Shopping CD players: my big adventure

The Parasound 1000 was getting old and my new Kestrels were a big leap over the Superone's. Got an Msb III and that was a good upgrade but I was sure there was more. Read all the threads here and Audio Asylum and decided to take a drive; 75 miles to the closest dealer. Listened to the Audio Refinement Complete player through ARP integrated and JM Lab ($1700 model, didn't get name). Sounded like a boombox! I says to the guy, "guy, thats a metal tweeter, right?" Guy says yes. I says, "you got anything in silk or linen, or possibly taffeta?" We rotate 90 and face a pair of Maggie 1.6r, still the Complete integrated, etc. Now Baez (I like to use acoustic female vocal although her politics suck) sounds like Baez instead of Roseanne Rosannadanna. Trumpets on Capriccio Italien (Mercury re-issue) sound like trumpets. Maggies are NICE except for imaging....violins and cellos are playing roundball running up and down the court and I start yelling, FOUR CORNERS, FOUR CORNERS, where's Dean Smith when you need him? So I says to the guy, "guy, my humble system is better than this, what else you got?" So we retire to the REALLY BIG ROOM, Audio Research to port and Classe' to starboard. Classe' CDP is $1500 clams, a bi-valve, but it's mine for 13, let's listen. Only one problem: he won't take the player to the poor man's room. Got one of those telephone switchboard things with the garden hoses terminated with Neutriks for switching.So now Rimsky's spinning on the Classe' thru 5 grand of electronics into the lesser of the 2 vonSchwiekert's. (I'm not complaining, nobody else has ever let me into the REALLY BIG ROOM before, ever, I look like a guy who works with his hands.) Talk about blown away, talk about holographic imaging, talk about get the point. BUT WHAT DOES THE CD PLAYER SOUND LIKE? And this was a really nice guy who was trying to please! Any of you who make their living selling know what I mean when I say that I asked every buying question in the book, musta said 8 times "I wonder how it would sound in my system?" Did he offer a trial? No. Would I have given him $1300 to take either one home on trial? Of course. So why shouldn't we buy on the Net? Anybody got a CD player suggestion for me? I don't need to hear it. I'll take your word for it. Honest.
give a Musical Fidelity A3CD 995.00 a lsiten.If you got 2/3k used BAT make a must have unit.
if you like vocals, bats cd player, the vkd5 is scary good. the midrange is especially beutiful and rich. highs are okay but not as sparkly as some other players. this player gets it right though.
I have read that the AR CD and Amp are not a good match for each other. I owned the AR Complete CD for a short while and it sounded very musical without an edge when paired to my Musical Fidelity X amp. In that price range why not get the Musical Fidelity A3 player from Audio Advisor for $1000.00. If you don't like it you can return it and will just be out the shipping. It has great pro reviews and the reports from owners are good as well.
Thanks. I should say that the $1300 for the Classe' would be my dollar limit, Wall Street has learned to get along without me and I really like making furniture.
I do not like the ARC CD2, although I am a big ARC amp and preamp fan. I would recommend, without a doubt that you go to OADE.COM and call them and order a Sony SCD777 SACD player. The CD player side of it is quite good, but the SACD side blows away EVERYTHING! I got rid of my Levinson transport and have not looked back. If you want to go out and spend BIG money for something like the Meridian 508.24 you may hear something slightly better for CD playback but trust me when I tell you the SACD is a whole new ballgame. OADE.COM will sell the 777 for $1500. All you have to do is tell them that your friends on Audiogon bought them for that. They won't hesitate to give it to you for that price and I had a great experience with them. Good Luck!
Jtinn: What about SACD's to play in it? I have heard that they are expensive and few, or has that changed?
Dekay: You can buy them for about $18 and there are over 2,000 scheduled to be pressed during the next year. It really is worth it and as I stated before, the player does an excellent job on CD playback as well.
hi kitch, what preamp do ya use? is it a nice toob-unit? i'd submit that something like a melos sha-gold or sha-maestro (awailable used, usually for less than $1k), would make your current cd-player sound better than any cd-player up to $3500, plugged into a solid-state preamp, unless ya got some mega-bucks preamp like a levinson 380s or something. this has been my experience, anyway...

