CD Transport/Player Recommendations

1

1911

Audioholic
I'm putting together a 'new' 2-channel system that consists of a McCormack DNA-1 (R1), an Audio Research SP14, and various other components. I find I am in need of a CD transport/player. I have a Technics SL-PD947 in another system in a different city that I've had for a very long time and it has always performed flawlessly. I've found a few of these on flea-bay for $100.00 or less and I could certainly order another, but I'm wondering if I might make a more informed choice.

Regarding the new CD/Nework servers, I've never really been inclined to learn much about these newfangled units. I guess I don't understand the need for a whole separate unit, when I can simply use an RCA to 1/8" patch cable and just plug in my phone to stream from Spotify or Pandora. I do plan on a Roon or Tidal subscription in the future, though I imagine I can access it the same way as my phone - or even hook up a bluetooth receiver If was so inclined. Please correct me if I am wrong here. I may also hook up a TV for video in the future.

A unit such as the Marantz ND8006 offers a lot of technological wizardry, but why do I need any of it? What am I missing?

A any rate, should I decide to go the simple CD/DVD/BluRay route I have been looking at the following units:

Sony DVP-NS900V
Marantz CD6006
Adcom GCD 700
Technics SL-PD947

I'd prefer a CD changer, but that's not a deal-breaker by any means.

Any comments on these units or any other recommendations? What say you regarding my Network Streamer comments? Thanks.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
With that Marantz ND8006 you could just stream via wifi from your phone instead of using a cord, altho $1500 for a 2ch cd player is on the expensive side of things otherwise (and besides wifi, what "wizardry" is involved?). I'd think instead of simply ripping your cds and playing files instead of discs, especially if you go between cities, easier to carry your whole collection with you (likely would fit on a good thumb drive). Might check something like this out in that price range, tho, https://www.crutchfield.com/S-8oBy5ppBrMR/p_813VALT2IB/Bluesound-VAULT-2i-Black.html?XVINQ=BP0&XVVER=15JU&awcr=76897285395354&awdv=c&awkw=bluesound cd player&awmt=e&awnw=s&awat=&awug=&msclkid=0cb1e09461841a0d9af184c9388682ca
 
1

1911

Audioholic
@lovinthehd: Thanks for the reply. So the Marantz ND8006 offers network connectivity and wifi, but is that worth 1.5K when I could simply purchase an audio engine B1 (or similar) bluetooth receiver for $189.00 (or use my RCA to 1/8" jack cable) and a simple CD/DVD/Bluetooth unit for substantially less? I loaded a great deal of my CDs onto my computer years ago, so I can easily access the files or move them to a thumb drive. I'm still not entirely sure why such a network streamer is needed. Sure, such a unit would be slightly easier, but I really do not see the appeal of a 1.5K unit when I can already accomplish the same things with my current set-up. Aside from the convince factor of having all my music files stored on a thumb drive, I'm old-school when it comes to media. At home, I like handling my records, cassettes and CDs.

Unless I receive some compelling evidence otherwise, I could save some cash with a simple CD transport/player.

Also, by technological wizardry, I mean stuff like HEOS and SACD, etc.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I'd prefer wifi over bluetooth. Even when I use my phone/tablet, am not using bluetooth (and a service like Spotify Connect doesn't either). I just use a variety of bluray/dvd players for various optical discs other than CD, and all have a thumb drive slot if I use such; all the bluray players can also receive via wifi. I can also just plug my thumb drives into my avrs as well. Once ripped, I rarely play the CD itself (and use the players for a variety of other types of optical disc that are hard to rip), and usually just stream even my own files over my wifi network from my laptop/phone/tablet to a variety of systems (or all of them simultaneously using Chromecast Audio units). Your older 2ch gear likely has no digital capabilities, from what you mentioned....so would at least need a dac in the player rather than act as a transport only (whereas I connect digitally myself, no need for the onboard dac except for backup/flexibility).
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Spartan
Wouldn’t go crazy on a CD player. For streaming to the system using services and ripped media over your network, you might have a look at Qobuz for a quality two channel music service and a Wiim mini to make a 3.5mm to RCA cable connection to the system.
 
1

1911

Audioholic
@Trebdp83: Thanks, & it's for this very reason I was looking at simple CD/DVD/Blueray players. I don't see spending that kind of money on a streamer like the aforementioned Marantz ND8006, though I see the advantages of such a unit. I like your suggestion of streaming from Qobuz through a Whim Mini.
 
