Suggestions for New CD Player


I'm looking for a new CD player, modestly priced under $1,500, that will  work well with a 2-channel system featuring B&W 804S floorstanders, a McIntosh MC402 power amp, and a Magnum Dynalab MD208 receiver used as a preamp.

My wife and I mostly listen to classical music, and have an extensive CD collection, particularly heavy in orchestral (e.g., Mahler, Beethoven) and opera (Wagner, Verdi) and piano/violin.  (My wife is a Julliard-trained musician.)   Pre-pandemic, we were frequent concert-goers, preferring about rows 8-15.  We also rock out on occasion. We appreciate fine equipment, but we're music-lovers rather than true audiophiles.

We previously had a Consonance Droplet CD player (tubed, nice sound quality, when it worked, which wasn't often enough) and a Lexicon RT-20 (a little harsh, and wouldn't play many discs).  I won't buy a used player.  In my experience, CD mechanisms are the most fragile of all components.

I realize I'm asking a lot at this price point, but life itself is compromise.  Don't really care about wireless capability or digital files.  SACD is nice, but redbook capability is what really matters to us.  Considering Cambridge Audio 851, Rega Apollo, but open to suggestions.

Your thoughts?






gg107
I think a Quad Atera would fit in nice.
But if you're looking for longetivity get a top loader.
But then you probably need a DAC too.
You'll get lots of suggestions for a CD player under $1500, and my first choice was going to be a used Oppo 105D until I saw your "I won't buy used" quote. Seeing that, you're probably better off buying a new Cambridge Audio CD from a dealer. In the event that you have a problem, you will likely have better luck getting it replaced locally.

Coincidentally, I also have a Consonance Droplet CD player (in addition to that Oppo 105D). I bought it used and, although it is quirky, it does sound nice. I bought the Oppo new and have never had any issues with it. I would still recommend the Oppo, but the 203 and 205 (if you can find them) have been priced out of your stated price range.
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I would look for a nice solid CD player/transport and buy an external DAC.  My CDP died and I bought a Emotiva ERC-4 ($600) and the sound was great for the price.  Then I got a  MHDT tubed DAC and wow amazing SQ.  The Emotiva is very well built very solid.
I would suggest the Cambridge transport, teamed with a Denafrips Ares II. Or,if you could stretch that $1500, a little, a MHDT tubed dac .
The Marantz is a good suggestion.
Like you alluded to, I would be careful not to put too much money into a cdp, because they could be prone to issues.
The Rega is excellent. I also am very happy with Cambridge CXC Transport and Denafrips Ares ll DAC.
Denon DCD-1600NE fits the bill.  More than competitive with the  Marantz ND8006.
I'll second the suggestion for the Emotiva ERC-4 and with an external DAC connected via the AES output even much better still. 


fuzztone
I’m looking for a new CD player, modestly priced under $1,500
We previously had a Consonance Droplet CD player (tubed, nice sound quality, when it worked


The CONSONANCE Droplet CDP’s had R2R Multibit Ladder dacs, you like that sound because it makes music, and it’s correct that you do, as it’s R2R dac, and converts Redbook CD’s 16/44, 24/96 or DXD bit perfect, better than DS (delta sigma) can as they can only give a facsimile of it.

Look here, http://vasiltech.narod.ru/CD-Player-DAC-Transport.htm#C
and use the search (CTRL S) to find all CDP’s, and DAC’s that use these D/A converters (in my preference order)
PCM1704K
PCM1704
PCM1702K
PCM 1702
TDA1541S2
TDA1541S1
TDA or 1541.

Cheers George
That was because you liked sound of your Consonance Droplet CD player (which is R2R multibit), and so you should look for the same d/a conversion system, which is what I tried to explain above, read it slowly, and you will get it. And put a - after the nos.

