Now what?

I like the sound of the Rega Apollo-R, but I don't like how it won't read disc that aren't perfect. I decided to start looking into replacing it. My journey began with a Densen 400 Plus. Wow what a difference. The Densen is bright, imaging is poor, sound stays between the speakers. Now I really understand when people say a component gives the prospective of sitting in the front row. My problem is I want to change from the Apollo, but I don't want to spend more than 2K for a new or used player. Can I do better than a Rega Apollo-R for less than 2K? If so, I need two or three recommendations to listen to.
I am frankly puzzled by your first sentence. The Apollo takes several seconds on average to read what type of disc you have inserted and changes it's settings accordingly. I have never had a problem with it not reading a disc properly, in fact that is one of it's really nice features in my experience.

Sometimes a disc I have burned will not play that great, but this is the fault of my burner, not the Apollo. I do not have a high end burner, I just use a free program with my Mac laptop. It could also be the type of blank CD you are using, they vary quite a bit in quality IME.
Learsfool, if every component from a manufacturer functioned exactly the same (0 malfunctions) then we'd be talking about perfection. It must be taken into account that perfect function is not what we always get when we buy audio components, even when consumer a. has the same audio component as consumer b.
Actually, comments about the Rega Apollo's recognizing CDs come up from time to time. Most are concerning CDRs, which Rega explains in the user booklet that if the CDR was recorded at greater than 8X, you are SOL.

I have had the original Apollo for 7 or 8 years now and on that rare occasion when a CD is not readable, I open the lid and reinsert the CD or I shut the player off and then back on and I am good to go. If Ricred is having this issue occur a lot, I would suggest contacting Rega about the matter. I own more than 5000 cds and have not come across more than a handful of damaged cds.

I like the sound of the Rega Apollo-R, but I don't like how it won't read disc that aren't perfect.

I guess this could be frustrating but:

In speaking to Rega technicians many years ago about my Saturn, they told me that Rega established a standard for the players when in the "initializing" mode.

This is why it takes a while as it calibrates itself for each disc.

If the cd does not pass all the software tests it does not register as playable. So I see this as a good thing.

Of the players I own it is the pickiest. Its been my experience that burned colored discs work better/less errors than shiny ones.

My experiences also mirror what the others have said. nice player.

I've had the Rega Planet, Planet 2000, and Jupiter 2000 which I liked quite a bit. But, when the latter was blown away by a $35. used Sony Play Station One I knew it was time to change. I bought a used Bryston BCD-1 and never looked back. The BCD-1 is all I was looking for and might be the one for you, too. Check out the reviews online
I talked to a Rega technician yesterday and he told me I needed a new laser. I'm sending it to True Sound for repair and upon its return will sell it.
Hi Foster - I was confused by your post at first, since I agree with it 100%. Then I realized that it was mine that was unclear, as usual. I meant it to refer to my equipment, not necessarily the OPs or anyone else's. I was just trying to suggest other possible causes of the problem besides the CD player itself. Rar1's comments about the burning speed may have alot to do with it, as well. I usually burn stuff on the faster setting, as I am not generally critically listening to the CDs I burn. I happen to be burning some stuff right now that I want as good a copy of as I can get on my limited equipment, though, so I will try that slower setting and see if it makes much difference.
You get can the laser assembly and install it yourself. In the newer version of the older Apollo it is just a swap in and out, no adjustments. The newer laser made a big difference in the player although I only use it as a transport with a Museatex BiDat. The stock DAC is not very good sounding versus the Museatex.
I've listen to a couple of CD players and I prefer a Metronome CDV2 Signature over everything I've heard. Why does a 10 year old CD player sound better than some of the current players? I thought digital technology has improved over the past 10 years.
You prefer the Metronome because you are using your ears instead of a spec sheet. Too many people do the opposite. Some of the most highly-regarded digital players use old DAC chips. There is a lot more to a digital player than the chips. I will take another shot at recommending the Doge6 from Pacific Valve. 2K and 30-day money back. Absolutely huge soundstage and detailed, yet warm sound. There's a reason that they almost never come up for sale used. I sold mine to finance a great deal on an Esoteric X-05. Big mistake on my part. Anyway, that's what I think. Pacific Valve gives you a 1-year warranty. IMO, if the thing doesn't break in the first year, you're going to get quite a bit of service out of it. Good Luck.

I will do a little research on the reliability of the Doge6 (your comments "if the thing doesn't break in the first year", has me worried). I'm lucky that I've been able to evaluate many items in my system prior to purchase. My wife and I use our ears, because it's our money. In addition, I realize that everyone hears differently and has different priorities.
I think you misinterpreted my comment, or I just wasn't clear. Defective or poorly-made electronics usually demonstrate problems very quickly. Pacific Valve gives you a year warranty. I have never owned any piece of electronic gear that did not break within a year and then went haywire later on. I don't know how long people expect CD players to last, but I would venture a guess that if any CD player doesn't break within a year, you're going to get a long life out of it. The usual culprits on CD players are transports and lasers, both of which are pretty easy to replace.

I definitely misinterpreted your comments. I will look into the Doge6 and let you know my findings. Thanks for the suggestion. I love the sound of the Metronome, I'm just hesitant to buy a 10 year old player.