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Stand alone CD player: quiet unit, reliability and ease of use, any suggestions.

acroyear

Active member
I need to retire my old rega planet player on purely practical grounds, I run it through a transformer, bass heavy tracks can make it skip horribly, the rca outs are losing contact constantly and it often takes 2 or 3 'lid up/down and reposition cd' to get a disc to read properly, it really is becoming a pain to use.

While I accept that a $40 dvd player will sound perhaps very similar to a $10000 player I am happier to buy a unit for a bit more so that I know it is at least reliable, and has a very quite mechanism (a cheap Panasonic dvd player I bought for dvds in another room does have a lot of noise from the motor) the rega planet once playing is pretty much silent close up, that is what I want.

This is just for cd's, I don't need any extra capabilities as of now. I'm thinking something like a NAD c516BEE ($300). Anybody using similarly priced available units that are really quiet in operation and so far reliable and can recommend. I'm assuming that SQ is pretty much identical between players so I don't really want to discuss that.

Thanks.
 
H

hendrik

Guest
Lightweight and long lived

Lightweight and long lived

When it comes to reliability I think it is difficult to predict what a reliable player is for the future . The most expensive heavy players were also the most vulnerable and costly in terms of service charge.

Bought a cheap plastic Philips cd player (25 years old) in a secondhand store for 5 euro's and after 3 months it is still 100% error free ! The mechanism is also remarkably quiet as a bonus.
 

acroyear

Active member
A lasting player

A lasting player

When it comes to reliability I think it is difficult to predict what a reliable player is for the future . The most expensive heavy players were also the most vulnerable and costly in terms of service charge.

Bought a cheap plastic Philips cd player (25 years old) in a secondhand store for 5 euro's and after 3 months it is still 100% error free ! The mechanism is also remarkably quiet as a bonus.
Agreed that trying to pick a reliable player is a bit of a guessing game, being mechanical and used often it is no doubt hard to predict just what will work for a long time, another member has suggested a 'semi pro' unit which seems a definite possibility.

It would be nice if my next unit can last 20 years, the planet isn't far of that age though I think that first? generation of top loaders had a few lssues.
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Cheap Marantz

Cheap Marantz

Of all the ones I have used, the best from a reliability and quiet/slick mechanisms have been the ones from Marantz. The cheapest in their line ought to still be a good buy.
 

IMF+TDL

Active member
Another option

Another option

Of all the ones I have used, the best from a reliability and quiet/slick mechanisms have been the ones from Marantz. The cheapest in their line ought to still be a good buy.
The outgoing CD5004 is being sold by some dealers for the same price as the NAD model mentioned above.
http://us.marantz.com/us/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=HiFiComponents&ProductId=CD5004
It also performs exceptionally well according to this test report: http://i.nextmedia.com.au/Assets/20141218114629_marantz_cd5004_sacd_player_review_test_lores.pdf
 

acroyear

Active member
Remote operattion

Remote operattion

Thanks for the input everyone.

There is plainly no shortage of decent $250-300 CDP out there, and as between them Marantz, NAD, Tascam, Yamaha are no doubt well made and credible products, nice looking units too.

I'll probably make a decision based on how nicely the units operate and interface via the remote, I'll assume sound wise I'm not going to hear any difference or at the very least nothing I can verify by listening by standard shop demo.
 

SChat

New member
Brand blindness?

Brand blindness?

Far too many brands of audio electronics none of which is made by Harbeth are mentioned here.

Its interesting to note that most of these brands spend millions of $$$$$ advertising their products and quite possibly on generating "positive web presence".

It is odd that blatant endorsements of these brands should be allowed when even the mention of many brands (who hardly ever advertise) is considered as a strict no-no. Interesting.
 

willem

Well-known member
Mechanically quiet Bluray instead?

Mechanically quiet Bluray instead?

The only audible difference is probably in how quiet the mechanical system is. If you want to caputure sonic detail, mechanical noise is probably more important than any electronic wizardy. And it is relatively easy to ascertain.

You mention that you only need a cd player. However, why not get a Bluray player? The technologies are very similar, the manufacturing cost is virtually the same, but with a Bluray player you get the chance to watch movies in great quality, but also opera recordings.

