If you have $10 to spare, how about an old Sony PlayStation SCPH-1001? (Add about $30 for wireless remote control and plug-in IR receiver.)
The original Rega Planet can be had for about $300 used. And the new Rega Apollo might fit the bill as well.
For $1500, two good but distinctly different choices are a used Rega Saturn or a new Jolida JD100A with level one mods. I have both of these, the Rega in the HT and the Jolida in my secondary system. Both are excellent. Two minor negatives re their displays - Regas's could be bigger, and Jolida's would benefit from an easier to see color or brightness/contrast level. Again, these were really minor factors, hardly enough to keep me from getting them (obviously).
I wasn't kidding about the Playstation, by the way. You can spend $5,000 and still not get a smoother, more grain-free sound. It sounds like that's your main priority, so for the price of lunch at Subway, it's worth a try.
Cary 308T is another option you may want to consider. If you want to stretch your budget a couple hundred dollars the Ayre CX-7e is a very nice CDP.
I really feel (no disrecpect intended) the only viable suggestion here is the Ayre. Digital is pretty poor, unless you get something very special-and digital is still very dependent on isolation, PC, IC, line conditioning and system symetry. You may want to consider a music server with a benchmark dac (also very dependent on the aforementioned) if you have a computer in the house. I think you need to spend much more money to equal the benchmark (with, again, good PC, IC, line conditioning, etc) and, say, a squeezebox. I just spent a few hours just now, listening to some pretty good recordings on my Esoteric XO3 SE (way over your budget) but I also spent a few hours listening to the SB/Benchmark combo and it sounds pretty darn good. You could eben get a used benchmark ($650 on agon) and hook up to your current CD player-just don't skimp on a power cord and interconnects.
Thanks for all suggestions. I will look into all of them, including the Sony Playstation. Ekobesky, I know you are not kidding as I have a friend who once owned players costing well above $5k that has now developed a new hobby of collecting exclusively vintage players. He now has half a dozen of old players bought for the price of dirt that according to him sound more raw and musical in comparison to the more dynamic and detailed players he has previously owned. He prefers the older players.
Check out the Marantz SA-15.
No such thing. Don't waste you time and money looking. Be happy, enjoy. Also, try to listen to some good pre-recorded reel tapes. Since they are analog, it might make you aware of what you are hearing, cd vs vinyl but in reality analog vs. digital. I have some albums, both the vinyl and reel, done at 7 ips and reel has the edge on the vinyl. As you may know, the people at The Tape Project have taken reel to another level.
Counterpoint DA-10 DAC ($500). Send it to Michael Elliott at Alta Vista Audio for upgrade....or use as is with any transport of your choice.
Get the model with the 20 bit Ultra Analog card upgrade if you are going to use it as is (this is the one I owned at one time).
Used modwright player. Read the reviews!
Sorry, but I tend to agree with Buconero117, that you are chasing a ghost. Especially if you are limiting yourself to current production models. I would recommend looking for a player capable of SACD first and foremost. I have heard some very good reference redbook recordings, but in general, SACD sounds much closer to vinyl IMHO.
Maybe try a Marantz SA-15S2. If you're not interested in SACD, try a tube CDP from BAT, Lector, PrimaLuna, Tube Technology, etc.
The Audio Aero Prima CDP sounds somewhat like vinyl w/o tubes, but I've heard too many mechanical issues about AA gear to recommend it. Happy hunting.
Rather than looking for something that sounds close to vinyl, an alternative is to decide whether your Krell CD player is neutral/musical in other systems. I suspect it is...and there is something else on the edge in your system that the LP glosses over or smooths out (ie. certain poorly recorded CDs, the room, the placement of speakers and listener in the room, the speakers themselves or the preamp/amp.
I JUST bought a Xindak DAC-5 demo for $700 (list is $900). Not sure what you'd partner it with as a transport & digital cable) to meet your $1500 price point, but it is the most analog like digital I've ever heard.
Digital has advanced quite a bit. Vast majority of digital players sound mechanical and clinical up until a couple of years ago. Most recent designs are much better. The latest Sony XA5400ES sounds rich and lush. Not a hint of clinical or lean sounds. Or old PS1 is very smooth and rich, and easy to try at less than $50.
no experience with Krell cdp's but read on more then one occasion they are cold and clinical sounding. My Eastern Electric tubed cdp is around $550 used and it's definitely not 'digital' sounding.
I would say something with tubes is a good place to look.
I second Rega Apollo, for vinyl-like sound. Older Meridian CD players like 506 or 508 can be obtained under 1K, and they would surprise you. At least, they are fabulous transports. Njoe Tjoeb with 6922 tube output sounds natural as well.
