Cd players with variable output?

I'd like to purchase an amplifier and a cd player with variable output so that I can avoid buying a pre-amp. I only listen to cd and don't want to spend money on components that I don't seem to need. Now to the question.
Is the Quad CDP the least expensive "quality" cd player with variable output, or "volume control?"
This could work for you You could use almost any cdp you want.


P.S. I do not know the seller
The Resolution Audio CD-50 and CD-55 have variable analog out, if you can find one used. Excellent units.
Theta Miles for around $1200 used is an excellent piece. Has variable analog output. Go for the balanced version though.
Wadia, Cary, Resolution Audio, Levinson, Birdland DAC has a volume control also if you wnat to go with a transport. I heard the Resolution Audio Opus 21 with a preamp and without, funny but it sounded the best with the CDP running through the variable output turned up to maximum and going into the preamp versus running the CDP throguh the fixed output and into the preamp, go figure.

Happy Listening.
By attaching directly onto the amplifier input RCA jacks with the Electronic Visionary System (EVS) Ultimate Attenuators there is no need for another interconnect when running directly from CD to amp, as there is no separate passive preamp box. Available from This stepped volume control solution on your amp means your CD player does not need its own variable volume control.
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I would only run a cd player direct until you can aford a preamp or passive attenuator. The preamps (variable outputs) in any cd player I have heard are pure junk and take a lot away from even a great cd player. You dont need to spend a lot of money to up the sound quality of the preamp in a cd player. I would even go as far to say by a cheaper cd player and a good preamp or attenuator.
Remember that Philips 880 was new in 1987... A 16 year old player is not worth a lot, no matter what mods. It's STILL really old for a CD player! (I had one when new... it was pretty good for it's day)
I've now owned 4 different digital front-ends that had built-in volume control, and I liked all of them very much. I really like the idea of a single pair of interconnects and reducing cost by not buying a pre-amp.

Here are the units I've owned. They are in the order of my preference.

Birdland Odeon Lite DAC (needs a CD or DVD transport for use)

Theta Miles (balanced version)

Cary CD-308 (will be selling soon as I upgraded)

Resolution Audio Opus 21

All sounded really good, but each successive rig was a little better. The RA Opus 21 is a killer unit! The Cary is really good for the price and has some other special features.

BTW, having one remote to control the usual CD player functions AND volume, is a major plus.


Best deal for the $$$ XA7ES Sony bar none ,38 lbs of pure class A ,
This player was a Stereophile most recommended in Class A section for years. This is the best player you can buy used for $900/ $975 on the Gon.
Use the Variable output for now, but I would recomend a good pre amp. It is a must for great sound quality later, trust me , Peplar is on the right track with the passive pre.

Good luck
Thanks all of you for your valuable input. There are some great responses to my question that I'm sure will prove to be helpfull.
The Granite Audio 657 has a variable output tube stage adjustable from 0-30v on the back of the player. It's ideal with my passive linestage and sounds better going through it rather than direct to the amp. Also, you can tweak the sound with various pairs of 6922 type tubes. Excellent player!
So Proy, that's a pretty bold statement "Best deal for the $$$. bar none....".

Have you actually heard All of the $900-975 used CD players w/volume control, in your system?

If not, then you actually have no idea if the Sony is the none!

I have not heard the Sony in my system. I have heard all of the units I mentioned in my post. I don't know if any of them are the best for the $$$, bar none, but I do know how they sound relative to each other. They are all pretty good, and considering the rapid improvements in digital technology, it is likely that being 10-12 years newer, the Cary may well be sonically better than the Sony, even at half the weight!

Oh yeah, you can buy the Cary for only $800 used. And its transport is 10 years newer!



PS, if you have heard all of these units in your system, nevermind! :~)
I think the sony is prettier though = D.
The Cary 306/200 is available variable out also. The Sony XA7's little brother the Cdp-Xa20Es sounds better than the Xa7 direct to the amp. Then there's the sweet ol'e Denon Dvd-5000, which was in Stereophiles associated equipment stable for years. And the list goes on....... Wadia, ML 390S......

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Based on your moniker, I assume you know this!:~) But I agree, the Sony is more attractive to me too.

BTW, I like the Viggen too.....


Linn's Genki cd player has two set of variable output. very handy if you would like to upgrade to a bi-amp setup. It
features 24bit & HDCD.
The Consonance players have volume control and XLR outputs.
I would like to know if the VC is analog or digital, and if the XLR are fully balanced?
Don't forget the Quad 99 CDP.

There has been some discussion of this CD Preamp all in one lately here and on the AudioAsylum - Including one poster who remarked that it had replaced his more expensive Meridian equipment. May be worth examining.