Great CD player + speaker set up for around $600

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bluebair, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Bluebair

    Bluebair Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Salem OR, 97301
    Hello everyone, I am looking to get a CD player (and amp?) and some speakers for my home. I only have around a $600 budget, can anyone recommend me combos that will be in this price range?

    I love hifi audio, but its a bit expensive, So anything close to reference sound is appreciated.

    Thank you!
  2. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    How large is your room and how loud do you listen?

    Are you thinking bookshelf speakers or floor-standers?
    Bluebair likes this.
  3. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Speakers are a matter of personal taste. I suggest you try to go listen to some speakers in your price range, which should be about half your budget. Note that you may have to stretch your budget a little bit. That's a fairly tight budget even for a simple system. If you own a computer, I would focus on the amp and speakers first. Lots of 300ish integrated amps have a DAC built in. So you can listen to music through that for a little while. Between the amp and the speakers I think $600 is going to eat your budget. That's before we get to cables and speaker stands (not suggesting you expensive there, but they cost something). I would budget between $200-$500 for the CD player alone.
    Bluebair likes this.
  4. Bluebair

    Bluebair Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Salem OR, 97301
    Im thinking bookshelf, and its about 400 square feet, I like music at a moderate volume, I have a 7 month old, so I dont want to damage her ears/startle her or wake her up.
  5. Bluebair

    Bluebair Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Salem OR, 97301
    I understand most people would say this as this is a hifi fourm, but that is my budget, I cant spend much more than $600 :/
    It doesnt have to be the best system ever, just the best use of the money. And maybe the best use is saving it and adding more to get something better, If so whats your recommended system? And how much would that cost?

    As for you telling me to demo speakers; I live in Salem Oregon, there is only 1 good speaker/hifi store, and it is very out of my budget. So I am unable to demo unless I make a trip to portland (which is difficult with all the other things I do)

    And thank you for posting on my earlier fourm about a dac, obviously I have switched my focus to a cd player and speaker system after doing some research.
  6. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    best thing will take time & effort: you learn the good brands of speakers and haunt the Goodwill stores
    next best, wait for early summer when the colleges let out and see what the kids get rid of

    or.. buy used

    if buying new, look for a set of Pioneer speakers that were designed by an expert named Andrew Jones (he want to see how good he could make a pair of inexpensive speakers) - I forget the model # of them...

    Next, you will buy a Marantz or Yamaha receiver - just get one that can drive the above speakers - both are xlnt brands

    if you own a computer, esp. a mac, then rip your CDs and play them back - use the internal DAC if you have a DAC and buy an iFI r something for $100 if you have a Windows PC

    if no computer, then buy a cheap CD player and use it until it breaks

    I think you can do it for $600 if you work at it - it # reference or audiophile level sound; it = good, satisfying sound
    Bluebair likes this.
  7. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    one more time: BUY USED

    substitute effort and time for money
  8. Bluebair

    Bluebair Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Salem OR, 97301
    I dont really have time haha cx
    I work everyday and have a 7 month old.
    So maybe I should keep saving up?
    macster likes this.
  9. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    San Diego, Ca. USA

    Yeah, you should. But in the mean time gather as much info as you can.

    Helom and Bluebair like this.
  10. Bluebair

    Bluebair Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Salem OR, 97301
    What is the minimum (ballpark) for a good, new cd stereo system and speakers would you say?
  11. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I'd agree with buying used, but you need to know what to look for, and what to avoid, and how to check something out.

    Could you do with a mini compact stereo? I found the Yamaha MCR-B020BL at the top of this list (and I would ignore all of the others on the list)
    The 6 Best Stereos for Small Spaces

    This is only $200. It gets good reviews everywhere and you can see it and try it or buy it at Best Buy, or buy from other places. CD, AM/FM, and speakers, AND an AUX input for a turntable or anything else, and Bluetooth. This won't give you floor shaking bass but would be plenty enough to be loud and decent in 400 sq. ft. And it is small. I think it qualifies as minimalist.

    MCR-B020 - Overview - Yamaha - United States


    The manual is available at this direct link:

    I've not seen or heard this thing but I will keep an eye out for it now. As Yamaha it should be pretty good quality for this kind of thing. There's a small upgrade path with it - you could add better larger speakers to it, sometime. You could add a turntable (with built in preamp) sometime.

    It's available at bhphoto, amazon, bestbuy, at least.

    It's 15 watts per channel (at 10% distortion! But you normally listen at 1 to 4 watts and won't hit that amount of distortion.)

    I need to hear it myself first, but for now I think it would be a very ok starter for $200. (Oh I hope I am right, but reviewers on all the retailer sites seem to love it.)

    Then you could keep "saving up" for something more, but you will have something ok for its price right now, which will give you some perspective of what you want or "need" with a bigger more costly system to come.
    gd0 and Poison_Flour like this.
  12. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    Nonsense - you can get up and running for much less than 600 dollars. With a seven month old, you need music and fast!

