Looking for a CD player

Dear community,
I listen to CDs only and I have owned an entry level AMC CD9 CD player for the past 15 years.
Over time I modified this unit to the max with very good results.
Now I think I am ready to move on to the next level so I am looking for a used CD player under $1,500.
One that can be further improved would be also interesting.
Do you have any suggestions?

I am looking for a used CD player under $1,500.

Look for ones with the last and best for Redbook CD an R2R ladder d/a converter in it, the PCM1704, and "if" you can get the PMD100 or 200 filter chip with it as well.
Look here and do the search (control f) for the models and then crank up ebay for a used one. (California Audio Labs CL15 is a good one.) so is Linn CD12, but you’ll pay big for it.

Cheers George

$1500 budget I’d look into a Cambridge Audio CXC V2 transport and a Denafrips Ares 2 DAC. Been a long time since I’ve listened to a CAL CL15 but I think I’d go with the separates. Plenty of other affordable DACs out there as well to pair with the Cambridge transport.
Cambridge Audio CXC V2 transport and a Denafrips Ares 2 DAC. Been a long time since I’ve listened to a CAL CL15 but I think I’d go with the separates.
I would too, except I go for a Soekris R2R Discrete Ladder Dac, which I believe all models have volume control and go direct to poweramp,

And a used Cambridge CXC CD transport for $314 https://www.ebay.com/itm/Cambridge-Audio-CXC-CD-Transport-Silver-Remote-Display-not-Functioning/3338....  

dac1421 = $940us
dac1541 = $ discontinued dac 2541 is the replacement.
 = $1388us **********

But I think he want just a cd player.

Cheers George
I think your CD9 has a digital out, so I’d continue to leverage that as a transport and just buy a DAC.  Would be helpful to know what sound characteristics are most important to you and what you’d most like to improve upon, but without that I’ll just mention a couple very different options in your price range that would likely bring significant across-the-board sonic improvements. 

There’s a Bel Canto DAC2.7 on US Audio Mart for $1100, which is less than half the $2495 original retail.  I had one of its predecessors in my system and it was really sublime digital.  Smooth but detailed with good tone and excellent soundstage.  Read the reviews — Bel Canto builds great DACs. 

Not used, but the new Soekris dac2541 ($1299) utilizes R2R technology, which tends to have a very natural and “analog” sound, and also offers several filters so you can custom tailor it toward your own preferences.  Without knowing more about your sonic preferences and goals that’s all I got for now, but hope it helps a little and best of luck. 
+1 soix. I would purchase a DAC. $1500 can purchase a very good one. 

I own the Audio Mirror Tubadour III DAC. It is R2R with a tube output stage. Basic model sells for $1500. In stock form it is very good. It can be upgraded at a later date. USA made. Check out AM on this forum. I also use the Cambridge transport.
Thanks a lot for your feedback!Just to put some context to my research.
I am trying to improve the CD performance on all possible aspects.
On the AMC I put in a tube stage (lampizator style), ultra low noise v regulators, much larger caps on the supply and low noise shottky diodeds, external clock module, oscon caps around the DAC. 
I do not necessarily need a CD player per se, especially if I have to chose from units that are in many cases older than the current one.
So I am open to switch to transport + DAC which is definitely more flexible.In any case I would connect to my primaluna dialogue premium integrated, so no need for an embedded preamp.
Cheers - Fabrizio

MHDT DAC Tube R2R   i use this with my Emotiva ERC-4 and with streaming. not fatiguing, musical
Modwright mods upper-end DVD players to very good effect.  I'd contact them to see if they think there's anything currently available that would lend itself to your project.  
Couple other thoughts on this. I also use an Emotive ERC-4 cd player but normally use its AES/EBU outputs with appropriate 110 ohm cable using XLR connectors to great effect into my Holo Spring DAC. Effectively this outperforms by a substantial margin using a computer based music server via USB outputs either straight into the same DAC, or into a Singxer SU-1 converter which then can feed a multitude of different connections (AES, Coax, I2S, BNC) into the DAC. Again I much prefer the AES connection with this setup, but even that does not sound as good as ERC-4 to DAC via AES. For $600 this player is hard to beat.

Another transport that has not been mentioned is the NuPrime CDT-8 ($850.00) which is a transport only but receives outstanding praise. NuPrime has also released the CDT-10 this past year at double the price ± a bit which is said to be significantly better. Both units use the same Phillips transport as I understand it that the Jays Audio and the Denafrips Avatar use. 

As a final note, I have yet to hear a Coax connection perform or sound as good as an AES connection, and I've tried quite a few coax cables. 

sounasega OP I would connect to my primaluna dialogue premium integrated,

It has poweramp inputs on the back (HT), so still get a dac with volume ability as direct will sound better than the preamp of the PL (which I think could be passive anyway), by going direct it gets rid of many input switching contacts, and it’s volume control wiper contacts in the signal path.

