I would add an eastern electric minimax vacuum tube player to your list of options.Great player and the headphone jack in the minimax is amazing.
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I've had the Rega Apollo and it is is very good but lacks some bass which you may or may not like. I've had a dozen others but that is the only one on your list except for the one I own now: Audio Aero Prima mk2. I love my Prima. It isn't analytical like many digital sources (I don't care for clinical CD sound), has great bass foundation to give correct tone, a rich and detailed midrange, super good timber (important to me), and a wonderful top end that is detailed and exciting but not in your face or bleached out. I have yet to try an A5 although I really want to. Good luck and have fun!
I have been without a cdp for some time and in the market, I have tried some of the cdp listed in this thread with some degree of success but nothing that really made me sit up and take notice. I have been reviewing some old threads and just not sure which way to leap first. I see there are many highly reviewed dacs, transports and the like. In the market today is it more cost effective to purchase an inexpensive cdp used as a transport and a nice dac? Or just go with a nice quality cdp right out the gate? Also are there some dacs that are not computable with cdp? I would prefer to purchase used and a budget of $1000.00. Thank you,
cdp I have owned:
Music Hall 2.5
Portal Panache Int. Amp
Daber Audio speakers
If you're out a cd player, I've been very pleased with the Cambridge Audio Azur 650C. This should perform better than your former MH CD2.5. Sadly, if you want a significant jump over that, I believe you'll be looking at at least twice your budgetused. Perhaps take the 1k and get the CD player I suggested, used. Then use what's left over to buy a decent pair of interconnects (e.g., Kimber PBJ interconnects, also used) unless you already have a decent set of interconnects. (I have such a pair, if you're interested).
Have you considered the Distinction line of TEAC? I believe it is an upgrade from the PD-H600, which I have. They're kind of like Esoteric light and should sound wonderful.
At a nearby audio salon, we swapped out a top of the line Ayon CDP for my TEAC in a 6 figure tube system and all that was really missing was a small amount of body and that was about it. We ended up listening to the entire CD and forgot about that missing body after a minute or so, enjoying the music. I don't feel I really gave up anything considering the massive price difference.
There are others out there, besides TEAC that would work in your system. You just have to see about auditioning some more players. Good luck.
All the best,