Considering getting a CD player (again). Used? New? Criteria?


After years without one, I'm considering getting a CD player. I'm not against streaming, but I have many CD's and would like the simplicity of just playing them from time to time. I probably want to cap my expenditure at $700, or so, because this won't be the only way I play music.

A few questions:
If you've purchased a new CD player, what did you buy? Why?
If you've purchased a used player, how old is too old? What factors helped you choose?

My concern with used is that the transport mechanism of older players will be getting tired, and this won't be knowable just because a unit "checks out" with the site (or individual) testifying to the player's working condition. There's got to be an average point for many machines to give up the ghost, mechanically (varying from machine to machine, of course).
8700e65e 845e 4b1b 91cc df27687f9454hilde45
REGA ISIS VALVE CDP/DAC

it comes in two versions .., the “standard “ and upgraded “valve” (tubes) . I chose the valve model for superior performance.

To your points

- world class audio performance ... full stop.
- it has direct USB input to its high-end DAC via its remote so you play external ripped files on external hard drives
- KEY POINT .... it won’t crap out on you because there are two (2) new matched serial number CD transports reserved for each unit at REGA

” ....Those worried about the viability of the CD format and getting your player serviced in the future, fear not. Inside the owner’s manual, there is a signature from the technician that assembled your ISIS, another tech that QC’d the electrical and mechanical systems and the tech that tested and archived not one, but two spare laser units. I think it’s safe to say that the ISIS will last longer than most of its owners and I appreciate this attention to detail, with CD transport mechanisms getting scarcer all the time...”


https://www.tonepublications.com/review/the-rega-isis-cd-player-2/

Other reviews

https://6moons.com/audioreviews/rega2/1.html
http://hifiandmusicsource.com/2019/05/rega-isis-cd-player-review/
https://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/amplifiers/rega-isis-and-osiris-66135...

TAKEAWAY

A personal demo is suggested that will impress you
Isn’t the REGA ISIS VALVE CDP/DAC around $9K?
I’m looking at the Emotiva ERC-4 a CDP with DAC at $600
The Emotvia has a 5yr warranty, the previous edition the ERC3 has good reviews ( the slightly noisy transport has been replaced)
im going to run my computer into the Emotiva via a schiit eitr usb to spdif converter so i can stream and listen to Itunes
Maranta CD6006 way below your price. Cambridge CXC with Schiit DAC. Rega Apollo used.  Good places to start your search. 
I appreciate the info about the Rega valve, but I’m hoping to cap this expense around $700 or so, and that suggestion is around $11k ( https://soundorg.com/valve-isis-reference/ )

I’ll look into the Emotiva, the Cambridge, and the Rega Apollo used. The Emotiva's 5 year warranty is really confidence-building, though Marantz's 3 year warranty is decent, too.

The challenge with audio is knowing where to spend big and where to spend moderately. With CD’s, I know that there will be other ways I’ll be getting my music, so this decision to spend moderately is a straightforward one.
Buy new (because of transport) and get the most expensive Marantz you an afford.  Marantz>Emotiva ~sound.
You could purchase the 1st gen Cambridge CXC transport new for close to $300, leaving you  up to $400 for a DAC. What do you use for streaming now?
Just bought my CD player in 20 years and I am loving it. Got tired of material being disappeared From the streaming services. Bought a factory referred Cambridge Audio CXC for $300 on EBay direct from Cambridge and I push it through an Yggdrasil. Sounds great - at least as good as Tidal and I am working through the old boxes of CDs.time to hit the used bins for some bargains.
I significantly updated my two-channel system in spring 2019, including a Bryston BCD-3 cd player. It is highly regarded and it sounds great on all of the 1000+ CDs that I own. However, as the salesman warned me, I rarely find myself playing CDs - I am either streaming Qobuz, or playing LPs.
The idea of a separate transport makes sense, but until I get a new DAC and probably amp gear, I’ve only got an Audioengine D1. It’s powered by USB but has an optical input. Would that work?
the optical out on your d1 will work fine with the transport--you can always upgrade in the future
Thanks! That's great to hear. I suppose I can just power the DAC with a usb hub or wall unit?
Any opinions on Audiolab 6000CDT?
if you like slot load it's very good

