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bierfeldt
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Oppo UDP 203 vs Cambridge CXUHD

Two interesting things happened this weekend that make me think it might be wise to get a new Disc Player.

1. My Marantz CC4003 which is an old 5 disc carousel is starting to act a little weird. I hit play and it didn't play and when I open the drawer it is a little wonky.
2. The cable/internet went out an my backup Disc Player is my xBox One which evidently won't even play a Disc without being connected to the web which is angering.

Both are connected to my PS Audio Directstream DAC via a Digital Coax or Toslink so I am only looking for a transport only.

I am steadily becoming less and less dependent on physical media so I am not looking at spending a huge amount of money. Probably thinking:

- Oppo UDP 203 - good transport with excellent video processing $559
- Cambridge CXUHD - better looking than the Oppo $699

In both cases I would connect my apple TV to the video in as I am a cord cutter and am running DirectTV NOW off of that device. Other than aesthetics, I can't see any reason to opt for the Cambridge.

Anyone have a perspective on the two and which one is better. Both are obviously well rated and the DAC is completely irrelevant.

caphill
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Cambridge CXUHD vs Oppo 203

Bierfeldt,
If I were you I would go with the Cambridge CXUHD as it is a disc digital transport only and has no DAC so won't interfere or inject noise to its digital audio and video circuitry. Whereas the Oppo 203 has DAC and will interfere with its digital audio and video circuitry and the Oppo 203 shares the power supply with its analog audio circuitry, and the Oppo 205 has two different power supplies, a toroidal transformer linear analog power supply to feed its analog audio circuitry and switching power supply that feeds its digital audio & video circuitry.

Both the Cambridge and the Oppo are based on Mediatek platform and share the same video chipsets and processing circuitry. But since the Cambridge CXUHD does not have DAC and is strictly a digital disc transport machine I would think that the CXUHD will have better video and audio qualities over hdmi or when used as a digital disc transport. The Cambridge CXUHD is basically the Oppo 203 minus DAC and analog audio circuitry. I believed the power supply on the CXUHD might better than the one on the Oppo 203.
So, if you only need a disc transport for CD, bluray, 4K bluray, DVD playbacks I would definitely go with the Cambridge CXUHD.

See the review of the Cambridge CXUHD on "WhatHifi" and the CXUHD was reviewed in favor of the the Oppo 203 when used as a disc transport both audio and video performances over hdmi and other digital audio outputs (spdif and optical digital/Toslink). The reviewer compared the CXUHD against the Oppo 203 and the reviewer said the Oppo has more punchier colors but the CXUHD has more natural organic colors and picture quality than the Oppo 203. The audio quality when used as a digital disc transport the CXUHD was better than the Oppo 203.

Another recommendation will be the new Sony ES 4k UHD bluray player retailing for around $600 or $700. I think the model number is X1000ES or something like that. This is a Sony ES Signature series 4K UHD bluray player, not a regular Sony. I've heard from various different people that the Sony ES 4K UHD player is better than the Oppo 203 in terms of audio and video performances over hdmi or when used as a disc transport.

I never had my hands on both the Cambridge CXUHD nor the Sony ES 4K players. I am currently using the Oppo 205 used strictly for bluray & 4K UHD bluray disc playbacks over hdmi to my Classe SSP 800 pre pro in my dedicated home theater room. I bought the Oppo 205 right when it first came out about a year ago. The Cambridge CXUHD and the Sony ES came out more recently. I would have bought the Cambridge CXUHD or the new Sony ES X1000ES 4k UHD bluray player as both the Sony ES and the CXUHD were said to have better audio and video performances over hdmi than the Oppo. One of these days I might have to borrow the new Sony ES 4k UHD bluray player or the Cambridge CXUHD from my dealer and bring it home and compare them up against my Oppo 205 to see how the audio and video performances would compare to that of my Oppo 205 over hdmi. If the Sony ES or the Cambridge CXUHD are better then I would sell the Oppo 205 and get either the new Sony ES or the Cambridge CXUHD. Will see.

Again Bierfeldt, go with the Cambridge CXUHD. However, the Oppo has an outstanding customer service support and that would be the only advantage the Oppo has over the Cambridge or the Sony ES. The Oppo has the best customer service support group than any other products I've known. Their customer service support group is top notch.

bierfeldt
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Perfect

that is exactly what I needed. I will check out the WhatHiFi review but the Cambridge seems like the solution. Will also look into the Sony as the ES line has always been very good.

caphill
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Take home demos

Or you should take home the Oppo 203, the Cambridge CXUHD, and the Sony ES 4k UHD players and compare all three players and decide from there.
By all means, they are all good quality players and have really good audio and video processing capabilities. All three players can be used as pretty good disc transport and I'm sure these three players will make better disc transport than your old Marantz 5 disc carousel transport. I think it's time to retire your old Marantz 5 disc carousel player.
And either the Oppo 203, the Cambridge CXUHD or the Sony ES 4k UHD players can be good addition in your system as a good video player as well as a decent cd transport that you can connect to your PS Audio DirectStream DAC. These players have very good video processing capability for bluray, 4K UHD bluray and DVD video disc playbacks.

