Why not try the FMJ CD23 by Arcam? I've noticed too that there seem to be a lot of the Cary cd players on the used market. Not sure why...
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I own a DNA-125. It is a very clear-sounding amplifier, but could use a bit of softening (tube-like if I may say so). A fine amp indeed. I had the Cary 303 for 6 months. I sincerely beleive it's way overpriced and over-rated. Not a bad sounding unit, but very deceptive.I think Cary's forte is tube amplifiers, not digit boxes. Replaced it with a Rega 2000. My friends stopped laughing once they heard the music this diminutive player made. The rega has an easy-going presentation with excellent pacing, and complement the DNA's detail and crisp sound. A perfect match, try it !
Just my 2 cents...I've owned the Cary 303/100 for about 7 months and I can say it's the best cdp I've had in my system at its price point.
I also owned the "original" Rega Planet and found it to be boring and lifeless..a very overrated product.
The best way to find out which is right for you is to throw each rig into your system and let your ears make the final decision.
Some months ago I shopped around for a new CD player. In my search I looked at the FMJ and the CD92, as well as the Cary 303/100. I liked all three a lot, but found the Cary just a little sweeter, warmer. Needless to say, when I found a Cary CD 303/200 here on Audiogon for $400 less than a new FMJ, the decision was easy.
In my search I also listened to a Rega--the Planet not the Jupiter--and to me, it just didn't seem to provide the same kind of "life" (which I think is the appropriate term here) that the two Arcams and the Cary did. Again, I didn't listen to the Rega Jupiter, so it may be a case of apples to oranges. But to tell the truth, I liked the CD92 and a Cal CL-15 I auditioned better than the Rega Planet--check it out, too, if you get the chance.
Subsequently, when I put the Cary in my system, my Audio Physic Tempos opened up like tulips, like clear sky in the midst of a rainy summer day. In short, the music became wonderful.
In reference to your question regarding why so many Cary 303/100s are being listed on this site, it might have something to do with the fact that the Cary 303/200 came out late in 2001. Upgrade?
In any event, good luck in your quest.
Many used Cary's on the market because new models are out. Cary updated their CDP line this past summer with the 306/200 and 303/200 so this is probably why you are seeing many of the previous models up for sale. In any case, I would easily choose a Cary over the others mentioned here. Oh, I already did. ;-)