Running CD-Player Directly from Amp

I'm curious about the impressions of audiophiles regarding the use of a CD-Player's variable output for volume control while running it directly from a power amp. It seems like an ideal solution for a digital-only music listener, but doesn't the sound quality end up depending on the quality of the CDP's volume control?

Short of, say, a Wadia 850, are there any other CDP's (<$2,000) that give good results when used without a pre-amp?
I think the sound quality depends on a few things such as the design of the output stage of the player and the output impedance. Can't really make a general statement without more info on the the player and amp you ara trying to match.

There is a great article or thread online by Thorsten Loesch, i believe, on this topic and I was not able to locate it. I'll look a little more and post it if i find it.

Sincerely, I remain
I have a Theta Miles (balanced version = $1400 used) that has an analog volume control and drives my BAT VK-500 really well. Impedance between the two components seem to be no problem. It is definately better than when running through my Forte Model 2 preamp. Part of the problem may be that the Forte has only RCA outputs and the BAT XLR inputs. I convert with a AQ Lapis 3 RCA to XLR IC. I don't know how much this conversion process degrades the signal.

I think the general consensus about driving amps without a preamp is that it provides more detail and clarity. Many people seem to prefer good preamps in their systems because they provide more bloom, dynamics and overall magic to the sound. I'm sure a big part of this depends on the efficiency of your speakers, the gain of your amp and the output of the cd player or DAC.

I would definately give the Theta Miles CDP a listen in your system.

Resolution Audio CD-50 and CD-55 players both have variable analog outputs (balanced and unbalanced), and both are available used for less than $2k. I run a CD-55 directly into my Bryston power amp with excellent results.
I agree with Clueless about there being many variables that will determine compatibility and sound quality. My personal opinion is that all source components benefit more sonically from what an active preamplifier offers than they benefit from what a passive or built in preamplifier offers. In other words, I am willing to accept a loss of detail in order to gain a gain better dynamics. I never had a good experience with a passive line stage. The last one that I owned was a Mod Squad Deluxe Line Drive. It was years ago and at that time was considered to be one of the better passive line stages available. Other reasonable music lovers and audiophiles may disagree.

I ran a Wadia 830 directly into a Bryston 4BST and into a Bryston BP20 Preamplifier. To me it was clear that the system sounded better when the Wadia was run through the preamplifier. This system was very nice, but I am sure that the differences would have been even more dramatic if I had better equipment at that time.
I've had excellent results running the XA7ES direct. The Sony's remote adjusts volume remarkably well when run direct. The XA7ES is every bit as good as the 830, IMHO of course. Enjoy!
Here is a slight twist, have you thought abut using an amplifier with a volume control? I am using a David Berning ZH-270 amp with an Electrocompaniet EMC-1 cdp and I am getting very good dynamics, detail, and resolution (overall, better purity). My speaker is fairly efficient at 91 db/8 ohms (very linear).

I agree with Drewfidelity that there are many variables when you introduce another component, such as a pre-amp. I don't really believe there are any components that are totally neutral so, the introduction of a pre-amp could be either pleasing or disturbing to your taste. Certainly, a good pre-amp can provide more drive and dynamics (especially when using long interconnects). Some use a pre-amp to add a certain flavor that are pleasing to their taste. As they say, different strokes for different folks!

I think it would be a tremendous advantage to audition equipment in your system to determine your personal preference.
Thanks for the thoughtful responses. I learned a bit more from searching prior threads. To be more specific with my quandary, I have a very nice pair of Linn Sara 9 speakers that work well in my room (close to wall, further from big dogs...). I am currently using a YBA Integre int. amp with Rega Planet CD. Although I like the sound of the CDP, I'm afraid the Integre doesn't have enough oumph for the fairly inefficient (isobarik) speakers. I've been considering getting a more powerful integrated amp, but thought I might look into an amp/CDP direct pairing to give me a bit more bang for my buck.

I've put the Theta Miles and Resolution Audio 50/55 on my short list, but perhaps there's an integrated amp that would work well with my Rega Planet? I am partial to the "musical" (i.e. British) sound.

Actually, another thread might be in order...
I use my Theta Miles connected directly to a pair on Monarchy Audio SM-70's via balanced interconnects. This setup works very well. The Theta has variable analog volume control of both unbalanced(RCA) and balanced(XLR) outputs. For a single source system, this works great.

I also sometimes use the Theta into a Plinius 8200 integrated. It is very hard to tell the two setups apart. A pair of used Monarchy's are significantly less expensive than the Plinius, but provide less functionality. I still haven't decided which setup to keep!