Best CD player for under £750?

SandyF

Active Member
My Musical Fidelity X-ray 3 has died.

The Musical Fidelity X-80 Amp is still functioning - and hopefully won't need replaced for another year or two, and the pair of Dynaudio Audience 40 speakers are fine.

Budgetwise I've got no more than £750 to spend.

I like listening to all kinds of music - including classical and jazz - and in my experience both classical & jazz in particular needs a player capable of picking out detail.

I have a large CD collection - so getting the most out of CDs is the main concern. I do have some pop and rock downloads that I can burn onto CD - or I might be able to solve that issue with an amp later

The 4 players I'm looking at are the Rega Apollo, Musical Fidelity's M2SCD, Marantz's 6007 and Arcam's CDS50.

From the reviews I've read, the Musical Fidelity and the Acram are a "step up" from the Marantz. The Arcam has more features that the Musical Fidelity and as such looks like the better buy on paper, costs £50 more. But do the extra features distract from the CD playing?

Then the Rega Apollo is a rank outsider for me, but a lot of enthusiasts seem to think it is the best CD player in the sub £1000 category.

If there's not much difference between the 4 - then the Marantz might be a better choice, as it will save me £300 which can go towards a new amp next year.

The replacement Amp will have to be in the sub £1,000 category too - so I'm looking at the Acram SA10 or the Musical Fidelity M2 series as well.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

Thank you in advance.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you can wait then add the two budgets together (plus maybe a little more), get an amp around £1750-£2000 with a built in dac (assuming it is a good one) and then add a Cambridge CXC transport or similar (audiolab cdt or project cd transport). You may need to feel the pain with a cheap second hand stand in during the wait, old Pioneer PDS704 might do the job for around £100-150. If you can squeeze the budget then the Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 plus a cd transport would do well with the benefit of the roomperfect system, or upgrade the SA10 to a SA30, may be able to bag one ex demo from Sevenoaks or Peter Tyson, they often come up on their clearance areas. The Hegel H95 and H120 also come up as worth auditioning. I think this way you would get the best out of your cds and the best out of your very fine speakers which deserve good amplification.
 
Last edited:

gibbsy

Moderator
That's a difficult price point, your betwixt and between with there be a great many good players under £500 which in fairness has been dominated by the Marantz cd6006 for a number of years. The Rega is a fine player but may be compromise with it's top loader if you don't have space in a rack for it.

SSaV have the MF2 at £699 and that worth looking at. Arcam CDS50 gives you SACD capability. Upping the budget a bit will bring you closer to some of the excellent Cyrus players and transports as well as SACD capability with the Denon DCD 1600NE.

Considering many people believe physical disc formats are a dying breed there is some very good disc spinners available across the price spectrum. It is worth auditioning different players as they all have subtle differences.
 

lee711

Standard Member
Currently running the Arcam SA20 with the CDS50 and i'm loving the sound, I have the cd connected via the digital coax rather than the analogue, which I prefer the sound of, and the SACD capability is a bonus for my limited SACD discs. The USB input on the cd allows me to hook up a memory stick with flac ripped and hi-res files but i don't use the streaming capability of the unit. The Digital inputs on the amp allow connection of my other sources ( IIRC both units run the same DAC ) and the addition of a pretty decent phono stage does my turntable justice. The pair can be bought as a pair deal or were when i got mine but either way both units are very impressive as stand alone items but work very well together as a pair combo, plus the remote works both units too.
 

madfiddler

Active Member
Another recommendation here for the CDS50. I don’t really use its streaming capabilities because i have that in my amp. I don’t have lots of SACD and not listened to lots of other SACD players and by all accounts if you are looking for a SACD player specifically then there are plenty who rate the Denon (1600/2500), but they are also quite a lot more money. I think the CDS50 though, whilst maybe not reaching the heights of those Denons with SACD, has a lot going for it and the CD is excellent in my opinion.

I spent ages looking out for a second hand CDS50 but for me they went for tof much money, but then I did manage to do a bit of a deal on the price of one new. I did see someone hereabouts pick one up on fleabay in very good condition for only about 350! So worth keeping an eye out.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
We can't tell you want is best, because that is subjective. However, we can tell you want is good.





Note the last Marantz is also a Network Player.

If you already have a DAC, the Cambridge Transport CXC is worth considering.


