New or Old CD Player?

Let's say I have $5K, tops, to buy a CD player. I don't need digital inputs, outputs, etc. I don't need to spin SACD's. I only intend to play Redbook CD's and want a one-box solution. Would my money be better spent on a new unit, like maybe a Hegel Mohican? Or should I buy a component that was close to state of the art a decade ago? Like maybe a Simaudio 750D, or an Audio Research Reference CD8? Thoughts?
Wow - searching for the proverbial "white whale" of a high dollar, one box redbook CD solution - now you are a hard core audiophile imgoodwithtools!  In my experience, I have not been overwhelmed with the most recent "advances" in digital, and with a few exceptions, and there is no question that the quality of redbook cd drives has been declining over the years.  Thus, I think you may be better off with some of the more recent CD players that have experienced significant price depreciation; the best of these I have heard in your price range are the EMM Labs CDSA-SE, the Esoteric X-01 (or if you are lucky you can find a K-01 in the ballpark of your price range), and the DCS Puccini.  I would definitely prefer these over the CD8 from my limited experience, but have no context to comment on the Simaudio.
Your own short list and Rzado’s offerings all rank as high-end performers. You can add , inter alia, the top NAIM and older top-end LINN spinner and also the REGA ISIS Valve cdp/DAC into the mix .

they are all very fine units .... they are all contenders and no pretenders in that price and performance strata. Which sounds best in YOUR system is impossible for others to suggest,

The REGA (and others?) has a USB direct input into their high end DAC to permit digital playback of hi-Rez audio files on hard drives ...a nice feature IMO for a change-up .

The REGA has a nice feature: two other exclusive matched serial numbered bespoke transports reserved for its buyers in the remote case of replacement .... a nice piece of insurance going forward.

happy hunting

Get an old one. Oppo was making some decent disc spinners but they are getting out of that business. It might be a sign of things to come. If it were me, I would look for an older Sony ES model, Esoteric, or even a PS Audio. You might find a new old stock unit from Sony like the 5400ES. That might be a great idea and run out the digital cable to a really good DAC, like the Ayre Codex.
Iamgoodwith tools. here is in our opinion a better solution.

Most people today are abandoning spinning media in favor of stored hard drive library or straight Tidal streaming.

If you really want to spin a CD Numprime has or is just now launching a $1,200.00-$1,500.00 CD spinner that also upconverts to psedo high res and then feeds that signal to its own internal dac or can send the signal to an outboard dac.

Then invest the majority of your funds into a state of the art dac.

Or use a ripper/sever such as an Innuous server which can rip you cd/store your library and access Tidal. 

Or lastely send out your CD library to a ripping service and store the files on a high quality server like the Innuous Zenith and you won't need to ever spin a cd.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Thanks for the feedback thus far.
I was quite specific in my question because I currently have both a Berkeley Alpha Ref 2, and a T+A PDP 3000 HV in my main rig. I don't intend to throw away my CD collection. I am looking for a one-box CD solution to drive a headphone rig on a different floor of my home.
FWIW, I had an Esoteric K-03X for awhile.
It was a bit too lean and clinical, IMO. I much prefer the T+A unit.
i like carver cd-players with 1-bit dacs built in 90's they are hard to beat and will work forever.
Disk drives and laser heads wear out.  Some can be replaced, some not.  It makes absolute sense to get a newer or a new unit.  Used Sim 750 and 650, plus Mohican, Bryston BCD-3 and now Primare CD35 would all be on my radar.
I cannot recommend the Hegel Mohican...

Like the rest of their players, it simply comes off as a rebadged Opera Audio Consonance CDP, typical of that outfit's efforts in the first 5 years of this millennium.   At $5000, you're spending 2X - 5X for machines that proved historically unreliable and more than decade old technology.

Reading the Herb Reichert Stereophile review, I see two errors:
1.  CLEARLY a Sony (source of most of the problems with the Consonance players) transport / laser, not a Sanyo
2.  Opera Audio Consonance, who OEMs Hegel components, manufactures in China.  The review states in black and white the machine is made in Norway.   As usual, the rear panel does not have a "Made In" statement, but only Hegel - Oslo, Norway, etc.   Personally, I have a real problem with the way Hegel handles this
The EAR Yoshino Acute Classic is the best I've heard for REDBOOK cd's.  The most analog sounding I've come across.   Finding one used would be within your budget most likely.   The Acute Classic is the most recent version from EAR, having done Acute 1, 2 and 3 over the past decade or so.  The ACUTE CLASSIC does sound improved over the prior versions, so there are some advancements in sound that would be best to get latest versions of cd players if funds allow.  Digital has improved quite a bit over the last decade, even in strictly redbook cd players.
If a quality and statement piece CD is what you want, you can't go past a Yamaha CD-S3000. Look at the specifications! This is not a bit of this and a bit of that OPPO or the like. This is an out and out top end CD/SACD player.
I would opt for a CEC TL-5. This is an analog sounding transport that is belt driven and gets absolutely rave reviews for under $3K. Go through a dealer. Don't buy off Ebay.
 only intend to play Redbook CD's and want a one-box solution.

