Another CD Player shopping question

Appreciate advice on CD Player shopping. Movers broke my Rega and now I'm in the market for a new player. I'm pretty flexible on budget, let's say between $1,000 and $2,000. Willing to consider new or used.

I auditioned the new Rega Planet alongside the Arcam Diva 82 and preferred the Arcam. Have been very interested in the Sony XA-777ES based on the reviews, design and modding potential. That said, I'm convinced SACD is going nowhere.

Can anyone tell me if the Sony XA-777ES is worth buying vs. an Arcam for regular CD playback only?

Are there other CD players that I should be considering?

I listen to a wide range of music but example bands would include: Cat Power, Jurassic 5, Iron & Wine, DJ Krush, Low, Clem Snide, and some classic jazz.

Well here are the few that I had my list narrowed down to before I bought mine a couple of months ago.
Also enclosed are the approximate (used) prices:

Cary 306/200 ($2,300/with volume control, $2,000 w/o)

Ayre CX-7 ($2,000)

Resolution Audio Opus 21
(1,800 older model - $2,200 new model)

I eventually went with the Resolution Audio Opus 21. It is a Great player, almost analog sounding, but it plays CDs only. By the way, the older model had two minor problems: The transport was somewhat noisy (audible between tracks), and the remote did not have direct track access. Both problems solved in the later model. (Jeff at Resolution Audio can update your player for a modest fee. (I got the later model so I did not need to have it done luckily. Jeff is a Great guy, btw!)

The Cary has HDCD decoding as well. The Cary and the Resolution Audio have built-in volume controls that allow you to hook them up to an amplifier directly, thus negating the need for a preamp. (That being said, I use a preamp with my Opus, and I use the DIN output to bypass said volume control.)

Check out the discussion forums for all three here and on Audio Asylum, as well as the on-line review sites.

I doubt you would go wrong with any of the three.

Good Luck!

Here are the players I've owned over the last few years:

Arcam Alpha 9
Theta Miles (balanced version)(built-in volume control)
Cary CD-308 (built-in volume control
Resolution Audio Opus 21 (built-in volume control
Granite Audio CD-650
Musical Fidelity CD/Pre-24 (pre-amp,transport,DAC and Digital swithcer in one box)

I will have a Quad 99 CD-P tomorrow too!

All of these except the RA Opus fit your price range or less. I've heard the Rega and I think I would prefer all of the above to the Rega.

That said, if you can spring for a few extra bucks, I highly recommend a used RA Opus 21 at about $2500 (new version).

For a budget player, I liked the Cary CD-308 for about $800 used or the Theta for about $900 used.

The MF CD-pre is really nice if you want to get rid of your pre-amp and save some shelf space.

I bought the Quad based on professional reviews. I'm hoping for greatness! It is $1500 msrp and they are $800-950 used.


You can usually find the Linn Ikemi a great player with a warm analog sound , HDCD decoding and balanced outs right here on AG for that 2000.00 mark
But now is agreat time to look at the universal players
My experience with Sony SACD matches most of what I've read, too. Fantastic with SACD. Very average with Red Book. Think about it, too. Which one company would most want to demonstrate the superiority of SACD in comparision to Red Book? I've heard that the Marantz SACD V14.2 is tremendous with red book. However, unless you're interested in SACD, buy a red book-only player. Theta, Arcam, Naim, and Lector are good brands to look at.
I have a used Sony XA777es coming and i'm hoping it's at least comparable to the Marantz SA14 ver. 2 when it comes to redbook to redbook comparisons, at least in transparency and bass extension. We'll find out.

With regards to SACD going "nowhere," do you listen to Classical? It's really taking off there.
I have had the

Sony XA777ES 3
Denon 2900 6
Denon 5900 5
Xindak SCD-2 4
Shanling T200C 2
Phillips Sacd 1000 APL Mod #1 on both CD and SACD, But am checking out the exemplar 2900 this weekend for a shootout.

I have had all these in my own system for 20 plus days driving myself to dance again....the search is never ending.