You are starting to build a new system, you've got to start somewhere, so a new cdp seems as good a place as any to start. You are right about your current receiver limiting your appreciation of a new cd players potential. However, if you had a new integrated amp or receiver and a substandard source, you'd still be in the same situation. You will add components as resources allow, look at this as a longer term project. I think that at this price point, the Cambridge players are a very decent product. If there is any way possible to swing $400, look at AudioAdvisor.com for a demo 640c. They go through the clearance/demo section regularly for about $400. The higher quality dac and other components will pay off in better listening when you can upgrade other components. AudioAdvisor also offers a 30 day, no hassle return policy, so you can try something they sell and risk ony being out shipping charges. I am using a 640c as a transport to drive an Assemblage 2.7 Platinum dac, and am very happy with the sound. I opened up the 640c to apply some vibration damping sheets, and was impressed with the build quality in general. Appreciably better than earlier generation Cambridge models. If you want to try something other than Cambridge, NAD is another high value brand to consider. A used Music Hall, as Trelja suggests, is another possibility.
5 responses Add your response
I'd consider a new Technics SL-PG4, if you can find one, for around $120. Made in W. Germany and uses a very good DAC. SaturdayAudio Exchange (www.saturdayaudio.com) has the NAD C-541i for $299. You could also buy an inexpensive Toshiba DVD/CD player for around $60. Another possibility is to buy a used CDP. NEC CB-500/650, 4-DAC Technics CDP's are great players which can be bought for peanuts on E-bay. You really do not need to spend a fortune to get a great sounding CDP. Be sure to use really good interconnects. Excellent for the $...Tara Labs Prism 33i, Wireworld Oasis 3, AudioQuest Quartz to name a few. Good Luck!
Krennert, I am glad to see you are pursuing this, and the Cambridge C540/C640 players are a good place to start.
My friend, who is somewhat of a dealer as part of his other audio business called me one day solely to absolutely rave about the Cambridge C640. I described it here on Audiogon http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1072396485&read&keyw&zztrelja+640.
To make a long story short, it is a fine player, and the C640 REALLY represents tremendous value at the $529 price point. However, the MMF25 is simply a clearly superior CD player.
Good luck in your acquisition!