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Need help in finding a decent CD player to match to a Denon 2802 or 3802 receiver (1 Viewer)

Scott Stephens

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 23, 1999
Hi. I'm currently on the verge of buying either a Denon 2802 or 3802 (haven't made up my mind yet) and I'm looking for a decent CD player to go with it.

I've heard many negative things about Denon CD players, but I wanted to see if anyone out there has recently bought/used one and if so, what are your impressions?

I don't necessarily need a Denon CD player, but I'd like to find a good quality one (5 disc changer ideally) for around $300-400. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I'd appreciate any info. Thanks.

Jason Bell

Stunt Coordinator
Apr 3, 2002
Hi Scott,

Are you gonna hook the CD player up with a digital connection or Analog? If analog then it is much more important to match the CD player to your speakers. I just recently purchase a CD player for my system. From this experience I found that you really have to buy a few and take them home and try em out to see what you like. The differences between different brands can be pretty dramatic. If youre gonna use a digital connection you can probably just pick the best transport in your price range because the receiver is gonna process the PCM signal anyways. KeithH is a regular poster on this forum and he could probably give you more specific recommendations. Good Luck.


Senior HTF Member
Mar 28, 2000
Whether Scott (or anyone else) uses an analog or digital connection with a CD player should depend on the player chosen and the subsequent results of testing the two connections.
I have a Denon DCM-370 carousel changer that has been relegated primarily to recording duties (CDs to minidiscs). It sells for $250-300 and is a quality player for the price. One thing to note is that the '370 performs HDCD decoding, and if that is important to you (not so to me), then you would have to use an analog connection. You could use a digital connection for regular CDs if you find that sounds better than the analog connection and then just use the analog connection for HDCD discs. That's one way to use the player. Anyway, the sound of the '370 is warm for the price, though not as detailed as I would like. Build quality is average. If a digital connection interests you, note that the '370 only has a coaxial digital output (no optical). The '370 is a nice changer, as I said, but I think you can do better in your price range.
Other carousel changers to consider in your price range include:
* Sony CDP-CA70ES: This Sony changer typically sells for $300 (Crutchfield, brick-and-mortar stores), though some authorized mail-order dealers sell it for less (OneCall, J&R Music World, Oade Bros.). It's a straight CD player and is long in the tooth, given Sony's push of the SACD format in the past couple of years. Still, the 'CA70ES is a nice changer. The sound is more detailed than that of the Denon changer, and some will find the 'CA70ES somewhat bright. It depends on one's system and preferences. Build quality of the 'CA70ES is better than the Denon. The carousel drawer is smoother, for example. The 'CA70ES only has an optical digital output (no coaxial).
* Marantz CC4000OSE: This is Marantz's top carousel changer. The CC4000 and CC3000 are below it. "OSE" stands for "Original Special Edition". Marantz dealers typically sell the CC4000OSE for $400. Marantz says that the CC4000OSE has some internal upgrades over the CC4000, and I have found the CC4000OSE to sound better. The CC4000OSE is another warm changer, but I feel it is too warm such that the mid-range and bass are a bit smeared. Build quality is good, and the carousel mechanism is very fast and smooth. It only has a coaxial digital output.
* NAD 523: I have only limited hands-on experience with this player, and I have not been able to compare it to other models. Build quality is solid (the drawer is smooth), and it sounds good. An NAD dealer I once visited in New Jersey (about a year ago) had it for $330. It only has a coaxial digital output.
* Sony SCD-C222ES: This changer plays CDs, stereo SACDs, and multi-channel SACDs. Crutchfield and brick-and-mortar stores sell it for $500, but J&R Music World (authorized mail-order dealer) was selling it for $380 when I last checked about six weeks ago. It is a steal for $380. Build quality is very solid, and it is a very capable CD player. I had one in my second system for awhile and really liked it, but it developed a problem with the carousel mechanism, so I exchanged it for the 'C555ES, which is Sony's top SACD changer. I am sure that the problem I had with the 'C222ES was a fluke, so don't rule it out based on my experience. In case you are wondering, the reason I exchanged the 'C222ES for the 'C555ES is that I already had a 'C555ES in my main system and was very happy with it. The 'C555ES is better, but it is more expensive ($550-600 discounted).
The 'C222ES is a very good CD player, and SACD capability is a bonus. If I were in your position, the 'C222ES would be my choice. As an ES component, the 'C222ES comes with a five-year warranty. The 'C222ES has both coaxial and optical digital outputs.
The Sony SCD-CE775 for $180 is similar to the 'C222ES in terms of internal build quality. However, in my opinion, there are enough differences to render the 'C222ES better, especially with CDs. The 'C222ES is also built better on the outside. The 'CE775 only has an optical digital output and comes with just a one-year warranty. Some will tell you that the 'CE775 is basically the same as the 'C222ES, but I disagree.
Www.sacdmods.com is offering internal modifications for the 'CE775 that would take you outside your budget (including the cost of the player), but these modifications should greatly improve the sound. Still, if we just consider stock players, I would go with the 'C222ES over the 'CE775. Note that the mods to the 'CE775 do nothing for the external build quality, which is lacking in my opinion.

Jason Bell

Stunt Coordinator
Apr 3, 2002

I would think it would be better to try out all CD players in your price range and pick the one that sounds best using the analog connection. This way if you upgrade your receiver you just rehook your CD player to it and it should sound the same. If you buy a CD player that you dont like the DACs, when you upgrade your receiver you may end up having to upgrade the CD player at the same time if your new receiver doesnt give you the sound you like. Just my thinking I could be wrong.

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