Digital
Major Transports and DACs

Audio Federation Dealership Magazine Music Guide Blog

 

 

   

These tables list cd players and transport / DAC pairs by the type of experience they were apparently designed to produce. Secondary characteristics of an cd player, if any, are listed in order of significance. There are no better or best in these lists - just different. We have personally heard all of these CD players, most of them many times using our test CDs.

Current best practices has transports being paired with DACs from the same manufacturer - so we no longer call out transports and DACs separately. Most CD players today have very little of the irritating digititus once associated with the sound of CD playback- especially as the price of the player rises above $5K or so (in this table, only Burmester, Wadia, Chord and Cary still have a significant digital signature).

Impressive - Exaggerated bass and/or dynamics and/or detail
Sophisticated - Detailed with finesse, nice to listen to, pleasant
Workhorse - Competent with no real intention to do anything specific especially well
Sweet - Exaggerated harmonics and/or warmth
Natural - Timbre and tone are correct, everything else well balanced
Emotional - Music often pulls at heart strings
Real/Truth - Transparent, accurate
Magical/Spiritual - Precipitates psychological effects other than what might be expected

     

Use the ears, Luke.

 

 

 

 


CD Players & Transport / DAC pairs
 
    Impressive   Sophisticated   Workhorse   Sweet   Emotional   Real   Magical  
                               
Picture              
 
Brand   Burmester   Zanden   Metronome   Cary   Audio Note U.K.   Esoteric   EMM Labs / Meitner  
                               
Models       All           CDT Two
CDT Three
DAC 4.1x Balanced
  XO-1   CDSD / DCC2  
Price range                   $18,000 - 22,000       $20,000  
Secondary characteristics                       Or maybe belongs in Impressive category?
Workhorse
  Real  
                               
Notes                              
                               
                               
Picture                  
Brand   Wadia   Linn CD12   MSB   Accuphase   Audio Aero   DCS      
                               
Models   All               Capitole
Prestige
         
Price range                   $10,000 - 13,000          
Secondary characteristics       Magical       Workhorse       Impressive      
                               
Notes                              
                               
                               
Picture                        
Brand       MBL   Goldmund           Weiss      
                               
Models                       Medea with Jason      
Price range                              
Secondary characteristics                       Workhorse      
                               
Notes                              
                               
                               
Others  


 

 
 

 

  The players and transport / DAC pairs from:
 
CHORD
 
Accustic Arts
 
Ensemble
 
Bladelius
 
EAR
 
Esoteric
         
 
 
 
 
                               

 

 

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