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CD player in the range of 400-500£

dudeeg

Established Member
Hi!

I would like to ask for advice about CD players. I'd like to buy a CD Player for my system in the price range of 4-500£.
My current system is a Marantz PM66-KI amplifier and Tannoy M3 speakers. I'm mainly listening to rock/jazz music.
I've been advised to check the Marantz CD6003 and the HK HD9900, but I am sure the there are other options as well to be considered. One thing that can be a plus for me: digital output to be able to use the DAC of the player, if it is good enough.
With this price of course I am not targeting high-end stuff, but I like quality sound, and I would like to avoid spending money on a player that is considered to be good only because of its brand. If there is something recommended slightly above this price range, please tell me, because I am willing to spend a bit more if it really worth it.

What do you think?

Thanks for the help!
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
Another option to consider is buying a DAC and a cheap CD player to feed it. My son has a Firestone Spitfire DAC and it sounds really nice fed with just about any digital source, he used a £30 DVD player for a while. I'd put it on a par with a two-grand CD player.

The big advantage is that a DAC has multiple inputs that will let you plug in other digital devices, like TV boxes and games consoles, as well as allowing you to play music off your computer.

Considering the flexibility, quality and value of DACs I can't think of a reason to invest much in a CD player.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
I've been advised to check the Marantz CD6003 and the HK HD9900, but I am sure the there are other options as well to be considered. One thing that can be a plus for me: digital output to be able to use the DAC of the player, if it is good enough.

Good cdp's but what ideas do have you in mind to use cdp's dac? For another source to use it will require the cdp to have a digital input which the CD6003 does not have. The HK does though.

I have to agree with Mr Pig, If you have more than one digital source then its worth while looking at an external dac as it provides more options.

For the budget maybe an ext dac like the Arcam, Beresford Caiman, CA Dac Magic, or the firestone suggested and a half decent cdp with the remainder will do the trick
 

CJROSS

Prominent Member
Buy a £100-200 DAC easily sounds as good, if not better than a £400 CDP. IMPE.
 

DIBSTER

Prominent Member
I recently had a Marantz CD5003 and a Beresford Caiman DAC in my set up, and I had the Cd player hooked up both via RCA I/C's to my amp (PM8003) and also via Coax into the Caiman into my amp. In my more anal moments I used to like to switch between the two, and also get SWMBO to switch them about and see whether I could tell which was which. To be honest I could find very little difference in performance, if any, between the two (both excellent by the way). That's no reflection on the capabilities of the Caiman (far from it, my PC stored FLAC files sounded terrific via the Caiman) but more that the CD5003 was a great budget performer. You can pick them up for less than £100 now, and have all the functions you could possibly need.

.
 

Ben Jammin

Established Member
HD 990 can be used as a DAC and can be had for £270. It's a very very good CD Player. Probably about as good as the Spitfire/DVD combo for about similar money i'd say.

Otherwise i'd recommend something by Rega!
 

CJROSS

Prominent Member
I recently had a Marantz CD5003 and a Beresford Caiman DAC in my set up, and I had the Cd player hooked up both via RCA I/C's to my amp (PM8003) and also via Coax into the Caiman into my amp. In my more anal moments I used to like to switch between the two, and also get SWMBO to switch them about and see whether I could tell which was which. To be honest I could find very little difference in performance, if any, between the two (both excellent by the way). That's no reflection on the capabilities of the Caiman (far from it, my PC stored FLAC files sounded terrific via the Caiman) but more that the CD5003 was a great budget performer. You can pick them up for less than £100 now, and have all the functions you could possibly need.

.

There is nothing wrong with your (or SWMBO'd) ears, the difference between digital sources is a lot smaller than speakers or amps. Still I think that we can get £400 CD player performance from a £100 DAC very easily. IMHO of course.
 

coruja

Established Member
I would also suggest keeping an eye out for the Cambridge Audio 840C CD player - this is the older model and I think it's quite under-rated and is slipping farther and farther off the radar. It was designed by the same person who is responsible for the latest Audiolab 8200 CD/CDQ &etc and less cluttered with filters, bugs & etc.

Two digital inputs, a digital output (for recording) and upsamples to 24bit/384kHz. You can get them for around £500 or cheaper.
 