If you were satisfied with your Musical Fidelity, then perhaps a new one would be in order -



I don't think anyone ever challenged the quality of Musical Fidelity products.

This ARCAM is CD/SACD and Network Streaming -


Technics is back in the audio game, though I don't have a lot of feedback on them -


I think at a modest price, the ROTEL CD14 would be a worthy consideration.

At a considerably higher price, the ROTEL RCD-1572 should hit a high standard.

The Marantz is worth considering because of the addition of Network Streaming.

Certainly, if you have a fondness for Musical Fidelity, their CD Player would rate high on the list.

If you favor Musical Fidelity, then that pushes very strongly in their direction. If you are looking for a change, then you have to consider both Value, Price, and Features.

For Value, the Rotel CD14. For Features the Arcam and Marantz because of the addition of Network Streaming. For Price, meaning quality at close to your budget, probably the Musical Fidelity.

Now there are certainly others to consider, and if you want to raise your budget, even more -





But, based on my own bias, and best understanding of the situation, these would be my choices -

For Value - Rotel CD14 - ~£500 -

Familiarity - Musical Fidelity M2sCD - ~£700

Familiarity and High Quality/Cost - Musical Fidelity M3s - ~£1200

Though I would consider the Rotel RCD-1572 (£845) though I can't say that it is better than the Musical Fidelity.

Given that you have Musical Fidelity and given that we can assume you like Musical Fidelity, then Musical Fidelity seems to win.

But then ... that's just my opinion.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Oasticles

Active Member
Per the comments above - I couldn't say what would be best but I do have a Rega Apollo and Music Fidelity M2si.

I was steered in the direction of the Rega having asked for a less clinically sounding CDP. The MF doesn't really colour the sound so they seem to play perfectly happily with one another.

The caution re the top loading of the Apollo is certainly worth noting. I have mine on a shelf in the rack with 180mm clearance. I think Rega quote around 170mm as the max height but I think you can access provided there's 150mm clearance.
 

silversurfer24v

Well-known Member
Another recommendation for the CDS50 here , I also use it with the matching SA20 amp, I find the sound and features of them both excellent, SACD capabilities are great with the few discs I have, I have used the streaming side with the MusicLife app which seams to work very well, I bagged both of my items for bargain price’s of eBay
 

SandyF

Active Member
Thank you for your replies everyone.

I might have to simply book a listen from 12th April.

I have got the Acram and the Musical Fidelity in the frame. I may have just managed to secure some more overtime, so might be able to go up the budget - so the Cyrus and Musical Fidelity MS3CD might be just within reach.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I'd add the Denon DCD 1600 NE to your list. I've got the big brother in the 2500 NE. Best spinner I've owned and I've had a few of late.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I'd add the Denon DCD 1600 NE to your list. I've got the big brother in the 2500 NE. Best spinner I've owned and I've had a few of late.

A bit over budget, but it should be worthy of consideration. Plays CD, SACD, and DSD.

"Playback of CD and Super Audio CD; DSD (2.8 MHz / 5.6 MHz) files and PCM files up to 192 kHz / 24 bits recorded on DVD R/RW"

Steve/bluewizard
 

SandyF

Active Member
I've been reading the specifications of CD players.

There's not an awful lot of difference between many CD players made in 2005 and the present.

The stats for the Musical Fidelity X-ray v3 are almost identical to the MS2CD and MS3CD.

24 bit dual sigma dac has the same stats as the player from 15 years + ago.

The jitter has been reduced a little, but that's about it. It seems like there's been some marginal gains and that's about it.

It is as if everything has virtually stood still for CD players for over a decade. Is this because the technology is pretty mature, or the format isn't being invested in quite so much, or my budget is on the "low" side"?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not having a go at CD players - just when I compare the computer I had in 2002 with the one I have now, there is a vast difference - you get more, and at a lower price.

For (Hi-fi) CD players the players at my price point (no more than £1,000) don't look that much different - on paper at least from where they were 15 years ago. There's a marginal gain.

Any extra cash seems to be going on streaming options, but they seem rather limited and duplicated in the matching AMP anyway. USB ports on hi-fi seem to rely upon a computer being attached as the machines can't read USB sticks, which seems somewhat impractical - there's no room to fit a PC by the hi-fi (tiny flat)

Listening to the radio Denon (TU260) through my amp has assured me that the amp still sounds perfectly fine.