Let us know which one you end up with.

bierfeldt
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Will do

On a side note, compared to my old Marantz NA-11s1 which got an A+ rating from Stereophile, the PS Audio DSD is amazing. The depth of the soundstage and the systems ability to deliver a completely immersive experience is greatly enhanced and it was already pretty good with the Marantz. I was listening to Sting and during the song "Be Still My Beating Heart" I literally was startled because it sounded like speech was coming from behind me.

Bluntly, this is having a bigger, more favorable impact on my soundstage than the Raidho's had and is doing what I thought the Raidho's were going to do. At this point it sounds so good I am not sure I need or want to upgrade speakers.

On a side note, the belt on my turntable seems to be wearing out so I ordered a new one. The RP3 with Exact2 the Vincent phono stage was delivering a soundstage similar to that of the Marantz. Where I had recording on Vinyl and CD, the soundstage was similar and accuracy for bass was similar. I am waiting for the new, premium belt to come and will see. I am toying with the idea of stepping up to a better cartridge like the Ania.

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Bierfeldt

Yes, the PS Audio Direct Stream DAC is quite spectacular and no doubt it is better than your Marantz NA-11S1. My buddy, who is a hifi reviewer, owns one of those in his setup.
You're doing it right by upgrading your front end digital source component first and then later on down the road you can upgrade your amps, speakers, cables, AC power line product, etc.
Your overall system fidelity or performances will only get as good as the source materials and front end source components of low level signal components to start.
I'm confident that if you upgrade your downstream components your overall system performance will only get better and further improved assuming they all have good sonic synergy together and perfect match with each other. I would recommend that you should upgrade your analog rigs as well. You can move up the Rega line of turntable and upgrade the tonearm, cartridge, phonostage pre, and psu.
Don't forget acoustical treatments, tweaks, accessories and stuff, etc and most importantly speaker placements.

I would suggest that you place your DAC and transport on a Still Point rack. It will make a difference sonically if you have a highly resolving system or setup. I have my DCS Vivaldi stacks (DCS Vivaldi master clock digital transport unit, Vivaldi upsampler unit, Vivaldi DAC unit, Vivaldi CD/SACD transport unit) placed on one of those Still Point racks. I also placed my new Kronos Pro turntable on a dedicated Kronos stand designed specifically for the Kronos Pro turntable.
I have recently upgraded my analog rigs. I purchased a Kronos Pro turntable, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme mc cartridge, 12" Black Beauty tonearm, dual channel pure class A linear DC psu, and the Audio Research Reference 10 phonostage preamp with separate power supply unit for the phonostage. I moved my Linn LP12 Klimax turntable rigs to my master bedroom setup that consists of the Devialet Pro 1000 paired with Wilson Audio Duette series ll stand-mount speakers. I just upgraded the Linn Urika phonostage to the new Urika ll.

In my main 2ch setup listening room I traded in my D'Agostino Momentum linestage preamp for the Audio Research Reference 10 linestage preamp with separate power supply unit in a separate chassis. My overall system sound simply got better with the ARC Ref 10 linestage preamp in the chain in comparison to when I was still using the D'Agostino Momentum linestage preamp in my setup. I'm still using the D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps (2 pairs) and the Wilson Alexx speakers in this same setup in my main listening room.
They are great amps and great speakers but I'm in a mode of exploring new different speakers so I might sell my Wilson Alexx and upgrade to a pair of Magico M6 but we do not have a dealer for Magico around here, so the chances that Magico dealers in the country will have the M6 are very slim to none. The M6 is pretty new and retail for $176k per pair, more than my Wilson Alexx. It's very unlikely that Magico dealers would have them on display for demo. That being said, I will have to make a trip down to a Magico facility hq in order to have a listen to the M6 speakers. I will probably have to bring in my associated gears and cables with me to the Magico hq facility and hook them up to the M6 speakers there. Will see.

I'm also in a mode of exploring different monoblock amps and possibly considering selling my D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps in the future and I am considering so many options as for the replacements for my amps. Many options come to mind eg Boulder monoblocks, Tidal monoblock amps, Soulution, MBL, Constellation Audio, Vitus Audio monoblocks, Burmester monoblocks, DartZeel monoblocks, Audionet Max monoblocks, higher end Pass Labs, Gamut monoblocks, VTL, VAC, BAT, Audio Research Reference 750 SE vacuum tube monoblock amps, Lamm monoblocks, Ypsilon, Ayon, etc etc and the list goes on and on and on. It will be difficult to demo all the ones I want to demo as we don't have dealers for all of them around here. Don't get me wrong, I love my D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps, they are phenomenal and one of the best and most musical and refined amplifiers I've ever heard to date. I just want to explore different amps that are at least on the same level as my current amps or better but will have to be a perfect match with the speakers and the rest of my associated gears. Who knows? I might keep and stick with my current amps. Everything is still up in the air. The speakers upgrade will be next in line, and the amps will wait till possibly next year or so. I'm just going to take my time.

bierfeldt
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I will say

Your system is amazing and I am always intrigued by your journey and the decisions you make. Always am curious what your POV on the equipment was.

