I'd look to a used Rega Planet 2000 or Arcam CD73. Good sound for dollar and good dependability. Should be $400-$450. Another convenient option may be to get a USB DAC and run from your PC if you keep a music library on it.
For that money, I'd try to find an Audio Refinement Complete. Depending on personal taste, you may also want to have a look (better a listen, if at all possible) at the Opera Consonance cd120. Less musical flow i.m.o., better detail, others will hold.
I have really enjoyed my Music Hall CD25.2. Has a nice slightly warm rich sound and can be found used for around $300, new for $440.
A number of good choices have been mentioned but I would include the Cambridge Audio 640 C, both versions I and II. Obviously version I is going to save you a little more cash and version II is going to give you some upgrades in the D/A converter.
I'll add the Rotel RCD-1072 to the list. I had one and I am still sad that I sold it. VERY nice indeed!
The Denon DVD-2900 and DVD-5900 can both be had for around $200 and $500 respectively - both are highly recommended components, built like tanks, offer multi-format (CD, SACD, DVD, DVD-A, etc) compatibility, and are fairly common to find.
They both offer incredible performance for the price...just my $.02. Good luck!
They are a newer model, but look for a Pioneer
DV-58AV. An unsung hero on this site. Check out what
STEREOPHILE had to say about this vs the OPPO.
Great picture, excellent redbook and SACD.
Really good build quality for the price.
Good signal to noise ratio and great bass.
I have had many players up to $3500 and this one
really surprised me.
Easy. Rega Planet or Rotel 1072.
California Audio Labs CL-15
Musical Fidelity Electra
A Planet 2000 just sold for $350 in the classifieds. It's a nice player that usually goes for $400+, but I didn't find it any better than a Denon 2910 which goes for $200-250.
If I were in your shoes, I'd be looking for a Jolida JD100. Its tube output stage differentiates it from other low cost players. To my ears, it's much smoother and more natural sounding than either the Planet or the Denon. And the build quality is very good.
A used Eastern Electric MiniMax is close to that price and sounds great plus you can tailor the sound with tube rolling my suggestion is some Amperex tubes. Also it's a must to put it on cones or some other type of isolation it makes a HUGE difference.
Onkyo DX-7555. You can buy these new for 400 bucks these days.
I think the Rotel RCD-1072 is very hard to beat for the used price.
With the gear you have, the 1072 will sound mechanical IMO. I just didn't care for that player at all. I had lots of trouble getting real music out of it in my system, as well as a local buddy's system. Ditto the 640C v2. They are both too dry and lack the harmonic development to get woodwind timbres just right (if that matters to you).
The Rega Planet and Arcam 73 players are much better in comparison IMO. Also, the Marantz 8260 was really good. But after all that, I ended up with a Creek CD50 mk2 (which is no longer for sale - I don't know what I was thinking). The Creek can't beat my Audio Aero but for the used price, it is fantastic and suits my second system perfectly.
Hi Arthur, I see you've got the AA Prima 24/192 MkII. I'm eyeing a used Prima 24/192 in the MkI version presently. Have you ever heard that one, any comparison possible with the MkII?
I owned a Marantz 8260 at the same time I had the RCD-1072. I agree the 8260 sounded better, but I constantly had issues with the Marantz reading discs. I finally had to send it in for service and it never worked properly again. I ended up selling it to someone who was familiar with the issues, for really cheap.