decent CD player for $500-700

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by SteveJSR, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. SteveJSR

    SteveJSR Extra

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    I am looking to upgrade up CD player to the $500-700 range. Heard that Rotel makes a good player (RCD 1072) for around $700. Is there anything out there in that price range that is better? Also, how about a DVD player in the $500 range? The Denon 1910? Anything else. I'd appreciate anything that anyone has to say on the matter. Thanks in advance.

    P.S. I am not really interested in SACD or DVD-A, as 2-channel music is more my thing.
     
  2. RichardK

    RichardK Second Unit

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    give the Rotel RCD-02 a listen, $499 retail...i have owned this for 2months.
    also give the comparably priced Arcam and NAD models a listen as well
     
  3. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    If you can, also give the Cambridge Audio 640C a listen. It is very well reviewed and is a solid player (was too far out of my budget to buy, but if I could afford it, I'd have one).
     
  4. SteveJSR

    SteveJSR Extra

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    Thanks guys for your replys. I will be taking a look at both of your suggestions.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I don't get it? There is nothing preventing you from listening to 2ch with SACD or DVD-A, as nearly every disc will have a 2ch hires track on them (many SACDs are 2ch only!), and the formats are definitely worth a listen - both sound amazing compared to CD. Still not as smooth as vinyl, but very good. I listen to the 2ch tracks because on 9 out of 10 discs the 2ch sounds better (yes, I'm a 2ch guy too). IMHO, you should be interested in these formats if music is your thing.

    Having said that, a good quality CD can stil make a big difference with the titles you have. The last good CD player I listened to was the Arcam CD73, and I think it was in your price range. Give it a listen.
     
  6. SteveJSR

    SteveJSR Extra

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    John,

    Thanks for straightening me out on SACD's and DVD-A's. Being a novice at this, I had always thought that music CD's were the only way to listen to 2-channel music.

    Does Arcam make a decent DVD player? How about the 1050 by Rotel?
     
  7. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Couldn't you get the new Denon model, I think it is 2910, for that price range, or at least close. That or the 2900 somewhere I would think. I thought it had upgraged audio over the 2200?
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Arcam does have two DVD players out, the DV78 and -79. but I haven't heard or seen either one yet, because I was auditioning speakers not players. I believe they both do DVD-A, but I am sure they do not do SACD.

    In the price range, if you are looking for video also, the Denon players are tough to beat. I picked up the 2200 (~$550), and I am very pleased with it. The 2900 is a little more than you were looking to spend at ~$1K, but it has both great audio and video. I am waiting to see how good the 3910 is.
     
  9. Robert Cowan

    Robert Cowan Supporting Actor

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    i would pass on the denon dvd-2910 if you are just interested in cd.

    if you look at their specs on their japanese site, the player is a mere 5.5kg. thats VERY light for a player that does so much. im kinda disappointed.

    but, i havent heard it though.

    i would definately recommend the rotel 1072. its a very nice sounding player, and can make a great transport too.

    however, if you want to stretch the budget, the musical fidelity xray24 cd player (brand new), its the best player ive heard under $5k. however, its about $1300.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    If you aren't looking for video, then I'd pass on all the DVD players, especially if you will focus on 2ch only. If video is a consideration though...

    5.5kg is ~12lbs, and I would not consider that too light, since most cheap players are in the under 10lb realm. The 2900 weighs 17lbs, and I am pretty sure the 2200 is roughly 10-12lbs. While weight may give you a good idea of the quality of a unit (nice heavy power supply, rigid chassis, etc...), it alone is not going to tell you about sound quality. When I had a 910, I was really disappointed with the build quality (plus it had issues), so I returned it. My 2200 easily weighs about 2x the 910.
     
  11. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    You can get a Denon 2900 in silver or black refurbed from eCost for
     
  12. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    If you want to go in your original direction and put all of your money into Redbook reproduction, check out the Jolida JD-100A. This is an extremely impressive CD only player for it's price range (around $700 new) and has been well reviewed for over a year. It features a true tubed output stage using two 12AX7A tubes, upsampling 24/96 Burr-Brown DACs, and Philips CDM-12 transport. It has two pairs of RCA analog outputs and one coax digital out.

    An advantage to the tubed output stage is that you can alter the character of the players sound by using different tubes. There's plenty of variety available in 12AX7As, so you can have plenty of fun tube rolling if you want to try it out. It's also a great mod platform and there are a number of companies that offer modifications to the stock player. The Jolida weighs in at 22 pounds and is built like a tank.

    I've had this player in my system for a few weeks, stacking it up against my Denon 5900 and am very impressed with it. If you only want a Redbook player I don't think you could do much better for anywhere near this price.
     
  13. Kincade

    Kincade Second Unit

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    I second Doug's suggestion. I demoed about every 2ch CDP under 1K that I could find, and the Jolida EASILY bested all of them. The Cambridge 640 was 80% as good, the Music Hall probably 70% as good, but the Jolida was that much better. Plus, tube-rolling is fun! I'm digging the Electroharmonix right now, but the Sovteks are nice too... If you buy it, ditch the stock chinese tubes asap; almost anything is an upgrade over those.

    Read the user reviews on audiogon, audio asylum, head-fi; everyone raves about this one, and for a good reason.