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Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
To be honest I could find very little difference in performance, if any, between the two ....
....but more that the CD5003 was a great budget performer. You can pick them up for less than £100 now, and have all the functions you could possibly need..

....£100-200 DAC easily sounds as good, if not better than a £400 CDP. IMPE.

Both valid points and I wholesomely agree with.

I have pretty much the same setup as Dibster but with a Beresford TC-7510 dac and like Dibster, couldn't tell any difference. For me, this shows how good the CD5003 really is. I use the cdp directly with the amp - as nature intended. I use the dac for other digital sources.

From user reports, the Rega dac is a very nice dac, but that will soak up the whole budget, and i don't know whether its worth the extra £200-£300 over the others and then still to get a half decent cdp. The DM has equal amount of inputs and outputs and is over £250 less. Still, i haven't heard the Rega so cannot comment and it may kick the rest into touch, but as said, in terms of better SQ, the difference between the digital sources is a lot smaller than speakers or amps so what you really paying for in dacs is the extra flexibility - IMHO. There could be a difference in how it sounds to the individual as users who have had different dacs over the years have reported differences which to them they prefer, one over the other because of it, but that does not mean better. I only ever had the ext dac which i currently own so i have nothing to compare it to. However, the Rega Dac, as well as the rest are definitely worth a look see if interested.

I think the general consensous here is saying to look at an external dac, whether its a £100 or £500, as that is what seems most suitable for your needs, especially if you have more than one digital source
 
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CJROSS

Prominent Member

dudeeg

Established Member
Thank you for the suggestions!

This external DAC sounds reasonable for me. If this is good enough I have the flexibilty to choose the source behind it. What I mean is that with a DAC maybe I shouldn't buy a CD player but somekind of a media player or streamer or whatever (I don't have any experience with these stuffs) that has a SPDIF coax output. I am still able to buy my favourite CDs and grab them.

Or if there is anything serious against this approach from quality point of view, please let me know.

Of course I still need to get information regarding these media players. I would need something simple that maybe has an internal HD that is replaceable, and that is silent. I don't know if such thing exists, but I think there is a separate forum for that here somewhere.
 

Ben Jammin

Established Member
Squeezebox Touch :)

Rega DAC sounded nicest to me but it's most certainly not twice as nice as a £250 DAC. Law of diminishing returns well and truly in full flow by then.
 

peritus

Banned
IMO if you're really after a CDP, and with your taste in music, you'd not go far wrong with the likes of a decent 2nd hand Rega Apollo or an Arcam CD192.

If however you're open to the DAC route; then go for it. Get some on a home demo and see what improvements you hear :)

I do also feel though that your speakers are the weak link in your system. Have you thought about upgrading them or is that out of the question?
 

Dazzor

Prominent Member
I'm running a Rega DAC and using my Marantz CD6003 as a transport and like DIBSTER I still have an analogue connection (RCA to RCA stereo pair of IC's) running from CDP to my amp (Roksan Caspian M-1 series).

I also have both Optical and Digital Coax connections from my CDP to my Rega DAC so in addition to being able to switch from the inbuilt CDP's DAC's to the Rega I can also switch between inputs on the DAC to see if I can discern a difference between the optical and Coax.

Yes, I've got others to flip between inputs...how effective this is in terms of fooling my brain I don't know and not even sure I care..(Yes, I too don't know why I bother either...just plain sad I guess :))

Anyway...

Rega Vs CD6003's inbuilt DAC's:

Not loads in it really, IMO; for me the Rega offers a more refined sound...all the clarity without a hint of harshness the Marantz DAC's can sometimes give off.....Basically I find the Rega a nicer listen over time

Optical Vs Coax on the Rega:

Even less in it than the gap between the CDP's DAC's and the Rega DAC, however, I do feel the Coax has a very slight edge over the optical.... I think:confused::blush:

Clearly there's already been lots of excellent advice given on here so I'm not suggesting what you should do...just sharing my own findings. (Although do agree with peritus, your speakers may well be a weak link)

Hope this helps and good luck
Darren
 

Ben Jammin

Established Member
Funny you should ask, I'm switching back to the Brio tonight :)

It was an experiment. At first I didn't notice any difference and the remote was nice, however, after a week or so I've started noticing things I don't like about the CA and miss about the Brio and need it back in my life.