I am waiting on a new belt which I ordered earlier in the week and am going to do some serious AB listening between Digital and Analog. I expect differences and am going to try and understand what I like and don't like about my analog set. Then I will make decisions about what my best options are. Everything is in scope and we shall see what I end up with.

In regard to preamp, amp and speakers I am really happy and am thinking that any upgrades are going to be expensive.

Preamp - Ayre K-5xeMP is an amazing preamp. Ayre is phenomenal in that it completely gets out of the way of the other equipment. It has only four inputs, but I really don't need more since all digital stuff gets connected to the PS Audio. I just need to attach the phono stage and if I ever get a bigger piece of furniture, I might attach my Carver Tuner and Tape Deck but even then that is pretty pointless since I haven't listened to either in years.

Power Amp - Rogue Hydra with Cifte NOS Tubes that were cryo treated. With stock tubes, the Rogue is very good, not amazing. With the Cifte's it is amazing. I love this amp. In my sub $10K price range I am going to get clearly different sound profiles form the Ayre V-5xe, PS Audio BHK 250, Rogue M-180 Mono Blocks or the Manley Snapper Mono Blocks. They will all be different but I am not sure how much better they will be.

For speakers, I have an added issue in that they are visually prominent and my wife is highly opinionated on how they look. She has recently vetoed B&W 800 series because of the external tweeter and aesthetically she really likes Revels look. I may just be stuck with Revel or maybe Focals BE line. We shall see and that is going to be a long ways away.

Racks are hard for me to get because of aesthetics. I have to run it by the wife and as I mentioned, she is very opinionated.

caphill
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Equipments

In regards to your speaker upgrade, the Focal Sopra are really good bot sonically and visually. Sonus Faber have very classy and elegant looks if you like their sound profile.

When it comes to linestage preamp, regardless SS or tubes, my favorite so far is the Audio Research Reference 10 linestage. This is the one I have in my 2ch setup.
For phonostage preamp my all time favorite is also the Audio Research Reference 10 phonostage. This is the one I'm using right now for my new turntable.

When it comes to SS power amps I have several favorites : my D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblocks, Classe Omega monoblock amps that have been discontinued about 9 yrs ago, Classe Delta CAM-600 monoblocks, Boulder new 2000 & 3000, Audionet Max, Tidal monoblocks, MBL, Gamut, Soulution, Constellation Audio among others.
The Classe Omega monoblocks and the Delta CAM-600 monoblocks were highly praised and reviewed here in Stereophile. JA of Stereophile reviewed the Delta CAM-600 monoblocks and couldn't be more impressed with its performance, musicality, etc. BD of Stereophile did review the Classe Omega monoblock amps back in 2003 and made a statement that they were the best sounding and most musical amps he's ever reviewed in comparison to other ultra high end amplifiers. The Omega monoblocks were uber expensive and is class A design and were designed by Dave Reich who is now with Theta Digital. On the other hand, the Classe Delta CAM-600 is class AB design and while not cheap at $14k but they are quite a bit less expensive than the original retail price of the Omega monoblock amps. The Classe Omega monoblock amps carried a price tag of $30k+ per pair when in production. The Omega and the Delta amps are of completely different designs. The Omega series remained Classe's flagship series and best sounding gears to date despite of having been discontinued a while back.

Speaking of Classe Omega monoblock amps, my audiophile buddy brought his Classe Omega monoblock amps to my place the other day and we had a shootout between my D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblocks and his Classe Omega monoblock amps. Both amps were paired with my Wilson Alexx speakers. The Classe Omega are spectacular and performed on similar level as my D'Agostino amps. Both amps were extremely quiet and have the lowest noise floor and highly resolving, musical and very refined and have the sweetest high frequency spectrum. Both amps are class A designs but from different generations. For sure the Classe Omega amps are quite a bit better than Classe Delta series amps eg CAM-600 monoblock amps which are already extraordinary esp considering it's asking price.
At this point, I couldn't decide which amp is better as both are phenomenal. Seriously, I could go with either of them. But I felt like my D'Agostino amps sounded better on my Wilson Alexx speakers.
I do own a pair of Classe Delta CAM-600 monoblock amps in my dedicated home theater room driving my front main speakers (B&W 800 D3).

Keep us posted on how your analog rigs sound when you get a new belt for your TT. Also, let us know which universal bluray disc player you end up with.

bierfeldt
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My thinking

My wife has already objected to the Disc player. She raises a good point. I am in the process of converting all of my physical media to lossless digital files and will have 2-3 sets of backups. I haven't bought a movie on Disc in years and just about everything can be purchase electronically and streamed.

Her point is interesting and one issue I face is that with a CD player, I lack room for a new phonostage if it is a full size component. The Vincent is sharing a shelf with my xBox. That money might be better spent setting up a NAS and getting a lifetime license for Roon.

