The Best of the Best Well sort of - CD players

I am researching a new digital source that is in the middle of the 'REAL' high-end range and need some advice choosing.

Here are the units I am looking at:
Esoteric DV-60 combo,
Denon 5910ci combo,
Sony SCD-1 with almost all possible mods,
Rega Saturn,

Ayre cx7e,

Oracle 2500, (this player is gorgeous)
Simaudio Moon Eclipse LE, (this player is pretty)
Wadia 861, (this player looks serious about digital as do the Meridians)

DCS (oooops can't afford this one, strike it off my list)

The top 4 are my finalist, the Ayre is not out of the game based on what I have heard and the last 3 players may me out of my price range but, I havent totaly ruled them out yet. Cosmetics and CD sound quality are important to me. Being a combo player is a nice plus- (but not the end all factor in my decision) -if you look at my current gear as I do not have an upscaling DVD player and do own loooots of DVDs and hi-res audio disc ie: SACD & DVD-A but I mainly listen to CDs on my system.)

In my player I am looking for beauty, build quality, somewhat neutral, even tonal balance, bass weight and control, detail without being to bright or clinical, PRAT, less fatigue for long listening is nice but, not a top concern, I am not super concerned with soundstage or exact imaging just so the player is not too forward or lacking in width.

I mainly listen to electronic and underground tracks from the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands
Aphex Twin, Download, Orb, Massive Attack, Kid 606, Meat Beat Manifesto, Kraftwerk, Enon, Goldfrapp, Royksopp, DJ Shadow, UNKLE, Dead Can Dance, etc. I do listen to other stuff but, this is my main gig.

Below is my current equipment:
Parasound C2
Rotel 1075 (Soon to be replaced with Parasound A-51)
- Rega Jupiter
- Marantz 8400 combo hi res
Onkyo m501 amp for rear channels
Camelot Lancelot phono stage
Music Hall MF7
Monster Hts 5600 (Looking at Shunyata Research Hydra 8)

Infinity Prelude HTS fronts and center
Artisitc Audio Mobius rears
Velodyne CHT-10 for sub (soon to be replaced with Martin Logan or JL Audio)
Polk back rear channels, I dont use these except for 7.1 movies

PS3 bluray
360 hd-dvd

Sony wega 50" A2000 sxrd 1080p

cables are audioquest, kimber, harmonic technology, jps, ixos, voodoo, etc.

Sorry this is soooo long but, I wanted to be detailed before letting this loose. So ANY suggestions would be welcome from those with similar music taste or have auditioned one or more of these players or even want to sell one. I excluded stuff from MF, Classe, Cary, Krell, Levinson, Lexicon, Meridian (The last omission is for cost mainly because I only like the expensive 808i)


Try the Marantz SA-11S1, its a wonderful player!!!
The SA-11 is more Musical than most of the players
you have listed.

Enjoy the Music
Yes i the SA-15 is a sexy beast not as good as the 11si though. Since I have (and do like) my Marantz 8400, I am ready to move on to new worlds. Gosh I hope this thread helps others because I am getting some good emails and posts.

THX for your post
It sounds like you need to decide if you want a cd player or a dvd/combo. The Ayre is an outstanding cd player. If you are going cd, you might also listen to the Cary 303 (or 306 if it fits your budget). The 303 allows you to experiment with different levels of upsampling and solid state/tube output all from the remote. The new Arcam Universal($3000) got a very good review in the new Absolute Sound.
To bad looks are more important than sonics. The Opus 21 sounds better than most the players you listed!

Also several of those players you mentioned are old or are well known for reliability issues.

From your list, its a no brainer for me, the Wadia 861 is the reason my opening sentence stated "most" and not all. Though, to be fair, I dont have much listening time with the Ayre. From what I have heard I like it.
I NEVER said that looks are more important than sonics!

I just feel that when I spend good money on audio gear it doesn;t have to look like crap. There are too many good products out there to settle for less. As far as your opinion it's just like mine, everyone has one, and it's personal taste. Sound is different to everyone and you may feel the Opus is better than most of the stuff on my list but, I gurantee the majority would not agree with you.

thanks for your post