Assuming you have a good DAC for streaming, why not just rip your CDs to your computer, and play them off that?  I have 100s of CDs and never touch them -- but play them often. I use ROON, but you can use itunes for free (on Mac or Windows). If on Mac, spend $10 for bitperfect too.
G
Well if anyone has a complete, properly working Oppo 95 for ~$300 + shipping, I'll take it!
Itsjustme I have certainly not ruled out streaming and in fact I am certain I will continue to do streaming. But I like the simplicity of playing CDs and I like the ability to play music without my computer. I am too much of a novice to have an opinion about the finer points of computer noise and that kind of thing, so I’m content to envision myself sitting and listening and reading liner notes, the way I used to. This would be in addition to streaming not instead of it.
I bought a  NAD C538 but I use an outboard dac though the dac in it isn't to bad. I just needed something to use occasionally I mostly stream. 
I also went through the same thing a year ago.  I do enjoy physical media...I feel like it engages me in the music more...since I have to get up and put the disk in and change disks.  I listen to more full albums that way and just enjoy the ritual of it...same as my TT.  I settled on a Marantz ND8006.  They can be had refurb for around $800.  But that includes a great DAC with USB input and HEOS Streaming (horrible interface, but the SQ is spectacular).  I moved my Node2i to another room because I liked streaming direct to the ND better. I would not hesitate to recommend the CD6006.  No streaming or additional DAC inputs, but I would imagine the CD mechanism is the same/similar.  NAD makes a couple of models in your price range as well.  Good luck and hope this helps.  
If, like me, you could get lucky and find a used Modwright either Sony, Oppo, Marantz, of Denon, at of near your price, you would have a really great sounding CD that you could use for a long time.  You will have the best chance of finding the Denon, Sony or Opportunity units used.  It will be the equal or better of extremely expensive machines--read that as ones over $3000 or more new.  I got a Modwright Sony 9000 used for $695 and was floored when I heard it.  I've had 2 different models of Modwright Sony since and I still use the MW Sony 5400.  It has a beautiful like analog sound together with very good dynamic ability and clarity.  The MW's have become a little more expensive and desirable on the used market in the past several years so finding one like I did will take some patience.  However, you will have a player that will take a backseat in sound to very few units and none at this price.  Dan Wright, the designer, stands behind his products even if you bought used from someone else.

Bob


I have an Onkyo C-7030. I think it's fine...more than fine considering it was under $200. It has an optical and coax digital out if you want to use a separate DAC. Thought about going for the slightly more $ Marantz machines, but I'm happy with the Onkyo.
If you are looking to only spend around $700.00 then you might want to go with a Rotel RCD-1572.
Arcam CD37 is a great SACD and CD player. When they come up used they are under your price. 
Here are a few CD players that I've owned that were all very good. My system consists of Krell amplification and Thiel CS6 speakers.

Marantz SA8005 - This player does both CDs and SACDs. I bought it used for around $800. It's been well reviewed and sounds very good.

Marantz SA8004 - I owned this before the 8005. It also sounded very good and I believe this model made the Class A designation by Stereophile. I bought the 8005 because it had a few improvements over the 8004 (bigger power supply, etc.) and it was the end of the series. Both models performed flawlessly and Marantz will stock replacement transports for the foreseeable future. It might take some patience to find these models on the used market because they are very desirable.

Emotiva ERC-3 - I had this player along with the Marantz SA8005 because it played HDCDs (I have over 100). I compared the Emotiva on regular CDs with the Marantz and they were so close that I'm not sure I could distinguish the difference in a blind test. These cost only about $350 used but are very desirable and hard to find. Mine sold within a day of putting it on sale. I replaced this player with a vintage Krell KAV CD 250/2 because I collect vintage Krell gear but I miss that Emotiva player.

Denon DVD-3800BDCI - This is a Blu Ray, DVD, and CD player. It sold new for around $2k but now they go for a couple hundred bucks. This is a very well built player. I wouldn't recommend this as your only player but if you want to be able to play Blu Ray audio disks this is a good 2nd player to have.
A little more than you list (but can get used about your price when they are available)
Innuos zen mini ($1250)

Can load all your CD into the zen and stream from your phone.  Buy used CD, download and sell back for more CDs.  Can stream thru it. has USB to do other sources.  Can upgrade to linear power supply in future.  
I'm old school and prefer the sound of the ancient TDA1541 chip. 
Many manufacturers used this chip, I've got several players that utilize it, and would also say to find something with an old school Phillips transport. 
My stable currently;
Rotel RCD 855 
Magnavox 460 
ReVox B226
These can all be had for less than 1k