Cheers George
I love my Rega Apollo player, and you can get a new one within your budget. It gets very good reviews. I love the top-loading feature, as there is no motorized tray to go bad.

Forced to sum up the Rega Apollo's sound in a sentence or two, I would write: This player has a sonic brilliance—a clarity of detail and of musical line, allied with a spatially up-front presentation—that enhances musical engagement. The Apollo doesn't gladly suffer bright or timbrally threadbare CDs—something I dimly recall being even truer of the original Apollo—but with most discs I tried, it provided enjoyable, involving, nonfatiguing sound.

My thoughts on value are even more concise. As with other Rega products—their entry-level tonearms come to mind—few other audio components of my experience, and no other contemporary CD players, offer so much music for so little money. Unless your system has an egregiously bright sound, you can't go wrong with the Rega Apollo. And if your heart is set on spending $10,000, go ahead and buy nine of these and spread the love. Robustly recommended.

Another really good CDP with preamp out and DAC input is the Cambridge Audio 851C. I have one and it sounds very nice and not bright whatsoever. It is a fairly revealing player so poor recordings are still going to sound as they are. Change out the two fuses which I did with the right power cord it’ll be tuff to beat and for what they go for used these days it’s definitely a player to consider. I also own a stock Oppo 205 and the Cambridge is more refined. Still would consider separates but for what a used Cambridge 851C goes for, you could start there then later add a DAC which is what I did, but don’t underestimate the 851C on its own. It’s also nicely built. I would think going through your Primaluna will sound great as the Cambridge is an open/transparent player. Also balance out sounds better to my ears if you have that option.
I use a Cambridge CXC CD transport and Bel Canto 2.7 DAC and it does sound good. Got the DAC used. I'm not entirely thrilled with the CXC. The remote is absurdly large- has controls for a whole system and only a few work for the transport. But more importantly, it fails to play some CDs from legit publishers and appears to skip easily due to superficial scratches/dirt.  Just doesn't seem as robust as other CD players I have had.

I am a big fan of Bel Canto, and not just the DAC.
The remote is absurdly large- has controls for a whole system and only a few work for the transport.
I don't mind the remote, but I'm currently still using the CXN as my DAC/streamer. In that format I think the size is more comfortable. But I could see it being really annoying if you're only using the CD player. 

If your CD player has a digital coax out, I would buy a Schiit Yggdrasil GS at $1599. I play CD’s with a Marantz U7007 Blu Ray player with my Yggdrasil and its sounds really great. 
You might want to try the Rotel RCD-1572 new for under $1,000. or the Audiolab 8300CDQ  open box @ hi-fi Heaven for $1,399.99
The DAC is key,

I run a audiolab 6000cdt into a Moon by Simaudio 280D DSD/DAC and it sounds fantastic through my Raven Blackhawk.
@sounasega That unit sounds quite nice. If you would like to sell it, let me know. :-)
The Rotel, Audiolab and Cambridge 851c may not sound as good as what the op has now...

I like the Audiolab CDT6000 a bit more than the Cabridge CXC.

OP, my advice would be to just get a nice dac and a Cambridge CXC or Audiolab cdt6000

I’ve had the CXC, CDT, Azur 851C, and am currently using a musical fidelity a3.2 cd with a Schiit Gungir Multibit dac (R2R dac).  
I'd really recommend a California Audio Labs CL15. Mine was made in 1994, sounds great. I know they are a bit old, but....Cal Audio just got things right on the CD players.
They do come up for sale on Ebay and other sites typically <$1,000.
McIntosh MCD 205 or MCD 201. 
MCD 205 is a 5 CD changer with Nakamichi mechanism.
I really like the sound of mine. Very musical player! 
If you lucky enough you can find one in pristine condition for $1500 or so. 
Good luck!
thanks everyone, the search list on hifishark is getting pretty long...
Looks like a lightly used Cambridge CXC or Audiolab cdt6000 could fit well.How about the border patrol dac? Any experience?
Check out the Denon DCD-1600. Built like a tank, excellent DAC, about $1,200 with a 5yr warranty. I bought it because I wanted a really good 2-channel SACD player. It’s “Made in Japan” and it shows. 
SACDs sound sublime, but most of all I was surprised at the amount of additional detail the Denon pulls off Redbook CDs. 
FWIW, PS Audio decided to use the Denon transport in their new CD player...
+1 re the Denon DCD-1600NE.
My first SACD/CD player was a Marantz SA8004.  I replaced it with a Denon DCD-A100, which I bought gently used.  That was a big step up, but eventually I began to be tempted by the DCD-1600NE and the idea of buying it new so I could take it to a service center about an hour away, if I needed to.  Surprisingly, that was another step up.
As the previous poster said, the improvement in redbook CD's is especially notable.
All of this looks good. If you have a ok DAC you can sell it and buy the R2R Denifrips Arries.II. If you have a CD player with digital outs keep the player and spend it all on the DAC. The Denifrips Pontous. Slightly over budget but worth it. It’s all about the DAC. This DAC has twice the resisters and twice the power supply located under the DAC for better separation. Even if you had an older DVD or blueray player you will hear the results. Later you can upgrade your transport to a used Oppo, Cambridge cxc, or a jays. This is your best bet for the most impact and future proofing your system. You can also use the DAC for streaming in the future. I would recommend a BlueSound Node 2i. 
I hope this helps. I don’t know of a resellers for Denifrips. The BlueSound is at https://holmaudio.com/bluesound/
I know they were not expensive but the SONY ES models and Yamaha units have very good sound.  Using an optical cable is a must.
I was very happy with the Denon DCD-A100, and I have kept it as a backup.  The DCD-1600NE was clearer and more detailed.  Whenever I read those words, I wonder if someone is just talking about "brighter."  That's not it, in this case.  I think the DCD-1600NE simply does a better job of bringing out detail, and at no cost to the bottom end.  The two models use different DACs.

