HDCD worth investing in?

dynamic turtle

Novice Member
I'm looking to buy a cd player soon but am having a little difficulty deciding on which player to get. I'm looking at the following players:

NAD 542 (or 541i)
Harman/Kardon HD 755 (or 750)
Marantz 5400 OSE

A tight budget is limiting my choices; I'm not really keen on stretching to £300 for the NAD 541i/542 players, but I would like HDCD compatibility. The Harmon HD 755 is also HDCD and is £200, which is tempting, but there are very few reviews for the player and I don't know the brand well.

How does the HD 755 compare against the standard CD playing NAD 521 and Marantz 5400 (which seem to be the budget class leaders)? Should I just get the best possible standard CD player instead of the Harman and forget about HDCD? Is the NAD 541 far superior to the HD 755 - worth the extra £100?

I have a Pioneer 565, which spins DVDA & SACD, but with fairly average results. CD playback is terrible IMHO - completely lifeless, hence my interest in separate CD/HDCD player (was using cambridge audio CD36 till it died).

My amp is not ideal, but I'm not keen on shelling out £xxx for a dedicated stereo amp if I can help it....

Amp: Yamaha RX-V640
Speakers: Tannoy Revolution R2
Sub: Celestion S8 (don't laugh, I know its terrible)
Interconnects: Monster THX



Have you got many (any?) CD's that are HDCD? I've got two, and it's not as if I bought them for that reason. I'd be more concerned about getting a CD player that sounds great!

dynamic turtle

Novice Member
Robbie Williams & Coldplay, but I don't think the lack of supporting media should be a reason NOT to invest in HDCD. How many of you have bought a 6.1 or DTS 96/24 amp in the past 6 months? Quite a few of you, even though there are very few dvd's supporting the new standards.

A specialist retailer has told me that the 541i is the best of the lot, and that the HD755 is better than the 5400 & 521 (is he just trying to clear old stock? Who knows....).



Well-known Member
I'd look out for a second hand Arcam cd72t. They're generally going for around £220 at the moment and at this price a real bargain (iirc rrp was £450). It doesn't cater for hdcd but will extract a lot of detail from your favourite cd's. Definately worth a listen to at least:)

dynamic turtle

Novice Member
I am keeping an eye on the Arcam auctions on eBay, but even old models are "fully priced" (that's because they're good, dumbo :rolleyes: ).

Don't know much about the brand or their players though, and don't really fancy spending weeks researching them first.



Active Member
I've got the NAD C521BEE which I use with a Yamaha HRT5540RDS (essentially, a RX-V430, but in titanium) and the combination works very well together. I've got a number of HDCD titles - mainly Mike Oldfield remasters, but can't really comment on whether you'll gain much by spending more for an HDCD-capable player.

I compared the NAD C521BEE and the Marantz CD5400 (not the SE version) and preferred the NAD, finding the Marantz too bright, harsh and glassy.

Best thing to do is to try and audition the players you've listed.


Distinguished Member
I wouldnt worry too much about HDCD. I went for when it first came out it in my never ending quest for digital medium satisfaction and was disappointed - again! I would, as suggested aim for a good quality CD player, and a 2nd hand ARcam will satisfy on both counts. They err on the smoother side of things which should balance out the Yams rather bright presentation. Hang on for an 8se or a 9 and you will get HDCD as well. The new players are nice but you won't get such a good price on them. Other worth looking at in your budget range, Roksan Caspians, Micromegas (but be wary of the dodgy build quality with these!) and if you feel like taking a risk the Meridian 200/203 combis. I say a risk as these are getting on, and while able to hammer modern sub £400 players, they, despite great build quality, are in the OAP class for CD players. Still good though..............:)

All of the above appear regularly on ebay.


If I were you I'd audition the Cambridge Audio Azur CDP options. You like the CA sound, and their latest Azur range gets rave reviews in your sort of price range.

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