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wesriley
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Which CD player ?

I am just starting out with my interest in high end audio. I'm trying to decide on a CD player to buy. I have a million and one questions while trying to stumble into this exciting realm without falling on my face.
My current equipment is as follows: (I paid about $60.00 for all of this equipment over the past year at a local thrift store)
Sony STR-DE675 AVR
Sony SCS-CE595 SACD player
Sony TC-RX55ES cassette deck
Sony MDS-JE520 minidisc deck
Polk Audio LS50 speakers
JBL Sub-Woofer Sub 135
Right now I am using a 1979 Kenwood KA-5700 integrated amp that I got at a yard sale for $5.00 and a Toshiba SD-4000 dvd player to play CDs with the polk Audion LS50 speakers. I got the SD-4000 because of the 192 kHz/24 bit DAC and it also has an HDCD decoder and plays mp3 & wma files.
I didn't really like using the sub-woofer so I tried the 2 channel mode but couldn't get any bass or depth even with usin the EQ Tone feature. SO I thought I would try the KA-5700 amp with the polk Audio speakers and WOW I couldn't believe the sound I have been missing...
So I want to start with a new CD player and I have three in mind and any input on these or others around the $400 price range would be very very welcomed.
1)Marantz CD5004 $350
2) NAD C545BEE $500
3) Cambridge Audio AZUR 350C $500

jackfish
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I'm not sure if you will hear

I'm not sure if you will hear a dramatic difference from an under $500 CD player over the Sony SCS-CE595 as it is a well known overachiever. However, I'd also consider the Emotiva ERC-1 for $450, which also plays HDCDs.

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/cd-players/703-emotiva-erc-1-cd-player.html
http://www.avrev.com/home-theater-audio-sources/cd-players/emotiva-erc-1...

dumbo
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...

May I suggest no CD Player at all. Take a look at a Logitech Touch and move towards burning your CD collection to an external harddrive connected to your PC and streaming it. For the price range you are looking in this setup would fit the bill. I would venture a guess that you would probably end up with a better sounding rig in the end that has far more capabilities with an added bonus of being able to listen to SACD quality material that you would otherwise be missing out on with the above mentioned disk spinners.

Of course all of this is assuming you have a pc but I would think everyone does nowadays.

wesriley
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Logitech Touch?

I take that you are talking about the Squeezebox Touch. It is a remarkable little gadget but I do have some audio streaming with my Xbox 360. The best it will playback is WMA Lossless and it sounds pretty good. I have an 80gb Ipod Classic & a Zune HD, I just started to re-rip my cd collection in WAV & WMA Lossless at the highest bit rate.
I still would like to get a better cd player just because I really enjoy that format. I like to have the physical copy of my music and with the Compact Disc on its downside in the mainstream music market its hard to say what will happen with music & computers in the future. If we spend a lot of money and time downloading music from the internet will we still be able to use it 5 years down the road?

dumbo
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..

I can respect that some folks are hesitant to fully move in the direction of PC based audio whole hog and still like to use physical CD media and players. At the same time its becoming more obvious to manufacturers of Audio equipment source components that streaming is the new way of the world and they are spending allot of their efforts to develop that type of equipment. This can be seen by simply attending one of the "Big Shows" that are around the country several times a year. Almost everyone is now getting into the pc based music serving market.

In my opinion I see downloaded audio media probably being the most readily available option in the future and CD media going the way of the cassette tape in the next 5-10yrs.

Whatever media format you buy today, once it's in the digital realm, can basically have an unlimited lifespan. That why its best to burn those physical CDs to digital now.

By this I mean you will always have the option to move or migrate the audio data from one piece of outdated hardware to the next best thing. If your hard drive that stores the downloaded audio media is on the fritz you can move it to a new hard drive and the music will live on.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for physical media. Any media that is in a physical form will always have a dependency on some other physical device that can read it. As the years pass by it will only become harder to find a similar device that can read that physical media. I see this everyday as someone coming from the IT world. Backup tapes have a short shelf life and the devices that are capable of reading those backup tapes in their current format start to become as rare as hens teeth. Once the tape drives and their associated mechanical parts age it becomes a crap shoot whether or not you will be able to read said physical media.

There isn't an expiration date associated with the downloaded files so what ever piece of software you use today to play that media can also have an almost unlimited lifespan.With that said I should also mention that as long as the media you download isn't in a proprietary format (ie..Apple i-Tunes) you should have little trouble playing it for longer then we will all be on this earth.

Renoite
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I just bought the Oppo

I just bought the Oppo Blu-Ray Universal BDP-93 and it arrives tomorrow. But for the price and reviews I have read it was a no-brainer.

http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-93/

Catch22
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Marantz

Marantz has a long history of producing great sounding players for very little money. It just so happens that the CD5004 is up for review in the next issue of Stereophile.

Maybe wait for the review to be published and then make your decision?

Btw, Marantz always comes out on top of the budget battles at What-Hi-Fi in Europe.

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