Need help/advice on choosing a new CDP

My cdp is on its last leg - it's been refusing to read/play most of my CDs for quite some time now, so I need to find a new one soon. I was thinking about getting an "entry-level" CDP, which'd actually be an upgrade from what I currently have, a Denon universal player. I know what you guys are thinking ... a universal player?! I'm fairly new to audiophile so please excuse my ignorance. I mean, I've always been interested in audio but I didn't know much at all until I started putting together my first system a few years ago. Now I know better ...

Anyway, enough rambling ... I thought I could find a decent CDP for around $1k (or hopefully a little less) to replace my DVD-2930CI but now after some auditioning, I'm not so sure. I was considering the new Rotel RCD-1520, Jolida JD100A, Rega Apollo, and Arcam FMJ CD17. So far, I've heard the RCD-1520 twice at the same store, once with Jolida tube amp which sounded OK, and once with Rotel's new integrated stereo amp which makes it too forward sounding (and not enough depth plus details are lost). I've also heard the Creek Classic CDP with the Jolida amp which didn't sound good to me, and the Jolida JD100A with the Rotel amp which sounded too bright (and hence fatiguing, the sound's somewhat recessed but overall detailed) at the same store. With all the problems Apollo (and Saturn) owners have reported, I'm hesitant to get one. I still plan on auditioning it alongside the Arcam CD17 at another store soon. I am pretty confused and overwhelmed now as it looks like I'll have to spend quite a bit more than I thought. I don't want to buy something that sounds just OK to me ... Some CDP ideas I got from talking to audio dealers/stores and doing research online are: Creek Destiny and CD50 MK2 (already obsolete though), Simaudio Moon CD-1 and CD.5, Arcam FMJ CD36, Shanling.

If you have any CDP recommendations for me or can share your experience with any of the players I have mentioned, that'd be very helpful. My current setup: Jolida JD502B tube amp, 2x B&W CM7, AudioQuest cables and interconnects. I listen to all kinds of music (except rap). I am looking for good detail and some dimensionality in the sound.
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!

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.

Best regards,

You might consider the move to computer front end. RReading around here (and at the very helpful 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
Have to agree with LOSTBEARS on the Cary CDP-1.
Has remote,plays HDCD,volume control,can be used w/o preamp.
I've owned mine for 2 years and it never missed a beat.
Also good factory support if needed.
Rarely found used but worth the hunt. One listed now.
(not mine- don't know seller) Good Luck!

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!
Rar1 is absolutely correct about reliability issues with the Apollo and Saturn. I own two Apollo CDPs (one for home and one for work) and have never experienced any problems. I also own a Rega P25 and have owned two Rega integrateds. Always reliable and great value per $.
Don't fool around, get the oppo 83SE. Best part is you can try it in your system to see if it meets your expectations. If not back it goes.
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......
cary cdp-1 you probably can find one almost new ;;;;;;;;;;;
Thanks again, Lostbears. I see.

And thanks everyone for their recommendations!

Looks like I have a lot more research and auditioning to do ... I'm at CES this weekend so hopefully I'll get to do a lot of listening and pick up some useful info.
In your favorite search engine type in; AH! CD player. And then peruse the electronic wasteland and give the AH! some consideration. I've had one for 5 years and could not be happier.
Best unit for the money I've heard.
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)?
I think I heard the Naim CD5i (non italic) it was about 3 ago. To be honest I am also a little biased towards Naim because of the looks.