After receiving some good advice concerning the replacement of my 15 year old CD player here I finally made a big move. The previous CD player had a volume control function so I did away with the pre-amp and connected directly to my Hafler XL-280 which drives the Magnepan MMG speakers. I loved it but wanted to upgrade the very cheap and old Sony CD player. Although the Oppo 103 has volume controll, here in Japan it costs $700 and seems like a lot more machine than I need considering that I only listen to CDs. So after browsing thru the Stereophile recommended components I settled on the Marantz CD5004 which can be had for about $250 here in Japan. But what to do about the volume controll??? After snooping around on the internet and then spending most of yesterday in the back alleys of Akihabara (Tokyo's electric town) I came home with a passive attenuator kit, RCA jacks, control knob, wires, solder and soldering iron and little box to hold it all. My total investment was just a little over $100. The passive attenuator came with resistors included but I had to solder them in. It is two channel and has 22 steps so I had to sort all 44 resistors by color code and solder them into the correct position. I just gave the system its first run and everything seems to work just fine. But I'm off to work so no time for critical listening. At least there isn't any weird buzzing and the channels sound properly balanced.