Rega planet original CD player.
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Add a Musical Fidelity X10v3 Tube Buffer to your system between the player and the preamp. You can get them all day long on AudioGon for around $300 and if you're not satisfied...resell it. I use one with my Muscial Fidelity A3.2 and think it has added the warmth I was missing while maintaining the over sampling that Redbook CD's need.
Try an older Sony XA7es cd player(not to be confused with the 777 series-it listed for $3000 and now sales for $800-$1000.) It is the most analogue of any player I have heard while still maintaining a reasonable amount of transparency. It will make a vinyl lover like digital.
My other choice is a Meridian 508-20.
These players don't sacrafice transparency for warmth but yet sound very smooth.
I've owned the Music Hall 25 with level 2 mods from underwood and also the Jolida 100 with level 1 mods.
You will find the added warmth with the Jolida.That music hall does have incredible inner detail resolution however especially on percussion.That being said i feel i like the overall presentation of the Jolida.I currently run a modwright 999ES (full monty) tube player and the jolida was kind of close but not in the same league.Nor should it be for the money but i would throw the Joida 100 into the ring of players to possibly audition.Not quite ready to sell mine yet but you should be able to find one modded for not that much cash.The jolida is a fine player and not much resolution is lost but alot more warmth is gained i feel.At least in my system that was the verdict.
I love the Music Hall player, which I consider pretty warm to start with. Certainly the excellent suggestions here would be warmer still. I have listened to the Jolida and didn't like it as much as the Music Hall -- too mushy for me -- but it may be just what you are looking for.
Here's the point of my post, though. You might want to think about replacing your receiver rather than your CD player. I was astonished at the difference replacing a receiver with a good pre-amp and amp made for me. I have listened to the NAD integrateds (not receivers though)pretty carefully, and they just aren't up to the caliber of your existing CD player IMHO.
The result might or might not be "warmer," (depending on the equipment you choose), but I bet you'd like the result. It would be great if you could demo some alternatives in your environment somehow.
My gut feeling is that spending $1000 (used price) as you could with some of the CD player suggestions above will be wasted (well, not give you the full benefit of your investment...) with your current amp setup.
Another thing to consider is your room. Perhaps there's some harshness there you are (over-)compensating for? Are carpets and heavy drapes called for?
Just trying to think outside the box a bit....
Mister Jolida is mushy?? What type of 12ax7/5751 tubes were in that Jolida player..kinda curious? Because the only time I have heard the Jolida slightly mushy would be from the stock tubes. It's a common problem with some tube equiptment unfortunately...stock tubes don't them justice.
To the original poster...I second the Jolida player with some Groove tube Mullard 12ax7's. And get one of those Herbie Grunge Buster Mats for your cd's. You can get the Joida player used and if you dont like it...sell it. They sell fast. Oh and the Jolida don't need mods. :)
I would also add...out of the dozens of players out there...the Original Rega Planet is the Dullest (which might be good) player I have ever heard in my system.
I had a modified CD25. It was even way better than a stock CD25 but the way it sounded, it was hyper-detailed and gave me a digitial headache in about 20 minutes. Bel Canto DAC2 successfully cured that problem, even when I used a $60 Philips dvd player as a transport. The combo was very resolving, but with a liquid smooth presenation and not in-your-face like the CD25 is. Good luck.
maybe you guys can help me too.
I've had 1985 McIntosh, 1987 Nakamichi, CAL Tersette, Audio Alchemy, 2 Yamahas then I got into the really good stuff so far.
I've had Museatecks, ARC CDT1 Krell CD1, 250CD and now a 280CD.
I love the detail, front/back, clarity, prat, and presence of the Krell I have. But I would like warmer, "more mids and upper bass" and am wondering about the Cary 303.200 or 306 or 303.300 in their S.S. mode. Mostly I'm concerned with loosing that very very clear definition. If I had a digital eq I'd just boost 1500 to 3500 (I think) by about 2db and be done.
So I guess I am asking, in the used market, at about $2500 what is the clearest moderately musical player.?
I am using an old Krell pe, and Audio Magic Stealth amps with Raven tweeters. I have a Manger driver and an NHT 12 inch on each side of the room.
Is this too "out there"?