The RCD-1072 is one of my favorite CD players of all time. I say keep it until you can spend the money it would take to better it. Probably over $1K at least.
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I also loved mine, but replaced it with a Squeezebox Touch. After owning both for over a year, I realized the Rotel was not being used...so I sold it. The 1072 is good value indeed. I paid $700 several years ago, and replaced it with the $250 SBT...I guess that's even better value!
If you don't want a solution along those lines, I say keep the Rotel and save until you can spend something like the $1k Mofimadness suggested.
My two cents!
Loomisjohnson, the Jolida tempted me back when I bought the Rotel, but I wonder if it (and the Vincent?) might be past their prime by now.
I started looking for something new simply because digital technology seems to improve at a rapid clip. The best digital I've heard (Wavelength, Ayre, Boulder, and ARC) has been phenomenal. All of those "bests" sounded much more resolving than my Rotel (admittedly in different systems) but very relaxed and easy to listen to at the same time.
The Rotel sounds very, very good, but I wondered if a newer player might give me a taste of what I'm missing.
1. granted that digital technology is rapidly advancing, but the extent to which "advanced" equates to better-sounding is open to debate.
2. since the "bests" you list are all well beyond your stated budget, maybe you should consider keeping the rotel as a transport and adding a dac--you'll likely hear more significant difference than by changing from a rotel to, say, a comparably-positioned marantz. i know you said you'd prefer not to add a dac, but you will get more bang-for-buck + it'll be easier to hide from your wife than a new cdp.
"I started looking for something new simply because digital technology seems to improve at a rapid clip. The best digital I've heard (Wavelength, Ayre, Boulder, and ARC) has been phenomenal. All of those "bests" sounded much more resolving than my Rotel (admittedly in different systems) but very relaxed and easy to listen to at the same time.
The Rotel sounds very, very good, but I wondered if a newer player might give me a taste of what I'm missing."
You can definately improve the sound of your system with a better player. The brands you list above are all excellent. You may want to consider a Wadia. If you like Ayre, you probably like that as well. Wadia. Cary is another brand you may like. Their digital products are very underrated. Given that you already have the 1072 and you like it, I would take my time in making another selection.
Probably my only real complaint about the Rotel is that its presentation is rather dry.
The first discs I played when I bought it were Bach's Mass in B minor on Harmonia Mundi (Philippe Herreweghe). Decay of reverberation was truncated and the sense of the hall reduced compared to what I'd heard through my old Marantz changer, my iPod, and even a Sony Playstation 1. Of course, the Rotel sounded wildly better than those players in every other way--that's why I've enjoyed it so much for four years now.
Still, that "dry" quality has been pretty consistent. The background is very quiet, but that quietness also feels like it removes some low-level (amplitude, not frequency) information. My impression is that Rotel--wisely--traded off some resolution to go easy on the ears.
In any case, you all may be right that I should wait till I can afford a real upgrade (maybe pick up one of my "bests" used) and enjoy the Rotel meanwhile. Since I can't easily audition the stuff I could afford right now, I'd hoped for a sense of whether newer players are performing a lot better (more resolution w/o digititus) around the Rotel's same price. Seems like it ain't necessarily so... The DAC option might be moving onto the table, too.
Looking at your system, I have a different option that you may want to consider. My advice is to upgrade your weakest piece. I think we can all agree that your Rotel is not that. Your speakers are exceptional, as well. At their price point, I don't think you can do better. Your NAD is a different story. Its very good but I feel its your weakest component. It has one great feature, though. That is it jumps the amp to the preamp with external rca jumpers. You can use it just as an amp or just as a preamp. If it were me, I would buy a better preamp, remove the jumpers and run it straight into the amp section of the NAD. Upgrading your preamp will make a bigger difference than getting a new CD player.
I have the RCD-1072 (see my system), and it has always gotten along quite well with my Vandersteen 1C's. I originally had the Rotel driving an Arcam Delta 90 integrated amp, and the sound of music was wonderful. Then, I upgraded to the Rogue Audio Cronus integrated amp, and the Rotel deck sounded even better ! Then, I replaced my Vandy 1C's with the Revel F-12's, and ..... Holy Cow ! the RCD-1072 sounds better than ever. So, I agree with Zd542 .... keep the Rotel deck, and think about upgrading your amp. You may be quite surprised by how terrific a deck the Rotel really is. And for me, the HDCD ability of the RCD-1072 is a great feature. Good Luck, and Happy Listening.
Oh man, in walks the separates option! That is, Zd542, admittedly a very good idea. That or upgrading to a better--possibly tube--integrated.
The NAD is very good, especially its bottom end, and this is the best of the NAD integrateds I've used in my systems...but it doesn't exactly provide the kind of 3D, vivid, utterly natural presentation I've heard from better gear. I already use a pair of ICs as jumpers on the NAD, so adding a separate pre wouldn't be too big a leap--though I do like having an integrated because it limits the number of "boxes" in the living room (that's one reason I've been reluctant to go the DAC route).
All I can say is that this conversation has me considering my options...
OK, folks. Thanks for all the responses and ideas. At this point I'm considering keeping the Rotel and enjoying it while I think about what direction(s) I want to take my system in.
However...I'm tempted to try the Oppo 95 in part because we'll soon have our TV in the same room as our stereo (buying a house). We've not yet stepped up to Blu-Ray, but if one box could do double duty and serve the music well... In any case, I might buy an Oppo to try against the Rotel--if I do, I'll report back.
If anyone has already made that comparison, maybe your input can save me the bother of buying and re-selling an Oppo. Thanks!