>>CD Player Under $1.5k With Vinyl Sound<<
Doesn't exist; don't kid yourself.
Find something that's not fatigueing and stop chasing the "vinyl sound".
Many find non-oversampling CDPs less fatiguing, but lacking detail. Audio Note, Red Wine Audio, Scott Nixon, are a few to consider in that camp. Many are <$500.
I agree that tube output sections also are a step towards what you are after. I found myself in the same situation as you, and have been resonably happy with a Musical Fidelity TriVista 21 dac (Nuvistor tubes) and a Squeezebox and/or older Sony cdp as transport. You can find the TriVista 21 used around $1200. Cheers,
I agree that there are no CD players with vinyl sound.
It's like asking for an apple that tastes like watermelon.
I'm not sure why you'd want a CDP that pops and clicks.
The consonance cd-120 linear is quite analogue sounding, detailed, smooth and natural sounding. Good imaging and quite dynamic. It sound very real with voices and instruments.
I want to chime in. As a committed analog nut, I recently replaced my 18 year old Yamaha CDX-1030. I accepted the fact that so much is not available on vinyl for my VPI TNT, Graham Phantom Mk ii and Clearaudio Stradivari.
I went with April Music's Stello separates, the CDT-100 and DAC-100 Signature, $895 and $995 retail respectively. With a little haggling, you can get at least $100 off each unit - close to your price target.
After about 200 - 250 hours, I could not be happier - very high value.
audio aero prima used - don't get one with phillips transport (breaks down and it's a boat anchor)
audio research cd2 or cd3 - built like a tank and nice warm sound - may be lacking just a hair in detail
The PS Audio PWT and PW Dac come as close as I have heard, but cost 6K.
Tvad- just curious- have you heard this combo?
I second Stephennic's take on the CD-120 Linear. Anything with no upsampling/oversampling and just 16 bit with no opmaps or digital
filters do wonders in approaching that vinyl sound your after. A step
up would be the Consonance Orfeo, from their Forbidden City series.
Bigger transformers and upgraded parts with 2 1541 DACs per channel.
If you can hold out until November or so, Consonance will have a
super tubed version of the Orfeo (like the 2.2 Linear) that you can lust
after as well.
Srwooten, I have not heard that combo.
It is a little older but if you look you can get a Cary 306/200 for around that amount. IMHO it is one of the best CD players out there on the used market.
Ryder, The more I listen to records the more I can relate. I've also started spending much more for high quality recordings. Have you heard the Natalie Merchant or Yes Mobile Fidelity CD's yet? As they say it starts at the source!
Velocityofhue, I have not heard of Natalie Merchant but have checked her out. Great voice and talent that reminds me of Sarah Mclachlan. Thanks for the recommendation.
I agree with audiofeil. It does not exist. I use an old Cal CL15. It sounds great. I usually listen to it only as a warm up. When my system warms up, then I listen to vinyl and in the near future open reel. Maybe if you take your CDs and tape them on an open reel player, they will probaly sound a little better.
I have come to the conclusion that neither LP OR CD is good for all types of music. No one can tell me that techno/electronica or anything in or near this category of music can sound better on vinyl than CD. And the same is (almost) true when listening to well recorded LP's vs. digital. Weather Report on CD? No. Classical on CD or LP? Depends on recording. Rock? Im NOT going there (what do you think, I'm crazy?!?!) So, (IMHO) it depends on what you listen to. If your tastes lean more towards a particular genre of music...then this is where you need to concentrate your efforts. If your eclectic, and listen to everything under the sun...divi-up and stop comparing things to each other that you cannot compare. Jesus already, its 4:30 AM here and the only other morning marauder that I know is up this early is Audiofeil. Cheers
I am not a big proponent of vinyl so take what I say with a grain of salt. I do know that the better the source the better the sound. However when it comes to a really good cd player then the better the recordings the better the sound. It is all about synergy.
This debate about what's better will forever go on. It really depends upon personal preference. I prefer digital over vinyl others prefer vinyl over digital.
My advise, find the best cd player you can afford based upon recommendation, then find some great recording such as music cds from the Naim label and then sit back and enjoy the music.
IMHO there is no way digital can come close to vinyl and the way the vinyl can reproduce the low level detail in a recording. I have heard some very good digital front ends and they do not sound like vinyl, ever. They may sound good, but not like vinyl.
I'll not get into that whole CD vs vinyl thing. I play and enjoy both. If you want a very listenable CDP (universal even) see what David Schulte has at The Upgrade Company. I'm liking very much the mod'd Denon I bought from him.
I happen to be one of the people who believe ou will never acheive a Vinyl quality sound with a CD player. They are just completely different sounds both good in their own distinct ways.