My choice/suggestion for you. Niam CD5, then Rega Jupiter 2000. Others just forget them.
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Although the Audio Aero Prima lists for $2300, I think (Tony will give you a killer price) you can get it, brand spanking new, in your $$ ballpark. Nothing you mentioned can go one round with this baby. I have spoken adnauseam about this player. It's, absolutely, unbelievable. The only cdps that can go tete a tete with it are ones costing twice the price. It's 90% of the Prima's big brother, the Capitale MKII. That's a $8000 player!! The little tubes in this baby, make it one sweet sounding cdp. I love mine. You can email me for Tony's number. I bought mine from him. He's patient, honest and will give you the best price out there. peace, warren
Between 1,500 and 2,000 --
You can get a used Sony SCD XA777ES.
Or a used Sony SCD 777ES.
The XA is a CD/multi-channel SACD player
The other is two channel only.
You get a great CD/SACD player -- and -- when you
get more money, you can have these players modded
to play even better. Some people have said that a
fully modified high end Sony SACD player is the next
best thing to the Meitner/Emm Labs DAC6. I can't
attest to that, but I would like the idea of having a CD/SACD player that is already considered a reference player that can also be modified -- as you get more money -- to play even better. If you don't have the 15-20K to spend on the Meitner, having the next best thing or something close ain't the worst thing that could happen to you.
It is going to be awfully hard for vinyl to keep up with
SACD and even upsampled CD. A few years ago,
it might have made some sense to say forget digital,
but at this point in music playback history -- I don't
think one can say that unless one has an attachment
to the particular sound of vinyl similar to how some favor tubes over solid state. Even then, it doesn't make
sense to tell anyone to simply forget about digital or solid state. Believe it or not, some people don't prefer
tubes and don't prefer the clicks and pops of vinyl
over superb digital playback.
You may want to check out the new Arcam CD33 with upsampling. Otherwise the CD23 (which I own) is also a great choice, especially if you can find a used one. When I shopped for a CD player, I preferred the CD23 over the Rega.
That said, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the players you listed. It's just how well the player matches with the rest of your system.