Take a look at the Decware CD player. There is a used one on the GON right now and one on the Decware forum that is used also. Good Luck!
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You should try to borrow the CD players you are interested in so that you can listen to them in your system. If you listen to different players in different systems you have no way of knowing how much the CD player is contributing to the sound. Also some players will have better synergy with your system than others. You might want to take a look at the Cary Audio CDP 1. You can pick one up used in your price range.
Racamuti, thanks for your suggestion! Do you know how the Jolida and Decware CD players compare since they are both tube? And do you think it'd be possible to find a ZCD200 somewhere to listen to first as Decware doesn't seem to have dealers?
Thanks Lostbears, that's a good idea! I'll try to find dealers from which I can borrow CDPs.
Actually, the first time I was auditioning CDPs at the store mentioned, we were using the same setup I have at home (Jolida amp + CM7s) - that's where I bought my gear ... The rooms are of course different. The second time I was there, we had to use a Rotel amp as the Jolida amp on display got sold. We still hooked it up to the CM7s though. I noticed a huge difference in sound between the 2 systems/amps. Do you think speakers would make as much of a difference or is it more important to make sure that the Amp and CD player are well-matched?
I have been using the Rega Apollo with a Prima Luna Prologue 2 on a daily basis for almost 3 years now with no problems. The Apollo is a great player for the price and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
The initial issues that were reported with the Rega Apollo were of the user education variety. For example, when you insert the CD, you must wait a few seconds for the Rega to BOTH recognize the disc and then prompt you to hit play. If you hit play before that process is complete, the disc will not play nor will the Rega automatically start playing. The other issue is that the Rega does not always recognize CDRs recorded at greater than 8X speed. Both situations are covered in the user manual.
The web postings that you may be reading are 3 to 4 years old. There has not been much chatter since. By all means, you should audition the Apollo.
You might consider the move to computer front end. RReading around here (and at the very helpful computeraudiophile.com) will give you lots of ideas; in particular, there are any number of well regarded and inexpensive USB DACs that should allow you to hit your pricepoint with the associated computer gear (eg, a Mac Mini). I'd be very surprised is you couldn't get sound that rivals the players you mention, and you may find the convenience revelatory, as I did. My 2c. J
Cary CDP-1 works fantastic in my system.I can't say that it will work for you,only you can make that determination.It would be worth a try,if you don't like it, you will get most/all of your money back on resell.There are 3 of them for sell in the classifieds right now,not mine though,I'm hanging on to it.
I use the Rotel RCD-1520 with a Rogue Cronus and B&W CM7's and it sounds great. I've only compared it to my NAD CDP in my system and there's a lot more detail with the Rotel. I have however heard the Rega Apollo and Bryston (can't remember model) and the Rotel sounds to me like a combination of both the Rega and Brystons strong points. I originally had the new Rotel seperates and they were so forward and bright that I couldn't listen to it. The RCD-1520 has a very nice balance with tubes.
Reports from the front are that the new Rotel player is very good, but the amp/pre is forward and fatiguing. I would be careful about auditioning this player along with this amp even though Rotel considers them stablemates. The above advice on the Cary is a no brainer. A demo on sale right now for only $750. Hurry up before I beat you to it!
Speakers can make a huge difference in the sound of a system. If at all possible compare things in a system as close to yours as possible. I was in the same situation as you awhile back. I wanted a new player because my was beginning to have problems and a replacement transport was no longer available. I went to a dealer to hear a specific player that had gotten great reviews. I was not impressed at all with the player when I heard it in the dealers system. Later I heard the same player in a system with the same amp and preamp that I own. I was amazed at the difference in sound. I ended up buying that CDP that I had passed up a month earlier.
Some CDPs seem far more system dependent than others. The Cary did not seemed to me to be that system dependent. It is well built and a really nice sounding player. that is why I mentioned it. Cary also has great customer service which to me was a concern. BTW I don't own one but I have heard one both in my system and at a dealer.
Used Cary 303-200. Very smooth, detailed, high quality--I'm using it in a pretty expensive system & have never had the urge to upgrade. I don't know how it compares to the Cary CDP-1, but it's hard to go wrong with Cary gear.
PS--you can probably upgrade your CDP quality enormously by buying used vs. new......
I have heard Rega, Creek, Arcam, Cambridge and Naim CDP's in the past. That was a few years ago though. I liked the Naim the best with the Arcam as second. Didn't like the others at all. So if I were you I would not skip the Arcam not really sure if a Naim CD5i is much more expensive but I really liked that one.
Hbarrel, thanks for your suggestion! Were you referring to the Njoe Tjoeb 4000? If so, which options did you get and how would you describe the sound?
Mordante, thanks for your comments! I haven't heard the latest Arcam CDP but I must say I like the Arcam sound too. So I'll definitely audition the Arcam and several others including the Cary, Rega, and Ah!, which have all gotten great reviews. Did you mean the original Naim CD5i or the "new" CD5i (italic)?