    Speakers: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR loudspeakers, less than $100 per pair on Amazon
    Integrated Amplifier: Dayton DTA-120 for $80 at Parts Express
    CD player: go to a thrift store and get the nicest one you can find that you can test and works. One might be 10-15 dollars. Good brands would be Yamaha, Marantz, Sony, Denon. If in doubt, buy the heaviest one. Or, buy the least expensive new Blu-Ray player you can find with a stereo analog output.
    Buy some speaker wire and RCA cable at Target or Home Depot
    Put your speakers on a shelf or table at least a foot in front of the wall. Experiment if you can with placement to find where they sound best.

    Or, look on Craigslist -people are unloading their stereo systems at a rapid clip.

    As budget allows, replace first the amplifier, then the speakers, then the CD player with used or good value new pieces. As one poster pointed out, if you can hook your PC up to your amplifier, you don't even need a CD player.

    If I waited until I had hundreds of dollars before getting a stereo system, I'd have wasted my youth.

    Good luck!
    Gizmo90, lobo, Adam9 and 10 others like this.
  13. Olias of Sunhill

    Olias of Sunhill Forum Resident

    Jim Creek, CO, USA
    $600 for new amp, spinner and speakers is pretty tough. If I had that much dough and I had to buy today instead of saving up some more, I'd head over to Accessories4Less and grab an Onkyo A-9050 integrated amp for $299 (refurbished) and a matching Onkyo C-7030 CD player for $129 (also refurbished).

    N0w, that doesn't leave much for speakers, and (as someone said above) they're a highly individual preference. But I could do much worse than a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 bookshelves from MusicDirect ($199 open box) or perhaps Elac B5 bookshelves from Amazon ($195 used).

    That's one way to do it. There's a couple hundred other combos, but I really like Onkyo budget stuff and the bookshelves I mentioned both punch above their weight class. Good luck!
  14. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    I also think Olias's suggestions above are good ones if you want to spend more. The Wharfedale Diamonds are really nice.
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  15. Olias of Sunhill

    Olias of Sunhill Forum Resident

    Jim Creek, CO, USA
    How is that DTA-120, by the way? I was going to buy one to power my outdoor speakers, but I ended up getting an Audio Source AMP100VS2 instead because of the A/B functionality.
    Bluebair likes this.
  16. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    I have it in a second system with some old Mirage speakers. They sound fine to me, smooth with plenty of power for low volumes. I didn't comparison shop too much.
    Olias of Sunhill and Bluebair like this.
  17. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Twin Cities, MN
    pfink, Summerisle, gd0 and 6 others like this.
  18. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    With a seven month old, you need headphones and fast!
  19. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    $50,000,ooo. Source: science. You can get the money by selling your soul, and/or your firstborns, just contact
    Look, folks will rattle on about all kinds of stuff, but the SPEAKERS make far and away the most difference to the sound. And (having had a young child myself and considering your sooner-than-you-think-toddler) please FORGET about speakers on stands. There ARE various towers out there that fit your budget:
    Polk Audio RTi A5 (Cherry)
    Polk Audio RTi A7 (Cherry)
    and with a different sound
    JBL Arena 170
    ELAC has an Andrew Jones designed tower $279 each, but though I like his sound I shy away from it a bit since bass depends on cone area and it is 5" woofers instead of 6"; plus the ELACs have a reputation of being power hungry.

    Which leads to amplification: Craigslist. Eventually when you have more money you can step up, but a used receiver will be fine. I got lucky and scored a fairly new Onkyo for a buddy for $30 and it sounded quite good. I'm not sure how near you these are:
    NAD 7220PE Power Envelope Stereo Receiver this was a great, clean design. Actual dynamic power >50 watts ( Quite old so check that is works properly-take some little speakers or ask to hear it playing.
    There are others, a Denon for $50 and a Pioneer for $30. I'd stick to Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, and these prices Pioneer.
    On the other hand, there this which at $130 is $20 cheaper than at Crutchfield. Best Buy has it at the same price. It's new, you can stream to it with Bluetooth from your phone, or plug your phone directly into the back for theoretically better sound. I checked, and USB-input models to connect directly to a computer are a bunch more expensive which would kill your budget. When you can gather some more funds, this little gizmo AudioQuest Dragonfly Digital to Analog Converter Black-Audio Advisor should improve the sound out of your computer or phone.

    I agree to move to streaming/computer based audio. It's simpler. Now, if you have a lot of CDs you want to play, it's tough. Audiophile CD players are either way too old or way too expensive for your budget. They are a pretty old dead category. Even thrift shops rarely have these any more. I'd get a cheap DVD player, as their sound should be decent by now and again the speakers make by far the most difference. (Undoubtedly someone will post that if the source is not perfect the other components can't make up for it, but that is an incorrect analogy based on misunderstanding how inaccurate speakers are compared to the other components in the chain). This is about as cheap as it gets-I don't think it's worth Craigslist or thrift shops.
    bluemooze and Bluebair like this.
  20. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Frenchtown NJ USA
    For the time being, investigate some powered computer speakers and stream the music. Keep saving and get back to us in a year. Good luck.
    rodentdog, macster and Bluebair like this.
  21. Bluebair

    Bluebair Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Salem OR, 97301
    Well, this is kinda disheartening. I have a good amount of cds I would like to play. I am tired of listening to just my phone through things, it doesnt sound as good. And as of now I dont have a computer with enough space for my music.

