Distortion with certain CD's and players

I have a Marantz SR4023 receiver driving two B&W 703s. Connected to it are 1) a Sony DVD player ( DVD input) 2) a Sony CD Recorder (REC 1) and 3) a and a cheapo Samsung DVD Recorder!(VCR). Certain CD's—not all (most of the problem CD’s are, strangely, solo piano recordings) have very noticeable distortion—unlistenable distortion when played on the two Sonys. On some CD’s it is constant, on others (perhaps not recorded at as high a level?) it is just in loud passages in piano notes an octave or more above middle C using sources 1 and 2 (both the Sonys).

I can play these CD's perfectly with option 3--the cheapo Samsung DVD recorder. I am no engineer but it seems to me I have a mismatch with output voltage from sources 1 and 2 (my preferred choices) and the input sensitivity of the receiver. What is wrong? What can I do? Do the various input sensitivies vary?

Can't find any info in the user guide. Emailed Marantz and they did not answer any of my questions, finally just said take it in. Of course my closest Marantz service center is 250 miles away, and the only way I can demo the problem is to take several pieces of equipment in. Since I have a workaround that hardly seems worth it.

Still, it is a problem I should not have. Can anyone help?
I agree with your analysis. On high quality receivers you should be able to adjust the attenuation on the inputs. Unfortunately you can't on this one. I'd suggest you simply add a good quality passive attenuator in series.
Seconded on the passive attenuator. I have an old Pioneer DVD player in which I installed a ganged volume pot to attenuate the output. I simply found a suitable location on the rear panel, cut the connection to the R+L output jacks, and connected the pot in series.