Which causes me to turn my attention to my vinyl rig. I am going to do my listening tests but my hunch is the Vincent Pho-8 is clearly the week link in my system. I am leaning toward the Rogue Ares Magnum. I like the way it looks and I like the idea of being able to roll tubes. Thoughts on necessity of balanced circuitry for a phono stage? The Rogue and the Manley aren't balanced yet they are regularly some of the most highly regarded units in the price range.

caphill
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Thoughts

In regards to your phonostage, a balanced circuitry is not a must in phonostage due to its nature of low level single-ended signal coming out of your TT. Eventhough the rest of your equipments (linestage preamp, power amp, or integrated amp) are fully balanced of true differential. The ones that implement balanced circuitry are usually at much higher price points, but not always. Unless if you can find a used ones in used markets eg Audiogon, eBay, etc.
Rogue Audio makes good phonostage for the money. Rega also makes awesome phonostage for the money and are quite compact in size. Check out the Rega phonostage preamps. I believed they come in 4 models and are quite compact in sizes.
I think your Vincent Pho-8 is your weak link in your setup. Which Rega is your TT again? What tonearm and cartridge are you currently using?

Your Ayre linestage preamp is good and Ayre makes very good gears. And your Rogue hybrid power amp is good for your Revel speakers until you upgrade your speakers.
Rogue Audio makes awesome tube and SS gears for the money.

You mentioned above that your phonostage is sharing a shelf with your xBox. Uuhhhh......not a good idea. I would put the xBox on a different place and prioritize on the phonostage pre.

Your wife sorta made her point right that today most people turn into digital files instead of using CD. I think that's what your are currently doing too? Unless if you have great collections of SACD. But for SACD playbacks, you will have to use its analog audio output of your SACD player and output it in native DSD in order to get the best sonic fidelity out of your SACD.
I wouldn't use digital out and convert its DSD to PCM as it will degrade its signal integrity. But today many standalone DACs or streamers that support DSD downloads. I'm sure your PS Audio Direct Stream DAC supports DSD. So you don't really need actual SACD discs anymore unless you have great SACD collections already.

However, when it comes to movies I am still relying on bluray and 4K UHD bluray discs as they still reproduce the best lossless surround sound formats and video qualities in comparison to digital downloads or streamings from say Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vudu, etc. I collect bluray discs at home and now 4K UHD bluray discs. Especially if you have high end home theater system eg high end HT processor (pre pro), amps, speakers systems, etc and really good tv display or movie projector.

bierfeldt
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Limited room

I have limited space. There is nothing I can do regarding xBox and phono stage on same shelf. They are side by side, not stacked which is the best I can do.

I am considering getting rid of the disc player altogether and will put the phono stage on that shelf. Don’t disagree that players will sound better but I am space constrained. Unfortunately I am having another issue with the turntable. New belt didn’t solve it so I am going to clean and re-oil the bering and sub platter. Waiting on the oil.

Once I get the turntable working flawlessly I will do a re-assessment of my vinyl rig.

caphill
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I see

I see. As long as they aren't stacked you will be fine.

If I were you, I wouldn't use a cd player anymore. You can just stream or download connected to your PS Audio Direct Stream DAC. But when it comes to movies I am still using 4k bluray player for bluray & 4k bluray disc playbacks.

Sorry to hear about your TT. might just need re-oil or something else might have been come into play.

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Hey Caphill

I am hoping that it is just oil, but if not I guess I would have to get a new bearing and sub platter.

I was just looking at an item that is on clearance. What are your thoughts on the PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter. The review of it in TAS was that it was competitive with any phono stage in the $1500-$2000 range meaning it is as good as the Simaudio 310 and in line with the Rogue Ares. At $999, feels like a strong value to me given that it is fully balanced and will handle even extremely low output MC cartridges.

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Bierfeldt

The PS Audio NuWave phono converter sure looks very good both on paper and received good review in TAS. I've never personally heard it but the reviews were outstanding. They are having close out deal now for $999 down from its original retail price of $1900. You should take advantage of it. Has balanced output and I think this might be your best bet.
But you should give a listen to it first in your own setup using your own TT. But I would also give a listen to few other ones eg Rogue and Rega. Rega makes 4 different models and I've heard from my buddy that they are good. My buddy owns a small hifi shop and happens to be a dealer for Rega, Naim, Creek among others.
But yes, the NuWave phono converter indeed received great reviews and the specs looked very convincing. Has robust clean power supply.

Let us know what you think after you have a listen to it and few other ones too. Hopefully you will be able to figure out what the problem is with your TT. Hopefully it isn't that serious.
If you really gave to get a new TT, I would suggest that you consider looking for a used one as well as new. There are countless options out there at different price points.

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This is a crazy idea

I am going to do some testing but I am almost assuredly going to get the NuWave Phono Converter and am thinking that I will do some A/B testing to see how it sounds via analog and digital outputs. Given that it should be a natural match for the DirectStream DAC and the DSD has a pretty good preamp built in, could render my Ayre unnecessary.

If that was the case, it is an interesting idea to trade in the Ayre and Rogue toward a PS Audio BHK 250. I really like that amp and it is one of the very few that is in my price range and will be a noticeable upgrade over the Rogue, and again, natural synergies between the units and aesthetically, they will look good together which will make my wife happy.

