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

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#1
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
1,680
68
295
Austin
#2
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
283
121
113
#3
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
924
534
328
#4
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.
 
May 30, 2010
16,973
1,743
720
Portugal
#5
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
178
29
93
#6
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
178
29
93
#7
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
1,593
1,356
520
#8
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
113
82
93
Istanbul
#9
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.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,996
217
318
Essex UK
#10
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.
 
Likes: iaxel

asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
3,637
620
485
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#11
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
178
29
93
#13
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
178
29
93
#14
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.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,996
217
318
Essex UK
#15
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
178
29
93
#16
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
178
29
93
#17
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
178
29
93
#18

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,128
1,392
535
Hong Kong
#19
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
3,637
620
485
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#20
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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