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Budget "Audiophile" CD player?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I posted this over at Audio Asylum but I thought I'd ask it here too:

For a week or so I have been looking for an older "better quality" CD player to pair with my beautiful early 90s Onkyo receiver. I've gotten a few great suggestions but I'm starting to re-think the older player choice for a couple of reasons:

a) moving parts wear out. There are a BUNCH of moving parts in CD players. "Milage" could have a big effect.
b) I'm starting to read that newer CD players ARE really better. There were a few issues (jitter, etc) that weren't really dealt with much until recently.

Is there a good newer "budget" CD player out there that I can look for? My preferance would be for robust build and fewer bells and wistles.
One of the less expensive Cambridge models comes to mind.
Any suggestions?
post #2 of 20
You will be hard-pressed to find something equal to or better than this for $200.
Marantz CD5001 CD player single disc audiophile quality | Accessories4less=
post #3 of 20
Since the Marantz above is listed as currently unavailable, you probably cannot get anything for less than $330. At that price, I highly recommend the Cambridge 340C. The NAD BEE series is also quite good, and includes a player at about that same price.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by intoart View Post
Since the Marantz above is listed as currently unavailable, you probably cannot get anything for less than $330. At that price, I highly recommend the Cambridge 340C. The NAD BEE series is also quite good, and includes a player at about that same price.
I have heard that the NAD players had some build quality issues. What's your take?
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traddad View Post

a) moving parts wear out. There are a BUNCH of moving parts in CD players. "mileage" could have a big effect.
True, however I have 3 old but working CD players one is 14 years old, one is 18 years old and the other is 20 years old, all work perfectly and were very cheap to buy. YMMV of course.


Quote:
b) I'm starting to read that newer CD players ARE really better. There were a few issues (jitter, etc) that weren't really dealt with much until recently.
There have been improvements in CD technology, certainly measurable ones, but Jitter is not something to worry about, jitter has never been shown to be audible at the levels it is found in commercial kit in any kind of proper tests.

There are lots of jitter anecdotes but in order to get jitter empirically audible you need to have 10s of ns of jitter which you just do not get in audio kit.

But more importantly Bob Adams of Analog Designs did a paper more than 15 years ago "Jitter Analysis of Asynchronous Sample-rate Conversion" which demonstrated that you do not even need to measure jitter as jitter inevitably leads to downstream measurable inaccuracies so any conventional THD, IMD and noise measures will show if there is a jitter problem upstream. Since all CD players (certainly in the last 20 years) have vanishingly low noise and distortion this looks like it is just not an issue.

Furthermore Keith Howard at an AES conference in 2006 demonstrated the effect of jitter. He took a Flute tone with a fundamental of 1500hz and applied two different jitter signals to it. One was a 2Khz sine wave signal and the other was random jitter. Howard was able to show that jitter here was audible with his tests, he used 1000ns of jitter p-p. Commercial CD players (with only 1 exception I know of) produce less than 1ns of jitter.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the heads up on the jitter "issue". I was using it more as an example because I could remember it....
I have a 1993 Kenwood that is still kicking after almost daily usage but......YMMV is right on the money.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've received a couple of recomendations for the Oppo 980....any opinions?
post #8 of 20
Are you interested in the digital or the analog outputs of this player?
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm interested in the analog output. I'd love to have seperate components (tuner/preamp/amp/transport/dac) but I need to keep the number of components down in order to fit the available space.
post #10 of 20
What is your idea of "budget"?

For relative pricing, I've got an Arcam CD 73T that was around $500 and it sounds okay. It is a step above the bottom of the HQ food chain represented by the lowest-end Cambridge units. I've heard the Cambridge 740 and it is a clear step up but also 2x + expensive and in my mind not enough improvement for the $$.

I did have to send back my Arcam for service and it was a long, drawn out process. They finally sent me a new one after I was visiting with the importer/sales rep at my local dealer's one afternoon. I'd used it not even one year and it was not an abuse issue.

I also had a Cambridge CD5SE (I'm pretty sure that's the model) that also developed problems initializing some discs after, say 3-5 years. Service is not even an option.

my $0.02.

To get totally off track, none of my turntables I've ever owned has required service. Not once, ever. Cartridge replacement yes, belt replacement yes, nothing else.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traddad View Post
I'm interested in the analog output. I'd love to have seperate components (tuner/preamp/amp/transport/dac) but I need to keep the number of components down in order to fit the available space.

In that case, and assuming you're not particularly interested in SACD and DVD-Audio, I think there are better options than the DV980. It's not bad at all, but for $200 there are better.
post #12 of 20
The Cambridge Audio 640c v2 cdp seems like a good buy if you can find it around $200
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
In that case, and assuming you're not particularly interested in SACD and DVD-Audio, I think there are better options than the DV980. It's not bad at all, but for $200 there are better.

SACD would be great but not a deal killer. Any suggestions $200-$300?
post #14 of 20
I'd recommend you the NAD C515BEE for less than $300 in black finish so it can match your Onkyo, I still have an Onkyo receiver too (late 90's) and an Onkyo DVD player as a CD player, since it does not read DVD's anymore.

I have never heard the sound coming from a Cambridge CD player, but I've read a lot of good things about it.

Hopefully somebody who has own a Cambridge, a Marantz and a NAD CD player, as entry level CDP's could give us some comments about the sound signature of each one.
post #15 of 20
I don't think you could go wrong with a Shanling PCD300A.

Fun little player -- sounds great, with a great headphone amp built in. Maybe not necessary, but it doesn't hurt resale value around here
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