Old Rotel RCD971 vs. Marantz cd5003

Hello all,

I happened to notice the paradigms my friend was audioning were being driven by Marantz gear- Entry level integrated (399 CAD) and CD5003 single disk player. I liked the way the Marantz gear drove the Paradigms (note that i never particularly cared for either brand in the past) and became interested in the CD5003 as a potential change from my old Rotel 971.

Anyone happen to have compared the two cd players? thoughts? opinions? (I know the Marantz is actually LESS expensive than the Rotel was when i bought it, but figure advancements in technology may mean that the Marantz still sounds better, despite its lower price bracket)

I owned both the Rotel RCD971 and a Marantz CD (not sure if it was this model) player. My personal experience with these two players was that the Rotel was a good CD player for the money, while the Marantz was the harshest, most strident sounding player I have ever owned.

Again, I am not certain of the Marantz model number, but the fruit never falls too far from the tree.

Good luck to you in your quest.


I own both the Rotel RCD971 and the Marantz SA8003 and I think you would have to pick a Marantz player at this level or higher (the higher end players being designed by Ken Ishiwata) to see any improvement over the Rotel RCD971.

The Rotel still sounds more dynamic and exciting than the Marantz player but the Marantz player has the Rotel beat when it comes to timbral accuracy and sheer musical realism, so a choice between the Rotel and Marantz players will very much come down to your musical priorities.

All the higher end Marantz players exhibit the refined, "audiophile" sound that's the hallmark of Ken Ishiwata but I would agree that the lower end players (such as the CD5003) would compare poorly to what you already have.
Hey guys...i really appreciate your responses - very helpful.

Having read both of your replies, it doesn't sound like the Marantz would work, however I now wonder how the Cambridge 640a would fare (i THINK it's in the same price bracket as the Rotel 971 was).

Apparently, it has a 'light and somewhat airy' presentation, which i believe is at least part of what i need right now to hopefully improve the overall sound, which is VERY lacking in my current residence.

Room size - approx 9x15, but with the right side half open to the kitchen, bringing the ACTUAL width to about 24-25 feet. Medium carpet thickness..speakers placed along the long wall, which places the listener quite close to the speakers, once they are properly set up. Room is dead - no life at all. My Unico, Rotel & MSB Link DAC III and Neat Mystiques sounded terrible in here, yet sounded amazing at my former residence.

Current equipment is a Sugden A48b, modified, along with Rega Ara speakers. I have a variety of cable, ranging from Monster to Ecosse and a few other cheapies.

I find the sound to be hard and lacking air/treble extension. Somewhat veiled is another description that comes to mind, save for some very good recordings (although I believe they could still be improved upon somehow).

I know the Rotel is a little dry/sterile sounding and wonder if my source just needs more boogie factor. Having said that, it could be i need different speakers or that perhaps the room is the culprit (which i personally think is the case).

Anyone feel the Cambridge 640 cd player might help?
The Rotel does not sound dry/sterile sounding in my place (hardwood floors with wool rugs) so I think it's your room.

Synthetic carpet dries out and ruins good sound. I think that may be the biggest problem. Replacing it with hardwood works wonders. Alternatively, it could be replaced with a natural fiber carpet (cotton or wool) which won't dry the sound out like synthetics.

I used to live in an apartment with synthetic carpet that sounded so awful, I covered the floor (in the listening room) in cotton batting (because I could not pull the carpet up as per the lease). It looked weird but it sounded 100% better.

Moreover, consider that the opening between your listening room and the kitchen effectively makes these two rooms into one big room at bass frequencies. You probably have a bass suckout (or multiple suckouts) at the listening position which will emphasize higher frequencies, which could result in the hard sound you described (which is also lacking airiness due to the drying effects of synthetic carpet). I had this exact same problem in my former residence.

You might start with measuring your in-room sound balance. Once you have a good idea of where the suckouts occur, you can re-position your speakers to compensate.

In a large room, a small speaker will need the reinforcement of a nearby boundary to boost its bass response. Alternatively, large speakers are more suited to large rooms.

I don't think randomly changing your equipment will make the kind of improvement that you are seeking because the room effects tend to swamp the tiny tonal differences between equipment.
Hey Layman,

Thanks for your words...Yes, i agree - that damned carpet in my place sucks the life out of everything. I already have the speakers set up optimally (i've been fiddling w/ placement forever), so placement is not the issue.

Regarding the Rotel - imo, it IS a little uninvolving (even at my former residence, where the sound was very, very good). I'm not saying it's bad...it's just kind of bland (although quite accurate and with good bass).

I wonder if i should contact the owner of the place i'm renting and ask him if i can change the flooring... Maybe i'll get on that.

All i know is I would rather have a bright, bouncy room that i have to tone down instead of a dead room that i have to liven up.
by the way, Layman...

Despite the room 'actually' being large, it's more like a small room - trust me on that. The speakers are sized appropriately. I feel the carpet is the biggest culprit.

I put my speaker stands on a 12x12 tile, which just rest on the carpet. It seems to have helped the sound already, but not by much.
"All i know is I would rather have a bright, bouncy room that i have to tone down instead of a dead room that i have to liven up."

I agree and nothing deadens a room like synthetic carpet.

Maybe the Rotel sounds different from system to system and room to room, because in mine it sounds very involving. I will say though, that the CD medium itself is slightly uninvolving (and compressed formats like Mp3 even less involving) and that might be a reason to switch to vinyl.

I think SACD offers a definite improvement and is probably as involving as digital gets, but analog media are still more involving.