I know this will be a hard one, but I am on a budget and would like an opinion on a CD player in the $400 to $500 range.
I would certainly look at the Music Hall CD 25 or the new 25.2 . Check UnderwoodHifi.com for Walter's latest pricing.What is nice about this player is that Walter does mods through Chris Johnson of the Parts Connexion that can take it to the next level when you are ready.
Walter also has contacts with AV123.com on their Onix line of CD players. You will recognize them.
Thanks for the info. I'll give it a look.
Judging from the good stuff he puts you onto, Jim, I hope you find nice ways to remember Walter each Christmas.
You might want to find a way to listen to the Cambridge Audio Azur 540C v2. It goes for $399 at Audio Advisor and just got a good review from Robert Harley.
I have a NAD C542 which I quite like. I auditioned a few CD players in the $400-$800 range and liked it the best...
Part of this is from idle curiosity. I opened the covers of 2 well known affordable phono preamps years ago and found the same circuit board inside two different sheet metal cases. It was more of a reality check that pure outrage.
This "Stenciling" is not just in the audio industry as it also rears its head in the acoustic piano business extensively. Gm and Ford's line of autos is much the same with sheet-metal skin changes more obvious. I know numerous lines of clothing come from the same sweatshop, whoops, I mean factory.
As in the auto business as in audio it is easier to take a decent product, mod it with better individual components, call it a Buick rather than a Chevy and price it accordingly to perceived value improvement.
Walt Liederman and Chris Johnson's collaboration in making good products great is just very smart business. You can now buy a good cd player ie Music Hall Cd25.2, enjoy it now and then upgrade it later when your ship comes in at the mod level you want and can afford. The same thing is true with the Jolida line of vacuum tube gear. Start off with good and then make it as great as your pocket book will allow.
Many others companies do mods as well I have just known Walter since, I guess, 2000/01? and have a great respect for his business and ethics. His web feedback speaks for itself. We attended Cedia a few years ago and had a great time. We are both emminently practical people. The BS stops at the door. Just shooting the breeze with Walter is enjoyable, as it is with most interesting people. He just offers great value in a world where sometimes the quality lines are skewed.
I have also found this to be true, which is one reason why I bought the NAD player I did. There were several players in the same class ($400-800), that seemed to be made with the same "stuff" and the NAD player was the cheapest. I was a bit concerned with the build quality, the tight interconnects I have seem capable of tearing of the backplate if one is not careful, but it has the same guts as everyone in its class and works well for me.
I'm definitely going to look into the Music Hall products you're endorsing though...
It's a bit higher than that ($699), but I have been told by a couple of people that the Rotel RCD-1072 is the best-sounding player you can get without going up to nearly $3000.
Might be worth a listen...?
What amp and speakers are you using ?Also,which cd player you currently own and what do you think of your system ( soundwise) as a whole ?
I auditioned the Rotel player and ended up with a NAD player (C542). I though the NAD was a better rock player, which is a lot of what I listen to. The sonic differences were fairly marginal and the guts are similar, but the NAD player is $200 cheaper (not so marginal at that price point - its bulit in China) and I prefered its sound on top. The Rotel has a higher build quality, but I didn't love it looks and liked NAD's minimal design. I liked the NAD best of the sub$1000 players I auditioned, but I did not try the Music Hall player. I used a NAD amp & B&W speakers, btw...
What's the difference between "auditioning" and merely listening to it? Maybe the price? You only LISTEN to $100 CD players, but you AUDITION $1,000 ones? What about amps, speakers,TT? What are the crossover points between listening, and auditioning? Maybe it's variable, like if something kinda cheap is real good, then you audition it....to make it sound even better. What about merely LOOKING at something, and VIEWING it? When someone dies, you go to a VIEWING, not attending a LOOKING? That brings yet another complex situation, I didn't just show up, i attended the viewing. For lesser people, it would be, I showed up at the dude's funeral and took a look, and gave a shout out to the guys posse'. If it was someone of some reverance, I attended the viewing and gave my condolences, and gave a eulogy. Shure S57 mics, SLS Loudspeakers, even the dead have standards.