I think the unit to look at would be a Philips 963, I haven't heard it, but it appears to be the hot lower priced player of the moment.
9 responses Add your response
Sony DVP-NS500V. Plays CDs, stereo and multichannel SACDs, even DVDs. It sounds much better than it has a right to. I just bought a second one (my wife uses the first one to play DVDs in another room) as backup to my XA-777ES. You can find them here on Audiogon for $150 or so. The Absolute Sound raved about it, and rightly so. I think you'll be amazed.
I've been listening to the Philips 963 for about a month and really like it for redbook CD (it has 24/192 upsampling). I like my Sony ES9000 for SACD and DVD, however. The "inexpensive" ($500) Philips would be better if:
1. It had digital inputs so other devices could be upsampled, 2. It had balanced outputs, 3. The remote was more "normal" -it lacks some basic functions we've come to expect.
For the money though, it's quite an impressive machine.
Sony makes or made an inexpensive cd changer (model c775, I think) and an inexpensive DVD player that plays cds and sacd's. The DVD player was originally the DVP-NS500V which has been discontinued and replaced by the DVP-NS755V. The 755 is supposedly a progressive scan version of the NS500V. I think the changer sold for around $250 and may no longer be available. The NS-500V was selling for $150 when it was discontinued and the NS755 sells for around $250 but I don't think it is discounted as much since it is still a current model. They are available thru mass merchants such as Best Buy, Circuit City, The Wiz, and over the internet thru J&R, Crutchfield, or Sonystyle.com. I can only comment on the sonics of the NS-500v, which I bought primarily to use as DVD player in an HT setup that is separate from my normal music systems. For a cheap, entry level player it sounds ok and is much better than several other cheap cd players that I have heard. It can be used to play cd's in a music only system, but you can't use its track programming features unless you hook it up to a tv. I would suggest using a warm, forgiving interconnect with it, especially if your system is voiced for vinyl. Hopefully, you will have some fun with this. If you do get the DVD player, try hooking it up to a 5 channel setup and listen to some SACD's in multichannel.
Sony NS500V. Buy a used one for 150.00 (or less). Not bad stock, but have Matt Anker (SACDmods.com) do the mods for 330.00, and you will have yourself a surprisingly competent CD/SACD player for less than 500.00. Richard Kern also offers a mod path for the NS500V as well. I have listened to both the 500V and its replacement 755. The stock 755 has better DVD image performance, but IMHO the 500V beats it hands down for sound.