Which CD Player has the best sound quality?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Greenalishi, May 9, 2018.

  1. Greenalishi

    Greenalishi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    San Francisco
    Which company makes a great sounding CD player? Does the sound quality of different brands vary widely? Or is it about the same no matter the brand?

    Which CD Player has the best sound quality?
  2. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Depends on your tastes. Many companies make good products, so you need to check out what's available and have a look.

    "Best" is subjective and will differ from one person to another.
    Carlox, mds, Sneaky Pete and 5 others like this.
  3. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    (Using the internal DAC)
    Oppo BDP 80
    Onkyo 7030
    Onkyo SP800
    Lately I've been really enjoying an old Magnavox CDB 500 compared to the above
    Non analytical, smooth musical presentation-Super fast loading, does a great job with beat up discs as well. She's not pretty by any means, but so far I've been happy with her performance :)
    Greenalishi and Jrr like this.
  4. Diraan

    Diraan Member

    Los Angeles
    I'm no expert on the subject but I think it depends whether or not you plan on using the analog outputs on the player or a digital output, which would bypass the internal DAC. If it's the latter, I think you would find that most CD players in a given price range would perform about the same.

    There are always differences though and the best thing to do is always audition the gear you are considering buying.
    matthewp, Greenalishi and c-eling like this.
  5. F1nut

    F1nut Forum Resident

    The Mars Hotel
    Products | dCS
  6. Many seem to like CD players from Rega. But this is almost impossible to answer because there are redbook players in the upper price realms that few have done comparisons with.
    Greenalishi likes this.
  7. Gavinyl

    Gavinyl In And Around The Lake Resident

  8. delmonaco

    delmonaco Forum Resident

    Sofia, Bulgaria
    It's an impossible question, because there are so many brands and models, but IMO Marantz is always a safe bet in any price range.
  9. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Wow yeah - thinking of any particular price range?
    ClassicalCD likes this.
  10. Let me check my lottery ticket... Nope.
    Maybe next week dCS will be the best DAC and CD player.
  11. BigGame

    BigGame Forum Resident

  12. spacecoyote

    spacecoyote Astral Resident

    Florence, NJ
    Ten years ago I purchased a Marantz CD5001 and a Shanling CD300. Both worked great.

    Today I still have the Shanling, I use it every day and love it. Top-shelf build, quality guts and great sound for the price. I couldn't be happier with it.

    The Marantz was given to a friend, he enjoys it still to this day.
    Greenalishi likes this.
  13. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    I'm told the Rega Saturn R is very good and not far of the utra expensive Isis. The Oppo UDP205 at same price level is excellent as just a CD player and does so much more than any Rega. You can get great results with a Cambridge CXC transport paired with a seperate DAC at a price level of your choosing. The ultra expensive players I have heard often produce a pristine detailed sound but sacrifice some musicality. With cheap DAC technology I don't think there are big enough gains now to justify mega priced players. Marantz have a new top CD/SACD model, SA10, which may turn out to be 'best' player on the market at least below megabucks level aka DCS.
    Greenalishi and Bmotb like this.
  14. Wes_in_va

    Wes_in_va Trying to live up to my dog’s expectations

    Southwest VA
    In a similar vein, I ask: which woman is prettiest?
    MitchLT, live evil, Macman and 14 others like this.
  15. timind

    timind Don't blame me

    Westfield, IN USA
    Are you looking for a cdp, or just starting a conversation? If buying, knowing your price range and whether or not you prefer new or used is pretty essential.

    To answer the question as stated though, the best sounding cd player I've heard is the Resolution Audio CD50. There's one listed in the classified section here. If my cds weren't all packed away I'd buy it.
    Greenalishi likes this.
  16. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    The Saturn R is fantastic. Nice weight and natural liveliness to the sound and definitely one the best I've heard at any price. Would have seriously considered it if the one I demoed hadn't had several disc-reading errors (not saying and don't know if it's something that plagues them, but was enough to put me off).
    Greenalishi likes this.
  17. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    For me its always Cyrus cd players that i find the best sounding. Its all personal taste really.
    Greenalishi and angelo73 like this.
  18. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    emmLabs XDS1 V2
    Greenalishi and Warren Jarrett like this.
  19. missan

    missan Forum Resident

  20. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    For the money, you can't go wrong with Marantz, Arcam, or Rotel.
    Greenalishi, Rickchick and rodentdog like this.
  21. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Fullerton, CA
    If you include VERY expensive ones, THEN I am interested to know what people think. I am of the belief that expensive CD players shouldn't even exist, unless they are quite obviously better sounding than their cheaper (and much cheaper) competition.

    EMM Labs is very respected. The Audio Note CD-4.1x is universally raved about by anyone who has heard it. I have a Aesthetix Romulus (retail about $15,000), which is absolutely the first CD player I have ever heard, that sounds about as good as my turntable/tonearm/cartridge sources.

    In my opinion, if you are discussing Rega, Shanling, Rotel, or Arcam as "best", well, then, you are just comparing mediocre sound to mediocre sound, that does not advance sound quality beyond what an admittedly more expensive turntable can produce. This is MY OPINION, mind you, based on MY EARS at audio shows and in MY home.

    The CD players that I have owned have never been cheap: Proceed CDT and DAC, Monarchy transport and DAC, Marantz CD-94 come to mind. But they never sounded better than any of my TT/TA/Cart combinations. Not even close. The Aesthetix I own now actually does come close, and maybe surpasses analog in some ways.
  22. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Agreed... a CD player is more than only a DAC (custom made or factory)... the analog section and power supply is also very important. Nevertheless 16-Bit is limited.
    Greenalishi and Daniel Thomas like this.
  23. Lenny

    Lenny Forum Resident

    New York
    IMO for the best SQ the best CD player is no CD player. Rip your CDs and play them. using any of a variety of devices, through a good separate DAC.
  24. ermylaw

    ermylaw Forum Resident

    Kansas City
    I just got a Marantz HD-CD1, and I really like it so far. It sounds great and looks nice too. Even my wife agreed it looks classy!
    Greenalishi, Mitland and Brother_Rael like this.
  25. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Fullerton, CA
    As much as I appreciate everyone's experience and personal opinions, I hope we can stay on-topic with this thread:
    This thread is about CD players, and I think this is a worthwhile topic, without expanding into other forms of digital playback.
    And this thread is about THE BEST sound quality obtainable from playing a CD, not about whatever CD player that somebody bought and happens to like.
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
    bhazen, ClassicalCD and Art K like this.

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