Annoying newbie CD/SACD player question

I am still using my Sony 5 disc carousel CD player that I bought in 1992.  I have loved this thing for years and years.  Recently it started skipping.  I cured that with some budget isolation feet from Amazon.  After about a year it’s starting to act up again, not being able to register that a CD is in the tray.  Turning it off and on fixed that but even without the recent problem I’ve been looking for a replacement for a while now. 

I have around maybe 25 hybrid SACD’s and have always wanted to try the format.  The only SACD player I can afford new is the Arcam CDS50.  I’ve also looked at a used Marantz 8005 SACD player and various used Sony’s.  On the other hand I’m thinking of just forgetting about SACD and I’m primarily looking at the Cambridge transport and the Audiolab 600cdt.  I would consider the new Audiolab CDT models as well.   Part of me wants to scratch my SACD itch.  I think the Marantz used is the best option.  It’s a recent model so likely still a lot of life left in it.  Looking at gut shots it seems much better built than the Arcam.  Am I wrong about that?  As far as the Cd transport option It seems that the Audiolab is the best bang for the buck with the only downside being the slot loading mechanism that scratches some people’s discs.

I’m having a hard time deciding which avenue to take.  I guess, like most people, I’m looking for the most bang for the buck.  Sorry for the rambling post.  I thought maybe it would instigate some suggestions to help me with my decision.  Thanks


I had a Sony SCD-1 modded. This was one of the best ever. It died after 20+ years.

My replacement is better in many ways (more detail) and almost as good in others (engagement). The cost was not too much given that I was able to leverage 2 existing pieces.

- a Benchmark DAC3B

- a used $250 (or less) Oppo SACD player with HDMI output

- GeerFab Audio D.BOB: Send DSD and PCM Data from Your High-Res Discs to Almost Any Outboard DAC ($700 - $1000)

Bing Videos

I wrote some other posts on this on A’gon if you want more details.


This thing sounds great on SACDs and CDs.



There has never been a better time to enjoy CD and SACD discs. Plenty of players are available demo and used. Enjoy the Audio journey.


Happy Listening!

If you’re on a budget, Sony Blu Ray and 4K players are able to play SACD, and can be had for under $100. You can feed a coax cable to an external DAC and you should be on your way. 

You can feed a coax cable to an external DAC and you should be on your way. 

Make sure they can output DSD. I do not think anything other than the D.BOB can do that.

It would help to know what other components you have and what your budget is.

I had the maranztz 8005.  It had a great midrange but tended to roll off at the top.

   I listen to a lot of SACD.  My setup allows me to output the DSD  layer of the SACD (not all SACD players do this-some actually are outputing PCM) and I was listening to Jordi Savall's recording of Schuberts Unfinished Symphony and when the double basses start, then are augmented by the cellos, and then the violins enter, it's heavenly, especially as the DSD so clearly etches the timber of each instrument and where it belongs in space.

SACD itch should be scratched!

Essentially, the difference is an obvious lower noise floor, most noticeable on material with space around the music.

How Quiet? Some, like a few of my Oscar Peterson SACDs are so quiet it seems like an un-natural quiet, but you may love that. 

And, when not concentrating to hear the difference, it's not un-natural, just great artist and performance, I play the SACD.


Used: Lasers weaken, the 1st thing they do is stop finding the SACd layer. Have seller confirm it ALWAYS finds the SACD layer.

I found one highly recommended here (Sony xa5400es) with very low hours, sold by original purchaser (he had two, mine barely used). 

I also checked, belts and the entire laser assembly is available to keep it going in the future


Now I don't see a great low use xa5400es for sale, but with patience one from original purchaser will pop up. 