The other options would be:

sell the Rega and Ayre and put the cash toward a better turntable. Might be able to pull off a VPI or RP8 with a Hana Shibata. Assuming I iron out issues with the RP3, my feeling is that this may not be the best use of my money. Simply upgrading to the Hana cartridge might be my best option.

Sell the Revel's and Ayre and put the cash toward the new Revel Performa3 BE line or the Monitor Audio Studio's that are coming out soon. This interests me very much since I am generally happy with the Rogue.

Thoughts

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Upgrades

IMO you should upgrade your TT, cartridge, tonearm, other accompanying accessories and a phonostage first before upgrading your amp. You already have very good digital front end source component (PS Audio DirectStream DAC) and if analog rigs is important for you, then you should upgrade your TT and a phonostage first.
The Rega RP8 or RP10 if you can swing it will be pretty big step up sonically from your RP3. Hana Shibata is pretty decent. Then you can get a good phonostage something like the PS Audio NuWave phonostage converter or something else that will sound good with your analog rigs and the rest of your system.
VPI also makes good quality TT. Or if you can find a used or a floor model or a demo model of the Linn LP12 from any dealer there in NY it would be even better. And you can have a dealer to set it up for you for first initial setup, tuning and calibration, etc.

Your current power amp (Rogue Audio Hydra) is good enough for your Revel speakers. You can upgrade the amp and speakers later after selling your Rogue Hydra amp and your Revel speakers. PS Audio BHK 250 will be a great choice. I've heard it briefly last year in an unfamiliar setup though. I liked what I heard.
My friend, who is a hifi reviewer, had a shootout last year between the PS Audio BHK 250 and the Classe Delta CA-2300 stereo power amp (class AB amp) and he said the Classe Delta CA-2300 was better. He made the comparisons on the Rockport Atria speakers. Both the PS Audio BHK 250 and the Classe CA-2300 are similarly priced and spec'ed and have similar power output ratings. But the Classe CA-2300 was discontinued last year and it's been out for a while and it can be had at discounted price nowaday if you can find one. Some Classe dealers might still have one brand new or a demo model and can be had at discounted price.
But my friend said the Classe CA-2300 was more resolved, better PRATS (Pace Rhytm And Timing Speed) and have lower noise floor quieter thus more inky silent blacker background and better dynamics. That's what he said.
The Classe class AB or A design amplifiers are way better than the Classe class D amps eg CA-D200 or the Sigma series amps. They are differnet leagues actually. But the PS Audio BHK 250 was awesome too he said. Both amps received great positive reviews. I personally have never made comparisons between these two amps in the same setup and system so I can't comment. But I think both amps are awesome and you can never go wrong with either one of them. It all comed down to sonic synergy with your speakers and the rest of your setup.

However, I do own a pair of Classe Delta CAM-600 monoblock amps, CAM-300 monoblock (single) and CA-5300 five-channel amp in my dedicated home theater room with all B&W 800 D3 speaker systems and they all sounded fantastic together for both movies and music. If your speakers were B&W 800 series then the Classe would be your best option.

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Just ordered

I just ordered the NuWave from PSAudio. Should be here in about a week. My idea of going without a preamp and just using the preamp stage of the DSD isn’t going to work. The Ayre unit sounds significantly better.

I thought things were right with the RP3 and it slowed again. Turns out my movers must have flipped it over. The bearing is missing. That is now ordered and things should be back to normal.

I will get the NuWave in for a stretch and see what I like and dislike about it. Good news is that it still comes with the 30 day return policy. I will live with it and current setup and decide on changes after that.

caphill
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Analog rigs

Congrats on your new purchase. Hope you enjoy your new NuWave phonostage converter. It received great reviews. Hope it will work out for you. Let us know how it is once you insert it in your analog rigs and after it's fully broken in. It's good that they give you 30 day return policy. But I still think you will need to upgrade your TT eventually in order to get step up in overall sonic quality of your analog rigs. You can move up the Rega line perhaps the RP8 or RP10 will even be better. And upgrade your tonearm and cartridge too.

If you think that by having your Ayre preamp in a chain gives you better overall sound than using a built-in volume control in your PS Audio DSD, then yes you should definitely keep the Ayre. Ayre makes very good quality products. I wouldn't be surprised. Then later on down the road you can upgrade the speakers and the amp if you wish.