If you want one box players, not dacs, these are the ones.
For finest Redbook replay, as there are no new players built around these dac chips, you want players that used the best implemented (at the time) 2R2 Ladder Multibit Dac in them, the PCM1704"k" selected.

These are my 3 in order, there are more.

1: Naim CD555 with 555 power base
2: Linn Sondek CD-12 MkIII version that has 4 x PCM1704K and PMD200 
3: Esoteric X-01

Cheers George


Good advice... son you got a drinking problem!  Son say, what drinking problem, go to hell!  now to my point , see a doctor and have him give you the blue pill not the red pill! then go home go to bed and wake up in the real world, not in the cd matrix. recommend  40.00 sony playstation 1   with rca audio outputs on rear and enjoy the music for a change, Save all that money burning a hole , back up all your cd,s to hdd by ripping .
Hey George,
I have never had the opportunity to hear a Linn or a Naim. I had an Esoteric for awhile. I found it both amazingly good, and too analytic. Is the Linn or the Naim more "analog" sounding?
Do you live in Colorado? Lol Too many blunts? Lol. I get you. The music over hardware. But, for the most part, well chosen, more money buys better sound reproduction. 
Is the Linn or the Naim more "analog" sounding?
Yes they’re both very analogue in their lower mid richness, without the bass getting thick/syrupy as tubes tend to do.
Good luck finding a the Naim 555 pairing under $10k though, also the Linn CD12MkIII, as there were not many of these, plenty MkI’s and II’s but it’s the III you want, if you can’t get the Naim pair.

This was the a review of only the MkI with PCM1702 not the better MkIII with PCM1704’s +PMD200 (same as the Naim).

Cheers George
The Vitus RCD is a wonderful sounding cdp. You can pick up a second hand one within your budget, if you can find one on the market.   Vitus CD players are the most analogue sounding digital sources I have heard. 
If you want an excellent analog player buy an OPPO 205 before they are gone and have the MOD RGHT modification done.
This player beats them all while giving you lots of additional features. I have one that was just modified and have never heard anything like it. Tubes with a superb DAC (ES9800) produce the best of both worlds on any CD. And the total price ($3800) is well within your budget.
Indeed, imgoodwithtools, you know precisely what you should do:  ARC Ref. CD8.   Lo and behold, there's a real nice, lightly used one on the block here at A'Gon right now, and you don't need to spend $5K.  Its offered by some member goes by the moniker, Whitecap.  Check it out.  

@trelja I just Google-imaged innards of Mohican, Sony and Sanyo CD mechanisms, and the Hegel looks exactly like the Sony, with that tell-tale grid/lattice pattern on top.  Hegel, on the Mohican homepage, states that it's Sanyo, but as you say it's hard to believe.  Ironic to see just today that @monkandmozart was so taken with it.
Yes Hegel Mohican!
End of digital or angular notes in playback
Rounded & natural decay,tempo & timbre.
Your mind wanders freely as you listen to music.
No jarring reminders that sound digital or hyped/
Hear inside the music,played by humans.

@twoleftears the Sony transport makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Back when they manufactured them in Japan, Sony turned out the very best CD transports in the audio business.   The shift away from Japan production in the mid-2000s proved catastrophic.  Since then, I'd feel uncomfortable buying any machine that use them, let alone a $5000 player.  Ironically, at that same time, Philips, who had produced less than mediocre CD transports got their act together, and became the one you wanted.  Sanyo also makes a decent CD  transport today.

Personally, I'm more than a bit leery on spending real money on a CD player, the Achilles heel of an audio system.  Other than a good older machine, I prefer going for something with a more robust CD reader like a Sony 5400ES SACD player, Oppo, or the like, and if that didn't sound good enough, feed it into a DAC.  I find it silly that I can buy a Samsung or LG DVD writer at my local computer store for $14.99 any day of the week that offers night and day better reliability than the CD laser assemblies used in multi-kilobuck audiophile players
I would think Hegel know what there doing+R&D put into this player.
I know 5K is alot but get what you pay for especially compared to 20K+ players.
We can list reasons & fears not to purchase but end of day it's because can't afford it.


Thanks! for the Hegel brief. This one is on my list to demo.

Happy Listening!

I will be 55 years old in September. I go to work. Half of my job is dealing with computers. Will not connect to internet. Over. And over again. Where is the Tech Support guy? Password. After password after Password. I can’t remember them all. When I get home, the Last thing I want to feel is that I’m at the discretion of a computer. I want to spin a disc. Large or small. Relax. Close my eyes. Relax.

