All McIntosh saCD/CD players have vaiable output with volume control. You can find them used ..maybe a mcd201 for around 1500 or so. And these players are made to drive your amp directly. They have RCA and XLR for FIxed and variable output.
Thank you, Matt. Before anyone else plans to respond, I would just like to add I want to avoid any cd player whose sound is sharp edged, bright, biased toward the treble range or overly analytical.
Why an analog volume control? The loss of resolution/SQ when using a digital volume control is very overrated. That said, if it must be analog, some of the Cary's have analog VC's. Theta Miles does too.
Zd542: Good question. Frankly, I'm not really sure. Maybe it's my ignorance regarding some sort of lingering prejudice about "digital artifacts". What do you expect from an old, dyed-in-the-wool analog fan ;-)?
Is there a basic Oppo cd player(without video functions)that might have what I'm looking for?
I think this will go a lot easier if you give more info on your system. One thing you need to be very careful of if you decide to not use an active line stage are gain issues. Without a line stage to act as a buffer between an amp and sources, it easy to get gain related hiss or noise. Especially if you have very efficient speakers.
I have monoblock amps with their own volume controls. Speakers are 91db. Previously had the old Marantz 63 Special Edition cd player with volume control & analog output connected with no gain issues.
No Oppo player that I know of has variable out. let alone a volume knob. Maybe, it might be easier to find a Passive volume control unit. You could use a headphone amp with a passive input for volume control.
Also, The McIntosh Players DO NOT sound artifical or digitally amped up. In fact they sound warm and quite analog sounding ..very easy to listen to loud for long periods. Not that I'm a Mac rep or anything its just the way they sound.
ZD, he didnt say that the volume has to be analog, just that the analog output be variable. the volume can be whatever..if I understand oppus correctly. and I belive I do.
Look at the Audiolab, they have CD player that also incorporates a peamp, which should fit your bill. I think its around the $1500 mark new. And you get a full function preamp!
I have a Theta Miles and a Resolution Audio both running directly to power.
Matt...Your description of the sound of Mac players, particularly their easy to listen to quality, coincides with what I'd be interested in. There appears to be very little in the way of Mac cd players currently listed for sale here on Agon, so I guess I'll have to keep looking...And yes, you're correct about my wanting the analog output to be variable. Very kind thanks for the information, especially your impressions of the Mcintosh sound.
The Mac players should fit the bill. Variable out, warm sounding.
Call Mike Sastra @audioclassics.com ,he has a cd201 laying around that he will sell you or even a cd301 would also fit the bill. Mike is a great guy and tell him Matt Miller sent you (so he can charge you more..lol). You souldn't pay more than 1500 to 2000 for the above mentioned models. Seriously, Don't pay more than that they are not worth more on used market. Mike will work with you I'm sure.
Audiolab 8200cdq. Great unit at around $1400 new. Read the reviews online.
Audiolab 8200cdq is not a warm sounding player.