The Esoteric is a universal player, which is really the way to go, BUT the EMMLABS DCCSA controler for 3X the price upsamples Cd to 5.6Mghz AND makes PCM into DSD...DSD smokes any CD PCM...hmmmm, does teh Esoteric up convert to DSD then analog out that? I didn't finish reading, Esoteric is 1/3rd teh price, but....Emmlabs is out there at $13,500 and it don't do DVD-A.....but does it do DSD better than teh Esoteric, 3X better? Probably not, why not tests on EMMLABS Meitner has a few bunch of DSD stuff, it's always teh same brands being tested, ...let's expand the horizons if ya wanna do teh readers a service. All it ever is is Cambridge, Esoteric, Shun mook, Sim chord, Musical Hall, it's a broken record...DSD is the best way to go, more DSD, less vinyl, and teach MF that the CD is not ANALOG....holy moly www.emmlabs.com http://www.emmlabs.com/html/audio/dcc2/dcc2.html
The Esoteric will upsample PCM to DSD. The Meitner upsamples PCM and DSD to beyond DSD specifications.
You may have already seen it, but there is a very favorable review of the CDSA in Positive Feedback Online: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue31/emm.htm
Dave Clark actually prefers the CDSA to the CDSD/DCC2 combo, and also compares it enthusiastically to his previous reference, the Lindemann 820 (albeit not in this review).
The Esoteric will play DVD-A, as you said, and also integrates better into a multi-channel system, with its 5.1 output.
But I'm thinking the controller DAC from EMM is more flexible if hook it up to a CD changer, rather than being stuck with a single player like the CDSA....or Esoteric is also just single drawer. changing discs is like flipping LP's just a little later. the old audiophile nonsense about changers not sounding as good as single drawer, is a marketing bunch of more nonsense...you know no one would ever know if it's a changer or single drawer if they didn't look.But Esoteric is much more mortally priced than an Emm lab of anything either it's CDSA or DCC DAC.....too bad Stereophile doesn't do the compairsons side by side rather than these individual reviews where all it is personal preferences. That review you mentioned at least compared them side by side. And why not do DVD-A in EMM. There are somethings only out on DVD-A and not SACD..Universal players make teh most sense....upsampling PCM to DSD does too, it's just a natural progression of improved stuff.....EMM upsamples what seems to be the coolest way, perplexing, based on just reading about it...which way to go....
Continuing to read more of teh article about teh Esoteric, MF shows that he really can't possibly hear things he claims without being told in advance of what he should think he hears!!! He ementions that teh manual for teh Esoteric doesn't TELL him what to expect when running it in Default or Direct...or Wide or Narrow for it's outputs....He just made my argument that he is a fine stroy teller. If anybody has such incredible hearing, what does one do? TRY IT...and tell me he probably heard no differences, or that the differences where large an very audible...he needs to be TOLD what to expect...which is why he hears demagnetized plastics, and such major improvements between pieces of wire. I usually hear no change when the SACD/DVD players here switch off their video ckts as the manauls try to convince me, all this ckts interfere with the auido signal, nonsnese, ain't heard any difference on any 3 of my SACD/DVD players, and don't use teh simple audiophile response, my system is not "revealing" enough. Those extra buttons sure look cool, when lit up with BLUE background, does NOTHING for the sound. Just like so much of this stuff, it's power of suggestion.....Best reveiw yet by Mf...he finally Fesses up, he really don't hear, he just reads teh suggested outcome, then says, of course...PG 139" You're given no idea what selectingeither option means in terms of sound......Hmm, if it really did anything DUH...ya'd hear it...just like a light switch, does it have to say ON or OFF to know what it does? I rest my case...now lets go swab some plastic, then demagnetize it, then de static it, and finally lift teh tone arm and place onto teh grooves....might as well stay there cus in 22 minutes ya gotta do it again!!!! AAAAHHH DIGITAL changers, SACD/DSD.....remeber when tehy invented tv remotes? No more turning teh dial on my Emerson/DuMont...how i long for teh days of DuMont video
The ideal scenario would involve the ability to rip SACD and DVD-A to a hard drive. Then, a streaming device like the Slim Devices Transporter could make an entire library of high-resolution files available at the touch of a button. We probably shouldn't hold our breath, though.
