Cambridge or Music Hall??

Hi all,

I'm looking for the best cdp for less than $500. It looks like the Cambridge 500SE and the Music Hall CD-25 are my best contenders.

I was also thinking about a used Planet, but it seems like the new 24/96 machines - while not built as well as the Planet - have more advanced circuitry and would prove to "sound" better??

Thanks in advance for your advice.
I got my NAD C541i for $435, including shipping from California to Michigan. Between the Cambridge and Music Hall, I'd go with the Music Hall CD-25. It looked and sounded great (in a dealer's otherwise High-end system in his home). I was less impressed by a Cambridge in a similar context. My other favorite CD player for under $1000 (besides the NAD 541i) is a $700 Rotel (971 - haven't heard the 1070). I hope you'll be able to audition your prospective CD players for yourself. Each has its own, usually subtle, sonic differences.
If you have narrowed it down to two, then let your ears be the final judge. The Cambridge is helped a lot by a better power cord. Does not have to be an expensive one. They just give a pretty cheap one with the unit.
I think the planet sounds better than either of those players. These days Planets are going selling for $400 used. Another alternative is the Arcam cd72. To me it sounds better than the old planet. It's more detailed, but still has the fun sound of the old planet.

By the way. I was faced with the same choices you are. I thought I HAD to have a 24/96DAC, but that was before I listened to the three machines. I liked the Planet, but it was close.
I actually have both units. I prefer the Music Hall - build quality is superb and the sound is first-rate. Cosmetics are outsanding! The Cambridge sounds warm and articulate. Build quality is nice but not substantial - a good value for the money asked. I'd go with the Music Hall.
I would go with the Music Hall MMF-25! I looked at both
players and thought the Music Hall had a better transport
and build quality. Also, there is a recent thread on this
board that mentions several failures of the Cambridge 500SE.
I also listened to the current Rega Planet. A very
good quality player - but a higher price point - and quite
frankly I do not like the top loading mechanism. It requires
space on the top shelf of your rack for easiest use - and
as someone who has been in the television industry since
the early 1980s - it reminds me of some of the old top
loading VCRs I used in the past.
The television industry moved on to front loading VCRs
in the mid-1980s for a reason - more accurate tape positioning and better reliability.