Streaming is getting better. It really is. MQA is a game changer. Please read the info on our our site about MQA and the Bluesound Node 2. You can’t spend $500 better in the audio hobby today. So why might you need a new CD player?!
First of all, you probably own a lot of CDs. They will sound better on a fresh, new CD player than they do on your older one- unless you have something VERY special, like a higher end Marantz or Bryston player.
Emotiva ERC-3 $500
If you save your CDs to iTunes, non compressed, and access them through Sonos or an equivalent method, they’ll sound pretty good. But not as good as playing the CDs themselves, on a $500 CD player from Emotiva, the ERC-3. The ERC-3 is built like a tank. It has a fine DAC and discrete analog audio section after the DAC. It supports BALANCED/XLR as well as single ended RCAs. This is no small feat for $500! ERC-3 is a dual rail design and produces surprisingly better dynamics and bass than CD players up to about $3k.
We’ve had a LOT of customers who bought expensive CD players back in the day. Maybe top end Denons, Regas or PS Audios with separate DACs- something from that league. As they have come back to us with their worn out player, they’ve said, I need a new player, but I don’t want to spend $3-8k again. Virtually every time they buy the ERC-3. Not ONE of these customers has been disappointed! In fact, it’s amazing how often they call back and say, “The Emo is BETTER than my old XYZ.!” This… from a $500 player.
Of course, if you look at what they had the first time around, it probably was NOT a dual rail, balanced player. Such machines were exceedingly rare and expensive in the 80s/90s when they dove in. ERC-3 beats the old dogs in performance because of Emo’s attention to detail- despite the low price point.
Take a nice, acoustic CD. For example, Rosanne Cash’s “Ten Song Demo,” which happens to have 11 songs. Synch it up with a saved version on the computer. If you play YOUR CD player vs the computer version, whether you run your computer USB in, or via Sonos or a similar vehicle, you’ll hear the CD is SOME cleaner. It isn’t night and day. But you can appreciate the technique of a great acoustic guitar player with that clean, leading edge transient. You can feel Rosanne’s voice, and WHAT A VOICE, cut through the grill cloth a bit better.
If you up your game to an ERC-3 CD player, I promise that difference will be even greater. It’s a solid 10% or so better. The Emo’s transients will be faster. The bass impact and weight will shock you. The dynamic contrast will improve. Most importantly, the all important humanity of the voice steps up a notch.
Now, if you don’t have such a set up at home to A-B, don’t sweat it. We do.
There’s an extra ACE in the deck with Emo. The BALANCED performance, if you have a system that will accept it- it’s no small potatoes. There’s no other CD player at anywhere near five bills that will give you what the ERC-3 does- with five year warranty no less.
But there’s another big reason to get an Emo CD player. Music.
As good as streaming is getting, no service has licenses with all the music we want. It’s getting better by the day, I grant you. And I love the Node 2 and Tidal. But there’s more I need. I’ll bet you do too.
The label Hyperion Records has my favorite roster of great pianists going today.
Marc Andre Hamelin
They’re all great players. The fidelity on Hyperion is second to none. Hyperion is not available on Tidal. If you want the music of these fine players, you’ll need CDs. If you don’t have Marc Andre Hamelin playing Haydn or Schumann, you haven’t heard that music at its best. If you don’t have Angela Hewitt playing Bach or Chabrier, you haven’t heard that music at its best.
I’m sure you can list plenty of your own examples of music that is important to you- that is unavailable via streaming. Even if it’s available via streaming, odds are the pipeline of transmission is bottle necked along the way.
While there are wonderful reasons to buy a Bluesound Node 2 and stream music, there are also thousands of great CDs you can only hear at their best by playing the silver discs themselves. For them, I recommend the Emo ERC-3!