I have an older NAD C542 and it sounds exactly as you describe what you want. Also a CA 840C and it too sounds wonderful but does not have that kick of the C542. As a matter of fact, nothing I have owned sounds as good as the NAD C542.
Now I have heard really good things about the Yamaha CD-700 and it's bang for the buck performance. Check out some of the offerings at A4Less. Great prices.
IMHO, the Rotel RCD-1072 is one of the finest CD players for the money ever made.
You can find them used for around $400 or so.
IMHO, I think you should raise the bar in terms of your digital front end. It pays off in big ways! I really like the Conrad Johnson and Alon speakers. Pairing it with NAD and Cambridge is selling the CJ's short. I would look for a used AYRE K5xe CD player or a new Oppo 105. I'm not sure what the price point is? For under $500 some of the used ADCOM cd players with the Wolfson DAC's are a great deal and function very well.
I doubt if you will find anything much better than 565be under 4 K .
We picked up a pro-ject cd s box for under 500 from our audio dealer. Very impressed with this little machine, especially for that price. Did pair it with Cardas Parsec interconnect. Also picked up a demo set of Avalon Idea speakers in a beautiful Chocolate Wenge finish. Retirement system is complete!
The Rotel 1072 is outstanding if you can find one. I replaced mine with an Arcam 33. That's another good choice.
Since a CD player is a transport/DAC combo, another option is to go the separate route.
Given the propensity for electronics to fail, particularly those with moving parts, going the separate route would allow you to invest minimally in a transport and more significantly in a DAC. I've owned CD and/or DVD players by Rotel, NAD, and Oppo. At least one unit of each of the brands has failed and required service.
I have spent countless hours reading the forums trying to understand how digital works...best. I still get confused but I have learned a few things. Whether you purchase a CD player or a DAC, the application of the digital conversion is important with respect to sound quality. IMO, the bits in the DAC are not as important as having a dual mono DAC. (The 975 and 565bee are both dual mono.) I'm also not a big fan of all the upsampling and upconverting that goes on; some is inevitable, but I think some manufacturers go too far. Others are big fans of it. Ultimately, it is the sound (not the bits and Hz) that matter though so this is often a matter of personal preference. The analog section is important too; while I've not heard the Oppo 105, Oppo addressed the audiophile community by incorporating a good analog section. And finally, jitter or noise. Some players/DACs don't do a good job at eliminating jitter. Some DACs incorporate reclockers, others work best in combination with an external reclocker.
I tend to agree with Schubert, improving your sound quality by addressing the source will likely require a $2-3K investment. The Rotel 1072 appears to be a CD player I would like; dual DACs, lower oversampling, low noise, and two have already recommended it. I'm just not sure how much of an improvement it will be over your 975.
If cost is a major factor search for a used North Star-Sapphire. Your comments have me believe you want to stay away from a soft-hazy/lazy type of CDP. The Sapphire has excellent deep tight bass control, fast dynamics and enough detail without giving up musicality. It's not the most open and airy player out there and the transport(tray)should operate a little smoother but these are minor flaws for a $1k or < CDP!
I've personally not heard the Rega CD player, but in terms of value, many praise its musicality and detail for the money. It is always on the awards' lists and there is currently a Rega Apollo CD player that almost 70% off for $395 on audiogon. Though I haven't listened to the Rega personally, I would suggest reading more about it and see if it suits your taste and interest.
There are currently 2 Modwright players on A'Gon, the Sony 5400 and Oppo 105. Either one at $1795 (used) will sound better than anything short of megapriced players. I have the Modwright modified 5400 and it is awesome. I've also had the 9000 and 9100 Modwright Sony's.
thanks for all the latest info, I cant afford anything over $1000.....closer to $500 would be better, and I'm afraid of the used stuff. got burned way to often....just to give you an idea of how long its been for me. I liked the calf audio labs, meridian, and rotel...the digital wadia was the only separate I really liked....
Kennesawjet- At $500 look for the best(sound/condition) Sony ES player regardless of age. It might take some time but $500 might be enough to find a working mint Proceed or EAD player?
I'm not so sure about the Sony ES comment. I have a 9000ES I bought to try SACD's. Its a good mass market player, but it was no match for my 1072. I had them side by side. Also, you have to be careful with the Sony. (at least the one I have). After I first put it in my system, nothing sounded quite right with my other sources. I found the problem by accident. When I unplugged the Sony, my system went back to normal. I was able to fix the problem with a JPS Digital AC+ power cord. It has a good filter on the end of it so it stops excessive noise from the CD player from making its way back into the AC that goes to my other components.
Also, I don't remember EAD making a single box player. Did they? I used to have a T1000, but that was just a transport. It was well made, though. The tray itself was actually part of the transport. Those old Pioneer units are good to buy vintage.
ZD...EAD did make a CD-1000 CD player. I had one for awhile. Nice unit.
Zd1542-There are some nice sounding Sony ES units from the mid 90's - early 2000's too many models(to long ago) for me to be specific. With a budget of $500 the options for a true hi-end player are very limited. I have NOT heard the Rotel 1072 it might just be the best budget option?
If you can find a pre-owned Audio Refinement CDP. . .
"I have NOT heard the Rotel 1072 it might just be the best budget option?"
I don't like to say anything is the best given we all have different taste's. In this price range, the 1072 would be my first choice.
excellent suggestions here. The NAD 565BEE is an excellent spinner as well as the Rotel 1072 and any Sony ES.
Too many choices, you cannot go wrong. Keep me posted & Happy Listening!