Wow, lots of great suggestions. One question becomes "How old is too old?" I see there's a division between transport-only and regular players. 
Get yourself a Teac PD-H600 and enjoy !!
worth 2-3 times many at its msrp..
will bring out the best and worst in your cd’s
simple, solid, absolutely quiet operating
I’ve many Flac cd’s and it doesn’t get cleaner that this 
Research past reviews... if you can find one it’s a keeper.
The tray mechanism opening and closing is the single most often repaired item.  The rest rarely goes south.  IF you have a good repair facility near you, Replacing this one item may happen to you one day.  It's not a killer expensive part to have replaced.  I don't buy any component new anymore as you can get much better sound for your money being used.  Just pay attention to a seller's feedback and try to stay with those sellers that have 100% positive feedback.

By the way, the MW Sony 9000 I wrote about was over $3000 new with the MW mods.  Much of the MW's have upgraded parts and things done to make a standard 9000 sound considerably better.

Bob


hilde45

Keep us posted on your demo, purchase, decision(s). Have fun!

Happy Listening!
If I was buying used CD player I'd really consider The Oppo BD 105 which has decent internal DAC If go you the new route, the Audiolab cdt is excellant, but it's a transport only and was primarily designed to work with the Audiolab 6000n streamer, and 6000a Intergrated amp. But of coarse you can use them all as standalone. Prices seem to be very reasonable if that's a concern. In this review the gentleman used inexpensive external DAC and also very exspensive DAC's with CDT and was very excited about the results 

Watch "Audiolab 6000CDT Review!" on YouTube
https://youtu.be/JAfk5a5M5ds
The TEAC looks interesting but it’s showing up discontinued for retail. Maybe used…

Bob, I hear you about the tray. I think Denver, where I am, may have people who could repair. I love the idea of a MW mod, but they’re way more than I can spend.

Jafant — I will! There’s so much advice on this thread, it gets foggy in my head. However, the more I think about the transport-only option, the more it makes sense -- no money wasted on anything but good, solid transport. I’m just really hesitant to buy a CD player used, even a good one, because of the mechanical wear and tear it could have gone through.

I’m getting tired and need to sleep. I’m really most inclined toward the Cambridge or Audiolab transport at this late hour, but who knows tomorrow!

Will let you know.

In your price range, the Rega Apollo-R. Solid build, smooth sound, no digital glare.  
I am in the same boat and decided to try the Cambridge Audio CXC to go along with my Peachtree Audio Nova 150. I know I am in the minority here, but I am not impressed. There is no comparison between it and my Node2 streamer. It’s not an apples to apples comparison, but it’s not even close. I am going to do some more comparing but at this point I don’t see a reason to keep it. I am still within my return period.
 I don’t know what to try next. I’m feeling a little gun shy at this point, and am hesitant to get anything that I can’t return. There are a lot of good suggestions on this thread. I don’t want to spend $2k to get something that sounds close to the Node2. What to do, what to do?
Don't go used. Electronics are basically eternal, mechanics are not. a CD has meaningful mechanic components that will fail and crash in time. also laser light alignment is another mechanical issue that will come to bother you. Go new with any of the sensible suggestions that have been made.
EAR Yoshino Acute Classic - one of the finest CD players ever built
hilde45

There are no shortage of Audio shops in Colorado- listen, listen, listen to the various spinners in your state. Enjoy the journey!

Happy Listening!
@ericsch The Rega Apollo R is $1,095, which is not in my price range. My upper limit is $700. Maybe someday, but I’m sticking with my own parameters.

@mcstin The Node2 streamer is something I’m considering also. But my inquiry is not an either-or. I’m looking for a CD player so I can play CD’s.

@marklings Thanks for confirming my own instincts. I’ve had two CD players die over the years on me. They were fairly inexpensive, so this time I’m seeking new and something sturdy, but without going spending-crazy on a format that will only be a utility infielder in my lineup (hence the price limit).

@twodolphins The Ear Yoshino looks great, and lists for $6795, nearly 10x my budget.

