I am looking for the best sounding CD changer in the $250 to $500 price range. This is primarily for entertaining and background music with the goal of putting in 5 or more discs, hitting a shuffle button and getting 6 plus hours of music. SACD would be a plus but not required. Best sound possible at that pricepoint is the primary goal. After a frustrating afternoon trying to find reliable information on-line, I thought I had a solution with the NAD C515BEE but turned out to be a single disc player. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
How about a used Sony SCD-C333ES? Originally priced at $1200, Sony later dropped the price to $600 when they had stopped production and then Good Guys cleared them for $400. (I bought a demo model for $330).
If someone is selling one of these on AudiogoN they probably got it at the reduced price and would let it go for a couple of hundred. This 5-disc machine plays SACDs and replacement laser blocks are still available to ensure long life. For a changer, this machine is built very well.
I had one of the Sony ES 400 disc changers and it sounded passable, and it played SACD's (which sound pretty darn good actually), I asked a couple of the modding shops about upgrades, and they were very eager to do it, but I thought it could be putting bad money after good if the changer mechanism went out.
I have to take exception with Metralla on the Sony SCD-C333ES, and the 555ES. Having owned them, they may have been great in their day, but I wouldn't have one today! If you look carefully at the ads for sale of them, there's always something wrong with them. Either they don't play discs correctly, or the transports have to be replaced, etc. I bought a C333ES from a very reputable Audiogonner (name withheld) and the transport had been replaced by him. Four months later, the whole front display went out, and Sony said it couldn't be fixed, so it was off to the garbage can. IMHO, these 2 models are not reliable. I now have, in addition to my McIntosh MVP861 player, 3-Sony DVP-NC685V universal dvd chagers that play all formats, including SACD, and for 4 years now none of them has skipped a beat. The 5-disc carousels are quiet, and work great. AND they can be had rather cheaply. Sony makes several models that will fill your bill.
The 595 sells out as soon as they appear.It took me 6 months to finally snag one.Be patient and check Sonystyle everyday.If you just can't wait,I have seen them on other sites for around $135.00.I think they are worth that and more,just my opinion.No,it didn't replace my main player but if you're looking for a great sounding budget SACD player,grab one.Like Buconero117 always says,if you don't like it Sony will take it back.
Sony SCD-C2000es...very similar to the 595, came out later, very good with mods as was the 595. I have owned the 2000es modded by TRL and still put my money on the stock Sony SCD-c555es. I have had no problems with mine.
Notwithstanding Gandme's comment about the SCD-c555es superiority compared to the TRL modded 2000es (I've not heard the SCD-c555es), IMHO you can't go wrong with a TRL modified changer. I owned a TRL modded 2000es, and felt that it was one of the best CDP's for the money. Even though I didn't A/B the two, it was more natural and resolving than the stock Sony XA5400 that I owned for a few months. To me, the TRL 2000es was better at conveying emotion ... more analog like in its presentation. My recommendation: pick up one of those Sony CE595's off EBay, and have Paul @c TRL modify it for $750.
The TRL 2000es is a good player but you can pick up a 555es for less and the build quality along is worth it. I did have a chance to A/B the 2 players and it was not close...the stock SCD-c555es was better in my system.
With respect to the SCD-c555es, it appears that the challenge is one of availability. I had a similar issue when waiting for a used TRL player to come on the market. Right now, there are no SCD-c555es units for sale here or on EBay for that matter. It may be well worth the wait. I don't know.
There is plenty written about the TRL units ... here and some over at the Asylum. FWIW, according to the Weitzels (Paul & Brian) they've done over 1000 CDP mods; and they very rarely come up for re-sale.
Correction: my apologies for missing the OP's budget range of $250-$500. There's a Sony 2000ES for $399 on Ebay. This is a very good unit in stock form. You could always get it modified downstream. Good luck, and happy listening!