I've owned both,like both,but prefer the sound of the original Planet.I find it to be more dynamic and involving.Either way you can't go wrong.
Marty, if you don't do much digital, you may well prefer the Planet. It has a smooth, relaxed nature that would appeal to someone who definitely tends to vinyl.
That being said, I have owned the Music Hall, and for me, it was the clear choice. In fact, to my ears, it even surpasses the Rega Jupiter. I feel the MMF25 is the best bargain in high end audio today (though I haven't heard the PrimaLuna Prologue 2 yet), and not as far off the best CD players as one might imagine.
A friend of mine sells the Regas, and the thing I could never get past when I was looking to the brand to make a serious jump up in my digital back in the late 90s was their lack of jump. All of the things that endears it to many mostly turned me off. I found them slow, plodding, overly lush, and lacking in life.
When I finally ended up with the Music Hall (after a few tries with some other players), I felt like I had gotten somewhere better than I was before. It equaled most anything I came across under $1500, offering commendable speed, clarity, openness, liquidity, and refinement. Where it falls down against the best players, such as my Granite 657 (Audio Aero Capitole and Electrocompaniet) is in the nth degree of detail, smoothness, and refinement. Again, for those who are seriously sensitive to digititus, the Planet may well make them happier.
Joe, thanks so much for the thoughtful and reasoned guidance. I checked the archives before posting and did have an opportunity to peruse your previous, glowing, posts. I may take a shot at it, after all. The Music Hall sounds just like me, lacking the Nth degree of detail, smoothness and refinement!
I have owned the Original Planet and the CD-25 (purchased based on Treljas recommendation, Thanks Joe!). Both are nice players and the comparison Joe makes above with regard to the two players is quite accurate. I found the Original Planet to be a bit too smooth (lacking detail and somewhat muted) for my taste and liked the CD-25 better. I found that I kept turning up the volume with the Original Planet looking for the music as it were.
To give you more options I also purchased the Cambridge Audio Azur 640C and the Arcam CD-73T and personally liked them both a little better in my system than the CD-25, but each for different reasons. (I do not believe either of these was available when Joe purchased/owned his CD-25. Is that correct Joe?) I liked the CD-73T because it provides very much detail, perhaps too much causing it to be a bit harsh on the high end on all but the best recorded discs not good for those with digititus. The CD-73T was great for hearing and enjoying the magic of detail, not so great for enjoying the music as a whole unless the recording was very very good. The CD-73T was a bit tipped up and dry or analytical sounding without enough overall warmth to the sound for my taste (I was using solid state amplification at the time could be a better match for tubes??). The 640C lacks the detail of the CD-73T but sounds very musical to me well balanced not dry like the CD-73T, but not muted like the Original Planet. To my ear (admittedly untrained compared to Joe) I like the 640C better than the CD-25. I cant articulate it any better than to say that I found myself tapping my toes a bit more with the 640C than with the CD-25.
And yet one more option If you are looking in a higher price range, I would also look at the Consonance CD-120. It is what I ended up with after purchasing the above mentioned players (plus the Planet 2000, the AH! Njoe Tjoeb, et.al.). For me, the CD-120 reveals the detail of the CD-73T in the mids/highs without harshness, provides great low end without over powering the rest of the range, and takes me deeper into the music that any of the above mentioned players.
I agree with Joe that the CD-25 is a great player for the money. So are the 640C, CD-73T, and the CD-120. One thing that I found from all of the CD player swapping, and Joe will agree as I believe he has said it many times, you have to listen and decide for yourself. All the recommendations in the world mean nothing unless YOU like the sound and how the player mates to your system. My owning these players really helped me determine what I was looking for from my CD front end and helped me appreciate some of the subtleties of system matching.
Bob, thanks so much! You have really put the sonic qualities of these players into sharp relief for me as well as helping to fill out my short list of players to audition. Thanks to you and Joe for the great guidance; this is what the hobby is all about. The reason I had considered the Music Hall was that AV123 is selling the identical, except for output op-amp, ONIX 88 for $298.00 for a new unit and $249.00 for open box. In some ways, it seemed like a no brainer. Now, I am not sure. By the way, your user name is a misnomer!
I own the Rega Planet (original and the 2000) and borrowed a cd-25 to see if I would like it for yet another system. It pretty much performed as stated above. However, with silver Alpha Core Micropurl IC's both Planets top end became more detailed and the sound stage moved forward (the 2000 started out better than the original from the get go). The micropurl IC's gave me listener fatigue on the cd-25. The Planets were the cd players of choice in my system setups. As has been stated here and elsewhere, it will depend on your system and your personal preferences. All the players listed above are good contenders.
Hi, Bob! Hope to see you again soon.
You are correct that the Cambridge 640C was not available when I got my Music Hall. However, Bill called me once to rave about them, and asked me to come over to give his a listen, as he was selling them. Since then, I have also been on the Cambridge bandwagon, but we both agreed that we preferred the MMF25. The jump (sonics, extension at both frequency extremes, musicality, openness, build, and reliability) Cambridge made from the D500SE to the 640C at the same price point is simply astounding. The D500SE was like a $250 - $350 machine, whereas the 640C is like a $1200 - $1500 machine.
Marty, one recommendation I would like to make to you with the Rega before you look for a new player is to give the HomeGrown Audio Silver Lace interconnect a try. It really ups the ante in terms of what you can get out of a CD player. The music can really become pulse pounding, with a lot more jump and slam. In my experience, it seems to push the sound towards what I have always wanted to fix with the Regas. You may just find that you do not need to move to a new player at that point. Anyway, even if you still move to another player, this IC will continue to serve you well.
Two other CD players I would like to recommend are the Granite 650 and the older version of the Audio Aero Prima.
The Granite keeps the richness of the Planet, and is about is good in terms of weight and heft as one can find without spending silly money. Detail, clarity, and refinement will significantly improve. Whenever I see them used here on Audiogon, the price tags are in the range of maybe $350 - $700. I watch in disbelief when they sometimes languish for weeks. I can personally attest that they will easily compete with players in the $3000 price point.
The older Audio Aero Prima, with 6922 output tube, is just a gnat's eyelash away from the best players you can buy, for under $1000. Rolling that output tube, along with interconnects and the power cord allow one to paint a wide range of sonic pictures. This really is a giant killer!
I loved the original Rega plaent when it was in my system. In fact I had used it as a transport for an outboard DAC for awhile, but found I like the Rega's analog output stage more that the DAC. However, you may want to consider something more recent, like the CD-25, as the original Rega transport had issues on some CD-Rs and newer enhanced CDs (meaning those with a data layer containing interactive software and so forth).
This thread is a couple of weeks old but if you haven't bought a player yet, you should be aware that Music Hall has announced the replacement for the CD-25: the CD-25.2. The main difference in specifications is the Burr Brown PCM 1738 replaces the PCM 1732 and the Philips VAM 1202/19 transport replaces the Philips CDM 12.1. MSRP remains the same at $600. So far, AV123 has not advertised a replacment of the Onix XCD-88 (its version of the CD-25).