budget cd player

The more I read about it, the more I change my mind...
I know many threads cover the subject, but every scenario is different from others and I would like to have your input :

After waht I have read (and seen) about NAD players having hardwear problems, I do not have much trust in it.

I considered the CA 340c, than figured I would be better to go for a better DAC and settled on the 540c.

Than I read the Marantz 5001 is the best there is in that price range.

But since the 540c V2 is not in that price range, it may still be better.

But that was before I found out about the Onix CD5 (formerly known as the cd-99). Great reputation, low price. WOW!

But is it any good without the OPA627 upgrade?

I know you will tell me to trust my ears and to get on with it. But most of these are to be listen to in different stores and in different systems, hence difficult to compare. As for the Onix CD-5, it is to be ordered -- can't even hear it.

I also know there is always a better machine for just 100$ more, but believe me : I cannot go for moer expansive than those listed above.

One thing I have not said : I often feel my speakers a bit heavy on the bass and would like to give a lighter feel to my system.

Thank you all!
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.
I would choose a player from a company with a good history and strong customer support. It's hard to imagine that the players at that pice point will sound significantly different from each other. Also, consider a player with a digital ouput so you can add an outboard DAC later if you so choose.
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!
save your money. live with what you have until you can afford a more expensive player, preferably with tubes.
i have been disappointed with solid state players, such as arcams, nads, marantz players, cambridge players, etc. .

most of these players are not musical in the sense of timbrally inaccurate.
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.

there is a few music hall cd-25 used. for your price considerations, get one they really do a good job for a few hundred
go for the onix you wont be sorry
Bonmanp : I really nead a transport because the Toshiba 3990 stops between every track. It is impossible to listen to most of my cds.

VLAD1456 : I am reticent to buy used. Mainly for the garanty. Also because most sellers on Audiogon won't ship to canada.

Up to now, Onix seems to be it.
Any warranty is only as good as the strength of the company standing behind it. A twenty year warranty is wothless if the comany goes under five years after the purchase. This is only an example, and I'm not referring to any company in particular. However, it's a facet of warranties that people often overlook.
I purchased an Onix-88 a couple of years ago and upgraded to the op 627. Same as you was looking for a good sounding value. Was going to buy a Music Hall 25 and found out about the Onix, same machine, less expensive. Have been very satisfied. Dave
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.
The Onix is horrible stock. Bass shy and unnatural. I was afaid to mode it it started out so bad. What did you do?