Used Naim cd-5i. Great sounding cdp IMHP. I have seen them here on A'gon in your price range. Good luck.
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Kira- all American assembly line workers are "uneducated semi-illiterate" individuals? Really?
So should we assume that a Chinese assembly line individual would be better educated?
Of course Chinese manufacturing has it's advantages. If the Chinese guy fails to show for work, the State police go to his hovel and investigate. And the worker has very little access to information that is not filtered by his employer or government, so he can concentrate better on the task at hand.
There is no doubt that the Chinese are building very high quality products these days. But in no way are the two economic systems you contrast remotely alike. I'm not a union man, and I am a free market, free enterprise booster. But that whole communist angle makes the comparison between US and Chinese manufacturing a bit more tricky than it might appear.
The Njoe Tjoeb 4000 is a Marantz 4000 made in china, then shipped to Europe for modifications. It is a very high quality peice which I have used for the past 3 years. Trouble-free, but it is made in China. I also like my Jolida which is originally made in China, then shipped to the US for final assembly, QA and minor modifications. It is modded in Canada. You can tell people it is made in Canada or the US or China, depending on who you are talking to! But the same quality made in the US or Canada or Europe will be twice as much. For that, you can assure yourself that you are contributing to the decent wages, benefits and lifestyles of the workers, or you can do what most Americans do, go to Walmart, not give a damn, and buy the cheaper one. Now China has followed the lead of Japan from the 60s and 70s and turned cheap crap into well-made machines that rival anyone's. We can hope that someday the workers of China will have decent wages, benefits, and lifestyles
Great; I knew I would find some good answers here! Thanks!
The AH! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 seems to be an older model; reviews date back to 2001 and 2002. Does that not matter?
Rich wrote: "There's the Rega Apollo. Don't quite accept the quality reference though."
Good lead, thanks. Regarding the quality reference, do you mean that the Rega is not good quality, or do you mean that all Made in China stuff is not necessary poor quality?
I have a plastic cup Made in China. It leaks.
Tgrisham wrote: "the same quality made in the US or Canada or Europe will be twice as much"
That's perfectly OK with me. So why is there not a larger selection of CD players made in these countries at $1,000 or so? There are hundreds (thousands) of China-made CD players under $500; I would be prepared to buy the same made in the UK or Germany if it was twice (or, pushing a little, even three times the price).
I have several issues with buying stuff Made in China (let's say it has bad vibes), and I am amazed that the disappearance of any low and mid-range products made elsewhere has seemingly gone un-noticed.
I am amazed that the disappearance of any low and mid-range products made elsewhere has seemingly gone un-noticed.What makes you think people haven't noticed? The loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. to overseas locations is extremely noticeable here in the mid-west.
As for your question though, if used is ok then go for a used Cary or Resolution Audio cdp. Extremely good pieces at used prices.
Although even with American or European assembled pieces, most of the parts are sourced from China.
The first Hondas looked like pregnant roller skates.
I recall laughing hysterically at the time thinking they (Honda and Japan for that matter) could only do motorcycles.
Not lawn mowers
Not racing engines
Ditto Toyota, Nissan (Datsun at the time), Mitsubishi, and Suburu.
Those Japanese aren't so funny anymore are they?
I bought my first Toyota back in 76. Drove it for 5 years. During that time it needed a brake job and a battery. Since then I have owned 8 more Toyotas. My current Toyota was made in Kentucky while my Ford Focus was made in Mexico.
As for my stereo, the components in my current system were all built in the USA. Fantastic quality IMO.
This may or may not be an example. PS Audio made the Digital Link III in California under the watchful eye of Cullen. When the finished product was fully released it was stellar. Then the production was moved to China. Cullen had no more responsibility for the product. Mine was made in China and PS Audio will stand behind it. However, the split between Cullen and Paul is an example of the issue of quality control. Once a product is made in China, the company loses some control over the product. Even if company managers are on site, changing supplies and QC are issues. You will not find those issues in Japan, the US or England. Cullen will take DL III units and "bring them up to spec" before he does his mods. That should tell us something. Another example is the fact that my Onkyo 805 is made in Japan. It has worked flawlessly since I bought it. The less expensive 505 I bought for a simple living room system was made in China and lasted one hour before self-destructing. The service rep who took my call and gave me a RMA was "ho-hum". It had happened many times before. Make no mistake, there are quality products from China, but the quality is highly variable and the issue of returns and repairs is problematic. In my experience, it is indeed safer to buy from a company that designs and manufactures their product in the US or Canada or England. Its your money, do what you will. Caveat emptor.
To answer the original question, I just bought a brand new Rega Apollo, which is 1100, and it blows away any other player I have ever heard, including ones that cost 5 times that. I haven't heard any above that level, I should add. What I like the best about it is the sound of it - they mitigate some of the harshness of most digital players, trying to make it sound as close to analog as they can. Anything else I have ever heard in the price range you are talking about does not come close - much brighter and harsher sound, and certainly not nearly as well built.