Sorry use the (CTRL F) not S
Here is a sample search (there are 51 to look at)  image for you on a PCM1704-k my favouite https://ibb.co/hghWvBQ

Cheers George
I just added a Marantz CD 6007. It sounds excellent.
Great value at $499 plus tax.
A cdp "could be prone to issues." In English, would this mean it might not work? That it might malfunction? Prove unreliable? Bust? Can you imagine David Copperfield being told "don't marry Dora, she could be prone to issues?" 
I bought a Yamaha CD-S1000 last year.  The ‘Yammie’ is well built, the tray that holds the CD is substantial.  Analog and optical digital out.  Plays SACD.  I bought it to be my last investment in CD technology and I’m very pleased.  It’s around $1300 new.
I have had or personally seen a lot of problems with cambridge and rega cd players i would go for a widely distributed brand if you have any problems from a dealer in your area their are a lot of fine players for under 1500 dollars new and used. The key is a reputable dealer if you do have issues because new cd players are not made like the originals for sure.
Given that you wish for a new CD player, you will have some difficulty finding one with the TDA 1541 chips in them.  They have been out of production for a long time - 25 years?

You mentioned the Rega Apollo.  They are a tremendous player and comfortably within your budget (I think).  I have the stupidly expensive  Rega Saturn, but quite honestly any difference in sonics is marginal at best and psychological at worst. 

The most recent Apollo has the Wolfson WM8742 DAC.  Its a touch of magic.  Make sure that whatever you get has this chip.
I haven't owned it for very long, but I would still recommend the Denon DCD-1600NE.  It has very impressive build quality for $1199.  The disc tray is fairly substantial and operates smoothly and quietly.  It plays SACD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, mp3 and AAC files, and even DSD files burnt onto DVD-R or DVD-RW discs.  Mine is so far, perhaps the best CD/SACD player I've had. 
+1 for the Rega Apollo. The internal DAC is superb and the top-loading feature is very robust. I used coax out to a fantastic Bryston DAC, using the Apollo just as a transport and frankly could hear no difference between using the DAC internal to the Apollo. Great unit.
Have you thought about the new streamers with built-in cd-rippers?
You place a cd in it and wait a bit then you can listen to that music whenever you want without putting it in the player.

Like Cocktail Audio CA-X500. There are a couple of others also.

If you want to actually play cd’s I would go with a transport and a dac. That makes it easier to upgrade the dac later or use it with a streamer.
You guys love Classical Music.  I would get a Universal Player so that you can play the abundant Classical SACDs and Blu Rays.
Sony and Pioneer make Universal Players, I own the Pioneer which cost a 1K, the Sony goes for around $400.  If you buy the Sony you can add a nice external DAC for 1K and still be under budget and really have a nice system 
I’d look for either the audiolab cdt6000 (transport) or a marantz hd CD-1 (use as transport). Then combine either with a Border Patrol dac with Tubed power supply. Together, that will put you at about your budget, and you still get the benefit of tubes, albeit in the power supply of the border patrol. The Marantz hd cd-1 is known to be a very good when uses as a transport, and also very good as a stand alone redbook cd player. I own both and must say they are very nice products. Another "tubed" dac would be the jolida glass dac 111. Do not do universal players! They are generally used for video/blue ray/dvd etc, and just happen to play cd's as well. Focus on dedicated audio cd transports/players. Jmo.

I had an almost identical situation over a year ago,  and went with an Audiolab transport and Topping D50s dac. The latter was intended to be a bit of a stopgap measure, figuring I'd replace it after a few months if it wasnt up to my taste. I've now had it a year and its going nowhere. 
     The Audiolab made a big difference in sound over my Denon 1920 universal player, even with an original Cambridge audio dacmajic paired with it for a couple of months before the Topping purchase.
    As in your case , redbook was my primary concern. The Audiolab does that brilliantly. I find the Topping to do Redbook well but has additional flexibility such as higher bandwidths and excellent Bluetooth connectivity. 
I bought the top of the line Sony CD/DVD player and stops working frequently.  I have sent it back to Sony and they have sent me a brand-new replacement unit several times, but the same problem keeps happening.  I gave it to a friend and the same thing happens, so it’s not my house or my system which I thought was a possibility. This is a $500 machine.  Back in the 1990’s, these players, even the cheapest ones, would work perfectly for years!  Why do new things just not work?  For the OP, try to find something with a good service process in place if it breaks.  Sony, has top-tier service, but frequent failures, so it’s a catch-22!
hickamore :
I stand corrected.

