A while ago, I was at a garage sale and found Ben Taylor ( son of James Taylor and Carly Simon!) The cd is called Famous Among the Barns. It quickly became one of my fave cd’s. It is recorded well and does a great job of showing off a player that can do HDCD. We used track 7 a cover of Time of the Season from the Zombies. Trust us, give the song and the track a fair shake. I thought since the EE and the Denon both decode HDCD, it would be cool to compare the 2 on HD. Well we did all on it LOL.
1st up, the EE. It helped jump this unit to life. It sounded much better but, it to me still had some narrow sound stage and some distortion to it. I think again the tubes were at fault.
Next up the Denon OMG you not even believe it was the same cd player that you just heard a few min. ago. Shockingly good. Clean, dynamic, solid bass hit, not flabby. We looked at each other for a few not even saying a word because we were both in shock! One of us finally spit out WOW. LOL it was one of those funny classic audio moments. Neither one of us were expecting it and we both own the unit!
Next up, the jolida, the bass was just awesome and the drums just jumped out even more than the denon. The jolida just has a way to make things jump out at you. But again the bass was a bit flabby so I talked Angelo into rolling the tubes at that point! I told him this will cure it! while we let the jolida cool down, onto the MF
The MF again constantly was sharper, crisper than the rest but, some of the wide soundstage that the jolida has is not there. It had the solid bass hit, but just more narrow. I can see where some music would sound better on this and some would sound better on the Jolida. If I had to choose between the 2 I cant. They both have some outstanding things they both do well.
Same song tube rolled on the Jolida with the sovtek tubes ( the box I brought them in does say EI but they are from my EI’s LOL ) both of us agreed the bass was 10000000000x better. The what I call the signature wide sound stage still was there but the bass was much tighter. It seems like no matter what tube I ever put in the jolida, that soundstage stayed wide so I call it the Jolida signature sound.
The MF though is much crisper, and from my own experience, the Sovtek tubes are good with the jolida but, that was one of my complaints with the Sovtek tubes on that unit, I wanted a bit more on the high end without losing the bottom. F1 suggested to me the EI;s and I haven’t looked back since. How does this apply to the test… I guess it doesn’t but I am just letting everyone know on my experience with this unit, when you roll the tubes, you will get different sounds. Sometimes it just takes a few tubes to get the sound you want. Would the EI be as crisp as the MM… I am going to say no but it would get you closer to it.
I would love to hear the EE with different tubes. I might make it more on par with the MM. The Jolida for anyone would come down to personal preference. Do you want a wide sound stage, or something more direct. Neither of the units though sounded phony or fake in the soundstage. They all sounded real like it should be there but just had different presentations of it.
For crispness, the MM had it. For a hair deeper bass and a wider sound stage, the Jolida had it. On the used market, all the players here present an outstanding value. I wish the jolida and the MM had sacd though! Now, it makes me wonder, if the MM on the preamp side, had a loop in and out and if we put a tube buffer in play there how would that have sounded…
Anyway, folks, if you on a budget, that denon is only a hair behind except on hd and sacd… on hd and sacd it is a close race. It is an outstanding value If we didn’t have them side by side, most people would never know what might have been missing . it is really that good of a player for the $.
If you have bright speakers, the MM if NOT the cd player for you. I would look at one of the other ones. Remember besides synergy, matching components does help. For the Emerald Physics all the cd players sounded great but to my ears, the MM and the rolled Jolida were the top 2. On Santana Jingo ( Mobile Fidelity ) the organ and guitar jumped out at me more on the jolida but, on the MM it was a bit more refined. Again it’s a hard call between the 2 and to me there was no clear winner. Sorry about that! I know some people like to just read this beat the pants off of this type of reviews or comparisons but, I cant do that because I liked both for different reasons and I would be happy with either unit. So to me, in sound only after the tube roll, the top 2 were the MM and the Jolida.