So the MS2CD will pretty much replace what I already have. The Arcam will offer more options, but the AMP has no digital inputs - and I don't have Apple, so it seems that the streaming and USB option will be of limited use.

So the only question really is which of the two will make the most of my CDs - and availability.

Does this sound like a fair summation of where Hi-Fi (for CDs) is
 

muljao

Well-known Member
You could throw a few hundred at a good well specced dac, the cambridge audio 200 seems to be the one talked about at the moment. It's 500 pounds. It would give your amp a bunch of digital inputs and aptx bluetooth (or various other similar devices)

After this any well made cd player that has a digital output could be a transport. You can get cd players new for 150 pounds, you then have upgraded your system to digital and have a cd player that has a well specced dac making the music

Just a thought
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 824153

Guest
I’m going to chuck something controversial into the mix: I don’t think there’s a huge difference between digital sources. Sure, a £750 CD player will sound better than a £250 player, but it won’t sound three times or £500 better, whichever way you want to look at it. The Marantz CD6006 is all the player you’d ever need, freeing you up £500 for upgrades elsewhere or more music. Your money, your choice, of course.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I’m going to chuck something controversial into the mix: I don’t think there’s a huge difference between digital sources. Sure, a £750 CD player will sound better than a £250 player, but it won’t sound three times or £500 better, whichever way you want to look at it. The Marantz CD6006 is all the player you’d ever need, freeing you up £500 for upgrades elsewhere or more music. Your money, your choice, of course.
I've owned or still own:
Marantz cd6006 £349 (can't remember the original price).
Marantz sa8005 £1099, paid £599, absolute steal.
Denon DCD 2500 NE £1900, paid £1499.

What's interesting about the Marantz models is that they both shared the same Cirrus Logic 4398 DAC. The sa8005 was better, got more information out of redbooks than the cd6006. I put this down to SACD players being thought as being better for redbook reproduction along with a superior analogue circuit. At the price I got the brand new sa8005 for then it was certainly worth the extra especially as I got a good price for selling the cd6006 on. However I'm certainly of the opinion that the cd6006/6007 are the best performing spinners for under £500.

Now the Denon, just couldn't resist it when I found it for the asking price a couple of years ago. Is it better than the Marantz sa8005. Yes. Absolutely. Is it twice as good compared to what I paid for the two units. No. The improvement is more than I thought it would be but perhaps that's because it plays into what I really like to hear from my music certainly with headphones.

I still have both the sa8005 and obviously the Denon and both get used on a regular basis being in separate systems. But you're right, it's not a huge difference, in this game it rarely is.
 

Pianoforte

Novice Member
We can't tell you want is best, because that is subjective. However, we can tell you want is good.





Note the last Marantz is also a Network Player.

If you already have a DAC, the Cambridge Transport CXC is worth considering.


If you were satisfied with your Musical Fidelity, then perhaps a new one would be in order -



I don't think anyone ever challenged the quality of Musical Fidelity products.

This ARCAM is CD/SACD and Network Streaming -


Technics is back in the audio game, though I don't have a lot of feedback on them -


I think at a modest price, the ROTEL CD14 would be a worthy consideration.

At a considerably higher price, the ROTEL RCD-1572 should hit a high standard.

The Marantz is worth considering because of the addition of Network Streaming.

Certainly, if you have a fondness for Musical Fidelity, their CD Player would rate high on the list.

If you favor Musical Fidelity, then that pushes very strongly in their direction. If you are looking for a change, then you have to consider both Value, Price, and Features.

For Value, the Rotel CD14. For Features the Arcam and Marantz because of the addition of Network Streaming. For Price, meaning quality at close to your budget, probably the Musical Fidelity.

Now there are certainly others to consider, and if you want to raise your budget, even more -





But, based on my own bias, and best understanding of the situation, these would be my choices -

For Value - Rotel CD14 - ~£500 -

Familiarity - Musical Fidelity M2sCD - ~£700

Familiarity and High Quality/Cost - Musical Fidelity M3s - ~£1200

Though I would consider the Rotel RCD-1572 (£845) though I can't say that it is better than the Musical Fidelity.

Given that you have Musical Fidelity and given that we can assume you like Musical Fidelity, then Musical Fidelity seems to win.

But then ... that's just my opinion.