@trelja As the owner of a BCD-1, I can attest first-hand that Bryston stands behind their products way after the warranty period has expired. Unfortunately, the transport they used in that is now NLA. For the BCD-3, they chose the StreamUnlimited JPL-2800, which as I understand it, is also to be found in dCS products. Interesting, for their brand new similarly priced unit, the CD35, Primare chose TEAC, specifically the CD 5020A-AT, which also has quite a pedigree. BTW, do you have any info. on where Primare is manufactured?  A quick Google search turned up little solid info. but some talk about both China and Taiwan.

@imgoodwithtools Your last post made me smile...
So I posted this...using my computer.
Now I can relax.
We ought to be on Broadway, Al. We’re hilarious! Posting this, using my smart phone. Lol
The Resolution Audio Opus-21 is very well regarded, and a couple are available here.  2 boxes though...

I have a Resolution Audio CD50, and it sounds absolutely delicious.
George, or anyone else: What do you know about a Naim CDS II with external power supply?
imgoodwithtools OP189 posts04-10-2018 2:55amGeorge, or anyone else: What do you know about a Naim CDS II with external power supply?
The Naim CDSII uses the PCM1702k still a great R2R Multibit dac not quite as good as the PCM1704K which was the king, before the far cheaper to produce Delta Sigma stuff came along which "hobbled" Redbook.

This is better, the CDXII, it uses the PCM1704K with the PMD200 same as what's in the Linn Sondek CD12. and the Naim CD555. with lesser peripherals around it (eg: power supplies, buffers, i/v stage, ect) 

Cheers George

Yup!  They now make a 'music center' the Cantata - which plays CDs but also contains lots of other bells the OP does not want.

The Opus-21 is circa 2004

@twoleftears sorry, I don't know much about Primare.  I believe you are right the TEAC transports.

I also believe history proves you find yourself in very good hands with  Bryston.  Even if the CD assembly has gone out of production, I can't see them leaving their customers out in the cold

Thanks! for sharing. Odd decision about the Bryston BCD-1? Good to read that they are back on track w/ the BCD-3 regarding transports/parts avail for repair/replacement.  Recently, I saw the Primare CD35. The previous CD32 used a Sanyo disc drive/transport that is readily avail. I wonder why those guys switched again?
Happy Listening!
At this level of cost & quality/ 
I assume the player is well thought out and don't worry much about potential replacement parts.
@jafant  Well, the BCD-1 came out in 2008, and Bryston chose a Philips L1210 CD drive, a reasonable choice at the time I think.  They still to this day support all other parts of the '1, but the supply of drives has dried up--about a year ago.  @trelja Given Teac's connection with Esoteric, doesn't that drive carry a very good reputation?
There will always be unintended industry mistakes & exceptions.
I don’t buy a top cd player and contemplate those things.
My purpose was to discuss a new experience with Hegel Mohican
I don’t know first hand if other companies have attained similar level of improvement.with redbook.
I’ve been trying cd players since 1984 and regulary tuned out after a short time.
Being a musician guess I wasn’t satisfied with digital products.
I know when timing cues are accurate/drums+bass are authentic.
My only similar reaction was Linn Ikemi & briefly Sondek cd12.

FWIW, I've decided to buy a lightly used Audio Research Reference CD8. I buy quite a bit of used equipment. If I don't love it, I can usually resell and not get bitten too badly. I do want to hear a Hegel Mohican. When I find one at a discount, I'll give it a spin.

TEAC/Esoteric can be hit-and-miss as well. There are rumors that the older spinners SA/DV series, no longer, have critical parts/drives?
Esoteric is not known fro their customer service either? At that level and price they should be in my opinion.

Happy Listening!
Nice choice! imgoodwithtools.

regarding ARC, I have auditioned , the CD5, CD7 and CD9.

Happy Listening!
As above, Bryston, should have stock-piled those Philips L1210 CD drives.
Poor judgement from a company that has been around long enough to know better.
Thanks jafant! Here's my logic, since all players I've heard about I haven't heard. I'm buying blindly. 1. Marc Mickelson at The Audio Beat gave it a very favorable review. I trust Marc's judgement. 2. I own an AR Ref6 preamp. It sounds Great, especially paired with my D'Agostino S-250 amp. 3. I had an aftermarket tube arc and blow up my Ref6 about 6 mos. ago. ARC fixed it for Free. Free. Even though I bought it used, and I decided to try an aftermarket tube. 4. ARC has the reputation for offering complete service on obsolete components. And 5. Both the company and the unit have a strong enough reputation that if I don't Love it, resale should not be difficult.

Now here's the problem. You Know when it comes I'll have to hear what it sounds like in my Big Rig. Then, what If I Love it? Then I'm back in the market for a CD player. Lol