the phillip 963 is pretty darn good. i would also check out the new marantz (warranty is mas importanate with the new units)
I would seriously look at Toshiba 3950 & 4900 DVD players, they have 24/192 audio Dac and sound great for $60-80 price new at Best Buy etc, I think they are at least equal to a used older $500 CDP you can buy here. I bought one of each to play around with.
If you are into DIY there are many mods also posted at AA forum.
The MMF CD25 ( Shanling CD-S100 ) is a really great player for the money, as you know, and you ought to be able to get it for a lot less than $500 used. I don't know of an older player selling for $500 which would beat it, as far as my ears were concerned, but a killer deal could come up, I suppose. The Shanling CD-S100 Mk II is a lot better than the first version. I sold my CD-S100 Mk II for under US$500. Unfortunately it is only available in Canada. Maybe another Canadian would sell you a used one.
I've had experience with five under $500 players in the last month or so and been able to A/B them pretty thoroughly in various combinations, the Music Hall CD-25, a Cambridge Audio 300se with upgraded opamps, an AMC CD8b, a Philips 963 DVD/CD player and a Toshiba 3950 DVD/CD player. With that many options and a fairly small price range, it's impossible to say just one was clearly best but here are my observations.
If you've got $500 that you don't need for anything else and are interested only in the best two-channel audio, get the Music Hall. If you want to spend that same money and are willing to give up just a little audio quality for high quality video and the potential for multi-channel audio, get the Philips.
If you want to spend $100 on sound and $400 on something else, and you can live with a little less quality, buy the Toshiba (or a JVC 600 series DVD player.) The two players in between, the Cambridge and AMC, are also very nice for the money, both between $100 and $200 used, sound somewhat better than the inexpensive DVD players and the ergonomics are better.
They all do a good job for what they cost but the Music Hall is the only one that makes me stop when I'm walking through the room and just sit down and listen.
I would think that brands like Rega, Arcam, MMF, Cambridge Audio etc would produce better units (ie. sound and build quality) than any low cost stock dvd player such as the phillips 963 or toshiba players... Moreover, when you buy used you won't have to worry about the value depreciating.. You can turn around and sell it for the same price your bought it for if you are displeased. Therefore I see more value in buying used over new.
thanks for all the advice
i used to have the mmf 25 and the old rega planet.
i have to say i was a big fan of the mmf 25
do others feels than the planet 2000 beats the original planet?
i really like the old one and thought that it had an overall smoother presentation than the 2000.
i am leaning towards the mmf
I think that in this price range the used Planet 2000 reigns supreme. Mind you I have one that I'm perfectly happy with. This is just my opinion. Sidenote, I'd suggest using the Nordost Blue Heaven as in IC with this player. They complement each other very well.
In any case, take your time and give them all a try.
Afro18, yes, the Shanling 100 is the same player as the Music Hall CD-25. I'd point out, though, that the one for sale now on ebay is a 220-volt version and would require an external transformer to be used here. The cost of a transformer good enough to not affect the sound, plus the shipping, would bring the cost up to or above what a used CD-25 usually goes for here on Audiogon, not to mention the potential import hassle and duty payments.
I highly recommend the player, though, wherever you get one. I bought a used CD-25 for $350 and it was an absolutely exceptional-sounding piece of gear in stock form.
After reading some stuff about the various modifications, I decided to do the easy ones myself. It's now got extensive sound-dampening applied to the inside of the case and a high-quality power cord.
The best upgrade, though, was replacing the stock opamps with 8066 opamps. the pair cost $54, which is a substantial percentage of the purchase price, but the difference in sound is remarkable, way beyond what you'd regard as a 'tweak,' more like getting a major speaker uprade. The sound is much cleaner, more articulated, and the bass is dramatically more realistic. It's a very simple procedure, as well.