All I can say is Im looking for the same thing, and Im slowly realizing that there is no such animal, or you will have to spend a lot more for a CD player and even then they still sound compress and cold next to a properly setup turn table. I already have a tube CD player and a good one IMHO and the turn table is CLEARLY more smoother, open and more detail etc. than the CD player. Just my 2 cents. I wish you luck.
Any DIY capabilities? If so, then you can mod many. I would suggest a good transport and then go for a DAC. Many are hot for the Cambridge Audio 840. I like the Eastern Electric MiniMax CDP with tube output; I also use the Arcam CD73, which you can usually find used for $400-you could give the Arcam a try and see if it improves over your Sony for starters, and if not, sell it without a $$$ loss.
Look for a used Audio Aero Prima. Should be right in your price range. Its a tubed unit that (I feel) leans toward a more analog presentation, detailed but not "digital"
Look into REGA players, they might sound the way you desire.
Your only option is to buy something used like maybe a Sony scd777es and have it modded and even then you will be at twice your budget. Otherwise forget it in your price range it doesn't exist. Stay where you are.
I have the opposite dilema I have not found vinyl I like. My modded scd-1 is my sonic bliss and I am staying put. I have considered buying something just to play my 150+ lps and settle for what I get.
In the end I think one likes what one likes and thats all there is to it. I went digital in the early 90's and never went back. The blackness of the background just pulled me in and I could never stand the pops and clicks of vinyl.
Thanks for the great feedback. I don't really have the mod capabilities- so that's out. A tube unit may be worth a try.
I guess there's a butt for every cushion. The black background of cd is OK, but it needs the rest of the aural scene. Most of my collection on vinyl is pretty clean and well recorded and pressed- so noise isn't much of a factor really... I could put up with most other detriments but the 'Life' has to be there, and if a tube cdp might do it then it's worth a look. Audio Aero Prima might be worth looking into... Thanks for the tip
My stock Rega Apollo (sorry -- top loader) destroys my BIX turntable with stock Rega RB250 arm. It's set up perfectly, but it can't come close to the dynamics and range I get from the Apollo. And, of course, my Monarchy M24 DAC beats the BIX/REGA as well. My Michell Orbe/Wilson Benesch/Shelter combo does a bit better, but it costs a ton more.
Presently, I'm looking for a better arm for the BIX so it can get a bit closer to the Apollo... I know there are a lot of better arms out there, but I'm waiting for the right deal to come along.
You're not going to get CD to sound as good as vinyl(anyone who tells you different can't hear!)particularly in the price range you're are talking. However,you can get CD to sound more analog like and thus become a more acceptable and enjoyable source to listen to.
The problem with digital, in my opinion, is not the hardware or software, its in vibration control and EMI/RFI control. You solve those problems and digital can sound very good.(but it still won't surpass vinyl)
There're some fairly inexpensive tweeks that can help accomplish this task: 1)myrtle wood blocks under source components(preamp, CD player) 2)maple wood platforms and isoblocks also under source components. 3)Stillpoints ERS cloth around speaker cable leads and interconnect jacks as well as powercord plugs and iec connectors. Additionally if placed on top of CD player over transport, makes a difference.
Some other not so inexpensive tweeks but definitely vast improvements are audiophile grade powercords ie; electraglide, shunyata, elrod statement etc. and power conditioning such as Richard Gray, Shunyata, PS audio.
Retail, this is stuff is expensive but used on audiogon, it can be affordable.
If you throw your money in this direction instead of at more expensive components, you'll come out much futher ahead money wise and listening wise.
I will start with my bias, that I've never warmed up to any low to medium end sony gear. When I heard Sony SACD I thought that I was doing quite as well with RedBook at home.(Krell CD1 and Spectral)
Now, that is just a reference. I would think that any BAT, the Audio Arrow, Cary, or Audio Research or Merridian would go where you want to go. If the New Appollo isn't top loading, (I don't know) you might want to go hear one. If not, that Audio Arrow would get my bucks. The only reason I didn't snatch one up is that I'm saving for more recent (can't hope for the newest) Cary units. I say this as a Krell 280CD owner. Solid deep bass, big sound stage, clear and deep imaging, smooth clean extended highs and detail and focus all the way. But it's not warm. So I'd rather go warm "all in one" than use it as you could your sony, as the detail transport into a tube D/A.
Well I guess I can't hear but thats OK because as long as I am happy with the sound of my system thats all that matters.
Huh? Personal choice is paramount. Did I offend? Apologies if appropriate.
I live in UK and I can give you a little advice as far as CPD's are concerned in here; A nice little valve-cdp could be the shanling cd-t80, I haven't listened to it yet but I'm familiar with shanling gear and it should be very good.
The Rega Apollo however is one for the shortlis as it is a hi-fi bargain; the feel is a bit plasticky but looks and sound to die for; looks best in black mind you.
It is very clean, great midrange and has super-extended HF;a bit bass-shy but oh-boy the sound...a much more expensive machine it sounds I can tell you.
At £500 in UK (I thin around $700ca. in US) you can't really go wrong, especially on a budget is a no-brainer-decision.
I was unfortunate enough to live with a cheap Sony CDP-SACD for a while and it sounded horrendous; personally my laptop with Audigy soundcard is miles miles better than that, so when you have buried the Sony in your back garden, go out and listen to the Rega.
Interconnects from Townshend DCT 100 should work well I guess at £ 100.
Top loaded and grrrreat...
No offense taken. I was simply making a comment and I realize your comment was a generalization and not pointed at me specically. I have yet to hear great vinyl and it is a little (alot) frustrating when everyone talks about how great it is. After reading these threads maybe I am expecting to much. When set up properly and played through high quality equipment it does sound very good don't get me wrong. But I still prefer digital.
I have on occasion considered buying a TT mostly to play the 100+ albums currently in storage in my basement. And also because I find some of the TT designs to be very beautiful mechanical works of art; must be the mechanical engineer in me.
And in the end your are right to each his own.
Hi Chuck, I've not even heard vinyl that would make me
reconsider CD. So I am missing out on what one could
imagine is a remarkable experience. I have a Nakamichi
TT, and haven't put the new Gratto on it yet.
I am also one of those "last 100 records" folks.
Though I don't have the bucks, I'm told the newest Cary
players should put that question to rest for many. :)
On the other hand, I had a tubed output CAL here, (the
model name started with a T) and thought that CALs
"Tersette" ($1000 less than the "T" tube unit") had it
all over that thing. I know tube rolling could make a
great diff, but that's 20/20. I'd think thatTung-Sol's
would have done it. But so it goes. Glad I didn't