What's the best 'classic' CD player/s to buy today?

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Mightyquin

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As per title, i'm wondering what people think are the best CD players from the 90's - early 00's ? 

If you wanted to buy a great sounding CD player on a budget today what would you be spending your money on? (let's say a budget of £70-£150 ish). 

Or would it be better to buy something like a new Cambridge Audio DAC to add to an existing average model of CD ?

 

eddie-baby

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around that price most of the stuff from Nad, Arcam or Marantz were good, some were better than others at certain things, depends on what sound sort of sound you're going for.  

cheap DAC's are not that great if the CD players a good one to start with, its often a sideways step, no real improvement, and an extra box.

 

The Abbot

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Stretch it a bit to £180- £200 if I were you & try & find a roksan caspian cdp. Uk made & like a tank too.. metal where you want it/ & excellent big spacious 'analoguey' sound. total bargain.

 
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TheFlash

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An Arcam CD23 would blow your budget but is justifiably highly regarded because of the dCS RingDAC. A CD92 has a slightly less chunky power supply but still has the same DAC and you might find one for top end of your budget (ish). I got mine secondhand and auditioned it against the new CD82 and its supposed replacement the CD93 and it ate them for breakfast. I didn't know anything about DACs back then, it just sounded in a different league. Hope this helps.

 
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ff1d1l

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Sony 715E or 915 E ...some rate these higher than Es. Spacious and analogue sounding. Not common though...uk ones go for not much, seem to be more on German ebay.

 

craigmclellan

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Sony CDP-XB920 QS. Uses a puck to stabilise the disc for added "I'm better than you". 

Sound lovely and I know how to service the mechanism and replace the lasers in them. Lasers are obtainable for about £20.00.

 

TECUMSEH VALLEY

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I've used Sony CD players as a 'front end' of choice for over 20 years. Most represented very good value when new and nowadays even better value used.  You should be able to pick up a decent player like the 715E previously endorsed for well under a ton. Mine's still going strong after 22 years. The variable output option on a lot of 'vintage' Sony players is an added bonus.  The early ES models are also excellent performers with great build quality although prices are rising. Bear in mind that genuine laser assemblies for these are often very difficult and / or prohibitively expensive to source so don't get carried away !   

 
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la toilette

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Another thumbs up for the Sony CDP-715e. I got mine of ebay a few months ago - it's showing its age a bit but it cost me very little (struggling to remember but I'm sure it was <£25) and works perfectly. It really is quite a nice player.

 

Tarzan

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Sony CDP-XB920 QS. Uses a puck to stabilise the disc for added "I'm better than you". 

Sound lovely and I know how to service the mechanism and replace the lasers in them. Lasers are obtainable for about £20.00.
Funny you mention the SONY l have just put my CDP761E and it sounds blooming good. :^

 

HectorHughMunro

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Five years ago, this was a good question.  I think the market has now sorted out the gems and there are some really high priced classic CD players and some absolute dogs that are worth what you pay.  Very few of those vintage players are serviceable.

I would say that a Blu Ray player and a modern DAC represents extraordinary value compared to what was available in the 90's.  I would rather use a Meridian Explorer 2 and a laptop than most, perhaps all, of the CD players that I tried in the 90's.

 
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Another vote for the 713E and 913E. Both very good players, the 713E being a little more nimble and open, while the 913E is a bit fuller / more weighty in the bass.

If your looking to pay that sort of money, you should also consider the Marantz KI Sigs and maybe the Haart Marantz conversion if you drop lucky.

 

orbscure

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Not sure you'll be able to pick them up within the OP budget, but Merdian 200 series CDP or transports are worth hunting out. I had a 206 for years and it never put a foot wrong, either as a CDP or when hooked up to whatever DAC was flavour of the week/month/year :)  

 

eddie-baby

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I would say that a Blu Ray player and a modern DAC represents extraordinary value compared to what was available in the 90's.  I would rather use a Meridian Explorer 2 and a laptop than most, perhaps all, of the CD players that I tried in the 90's.
I can see what your saying but I wouldn't. There were some fantastic standalone players in the 90s for enjoying music, there's loads to choose from. And there are some are absolute bargains now used, for less than 100 quid, even close to 50 you can still get so much out of your CD collection now. 

 

Audiobritain

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The Marantz 63SE or 63Ki. Definitely. Very hard (and usually very expensive) to improve on.

Though by now, they're prone to have transport problems, like skipping tracks. There are two guide rods which I think were supposed to be self-lubricating, but a very sparse application of lithium-based grease usually fixes that problem. (I did that for a friend and his is still working perfectly five years on.) Alternatively, a replacement complete mechanism (original, CDM 12.1, now hard to find unused; the alternative new is a VAM 1202) is not very expensive and not too difficult to install. There's an illustrated 'how to' at hifigear.co.uk somewhere; search for 'Marantz CD63SE'.

But: a word for the original (top loading with puck) Marantz CD-63. They were built to survive doomsday. (I always assumed that that early, Philips and Marantz were absolutely determined that their CD players were not, never, ever going to die on anyone, because that would have doomed CD for eternity.) Mine is still going and was actually used for several months while we worked out what had gone wrong with a friend's Studer and sourced the spare. It's heavy and 16-bit; the programming is extremely basic and very slow—it's best just to press 'Play' and let it get on with it—the track readout is just a line of LED's and can't go beyond a dozen tracks or so, though of course it will play as many as there are on the CD, and there's no remote. But it really does sound superb still. And after almost 30 years mine is (touch wood) showing no sign of giving up. (I've gone through four or five CD players since I got that about a couple of  years after it was made,  and replaced the cog wheel and drive belt on a couple of CDM-9 mechanisms three times . . ) There's a Philips that looks the same (but I think only came in silver: the Marantz came in silver or black) but the black Marantz sounds better than both. I hadn't listened to it for years, and I was very surprised. Someone (can't remember who) used one at an HFN Show around the late 90's with an external power supply as big as the player and it shocked everyone. I've wished ever since I'd got hold of the design or asked for one.

There have been a couple on eBay recently. . .but for £500-£600, which I think could be a wee bit over the top . . .They haven't sold yet, or I'd be putting mine up for sale!