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I still listen to some of the vintage CDPs. I never was able to get my ears around the HEA audiophile players. My reference now is a player I've been collecting ever since I first tuned it. It's a Magnavox MDV2100 (and it's family members). I've mentioned before up here about it's cult following, and since then I've had 10 or so folks ask me more about it and where can they get one. It's a Tuning Monster!
Still using my Sony 10-disk changer from 1987. Paid $725 from Rogersound audio in the valley (good money in those days). Replaced the Laser once but the thing keeps chugging along. Very sophisticated programming allowed via remote or buttons on the unit.
My first player was a Yamaha I think. Gone with the wind...
I listen primarily to a Sony Walkman CD Player. Please, no snarky emails. I have quite a few to choose from. Headphones are stripped down Grado SR-60s. Those Grado ear pads are just plain terrible. What were they thinking? The Walkman sounds surprisingly good and is up on a 2 Hz iso stand, basically an advanced very high Mass/Springs Woody the Woodpecker stand. Batteries and Headphone plugs are treated with the latest contact enhancer.
I find the tone from a rotel and many other retro cda's is pure.
A lot of the new type cd/dvd...sound clinical and synthetic to me, usually far to much treble.
Barring the new really expensive units like Arcam, Cambridge, HK and such.
So for me i will stick with the older ones, especially the units using the Philips CDM 9/65'S and such.
44CT357 Cape Town SA.
I find that certain early CDs released in the early and mid 80s that were reported to sound harsh and strident (presumably because the process was so young) actually sound very good, and not harsh and strident. They sounded harsh and strident to some people for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, (1) the CDs were not treated, (2) the CD players were not treated, e.g. isolated, and (3) the improvement over the years of playback systems and room acoustics generally. Exhibit A - the first CD issue of Solti’s The Ring in 1984.
I must have owned 30-40 CD players, still own 10. The one I keep coming back to is a Philips CD960. I bought one new, sold it. Bought another mint one, sold it. And now I am on my 3rd. I am NOT selling it. I have never been able to find a CD player that sounds better. I have owned Oppo 95, 105, Rega Apollo, top of the line Pioneer Elite universal DVD, top of the line Marantz SACD, Cambridge, Onkyo 7030, many Sonys etc. And the only other CD player I like out of those is my Tascam CD200. I just this week got a Nakamichi CDC-3A and quite like it. It turns out I am a fan of the Philips TDA1541A chip.
I'm still using my 20 year old Pioneer Elite 300 disc changers [I added a second one about 10 years ago], and love them. I've tried some higher end single players, but they didn't sound any better to my ears. Even if they did, the ability to store 600 CD's and access them all via one remote is worth any slight sound difference I might notice. The discs are rarely touched, so they stay clean and mint. They are remarkable machines, they never miss a beat and have never given me one bit of trouble. Pretty amazing for a machine with the complex workings of a 300 disc changer. The Sony ES line is very similar to the Elite players, and they can be had in 400 disc versions. I don't know if one is superior to the other, but I can't imagine switching from the Pioneer Elites.
I currently listen to most of my digital from a server which has my ~ CDs ripped in FLAC and easily accessible, although in my main system I do have an Emotiva ERC-3 in the main system for playing discs.
But I do have a unit that has been excellent over the years, an Arcam Delta 70 with a very rugged Phillips transport, built like a battleship and still fully functional after an almost 30 year span - not many early players have lasted like that. Had a Black Box DA converter for awhile, then a Classe and currently a Hegel, and used the Arcam with the first tow very successfully.
Another vote for the early Phillips gear .... mine an 880 (just below the 960 but still about $1300 back in the day). Heavy as a concrete block, absolutely three-dimensional sound (although premature fade-to-black,as the machine had rising non-linearity below -90db as the early chipsets all did). Mine is not operating currently but I soon hope to have it repaired and then it will go into the system alongside my Oppo 105. I A/B'd it back in 1989 vs Sony's top model, and it beat the pants off of it.
My main music source remain CD players (and rarely I use my Yamaha K-850 cassette deck - some cassettes give good dynamics). CD players I use are (about 20-years old) Krell CAD 300, Yamaha CDS2000 and sometimes Arcam CD 73. Krell has the oldest burr-brown dac which gives a reasonably good uncolored reproduction (unlike newer ess ones). But I use Krell basically as a transport with Raymio DAP 777, that somehow compensates inaccuracies in the interpretation of digital signal. I think I can accept the resultant analog sound and not worry too much about the accuracy any more. So I intent to continue to use CD source. Streaming is not good for me, its like driving a car with an automatic transmission vs manual one.