good luck, doug

YBA CD Integre, silky smooth sound
Thanks for the info Jtinn. I just added a used Bel Canto instead of going SACD which was better on my budget as I was able to upgrade speakers as well. I listened to the inexpensive top loading Sony and it sounded about the same as the Arcam CD players in the room, but as always it was set up without any isolation devices, with the stock cord, etc. and was most likely not broken in all of the way. I also cannot use a top loader because of my cabinet, and if I were to place it on top of the cabinet, the cats would sleep on it all of the time. The shop did not have the more expensive front loaders, but they are out of my price range anyway. Glad you are enjoying it though. The prices have really come down on disks as well. People were quoting $25.00 to $40.00 just a few months ago. Now my wife wants a multi disk player (I pity me sometimes).
Help may be at hand, the latest SACD player from Sony IS a multi-disk changer and it's their least expensive yet.
Dekay - no pity from me if you have a wife who wants you to buy gear :-)
Kthomas: I guess that I never looked at it that way. I used to patch in the multi disk player from the mini system for her, but we decided that the little seperate system would be better utilized in the spare bedroom/computer room. She misses the convenience of the multi play unit. I on the other hand need the exercise. LOL.
I know the "Upgrade Bug" is bad for us Audiophiles,....but there are alot of things changing in software right now. SACD and DVD-A promise to make CES and this year exciting. I would suggest you hold off and see what happens in the next few months. DVD/SACD players (Sony S9000ES) is at your budget. I know we all own alot of CDs but if SACD/DVD-A is as good as they say, you may be upgrading again in the near future. My advise, wait till after CES in Jan and audition the other 2 formats. Good Luck.....LR
LR, I agree with you and have been "holding off" to see how SACD develops in terms of products and titles. If it's going to blow up soon, CES will be the barometer. I have been wanting to add a second Resolution Quantum DAC (to run in dual mono) and Cesium transport but have been able to hold myself in check. I question whether SACD units will render our current digital front ends (especially better components)completely obslete, or will SACD excell only when it comes to playing SACD discs. I doubt that I'll run out and immediately replace every title I have with a new format, so this is an issue for me. Anyone have extensive listening experiences with SACD in both formats?
I think the last response you got is right on. I would wait Perpetual Tecnologies is rumored to be bringing out a DVD A, SACD CD unit for around $1500 after the first of the year & others are sure to follow.I have a pretty good system & it has been my experience that there are 2 price performance points & they are units up to 1.5k &5k I really haven't seen or heard anything betwen those two price points I would buy. Digital changes so fast that todays kilobuck unit can be quickly outperformed by tomorrows less expensive unit.
EmmyLou is asking me to meet her at the wrecking ball, so I gotta go but thanks for all the info... it seems that waiting a bit makes sense; suddenly the parasound/msb sounds pretty good.
Kitch29..of course Joan Baez politics sucks...such a well thought out criticism especially since she's spent a fair bit of time basically trying to help people out...that is really bad....why oh why do I get the impression the more threads I read on Audiogon that a lot of the enthuasists on this forum are insular and bigoted? I've already seen John Lennon refered to as Lenin.... Regards, Ben
right on ben! i was about to comment upon the very same gratuitous, inane comment. all the rest mr. kitch has to say is colored for me by that remark. what's more, anyone who is willing to buy a cd player sound unheard will get exactly what he deserves. i wouldn't let you into my big room either, mr. kitch. and, if anyone thinks this year's ces show will serve as an accurate barometer for the viability of sacd or dvd-a has never been to ces and has no grasp on the politics of audio software.
Dekay- if you need a changer, try the CAL CL-10. Not bad at all. I'd be interested in hearing a CL-10 with the Bel Canto but I just blew my upgrade budget on a Loewe TV.
Corndog and ben, let me know when you want to meet me at the Viet Nam Memorial so we can view the names of our brothers who died after 1971 because joannie and hanoi jane and the others helped uncle ho frustrate kissinger and prolong the war.That said, i would rather forget the nightmares i still have and get on with life.
Swampwalker: After recent gear purchases my hi-fi budget for a changer is around $150.00. That is what makes the Aiwa "really" attractive. LOL. The $150.00 was originaly set aside for a used PC upgrade for my CAL Icon II as I am going to steal the HT Pro 11 cord from it for the new DAC. What's that old saying, robbing Peter to... Anyway, since our (me and the wife) discussion in regard to a multi player she reminded me that the deal was that when she agreed to the new gear, she got a new leather club chair. She just gave me a tear sheet on one this afternoon in lipstick red with the salesmans card attached. I think I'll just buy a PC and charge the chair, life is too short. I should be hooking the Bel Canto up to the Icon sometime next week when the Mapleshade digital cable arrives. I have already heard the Bel Canto, I'm more curious about the Mapleshade IC which was a leap of faith purchase.
kitch29: if you really hold such strong views about ms. baez, why do you buy anything she's ever recorded? i lived thru the era, too and lost many a friend and neighbor (i didn't get drafted 'cuz i was the sole surviving son of a ww2 casualty). i also choke up each time i read the names on the wall of all those young souls lost in viet nam. i don't think that list would be any shorter if the nation had continued to believe that we were in a war we could actually win. i embrace the veterans who fought in that conflict, tho i think it was a horrible series of political mistakes that took them there. i also embrace the protesters who brought down lbj and helped end the war more quickly than might otherwise have been the case. perhaps your nightmares would cease if you could see the way to tolerate those with views different from your own. if we are to learn any lesson from our fallen brethern, i'd hope it would be such tolerance. peace, brother. i'll happily meet you at the viet nam memorial any time our paths cross there. and share my tears with yours.
Kitch29-respectfully acknowledge your views-you've suffered in a way probably few of us can imagine...i do agree strongly with Cornfed boy above. I think we best turn this thread back onto the audio as if the flamers arrive this will turn really ugly. And trivalise serious events. Regards, Ben