Help regarding SACD/CD players

Yes, I still spin the cd's, and I love them. I love shopping for them, organizing and reorganizing them (sometimes on the same day), admiring my organizational skills (and then lamenting my lack of them), and rediscovering that I own this-or-that-cd after almost buying it earlier that day. Consider it an irrational fetish, if you must; insist (to yourself) that I should grow up and join the streaming community; laugh at my growing collection of SACD's, declared all but dead years ago. But, if you have the kind of advice I'm after, please offer away.

I have a modest living room system, powered by a fabulous Luxman receiver from the late 1980's. I play my cd's through an NAD player (which I run through a Schiiit Audio Multibit DAC), and SACD's through a Yamaha BD/DVD/SACD/everything-else player.

Here's my question. Does it make better sense to:

1. Get a really good (within reason, and probably used) SACD/CD player to do all the work? Maybe something from Arcam or Marantz, or something in that general price range? Any suggestions on what I might look for?

2. Keep SACD-ing through the Yamaha, which sounds good, but replace the NAD with a transport (I like the Audiolab 6000CDT better than the Cambridge Audio), and then graduate to a better DAC? I have a whole lot of cd's, and relatively few SACD's, so the priority is with the former.  

3. Come up with some heretofore unthought of option? (Yes, I will likely secure a Bluesound Node 2i at some point, but I'm an inveterate incarnationalist and gotta have my discs, silver and vinyl. Cleaning, holding, admiring; they're like children! I love my babies.)

4. Just shut up and continue to play on what I have? My wife favors this option, though she has yet to learn that it is but one option. 


Before I comment, what sounds better:  Playing 2 channel CD's through your NAD/Schiit combo OR playing the same CD's through your Yamaha OR playing those same CD's through the Yamaha/Schiit combo?

I love SACD but the technology has its limitations.  If you can use your SACD player as a player and CD transport you may make life simpler with better sound?

Audition one of the reference Yamaha cd/sacd players for a comparison.
If you feel like more fidelity is required then demo a Marantz reference player. Have fun!

Happy Listening!

How many SACDs do you own?
How many CDs do you own?
Oh, and what is your proposed budget?
My view/advice/opinion on this matter to a very real extent is based on the answers to these questions.

To E: It usually depends on the cd. The Impex releases of the Three Blind Mice cd's sound extraordinary through the NAD/Schiit ("Blow Up" is outrageous). They're not SACD, but are probably the best sounding discs I own. Some Verve Master Editions also sound brilliant, as do the Bill Evans 20 bit cd's. The Gerry Mulligan 24/96 is also at the top. All through NAD/Schiit. And geesh, if that Boston remastered CD doesn't punch a hole through my chest and roof when I have the leisure and privacy to turn the volume knob up to 4-and-a-half. Maybe it's because it's really the only "hard rock" I play, and I've forgotten what it feels like listening to that stuff.

I don't run the Yamaha through the DAC. But a few SACD's are amazing, especially from Analogue Productions. (But not the "Chicago II" by MoFi.)

To Jazzman: SACD's, about 20 or so, with plans for more. The Chicago II has been the only one that's disappointed. CD's, about 1500, with more coming in; thanks, all who are getting rid of your cd's.

Budget-wise, I could probable go as high as $1500 for a player, or transport/DAC combo (say, $550 for the Audiolab new and the rest on a used DAC). Wiggle room might be there, and I'm open to suggestions and brands.

My preferred option at this point: Get a transport, upgrade the DAC, then in a few years down the road, possibly upgrade the DAC again. Incremental gains. 

To Jafant: Thanks. I like the looks of the Yamaha, and I have friends who keep telling me to check out their amps.


Take your time and be strategic with each addition you make to your system. Have a road map in mind. You don’t have many SACDs at present, but a whole lot of CDs, and you like handling physical media.
You mention the desire to explore streaming down the road, and there I can’t argue the choice of going the Bluesound Node route. But all things being equal, if you have a player that is still functional, I’d start with the DAC. A DAC upgrade will have benefits both immediate and in the future. If you think you might get involved big time with SACDs, then I do recommend that the new DAC be DSD capable; otherwise don’t sweat DSD capability. I happen to have a Chord Qutest and absolutely love it, but there are a whole host of good DACs to be had out there. If you should ever get into SACD big time, then something like the D.BOB (digital breakout box) would be something that I’d recommend adding to your road map.
Since you’re intent on spinning discs I’d invest in a good re-clocker like the Empirical Audio Synchro Mesh and just keep using the NAD as a transport.  If you’ve got the Modi DAC I’d upgrade that first as that’d make the biggest improvement — something like the MHDT Orchid could be a big upgrade just to name one, and they offer a trial period.  I’d keep the SACD player separate, whatever you choose to eventually upgrade to.  Best of luck. 
Bring ALL of your CD's to life... hear them like you never have before. I went from an $800 player, to a $2 k, to a $5.5k. I couldn't believe what I was missing. Hearing things on my cd's that I've never heard before. I will never go back to cheap players.Consider the Bel Canto Design PL-2... listed here in Audiogon. 
MSRP: $5,000 USD. Asking $950 USD. Up for sale this Bel Canto piece of art that will provide you with awesome playback of any format (CD, SACD, DVD Audio, DVD, CDR, CDRW, SACD MULTI CHANNEL).
Sell your current players and dac... that should cover the cost.