I'm currently in California demoing the Magico M6 speakers at the Magico's own facility here. They have outstanding acoustic listening room here. I took a tour of the entire factory.
And I brought my own gears with me to pair with the Magico M6 speakers. I took a road trip from Seattle. I brought my own D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps (2 pairs) and my Audio Research Reference 10 linestage preamp. I wanted to make sure that they all have great sonic synergy and will sound great with the Magico M6. I did thorough evaluations of how they sounded together with my own amps and preamp since this will be a big major purchase as the Magico M6 retail for $176k/pair, more than my Wilson Alexx speakers which retail for $115k/pair. I was gonna bring my own DCS Vivaldi four separate stacks digital front end components with me but decided not to. Too many components and much hassle. They also have good source at the Magico facility that you can demo with their speakers. They normally have CH Precision amps/preamp there to pair with their speakers in their own demo listening rooms. We bi-amped the M6 speakers with my D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock amps (2 pairs) since I have 2 pairs of the monoblock amps. I also brought my own speaker cables, XLR balanced analog interconnects and power cables to see how they sounded with these Magico M6 speakers.
So needless to say, the Magico M6 are spectacular and IMO better in almost all areas than my Wilson Alexx and the Magico sounded really good with my own amps and preamp, especially when bi-amped. I will make a purchase of the M6 speakers from the nearest dealer here in California and will be selling my Wilson Alexx speakers when I get back to Seattle.
I will be visiting a Magico dealer tomorrow to make a purchase and will try to negotiate about possibly doing trade-in with my Wilson Alexx. Will see. Or else I will have to sell my Wilson Alexx on my own when I get back to Seattle. Unfortunately there's no Magico dealer in greater Seattle area or in the entire Pacific NW.

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Wow

That is awesome. Congratulations on the choice and that is great that you had such a good experience. Magico does make an amazing speaker, even at the low end. I see used pairs of S1s in the $5K range out on Audiogon and it is really tempting. Amazing soundstage. I can only imagine how good the M6s sound. Good luck moving the Wilson's. I hope for your sake they give you good value on trade.

Will keep you posted on the NuWave and I agree that eventually I will need to upgrade my table but I don't have the $3K - $5K to do it at the moment. Plus it looks like Rega is slowly redoing the whole line so if I am patient I might be able to get the RP8 or 10 on clearance at a sharp price.

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Magico

Bierfeldt,
You should grab that Magico S1 on Audiogon for $5ish. All Magico lines are good. Then later on you can upgrade your amp. The PS Audio BHK 250 would be a great choice or you can look for a used Classe Delta CA-2300 stereo power amp (class AB amp). This amp was discontinued last year and nowaday can be had at discounted price. Its original retail price was $7k and you might be able to find a used one for around $4k perhaps. Some Classe dealers will probably still have one in v stock and should be able to sell it to you at discounts. It is an amazing amp. It will sound really good on that Magico S1. Both the PS Audio BHK 250 and the Classe CA-2300 are chunky and heavy. The PS Audio BHK 250 is awesome too. You can never go wrong with either one of them.

bierfeldt
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Don't have the cash

My issue is that I don't have the cash right now. And after showing them to the wife, she is not a fan of the Magico S1s. She really likes the look of stand mounts. She likes the Revel Performa3 M126 BE in silver/grey and the new Monitor Audio Studio's in that are coming out in silver/grey and the Devore Gibbon 3s. Those are alle well below $5K and with a solid WAF, I can get one of them when the time is right.

The only way I could pull off another upgrade now would be to sell the Ayre and Rogue to get the BHK 250 and hope that there are synergies between the DSD and the BHK 250 that would overwhelm the quality of the Ayre preamp. That is not impossible. The Rogue Hydra is finicky in what preamp it gets paired with. I tried several and was consistently underwhelmed. The only two preamps I liked it with were the Ayre and the Rogue RP5 (the RP7 wasn't available at the time). I got the Ayre for $1000 less and it is balanced where the RP5 is not.

I might take a step forward or I feel more likely than not will take a step sideways with a lot of effort. I will stand pat until I get to a point that I can add the new amp without selling the Ayre.

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How is your new PS Audio phonostage?

Bierfeldt,
How is your new PS Audio phonostage?

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It is fabulous

The PS Audio is fabulous. I feel like detail is enhanced with the same exceptional noise filter that the Vincent had. It is really nice though I have to say I was expecting a bigger leap forward. I think that is less of how good the PS Audio is an more how amazing the Vincent is, particularly with MM cartridges. When I moved from the Rega in my Brio R to the Vincent it was an enormous step forward. This was smaller. When I get around to stepping up to the Hana cartridge I think that is when this will really shine.

The Rega is back working perfectly. A $.55 bearing was all I needed.

The line conditioner and voltage regulator is in place. Helps a little but I am noticing my power is pretty stable.

Roon is now implemented and I have a PC on my network running Roon server. I totally get why everyone raves about Roon. So fast and so easy to use. Additionally it is device neutral and works with the PS Audio, my Marantz Network receiver and my Sonos.

My next move is a cartridge. Then probably a solid year, maybe a little longer and I will look at new speakers. I listened to the Kantas and the Sopras. The Sopras sound a little better but the wife likes the look of the Kantas better and they do sound amazing.

I heard them driven by the McIntosh MC275. Both the Sopras and the Kantas and that amp pair amazingly well. I might be inclined to try a Rogue first like the Stereo 100 but If it doesn’t work, the McIntosh will be the amp.

Incidentally, I also heard the McIntosh MT-5 turntable. The wife loves the look and it wowed me. That Sumiko Bluepoint is a wonderful cartridge and it is definitely in the list of tables i will consider. If I could get it without the cartridge it would be a no brainer.