Well, I just received my new end-of-line Cyrus CD6S. It is quite an improvement over my ageing Arcam Alpha 7SE. The Cyrus is beautifully presented, and the attention to detail is reassuring; i.e. the instruction manual is well written and printed, the remote is very logical and, of course, the sound is beautiful - very detailed.
The negative point is the tray mechanism, as pointed out in other reviews. It sounds like a cheap PC CD drive. It is purely esthetical and occurs only when loading or unloading the CD; it does not otherwise affect the performance of the machine. The newer models have a CD swallowing mechanism (slot loading) instead - not sure if I would have preferred that.
Anyway, another beauty of this beast is that it can be upgraded to various upper models, including the latest one, if desired.
I understand there is still a small supply of Cyrus CD6S end-of-line units at bargain prices.
Rega and Oppo might be in your price point...
But if you are looking for great sound, I would seriously look into a good DAC, like Benchmark's DAC? and then use what you have as transport?
VERY hard to find a good HiEnd HiFi player for under $1000, from any country. But then again, i have expensive taste...
I am Taiwanese, and i'm very involved in Taiwanese manufacturing field, so I try not to buy Made in China products (such as ones you see in WalMart).
But if you are talking about Chinese 'HiFi', hard to beat the Chinese. Brands such as Opera/Consonance/Cayin are very reputable, and even well received in Japan, especially so if you are talking about analogue/tube based hifi equipments. I have to say...They do sound GOOD.
It is misconception that Chinese workers are uneducated and unskilled. Underpaid, Yes. But the Chinese have VERY highly educated workforce. (well people in the coastal cities...)
And if you are talking about outsourced products, Chinese are not going to over engineer something, they build to designed spec. They would only do enough QC/QA as needed to meet specified price. If you want something as cheap as possible to satisfy mass American retail market. You want junk, they will give you junk.
"You want junk, they will give you junk"
- completely agree. There is a factory in Korea called "Samic" that manufactures guitars (largest in the world). Assembly lines are totaly automated and everything is computerized. They built about 0.5 million instruments a year. Most guitars come from them. When they build expensive guitars for Gretch they dial different woods and hardware than when the order is for cheap guitars.
Not only that PC boards inside of "Made in USA" electronics are assembled in China but also semiconductors come most likely from the fab in China, Inodnesia, Singapur, Korea etc.
Once, when I felt very patriotic, I bought Ford. Thing did not work as I expected (it was a disaster). Now I have Toyota Avalon that just had first brake job after 12 years and 100k miles. No single problem or repair, just oil changes (looks and drives like new). It was built in Kentucky. Both cars were made in USA but Japanese design and used materials were better.
I bought recently Metabo Drill. It was the only company still manufacturing at home in Germany and very proud of it. It says on the handle "Made in PRC" (Peoples Republic of China).
Kira, The Chinese gear Ive purchased has had far more problems for me than any other country of origin. Nice the price is low but so is the quality and how they handle customers. With Chinese drivers some I reject over 50%. Seen a major manufacturer send reps to US distributor to check out quality of Chinese production once seen this rep remove 40% of Chinese produced drivers. And these are not low cost parts... And the uneducated US worker comment. My teamster friends would like to talk with you on that one.
Johnk, the point you make is most valid.
As the importer of a line of Chinese gear, I can speak with authority in saying the failure rate of their CD players and solid state/hybrid components is so incredibly high as to be difficult to believe.
In the industries I come from, a 1% failure rate is utterly unacceptable; enough to launch us into a frenzy to determine the problem, then rectify it immediately. However, in seeing 75% failure rates in the aforementioned categories, one is lead to the conclusion that something is clearly amiss in terms of the design of the components, and not only their execution and assembly.
The sad reality is that we have entered the age of the CNC, where a beautiful chassis can be rendered by a third party, providing the illusion of build quality, when in fact, the business end of things - what is actually inside of that nice box, is pitiful.
Trelja - where do you see 75% failure rates? Cambridge Audio manufactures in China and there failure rate is not so high. Cambridge design engineer once told me that manufacturing their gear in UK would raise price 2x.
CNC is a good thing. People hand made stuff for ages because there was no other way. CNC is more accurate and repeatable - not to mention production cost. There is still a lot of gear hand soldered but we move toward SMT and SMT automatic assembly machines in China are the same as in US.
Kijanki, "Trelja - where do you see 75% failure rates?"
I see it in the line that I represent, which is one of the foremost and well respected of Chinese audio producers.