1

1911

Audioholic
lovinthehd: Yes, I understand that a wifi connection is superior to bluetooth.

I guess the next step is to find a good quality CD with an onboard DAC, such as a Marantz CD6006 or similar. I'd rather not spend 1K+ on a network streamer that has wifi capability right now.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
lovinthehd: Yes, I understand that a wifi connection is superior to bluetooth.

I guess the next step is to find a good quality CD with an onboard DAC, such as a Marantz CD6006 or similar. I'd rather not spend 1K+ on a network streamer that has wifi capability right now.
Many optical disc players still offer analog 2ch output (multich analog output not so much now). Many will come with wifi capabilities, too. Depends what you might call "good quality". I don't see much value in dedicated streamers except perhaps ease of use for some.
 
1

1911

Audioholic
@loveinthehd: My thoughts are similar to yours regarding dedicated streamers. As far as a quality CD player, I guess I've never heard a high-dollar CD player that struck me as any better than my old Technics. Although I've had several CD players since my first Hitachi back in '86, they all were great sounding. Other than build quality, I'm not really sure what the difference would be. I have read several forum posts and articles on the "best" older CD players and I have looked at several. My thinking is that any of the units I listed in my initial post would be perfectly suitable for my use. Not sure if any of those older units have wifi capabilities, but the Marantz CD6006 might as it's the newest of the units I'm considering. I'll look closer into it. If it does have wifi, maybe I can forgo the WiiM Mini/Qobuz rigmarole. I do like the idea of streaming wirelessly from my phone.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
@loveinthehd: My thoughts are similar to yours regarding dedicated streamers. As far as a quality CD player, I guess I've never heard a high-dollar CD player that struck me as any better than my old Technics. Although I've had several CD players since my first Hitachi back in '86, they all were great sounding. Other than build quality, I'm not really sure what the difference would be. I have read several forum posts and articles on the "best" older CD players and I have looked at several. My thinking is that any of the units I listed in my initial post would be perfectly suitable for my use. Not sure if any of those older units have wifi capabilities, but the Marantz CD6006 might as it's the newest of the units I'm considering. I'll look closer into it. If it does have wifi, maybe I can forgo the WiiM Mini/Qobuz rigmarole. I do like the idea of streaming wirelessly from my phone.
If you don't have a display sometimes that can limit the navigation for some players/menus. Build quality can be somewhat hard to compare.
 
1

1911

Audioholic
I found a Marantz UD5007, which has ethernet, but can it connect to wifi?
 
cpp

cpp

Audioholic Ninja
It has DLNA/upnp capability as well as ethernet connection....
,
I don't think it has a built in wifi. The Panasonic DP-UB820 for $424 has built in wifi as does the Sony UBP-X800M2 - for $328, or for cheap Sony x700 $198
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Spartan
Disc players with network capabilities are historically the worst streamers. Get a reasonably priced CD player and a separate dedicated streamer. If considering a universal disc player, check ports as some have only digital ports.
 
1

1911

Audioholic
Thanks.

What streamer do u recommend that's not 1.5K. Used is fine.
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
This is a good read about the Wiim with some fair comparisons.

I will emphasize this, because it's come up before and will continue to be an issue: Streaming devices are all about the user interface, which means software, and software continuously changes, and costs R&D time, forever. Unlike, say, a CD player. The standard for CDs hasn't really changed since their debut in the early 80's. This means that a CD bought today, would play on a (still working) player from forty years ago. Needless to say, we didn't have Spotify or Pandora, or Tidal in 1983. We may not have those services in 2025. So, streaming devices require constant software updates. If the company goes out of business, the app on your phone may stop working and you can't use the product. If they change to a newer model, the old one may stop receiving software support and updates. It means that you can't view streaming devices and services in the same way you do a record player or a CD player. With those devices, you can invest more to get better hardware, and it will be good forever. It doesn't need an internet connection to stay relevant.

But, streaming is here. It's not the future. It's today. Most people these days are streaming their content. They don't wire from their phone to a set of speakers, they use Bluetooth (if they don't really care about quality) or Airplay or Chromecast if they want better quality. They stream from Spotify or Tidal or similar services. That user experience, to get Spotify into a streaming device that isn't a phone... it's not necessarily straightforward. It requires a lot of manpower to keep those services updated in the device. Then the communication between that device and your phone through an app must be updated and maintained. Forever.