I'm not aware of a changer with a transport that would do the DCC justice, but you'd be guaranteed to have a very unique digital front end! Marantz makes a nice unit, but it only plays CDs.
Universal players are definitely the most practical. I've been curious myself as to why so few high-end companies have seen fit to include DVD-A compatibility. I was doing a little reading today to learn about the various formats because I can now play pretty much any 5" disc, and I want to know which sounds best (since some popular albums have been released in multiple hi-res formats).
I read a page that compared SACD to DVD-A. The latter is simply high-resolution PCM on a DVD disc. SACD, on the other hand, carries DSD, which is superior (at least that's what Sony and Philips say).
I think that because DVD-A is primarily intended for the home theater crowd, it has less credibility with audiophiles. SACD features many stereo-only titles, and the medium is squarely in the audio domain, with a user interface that does not assume a display.
I can't speak for audible differences with "audio only" and "display off" modes, but I have found them very useful and enjoyable. When I listen, I like to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Since I live in an apartment and the kitchen is right next to the living room, I flip the breaker for the fridge when I'm really serious. I also like to turn off the lights and sort of immerse myself in the music. At times like those, I like being able to turn the display off and leave myself with only a single LED on the player, and one on the amplifier. "Audio only" is cool if you really like the soundtrack to a movie and just want to hear the music when the credits are rolling.
SACD is the closest thing I've heard to vinyl (minus any surface noise). I'm enjoying myself a lot. It's a trade-off, though; My Oppo was affordable, but the software is expensive and there aren't many titles. A turntable is a much larger initial investment, but grants access to almost limitless choice of affordable music. Money's tighter this semester, so the turntable plan got scrapped for now, and I got the Oppo instead.
This format business is confusing. If Sony develops an audio version of Blu-Ray, I think my head is going to explode.
The EMMLABS is $10K the Esoteric is "only" $5K..both upsample to DSD..But Esoteric may benefit in the almost mortal price cus' it's a div of TEAC, which makes lotsa mass fi to keep things going, TASCAM is also a TEAC div, which is also terrific top quality well made robust stuff..all benefit maybe from teh mass fi owner...Don't Teac also do some other stuff non audio related, drives etc...mass production parents might be a good thing. Some absurdly priced nonsense like that DartZeel thang a few months ago, with it's defective wiring, eeessshhh...and some other bogus outreguos stuff, I think some of that overpriced junk is somebodys test to see how gulliable people are, come on $40K for a CD only player and here you have a SACD/Cd/DVD-A that upsamples obsolete PCM into teh 21st century into DSD..for 1/10the list price...Will it bee EMM or Esoteric, who knows for sure teh differences, and are they audible? Maybe EMMLABS needs a big owner to bring teh price down on his inovative stuff, but kinda pricey....Is 2X DSD really audible over just 1X DSD when converting teh PCM, anyone in teh mag done a side by side test, 2X DSD versus 1X.....Lets see a test side by side shootout on EMMLABS 2X and an Esoteric...But teh Esoteric gets teh nod for also doing DVD-A...But EMM has 2X DSD....no DVD-A....tossing and turing
REally is audio Blu-Ray is coming eeessshhhh. And yes DVD-A is weird when playing it loads sloooow, and really is looking for a display to set stuff up, but then some SACD/DVD players do too, but my Philips 963 defaults to teh correct SACD without a display needed, I'm gonna have to check one day hook up the monitor, DVD-A is different, sometimes gotta hit play after it loads while it does some menu stuff, SACD usually goes right to teh music.....What about SACD Super+ It'll have standard 5.6Mghz on teh disc, they will record in 2X DSD!!! Why not, is is audible, over current DSD rate..DSD is teh best thing to improve sound since.....the original CD...will we wait another 20 years, or this stuff seems to change faster and faster..DSD+ coming soon