In English, "A cdp can be prone to issues".
and
" don’t marry Dora, she can be prone to issues"
Schiit has a cd player coming out soon that is supposed to be a giant killer for around $1200. May be worth it to wait...
Not sure why anyone these days would purchase a CD player?  You have to get off your seat to change the CD.  Streaming hi res on Tidal is a much better alternative and I think the sound quality is much better.  You also have access to a huge library of music.  I would be interested in hearing expensive streamers compared to the Bluesound Node 2i to see if there is a noticeable difference in sound quality to warrant the expense.  Problem is dealers don't have many choices to hear the differences.  And I don't walk into stores due to COVID.
There are many excellent reasons still to buy a one-box CDP in this day and age.  Anyone with a modicum of imagination could grasp that.

If you weren't budget-limited, the Marantz SA-KI Ruby would be by far the best recommendation, and one I'm sure you would be delighted with.
Given that you wish for a new CD player, you will have some difficulty finding one with the TDA 1541 chips in them. They have been out of production for a long time - 25 years?
I prefer the R2R  PCM1702 and PCM1704 over the TDA1541 they are still around in CD players. But what would be really nice to see, is a manufacturer make a CD player using discrete R2R dac inside, this has yet to be done. (I think)

Cheers George 
check the reviews for this one Rotel RCD-1572 new for under $1,000.

I have owned Cambridge--nice detail, Rotel years ago, a good player but too bright, and more recently Marantz spinners.  These are my default suggestion. ESPECIALLY given you enjoyment of classical music. I owned the 8005 years ago.  A huge value, solid build, easy recommendation on a budget.  A gently used KI Ruby, which is what I now own, is an unmistakable step up in their line.  Nice detail but never harsh. Huge soundstage, recreates the venue very accurately.  Great all around player.

Given the helpful info you provided, I would suggest a Marantz player over the ones on your short list.

P.S.  Doesn't it bug you when you clearly state your needs and some try to steer you towards streaming or players that clearly do not meet your needs.  Brother.  

Good luck on your search.
Dear gg107....if you can act fast Accessories 4less have a Yamaha S2100 player REFURBISHED for around $1500ish. The retail is $3500. It is just below their flagship model. I've owned a series of cd players including NAD, Oppo, Cambridge Audio....The Yamaha is on a different level completely but be quick...
Thank you to each one of you for your thoughtful suggestions.  Especially helpful now that the pandemic has made in-person auditioning unattractive.  At this point, I've narrowed it to 3 contenders:

1.  The Yamaha S1000.  I am concerned about reliability.

2.  The Denon DCD-1600NE.  No reservations based on what I've learned, but I suspect the Yamaha may be more pleasing -- probably based on the fact that Yamaha is a musical instrument manufacturer.

3.  The Cambridge Azur 851c. A part of the attraction is the built-in DAC, with the promise that it could be run directly into my McIntosh MC402 power amp, freeing the Magnum Dynalab receiver for my secondary system.

I can feel my audiophile impulses awakening after a decade-long sleep.
I am still using a Yamaha CDX-520. I bought it used in the 1990s. When it dies I will probably buy the Yamaha S1000.
Hello,
You hit the nail on the head with the Rega Apollo. I love the top load feature and the
Mids are awesome!  https://holmaudio.com/
This is the shop I use in the Chicagoland area. I just listened to this last night. The Cambridge CXC is a very good transport. You will need to figure out the DAC that goes well with your sound signature and type of music. I was in the store a few months ago and a gentleman listened to the four CD players playing mostly classical music and ended up with the Rega. One of the CD players was $3000. He took home the Rega. This is the CD player for you. You really need the mids to reproduce classical instruments. This Rega will do it. 
hshifi,

How is Mike Holm doing? I remember when his audio store was from a three story house, in Lisle. My NAD 515 cdp , I bought from there, still working great.
I ordered the Denon DCD-1600NE, as recommended by three members above.  Thanks to all who offered their suggestions.  This is a valuable forum.
Love to hear what you think of it...
tonykay It seems that the Blue Ray Panasonic DP UB 9000 resemble to the Oppo ?  It has also XLR connexions.  The Yamaha BDA 1060 seems to be great for less $, it has also XLR connexions, SACD too.  I dont know if if they compare too the Oppo ?  But seems to be good.
+1allears... that was a smokin’ deal.


