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CD player recommendation

Milosz

Active member
As my Audio Aero Capitole Mk. II player is experiencing some reliability issues, I am thinking whether I should change it for another CD player.

My requirements are simple:

- neutral sound (none added, none taken from the recording)
- Digital inputs (Optical, Coaxial)
- Decent, silent CD drive
- Variable output is a must as I'm feeding the QUAD 909 power amp directly
- It could be used or new

As I still need to use this old-fashioned media (streaming is not really a substitute for me), I was wondering if HUGsters would be able to recommend a few decent CD players. I was thinking about Quad's Platinum set of a DMP player and Stereo power amp, but I just learnt that it is no longer available. There is Artera range now, but I am not too fond of a slot-loading CD drive of the Artera Play. Otherwise, I don't know many current CD players with variable output feature.

Thank you for recommendations.
 

willem

Well-known member
Better Bluray?

Better Bluray?

Why do you need a digital input (or is it do connect another device like a Chromecast)? I would leave out the variable output, because it restricts the list too much. Just insert an Emotiva Control Freak or similar, and you are done.

Personally, I would go for a (UHD?) Bluray player with both a digital (optical or coaxial) and analogue stereo output. I have never heard any differences between BD players and cd players, and if you look at the technology, it would be surprising.
 

Milosz

Active member
Beware! BD makes awkward CD player

Beware! BD makes awkward CD player

Why do you need a digital input? I would leave out the variable output, because it restricts the list too much. Just insert an Emotiva Control Freak or similar, and you are done.

Personally, I would go for a (UHD?) Bluray player with both a digital (optical or coaxial) and analogue stereo output. I have never heard any differences between BD players and cd players, and if you look at the technology, it would be surprising.
I need digital inputs for streaming from the Apple TV and Airport Express and also to connect my BD player for watching live shows and other music Blu-Ray discs and listening to them through Harbeths, instead of poor home cinema speakers.

Is Emotiva convenient enough? Does it have a remote?

I have a BD player but it's useless for playing CDs due to a very limited display, trouble with changing audio tracks and very long time it takes to read a CD. All in all it is useless as a serious CD player, no matter if it sounds the same as anything else or not. Other than that, it has a slot mechanism and isn't very quiet. I am sure there are better BD players out there than my old Panasonic, but I'm afraid that at least some of the problems that I mentioned are unavoidable with Blu-ray players playing CD's.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
Many choices as used, but few new

Many choices as used, but few new

As my Audio Aero Capitole Mk. II is experiencing some reliability issues, I am thinking whether I should change it for another CD player.

My requirements are simple:

- neutral sound (none added, none taken from the recording)
- Digital inputs (Optical, Coaxial)
- Decent, silent CD drive
- Variable output is a must as I'm feeding the QUAD 909 power amp directly
- It could be used or new

As I still need to use this old-fashioned media (streaming is not really a substitute for me), I was wondering if HUGsters would be able to recommend a few decent CD players. I was thinking about Quad's Platinum set of a DMP player and Stereo power amp, but I just learnt that it is no longer available. There is Artera range now, but I am not too fond of a slot-loading CD drive of the Artera Play.
Variable line output was once a relatively common feature that is missing from most new players.
Caveats for any older/used player would be the condition/remaining operational life of the laser and the electrolytic capacitors.

As for new units:

Mcintosh MCD550 and MCD1100.
http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/us/Products/pages/ProductListingHorizontal.aspx?CatId=cdplayers
http://www.hificlub.pl/marki/mcintosh

Audiolab 8200CD/8200CDQ.
http://www.audiolab.co.uk/product-detail.php?pid=8
http://www.audiolab.co.uk/product-detail.php?pid=9

Cambridge Azur 851C.
https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products/851/851c
 

ssfas

Well-known member
Audiolab CD?

Audiolab CD?

Look at the AUDIOLAB 8300CD. Has all the functions you need and an excellent DSD dac.

The 8200 was very successful and the 8300 is an upgrade with three variants. Sensibly priced.
 

hifi 87452

New member
Tube CD player

Tube CD player

As my Audio Aero Capitole Mk. II is experiencing some reliability issues, I am thinking whether I should change it for another CD player.

My requirements are simple:

- neutral sound (none added, none taken from the recording)
- Digital inputs (Optical, Coaxial)
- Decent, silent CD drive
- Variable output is a must as I'm feeding the QUAD 909 power amp directly
- It could be used or new

As I still need to use this old-fashioned media (streaming is not really a substitute for me), I was wondering if HUGsters would be able to recommend a few decent CD players. I was thinking about Quad's Platinum set of a DMP player and Stereo power amp, but I just learnt that it is no longer available. There is Artera range now, but I am not too fond of a slot-loading CD drive of the Artera Play.

Thank you for recommendations.
Hello Milosz,

what is your price range? If i can give you a recommendation i would try the EAR-Yoshino Acute classic. It is a extremely musical Tube-Staged Cd-Player with 3 digital inputs (SPDIF,Toslink and USB)

He has RCA and XLR-Outputs and a variable Gain. He has 5 Volts Output so you can use it as a digital preamp. Tim de Paravicini, the designer is a studio professional. So he knows what he does.