I have ~ 50 SACDs with hybrid DSD layer. My CDT 6000 plays them well enough, BUT, Shanling just introduced an SACD transport for <$1400 that I am now budgeting for

It’s to bad, I had my eye on a used xa5400es at Hawthorne Stereo in Seattle.  I’m across the state from them but know they are a trustworthy dealer.  Anyway it’s gone as of earlier this week.


i have a Marantz PM8006 integrated amp with Wharfedale Linton speakers.  I guess my budget is $1000 because I was willing to buy the Arcam cds50 which is on sale at Music Direct for $999.

I just found a Denon DCD-1600NE Super Audio CD Player on close out for $999, originally $1499.  I’m thinking it is likely a better bet than the Arcam.

@plasticspoon8 As I type I am listening to that exact SACD player.  It is a solid player with neutral sound--the Marantz sound may be a touch on the warmer side of neutral.  They are both excellent players but a new Denon 1600ne is a killer bargain at that price.  Do not see how you will find better for the $$.  Buy it and be done!

Thanks for the response.  I do have one last question.  I’ve also found a Yamaha CD S1000 for around the same price.  I’ve seen a lot of good reviews about Yamaha but I am tending towards the Denon.

Never heard the Yamaha.  What I recall reading is a somewhat brighter house sound to this brand.  Also thought I read about reliability concerns--do some research there.

The only thing I don't like with the Denon is the (often typical) small display and the lack of a drawer open/close button on the remote.

Thanks so much for your response.  I don’t think my current CD player has an eject button on the remote so I can live with that. 🙂

I have the Denon DCD-1600NE SACD/CD player, and like it.  Bought new about two years ago.  I considered the competing Yamaha, but was dissuaded by reports of quality control problems.  Aside from a considerable break-in period, the Denon has performed well.  It's neutral to slightly cool, and responds well to upgrade power cords and good interconnects.

I agree with mahler123 on the Marantz SA8005 CD/SACD player tending to roll off some of the high end. Like him, I had a SA8005 also. I didn’t notice the roll off so much until upgrading to a Marantz KI Ruby CD/SACD player, which clearly  delivered the missing high end elements. That was quite a pleasant surprise at the time.


I have a Marantz SA 15s1. You can find these used for around $1000.  It is an excellent player and very well built.


I have the Sony UBP-X800 M2. According to the owner's manual, it will play all manner of Blu-ray, DVD and SACD. They do provide a disclaimer stating that disc specifications are an evolving format, and some may be unplayable.

Unfortunately, I can't be of much help beyond that as I don't own any SACDs. 

I have the Audiolab 6000CDT transport and am very happy with it. I’ve never had an issue with it scratching CDs.

@plasticspoon8 -- I was in a similar position last October, when I was looking for a CD player to replace a tried a true Nakamichi that I had owned since 1988 and a Sony SACD player that died.  I only had a handful of SACD's, so I weighed that against what was out there and the price.  I, too, looked at the Audiolab 6000CDT and read numerous user reviews comparing the Audiolab to the Cambridge Audio CXC v2 Transport, and ended up going with the Cambridge Audio CXC v2 when I found a brand new open box unit online for $399.00 under full warranty.  I could not pass that deal up. 


I freaking love the Cambridge Audio CXC Transport.  It doesn't have a bunch of bells and whistles that I don't need and wouldn't use -- when I play a CD I put it in the tray and hit play.  Seldom do I skip tracks, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've scanned forward or backwards during a song.  I don't even use the remote, although it is a nice, solid remote for the price point.  The Cambridge Audio unit checked every box for me.  When I bought the Transport, I also bought a Cambridge Audio DACMagic 100 that was on sale for $199.00 -- so I solved my CD and DAC needs for $600.00, which is the usual price for the Audiolab 6000 unit alone.  Below is a link to an Open Box Cambridge Audio unit here in North Carolina for $500.00


I have the Cambridge Audio CXC v2 in my Den system which consists of a Dennis Had Inspire 45 SET amp with Emission Lab tubes, a Dennis Had LP3.1 Preamp with Emission Lab tubes, Klipsch Forte II's, a Bluesound Node Streamer, a Cambridge Audio CXC v2 Transport with a Cambridge Audio DACMagic 100, and a Dual CS5000 turntable with an Ortofon Red cartridge and a Sutherland KC Vibe Phone Preamp.  I hope my thoughts help.



