Looking for a Transport (SACD) + DAC up to $30K

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
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Hey fellas,

I own a large library of CDs and SACDs, as well as many files (some ripped from CDs I own and some downloaded from various online stores/providers). I am also subscribed to Qobuz, and stream high-res from its service.
I currently own a Metronome AQWO CD/SACD/DAC integrated player (with the tube output stage option).
I like its sound, but I feel I’m missing some resolution and bottom end.
I set my budget to $30K, seeking a solution to all media types I own.
Remember that I also want to enjoy my collection of SACDs, so not any transport-DAC combo will support it (actually most of the combos do not).

Thanks!
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
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Native SACD disc playback is getting harder to find. dCS is really the best at this (in my opinion). I still think my transport is better than most high res downloads, although those are usually very good and the difference isn't very big.

New, this might be a bit out of your budget, but not by much: https://www.dcsltd.co.uk/products/rossini-cd-sacd-transport/

Another path might be a Rossini DAC and a used dCS transport. They usually have certified used via their dealer network.

Good luck
 

GSOphile

Well-Known Member
Sep 4, 2017
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Two of the best IMO are the Esoteric K1 (recently replaced by the K1X, so you should be able to acquire for under $30K) and Playback Designs MPS-8. Luxman should be replacing their recently discontinued D-08u top model soon. The Japanese retain a still strong market for the SACD format.
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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Iaxel, had you considered having some component upgrades made to your existing player? A few little tweaks like better output coupling caps / iec inlet / SR Blue fuse / internal wiring could give the extra resolution you seek for <$1k and maintain existing functionality.
 

microstrip

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May 30, 2010
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Native SACD disc playback is getting harder to find. dCS is really the best at this (in my opinion). I still think my transport is better than most high res downloads, although those are usually very good and the difference isn't very big.

I will second your opinion. SACD disc playback is still the top digital I can get from a DCS Vivaldi stack. I hope that soon a SGM Extreme server will challenge it , but it is the current status in my system.

We have very few alternatives in SACD separate spinners because of the proprietary encrypted connection obligation.
 
Last edited:

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
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133
Another path might be a Rossini DAC and a used dCS transport. They usually have certified used via their dealer network.

Good luck
Thanks!
The Rossini player caught my eye, but then I noticed it does not play SACDs...
A transport+DAC combo from DCS, is indeed out of budget.
Do you happen to know if non-DCS SACD based transports work with DCS DACs (to play SACDs)?
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
314
99
133
Two of the best IMO are the Esoteric K1 (recently replaced by the K1X, so you should be able to acquire for under $30K) and Playback Designs MPS-8. Luxman should be replacing their recently discontinued D-08u top model soon. The Japanese retain a still strong market for the SACD format.
Do you know how good is the USB and S/PDIF inputs of Esoteric’s players? (They also have no AES/EBU inputs which is a bit disappointing)

The MPS-8 is indeed a very worthy contender, and I may be able to audition it soon.

I’ve heard the Luxman D-08u. While its CD and SACD playback is up there with the best, its DAC inputs are not at the same level and were a bit of a disappointment.
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
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Accuphase does a sacd/dac combo as does CH precision, Wadax and a few others. 30k might not get you all of them new but may be used you could find some. I am not a huge fan of DCS since the Scarlatti almost made me tear out my ears. Things might have changed since.
 

parkcaka

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
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133
Istanbul
Thanks!
The Rossini player caught my eye, but then I noticed it does not play SACDs...
A transport+DAC combo from DCS, is indeed out of budget.
Do you happen to know if non-DCS SACD based transports work with DCS DACs (to play SACDs)?

Hi,

Rossini Transport plays SACD. The Player do not. So you can buy the Rossini Transport + Rossini DAC.
 

Barry2013

VIP/Donor
Oct 12, 2013
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Hi,

Rossini Transport plays SACD. The Player do not. So you can buy the Rossini Transport + Rossini DAC.

The Rossini duo is a bit above your budget, but is very good. There is a less expensive DCS Bartok dac which does not give a lot of ground to the Rossini so you may like to consider that.
 
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asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
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Luxman should be replacing their recently discontinued D-08u top model soon. The Japanese retain a still strong market for the SACD format.

From what I heard about the new Luxman players, you will want to wait to at least audition them :) They might just be exactly what you want, at a (much) lower price point.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
314
99
133
Hi,

Rossini Transport plays SACD. The Player do not. So you can buy the Rossini Transport + Rossini DAC.
Hi, see my previous reply:
Thanks!
The Rossini player caught my eye, but then I noticed it does not play SACDs...
A transport+DAC combo from DCS, is indeed out of budget.
Do you happen to know if non-DCS SACD based transports work with DCS DACs (to play SACDs)?
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
314
99
133
The Rossini duo is a bit above your budget, but is very good. There is a less expensive DCS Bartok dac which does not give a lot of ground to the Rossini so you may like to consider that.
Noted, good idea! I’ll try to get hold of a Bartok and see how it stands against the Métronome.
 

Barry2013

VIP/Donor
Oct 12, 2013
2,270
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Essex UK
Noted, good idea! I’ll try to get hold of a Bartok and see how it stands against the Métronome.

I am glad that was helpful.
HiFi+ in a recent issue carred a review by Chris Thomas of the Bartok dac which you may find helpful.
I have great respect for him as a reviewer and he has considerable experience of DCS gear.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
314
99
133
Iaxel, had you considered having some component upgrades made to your existing player? A few little tweaks like better output coupling caps / iec inlet / SR Blue fuse / internal wiring could give the extra resolution you seek for <$1k and maintain existing functionality.
Thanks for the tips, but those will void my warranty, and for update-able equipment like a DAC (e.g. firmware updates) , I do not want to “loose” my warranty.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
314
99
133
From what I heard about the new Luxman players, you will want to wait to at least audition them :) They might just be exactly what you want, at a (much) lower price point.
Interesting, I haven’t seen any news regarding these. Is there a market date for them (at least in Japan)?
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
314
99
133

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,832
2,669
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Hong Kong
Hey fellas,
I own a large library of CDs and SACDs, as well as many files (some ripped from CDs I own and some downloaded from various online stores/providers). I am also subscribed to Qobuz, and stream high-res from its service.
I currently own a Metronome AQWO CD/SACD/DAC integrated player (with the tube output stage option).
I like its sound, but I feel I’m missing some resolution and bottom end.
I set my budget to $30K, seeking a solution to all media types I own.
Remember that I also want to enjoy my collection of SACDs, so not any transport-DAC combo will support it (actually most of the combos do not).
Thanks!
IMHO it's not easy to better a Metronome AQWO in all aspects with a budget of usd30k.
Most Am & European brands/models able to do so are more expensive.
Pls audition the Playback Dream, T+A, Ayon and Japanese brands such as Accuphase, TAD and the coming Luxman new models.
 
Last edited:

asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
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almaaudio.com
Interesting, I haven’t seen any news regarding these. Is there a market date for them (at least in Japan)?

Japan this year, globally early next year.
 

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