Esoteric makes the best transport in the world. My son has an SA60 (not really into 5 channel or movies) and it is as good as anything I have heard on his system. More information comes from the CDP than you can imagine. We have tried the Muscial Fidelity A5, Musical KW DAC/Transport system, Cary 306 and none of them come close. The only thing is I would say because there is so much information the Esoteric CDPs can tend to sound forward.
I have a Esoteric X-1 Limited on my system and in my opinion it is the best CDP in the world. You can't go wrong with Esoteric. The build quality is as impressive as the fit and finish. Oh yea they all come triple boxed so nothing can happen to them in shipping.
I don't think it's overkill, that is exactly what Esoteric is most famous for, the quality of the transport. You won't get an Esoteric transport for much less than the cost of the SA60 - maybe a used DV50 or their newer entry level unit.
I'm running the DV50s just like aliveatfive - great player for any format, and built like a tank.
Thanks for the responses everyone; this is what I was expecting to hear. The Meridian does a very good job with DSP, and AD / DA conversion – 24 bit/96 kHz AD conversion and 48 bit internal precision - so can make use of a good quality transport. Looks like I have an SA-60 in my future.
At the moment, I am using a 5 year old, $299 Pioneer CD recorder as a transport, inputting the signal digitally to the Meridian - not using the analog outputs.
The Esoteric will output SACD only through its analog outputs so what will be interesting to hear is the effect of all these data conversions since the Meridian converts analog to digital. And to compare the analog out converted to digital and back in the Meridian to the PCM signal input directly to digital.
Guess I'll have to buy an analog pre-amp now to hear the unconverted analog output of the Esoteric.
Well, I just received my Esoteric CD player today. I decided to go for the X-03SE instead of the SA-60. This thing ways a ton! And it's beautifully built too.
A question for those with Esoteric players; I have read that this cd player requires a long burn-in period to sound its best. Has this been your experience? What is the typical period and should I leave a disk on repeat?