------> Music Hall mmf cd-25
May I say that IMHO you really cannot waste your time listening. Everything you hear will teach you something.
One trick I learned from reading UHF magazine was to make notes, during or after a listening session. This is a bit of an art but you pick it up in time.
The most meaningful thing I found to note turned out not to be my impressions of the gear--crisp highs or whatever--but instead how the music touched me. That kind of thing can become the basis of useful comparisons.
OK now, that said, I like the Music Hall CD-25 (Shanling CD-S100) better than the other brands' models you mention at a similar price. AND it's tweakable.
Hey, would one of you please tell me what my favorite ice cream should be?! I currently have a big white bowl and a large spoon. I like the rich flavor of chocolate, but not when it's made too busy by multiple flavors (chunky monkey) or those damn jimmys! I also like strawberry, but definitely not mixed with chocolate, though with vanilla it is magical for me. Could one of you please help me narrow this down a bit. Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors, and I don't know how many possible combinations (forgot that math lesson), but it's quite a few!
Tobias- good advice!
PS Sorry Peter, couldn't resist! :-)
Look for a used Jolida 100 at about $580. I compared the Jolida against the $900 Rega Planet and the $1800 Rega Jupiter. The Jolida was much better than the Planet and came about 90% close to the Jupiter. It has a tube output stage, which you can spend another $50 when you have the money to upgrade to the Electro Harmonix tubes to get more resolution and detail. At a used price of $580, the Jolida 100 is a great value.