Budget CD player recommendation

Prior to posting this thread, I read many of the previous forum topics, and I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and thoughtfulness in everyone's posts.

Until a few weeks ago, I had not been listening to home audio for the past ten years. This year, with my children being a little older, I unpacked some of my old audio gear and hooked it up.

I have an AR EB-101 turntable with an AT30E MC cartridge, a Van Alstine CA-50 amp, and a pair of Spendor S3/5 speakers (which I bought from a fellow audiogoner; my KEF 101's are still packed away).

Basically, I need an inexpensive CD player. I have a lot of music on CD, which I play in my car (where it sounds truly awful), and I want to play some of it in my house.

I have a 20 year old NAD 5425, which I rarely used, even 20 years ago, and it is horrible. I just can't listen to it. (I couldn't stand it when I bought it, but my friends told me that I needed a CD player. I bought it from George Merrill when he had a hi-fi shop in Memphis. It isn't any secret that George was keenly aware of early CD players' inadequacies. I should have listened to him rather than my friends.)

I understand that CD has come a long way in 20 years and that there are decent players in the $1000.00 range, but I can't spend anywhere near that much money. I need something to hold me over until I upgrade my amplification (probably with a Van Alstine modified Dyna PAS 3 and a Latino modified ST-70), after which I could purchase a better CD player, but I am probably looking at a year or two.

I can buy a NAD 515BEE for about $200.00, but there must be something better out there for $200.00-$400.00.

I read some posts about playing CD's through a computer using a DAC, but I think it is technologically beyond me (and I think DAC's are at least $1000.00).

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Do you have a DVD player?
Try it and see if you like it first before spending more money.
Good little player for the money, at least it was when I had one a few years ago.

Why don't you try a first generation Sony Playstation SCPH 1001? You could probably find one for $45...with a couple of games... or an Oppo DV980H DVD player for $169, delivered to your door (just in case you learn how to download movies...lol).



and.. I bought my tube DAC/Linestage (for my turntable) for $745 delivered.. a Monarchy M24.. in case you want to go computer based digital. Get a Macbook or Mac-Mini and use iTunes if you go this route.. super simple and user friendly.
The Music Hall CD25 aka Onix CD88 aka Shanling CD-S100 is the best value I know, used, at the low end. It will even repay tweaking with a power cord, antivibration feet and an op amp upgrade but that's only for when the bug hits. Straight, this CDP still plays music.
I've been happy with a couple of Cambridge Audio CD players. Currently using the 340C in my office and I feel it is just as good, maybe not quite as analytical, as the D500SE it replaced for almost $200 less.

If you could find an HDCD player within your budget, you might prefer it. My understanding is that the HDCD filter is quite good.

Also, Denon DVD (universal players) are quite good -- mine, the 3910, decodes HDCD. Denon has their own AL24 processing which you might enjoy.
I agree with Tobias, the Music Hall MMF25 is a fantastic CD player. And, at its price, an obvious choice.

You may also want to consider a Sony SCD-C333ES, which never fails to surprise me. And, don't forget about buying a low cost universal player from the likes of Samsung, Toshiba, or as Elf73 mentioned, Oppo.
I'm very fond of my old Rotel 991-AE (the Audiophile Edition makes a difference). It is one of the best CD players Rotel made absent the 990 perhaps which had a better transport mechanism. The 991-AE has better DACs etc though.

If you can find a good one, it shouldn't cost you more than $400-$500.

I've thought a lot of times about upgrading this CD player to more exotic players but the 991-AE is a very musical player with the right interconnects.
I will third the motion with Tobias and Trelja. The Music Hall CD 25 is a giant killer. I have gotten the upgrade bug and have had some high priced $3K-$5k players in my system (Lector CDP 7TL, Audio Aero Capitol 24/192, Music Fidelity 5, Sony Modwright 999ES, among others) and some well reviewed DACs (Bel Canto DAC 2, Benchmark I) and keep coming back to my trusty Music Hall CD 25 ( I have actually tried the 25.2 and the upgraded op amp modded versions but like the stock 25 better-which may be just a matter of personal taste.) Regardless, you definitely can't find anything near it for the price ~ $200-$300 used. I have it presently in my main system with $11K speakers, $7K/side mono amps and a Supratek Syrah pre so you can guess what I think of it regardless of price. (I actually bought two used backups in case my original one dies since they no longer make the CD25.)
Thank you for your replies. I will look for a used Music Hall CD 25.