). the latter model introduced oversampling and employs an improved circuit topology; moreover, the 75v accepts upgrade slots that will allow the d>a sampling of sacd (tho the onboard transport doesn't output a sacd digital stream). i've heard all the cdp's on your list, except the audio aero. i would rank the top 5 in this order:

accuphase dp-75v
accuphase dp-75
electrocompaniet EMC-1 Mk2
accuphase dp 65-v
wadia 860

i would, however, be wary of the wadia products, given your concerns about the overnite disappearance of manufacturers. that already happened with wadia once this year and may well happen again. or so the rumor goes, FWIW. -cfb
Grandpad, sooner or later every vetern audiophile comes to the conclusion "I just want to listen to music...". I've probably muttered that 3 to 4 times this year alone.Once was during the search to replace my beloved EAD Ultradisc
2000. Wary of garage built pieces and "this weeks best"
gear, Wadia and Accuphase were considerations, as were Meridian, Linn. The piece that just floored me was the Sim Audio Moon Eclipse. Unmatched build (and looks),upgrades easily, reputalble company, 10 year warranty, reasonable price. Now if I could just find a way to write it off on my
2001 returns...
Best of luck.
Guess I should chime in here...

Having owned a Meridian 508.24, Krell KPS28c, Wadia 860, Marantz SA-1, Electrocompaniet EMC-1 Mk II and now the AudioMeca Mephisto II over the past year, I must say that my $100 Toshiba DVD player sounds great!! Especially in systems connected to faulty wiring and broken outlets. sorry... I'm still a little shaken from my last digital thread

But seriously folks, of the bunch - the AudioMeca Mephisto II is a tremendous - absolutely outstanding CD player. I took it to see a few friends at a local high end shop specializing in ANALOG ONLY (quite an arrogant bunch) and they were shocked at how analog it sounded - but it did need a good power cord to get them really excited!

At the shop, when I walked in with the Mephisto II CD player, they pointed to an Accuphase DP-85 sitting packed up in the box next to the door and told me they didn't even want to listen to mine - they stated that the Accuphase was the best digital player in the world, and they hated it so much they couldn't wait for FedEx to come get it!

Anyhow.. I've auditioned the Cary 306/200 with lousy gear and because of that, I have no comment.

I unfortunately have never had a chance to listen to the Capitole (which uses the exact same DAC as the Mephisto) but frankly, given the level of performance & cool looks of the Mephisto, I didn't even want to try anything else.
I have owned Accuphase,Dcs ,Audiomeca,and many other very well received cd players.Yesterday I heard the new Aloia cd player and I must say it is so much better than anything else I'll be suprised if anyother brand can still be sold.For the first time I heard music far better than analog phono or tape and forgot about the system it was playing through.Be certain to hear this amazing player before even concidering others it is way the best.And you get a tuner.
WARNING!!! for those of you who might not have caught on by now, audionut is an audio retailer. i'd therefore consider his opinions with around a ton of salt. particularly since he's not seen fit to disclose his affiliations. nor has he registered as a member of the audiogon community. yet another hangeron, tryin' to get some free advertising. if you doubt me, check out this post made by audionut on a recent thread titled "dac recommendations" :

Forget a dac ,sell any digital source you own and find an Aloia cd player.It is
the new reference for playback period.I sat for 3 hours yesterday in utter
amazement.I have never been so shocked by a component in my 20 years of
audio.It surpassed all other front ends including my 20,000.00 turntable.My
reference system is about 150,000 us dollars and I never dreamed a single
component could make this much difference.Piano sounds exactly like the
instrument with the ability to hear all the harmonics with the right timber.The
day before I was listining to my sacd player and thinking this is not at all the
way a piano sounds and didn't expect cd could ever sound right.How wrong I
was.Don't miss this amazing product.

hmmmmm. smells a little like six-week-old halibut, eh? his website is:

Subaruguru - you are correct. The EMC-1 Mk II is an outstanding CD player. In fact, at this level all the CD players mentioned are excellent.

Regarding which player is best, I think it's relative to each of us. We've all worked very hard to assemble our systems & tweak with various interconnects - power cords etc. to acheive what we believe to be the best for the given system (our own).

Grandpad will most likely be thrilled by any of the above CD players but which fits his tastes and preferences is clearly not our decision to make. Perhaps we should all put on our "reviewers caps" and provide better explainations of the equipment we "celebrate". I think in a forum like this it would be more productive than ongoing threads about "who's is bigger", I mean better. In a way - many of our comments regarding what we feel is best, are not too far from what Audionut posted regarding the Aloia.
And for what purpose? I'm not a dealer. I'm just a guy who spends way too much time thinking about this stuff!
I am not a dealer and the website you mention is not mine.I am a music lover who happens to post what I feel about what makes music.I had my e-mail address years before someone started using the same thing to market products.I own many products most of which I purchased from my local hi-end dealer.I don't buy then resale at a discount I collect and retain most of the brands I purchase.Sometimes it is the look as well as the sound which attracts me.I own Oracle cd 2500,DCS Elgar and Purcell,Audiomeca Mephisto2 as well as their latest dac,audio Analoge cd player,Sony sacd player and I just listened to and purchased the Aloia cd player.It is the most amazingly musical piece of front end equipment I have ever heard and I think I qualify to some degree to make this kind of statement.Yours Truly not
audionut: if you're not a dealer, then i apologize. just seemed like too many coincidences. it would help your credibility, IMO, to register as a member and tell us a bit about yourself in the "who r u" thread. -cfb
I am a big fan of the Aloia amps which to me are the biggest steal I have seen in awhile. Does the Aloia cd player also have the Inductive power supply and where did you make your purchase?
You're way off base Kelly. is in Glendale AZ. Sanibelsound is in Virginia. IMO, and this is not an assertion of fact, just an opinion, I find an interesting convergence of opinion with those expressed by sanibelsound, i.e., everything they sell seems to be the greatest thing audionut@webtv has ever heard. Maybe an affiliation, maybe just a "friend." Not the first time someone has said something carried by Sanibelsound is the world's greatest. They must have some real nice stuff.