I just replaced my Cambridge Audio CXC v2 with a significantly more expensive PS Audio Transport. The Cambridge Audio gave me many years of listening pleasure, and restoked my interest interest in CDs. If you are interested, in the Cambridge Audio, let me know. It is going to be listed as soon as I can retrieve the box. 

Try cleaning the laser lens first.  That may fix your skipping problem, if that's all it is.

@plasticspoon8 -I echo the recommendation for the Denon DCD-1600. Fit and finish, sound are top notch. When auditioning CD players and transports I listened to both the DCD-1600 and the Denon DCD-a110 anniversary CD player. The difference between the two was closer than I expected. Another reason I would get the DCD-1600 is Denon's warranty.


Two things; You are not annoying! This forum belongs to all who play by the rules. Secondly, CD and SACD players are now a buyers marketplace as not so many people want them as they once did. A DAC that used to sell for $6000.00 I think just sold used for $1200.00! It's the  Ps Audio directstream DAC. Keep this one in mind. Good luck. Joe

cd lens cleaner (as other members mentioned);extStoreId=531&amp;utm_source=feed&amp;ref=212&amp;loc=20074418866&amp;gad_source=1&amp;gclid=CjwKCAiAibeuBhAAEiwAiXBoJMTzgRmoie7umVk1rzAMvbCV-1fN0i6hsYT8qws_W2VhFWLO5xRRoRoC0sUQAvD_BwE&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds

I was assuming you had one of these and tried it.

IF NOT, buy one, you will need it in the future anyway.

I cannot believe how many of my friends who will spend far more on equip/cables/etc do not have this simple tool.

I use mine, get them back to working, might solve yours.

I had a Marantz SA 8005 and I upgraded to a KI Ruby. Interesting comments about the high frequencies of the 8005 - that was not my experience. The frequency response was very flat as far as I could tell. I compared the 8005 directly with my PSA PerfectWave MK II DAC and they sounded very similar. I would easily recommend the 8005. It is built well and will last many years.

The one caution I would give you is to make sure that whatever SACD player or transport you buy uses a brand-name transport. Marantz makes its own transports so you are safe with them and since Denon is owned by the same company their transports will be good quality as well. Two other well known transport manufacturers are TEAC and Phillips. The Phillips transports are no longer in production but you can find players with them on the used market (some of the top end transport makers still use them from new old stock). I would avoid any transport manufacturer that doesn't specify exactly where they get their drive units. There are several companies that use cheap computer grade drives that fail quickly.

Thanks so much for the helpful information, and letting me know I’m not annoying.  😀. I was a bit intimidated by posting on this site because I’m really not educated well as an “audiophile.”  I have had a solid two channel stereo system since I first purchased one in 1992 but have never known much on the technical side.  Everyone has been very nice and helpful on this site.  Thanks!

I feed dsd over hdmi from a Sony 1100es to my Moon 390, but you're right: you can't output the sacd layer without a breakout box. If you want to hear the sacd layer you will need to rely on the player's internal dac so that part is very important. Cheap Sony bluray probably not going to do it for you. 

Good luck!

I have a Sony 5400ES on a shelf in my basement, unplayed for probably 5 years.  It had one annoying trait, in that every SACD would start about 3 seconds into the first track.  Redbook CDs not affected.  I should probably plug it in and see what it does now

I have a Sony 5400ES on a shelf in my basement, unplayed for probably 5 years.  It had one annoying trait, in that every SACD would start about 3 seconds into the first track.  Redbook CDs not affected.  I should probably plug it in and see what it does now

