Oppo 983. $399 New with warranty and does everything at least as well as the one's you mentions.
I've been using a Denon 2910 with a Paradisea. It sounds great with absolutely no problems.
I see one in the classifieds for $225 right now. The transport is the same in the 2910 and 3910. The only difference between the two is better audio circuitry.
I hate to diss the Oppo. They're great sounding units for the money, but their construction and appearance is cheap compared to the Denons.
My Oppo 970 has the level 2 mod from Ric Shultz at EVS (Tweak Audio). I highly recommend Ric for anyone that is interested in a mod'd player. BTW, my mod'd 970 is easily as good as any dedicated CD player I've ever owned up to $3500 units.
Yep, some of the Oppos look realtively cheap. My 970 is actually very attractive, but only about 1/2 or less the height of the big Sonys and Denons. Makes me wonder why the Sony and Denon needed all of that space inside. Is there actually anything in there?
I've seen the Oppo 983 and it looks significantly better than the 980 and 981 (IMHO).
I do agree the Oppos are very light. I like the smaller space it takes. I weigh mine down and use vibration control underneath. The small height works to my advantage. That said, the Denons as transports are excellent and durable. With a great DAC it would be a great combination. A used Denon and Paradisea would be more than $500, but worth it. A Scott Nixon DAC is less and well reviewed, but I haven't heard it and you have to add in a digital cable. Good luck and have fun!
Thanks Reuben. I'm gonna drop him a line this week. Former East Bay here ..... I try to keep my eyes open. It's obviously all about performance (with value). And innovation.
I haven't been so thrilled about the design either, but the guy on Stereophile just about lost it when he played SACD on the Oppo thru the Xdac-v8. It wouldn't be such an expense to get in to High-Rez.
You don't know how bad I wanted Denon in the 80's. : )
i used a modded oppo as a transport for a while. the picture was spectacular. However, I would not buy another for any long term thoughts. The build quality on my new el cheopo pioneer is superior. My oppo died after about 2 years....
if thats ok for you...great , go for it....if not...id buy something else
Kira, I discovered something while changing my main rig around. I went with the Oppo as a CD transport for a short while. When I switched on the Onkyo nearby, there was a slight hesitation. I am guessing that the power drain affected the power to the transport. That never happened with my Jolida transport. I think that having a transport with a solid case that is vibration resistant, and a power supply that exceeds your needs may be important. All I know is, I put the Jolida back.
I use a Denon 2930ci (when they show up, this one will fit your budget) as a transport to a P.S Audio Digital Link III DAC,through a Monarchy DIP and enjoy great results.
I mass load the tops of the Denon and DAC and suspend them on hand balls...yep, hand balls.....works mighty fine for me.
Good luck! John