Best CD Player under $1000

Dear everyone, I would like to get some of your opinions on CD player upgrade under consideration. I have following audio system: Quad 405-2 power, Quad 33 pre-amp, NAD 512 CD player, B&W CDM1 SE, Tara Lab Prism 22 interconnect, and MIT T2 Biwire speaker cables. Mostly I listen to classical music, ranging from piano, cello, to orchestral works, sometimes jazz. I would like to get clean, accurate, detailed, transparent, a great soundstage, and depth? As a first step, I am considering upgrading my CD player. Which CD player under $1000 can give a clean, accurate, detailed, transparent, a great soundstaging, and depth sound and that provide a great upgrade option as a CD transport in case that I buy DAC later on? Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time in advance.
Have a listen to some DVD players.Some of them are quite remarkable on CD audio playback.Some I have tried under a thousand were Rega Planet,Marantz CD63 SE.I tried A/B comparison between Arcam Alpha 8SE and Toshiba 3107 DVD player.Even the salesman said he couldn't justify difference in price. Good Luck. Kevin
I might first buy an outboard DAC and use my existing transport. The Bel Conto DAC-1 is an upsampling DAC selling around $1000. I think it will make the most dramatic change in your system along the lines of the sound you are looking for. It is a winner!
Tough call. I'm in much the same boat (also looking for the "best" CD player under $1k). I'm listened to many in production models and to some used, i.e. older equipment. Since I don't listen to all that much classical (rock and jazz for me), we might not want the same things from our CD players. However, here's what I've found: Rotel RCD-971 for $699. Fantastic player. A real stand out. Rega Planet for $795. Warm with some roll off to the highs. Pioneer Elite PD-65 for $800. Good overall. NAD C-540 for $499. Not bad at all from NAD. Cambridge Audio D500 for $499. Impressive sound, not too keen on the build. Sony XA20ES for $700. Built like a tank (like the Pioneer). Sound is okay. For my money, if I decide to go with a CD player, I'd go with the Rotel. You need to audition them yourself. I've also thought about going with a transport/DAC combo. Here I'd look at buying a used CD player and get one of two new DACs. I'm looking at a Cal Audio DX-2 or Cal Audio Delta transport, or even a Rega Planet (if I could get a real steal on one) for the transport. Then possibly the MSB Link DAC ($399) or the EVS Millenium DAC-1 ($650; only available online fom The DAC-1 has some very impressive reviews on Since I can't really audition the transport/DAC before buying, I'm going to have to get a real good deal on a transport to make me want to give it a go. EVS gives you a 30-day money-back deal, so I guess if you ended up hating the Millenium DAC, you could return it. But with the solid 5 star ratings on this DAC, it doesn't sound like much else compares to it for the money. Always have to say "for the money."
I recently posed this same question to the fellas here. I got some great advice, LISTENED to everything recommended, and snapped up a Planet. No regrets. FYI, the Planet has a digital out.
Speaking of digital outs, the lower end Sony's seem to only have TOS-link out. I don't really think in a 1m run there's going to be that much difference from coax, but not all DACs have an optical in. If you do go separates, and not a single CD player, make sure your transport and DAC have compatible connectors.
I can second the previous recommendation of the Rotel RCD-971. I A/B'd it with the Rega Planet and picked the Rotel (the other person in the room also picked the Rotel). Of course all this is very subjective so definitely pick what sounds good to you :) If it makes a difference to you, the Rotel also decodes HDCD. We auditioned the gear on a system with Krell electronics and B&W Nautilus (804s I think) speakers. Another interesting player is the Ah! Tjoeb player (a modified Marantz player with a tube output stage substituted). Anybody here have any experiences to share? Lots of folks at "" had good things to say about it. Info and ordering available at: Have fun!
CEC TL5100Z belt-drive($800.00 from;msrp-$1795.00)
look for an Arcam alpha 9 cd player used for about $1,000. it's wonderful.
The original post didn't specify whether used was OK or not. I recently bought a used CAL Alpha DAC/Delta transport in cherry shape for under $1,000 and am very happy with it. I see these listed from time to time on Audiogon.
all of the above are good, I have heard most of them but settled on the musical fidelity e624 from audio advisor for $850.this player to my ears and friends also was the closet to vinyl. read what others have to say about it at they are hard to find used????