best cd player for 300-500 bux

just wondering what players to look at in that price range. i have a nad c541 now and would like to get a different player with a removable power cord. thanks for the info
New or Used? Just off the top of my head, I know both the new NAD C545BEE and the Marantz CD5003 have removable power cords, and both have gotten decent reviews. Btw, why do you want to get rid of your NAD C541? I think in the $300 - 500 range, you're not going to do all that much better in what you got. Your money would be better spend, either jumping up to a CDP in the $800 - 1000 range, or perhaps adding an outboard DAC to your NAD. If you want to have the capabilities of adding a removable power cord, I would think that shouldn't be a difficult (or expensive) mod to have done.
i concur with cleaneduphippy--use your $300 on a used dac like the cambridge. your nad isn't a great player, but it'll do just fine as a transport.
The best move I ever made was to a stand-alone DAC. I have the PS Audio Digital Link III and can run coax digital in from the CDP, Optical digital in from a Mac, and USB in from my laptop. Great sound, flexibility and reliable. On sale here at Audiogon for under $500 and new for just a bit more. I don't have one for sale nor do I know any of the current sellers. It will make a new source out of your old one. I have even used it with an inexpensive Oppo universal player and it is fantastic. Good luck in your quest.
So far used Alesis Master Link ML9600 for near $500 will get you one of the best red book CD playback + recording and possibility of the superior CD24 format you can get the benefits from and finally great headphone output capable to deliver 180mw i.e. drives upto 50Ohm impedance earspeakers without headphone amp(although I'd recommend for the better volume control). It also has digital in-out so you can use it as an interface i.e. DAC as well.
Got one recently for copying my records to CDs (has superior DAC and ADC)... Maybe it's a 'toy' but can't stop enjoying it how it does recordings and playback!
Second for the PS Audio D Link III. At the prices these are going for used it's a true bargain. You need to spend a lot more $ on a cdp to beat it.
Or the MHDT paradesia DAC that seems to get raves anytime it gets brought up. it's on my demo list.

I concur with getting an outboard DAC though. in your price range to get anything that has a chance of being an upgrade, that would be the way to go.
and to add, getting another player just for a removable power cord makes no sense to me.
Cambridge Dac Magic.......$350 to $375 at Audiogon.
so u would think a good dac would help more than getting something like a musichall 25.2? ok school me on how a dac works with my exhisting cdp. i will be doing some research meanwhile. how does it hook to my cdp? sorry for the stupid questions im a pretty lowfi guy. have a cheapish audio innovations tube preamp, and signal wires with psb stratus gold speakers. thanks for all the replies guys. kevin

We have all been there. In my mind (twisted as it is), every CDP has a DAC, most of the money on average CDPs goes into the drive, the case, the licenses, and not too much on the DAC. This changes when you spend lots of money on a CDP. The DAC takes the digital bitstream out of the laser and converts digital to analog so can send it to your amp and speakers. The laser will read the bits, but the Dac makes sense of it. I found that the better the DAC, the better the sound. Each DAC sounds a little different. There are many chips out there that act as DACs. Each one has a different character. Therefore, you can change the sound by changing DACs. The drive or transport may feed more accurate bits to the DAC and therefore affect the sound, but the DAC will add its character to the sound you hear. I found the DLIII DAC to be more like LP than other DACs I have heard (very limited). The magic is in the DAC. There are many fine DACS, in many price ranges and of many "signatures". You will have to experiment to find what is best for you. If you buy used, you can sell at little loss. I have no compulsion to change since I am happy with what I have. The DAC is more important than the transport, IMO. If you use a good digital coax, such as Blue Jeans or Signal Cable or better, you will transfer the bits accurately to the DAC. This will make your CDP sound great and save you money. At least until you decide to upgrade. Then you will be back here, perusing the posts and wanting to have even more! Good luck in your quest.

You need to check on the back of NAD CDP and see what kind of outputs (opitical or coax)that it as. Coax is better, but opitical also works well. Many good DACs in the $300 - 500 price range (and I see some have already been listed). Do a little research and you'll get a feel about the sonic qualities of the various DAC. Other than that hooking up a DAC is a matter of connecting the DAC to output (opitical or coax) on the back of your CDP by use of the apporiate cord, and then connecting the DAC to your amp/pre-amp.
How do you make the cdp that i have not use the dac that is inside it now? I really dont think that my unit has a digital or a coax output. I will check it tomorrow night. I seemed to have lost something in my system recently. I had a really good effect of the sound coming from right and left of my listening spot but now its gone. All of the sound seems to be coming from the speakers now which really annoys me. Any ideas on what to check out in my system would be greatly appreciated. A song i always used was "vogue" by madonna the tamborine sound always sounded like it was coming from right beside my spot and now its gone. thanx for any info
dude, weird. did you move your speakers? first thing I would check. are your speakers working correctly? try playing with speaker placement and toe-in.

the cdp will automatically bypass the internal dac if you use one of the digital outs -- coax or optical. it will prob have at least the coax out, most cdp's do.
thats the weird thing i didnt do anything. I just havent been messing with it that much since its drag racing season. My older psbs dont have any outriggers or spikes so i put my mapleshade plinths under them and that made things better but still no real 3d type sound. I even went and put in cable elevators just to make sure i wasnt getting something weird from my carpet and no luck. I tried toe in and straight. Reconnected all the analog wires. I dont know what gives. Could the tubes in my preamp need swapped out? any ideas would be great. Kevin

Here is another thing to think about. The DACs in the DACmagic are the same as in the Cambridge Audio 640C version 2 - "dual Differential Virtual Earth balanced filter topology and twin Wolfson WM8740 high quality DACs in dual differential mode for excellent stereo imaging" - according to Cambridge. Otherwise, the DacMagic is closer to somewhere between the Cambridge 640C and 740C CD players in terms of set up and performance.

But - you can probably get a used 640C version 2 CDP for between $300 and $400. You can then sell your NAD and buy a dandy used power cord for the Cambridge - which really makes a difference with this player. My guess is that the better jitter specs of the 640C v2 combined with a good power cord would out perform the NAD plus outboard DacMagic. Either way, at the price point used, the two Cambridge products would provide a distinct step up from what you have now with the older NAD.

The new NAD C-545BEE is supposed to be pretty good too at $499, but I have not heard it yet.
Unless your current player is having mechanical issues, pick up a Cambridge Dac Magic. You'll be better off than getting a Cambridge 640C or less due to the upsampling software from Anagram that's used in the 740 and 840.

You could also consider the new "toys" from Musical Fidelity. I'd pick the Dac Magic, but the V-DAC is still an option.

Your current player decodes HDCD which you'll lose when you change. That may or may not be an issue for you.
Drag racing? Hmmm.... Are you sure you haven't suffered loss of high frequency hearing? That would certainly cause your system to sound like you're describing. First, check your tweeters. If they're good, have your hearing checked.
One more thing to check before making hearing or any kind of failure conclusions:
CDs tend to degrade with the age. Re-recording CD onto the CDR might solve the issue. You will also need to increase the recording level by few db if the software allowes you to do so. I use Sound Forge to edit my recorded CDs and that helps alot.
well i found the imaging problem. i had swapped out my power cord to my tube preamp because it seemed loose. i just used another junk stock one. well i put the one in that came with the preamp and it was like i took a blanket off the system. needless to say im upgrading my cords to the other equipment.
Or just get an Oppo and save $100-300 for something else.