    FWIW, the guy I bought mine from sold it to buy a tri-vista; and emailed me after demoing it and said he thinks he made a mistake, and is going to be buying another Jolida. That's impressive, considering the tri-vista's $3k price point.

    http://www.musicalfidelity.com/trivistaframeset.html

    Also, there are a few on agon right now for a good price. [​IMG]

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....lay&1093651454

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....lay&1094851847

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....lay&1095413262

    HTH,
     
  14. SteveJSR

    SteveJSR Extra

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    Doug and Kincade,
    Thanks much for your recommendations for CDP's under 1K. If I were also interested in video, can you give me some ideas for DVD players under 1K? I would be very interested in your answers. What I have been considering so far are the Arcam DV 79 and Rotel 1050 and NAD T 562.
    Much appreciate your help.
     
  15. Kincade

    Kincade Second Unit

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    If you want DVD + a good cdp, I would look at the denon 2200/2900; IMHO, there's not much else under $1k that does a GOOD job at both; the redbook quality is not as good on either as the Jolida, but it's tolerable. The arcam/rotel/nad all do music OK AFAIK, but they typically don't score too well on the secrets tests for video.
     
  16. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Now it's my turn to second Kincade's recommendation [​IMG]. For under $1K your choices are pretty limited. I also think the Denon 2900 is probably your best bet and it's a Universal to boot. If you can wait, Denon is releasing several new affordable Universal players this fall that are under $1K and might be worth considering.

    My take on the whole thing goes like this - for under $1K you're better off putting your money into a Redbook CD player. SACD and DVD-A can be better than CD, in some cases much better, but it's very recording dependant and you need good downstream equipment (processor/preamp, amp, speakers) to realize their full potential. One weak link in the chain can really compromise the potential advantages. In addition, Universal players in this range *have* to make concessions to reach the price point. As a result performance on ALL formats usually suffers. It's the lowest common denominator syndrome. A Redbook player at this level puts all that money into one thing - CD performance. I think that gives it a huge advantage over a "kitchen sink" player, and you have many more choices as well.
     
  17. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The 2900 has been out for a while, so I figured there would be a new model soon. For this reason, I picked up the 2200 and took a wait and see stance. I already had a 222ES which is pretty good for redbook and very good with SACD (yes, quality is very title/recording dependant), so I was only looking for good video - which the 2200 delivers. Sure enough, the 3910 was announced, now I am waiting to see if it has issues off the starting line, or if it does as well as the 5900, which was awsome right out of the gate.

    I got an interesting comment from the salesperson at the shop where I listened to the Arcam stuff. His opinion was that money is better spent on a high quality CD and an average hires player because for CD, the titles are there, the format is stable without question, it works with your current library of media, and will sound better than any similarly priced universal. The two hires formats both sound great, but in his opinion, there is still a digital signature there, though at a much reduced level and with far more detail than CD. I think I already gave a third for the 2900 above. [​IMG]

    The way I see (hear) it, if you are used to listening to vinyl on expensive tube gear or very high quality digital sources with speakers geared towards music, hires may seem like no big deal. If you have been listening primarilly to CD on decent gear, a decent hires player with that same gear will still sound better. I have demoed my system for friends who don't even know what SACD or DVD-A is, and they could hear a definite improvement.
     
  18. SteveJSR

    SteveJSR Extra

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    Doug, Kincade, John,
    Thank you all for your comments. They have made me think and rethink my priorities. I should probably let you know what gear would be going with the CD or DVD player: Paradigm Studio 40's and most likely a Rotel 1056 receiver or a NAD T 763. A few questions: does it pay to get a tube player like Jolida if my collection is almost all CD's (and given my other gear)? Also, if I did go in the direction of concentrating on a good CD player, what DVD would you recommend for video? Do you all agree that Denon (say the 2900 or 2910) would be the best choice for VIDEO? Again, thanks to all of you for your input; much appreciated.
     
  19. Kincade

    Kincade Second Unit

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    I personally think that you can't go wrong with the 2200/2900; unless you need DVI, there are some great deals to be had on them, and they're both good players.

    I would agree with John; I'd spend more money on getting good redbook quality than multichannel; those titles will be pretty good anyway if the mix is quality.

    Steve - don't confuse a tube CDP w/ a tube amp. The tube output stage is just there to avoid any more digital processing than is necessary. They run at low voltage, and last upwards of 5000 hrs. They are perfectly suitable for redbook.

    I have a Jolida JD100 and a Denon 2900; I get amazing redbook performance, killer video, and good multichannel. There are better multichannel players out there, but I'd have to pay a LOT more money for improvement on a format that is very dependant on the title. That, and I have a dozen multichannel discs, and upwards of 1000 redbook titles.

    2910 is hard to say. As it's not even out, there's no way to tell what problems it'll have, if any. I'd always rather go with an established product rather than a new one, providing I don't NEED features on the new model; at least I know what I'm getting.
     
  20. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    According to pricing and what I am hearing, the 2910 will replace the 2200 and the 3910 will replace the 2900.

    If you wait until just before these new models hit the market, the current models respective prices will drop, as well as the fact that you will likely see a number of them hit the used market also. I actually do want DVI output, which is one of the reasons why I am looking to upgrade, but I want to see what initial reviews of the new players say.

    The 2200 and 2900 have exactly the same video processing, which is another reason why the 2200 was attractive, though the 2200 is not quite as good as the 2900 still. The main difference between the two being better shielding, somewhat sturdier chassis, and a much larger power supply in the 2900.
     

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