Hi Remi. The Cambridge players although they sound good seem to have a bad rep with reliability too. I would consider the Onix or Marantz.
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I just bought the Onix CD5. I have had it for a few weeks. No complaints. I have a Mcintosh MA 5100 Integrated and heritage Klipsch La Scala speakers. I am not a sound expert. I just try to make my money go as far as possible. I have an extensive collection of live music that was recorded by audience mics or through a soundboard, so a lot of my cds are burned cd-r media. I have had only one cd not play in the new player, so I am hoping not to run into more cds that won't read. I was a longtime owner of NAD equipment. I have had several NAD cd players over the years. Several of the newer NAD players had problems reading some of my burned cds, so I had to start looking around for a new player. I ended up getting the Onix and have enjoyed it so far. Very solid looking piece of equipment. Good luck!
Mrtennis : of course I can't go wrong with better equipment.
The choice I am about to make has been awaited for too many years already. Plus, I will not upgrade the rest of my system for many more years and it is not that great (yes, its an euphemism and I figure you would be disapointed with it).
Yet I am not miserable with it.
Except for what I use as a cd player : the cheap DVD player I bought as a temporary solution stops between tacks and it is driving me mad.
So here I am looking for a sub 500$ machine.
Call it bad if you wish, I will see the solution as the "less-worse" possible.
Would you consider a DAC to use with the digital output of your DVD player? Since you're not paying for the transport, remote, etc., you may find the value of a stand-alone DAC appealing. I would look at offerings from PacificValve.us (which also sells a few low-priced CD players, all with a 30-day return option), MHDT Lab (look for his DACs selling on Ebay), or a number of used DACs here on the 'gon. I cannot comment on the sound of these DACs, but common sense would suggest better sound quality for a DAC costing itself what a one-box unit does.
I own an Onix CD-99 and I love it. I also have owned the NAD c542. I think as far as sound they are about equal. The NAD sounded a little too bright for me. The looks and warranty (3 years!) make the Onix a no brainer at this price point. I purchased a demo model for $299 from AV123. The Cambridge Audio and Nad players both cost more. Well, that's my 2 cents for what it is worth. Good luck on your decision.
I went to audition some CDPs today, here is what I found :
The local market does not have lots to offer in my desired price range.
I got to try Cambridge Audio 640c V2, Nad 525 and 542, Rotel 1072, Marantz 5001 and Arcam cd73.
I managed to listen to the 640 and 1072, 525, 542 and 5001, and 640 and cd73 in the same conditions (system/room). All played through much higher price and quality preamp, amp, speakers, cables than the players own values.
If you do the maths, I could not compare directly (at all, in my opinion) the 640 and 1072 to the NADs and Marantz, or the cd73 to the NADs, Marantz or the 1072.
By illimination : I prefered the 640 to the 1072 for its more relax low range (Massada Ensemble contra-bass felt more natural on the 640 and too tight and dynamic on the 1072). The second was very clean but maybe too analytic for my taste.
I disliked the 5001 for its lack of musicality (sounded like a machine playing my music, and I was genuinely anoyed by Massada's violin harsh sound), and prefered the 542 to the 525 for its more natural, more musical and round, full sound. Yet I was not amazed.
I then compared the 640 and the cd73. I went back from one to another so many times and did not feel so much of a difference -- untill I put K. Jarrett's "The Cure". On this album, the piano sounds like it is miked from the inside and with the cd73, I felt like my head was inside the piano. The sound was now clearly warmer, fuller : much more naturel than with the 640 V2. Same with MMW "Tonic", recorded in a very small bar with all the instruments cramed close to each other with the audience (of too small stage, along with the crowd).
Now, my living room is far to sound as good as the listening rooms I used today.
My amplifier and (most of all) my speakers are of much less quality than those used for auditioning the CDPs.
I have a hard choice to make : the 640 is already rough on my budget, the cd73 busts it. I figure I will not hear that much of a difference at home. But I wouldn't want to regret a compromise the day I buy new, better speakers : "buy better, buy less", "cry more, but once" they say.
I think Arcam will be it -- unless I get real "reasonable" real soon.