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masaru
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Best CD Player for $300?

hi everyone, this is my first post. i've looked through the forum and couldn't find a clear answer on the lower end of CD players. My CD player lens recently broke and I've decided I want to go for something more than the $130 range Sony type CD players... I think it's time to buy something really nice without breaking my bank. I'd love to stay at about $300, if possible. Could someone school me on what the best players are for the money? I don't care a lot about SACD, but I would like to be able to play CD-Rs.
Thanks!

bobb
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

The Cambridge Audio 540 v.2 is a contender for this price point. The 640 v.2 is about $200 more and you get a second DAC. I am considering the 540 myself to replace my Yamaha changer. I have read mostly good things here and elsewhere about the Cambridge players. Let us know what you decide.

Bob

Monty
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

I haven't heard it, but I would bet that the Marantz 5001 player would be worth listening to if you get the chance. Audio Advisor sells both the Marantz and the Cambridge players. I realize this isn't much help, but Marantz has a history of producing really nice sounding CD players for little money.

mrlowry
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

Masaru

What else is in your system? If it's really good equipment you might want to up the budget if possible. In my philosophy the source is one of the most important, if not THE most important componenent in the system. If the signal is drastically flawed coming from the source then the only thing that the other components can do is faithfully reproduced a signal that is flawed. The wisdom on the street is that since a CD player is a digital device they all sound the same. Because digital is perfect, Right? Don't you believe it for a second! A CD player is only half a digital device. The other half is analog and like any analog device there are important sonic differences. Even the parts in the digital half are important. Different CD player DO sound different.

masaru
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

Thanks for all those suggestions. I definitely will check those models out, just what I was looking. Gotta find somewhere in Cleveland that has them in-store, I guess.

MrLowry, my system is not super high end...I was planning for the CD player to be the first in an upgrading scheme over the next couple years. I have a Sony receiver (probably about 7-8 years old), which isn't awesome. My speakers are Technics...I don't know how they rate, but I've always loved the sound coming out of them. The next thing I will get is a new and better receiver.

Mostly I want to start with the CD player at this point.

Scooter123
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

Being in the Cleveland area will be a plus for you. What you want to do is look under "Home Theater" in the yellow pages. Then start calling around and inquire as to what brands they carry. Then you can start hitting the shops that carry the brand that interest you. Most of the old line Audio shops have moved into home theater in order to survive. While home theater may be the new bread and butter line, most home theater shops still handle some excellent Audio equipment. My experience is that most Home theater shops usually have at least one person in the store who is a true blue Audio nut and they can be very helpful. BTW, a GOOD salesman will listen to your needs and try and find a match at your budget point. If you run into a salesman who continually tries to steer you into much more expensive gear, find another store to shop at, otherwise he'll try and bleed you dry. Also watch out for interconnects, you cna actually buy 7000 dollar interconnects for that 300 dollar CD player. I would suggest you limit your interconnect budget to 100 dollars or under. That will get you a well made set of double shielded interconnects and I think that it's all you really need.

I would also suggest that you try listening to DVD players. Many of the latest DVD players will also play audio CD's, some even do SACD, and, since DVD playback is much more exacting, you may find a DVD player with a sound that you like. Basically DVD players have a "playback engine" that is way overbuilt for audio playback. The result may be that there are some rather cheap DVD players that can play audio CD's as well as some high end CD players. I recently bought a 100 dollar Philips DVD player that does upsampling of audio CD's to either 88.2 or 192 khz. To be honest, I can't hear any difference in the sound at any of the settings but it's still connected thru my TV with the freebie patch cords. As it is, it sounds pretty good and I plan on trying some decent interconnects, connect it straight to my amp, and then comparing it to my California Audio Labs CD player. With DVD players now being more popular than CD players it's worth looking into because the economics of scale may result in saving you some money.

mrlowry
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

Scooter123

Digital technology has most certainly moved in leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. While I would agree that your average DVD transport mechanism would have to be build to tighter tolerances than a CD transport mechanism the problem is that many if not most DVD players really skimp on the parts quality that go into the analog output stage of these units. Particularly the affordable ones. The manufacturers thought process goes something like this.

CECE
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

I never gave ONKYO much thought, I just discovered 2 of em, now in use got em directly from Onkyo website. The REFURBED 6 disc SACD/DVD-A DVD etc etc changer under $300. Very well made units, solid chassis, sound great. It was between the Marantz "universal" and Onkyo universal. Of course now Marantz just said to introduce a changer SACD/DVD-A units in Dec available. It wasn't there just a short time ago. The ONKYO single drawer upper model DVS-1000 or something was $1,000 less than a comparable Marantz. Gave Onkyo a try, nice units, very well made stuff. I ain't disappointed, even came with some nice ALMOST magical cables, not the standard cheaper ones, that everyone seems to malign as "poor sounding". Which is electrically impossible, if they connect, secure, etc. But I didn't use em!!! I used what I have already. BUT Marantz has a longer WARRANTY, which is probably the reason for higher price. I found the single drawer universal ONKYO for less at one place, BUT it wasn't in stock, so that meant nothing then did it? Onkyoshop. Gee, even I learned something, like I said, I never gave ONKYO a look previously, so far so good. Now if only AVA can maybe do a rebuild in the output ckts...hmmmm. And the Onkyo cool blue light over the changer drawer, makes it sound much better. Like the PHILIPS AMBILIGHT tv's, the subtle glow enhances the experience, too bad it didn't change like the 60's lava lamp....ooooo baby, hand me that joint.....

jackfish
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

Consider the OPPO DV970HD for $150.

chris_1001
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

Any opinions on the Harman / Kardon DVD 47? I just got one for $250 online shipped. It has SACD and HDMI. Is is a decent unit?

MJS
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Re: Best CD Player for $300?

The $600 (now $300 online!) Marantz DV6400 was a REAL step up from any other CD player I owned previously. Once it is burned in, it takes you into the next level of quality audio. I mostly used it to play CDs and SACDs, but it plays everything under the sun without a glich.

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