We sell it and for us it is one of the best CD-players on the market. In germany it is at about 5.300 Euro. I know this is very expensive, but he is worth listening too.
If you watch for a used one chec kout the Acute III. It is the predecessor from the Classic. He has the same options and also sounds extremely good. There should be used ones at about 3000 Euro (at about 2 years old!!)

take care
Michael
 

ssfas

Well-known member
8300CDQ from Audiolab

8300CDQ from Audiolab

Sorry, was misinformed.

Anyway, the 8300CD is £950.

Lots of digital inputs, no line inputs. There is a version with phono inputs.
 

hifi_dave

Well-known member
QUAD Artera

QUAD Artera

I have been playing with the Quad Artera Play + Stereo for a couple of days and it is very good. No problems with the slot mechanism.
 

Milosz

Active member
Best value

Best value

Thank you for interesting recommendations of CD players that I haven't considered before.

Mcintosh and EAR-Yoshino units are over my budget. I am also not too keen on the tube output stage. My current Audio Aero has one, and a very high output voltage, and I suspect it is a source of my current issues with this player as strange buzz can be heard from the midwoofer when no music is playing. I will try to replace the output tubes first, but I kind of lost heart for this player due to this issue.

As regards Audiolab, Cambridge Audio and QUAD Artera players I am particularly interested if you can recommend the quality of the variable output on these players? I know that volume control working in digital domain can be either lossless or lossy and it is important for me to make sure that no information encoded on the CD is lost in the process.

If I choose the Artera, I will probably have to change also my 909 power amp for the Artera Stereo because it makes such a good looking combo with the Artera Play. If I opted for the Artera set, I suspect the power amp is not very much different when it comes to its internal circuits from the 909 that I am currently using?
 

ssfas

Well-known member
IAG-brand products

IAG-brand products

I have been playing with the Quad Artera Play + Stereo for a couple of days and it is very good. No problems with the slot mechanism.
Milosz

The Quad Artera Play and the AudioLab 8300CD come from the same place (IAG) and may well have both been designed by John Westlake. They are very similar, use the same DAC chip, seem to have the same CD mechanism. They are both DSD with a range of filters.

The Artera has two line inputs not present on the Audiolab, whereas the Audiolab has an AES/EBU digital input not present on the Quad.

Very different styling. Both are well reviewed, the Artera got a very good write-up by Andrew Everard in Gramophone a few months ago.
 

willem

Well-known member
Beats human ears

Beats human ears

My Blu Ray player happens to be as convenient and almost as fast loading as a cd player. So maybe you just need a good modern (UHD)BD player? The most important thing to watch out for is digital or analogue outputs other than HDMI. These days many cheaper ones only have HDMI. Have a look at Oppo.

Soundwise I cannot imagine that there will be meaningful sonic differences: they all have to use one of a small number of DAC chips on the market. None of those DAC chips cost an arm and a leg, particularly if bought in large quantity. So even quite affordable external DACs can measure very well, and much better than human hearing ability.
 

BOZEN

New member
Pioneer perhaps?

Pioneer perhaps?

Thank you for interesting recommendations of CD players that I haven't considered before.

Mcintosh and EAR-Yoshino units are over my budget. I am also not too keen on the tube output stage. My current Audio Aero has one, and a very high output voltage, and I suspect it is a source of my current issues with this player as a strange buzz can be heard from the midwoofer when no music is playing. I will try to replace the output tubes first, but I kind of lost heart for this player due to this issue.

As regards Audiolab, Cambridge Audio and QUAD Artera players I am particularly interested if you can recommend the quality of the variable output of these players? I know that volume control working in digital domain can be either lossless or lossy and it is important for me to make sure that no information encoded on the CD is lost in the process.

If I choose the Artera, I will probably have to also change my 909 power amp for the Artera Stereo because it makes such a good looking combo with the Artera Play. If I opted for the Artera set, I suspect the power amp is not very much different when it comes to its internal circuits from the 909 that I am currently using?
If I were in You, I'll consider the universal players from Pioneer (BD LX 58 & 88) or Oppo (BDP 103 & 105): they read everything and can be used also as standalone DACs . I really don't understand the silly snobism of the high end brands which insist proposing very expensive "CD-only" playback systems. Why on earth should We pay high sums and be deprived to play a good SACD or audio Blueray disc???
 

Steven

New member
Quad Platinum

Quad Platinum

May I suggest you try listening to the Quad Plantinim DMP? I have happily been using one in my own system for a few years now, partnered with a Quad Classic ii integrated amplifier and a pair of Harbeth 30.1se speakers.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
Lower budget solutions

Lower budget solutions

Mcintosh and EAR-Yoshino units are over my budget.
It always helps if you can specify a budget limit at the outset.