OP didn’t mention a budget.  Also, can the Yamaha output the DSP layer of an SACD?  I use my Oppo 105 player for both SACD and CDs (also Blu Ray and DVD A) outputting everything over HDMI into my Bryston DAC 3.  SACD sounds particularly fine

I was using a Marantz HD CD 1 player as a transport + built in dac in my Audio Alchemy DDP-1 + PS 5 for red book, and my Oppo 105 for SACD/DVD-As. It’s common knowledge that the 105s Achilles Heel is the OEM power supply. Some hi-end players use the 105 guts in their big buck players

I came across aftermarket LPSs on Ebay, ranging from a reasonable price to crazy money. I bought the ~ $200 one and a replacement Furutech IEC with pure silver tail that plugs into either PS board and eliminates the 110/220 switch. Enormous SQ improvement

Eventually, I compared red book through both, and, well, no longerusing either the Marantz or the AA, as the 105 has a variable VC, so running direct to amp and sounds damned good when the red book does

anton99: #4 Just shut up. "My wife favor's this option". I suggest #1 Get something you really like, and since your system is in the living room, place the sofa in the sweet spot. You'll be sleeping there! Enjoy 👍😊
Hi Tony,
Seems you are already on the right track thus far ie.putting more weight on software/music rather than hardware/equipments.
In your case, I’d rather simplify to avoid all future headaches and just go for a good/reliable cd/sacd player.
*If buying used, make sure their ‘optical assy.’ is readily available as parts (Sony optics are the more common ones doing sacd)~Average life expectancy is usually 3-7yrs~depending. Then there are other mechanisms to watch out for as well. So getting a player that’s relatively new (1-2yo max.) is best.
Why not just get a Luxman player to match that receiver—and continue enjoying your music!🙌🏼 TBM, Bill Evans👍

I'd lovelovelove a Luxman player. Luxman knows it, though, and is willing to hold out on their pricing and charge me a fortune, one I don't have.

I do worry about a used player, which is why I wonder if getting a really good DAC makes better sense? Use whatever player I have or get in the future as a transport, then.
I agree with jazzman7 that you should get a DAC with DSD capabilities. While the D.BOB is a option for extracting DSD files, I think the better way to do is to snag a cheap Sony player from the ebay and rip all your SACDs into DSD files. A month back I ripped all my 140+ SACDs to DSD files. Did not realize that I had collected so many SACDs - I was thinking I had less than 50 :-)
But then you can just use the existing CD player as a transport for the new DAC and have a Network streamer to store and play your DSD files through the DAC.
I agree with Jazzman.  Go for a DAC first.  You can use the Yamaha as both SACD and digital out to the DAC.  If you go hard core on SACDs then upgrade later.  A single player should make your wife happy with the "mess".
I have a 105 for SACD/DVD-A and use the digital outputs to my Chord Hugo.  The Chord is a huge improvement on CD's and 2 track from hybrid SACDs.  It'a actually really simple to use one player to two inputs on your pre-amp.  
You need to try the Yamaha to your Schiit already.  I'll bet the NAD starts collecting dust (not because it's bad, just because it's not necessary).
The Yamaha is more of any entry level unit, not one of the big boys. I will try it, though.

I was actually looking at an SACD/CD player of theirs. Built like a tank, weighs 33 pounds, looks really cool. Goes for $1800 new, available for less at a bunch of places.

You can acquire a Marantz SA15se SACD player for around $1000. I too love CD's and SACD's and the Marantz I have plays both beautifully.
Hey Tony,

Keep your eyes open for a used Modwright CD/SACD player. Ones form Sony or Oppo would be very good. The MW modifications are known for their excellence in sound. I’ve had 3 of them--Sony 9000, Sony 9100 both were Signature Truths, and currently have a Sony 5400 Signature Truth. I bought the 9000 for $650, got the 9100 from Dan Wright at MW for $1200 less the 9000 as trade--so about $600 with trade. Every now and then there is a Modwright modded player on the used sites.