The only thing to watch out for is that many cheaper BD players only have hdmi out, and no optical or coax digital output. But there are plenty that do.
 

EricW

Active member
Probable anti-marketing

Probable anti-marketing

Far too many brands of audio electronics none of which is made by Harbeth are mentioned here.

Its interesting to note that most of these brands spend millions of $$$$$ advertising their products and quite possibly on generating "positive web presence".

It is odd that blatant endorsements of these brands should be allowed when even the mention of many brands (who hardly ever advertise) is considered as a strict no-no. Interesting.
You're right, to a point. The difference, however, is that the brands mentioned by name tend to be those of large companies (often, though not always, Japanese), who sell a well-built, well-engineered product at a relatively low price - often a remarkably low price, when compared to functionally similar "audiophile" gear, which can range from expensive to stratospherically expensive.

I think the idea that the former and the latter may be not just comparable but to all intents and purposes indistinguishable in their actual performance would surprise a great many people, and therefore justifies mention of the cheaper equipment by name, just so people know what it is and that it's a viable alternative. Yes, it could be seen as a form of marketing - but I think the primary intent is really a form of anti-marketing directed at equipment that may not justify its price tag, at least not on pure sonic grounds.

Also, given what Marantz or Yamaha or Sony, etc. actually charge for an audio amplifier, I can't imagine it's a great profit centre for them. The Japanese approach seems to be aimed at being comprehensive in terms of product offerings, so they have home audio electronics, but I imagine that home audio is not really where the money is these days.
 

acroyear

Active member
Trivial differences

Trivial differences

Right - and not just in the demo, but also in a well controlled DBT.
Agreed, I'm sure if there are differences between level matched players the difference would be so trivial as to probably be zero to my ears. I feel under $300 is at least sensible if I'm honestly getting a reliable, quiet machine.
 

acroyear

Active member
Dedicated to audio

Dedicated to audio

The only audible difference is probably in how quiet the mechanical system is. If you want to caputure sonic detail, mechanical noise is probably more important than any electronic wizardy. And it is relatively easy to ascertain.

You mention that you only need a cd player. However, why not get a Bluray player? The technologies are very similar, the manufacturing cost is virtually the same, but with a Bluray player you get the chance to watch movies in great quality, but also opera recordings.

The only thing to watch out for is that many cheaper BD players only have hdmi out, and no optical or coax digital output. But there are plenty that do.
This particular unit would be for an audio only set up, (I use a ps3 for blu ray admittedly that unit is very noisy with its fan and motor makes S/N ratio pretty much invalid!) and whilst practically a bluray would no doubt be perfectly good as a player I find (at least from units I have toyed with) that a dedicated cd player can be easier to navigate unlike dvd/bluray player that can sometimes need a screen to see what is going on easily.
 

acroyear

Active member
Pragmatic specification choice

Pragmatic specification choice

My search for a modest CDP is definitely something I want to be pragmatic about. The mentioned companies are widely available and often alongside much more expensive audio, however I will accept for the time being that players will sound nigh on identical for now, that will save me a lot of unnecessary headache, a similar question asked on other forums would have given me maybe dozens of answers, each one saying their suggestion is best, many will be contradictory.

It seems almost contrary to think that I will buy a CDP based on how nicely it fast forwards through tracks, how quiet it is, how it looks and even how it feels! I will say though that unless it is bought online that I will still have a quick listen!
 

Kumar Kane

New member
Advantages to the consumer of mass production

Advantages to the consumer of mass production

Also, given what Marantz or Yamaha or Sony, etc. actually charge for an audio amplifier, I can't imagine it's a great profit centre for them. The Japanese approach seems to be aimed at being comprehensive in terms of product offerings, so they have home audio electronics, but I imagine that home audio is not really where the money is these days.
That is part of the reason - the other is the large scale of their manufacturing which allows them to use manufacturing automation that drives down costs too, while driving up reliability. Large production volumes also allow procurement on a large scale, driving down those costs as well. And models across the range share a lot of common parts, again allowing leveraging for volumes.

