I am beginning to search for the proper CDP for my growing addiction -- er, system -- and i had some questions.
1) I went to a local Marantz dealer and the guy obviously had an overstock of Harman/Kardon players -- he wouldn't even let me hear the Marantz i had come in to check out!! The HK sounded fine for what it was and the price ($250) was right. I forget the model number, but i thought i'd consult with you all about HK before further consideration. What is their reputation as a component manufacturer? I only know them through their awful computer speakers... does anyone own an HK player and wish to comment? My price range, btw, is $300-$500
2) What CDs do you all use for reference when checking out CDP's? of course i have some favorite CDs of my own, but i was wondering if there were some CDs out there known for their recording quality or breadth of sound, etc. that would allow one to better judge a CDP given a limited listening window.
I'm surprised to find another Eph here at Head-Fi. In any case, I have the Marantz CD6000OSE so you can hear that if you want in September. I was going to upgrade but funds are insufficient right now (poor me).
Harmon-Kardon has a pretty bad reputation. Generally ignore those players and drop the dealer if he's such a pushy jerk. Some recommendations you'll find on these boards for your price range would be the Music Hall MMF CD25 and the NAD C541i. I believe Jude is reviewing both players right now, so wait for those. I don't think Marantz has any new offerings, and I'm afraid that my CD6000OSE is becoming outdated despite my model being only a year and a half old.
Try doing a search in the Amps & Source Components forum -- you'll likely find better answers than the one I gave you. Good luck!