Grandpa Doug, although I have never taken Kelly's (cfb)advice to reveal myself in the who are you thread, I have been listening carefully to hi-fi for a long time, and although I generally don't believe in spending a lot of money for hi-fi, I do get around some. I have a meridian 508.24, which is now discontinued. As for the cdps you listed, I like the Acccuphases and would concur with Kelly's ranking above except I wouldnt consider the Wadia at all. I have not heard the model you listed but there is the concern mentioned with the company's longetivity, and the earlier Wadia models I have spent some time with just sounded unnatural to me, to the extent that I couldnt figure out what they were trying to accomplish.

Paul (old enough to be a grandpa but we started late)
Hi Audionut,

Given both your statements about the "world's greatest audio device" and your followup combined with your lack of registration here a Audiogon, I find your posts too mysterious for comfort. I gave up believing the in the tooth fairy and trusting authority blindly about fifty years ago.

If you want acceptance of your ideas in an open forum, try coming out of the closet and share where you buy from, where you're located and who you are. The rest of us do and allow others to judge our imput based on the content along with some assurance we're not scamming intellectually or economically.

In a vacuum, everything seems perfect.

Bill E.
Interesting - if you look at audionuts other posts, you will find one entitled, "Hotrod your Hermes". Within that thread, you will notice that audionut is not listed as an author to any of the posts. But.. strangely enough, is.

It's complicated to explain but - Audiogon's server places cookies on a computer when a user signs in. If a user signs in under two names, the server will try to issue a cookie for each user but can get confused as to which cookie should be used to "track" a user and log activity. In the case of the HotRod post, it could very easily be that the server didn't know which person sanibel or audionut was making the post - since "both" were logged in at the same time or two separate browser windows were open simultaneously.
Paulwp, Sounds like your in direct competition with SanibelSounds must have some sour grapes or you wouldn't care. By the way I purchased Aloia equipment from England
Snook, no sour grapes and I dont care, but with the thought that I may have been unfair to you I deleted my last post. Choice of wording, perhaps. I'm not selling anything. Are you the guy in the picture or do you mean that we can find you fishing with him?

Kind regards,

Is it me, or have sanibel/hi-fi farm's sales pitches become...yaaaaawn.... uh, tiresome? Balanced, informative contributions from some dealers, such as those I recall from Audiokinesis could be an example for those dealers/distributers who wish to offer up an opinion and promote a product they offer. Far more palatable, and probably effective, than the egregious pimping of products so often witnessed on this site. In the dictionary, under redundant, it says "see redundant".
Thank you everyone - ordered the Aero Capitole 24/192. This was a tough one. A couple of factors went into my decision. First, while I like as much detail as possible, musicality is most important. Lakefrontroad's comments therefore struck a cord. Have heard the dcs Purcell/Delius combo which, at first sounded fantastic, but after awhile didn't seem to have enough "life" for me.

A second factor is that I have a large, very bright room and many of the solid-state DACs I've tried have sizzle or glare at the top end in my setup. Switched from a solid-state pre to a Joule LA-100 mk III (currently being upgraded to 150 status by Jud) as part of attempts to tame the room.

My decision came down between the Capitole and Mephisto II. Since I recently picked up a used Audio Aero Prima player to use in my study and like it, I thought it might be worth the chance to move up to its big brother. I'll let you know how things turn out.

Next step is amplifier(s) for my Von Schweikert VR-5HSEs! Bel Canto 2.002 was good but mid-range seemed a little strange, not quite real - tough to describe. Spectron Muscian II, on short listen sounded great but will probably continue looking - can't solve everything too quickly or I'll have no excuse to spend a couple of hours a day on Audiogon!!

Thanks again one and all for helping out an old Grandpa, you're terrific.
I suggest that you work on room improvements, before spending more money on a digital front end.
The room contributes A LOT to the sound quality (or lack of).
Having moved several times while keeping the same equipment and cables, I have learned this lesson over and over.
Invest in a nice area rug with underpadding, install large/thick curtains, buy a few extra upholstered items. Cover all glass surfaces and hang paintings or posters on your walls, never glass-covered prints.
Good luck
Casouza, I agree on the importance of the room. Just added another area rug with underpadding, and spent an hour in a drapery shop just this afternoon!! Also looking for a rug to hang on one lateral wall (a fireplace is opposite). Like to experiment with some room "tuning" devices, but no dealers out my way to borrow some to try, and they tend to be rather expensive to "buy and try". But I'm aware of the issue and working on it.