most musical/warm cd player new or used under $500
Jan 25, 2008 at 8:02 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8


100+ Head-Fier
Oct 26, 2007
I have a Cambridge 540 c cd player version 1. used as a transport to a Headroom Balanced amp/dac home module and w/senn 650 phones w/balanced Equinox cables. Seems the last place to look to tone down brightness and stridency (mostly in electric guitar effects and peaking vocals)
Thus far I've had recommendations of the Arcam diva cd 73 player (between $300 and $450 used) and the new Onkyo dx 5555 at about $500. Any comments and advice. With all this equipment I've upgraded to I still don't fully enjoy the music. To shrill, harsh and cold most of the time. I'm not going to vinyl though I think the dry compressed digital sound is a large part of the equation. So what to do about a transport that will transport me from bright and shrill to musical, warm and relaxed. Invite me in and make things cozy instead of rub me the wrong way and get me edgy and fatigued. I have been working at this for neigh now 5 months. Yikes I'm going to need to be confined to the Headfi Emergency Psychiatric Unit any day now...Consider this thread a cry for relief
Jan 25, 2008 at 8:18 AM Post #2 of 8
My simple solution get a tube amp or .. Roll in a tube sounding opamp or better get rid of that headphone amp each componet in your system is as you probably know equates to the final sound.. If I can get a super warm great sound with a Sony A818 mp3 source and a XM4 amp with a AD822 Im sure you can try a few opamps either on the CD source itself or IMHO leave it alone and look at the amp itself if you get warm sounding music from any other source than I woud guess the cd transport could be the culprit but I have yet to see that big of difference I have a modified 60.00 Phillips
CD player and it sound fantastic tube sound with all my headphones M8, KSC 74 senn 595 senn 650 akg 701 mylar XB, Sony MDR-90.. good luck Im interested to see what you come up with.. ohh and the most expensive solution is not the right one ohh wait there is no right one..
Jan 25, 2008 at 1:33 PM Post #3 of 8
Did you try the analog outputs from your CDP to the amp?
I preferred the analog out from my player over the internal DAC of the Headroom Balanced. It's worth a try just to see if that's the problem.

Want rich and full? Pick up one of the original Rega Planet CD players.
Not real detailed but very musical.

Also try something other than the Equinox cable on your headphones.
I use the Cardas and I thought it wasn't nearly as bright as the Equinox last time I had a chance to compare them.
Jan 27, 2008 at 7:33 PM Post #4 of 8
Musical Fidelity makes (or used to) a tube buffer that would sit between your source and amp. One of those might do the trick for you. Either that, or it might be time to look into a tube amp.

I agree with Todd R - the original Rega Planet has a nice, warm sound.
Jan 28, 2008 at 12:32 AM Post #7 of 8
Seems to me that I've read quite a few comments that X-10V3's are on the market so often because the sellers think it doesn't actually do much. There is a thread on from a fellow who took one apart and found four transistors aren't properly heatsinked, with the pcb suffering slow damage as a result, too.
Feb 2, 2008 at 5:57 PM Post #8 of 8
The older Cambridge D300 & D500 cd players were pretty warm and well-balanced sounding. Either could serve as an inexpensive transport.

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