Soundwise, they are stunning compared to your NADs--I had a NAD 502, 520, and a 542 prior to the MW’s. I liked the NADs too, but the MW’s are very close to world class in sound and Dan stands behind his stuff as good or better than any other manufacturer.


That could be a good unit.  It was done quite a few years ago when MW was getting going.  The Oppo 83 hasn't been in production for over 10 years I think.  Opposite is out of business at this point and each newer Oppo has been a better sounding unit than the one before.  The Opposite 105 and 205 would have been the newest units made and I don't think Dan did the 205 mod.  The 95 would have been before the 105.  I mention this because the older the unit, the bigger the risk.  Opposite units are now going for much more money because you can't get a new one anymore.  The Sony 9000 MW blew me away in sound quality after what I had before.  Mine developed an occasional problem with the drawer not opening.  Dan did this mod back about 2005-07 or so.  The MW units are rare finds anymore on the audio sites.  All the MW units sound significantly better than the stock units.   The Oppo units all play many different types of discs compared to the others--could be a big plus.   

The MW mods were done to Marantz 8005 and Denon 3900 also.  The Denon would be about the same vintage as the Oppo 83.  

The big plus here is Dan Wright and his mods.  You could call MW and ask Dan when this was made or other questions you might have.  He will tell you about the quality of sound that unit has.  If it is in good working condition, it's worth a try.  Good luck.

Sorry about that last email.  Oppo became opposite everytime from spellcheck and I didn't catch it in time and it's too late to change it now.  


No worries. Thanks for the information.

Question: You note the risk involved in buying older units. I've been warned against buying a used player of any kind that's over 2-3 years old, no matter the quality when built. Difficulty in replacing parts, too many moving parts to last a long time, that kind of thing.

Your thoughts? There's a Bel Canto SACD/CD player available at a great price, but it's over 10 years old. Likewise, I come across a lot of Oppo pieces when searching. Are all these choices that big a crapshoot? Should I focus on new players, or maybe just get a really good DAC and run my current players through it? I'm tempted to grab a used player, but don't know the wisdom in doing that. Thanks again.
What's all the fear about older players? It makes it sound like they are completely unreliable... and if you buy a used CD player it WILL break down. We know that is not true. How many people have NOT had any issues? I purchased my YBA used, and it's now over 20 years old. Never had a single issue... mind you... it's a top loader, so less moving parts. Is it sales people saying this... pushing for NEW sales, or just someone who had this experience?I tend to take things that people say as a suggestion... not as truth or fact. Live from your own truth, not someone else's Fear : )

Did you try to talk to Dan at Modwright?  I can give you his number if you'd like.

The MW players are a significant leap in sound over stock players, even very good ones.  I don't have experience with the Oppo 83 MW version, but I did have an Oppo 83 for a few years in a second system.  It did everything fine, but I'm dead certain the MW version would be super fine in comparison to it.  MW three six oh,  two for seven six six eight eight.


Yikes, didn't mean to push any buttons. I'm certainly prepared to be corrected, but I've both read and been told personally that buying a used player is to be avoided. I didn't follow that advice, actually, as my NAD cd player was a few years old when I bought it.

But the guy who most recently told me to avoid them has been in audio repair for almost 40 years; he works out of his home these days, mostly on McIntosh. I'd be glad if he was being overly cautious, as there are several players on Audiogon I've looked at longingly.

I've not a lot of experience here, so I gotta trust the word of someone else, at least till I gain some of that experience. And those someone elses have mostly been skeptical. I'll gladly balance their skepticism with your experience, though I will proceed with due caution; $ is involved, and I tend to keep things I buy for a long time.

Any brand suggestions on good cd or sacd/cd players you can make?  
Any CD player will break down with time. The amount of time depends on your luck at this point. I have some that seem indestructible and some that have not been so.
Been enjoying my 9100ES since 2005. Optics replaced in 2016. A steal at $500+/-. Mods are still available as are transports and lasers. A great multiplayer with the excellent Burr-Brown dacs.

PM me if interested. I have been streaming 24/96 and spinning vinyl. So not so much use the last 18 months.🎶😃
Anton - For what it’s worth, I purchased a used Arcam SACD player / streamer and I couldn’t be happier.  It sounds great and has opened my world to the benefits of SACDs.  It’s been operating fine for three years.  Go for it!
try to locate and check for a Sony SCD-XA5400es (cd/sacd), world class with reasonable cost.