If I choose the Artera, I will probably have to also change my 909 power amp ...
If you want to keep the QUAD power amp, consider buying an inexpensive integrated amp with digital inputs to use as a pre-amp and DAC.

The Onkyo A-9050 has both digital inputs and pre-amp outputs.
http://www.pl.onkyo.com/en/products/a-9050-85865.html

You can then use the CD player of your choice without regard to it having either digital inputs or variable output.
If you also get an Onkyo CD player, then it can also be controlled with the remote from the amp.

If you’re amenable to replacing the QUAD amp, another approach would be to choose a more powerful integrated amp that has digital inputs.

The Onkyo A-9070 is one possibility:
http://www.pl.onkyo.com/en/products/a-9070-58611.html

The Yamaha A-S701 or A-S801 is another:
http://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/audio-visual/hifi-components/amps/a-s701/?mode=model
http://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/audio-visual/hifi-components/amps/a-s801/?mode=model

Again, if you also buy a CD player from the same manufacturer, it can be operated with the amp’s remote control.

See if any of these options might fit within your budget.
 

Milosz

Active member
Platinum or Artera?

Platinum or Artera?

It always helps if you can specify a budget limit at the outset.
Well, as cheap as possible, but not cheaper. I can pay € €3.000 euros if it makes sense, but I rather doubt it does.

If you want to keep the QUAD power amp, consider buying an inexpensive integrated amp with digital inputs to use as a pre-amp and DAC.
Actually, seeing how scarce is the selection of new units with decent drive mechanism, variable output and digital inputs, I am now considering a combination of an integrated amplifier and a CD player that can be operated with single remote and has digital inputs in either of the units. Yamaha has many nice sets in various price ranges, still I would probably need to get the S2100 range to have the digital inputs and ample power for the SHL5+.


If I were in You, I'll consider the universal players from Pioneer (BD LX 58 & 88) or Oppo (BDP 103 & 105): they read everything and can be used also as standalone DACs . I really don't understand the silly snobism of the high end brands which insist proposing very expensive "CD-only" playback systems. Why on earth should We pay high sums and be deprived to play a good SACD or audio Blueray disc???
Bozen, I am not looking for high end, but I don't quite think that anything more than a Blu-ray player is a silly snobism. I specified my needs and it doesn't say anything about high end, and actually the Oppo players that you mentioned are as expensive as most of the gear that I consider. I also have a BD player already, but I simply want to listen to CD's comfortably, quietly and without the need to wait for the player to read a disc, only to not be able to see the time of the track on its display, hear the hum of the drive mechanism on quiet musical passages and finally remove the CD that is so hot that it burns my fingers, because it was rotating so fast inside the BD machine. I also have a few thousand CD's, about 5 SACD's and 0 BD Audio discs, so I think it's easy to see where my priorities are and why I want a specialized CD player, and not a universal machine that would do the dishes when I'm not listening to music.

May I suggest you try listening to the Quad Plantinim DMP? I have happily been using one in my own system for a few years now, partnered with a Quad Classic ii integrated amplifier and a pair of Harbeth 30.1se speakers.
Steven, I would get the Platinum set without a doubt, but it is unfortunately no longer available at the local dealers where I live. I am not sure if it is still being manufactured, or has been already replaced by the Artera range.
 

hifi_dave

Well-known member
Artera now

Artera now

May I suggest you try listening to the Quad Plantinim DMP? I have happily been using one in my own system for a few years now, partnered with a Quad Classic ii integrated amplifier and a pair of Harbeth 30.1se speakers.
The Platinum series is on the way out to make way for the Artera.
 

pkwba

New member
Oppo BDP 105 - worth considering.

Oppo BDP 105 - worth considering.

I use both Oppo BDP 105 and Marantz cd players (in KI editions) regularly. If the slight time lag is not an issue I would recommend this Oppo universal machine as the referential. Well, robust made with many options (which I do not use honestly :) ). The best try it personally at music shop.

Why not to consider first class pre-amp to your power amps? All those efforts to find superiority of "the sound" while eliminating pre-amp section (which is indispensable for proper electrical matching / standarising output - input signals) seems to me the next idee-fixe in audiophile circles ....


ATB

P.S. Regarding excellent linear pre-amp - I would warmly recommend LAP-2.V3 from Funk Tonstudiotechnik Berlin (999 Euro).
http://www.funk-tonstudiotechnik.de/ABHOERSYSTEME.htm
 

ssfas

Well-known member
Artera

Artera

Personally, if you don't mind the extra outlay, I'd go for the Artera power and Play combination. The amp has the same power, but has balanced inputs, a standby setting, slightly higher input sensitivity. I also think it looks really nice.

There is a network version in the pipeline, if that interests you. I would speak to Hi-Fi Dave and go and have a listen.
 

willem

Well-known member
Versatility

Versatility

Personally, I think the Oppo BDP 105 must be the most versatile option. The Artera amplifier has no sonic advantages over earlier incarnations of the design.

Balanced connections are only relevant in a professional context with very long cables, I have been told repeatedly.
 
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