First you have a possibility to audition few of listed if you call upscale audio or audioadvisor for 30 days. Among your list I would vote for AH! and you can buy it from upscale and audition for 30 days. There is a digital volume control which you would probably want to keep at its highest level for the best performance.
I hope you'll get more answers and more options.
I would check out a used CAL(California Audio Lab)Icon MkII CD Player. Wonderful sounding CD Player. Warm and musical.
Well-built and reliable. Detachable power cord.(Replace stock cord) Highly recommended.Bill
The Norh comes from the same Thai manufacturer as the CAL players and is supposed to be the same transport and DAC as the Delta models. It adds a tube to the circuit which could be quite nice. I don't know how it compares to the Tjoeb or Heart, and I'm not sure how long it takes to receive one. I've never heard anyone rave about an AMC, so I'd stick with one of the others.
As far as tube versus SS...that would probably depend on the rest of your system.
I would add a Rega Planet to your list. Original or 2000 model. Very musical.
I recently was asking myself the same question. I had a AH!Tjoeb '99 in my main system for about two years (now still pulling duty in the bedroom) and like it just fine, especially for the price. The Tjoeb 2000 is similar in design, but built from a better stock Marantz player and, purportedly, sounds better than the '99. As I understand it (and I could be wrong alltogether), all of the Tjoebs use their tubes as a buffer on the output stage, instead of yanking the op-amps all together and replacing them with the tubes (which is how the Heart CD6000 does it). The Heart CD6000 starts with a much better stock Marantz player and the modifications and design concepts they use to modify it are a lot more aggressive than the Tjoeb (and it costs >$200 more for their efforts...). Many I have heard from consider the Heart CD6000 an upgrade from the Tjoeb, and, although I haven't had the chance to compare them, I was going to get one to compare myself when I decided to bite the bullet and get a Meridian 508 instead. I was also very tempted by the Nohr, but after doing all the reading I could, had tentatively settled on the idea of getting the Heart. Anyway, as I got the Meridian (which I love), I never had the chance to answer your (or my) particular question. From the literature I could find, I ended up most excited about the Heart in theory, but I really can't say how they all stack up sonically. I hope someone else has more in-system experience to offer -- I'd be interested to hear from those with more practical experience. Cheers.
Read the review on the Sony DVP s9000es DVD/SACD/CD player in The Absolute Sound a couple of issues ago. You can pick up a used one for $700 or so. The s9000es is not the very best but it does so much so well. You would be hard pressed to find a better value at this price. Aslo is well built and weighs about 38 lbs.
make that two votes for rega planet - old or 2000 model
If you are willing to buy a used unit, then the Adcom GCD-750 is close to your price range. The GCD-750 is a fine unit. The only caveat I might offer is that Adcom has just recently been purchased by Klein Technologies, and the company's future hasn't been spelled out.
Someone is selling a gcd-750 right now (600?). They are excellent players. That or the sony 9000. I think I'd spend my cash on the sony to get the dvd and sacd playback.
Modded Stan Warren CD players are the best sounding machines that I've ever heard in this price range. Additionally, his modded players have many of the same sonic qualities that you get in $3000+ players (great imaging, sweet highs, low grain, relaxed and fluid sound, tunefull bass and detail retrieval).
I'd vote whole-heartedly for the AH! Njoe Tjoeb 4000. For less than $600 you're really getting something very special. I have heard many many CD players (but not the Nohr or the Heart) in auditions recently and the Tjoeb can mix it with the best of them. Put decent warm tubes in it and you'll swear you were listening to a record player - it's that good.
Better suggestions can be given if you would post what is in your current system and any sonic errors it commits. All I can add is that the Rotel is better built than the AMC and NAD & is more reliable than the NAD.
Get the new Music Hall MMF-25 - a great sounding CD player
at a great price. Front loading too - not something you
have find a top shelf for - like the Rega Planet.
I'm still breaking mine in - and it has better build
quality and sound than just about anything under $1K!
I would take the CAL Icon MkII. Analog sound, sweet top, beautiful mid and vocal, bass authority. Very reliable player.
You have good recommendations above. A Stan Warren modified Pioneer or comparable player is excellent and a good investment. Pioneer DVC 503 is $179 at Costco and $250 mod. Used Rega Planet 2000. Audio Refinement Complete. Creek cd 43 or Music Hall 25. CAL good options also. Have fun.
Stan Warren also mod's the Sony s9000es for $250. I spoke with Stan on several occasions. Stan says it brings about 25% sonic improvement. A friend of a friend who is an audio reviewer had Stan mod his s9000es and apparently he claimed about a 40% sonic improvement.
So $700 for a used Sony s9000es and $250 for Stan's mod. That would be quite a unit for a small price.
I can tell you about the Stan Warren mod. IT SUCKS! I've listen to it extensively. I don't understand why all of these people think Stan's mod is so great. They most believe their own hype, or it could be that they have never heard a true HI-End cd player. Stan's mod has no bass or presence at all.
I have an old Yamaha that wipes the floor with Stan's mod. I paid $1500 for the Yamaha CD 1100U in 1989, so it was a hi-end player back than. I moved Stans mod into my bedroom for moves only. I'm telling you his mod sucks.
I would suggest that you look for an older Denon player. The Denon 1520AR would be a good choice, and the old sony es player or Cal players are good too. Any older player that has ether an outboard or onboard massive power supply/transformer would be good.
Most recordings are record in 16 bit, and all of the players that I've mention have either 18 or 20 bit dac, so these players are hard to beat with a new mid-fi player.
I hope this helps, JJ
I would also suggest the Cal Delta. You could probably get a SigmaII and Delta for that price. They are good units and for that price they will give most units a run for the money!
What about the Arcam CD72, or one of the older models such as an Arcam Alpha 8 or 9? While I do not have personal experience with these models, they have a good reputation as quality equipment, and there are some used Arcam models listed in the Audiogon classifieds in your price range.
Here is the first vote for the Jolida 100. The first review of any kind on the JD100 will be out in a month. Hint: The reviewer liked it so much, he bought it for himself.
Stehno where can you find a Sony S9000ES for 700 smackers? Do you mean used? Best price I could find was $839. Thanks for responding.
Yes, used. Should be able to find one around $700 or $800 I would think.
AH! Njoe Tjoebs 4000 - I've had the unit for all of two weeks. It's going through a passive unit into a ss amp.
Couldn't be happier.
Go to www.audioreview.com and look at the shear volume of people who are just as happy with this unit.