I'm not pulling numbers out of thin air, I've documented this, and obviously shared them with the company. Along the way, I've also built up relationships with counterparts ala other distributors for the line, and their figures work out the same. In fact, there is one product that has a documented 100% failure rate. 100%!!! The company's reaction? Well, if they took their quality issues seriously, and reacted in the expected manner, you would see me writing from a different perspective in this thread.
I understand your point regarding CNC. But again, what I am saying is that it provides a false sense of build quality in that we are led to believe that what inside the box is up to the same standards as the box itself. In reality, they have absolutely no relationship to each other whatsoever.
You can infer from my previous post that it is, in fact, the hand soldered components (tube amplifiers and preamplifiers) that are far more reliable than those relying on PCB and/or SMT (CD players and solid state/hybrid amplification). In fact, statistically, the tube components are at least 3 orders of magnitude more reliable. Therefore, I actually have no hesitation in recommending this gear.
One final point, the price advantage of Chinese components has disappeared. For example, a certain tube integrated from a well known and established American manufacturer costs $1795. My aim was to have the company I represented produce for me a similar offering. When all was said and done, what would that product have to retail for? $2495.
Trelja - It's amazing that this company is still in business. I'm surprised by better quality of hand soldered components than SMT. My experience is different. SMT process is much better controlled than hand soldering. Company I work for had a lot of problems with hand soldering a no problems at all with SMT - zero. SMT process is well controlled to pitch of 12 mils while density/pitch of an audio board is usually not smaller than 20 mils. Many companies use SMT boards (Krell, Linn etc) and a lot of CD players have SMT boards. Where this boards come from? - most likely from China. I suspect that as long as gear is put together here it can be called "Made in USA". It would be interesting to find exactly same piece of equipment made at the same time in two countries.
Your point about human versus machine manufacturing is valid, Kijanki. However, as I said in my first post, it presupposes the design of said product is sound in the first place. Clearly, in my situation, it's not.
And, again, the company I represent is one of more well known and successful. One of the Chinese "Big 5" as they're known, in high-end audio circles.
Newbee is correct. I am the distributor/importer (and in charge of repairs) for all Opera Audio and Consonance high-end audio components in the North American (USA and Canada).
As I have said, they are one of the largest and most respected Chinese manufacturers in the field. I don't want to single them out, as my opinion from "comparing notes" with other industry insiders is that my experience is not out of the ordinary. But, to put a positive spin on things that deserve it, the sonics of their CD players at their respective pricepoints are class leading, and their tube equipment is not only solidly built and reliable, but especially good sounding.
I've always found it interesting that a company like Matsushitas Industries that make the Panasonic and Technics lines never really got going on the hight end. Onkyo at one time tried to begin heading in that direction, and some of their late 70s components (integrated amps) were nicely built with wood sides, quality components, etc. Pioneer sort of became the leader in Japanese high end in the 70s and 80s and then with their Elite series. Sony of course has dabbled along theway, but for preamps and amps, it seems only Accuphase really hit the mark for the high end.
Please correct me if I am wrong about this.
But go into any high end store in Tokyo (I have many times) and you see brands unknown to US consumers of low power single-ended triode stuff for those small city living spaces; 1 watt goes a long way in Tokyo.
But man do they know how to make phone cartridges!
Trelja - Is the high failure rate in the field, or is it on products that are shipped to you? In other words, you get a CD player from the company, take it out of the box and run it for two days without incident. If it gets that far, is it likely to later fail in the field? Or are a majority of the units just DOA when they reach you?
Excellent question, Chayro!
I will answer the "right out of the box" in terms of CD players with the proviso of "First 100 hours of operation". The reason being that when one is dealing with the laser head of a CD player, the danger is in damaging it via ESD (electrostatic discharge), which will often result in the laser initially working, but failing in the first day or two of playing. Following that, I'd say it's about 50/50.
In terms of solid state and hybrid integrated amplifiers, the failures come not right out of the box, but down the road.
As an example, about a month ago, a guy I sent a replacement integrated amplifier (long story, but customer service is important to me, and you have to do what you have to do - which means eating a lot in terms of cost) 2 or 3 months previous to that called to let me know his amplifier just up and quit one day. I had him send it up to me, and it was clear the amplifier wasn't abused in any way or shorted out, it simply kind of melted down in being asked to drive a 4 ohm loudspeaker load. In that the speakers were Totem Arros, about as ubiquitous a loudspeaker as one is ever going to find, this was particularly outrageous to me. Again, this is another case not of workmanship during the assembly, but improper design. If a product cannot easily go 5 - 10 years when partnered with such a mainstream product, what does it really say about what is coming out of that place?
I've worked with the factory in getting him the next amplifier up the food chain, with a bit more in the way of output transistors and power supply. I'm crossing my fingers right now, as I have no idea that the end result won't wind up the same as what we've just seen. Note, this is now costing me twice for a sale the previous importer made, and took all of the profit on, but the customer should be the last one concerned with this.