You are correct that the Marantz is the better built piece. Many people don't realize just how well done any of the higher end Marantz pieces are - CD,SACD, or amplifiers. They are anything but mid-fi. And because they are a manufacturer, not a re-packager, they have better control over the quality and longevity than most. That is why they are so highly valued on the vintage market - over 60 years building to a higher spec. The mainstream offerings are still above average build - and sound - quality, but they are clearly not built to the level of their high-end products,

I will chime in only because I have had several sony and marantz players that were modified by ModWright over the years.  I had the Sony 999ES, Sony 5400 and the Marantz 8005.  I kept the Marantz for a period of 7 years and never had a problem with it.  I would say that the top end was very, very slightly rolled off but it was my favorite and the most reliable compared to the Sony's.  If you could find one of the Marantz Ruby players, that's what I would do.  

Re Sony cd/sacd/dvd players, I have an old s570. CD layer is mid fi at best but I find the player sounds pretty good playing SACD's with good amp and speakers (YBA/ProAc) They can be good interim or back up players IMHO. 

I'm not sure why, but it seems that the Samsung DVD-HD841 doesn't get much mention (or respect),  it is affordable and sounds excellent, with an elegant look.  Never fails to read the SACD layer.  Aloha...

If you are on a budget and looking for oldie but good sound quality CD/sacd player try to find a Philips 963SA player. 

I still have one and use it as a transport. Used as a player it still has competitive sound compared to current good low priced dacs. 

I originally bought it as a player because of its very good sound. There are a few reviews on it you can check out if this is of interest. 

Off-topic a bit, but while this thread is discussing CD players, Does anyone know if any of the newer players or transports do gapless playback? (I would not personally buy one that does not.)

Also I have an older Ayre sacd player that no longer reads the sacd layer of the discs. but plays Redbook cd's flawlessly. Is the laser weakening or possibly dirty?(Never cleaned) 🤔 

Any thoughts/comments on this is much appreciated!



Consult AYRE for a suggestion on your SACD player. Keep me posted on your progress.


Happy Listening!

@arcam88 some CD players or transports play gaplessly, while others do not. I know all Denon players play gaplessly which is why I bought one. Best to consult the manual or even better to seek out reviews or ask someone who owns one to be sure.  It is infuriating that here in 2024 we have to dig and do research for a "feature" that just "was" in the 1980s and 1990s. CDs are recorded as one long file and a "schema" is used to tell the laser where the beginning and end of each tracks are, so there's no good reason for a CD player to not be gapless, but with the use of cheap "computer drives and software" today, we have to be careful and not just assume that. 

I have bought several used Multi players over the last 10 years starting with a Yamaha, then a Denon. They both died after around 8-12 months. I then got an OPPO DV870. A little later I saw a N.O.S. OPPO BDP-95. I bought it and now can play Blu Ray Audio. I was able to  save and got Denafrips Venus II. I am in an  Audiophile heaven and will never give up my Discs. It took 8 years of upgrading every couple years, but I am glad I did not settle for OK Chinese FI. I just got Excellent Singapore Fi. For my space, may physical ability I LOVE CD's Usually from Discogs, and Ebay.

plasticspoon8, this is what I would do if I was in your position:

1. Get the Sony UBP-X800M2 for around $300

2. Get an HDMI/MHL Interface box capable of DoP output, like this one, for around $100

3. Get a non-ESS Sabre chip based DAC that supports DoP. My recommendation would be the GUSTARD A26 for around $1500, or better yet, used, for around $1000

I use a similar setup for listening to my collection of SACDs and DVD-As but use a Nuprime DAC-9 as my DAC and pre-amp. If you're interested, the DAC-9s are pretty inexpensive ($300-$400) when they come up for sale regularly. This setup works very well for me except the occasional 'freeze' that the Sony transport throws out when I'm impatient with its remote. The build quality of the Sony is excellent and makes for a great CD transport as well as a Spotify Connect device.

@mahler123 ; How do you like the Cambridge Audio CXN 60 Streamer? I still have the Marantz 8005NA and have thinking about replacing with Aurender, Cambridge or Lumin.