Micromega Stage 1 vs. Stage 3 vs. everything else in this list...

Recently picked up a Micromega Stage 1 cd player for $200 to go with my Creek 4330SE and Vandersteen 2c speakers. The Stage 1 sounds great. Smooth, warm, airy, musical, etc. I may have the opportunity to get a Stage 3. I'd of course sell the Stage 1. Cost for the Stage 3 will be anywhere from $400-$465. However, it comes with a new laser. For that price range, should I go for the Stage 3, or are there other options out there for the same price range (or lower) that will sound better than the Stage 3? Does anybody have experience with both of these players and the difference in sound quality between the S1 and S3? And, is the price worth it? I had a similar post regarding cd players and it got me thinking about other possibilities compared to the Stage 1. Someone had mentioned the Rotel RCD-1072, while another suggested the Rega Apollo. Other players I've been curious how they compare to the Micromega's about include the Rega Jupiter, Creek CD43 mkII, Oppo 83SE, Cal Audio Icon mkll PowerBoss, etc. 

Compared the Micromega Stage 1 to my buddy's Oppo 95 over the weekend. Both were connected to my Creek 4330SE. Both had identical cables and were tested using identical CD's. The CD contained all types of music from: Rush, Smashing Pumpkins, Beethoven Symphony #5, Mozart Mass in D minor, Styx and Ray Lynch.  

Test was done syncing both cd's to play a track at the same time. The only difference we really noticed was the volume level; the 95 being slightly louder in volume. Not certain if that's the S/N ratio or output voltage. The Stage 1's output voltage is 2v, couldn't find the spec on the 95. Once we adjusted the volume levels to match, it was really hard discerning one from the other. I was thinking the 95 would destroy the Stage 1. But overall, they were pretty much the same. I noticed the Stage 1 had a little more air around the voices and mid bass was fuller. Both had great low bass response and detail. Both had same imaging, soundstage, etc.

This makes me wonder what the Stage 3 would be like???  Or, how the 95 compares to the other players I've mentioned... Rotel 1072, Rega Apollo, Jupiter 2000, etc...   
I still love cd players as well, jsbach1685.

Is Micromega still in business? Seek out an authorized repair shop for this brand and with a little luck the player could be brought up to spec of a Stage 3 model.
Hi jafant, 

The guy I bought the Stage 1 from had gotten a Stage 3 in the meantime and I exchanged--plus some extra dough. 

OMG... the Stage 3 (S3) is absolutely phenomenal sounding. The Stage 1 sounded veiled by comparison, but yet still sounded really good; especially when comparing to the Oppo 95 and I actually preferred the Stage 1 due to it sounding more musical and "analog." The S3 on the other hand just opens everything up so much, yet retains composure of not sounding digital. Very smooth, very musical. My buddy and I are planning another test comparison between the S3 and 95 to see if there is a greater disparity--which there should clearly be.  
TY- for the update jsbach1685

it is all too difficult to beat (no pun) an Oppo.  I look forward in reading more about the Stage 3 spinner.  What gear is in your system, including cabling?
Hi jafant, 

I've seen the Leader 2 and Stage 6 on Ebay.

To give some background on the Micromega Stage Series CD Players. This is according to writings that I have found on the internet: There are NOT 6 "consecutive performance" stages to this series. Stage 1,2,3 was the original concept for this player with the Stage 3 being the TOTL model. I read an article somewhere (cannot remember where or if it's true) that the French Govt. passed a law that required certain (or all) electronics to have dedicated power on/off switches. Since the Stage 1,2,3 models did not have this, they revised the players, along with what appears to be the D/A section, and released the Stage 4,5,6. Therefore, the Stage 4,5,6 players are essentially a "revised" version of Stage 1,2 3. So I guess you could think of the Stage 6 as a Stage 3 mkII? Stage 3 and Stage 6 are the top models for each "series." Stage 1 is essentially a Stage 4, Stage 2 is like Stage 5, etc. As mentioned, Stage 1,2,3 players had no power switch. You plugged them in and push any button on player or remote to bring it out of standby. When you are done listening, just let it be. It will go off by itself after about 7-10 min of non-use. I forget the exact time. I should time it. The same DAC is used in all Stage players... a Philips TDA1305T dual CMOS DAC. This is one of my favorite dacs, along with the legendary TDA1541A, and current Wolfson DACs. The 1305 is a very dynamic and musical DAC. The Stage 1 & 4 used one dac, whereas stages 2,3,5,6 used dual dacs in a reverse configuration. You can google the different stage players to see pics of the different DAC sections "Stages" uses at each level. I have personally owned a Stage 1, 5 and currently a 3. The 3 is by far the best sounding of what I had. The 5 sounded a little thin in the mids, and I've read too that the later revised 4,5,6 didn't sound quite as good as the original series. However, I would need a Stage 6 to A/B with my Stage 3 to be certain. But, in looking at pics or "nudies" each stage player, the Stage 3 definitely looks to have the most extensive DAC section of all of them.  
Good to see you- jsbach1685

Thanks! for sharing the historical background on these players.
I love CD and SACD players. Each is unique, yet, accomplishes the listening mission.  Happy Listening!
I've owned a micro mega stage 3 for fifteen years.I also own a rega planet,an arcam cd33,and a musical fidelity kw dm 25 transport and dac.I think the micro Mega sound quality is very good and holds its own with all these players.
Hi jafant,

Hope you had a good holiday!

Well, I got some DAC to try...

I got a used HRT iStreamer for my iPhone 5, as well as an AQ Dragonfly Black. The HRT sounds really nice... in fact much better than the veiled sounding Dragonfly Black. Also, the volume level on the Black was much lower as well. I bet the Red would be more equal to the HRT. Since the max sample rate of Apple stuff is 48khz, both HRT and Black indicated they were putting out 44.1khz quality. Needless to say, the Black was returned. Not only did ther HRT improve the sound of iphone 5, it also raised the output volume level almost to CD player level.

Speaking of CD players... I have a Rega Apollo on the way to compare with the Stage 3. I’ve read A LOT of really positive reviews about the Apollo, and I’ve always wanted to give one a listen. I’m anxious to see how they will compare.  Any guesses? 
TY- jsbach1685

hope your holidays went well indeed.  How did your spinner shoot out go?
I look forward in reading about any player comparisons against the Stage 3.

Happy Listening!
Well... the Stage 3 was returned to the seller for a refund. I never had a chance to compare with the Apollo. The Stage 3 had a display glitch at first, which was totally intermittent. I sent it back to be fixed. I got the player back and went to hook it up.... this time no sound. All connectors were checked and I had no idea. I was tired of fooling with it and I’ve read the long list of quirky issues with these models, so I asked to return it for a refund. I’m still using the Apollo. Speaking of players... does anyone have any experience with Myryad? Specifically, the MCD600 CD player? From the little info I could find, it sounds like a great sounding player. I'm contemplating selling the Apollo to pick one up. Also, is Myryad pronounced like the word Myriad?
TY -for the update jsbach1685

Sad indeed. These companies can build a trouble-free CD player and most do, but, others choose not to build a reliable spinner?