Might be way cheaper to just replace damaged CDa
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The Marantz hd cd-1 is a beautiful player. It is compact and has faux wood side panels, rather unique. No longer made, discontinued but may be available used. Plays just about all I’ve thrown at it. I use mine as transport running into the also excellent musical fidelity v90 dac. I like the dac so much I bought a spare. I think I may have bought the last new one available from accessories for less...also own the audiolab, which is a nice transport. Only issue is remote is sometimes unresponsive....who knows. Lastly, you may want to seek out a Marantz sa8005. It is/was a great cd/sacd player. The last of the affordable ones from Marantz. Got one of those too!
Those tribute Rotels look interesting too, used to own Rotel years ago!
I could recommend CAMBRIDGE AUDIO - CXU. Decent player with five separate Wolfs on WM8740 DACs on board and upsampling (Adaptive Time Filtering). upsamples all audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. “Pure Audio” mode could be used to disable all processes except those participating in audio reproduction - cool future, definitely benefits SQ. Wide range of supported formats: CD, SACD, Blu-ray (BD) including BD-3D, DVD, DVD-A, AVCHD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD+-R/RW, DVD+-R DL, BD-R/RE. Good luck!
I just use old DVD players fed into a DAC. Some of the new blu-ray players will also handle SACDs. I own quite a few CDs and some of them have seen better days. I now mostly listen to vinyl and streaming, but I do own a few disks that are not available to me any other way.
Take your worst disk and try it in every DVD and Blu-ray player you own. If it plays to your satisfaction get an inexpensive DAC and enjoy. You can always get a transport later.
I don’t know of any measure of a player’s ability to read scuffed discs. Maybe a repair tech can comment on that. I think it has to do with the strength of the laser and critical focus adjustments that can be tweaked. It definitely has nothing to do with the DAC...that is downstream from the pickup. On the Rega Apollo, my experience says it’s data recovery is not its strong suit. Buy new if you want a strong laser...they do weaken with age, and you get a warranty to help if adjustments are needed. Another option is to buy from a reliable repair shop that has thoroughly tested and tweaked the player. Nakamichi made great sounding players that are abundant on the used market.
Urbie. That's an absurd statement. That's like saying you can't find a quality car for under 20 grand. Granted the more you pay for anything likely will result in higher quality construction and components and more bells and whistles but that doesn't mean you can't find something decent for a lower price. You can also find lemons at higher prices in most products.
Thanks for the additional replies. Working a lot of OT at work this week. But I will have time this weekend to start researching the units mentioned.
Crustycoot. Thanks. I have a 30 year old Onkyo CD player that handles the scratches and scuffs better than the Yamaha. But it is pretty dated now and as you noted, the laser probably has a limited lifespan left. For its time being a $250 model it was halfway decent.
Owned a Nakamichi tape deck in the early to mid 1980's. BX2 I believe.
Schiit will introduce a transport, I think; at least the guy I swapped emails with me said so. With even the Modi MB DAC it should be a decent combo.
But check out the Audiolab 6000 CDT. It's $549 new (I got one for $400 on USAM, so used ones are out there), and it needs a DAC. The Audiolab is usually preferred to the Cambridge by those who have used both (I have not), and A-lab claims one of its strengths is accurately reading less-than-perfect cd's.
mesch. The Onkyo DX 702 does indeed have a Toslink cable to the Topping D30 DAC. Cheap DAC though. Sound with that is only slightly better than the built in DAC.
But, this does give me something to think about. Perhaps spending a few hundred on a quality DAC would then allow this CD player to perform on the level of a newer model. Would that be the case?
anton99. Yes, I noted the Audiolab gets good reviews for handling scuffs and scratches on CD's. It is something I've given some thought to.
BTW. To the others recommending players that handle BluRay and SACD, I don't actually have any of those disks. Only CD's. Prefer a pure CD only player. Don't watch Video through a Home Theater system either.
Sorry about derailing the thread with the DVD/Blu-ray player idea. I understand your need to keep things simple. I did it for a couple of reasons. The first one is for other people searching for a CD player so they can have a "more rounded" list of options.
The other reason I suggested using a free or low cost DVD player was that you could spend more (or all) of your budget on a better DAC.
You said you have an older CD player with a toslink output. I would use that and look into a Schiit Bifrost2. It has one nice feature for CD playback: polarity inversion. Some CDs have the polarity reversed during playback. Unfortunately at $700 it is more than buget of $600 not knowing how flexible you are on that.
To sum it all up you will get the best quality of sound from your CDs using a transport and a DAC (for the least amount of money). A dedicated transport can cost around $500. DVD players can do the same thing for less. I am using an old DVD player in my main system without a display (tv). It doesn't even have HDMI, but it does have buttons. I just pop the disc in and press play. Did the same thing at my parents house when I set up a stereo system in their living room (no tv there either).
At this point I am leaning towards keeping the Onkyo CD player and adding a new DAC. Seems to be the best move since it is working fine and handles the problem CD's better than the Yamaha.
Have looked at the Bitfrost 2 and Modius from Schiit. Good reviews for both models for the most part.
Will start researching some others now and if anyone has any other suggestions feel free to mention them. I don't know much at all about external DAC's. Will look at the MyDAC that Grinnell has mentioned.