Steve/bluewizard
Nice list, thanks for putting it together. A couple of follow up questions. Any thoughts on which is better between the marantz nd8006 and the Arcam cds50 given they are both cd player/streamers? (I don’t own any SACDs). Also, any view on whether better to go for separate CD player and streamer or do these combo units offer equivalent sound quality as separates? Many thanks.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Also, any view on whether better to go for separate CD player and streamer
Depends on how much room you have in your cabinet or rack and how deep your pockets are. Personally I'd go for separates. CD players won't get upgraded or really become outdated but who knows with streamers.
 

Pianoforte

Novice Member
Depends on how much room you have in your cabinet or rack and how deep your pockets are. Personally I'd go for separates. CD players won't get upgraded or really become outdated but who knows with streamers.
yep, good point thanks. For CD player, am looking at the Denon DCD 1600NE, a step down from the 2500 you have. I’m only going to use it for CD, don’t have my SACDs and am curious as to whether in CD only mode these more expensive players provide an appreciable increase in sound quality (relative to say the marantz cd6006 you mentioned) versus putting that incremental money into a better amp or streamer separate. Thanks.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I've had a Marantz cd6006 and also currently have a sa8005. These players share the same Cirrus Logic 4398 DAC, the 8006 even with CDs is the better performer because it is a SACD player. That's almost certainly down to the superior analogue section of the 8006 that is required to get the very best out of SACD and CD performance is enhanced as a result.

Depending on what genre of music you like SACD discs can be no more expensive than redbooks. It worth spending £11.99 for an Art Garfunkel SACD to hear just how good the medium can be.
 

Pianoforte

Novice Member
I've had a Marantz cd6006 and also currently have a sa8005. These players share the same Cirrus Logic 4398 DAC, the 8006 even with CDs is the better performer because it is a SACD player. That's almost certainly down to the superior analogue section of the 8006 that is required to get the very best out of SACD and CD performance is enhanced as a result.

Depending on what genre of music you like SACD discs can be no more expensive than redbooks. It worth spending £11.99 for an Art Garfunkel SACD to hear just how good the medium can be.
Thanks, I’ll check it out
 

SandyF

Active Member
Thank you to everyone for your help.

At the moment I am thinking of going for the Denon 1600 for £900. This will help me make the most of my current CD collection - and allow me to play the few SACD hybrid CDs that I seem to have (although I didn't know I had them at the time).

Having looked through a lot of reviews and stuff on you tube, it seems to me to that anything to do with Hi-definition Audio is going to have to come through a computer/usb stick as anything to do with Hi-Definition audio on disc has largely withered on the vine (although I am sorely tempted to go for Beethoven's 5th & 7th by Carlos Kleiber on SACD).

So, the plan is to get the Denon to make the most of my current collection - and plan on buying an Amp with a USB/Computer input next year to make use of any future digital possibilities.

The Denon can handle my current MPs/WMA stuff by burning CDs.

The only other machine within the frame is the Acram SS50 which offers a USB input and SCAD playback, but I read there are issues with the streaming software unless they have been resolved adn the disc playback on the Denon seems to get better reviews.

Neither the Musical Fidelity nor the Cyrus can handle SACD, and so do not really add much more to what I had already. The Amp is still doing well (tough wood).

Testing them out in store is impossible as the Acram is not in stock anywhere local for an audition, nor is the Denon.

Does this seem like a reasonable position?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The Denon will be rock solid and problem free. Always somewhat worried about Arcam and software, a trouble marriage perhaps.
 

SandyF

Active Member
Well the Denon TU-260 has been an excellent radio and plays well with the current Amp, so I think the CD player should do the same.
 

Melbolivar

Novice Member
The Denon will be rock solid and problem free. Always somewhat worried about Arcam and software, a trouble marriage perhaps.
Hi, interesting conversation.
Base on your experience, which player would you suggest for a variety of genres especially rock-metal-electronic (a few vocal-jazz discs).
A new Marantz 6007 or a second hand hybrid player like a Vincent CD S6.

Cheers
Mel
 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Streaming Theatrical Releases And The Future Of Cinema
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Magico announces Titan 15 subwoofer
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Ajax Systems adds UK Socket to expand smart home options
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Best TVs of 2021 - Editor's Choice Awards
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Melco update improves N10, N100 and N1 EX digital libraries
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Loewe launches We.See TVs under new 'We. by Loewe' sub-brand
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom