CD players with volume control ?????

I'm considering a Wadia 830 used to add to my 2 channel system. My only source is CD. I have a Krell KAV 250a with a NAD c160 pre-amp, and an old Phillips CD player hooked up to B&W N805s. I want to eliminate my pre-amp and upgrade my CD, I'm thinking that the Wadia is the way to do it, any thoughts? Are there any other CD players with volume control that allow you to eliminate the pre-amp?

This subject comes up about once a week! I'm sure that you can find MANY post in the archives at this site and at AudioAsylum. But since I have a setup like this, I'll give you a few to check out.

Theta Miles (the balanced version is supposedly better, even if using the RCA outputs) I previously owned one and ran it direct to amp with good success.

Cary CD-308/CD-308T Choose between the solid state or tubed version. I currently own the SS version and it is VERY GOOD for the price!

Cary CD-306/200 (volume control option added $500)


Resolution Audio Opus 21 (This will be my next player)

Look to the archives for many more choices.


Check out Musical Fidelity's web site. They have a weird CD/Pre-amp combination that might work for you. Just a thought....
Do a search this is with out a doubt the most asked question at the 'gon. FWIW I prefer units that use analog volume controls, accuphase and wadia employ a digital volume control which is less favorable for a number of reasons.
There is a Philips 880 which has a volume control on the remote, and is a very good cd player even today. The build quality is high, but the volume is in the analog section and sounds better as the volume rises.
Being relatively new to Hi-Fi, I figured that I was the only one in the world with this question and never thought to check the history. I will heed your advice and do it. You guys probabaly feel like I do when I play golf behind a foursome with handicaps much higher than mine... I take a deep breath and remember they have to start somewhere too. Thanks for the patience!
As I have said in many an earlier thread, i use my Audio Aero Cd player in place of a pre. It has volumn controls, it does not need bass/treble controls and the effect is wonderful. I run my DVD through the coax digital connection and I run my Yamaha Cd multi-disk player on toslink. Oh yeah, the Ymaaha has volumn control is just that the audio Aero's DAC is so much better. It only lacks an analog input to run my tuner. I shall be obtaining an AV control center but I am not ready to upgrade my speakers and I think it better to wait on the other until I have completed the addition to my house as I will be then in a position to make a sane decision.....?
Linn Genki will work for you
Accuphase CDP starting from DP65v onwards. Opera Reference CD 2.2 US version, all have digital remote volume.
Check also the Granite Tube 657 CDP. I run mine direct to a Spectron amp with good results.
The ones with analog volume control sound better to me than those using digital volume
My personal preference is the Resolution Audio Opus 21
All the Sony ES CDPs I have had have volume control. Make sure you have enough amp gain though before buying a CDP. Most CDPs can't output more than 2V.
I think I'm a little late to this discussion, but I have to recommend the Resolution Audio Opus 21! Excellent CD player! Volume control is digitally controlled, but operates in the analog, so it will best many hi-end pre's. My suggestion is to research each player Reubent listed in his post, as well as the Audio Aero CapMKII. You'll find tons of info on each player through Audiogon, in addition to other sites, and I'm sure you'll find a player that works best for you.
Just recently auditioned a Resolution Opus 21 against the new Wadia 301. The Opus was 20-30% better. More coherent from top to bottom. More musical and definitely had better resolution. I was wanting to upgrade my Wadia 830 to a 301. The Opus stopped that upgrade in mid-stream. The Opus is a very good player for twice its price, let alone at its price point -- highly recommended!
Resolution Audio Opus 21, check out my review in the reviews section.
I recently heard it and I was very impressed. And for $2000 not bad at all.
There have been many positive comments on the Opus 21 --

the review on their website mentioned that the CDROM drive makes an audible whining noise (audible when no music is playing). Has anyone noticed that, and has it been a problem, for example, in quiet pssages in the music? Also, is it common to use a CDROM in a cd player, I'm wondering about reliability and quality of the mechanism...?
Well common use of a CDROM is one of the reason they chose it, they dont have to worry about the drive becoming obsolete and not finding replacement parts for their CD players. And I do believe they have changed the CD drive to eliminate the whine. However, the whine is very quiet, and it is difficult to hear at all from 10 feet away.
The drive whine was in older models over a year ago. The new one is dead silent. Can't even hear it when your ear is close.
Yep, I purchased my Opus in May 03 and was told by the Resolution Audio guys that the previous CDRom Drive is now a DVD drive. I'm not sure why they chose it, but it is dead silent, as Platsolos indicated, with extremely fast track access. Also, the speed of volume increase/decrease has been increased quite bit over previous models. If you have the dough, this is a great player! You can't go wrong!
Thanks for all the responses! The Opus was my consensus choice here, but unfortunately out of my budget at this time. I chose to go with a pair of EVS nude attenuators from in place of a cdp with volume control. Thanks again.
Check out the European made Lektor iv by Ancient Audio. CD2 PRO Transport , tube output stage , volume control in the analog domain , optional analog inputs, solid granite chassis and the most natural sound you've ever heard from cd's and extra cool too look at. I am the distributor so I'm biased but at least check it out at
I am new to hifi world and searching preamp+CD and/or DAC. CD player will be my only source. Do you guys think I should spend $1000 on a preamp or I can buy a CD player with volume control to connect directly to amp?

The Wadia 301: great-looking CDP, but is it awkward feeding
the discs in upside down?
The Quad CD-P has received some very high praise from the review magazines lately.

I plan on listening to one this weekend. List price I believe is $1499.


Very interested in what you have to say about the Quad. Please post after you've auditioned. Thanks -- Sammie
I received my sony 9000 es signature mod ref from Dan
Wright, It was delayed, because I hesitated to put
volume control,Finally I did.When I play cd direct
to my aextreme monos, I think its better.This is without burn in.My preamp is more than 2k.The total
price of my cdp$2400 including mod, but sacd,dvd, and
cd.The sacd is just unbelievable.The red redbood, is
very close to the sacd mode.The only problem, you might
not be able to find use sony.
I have to follow up on this. Had a chance to audition an Opus21 in my own soundroom with my own equipment, and was able to do a direct comparison with a Wadia 301 and an 861se. Level control was set between all units with an Audiocontrol SA-3055 RTA for proper ABing comarisons. Too many people dont realize that you cant make critical evaluations if the volume isnt set indentical between units.

All I can say is that the Opus is not as good as the Wadia 301 let along the 861se I just recnetly purchased. The Opus 21 has alot of similiarities to the Adcom GCD750 cd player. Very clear and forward vocals, great detail, great dynamics. But imaging, low level detail and the ability to paint a 3 dimensional soundstage is still a step behind both Wadia players. I feel alot of this has to do with the transport they employ and the lack of damping on this product. I also think a LARGER,HEAVIER single chassis solution would do wonders for this unit, along with a real transport, not a ROM drive(though this thing does allow lighting quick acess to any track, but what do you expect from a computer ROM?). There is alot of hoopla over this unit, but I think its just that, "hoopla". Still too many other good choices out there for equal or less money with just as good if not better potential.

Thanks for your review. You're #1 for a neg review on the Opus, just curious if the post above which states the Opus is 20-30% better than the Wadia 301 has read your post yet?
I wouldnt call my review "negative" at all. Just be thankful I get around alot and always seem to get my hands on the latest gear. Since I am looking for a small 2 channel audio system for my bedroom, Ive heard alot of good things about this CD Player. But Ive never seen a true(true meaning proper output level setting under 100% identical conditions with identical equipment)comparison of the unit. And when I evaluate equipment now its solely done in my controlled listening room.

As for someone stating that one player is 20-30% better than another, I would like to know what scientific analysis they used to come up with that, or even what true controlled listening test they did and what equipment they used to measure it? Even I didnt state that. Is anyone aware here that if the volume between 2 players is just 1db off it can change perception of a players capability and sound characteristics to the human ear? Because to be honest with you all the players mentioned give great sound no question about it. But what distinguishes one player from another are the small nuances. But with a double blind listening test done, it was unanimous that both Wadia players were better at painting a picture over the Opus. Even the owner of the Opus who is a friend of mine agreed openly on this.
Ritteri-Your opinions are well taken and appreciated. As such, my opinions on Wadia gear is that it is as digital sounding as it gets. Also, I think I am already thankful that I too can get around to gear and A/B gear with identical 100% conditions and my findings are polar opposite to yours. You even posted under the review which had a TRUE apples to apples comparison of the Opus vs. others in the review section.

As for the negative review, when one equals a $3500 player to a $700 player (Adcom) to me that is negative no matter how you slice it. As well I did not see any scientific analysis you did in your comparison other than use the term double blind. I would think most of us here test pieces under identical conditions to remove any confounding variables.

-Happy Listening
Sorry, I have yet to find 1 single review where ANYONE used actual calibrated testing gear to level set and gain match components. And please dont tell me you have. This would have actually been mentioned.I dont know too many people besides myself that actually owns multiple RTA's and Oscilliscopes. 99.9% of the people here are 100% biased on comparisons in one way or another,take a few psychology courses and you may get some answers, and the fact that you think that comparing a $700(actually about $1250)player to a $3500 player is absurd just states to me how hypocrytical people can be. Since comparing the Opus21 to a Wadia 8 series player must also be absurd too correct?I bet you must think that my workstation's cd rom and sound card (with a total worth of about $400 between the 2)couldnt compare to either the Opus21 right?Why not? They are both PC based cd players in all reality. Price doesnt matter as much as some people think.

As for the "review" I posted under that compared "apples to apples" I dont remember reading ANYTHING stating that all equipment was properly level matched for a 100% true comparison. Like I stated, its a scientific proven fact that just 1 db will change our perception of sound. Its also a scientific proven fact too that if you change out one component for another and know BEFOREHAND which unit is playing that this will also affect one's judgement as to how we percieve sound.

As for stating Wadia is "digital sounding" that term makes me chuckle again. Sounds to me like suggestive opinionated thinking at best. But then you find alot of that online. A few members from Audiogon have been to my place for more realistic comparisons on equipment that range from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars, and that same number have left with new thinking afterwards. Thats all Ill say on this subject.

Ritteri- How foolish I must be, I just listen and get the components that sound best to me in my system, I gotta stop doing that!
Suggestive opinionated thinking at best:

"There is alot of hoopla over this unit, but I think its just that, "hoopla". Still too many other good choices out there for equal or less money with just as good if not better potential."

I'll take my ears over oscilliscOpes any day.
Ill take my ears over an Osciliscope or RTA too anyday, but when you use these tools properly to help truely evaluate and AB equipment they are priceless and very valuable as tools. People in this thread(like yourself from what I gather)take such a defensive stand over what is just an opinion from myself. But I personally think my opinion is a bit closer to painting a proper picture between source units that I actuaslly have hands on experience with than anything else Ive read lately on the subject. Why not give this guy here some business at: and order up his journal. This guy is great at seperating alot of BS opinions and myths and tells it like it is. He even has a few journals on how to properly evaluate equipment without letting your emotions and subliminal thinking get in the way. Excellent reading. Seriously.
IMHO, human ears alone can't tell ALL the stories about a component or a system. Sometimes "hearing is deceiving" -- just look at how many people auditioned Bose and sincerely agree they sound great!

We got use tools/equipment/proper methdology/ to assist (not replace) us to give a fair and complete judgement.