Resolution Audio CD-50. There have been several different cd players and dacs in my system which were supposed to be replacements. The only one that came close was the Arcam mentioned above. Keeping it until it dies.
Sony XA7ES I just went back too from an Ayre C5xe...needed the funds and run it direct to a Pass X250 with Cardas adaptors from the varible outputs to the XLR on the Pass...sounds great and don't feel very bad about the swap to it at all...
Sony 608esd from 1989. It was 900.00 list and I paid 720.00. I still use it in my secondary system and it still sounds fantastic. In fact, there is one listed now for 150.00. I have had three other Sony players that were more expensive when new that didn't sound as good. I currently use an X77es as a transport.
My Magnavox cdb 492,put it in after my Creek died,Like in other posts going around now,the sound of this player is actually really good,actually quite amazing, i like it better then the Rotel 855 also,which i find good,but not as good sounding ,at least to my ears.
Pioneer DV-58 AV, this player can Downmix High Rez. Multi-Channel SACD/DVD-Audio. The Downmix versions sound very impressive. Just picked one up, dealers display model for $275.00. Just payed a Electronic Expert Friend of mine to install Balanced Analog, Balanced Digital Outputs on the Pioneer.
i can give you my own old cdp vs new evaluation. i have a nad c541 and i have a vintage nad 5240 cdp they both sound exactly the same. i did back to back tests and i cant tell them apart. surely nad would have better stuff today than 20 yrs ago. the only reason im keeping the 541 is that it has a remote. if the old one did i would keep it. the 5240 has fixed and variable analog outputs which may be usefull in ways. ive been wanting to get a older magnavox but they are tough to finds.
Just keep a eye on Ebay,you'll find one,still kind of in shock on how it sounds,is it mostly attributable to the Philips chip,the transport,cant imagine it has a big power supply in it,but they did something right.
the theta miles with balanced outputs, was $2495 new now can be had for around 7 to 800 dollars. a fantastic sounding cd player, with a analog volume out, one of the best sounding cd players I have ever heard . chris
A lot of people out there feel the Sonic Frontiers stuff is still right up there.
For me, a long time ago, I was with the two local guys who were building the Timbre DAC, and I have to say at the time it was the first digital piece I'd encountered that really struck me as something that could finally make the case against analog. Of course, I'd like to hear one today to see if that was just a feeling that was relevant for me at the time, or something that has held up over the course of my audio journey.