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Great

It's great to hear that your finally got your turntable to work again. I's interesting to hear that the sonic inprovements were rather subtle going from the Vincent to your new PS Audio phonostage. I think it was probably due to the way it's set up or probably your turntable, cartridge and tonearm. You will need to upgrade your turntable, cartridge and tonearm. I'm sure when that's taken care of, you should have been able to discern even greater between the Vincent and your new PS Audio phonostage. The Hana cartridge will be a step up from what you have now.

What kind of power conditioner and voltage regulator do you currently use? One negative aspect about certain designs of voltage regulator products, they could surpress the dynamic of your amplifiers, especially when you have high current amplifiers. Just one thing to watch out for.
As far as power line conditioner or power distributor products I would strongly recommend either the Audioquest Niagara 1000 ($1k not included power cord) or the Shunyata Research Venom PS8 with a Venom Defender and Venom HC power cable for the total of $1300. Highly recommended! These are just the entry levels of Audioquest and Shunyata Research.

Yes, the Focal Sopra lines are good. I heard them paired with the Audio Research Foundation separates. The Foundation series is an entry level offerings from Audio Research. I've also heard them paired with the Naim Unity Nova as well as with Classe Delta series separates.
If you want to use tube amp for the Focal I would highly encourage getting the Audio Research Foundation or any Audio Research gears. In general Audio Research is way better than McIntosh but are quite a bit more expensive than McIntosh though. Just my 2cents.

In regards to the McIntosh MT-5 turntable, I wouldn't get that. I would highly recommend a used Linn LP12 which can be had maybe about the same price as the McIntosh MT-5. And you can get the Linn Kandid mc cartridge for the LP12 with the Ekos SE titanium tonearm.

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Panamax

I got a Panamax M5400-PM. It was inexpensive. To me is sounds very good. The digital system sounds the same and is truly spectacular. The Analog system sounds very good. The biggest issue at this time is the fact that my Revels are too small for my room.

I need the Panamax as power in my area is surprisingly unstable but I simply don't have the cash to get anything nicer. Patience is a virtue and at some point I will get better equipment but it will take a while.

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AC Line

Yes, patience is a virtue, I couldn't agree more.
Just curious if your wall outlet is grounded. I would highly recommend to hire electrician to get a dedicated grounded line for only that particular outlet. It will help tremendously for your hifi setup if you could get a dedicated grounded line for just that wall outlet. Once you have a dedicated line it would then makes sense to get a really good quality noise dissipation power products. One thing for sure you will notice drastic improvement in your system sound benefited from a very good quality power product that runs on a dedicated grounded line would be much lower noise floor thus the music emerges from inkier black backgrounds. You will notice that immediately. Dynamics, transient attacks, clarity, imaging, image depth, soundstaging, PRAT will improve as well. Btw, Panamax is quite good imo and is more suitable for AV or home theater setup.

Certain gears however will not benefit or will not be compatible with most power line conditioners and can only be plugged into good quality power distributors and power isolator products. Naim Audio is one such product. Recently I had a chance to meet with and had a lengthy conversation with Stephen who is a chief main designer and engineer at Naim at a recent high end audio show at my local dealer dealer at Definitive Audio here in Seattle. It was a Music Matters event. Stereophile had a cover article on that and one of Stereophile review was invited at the event. Naim had their Naim Statement gears (linestage preamp + monoblock power amps) in one if the reference room.....and all I can say was wow! I've never heard any setup or system sounded that good or never heard anything like that. The Naim Statement is cost-no-object design gears and are literally the best I've heard in any system. But they come at the cost though. The price is out of reach at $270k. $90k for a linestage preamp and $180k for the monoblock power amps.

I've listened to numbers of cost-no-object design gears before including my own but the Naim Statement are simply superior to anything I've experienced in my life. The Naim Statement monoblock amps were paired with the Wilson Audio Alexx speakers with DCS Vivaldi full stacks served as digital front end components.
All I can say about these Naim Statement are difficult to describe in words. You can read the article about them here on Stereophile.

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No electrical work is going to happen

I am ina rental. Probably here’s for 3-4 years so I will be making no electrical modifications. Once I buy a new house and have a den/office to myself, I will go in for that sort of thing but need til then I am stuck with what I have.

Panamax is more traditionally home theater but for $320, I was content to pick this up for my system, wonderful value and given recent power instability with foul weather here in the northeast I am happy to have it.

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Disc Transport

Bierfeldt, just curious, did you end up getting a disc transport either the Oppo 203 or the Cambridge or something else?

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I have three “projects” underway

I have three projects underway that are costing me some money and I have decided to use my xBox for the time being. Considering that I have yet to play a CD or movie since I sold my CD player, this seems wise.

I took the time to properly convert my library and bought Roon for Audio. I will get one eventually but it just doesn’t seem like a good spend at this point.

One of those projects is the “Amp Camp” kit from Pass Labs. Fun project and a good sounding little amp.

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Wise decision

Wise decision.
If you've ripped pretty much your entire cd collections or aren't using a physical disc (CD, SACD) then you wouldn't need a disc transport or player unless if you would need to play bluray or 4k UHD bluray movie discs, then something like the Oppo 203 or the Cambridge would be good to have. But Oppo does not make universal bluray/4K UHD bluray players anymore. They are done but this summer Oppo will make the last batch for the 205 production run. Not sure when and not sure if they will included the 203 but you will have to purchase it directly from Oppo Digital. But I'm sure you can still find one in after market or used market eg Audiogon, eBay, Audiomart, etc.

