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.
oneinthepipe
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.

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?dgtlplay&1216945965
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).

http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6886&sid=40b2653d39999f53df246da72ef9d7c6

http://www.oppodigital.com/dv980h/

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.
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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.