Cant comment on thr AR as I have'nt heard it, but I use an old Sonograph SD1 cd player in a second system,and while it is not the last word in detail,it still sounds very good. I think I bought it around 1990?! A cd player that sounded good 20 years ago should still sound good today,assuming it is healthy electronically.
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Well, the biggest problem here is that the transport will stop working and be unrepairable because the parts are obsolete and unavailable. This happens all the time. My $1600.00 player sits in it's box because of this. Digital moves so fast that you can't count on repairability of older players. It is possible that Audio Research has stocked up on repacements and could service the unit if necessary, but I wouldn't count on it.
You can call ARC and see if they still have transports for the CD1. I know that they no longer have transports for the CD2. But I think you are taking a risk even if they still have a few transports. I would suggest a CD3 or later. The CD3 and later models are all top loading and can be repaired. They all use a similar transport.
Hifiharv makes a good point about designed obsolescence. This is done to keep folks buying. That being said, I think the claimed digital progress is over-rated. I'm still very happy with a 8 year old CDP. I have heard better, but it would cost a LOT more money for a slight improvement. I did try to sell it a little while back, but did not receive any realistic offers. I've decided to just roll with it and enjoy the ride.
Yea, think we've identified the major pros and cons. I run a Meridian 508.24. It's really old. But it consistently sounds as good or better than all manner of fancy, expensive, and "new" iterations of turning bits into music. Its a damn fine CDP, will give anything a run for its money, and can be had these days for relatively cheap. Full stop. Yet, the transport on that sucker has been unavailable for almost a decade. So, when it goes -- and some day it is sure to -- it's gone. (And no digital in, so when the transport kicks it, the DAC's paper-weighted as well). So there you have it: you can get truly world-class performance from a used, last-gen CDP these days for a real bargain, but for how long can be a real crap shoot and, not unlikely, a genuine zero sum game....
Not for nothin', but this reasoning (assuming it makes sense to you, which is certainly a matter of preference rather than objective truth or anything similarly fanciful) is precisely why I opted for the stand-alone DAC + separate (computer in my case) transport route instead. Mileage guaranteed to vary.
The problem with that plan Jim is that by the time you would require the repair the parts probably won't be availible anymore. Manufacturers usually design CDP's around current drives of the day, they buy some to use as spares for repairs, but almost every manufacturer eventually runs out of spares and a new drive design is needed. Unlike a computer, you can't just put any drive into a CDP. So a new model will have a new drive, but if the drive dies in 8-10 years, there probbably still won't be a drive sitting around for a drop in replacement.
Designed obsolescence, they do it because it works. See, you are now looking for a relatively new model. Hence manufacturers will continue to make parts become obsolete to encourage buying new(er). That is not just in audio, we are in general becoming a disposable society.
"The cd-1 is no longer supported by ARC, just like the CD-2. The pickups are no longer available"
"I run a Meridian 508.24... Yet, the transport on that sucker has been unavailable for almost a decade."Maybe one of these, available from this German entity, will work for you members:
"I purchased an extra laser to ensure the machine's longevity."That's the ticket: my transport (second owner, since 1998) is only on its second lifetime laser (proper maintenance, too: yearly cleaning, belt conditioning and mechanism/gear lube, just like my R2R's) and - when that goes - I've still got another laser and - when that goes - at 25+ years of component age, well...