Marantz - SA-15S2B or Yamaha CD-S2000 or iPod

Hi All,
The rest of the system: Vandersteen 2Ce Sig2, (don't laugh, it is an excellent piece) JVC A-X55 integrated amp from your student years and a Denon tuner.

Room is about 400 sq feet. Classical music, e.g. Bach's partitas by Mullova or WTK by S. Richter - so clarity/serenity is appreciated. Classy jazz on a rare occasion is enjoyed too.
I can get Yam for $1500 new, there is an open box Marantz for about the same price.. And a friend promised to loan his CD8004 as a reference point for comparison, tells me this is all I need. I am more into music, so if the CD8004 is 'enough', I will settle on that and save some money. That is why I ask the collective wisdom before I start 'buying' and returning stuff.

Sometimes I think that an iPod may be able to deliver the same at a lower cost. Correct me, if necessary.

Thank you,
Edit: actually it is JVC a-X77. Shows how I care.. But I do care about the sound.
If you get an iPod, you will need a dac designed to go with it like the Wadia. I had a Marantz 8003 and never liked it. I think the Marantz SA15S2 is your best bet. Its more refined than the 8004. I never cared for the Yamaha house sound at all.
Will you only consider the 2 amps you list? After reading your post, it looks to me like you are not aware of how good your Model 2's are. There's nothing wrong with either integrated, but they won't even come close to getting the best out of your speakers. I have a pair myself that I use in my main system, and know how to match components and set them up for best results.
Zd542, I understand and share your concern. It looks to me you are not aware how good the vintage JVC A-X77 is. It sent back Anthem 225, Luxman E250 and a smaller Plinius 9100 home. But I am open for suggestions, albeit right now I am looking for decent CD player under $2k, or an equivalent iPod + madness setup. I trust my ears, love music and for a therapy I do not need equipment race. Of course, I have auditioned many an amp that sounded 'better' than this one, but I cannot afford those at the moment. It would take more than a couple of Gs to better it. So, I decided to take care of the source first.
Right now, the question for me now: in their standard, unmodified form, what would be a better player for me. And I realize I need to decide this for myself, but ask you on the off-chance someone [with similar musical taste] already went through comparisons could chime in
If you sent those three amps packing, then you must really like the sound of the JVC as they are of some repute. Good for you for following your ears.

I was in the same boat (kinda) as you and went and got the Marantz SA-15S2b.
Trust me on this one, it's a keeper. If you can try it out and send it back if you don't like it, believe me, it will be worth the effort. Let in break in before you decide (you've got 30 days).

Also, it raised the level of my CD collection considerably. I only have a few SACDs and since they're hit and miss and costly, don't worry if you don't amass a large SACD collection: that would be missing the point of the Marantz.

All the best,
Sorry, I read your post wrong. I thought you were asking about a new amp and that your friend was lending you a CD player. After reading your post again, I have no idea how I came up with that in the first place.

Of the players you list, I would choose the Marantz. Some other players I've had on my 2's that sounded very good and are in your price range are - Rotel 1072, Arcam 33, Ayre 7. As far as the iPod goes, I can't imagine it sounding better than any of the CD players listed here. Your speakers definitely have the resolution to easily pick out any differences between them.
I love the iPod/iPad/iPhone devices, I think I own seven of them, but have never understand the use of them as the basis for a high-quality home system. Everything about their design is optimized for portability and convenience. That inevitably involves compromises in audio quality.

By the time you spend the hundreds of dollars required to bypass the amp and DAC-on-a-chip in the iPod you're left with a very small hard drive with very limited capacity and a nice interface.

My recommendation would be to either get a CD player that works well for you or set up a computer-based music server and use the iPod for what it was designed for.
Thank you all for your contributions. The dinky iPod is out then :) Now, I have to decide which case of creative marketing is loaded with heavier burden of creativity. Marantz is a Mid-Fi Co that has an edge in this dept. Like Teshigahara-sensei was in the neigbourhood and brought his latest ikebana to Ishikawa-san and that thing inspired Ken to use his divine touch here and there and 10 thousand flowers betrayed Chairman Mao and are blossoming in your den now. They are all masters of metaphor repackaging. Like those toro transformers, copper plates, etc. [October Copper futures are at 3.0755 right now. Something Mr Atkinson never used in his reviews. As relevant, of course] Why not, if you can sell the same product more times? Yamaha has an interesting tray and ostensibly more modern DAC chip, but it is a function of implementation, of course.
Yes, I like to spin them, and my collection is growing despite my attempts to rip and donate the CDs to my local library.
I guess, I need to give a listen to an apparatus or two. There is no other way otherwise. Shall report back in a few..
I have to agree with nonoise,the marantz 15S2B is one heck of machine and i owned the Marantz SA-8004 for about a year and 15S2B is a keeper for me also. Marantz signature sound for sure and is a little more detailed sounding then the 8004. I also spin mostly stereo cds and have a couple of SACDS. Have had my 15s2b since May of this year. You wont go wrong with this cd player,I highly recommend this player,check it out.

Happy to hear you're enjoying the Marantz SA-15S2b. It's truly a wonderful player and easily rivals the sounds I heard at the last Newport Audio show. It may have been different, but in no way lacking. The way it resurrects and rescues older CDs is amazing.

The CD format has a long life ahead of it thanks to players like the Marantz.

All the best,

"The way it resurrects and rescues older CDs is amazing."

What exactly do you mean by that? Does it take poor recordings and smooth them over, or do you mean something else?
What I mean is that with its ability to extract all the info and pass it on results in a very convincing recreation. Whether it's the DAC implementation or the robust power supply or just the sum of its parts, it recreates a very convincing musical event.

Nothing is smoothed over. In fact, everything is laid bare. It doesn't do it for all, older CDs, but they are the exception to the rule. I have quite of few older CDs that I've just given up on and now I can listen to them again. With some, I can still hear the limitations but it more than makes up for it.

All the best,

Thanks. That's exactly what I wanted to know.