    I wonder how much do I have to spend to get a good quality set up? Because I might be able to stretch my budget after a couple months
  22. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
    My suggestion is similar to @Dougr33 . Consider powered speakers, such as the Audioengine A5+ at <$400. Add a NAD C 516BEE CD Player at $300 and you're home free.

    You can get lower prices if you're able to find demo or refurb units.
  23. Carraway

    Carraway Well-Known Member

    NE Ohio
    As said, used offers a lot of options, and it doesn't require too much time if you happen to have a decent shop which specializes in it. That can be an especially good choice for speakers and a receiver/integrated amp. As a for instance, a few weeks ago I saw Spica TC-50s for $150, which I think could be a nice choice for an inexpensive system.

    If such a place isn't an option I've seen open box and similar items discounted, especially at online retailers. Might be a good choice for a CD player.

    Stepping back a bit, I'd decide how much future flexibility I wanted, especially in regard to active (powered speakers) or passive speakers and an integrated amp or receiver. I'd also consider whether I wanted a separate CD player or if a computer with an optical drive would work, especially if I already had one.

    Finally, while I was moving around a bit and life was in flux, I had older PSB Alpha A/Vs and a small NuForce Icon integrated amp (no longer made and oddly uses RJ45 speaker cables at the amp end). Sources were usually digital files from a laptop or first gen. iPod Nano. Barring the laptop's cost that was around $400 and worked well enough to help me get my groove on through some dramatic times. The speakers and small integrated are now hooked up to a digital piano.


    Edit: Saw your above comment about not having space on your computer after I posted. If you haven't looked lately the cost of external hard drives has decreased a great deal in recent years. (I think a 4TB external drive would hold a lot of tunes, even at high resolution). You can also always add an optical drive. But if you want a separate CD player I'd likely consider an open box one for under $200.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  24. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    These speakers are well regarded by many forum members:
    Wharfedale - Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers (Pr) | Shop Music Direct

    I have yet to read any claims of harshness or fatigue, so I imagine their only sins are those of omission (the best kind).
    Wood barstools would probably make for decent stands.

    Get a $30 DVD player to read the CDs. Find a used or new Yamaha R-S500 or A-S500 amp and I bet you'd have a very respectable system.
    YAMAHA R-S500 2-Ch x 75 Watts Natural Sound Stereo Receiver
    Gizmo90 likes this.
  25. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    I would disagree that the advice you’re being given is disheartening!

    While the used path can reap you equipment far beyond what you thought you could get, I understand some are just not comfortable going there, and that could be Craigslist, Ebay or a local thrift shop.

    If that’s the case than the Onkyo components suggested further up the thread along with the $100 Andrew Jones Pioneer SPBS-LR speakers are going to be a great choice for you. I personally own the Onkyo C-7030 which is in my bedroom system now, as well as the Pioneer speakers (I have 2 pairs). The speakers are now in my home theater set up. Why?, because over time I upgraded and now have KEF LS50 bought used here on the Forum for $900. And the Onkyo CD player also had been in the main system and over time was replaced by a Pioneer DV-79avi ($200 used, originally $1000 retail, plays CD, SACD, DVD-A), and further replaced by a very high end Italian Lector tube CD player ($550 used on the Forum, $2300 original retail). I still use the Pioneer for SACD, and bought two more, one for home theater, another for my away from home system; all used, all on Ebay, all in near perfect condition with remotes!

    The powered speaker option is another good one, especially if you want to keep it very simple. Audio Engine and PSB make excellent models, I have PSB Alpha PS1 as computer speakers along with their matching desktop mini-sub (also purchased used on the Forum, $300 for the whole package, not $600 at full retail).

    You also should make allowance for headphones given the baby. The Audio Technica ATH M50X are a very good budget choice at around $130. You may want to join where headphones at all budgets and at great savings abound. They work directly with manufacturers on Massdrop specific customized models sold for far less than their close cousins.

    Good luck with your search and purchases, and please do not feel discouraged or confused by the choices (which are many). If you do come around to going all or partially with used gear I strongly recommend doing your shopping right here on this Forum. The bargains are many, and your fellow Forum members are excellent, trustworthy sellers. I speak to that from from my own personal experience.

    To date I’ve purchased here:

    4 pairs of speakers

    1 CD player

    2 phono stages

    4 phono cartridges

    1 DAC

    Multiple pairs of high end interconnects and speaker wire

    Enjoy the road ahead and all your music!
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