A good example is how these makes now offer equally capable AVRs - in some cases more capable ones - than their 2 channel amps at significantly lower prices than the latter. To some extent this is pricing policy, but the larger sales volumes of AVRs also are a factor. Ditto in the case of their BD/DVD players compared to their CDPs.
 

Jeff_C

Member
Reliance on an on-screen TV display

Reliance on an on-screen TV display

...I find (at least from units I have toyed with) that a dedicated cd player can be easier to navigate unlike dvd/bluray player that can sometimes need a screen to see what is going on easily.
That is a very valid point about needing a screen to operate a blu-ray player as a CD. Most manufacturers of budget players rely totally on the on screen display for information. It would be nice to have the option to pay a bit extra for a player that had at least a basic display on the unit, so that it could be operated easily as a CD player without a TV screen.

As you go higher up the cost chain I am sure those facilities become available.
 

willem

Well-known member
CD play without TV

CD play without TV

Since I bought mine I have not looked at other BD players. Mine (a budget Panasonic bought a few years ago) needs the screen menu to display films, but not to play music cd's.

I agree that needing the screen to play music would be awkward.
 

hifi_dave

Well-known member
Beware! Big names not necessarily big reliability

Beware! Big names not necessarily big reliability

It's all very well recommending this and that CD player for reliability but how many have actually had more than one of each model to base their findings on ?

As a Hi-Fi dealer, I have many of each model I sell passing through my hands and am able to gauge reliability and manufacturer backup. The consensus here on HUG is that a cheap player from a large company must be more reliable than a specialist player but in my experience, that is not the case. In fact, the cheap player from the large company is less reliable. As an example, the Panasonic (expensive) DVD player I bought 18 months ago no longer plays beyond 5 minutes of a disc and needs a repair.

Back in the 80s and 90s, I had a contract to supply just about every record shop in the UK with their in store systems. I sold thousands of CD players as each shop would have 3-6 players and we soon got to know which were the most reliable. Right from the first batch, we discovered that bottom of the range from major manufacturers didn't last much beyond the 1 year warranty, if that. After this time the laser mech would cease functioning and/or the drawer-load would fail. So, we changed brands a few times and moved upmarket to improve reliability.

Another thing is that not all manufacturers and distributors have good backup. They don't all have decent technicians for repairs and haven't always got spares in stock. We used to order spares in bulk and have an engineer working a few days per week just doing our repairs.

So, IMO, buying from a large manufacturer doesn't necessarily mean reliability.
 

SChat

New member
I have a question for ...

- How many....

{Moderator's comment: Post deleted. This forum cannot and will not be subverted. Beware. Tolerance has reached its limit.}
 
Last edited by a moderator:

acroyear

Active member
Pay more, get more durability?

Pay more, get more durability?

It's all very well recommending this and that CD player for reliability but how many have actually had more than one of each model to base their findings on ?

As a Hi-Fi dealer, I have many of each model I sell passing through my hands and am able to gauge reliability and manufacturer backup. The consensus here on HUG is that a cheap player from a large company must be more reliable than a specialist player but in my experience, that is not the case. In fact, the cheap player from the large company is less reliable. As an example, the Panasonic (expensive) DVD player I bought 18 months ago no longer plays beyond 5 minutes of a disc and needs a repair.

Back in the 80s and 90s, I had a contract to supply just about every record shop in the UK with their in store systems. I sold thousands of CD players as each shop would have 3-6 players and we soon got to know which were the most reliable. Right from the first batch, we discovered that bottom of the range from major manufacturers didn't last much beyond the 1 year warranty, if that. After this time the laser mech would cease functioning and/or the drawer-load would fail. So, we changed brands a few times and moved upmarket to improve reliability.

Another thing is that not all manufacturers and distributors have good backup. They don't all have decent technicians for repairs and haven't always got spares in stock. We used to order spares in bulk and have an engineer working a few days per week just doing our repairs.

So, IMO, buying from a large manufacturer doesn't necessarily mean reliability.
I imagine the situation now where a dvd player bought for $40 from a supermarket is now just a commodity, if it breaks in a year no doubt it would be simply replaced, I'm hoping that $300 or so gives something more reliable.
 
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