I had an Azur 851c and was not impressed with the dac section at all.  Build quality, looks, connections were all great but if it doesn’t sound very good...

gg107

keep us posted as you massage the Denon into your room/system.

Happy Listening!
I've had the Denon DCD 1600NE for a week now, and unfortunately, at this stage I can't give it an enthusiastic endorsement.

1.  When I received it, I called Denon US customer support with a question.  I left a call-back number through Denon's automated system.  I never received a call-back.

2.  In my experience after-market power cords can make a real, audible difference with CD players.  But the Denon has a two-prong receptacle for a power cord, meaning I can't use either of my three-prong receptacle power cords with this unit.  If I had realized this before purchase, I probably wouldn't have bought this unit.  Caveat emptor!

3.  The CD tray mechanism's operation is relatively slow, and doesn't inspire confidence.

4.  The visual display is small and not easy to read from more than a few feet away.  The unit's appearance in general is more consumer-grade than audiophile-grade.  (I know this going in, however.)

5.  Sound quality:  I understand that components have a break-in period, and it's still quite early.  I am also awaiting arrival of a new set of Audioquest interconnects, which can improve sound quality.  At the moment, I'm using the Denon-supplied interconnects.  So my opinion could change.  But with that stipulation, at present, color me unimpressed.  

I can only fairly speak of my own experience with the audio components I already own (see my original post).  I've also moved, and the new room is less system-friendly (finished concrete floors, glass). 

Evaluated in this context, the Denon is far less pleasing than the (more expensive) Consonance Droplet, or a Lector CDP I had for a while.  Both these tubed players produced richer, more full-bodied sound.  Instruments were more clearly situated in a 3-D-like space.

A closer and fairer comparison is to the non-tubed Lexicon RT-20 player.  The Lexicon surpasses the Denon on slam -- speed and impact -- by quite a bit, and is preferable for rock (maybe 10-20% of my audio diet).  But for classical solo instruments -- particularly the piano -- the Denon wins on tone quality.  It sounds much more like an actual piano.

For orchestral music/opera, I'm reserving judgment until I receive the new interconnects and the break-in period has progressed.  

You might say I'm asking a lot at this price point. I won't disagree.  But I think if I had to make this purchase over again, I'd try the Yamaha, or the Cambridge.  

Send it back.  Surely you're still within the return window.

Burn-in, cables, etc. can make incremental improvements, but they won't change your fundamental reaction to the unit.


In response to your suggestion, twoleftears, I’m considering returning the Denon. But I’m also considering (a) living with it for a while, because patience is a virtue I often find worth exercising, and/or (b) moving it, sooner or later, to the second system in my office, a more likely route, and getting another new CD player for the main system. The CD player in the second system -- an older Sony SCD CE-595 -- has stopped recognizing the SACD layer of discs, a sign that its remaining useful life may not be a long one, and a replacement may be due. And the inexpensive receiver it’s mated with -- a Sony STR-DE185 -- has now developed an intermittent problem of cutting out on one channel. So my audio dollars may be directed there, as well.

Additionally, I find that after more than a dozen years of quiescence, my audio-gear lust has awakened again. I wonder if recent developments in speaker technology would justify the purchase of, say a new pair of Revel or Focal floorstanders to go with my McIntosh MC402 power amp? Or would I really prefer a tubed preamp?
 Sorry to hear this, as I had this piece in my system for a week and was really impressed with it.  ( I bought it for a friend )   I can't speak to their customer service, but I don't recall anything odd about the plug receptacle, I recall plugging in the PC I was using  on my current CD player ( shunyata) with no issue.. The size of display and slow load time I had seen mentioned in a review, but that isn't an issue to me. Hopefully with some hours on it you will enjoy it for its sound. Rooting for you.
If returning the player is an option I would do so and try another.
I've never had any problems using my 3 prong cords on products with 2 prong receptacles...