You get what you pay for...

That statement is usually the case. Not always in audio, but in most of the other things in life. Well, here's my story... I picked up a new Cambridge D500 SE CD player in February. I was in the market, and had been waiting for the format war to shake out a bit more than it had. Well, it was past time to upgrade, so I decided to make my move. I didn't feel it to be smart to buy an expensive CD player. At least, right now. So, I looked around, I happened upon the Cambridge. It was a breath of fresh air! A great sound, better than anything else I came across at its price point. And as good as most of the other players I checked out, which happened to be anywhere from two to four times more expensive. Good dynamics, weight, pace, tone, resolution, detail, etc. I figured that corners were cut in the areas of cosmetics, the front panel/case, and the fact that the players were manufactured in China. I didn't think that build quality would be one of the corners that were cut, as the unit seemed to be quite robust and nicely constructed. Well, all was well and I was happy as a clam. Until, I started to encounter a few problems with output. The first time, I had no output at all. The second time, output was filled with static. Both lasted for a day or so. Then, there was no output for about 4 days. I talked to my dealer, and he told me that we should send it in. That something could have happened in shipping, etc. Something like a board being hairlined cracked or whatever. Well, to their credit Cambridge told him to just give me a new player. Very nice of them, and excellent customer service. As my girlfriend wanted silver this time, it had to be ordered. Yesterday, I picked it up and all was great again. Until I took it home. I hooked it up in the kitchen, just to look at the very attractive blue display. After tinkering around with it, I opened the drawer. Upon trying to close it, it would not go. Due to misalignment. It got stuck right where the door lines up with the fascia. It would slide in by me forcing it over, but that is not how an out of the box player should be(and that's an understatement). So, I went back, and my dealer had another one ready for me. But, I decided that after having two bad players in the course of a few short months, my faith in the company has been destroyed. He tried to blame shipping again, but we know better. A door does not get moved out of whack during shipping, where it is safely in the closed position. The door is cemented in, and this one was simply misaligned. Despite QC which supposedly tests(via playing) each and every player before going out the door, this one was allowed to ship. I was offered another Cambridge player(which I now do not feel comfortable in taking), my money to be used anywhere else in the store, or a refund. Each of which is good customer service by my dealer, himself being a model of what a dealer should aspire to. I do need a player, but do not want to spend more money to reach the same level of sonic quality. Also don't want to buy inferior sound at the same price. I guess what I am saying is that I am now in a quandry. As my dealer will be on vacation for the next 10 days(and I told him I will hold off making a choice until he returns), it will give me some time to divorce myself from the original disappointment and make a better decision. I guess I am just venting here. My question is, has anyone else encountered any gremlins from Cambridge? Any other comments anyone would like to offer up would certainly be appreciated. Thank you in advance
I purchased a D500SE as a source for an ASL tube headphone amp mainly because I needed a light weight player to move to different rooms. It sounds great using Sennheiser HD600 phones. I too have experienced the loss of ouput and static but thankfully it has not become terminal. I did find the reason for this but have not taken the time to find out why. It has to do with the connection of the IEC socket of the power cord to the unit. The player stays powered up and everything works except no sound at the Rca jacks. If I push in real hard on the power cord connector, then it plays no problem. I might also note that the connector feels fully socketed prior to this treatment but so far it has worked. Again, I have absolutely no idea as to what boards etc. would be shared between the ac line and the outputs but that is what I've experienced. As far as sonic and build quality I'm a fan of old Sony es players. Any three of my old Sony's will put the D500SE to shame. However, they weigh around 40lbs each so it's not an easy task to lug them around. Try an older used high-end player unless you need the light weight.
I had a similar experience with a Cambridge CDP, the entire display fell off the player and the door jammed. My dealer had it repaired for me, and I sold it. Many folks here on AudioGon swear by Cambridge, but to me they have severe quality control issues and are junk. What to buy next? Well, depends what your dealer carries, he sure has bent over backwards for you. Perhaps if you could list the various brands your dealer carries, we could offer an opinion on what to consider next? Jeff
Any other comments would be appreciated: the thing is obviously a piece of crap.
I was a late convert to CD around '96-'97 and my first player was a Cambridge CD4. After going through 3 of them in about 6 months because of breakdowns, I upgraded, at no charge courtesy of my dealer, to an Arcam Alpha 7, so in that sense, I would agree with you that you get what you pay for. The Arcam was very reliable, and over the next couple of years I upgraded it to Alpha 8, and then 8SE status. I sold the 8SE about a year ago, because my RCA 5223P DVD player was the equal of it, if not better. This is a discontinued model, but you may be able to track one down over the net-the last time I saw some new ones, they were posted at around $179. The RCA has been reliable and a very good CD player. I have no ability to explain why. In the sub $1000 market, I'd definitely look at DVD players, although this is generally regarded as heresy. I'd take a serious look at the new Toshiba (24/192 DAC and HDCD chip) probably available in the US around $200-$225 and see how it sounded.
Ive always been put off by the large markup from the UK prices to the US prices on the Cambridge gear. NAD stuff, in contrast, seems to sell for close to the same here and there. (I have no idea of the sonic attributes of NAD or Cambridge cdps.) And both brands are made in Asia, so importation to one place or the other is factored-in to the price. So Im not sure you get what you pay for.
I had the same IEC power cord problem with one I got for a relative. Its really the cord not the IEC. The cheap cord they give you does not fit in the IEC slot snuggly. Replace it. That was probably the problem with your first one based on your description.
Sorry to hear about your problem, Joe. I saw references to this power cord thing on audioreview after I had sent back my first D500 because it wouldn't play. The second unit has been flawless with kevperro's asylum cord. One thing to keep in mind. As we both have passive pre's, (yours in the Jadis) the Cambridge has a little more output than the standard for CDP's which may explain why I have no loss of dynamics.
Thanks for all the responses. My previous player was a Pioneer PD-5100, made in Japan. Quality is obviously several levels higher, as I never had a problem and build quality never came into question. It simply works. Just like a sewing machine. Will probably run forever.

