IMHO CDs need a pre-amp as without one, the sound may appear to be "cleaner" (more analytical) but the music lacks the life (rich dynamics) that a good pre-amp can give it. Give a listen to the Vandersteen Model 1 or 2 speakers along with some Rotel electronics and possibly Rega CD. Audioquest makes some competitive cabling that sounds good. Point is, there are many ways to get not just sound, but music.
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