@jafant I’ll do my best to go listen! The tricky part is knowing that what I’m hearing is coming from the CD player itself. And while listening always contains a number of variables, at least if one brings something of one’s own gear — e.g. I brought my speakers to a store to hear their speakers, side by side — one can get something of evidence. I suppose I could side by side players at a store, but transports seems more difficult. And comparing a transport with a full player isn’t going to cut it at my price point. That’s why mechanical hardiness and price are so key for something like this. This is more likely to be an untried purchase than, e.g., speakers or amps.
I bought a Oppo 105 new, but you can find used ones around $800. I bought mine strictly for hi-rez CDs as I had a heavily moded Pioneer PD 65. Eventually the 65 died. While I was researching what to buy I used the Oppo exclusively. Eventually I came across a little known Marantz HD CD 1, which is 2/3 the physical size of the regular models. It's built like a tank, handsome, and has all the current outs.

My Audio Alchemy/Pre has a built in dac, so I only ever used the HDCD-1 as a transport. It is quite a good buy at ~ $600.

I recall early reviews of the 105 saying that more exotic players used the innards but made certain upgrades, especially to the power supply. So I bought one from Ebay for < $200, which raised the level of the 105 to a point I no longer use the Marantz.

I have seen slightly used 105s for ~ $800

hth
Suggest using your Audioengine D1 and purchase either the Cambridge of Audiolab transport. Search digital forums here, a couple posters who have tried both say the sound of the Audiolab is better. I purchased the Cambridge due to the closeout price of the original (I paid $325). Was considering the Audiolab also. You will buy time for researching the DAC/streamer market. 
I have been through this as well. 95% vinyl listening but have a great collection of CDs not available on vinyl. For a $700 budget I would buy a NEW transport at best deal I could get, and spend the rest on the best USED Schitt DAC I could find. I had a compact Cambridge CD player in another system that I use as a Transport in my main system now. I am satisfied with the sound and, as others upgrade their DACs being into digital much more than I, I can upgrade the DAC if so inclined in the future. My system is posted here on Agon. The inexpensive little DAC has made me enjoy my CD collection more. Good luck in your solution! 
I bought the Audiolab 6000cdt last year. Paired it to a Schiit DAC and have been very happy with the result.
I also looked hard at the compact Marantz CD player at Music Direct which would sound good, but met my needs by using what I had and only buying a used DAC and keeping the DAC upgrade, and transport upgrade for that matter, open. Used all that extra money on more vinyl! 
I was in the same arena and finally decided to buy another CD player but I guess I am more of a risk taker if I smell what could be a bargain in the wind.
Bought an older C.E.C belt drive transport and was very happy, under $200 but yes its old but does have aes/ebu digital out which is how I used it.

Then fell lucky and moved up to an Esoteric DV-50S which is just in another world entirely and CD and DVD-A has taken on complete new life through this machine.This i use its XLR balanced ouytputs direct into my BAT VK300xSE.
Built like the proverbial tank at 47lb and is Teac high end division, you can find them under 1k if lucky ( mine was $750).
Good luck and welcome back to the little silver disc!
Thanks to all, yet again. Came across this little video by Paul McGowan: Question comes in at 1'05":
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGOWAWZODAY&t=110s

Essentially he says, don't buy something expensive if your system isn't very expensive. In this particular question, he even dissuades from Cambridge and Marantz mid-fi because, on a budget, they won't make a difference. Listen to his answer for the nuance, because he is not saying transports don't matter!
I own the Marantz sa8005 sacd player, Marantz hdcd-1 compact cd player, and the Audiolab cdt6000 transport. All are great machines in my opinion. The audiolab paired with the vdac 90 by musical fidelity sound great. 
Yamaha CDS2100 / SACD 
Good quality DAC via USB, balanced connections and a real solid transport. 
This unit weighs about 35lbs it's a rock.
The price has been dropping as the new models come in but not sure how low yet. If you see a used one it's worth a look.
Audiolab keeps getting votes! Regarding Cambridge: Interesting mods to Cambridge. Guttenberg channel. Pretty simple. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoxC3st7WQw
If you are near northern Colorado check out Audio Alternative in Fort Collins. 

I would a void a used CDP
Ft. Collins is a ways, but noted! And yes, avoiding used.
If you have a DAC get a cd transport. Sound is fantastic. I got a Cambridge CXC. You can get it directly from Cambridge USA for $399.00.  https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/usa/en/products/cx/cxc

Use digital coax or optical to connect to your DAC. I like digital coax.