I haven't heard the difference between CD players ever. I just don't have the ears I suppose to have ever noticed a difference. But, for convenience, I also haven't been playing with my CDs in many years since I ripped them all to my computer.

I use a Sonos Port in my home. It works well, and Sonos has a track record for keeping their software up to date with good support for many streaming services.
Wiim certainly looks interesting as a fairly priced option, but I'm not sure for how long they can keep up their software support at that price point. But, I do hope they deliver for many years to come. I've always struggled with Sonos and their pricing on the Port as they have fully integrated speakers, with an amplifier, and ALL their available services for about 1/3 the price of the Port. It would make way more sense for Sonos to have the Port closer to that price of the Wiim.

If I wanted great streaming sound above all else, I think I would look at Bluesound. But, I would also be at a point where I knew that's the primary way I listened to music in my home.

This question about what CD player to get, really has turned into a conversation about streaming. But, I think the reality is that CD players tend to all sound quite respectable without a tremendous difference from unit to unit to unit. You're playing a standard CD which hasn't changed in decades and the technology is quite mature. Nicer transports offer you connectivity that you may find to be quite useless. You don't need a network connection on a CD player. You never have. Having a better DAC inside a better CD player is great, but if you've been happy with your Technics for years, then you likely won't be unhappy with most of what is out there and you should get a unit that you like.

Finally, while you can connect a 3.5mm to RCA connection from your phone to the preamp, this will tie your phone to the preamp for as long as you're listening to music. This can be a real headache if a phone call comes in, or if you expect your phone to actually have a decent DAC in it as most do not. It's a pretty bad way to stream audio content.

Certainly, if I were buying right now, I think I would get a Wiim and try it out. For the price, it's a great way to get your foot in the door on streaming.

For CD playback, I would just use my Panasonic Blu-ray Disc player, but I'm far more likely to stream content off my hard drives through my Sonos.
 
1

1911

Audioholic
@BMXTRIX: I just saw your reply. Thanks and I do plan on looking at the Wiim at some point in the near future.

For now, though, I just need some advice on a ‘new’ CD player. I’ve been looking at and reading about the dizzying array of both vintage and new CD players available today. I’ve learned a fair amount, but still not sure which direction to go. My preference is for an older Sony ES model, but I am concerned with parts availability with these older units. For example, I understand that replacement laser units are unavailable for all the ES units.

My budget is between $250.00 - $300.00 or so. I could spend $1K+ on an Audio Research CD2, but I’m not sure I see the point. On a decent system, virtually all CD players I have ever listened to sound remarkably similar.

I found a Sony CDP-508ESD for about a hundred bucks, including shipping, but I think I’d rather have a CDP-507ESD, which has 2 TDA1541 chips as opposed to only one in the 508ESD. Cost for the 507 is around $300.00. Yes, I’m aware that the DAC chips are only a small part of the equation.

I’ve also looked at newer units such as the Pioneer PD10AE. I’ve also found some nice vintage units for above my budget, such as a Technics SL-P999 TOTl from ’89.

I’m kind of all over the place and the purpose of my inquiry was to hopefully, get some direction or recommendations on good-quality CD players.

Thanks again.
 
Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Audioholic Chief
I've had various CD players over the years starting with a single disc Scott player I got in 87 that still works. Have an Onkyo 6 disc carousel purchased about 20 years ago that still works after my 5 disc Pioneer carousel started jamming and finally had to almost tear out the CDs. Got a Sony 300 disc carousel player in 07 that still works too. Have setups in different rooms so keep adding equipment. Upgraded my main 2 channel system last year and heard a difference for the first time with the Sony. The CDs I’ve listened to for years didn’t sound right. Upgraded to a Rotel 1572 MKII that goes for $1099 on a scratch and dent deal through Crutchfield for $800 that sounds much better. The player was perfect. The difference was a photocopied manual. No big deal and saved $300. If you’re not going high end with your system would stick with the basic gear. All the players sounded the same IMHO until I started buying high end equipment. You probably won’t notice the difference and you can spend the money on a decent streamer and CDs. Started buying CDs on Amazon again and the deals are much better than they were 5-10 years ago. I go between streaming and CDs. There’s something about having the physical CD as you said. Tried different streamers and ended up with the Bluesound Node I got on sale through Crutchfield for $499. Now $599 but watch for sales through them or direct from Bluesound. The Node is easy to connect to any system and the app is easy to use on your phone. Highly recommend streaming. So much music at your fingertips for about $10 a month.
 

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