try this its not a caroucel i think they work better
Nakamichi MB-3s 7 CD Changer
Nakamichi MB-3s 7 CD Changer
i've owned, or still own, a bunch of changers and my favorite remains the integra cdc units, which regualrly list on ebay for $50 or so. nice smooth mechanism, 6 disc capability, very good build quality. the denons are extremely noisy and poorly built; adcom was unreliable; yamaha was actaully solid and smooth and would function well as a transport.
I have read a lot of bad reviews about the Denon DCM 290 and 390 changers, bad reliability, worse service, but they have Burr Brown DACs - the 390 has a 20 bit DAC. No other changers on the market have these DACs that I know of - Sony uses Analog Devices, Marantz - Cirrus Logic. I am not sure what Yamaha uses. IMO from what I have read, Burr Brown is considered among the best.
I currently have a 15 year old Yamaha changer. It has no digital output, and I am in the exact same boat as the OP. It sounds OK, but I have a 15 year old yami reciever, so who knows what compromise in sound is amp- or changer-based.
IMO, if you're going to spend +/- $500 on a changer, buy an airport express, a MF V-DAC and a decent mini-toslink cable, if you have an iPod, you already have a ton of stuff ripped. Install AirTunes and stream to the airport express, if you have a wireless network in your house. I recently re-ripped everything to .mp3 320, which was an upgrade from what I had. Hard-drive space makes it difficult to go %100 lossless, so my tracks have to earn the right to be ripped in AIFF or WAV or ALC.
I oscillate between going PC audio and just getting another changer, I'm still saving up. I have been looking at the changer market, and you will occasionally see a used Rotel RCC-1055 come on Audiogon, Craigslist or eBay, and they go fast. NAD made a changer once-upon-a-time, the 517 I think, but I never see it used. California Audio Labs also made a changer that most think is the best sounding changer ever made. Also some of the old Sony ES changers are very well respected. If you bought one of these and it broke, where would you get it fixed? They aren't cheap, even used, and not under warranty!
The thing I like about the Yami changers is you can see all 5 discs at once, no need to rotate the carousel to change CDs. Sony's tray only comes partially out. I am cautious about the Sony and Yami changers just because their upper level 2-channel gear is not very well liked by the audiophile community. Denon has gone almost completely HT these days, so what would they know about a good quality changer? Apparently they know Burr Brown, which is good enough for me. Sony helped invent the medium, so you would expect them to produce a great product, and their current SACD changer is tempting, internet reviews are generally good. Would you also expect current changers to sound better than older ones because of advancements in D to A technology?
Forgive my rambling, just some thought to toss into the mix.
I should also have noted, my current Yami changer needs a push to get the tray back into the unit, and changing discs is quite noisy, but I don't care much about that. I use the thing because I can run it and my Yami amp off of the same remote. The Yamaha usability is very bad, the display is quite small, intuitive use of the remote is non-existant. For example, on the unit, play and pause are the same button. But on the remote, play is a separate button and pause and stop are the same button. It doesn't remember what disc or track I was on when accidentally stopped, it drives me nuts! Sony's units are much better in this regard.
The Yamaha is so old it will not play .mp3 CDs, CDR, CDRW, or anything burned on a computer unless you use the "audio CD" format, which makes the files so large (even .mp3s) that you cannot put that much music on a single disc. When buying used, I would caution folks to make sure the used unit will play .mp3 and CDR, if that is important to them.
Just about my own experience. Try a SONY NC555ES.I'm using it like my second CD player now, with the Video OFF option.It is build like a tank and the carousel is solid and efficient.I realize that "accidentally" this machine became a wonderful cd player than the dvd player as originally was made.I saw some here in Audiogon ,offered for few bucks, a true bargain.
Again I say is based on my own experience, it would be a great transport also,I plan to add it a Benchmark DAC/USB in the future.
I'd choose an old-school Mac Mini($150), a budget USB dac($100) & an external HD($75). This would be WAY more flexible than a carousel. If you like the idea of 5 discs think about being able to do things like typing in your favorite jazz drummer's name and poof...a list is compiled with only the albums that person played on. Hit play and move on. Little things like that are easily achieved going the computer route.
Synthfreek - where do you get an "old school mac mini" for $150? would this be a used computer? The new ones are minimum $600...can this cheaper mac mini of which you speak still be controlled by the remote app on an older, used iTouch? Also - could use some suggestions on a budget USB DAC that can be had for $100. thanks. I am about to replace either my head unit or the amp.
I got a first generation Mini on eBay for $175 with a keyboard and mouse and that was 2 years ago. Should be even cheaper now. Works perfectly with my Touch. I went for the Firestone Audio Fubar II dac. Works great for me but my Oppo does sound a little better. Try craigslist for a mini and just max out the ram for dirt cheap.