I have read that a new DCD-1600NE needs some time to burn in, and that has proven true in my case.  Several months after purchase, it still surprises me.
I like the Audiolab CDT6000 a bit more than the Cabridge CXC.

Wow! without hearing them A/B’d, and just seeing what’s gone into the circuit design inside, I "would" have said the CXC, and it also has a proper CD tray loader not a cheap computer slot loader like the Audiolab

Audiolab https://www.hoer-wege.de/bilder/6000cdt_offen_t.jpg

Cambridge https://www.av-online.hu/pictures/gallery/cambridge-audio-cxn-es-cxc_2016-07-13/big/Cambridge-Audio-...

Cheers George

I would look for an adcom gcd 750, california audio labs, or acurus these are all a step above the entry level players in significant respects. They all can be improved with better power cords and better interconnects for a wonderful sound and some cal models have tubes you can replace with nos tubes.
Dear all,
Thanks a lot for the many suggestions.
At this point I think I am going to keep the cdp and use it as a transport.Question> what would be a good DAC (also used) for max $1,000?I am not familiar with DACs in terms of how how quick they evolve and there's a BUNCH of options. Keep in mind that I am not interested in any sort of streaming...
Is AMC still in business?
I heard this brand back in 1996.  Gear was Vandersteen 2ci/ce and the first Sunfire amp. Audioquest cabling.

Happy Listening!
I believe keeping your player and purchasing a DAC is the way to go. Check out MHDT DACs as one possibility. The Orchid is a little over your $1000 budget but is well thought of. Check it out on this forum.
"How about the border patrol dac? Any experience?"
Yes. In fact I upgraded from a CD player at $1500 by getting the Border Patrol SE DAC. It was a sizable step up. I still use the Cd player (LM-215) as the transport. Love it.
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1. Is your system on the warm side or detailed side?
2. Do you require a remote control or is this mainly for the CD player?
3. Are you OK buying used or does it have to be new?
4. Does the finish matter? Silver or black?
1. warm2. no need for remote3. i'm fine with used although it seems DAC chips are improving constantly4. no preference
looking at the new Gustard X16 right now> https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/gustard-x16-balanced-mqa-dac-review.17419...
Bel Canto DAC 2.7 and their CDt3 make a great combo. One remote controls all functions of the DAC and CD transport. I use the AES out from the CDt3 to the DAC 2.7. CDt3 uses a Sanyo slot loading mechanism 
Hi sounasega,

I'm currently using a Focusrite Clarett 4Pro DAC from a PC lossless source and an Intona  galvanic isolation device...the combo in the neighborhood of $900.  The Clarett affords options of balanced, unbalanced and subwoofer(s) usage.  As a passionate 40+ year music lover, my advisors claim $3k+ would be required to substantially better this performance.  Good luck!  More Peace, Pin
Resolution Audio Opus 21 (4XPCM1704 R2R ladder d/a converters).
Hmmm very nice, last "best" (PCM1704) of the R2R ladder dacs before the discrete ones.
There is one on Agon for sale https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisa3dch-resolution-audio-opus-21-system-cd-sacd-players
And there are a couple for sale on hifi shark https://www.hifishark.com/search?q=opus+21

Cheers George
Hi everyone,
Soooo, I got my hands on a lighly used BorderPatrol DAC.Looking forward to experiencing the bliss...Thanks for all your suggestions!