The differences are substantial but subtle if that makes sense, i guess that's true of differences between most Amps. Brio is a lot better except lacks a tiny bit of thumping Bass. I actually found the CA has too much of a thumping bass for me and just gets in the way when listening to things like Elbow. And seeing as i mostly listen to Elbow and Johnny Cash at the moment, the Brio wins! For UNKLE and Justice the CA's bass is more suited but it still has to many failings.

Basically i need the Brio + bit more bass + remote. I reckon i'd need to spend £1k to achieve it or go second hand.
 
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Dazzor

Prominent Member
Funny you should ask, I'm switching back to the Brio tonight :)

It was an experiment. At first I didn't notice any difference and the remote was nice, however, after a week or so I've started noticing things I don't like about the CA and miss about the Brio and need it back in my life.

The differences are substantial but subtle if that makes sense, i guess that's true of differences between most Amps. Brio is a lot better except for Bass. I actually found the CA has too much of a thumping bass for me and just gets in the way when listening to things like Elbow.

Makes utter sense to me, Ben....I totally know where you're coming from;)

I saw the change in your sig to the CA amp a while ago and was meaning to ask you what the score was....as I know you loved that Rega amp:D

What's next for change in your system? Still loving those MA's? :devil:

Apologies to the OP for going "Off Piste".

Cheers
D
 

dudeeg

Established Member
I do also feel though that your speakers are the weak link in your system. Have you thought about upgrading them or is that out of the question?

No, it is not out. I haven't planned to replace them so far, but I moved to a new place two weeks ago, and here the environment for listening music is much better. So maybe I will start to think about that soon. That's why I don't feel to be be a problem if the new component (whether it is CDP or DAC) is in a higher category than my current system.
 

Ben Jammin

Established Member
The MA's are good but could definitely be improved upon if i spent £500ish. Speakers are the only improvement i need. No idea what to go for though, so much choice!!!
 

Dazzor

Prominent Member
The MA's are good but could definitely be improved upon if i spent £500ish. Speakers are the only improvement i need. No idea what to go for though, so much choice!!!

Yes, lots to choose from indeed. Standmounts again or floorstanders?

Being a devout XTZ fanboy I will of course suggest the 99.25's....I've been toying with selling mine and going for the 99.36's.....we just can't leave things be can we?:suicide:
 

Ben Jammin

Established Member
I think floorstanders. But im not sure. Lol. I think tinkering is part of the hobby/appeal. I've hardly broken the bank so far, it's cheaper than cars at least :p 99.25's look pretty sweet! Is it one of those try at home then send us back paying for postage if you don't like deals?
 
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CJROSS

Prominent Member
Ben below £1000 I'd stick with standmounts. Even then you can go down vastly differing routes.....I paid

£450 for my Diapason Emeras (£875 new)
£550 for my Dyn Contour 1.3 MkII (£1300 new)

Plenty of great £500 standmounts out there from Proac, Celestion A1, Jamo Concert 8s, Neat, SF, Diapason, Dynaudio.
 

Ben Jammin

Established Member
What is the below £1000 stick with standmounts idea? Surely you get fuller sound/more bass with Floorstanders? Materials cost more and there is more of them so more cost, is that the idea? Are you saying the Monitor Audio RX2 would sound better than the RX6 despite RX6 costing twice as much?
 

Dazzor

Prominent Member
I think floorstanders. But im not sure. Lol. I think tinkering is part of the hobby/appeal. I've hardly broken the bank so far, it's cheaper than cars at least :p 99.25's look pretty sweet! Is it one of those try at home then send us back paying for postage if you don't like deals?

Basically yes. I think Audio Sanctum would be your best bet now as they are virtually the same price as XTZ direct and of course are in the UK so potentially easier to deal with.

Ben below £1000 I'd stick with standmounts. Even then you can go down vastly differing routes.....I paid

£450 for my Diapason Emeras (£875 new)
£550 for my Dyn Contour 1.3 MkII (£1300 new)

Plenty of great £500 standmounts out there from Proac, Celestion A1, Jamo Concert 8s, Neat, SF, Diapason, Dynaudio.

Oh how we loved a "pre-loved" bargain:)
 

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