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Anyone want to talk me out of it? Just interested in CD (and CDR/CD-RW) at roughly the $2500 price point.
How about adding the CEC TL-51xr to your short list. The dAck was voiced with it and it comes in about 1/2 the price of the Saturn. I heard the dAck driven by the TL-51xz and it was pure magic...the 51xr is "one better", Nigel.
P.S. Saturn has a great marketing handle in the proprietary chipset, memory(common on DVD), overbuilt supplies, neato chuck and their great ears. I expect a lot of players coming down the pipe to be influence by them in the next year or so.
Thanks for the suggestion, but rightly or wrongly, the belt-drive transports carry (for me) the stigma of unreliability after reading all too many posts on the subject here and elsewhere. The model you cite may well have overcome whatever problems there are (were?), but frankly I'm leery. I'd love to play with one, though.
Maybe, too, I just don't understand the rationale for a belt-drive transport. But then as a committed idler-wheel turntable partisan, I don't see the point in belt-drive turntables either :-)
My 2.0 Hi rez replaced a Dodson 217MK2 and I love it. I would be interested in your comparison of the ack! to the Rega. Thanks.
I mean, I don't view this an an either/or issue. I'd like to hear what the Saturn can do on its own AND via the Ack dAck (I can run it both ways into my CJ linestage and switch with the remote). My only quibble with the Ack dAck is its bass performance. Good but not great, at least compared with my other SACD/CD sources.
I just don't think I'd go that route for $2500, not saying the Saturn isn't a great player.
I would have to ponder hard and consider my choices if it were me and the circumstances were the same to give anything logical/objective. :)
I have Rogue pre/power tube amps and the XA777ES. Initially, I'd have to look into the cost of the mods and query folks who had it done. Inmate Metralla on hi-rez forum I know did it. The selling price for the XA777ES player is $1k from what I've seen and I feel its worth more than that to me. Someone can get it modded from that point and have a great player for a very reasonable cost.
But I'm just not that thrilled about modding a 5-year-old machine that simply doesn't set my heart atwitter in its unmodded state :-)
I did as much A/Bing of players that I could that were available to me and I still went with the XA777ES for $2k back them. It was a Stereophile A+ rated player. Tbone was even impressed with it I recall from some posts he made and I really came to trusting his judgment in time.
Now perhaps it wasn't the absolute best machine for the price but it did inlude SACD for both 2 and multichannel and folks on this board really could not talk me out of it when I basically was doing the same thing you are now asking about the Saturn.
It was my main CD player (and only SACD player) for years. The fact that I liked the sound on CDs of the Ack dAck with a variety of "transports," surprised me a lot. What surprised me more was that the XA777ES wasn't the best-sounding of these transports. Then it started acting up -- refusing to recognize Hybrid CDs -- and I sent it to Sony Laredo for service last fall. Wnen it came back, I thought it sounded better than I had remembered, but I still tended to play CDs mostly through the Tascam/Ack dAck combo.
So, I figure, if the XA777ES doesn't meet its specs, it hasn't met them for a long time. It's not a bad machine at all, but the bloom is off the rose as far as I'm concerned. It may well be a "system synergy" kind of thing.
Dave: I was curious about your use of the Tascam as a transport. I have a Marantz CDR-632 deck which appears OEM'd from the same source as the Tascam CDRW700. I have been thinking about the DAC upgrade route, but I was assuming that my Rotel RCD-02 would be the best transport between it, the Marantz and the cheapee Sony DVD DVP-NS55 DVD player I have. However, when monitoring recording with the Marantz's headphone output, I have been very impressed with the level of detail. Although I mostly monitor the to-be-recorded analog input signal, I get the feeling that the Marantz might be a better unit sonically than I thought it was. My only concern is that the disc tray on the Marantz kinda wobbles and vibrates as it closes and opens (did this since I bought it in June of '06), but otherwise it seems to function well. Did you try any other players or transports before settling on the Tascam as your transport? Thanks.
Finding that the the Tascam worked extremely well as a transport was as much of a surprise as discovering that my cheap Sony machine sounded so good playing SACDs. Although the Ack dAck makes the most of many decks and transports, it sounds as good -- better -- with the Tascam as anything I've tried, including the XA777ES. I was particularly surprised at this because the Tascam sounds so mediocre as a player. Great CD recorder, though.
Now I wish the Saturn was still here. It is a fantastic CD player . Takes a good while to break in I thought. Really delivers the music.
Trying to decide whether to mod a 5-year old machine (the XA777ES) or go for the latest/greatest. SACD duties are currently handled by an overachieving Sony cheapie (DVP NS500V) which stunned me by outperforming the big Sony. No, I can't believe it either.
In that case, mod the NS500V! :) Or you may want to inquire on the hi-rez forum for opinions from others who have done so.
Okay, I didn't plan to get into this, but what the hell. Here's my rationale, such as it is.
I had pretty much given up on SACDs, own well over a hundred of them, don't play them much, figured they sounded little better than CDs. This was via my essentially unmodded XA777ES. I was going to put most of the SACDs up for sale.
First, though, I figured I'd see if this old NS500V, doing ignominious DVD-only duty in a TV setup, could hack it sufficiently as an SACD player to play those SACDs I didn't sell. So I just plopped it on top of the XA777ES and ... what have we here? Damn thing sounded better than okay and -- could it be possible -- better than the "real" SACD payer. This was via $4.95 Music Boy/Petra ICs mind you, while the real one was sporting my interconnects du jour, Oyaide PA-02/Bullet Plugs. When I switched ICs, the little one moved WELL ahead. So I decapitated its power cord, affixed an IEC pigtail and upgraded power cord, and treated it to some decent resonance/vibration control and it sounds GREAT. Oh, and I just ordered the little overachiever a $30 fuse.
Voila, let's sell the big sucker.
And then why not get a really good CD player, since the SACD situation is now under control. Actually, so is the CD stuff, currently via a Tascam CD-RW700 as a transport, into an Ack dAck 2.0. In other words, my tentative decision to go for a Saturn doesn't make gobs of sense, but not making sense is such a hallmark of this hobby I just decided to go with the flow :-)
If you're not gonna go the modding route, the Saturn is probably the best CD-only option at that price point. It's truly a terrific piece. If I didn't need hi-rez and video for my second system, that would be my choice.
it may be that the only way you will get better CD-only sound would be to use a dedicated music server/PC, USB interface and some kind of super clock, and a nice (perhaps tubed) dac. can be done for cheaper than $2500, but it sounds like rega is one of the few companies putting something like it into one box.
too bad it costs so much.
sony could do it for $500 but the sales volume is simply not there in their opinion (and they went a different route with SACD, DVD, BluRAy, etc.)
but the next best thing would be to go ahead and order it, and have it shipped to my address.
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