I discovered the IEC problem, during one of the fits of my first Cambridge player. In my case, it is NOT due to the power cord, as I never even removed the included power cord from its bag. I used two other power cords I had previously bought. When all else failed, I inserted the player in a different system, and it worked. Then I put it back in my main system and all was OK, for a while. It seems from all the horror stories I have previously seen(on AudioReview) and here, that the quality of Cambridge gear is just not up to snuff. Therefore, I will not be taking a chance on another D500 SE. Again, I do really, really like the sonics. But, the player has to work in order for me to enjoy the sound. Other players my dealer carries are:
1. NAD 541. Same price point. Inferior sonics. Less heft, resolution, detail, and refinement.
2. Jolida 603. Same price point. Seems to be of sloppy build quality. Inferior sonics. A fair amount of haze, grunge, and murk. Not sure if it is due to the stock Chinese 12AX7s, but build quality now scares me.
3. Rega Planet 2000. 2X more expensive. My dealer is not in love with the build, but it seems good to me. Sonics are sluggish and boring to me.
4. Linn Ikemi. 4X+ more expensive. Sonics are about equivalent. Very open and detailed, lack of weight and heft. I am certain it exhibits typical Linn excellent build quality.
5. Electrocompaniet. Not sure about price(it's not cheap...). Excellent sound and build quality. Not sure one could expect more.
6. Linn Genki. Expensive, have not listened to it.

Basically, the only players I would be happy with from this list are the Linn Ikemi and Electrocompaniet. But, I am not going to spend that much on a CD player. Not when I am uncertain of the future status of the new formats. Or, if they will take off within the next year or so.

Maybe I will take something else from the store, even though my system is pretty much complete(I don't need anything other than a CD player). I would like to support this dealer(via my money), as he has always given me good service, etc. However, in the end there is still a chance I will just opt for the refund, as I do not see a better alternative yet.
Based on what you've posted so far, I would either take the $, or give the Cambridge a third try with the understanding that you would have an extended money back trial period. 30 days would typically shake out most build (rather than wear) problems.
Maybe he has a demo or discontinued Sony 7700 cd/dvd player Its a great piece for the money ( around $ 600.00)built like a tank. I chose the High end for my cd Sonic Frontiers SFCD 1 with tube output stage . Unit weighs 30 lbs very nice player but even used is a little pricey !
Hmm, well I can't say I'm happy to see this thead. I just purchased a used 500 SE here on audiogon. Apon recieving it, I found that the tray would not open for me and the display looked dim and had no characters on it. Well, it's in the shop now (still waiting for their three week backlog to clear), at the shipping company's expense. I just wish I'd seen this so I could have at least tried pushing the cord in harder. I had tried another cord, but I experienced the same problem.
Damit, I want to hear this thing though!