Speaking of Oppo, say if you still have large SACD of CD discs collections, especially SACD media discs, and whenever your budget opens up some more I would highly recommend a fully modded Modwright Oppo 205. High recommended especially considering the price. The cost of Modwright modification for Oppo 205 starts at around $2500 for basic mod and goes to around $3800 or close to $4k for full modifications. This will take the performance of the Oppo 205 to a reference quality player or DAC.
Modwright only modifies the stereo analog audio stage and added an external tube rectifier PSU to feed power for its stereo analog audio stage only.
The Modwright tube mod includes a total redesign and replacement of op-amp based stock analog stage with a fully balanced pure class A tube/transformer coupled analog stage (6922 driver tubes), external PS 9.0 v 10 with tube rectifier, truth umbilical of their own design. Modwright also replaced stock resistors with its own highest quality resistors in key signal path applications. They also replaced all capacitors with all MWI M-type ones in signal path. The external tube rectifier PSU is available with the use of taller larger diameter tubes and is available with optional hole to allow that. Lastly, Modwright also further dampens the disc transport mechanism of the Oppo 205.

Recently, my cousin brought his fully modified Modwright Oppo 205 over to my place and I had a chance to take it up for a spin in my dedicated stereo setup. So I disconnected my DCS Vivaldi full stacks (DCS Vivaldi DAC) and inserted his fully modded Modwright Oppo 205 in the chain and started listening to some CD and SACD as well as some hi-rez digital download files streamed through the Oppo 205' USB asynchronous DAC port on the back. And his Modwright Oppo 205 was connected to my Audio Research Reference 10 linestage preamp and my D'Agostino Momentum 400 monoblock amps (2 pairs in bi-amp mode) driving my new Magico M6 speakers. It took me as a surprise. His Modwright Oppo 205 performed and sounded superbly and did not embarrass when used in my reference stereo setup. It wasn't on the same level as my DCS Vivaldi full four stacks (Vivaldi master clock, Vivldi upsampler, Vivaldi CD/SACD transport, Vivaldi DAC) but hey my full DCS Vivaldi stacks cost around $125k and his fully modded Modwright Oppo 205 total costs of only $5k ($1300 stock 205 + $3700 total costs of fully modded Modwright labor included). But as a single one-box digital front end universal player/DAC the Modwright Oppo 205 sounded and performed spectacular, very resolved, highly musical with fleshed out mids (vocals) and other instruments elements. Sounded very analog like and natural or organic so to speak and with very good sense of image and soundstage depths. Transparency and inner details and nuances are excellent. There were good amounts of air and space between instruments and vocals. PRAT is very good too. The noise floor was surprisingly very low, approaching and was pretty close to that of my own DCS Vivldi full stacks. Overall the Modwright Oppo 205 IMO performed on the similar or same level as those single-box digital front end players/DAC in $10k to $15k region and up. Sonically, it rivals an entry level Esoteric player/DAC.
Highly recommended if you still have large collections of SACD discs. Remember, I am coming from DCS Vivaldi full stacks digital front end components and I will give high recommendation for the fully modded Modwright Oppo 205.

My cousin said that the Modwright Oppo 205 sounded quite a bit better than the Modwright Oppo 105/95. modwright did total redesign of the stereo analog stage of the Oppo 205 whereas the modded Modwright Oppo 105/95 weren't as extensive of as comprehensive as that of the 205. Modwright based the design of the fully modded Oppo 205 on its own Elyse DAC.
You can also roll in different tubes to achieve a desired sonic results. But the stock tubes provided by Modwright are already pretty darn good.

FYI, I was using the same callings / interconnects for the Modwright Oppo 205 (all power cables and interconnects are from Transparent Opus). And a pair of the Transparent Opus XLR analog interconnects cost many times of the total costs of his fully modded Modwright Oppo 205. Even the power cable that I used for his Modwright Oppo 205 cost more than the fully modded Modwright Oppo 205. I know that this won't typically be kind of cablings that people with Modwright Oppo 205 would use.

Bierfeldt, if you have large collections of SACD discs and still want to play them back then the fully modded Modwright Oppo 205 will be perfect for you since native DSD in SACD from the Oppo cannot be transmitted via spdif or optical digital (Toslink) cable to your PS Audio Direct Stream DAC without down converting the resolution (bit depths & bit rates). And I'm not even sure if the Oppo will even be able to transmit DSD digital signals from SACD at all via its spdif or Toslink digital outputs.
So if you end up with the Oppo for SACD playbacks you will have to output them via its stereo analog out (XLR or RCA) and will achieve best results using the analog out of the player for SACD playbacks.

Just my 2 cents.

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I don't own

I don't own a single SACD so this is moot for me. A disc transport at this time is pointless.

I feel like a cartridge upgrade and possibly a full turntable upgrade are appropriate and then I am going to turn my attention to my power amp and speakers but that I think is going to be April of next year I think when I will get to address those.

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