You could consider a solution such as an Oppo DVD player (<$200 new) and a Lavry or Benchmark DAC (<1000 new). You'll need a digital cable (Stereovox, <$200).
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If you enjoy the sound of your ARC, you won't really like the Benchmark IMO. I personally don't and prefer the sound of the ARC which is quite different. I would suggest you look at an Audio Aero Prima mk2 or mk3. They have a similar style to your ARC, and even the Carys, with the mk3 being a little smoother and the mk2 a little more dynamic. Either can be had in your price range. You will have a hard time going to a SS cd player after having owned a CD3 IMHO.
Pehare, the Prima is a pretty good CDP. I owned one for 6 months while my Capitole was being serviced and destroyed in shipping on the way back to me. The Prima is an excellent CDP with the following understanding:
It excels with small performance recordings - this is the units greatest strength. 3-4 piece jazz, female vocals, small venues and the like are superb on this unit. If this is your listening preference, it is hard to beat this unit in this price range ($1,300-$1,500 for the latest version - which is what you want)
When you get into driving rock, large scale orchestra, large venue sound, the unit performs only average. It has a tendency to loose a lot of the focus demonstrated with the smaller performances. Here, this unit is just average in my opinion. If this is your primary listening, then I would not recommend this unit, there are others that do better in this area than the Prima.
Personally, since it sounds like you have tubes elsehwhere, I would not rule out a SS piece. A Wadia will add resolution, detail, focus and they are somewhat rolled off in the top end so they are not grainy - like an 830 (which I also owned). Benefit here is that may be be able to run this direct to your amps (check impedence matching though). If you get an "i" version, you could run another digital source into it as well. This may allow you to sell your preamp as well and still be happy (there are many threads on the adjustable volume control CDPs if this is an avenue you may want to consider - allowing you to sell the preamp as well).
Also, what about a CD2 from ARC?
I would also consider a Lector 7, which is pretty good too and the price has really dropped due to the dealer demo sales lately.
What are you selling your CD3 for? Do you have it listed already? Let me know via e-mail or this thread.
If I were you I would seriously consider the tubed Raysonic cd 128. A new one may cost you a little bit more than $1500 but with a discount you can come close. In my system, The Raysonic is detailed and open, with solid firm bass and smooth extended highs. You can likely get a nice discount now. I highly recommend it as a player that punches in a higher weight class than is indicated by it's price. It has build quality, good but esoteric looks (if you like them), and excellent sonics. In other words, it competes with players that cost more than its price.
Check this link:
Sorry this poor economy is stripping you of quality gear.
First off, sorry to hear of your unfortunate economic situation. If Jaybo's advice doesn't work for you, Dpac996's advice is pretty good. I haven't heard the ARC CD3 but I'm listening to the OPPO 980HD through the Bel Canto DAC2 as I type this. Bill Frisell's "Nashville" sounds great.
Good luck which ever way you go.