New Cambridge 540 vs. Used Music Hall CD25

Considering picking up one of the close-out Cambridge 540C players from audioadvisor (the older model, not the new v2) for $275. Or, I have found the Music Hall CD25 for about $300 used (again, not the new 25.2 or 25.5 or whatever they call it). Curious to hear any opinions on which route I should go. Spend the little bit extra for a used, but higher-end, model? Play it safe with new? One thing I have noticed - I see all sorts of talk about mod'ing the Music Hall, but none with the Cambridge. Maybe Music Hall offers more options down the line?
I'm with you, been contemplating either a used C25 (not sure if I want mods done), new C25.2($485), new NAD C542($400) or a Cambridge(with the Cambridge new Azur 640C V2,$549 ). So far in my researching the Cambridge is showing people having quality control problems with them. Going to keep my eye on this thread, hope you get lots of replies... good luck in your hunt.. Paul

I've owned two Cambridge CD players, though not the 540C, and a Cambridge 540A integrated amp. I own one of the original Music Hall CD25's now and have upgraded the opamps myself.

The Cambridge stuff is very good for the money but I would definitely go for the Music Hall if you can find one in good shape. The build and sonic quality are up a level from the Cambridge gear.

Upgrading the opamps in the CD25 isn't any more difficult than changing a fuse and the difference in the sound is quite startling. I prefer mine to the much more expensive separate transport and DAC I had before.
Or you could buy the Onix and save even more money! The onix 88 is basically the same exact player as the music hall with a different face plate. Look it up. I have one and think it is a great player, and could not tell the difference between my dealers music hall 25.

And you can do the same mods to the onix as in the music hall.

I have a 7 month old onix 88 that I am going to sell because I wanted a black cd player to match my Portal Panache. Yes I know, I am crazy...
I am also considering the Music Hall Cd25 or the Cd25.2. I'm interested in installing the opamps. Where would one buy the opamps and instructions?
In response to a couple of points. I've owned theCambridge CD4se & the 640c. The build quality of the newer Cambridge is better than the previous models. The CD4se did have problems, half the display quit functioning. The only quirk I had with the 640 was an occasional loss of audio while reading a burned cd-r. It would stop in the middle of a track, but if I'd restart the track it would play fine. Perhaps media related?? The 640 made a really good transport for the money.

I bought the opamps for my CD25 from Sound Odyssey, who were a regular advertiser here on Audiogon but I don't find any of their ads at the moment. I put in AD8066 opamps, which came from Sound Odyssey mounted on very small adapter boards.

I think Parts Connexion also sells opamps, they advertise mods for the CD-25 and sell parts for DIY projects. You could probably email or call them about options. Underwood HiFi also does mods and might be able to advise you.

Here's a link to the Parts Connexion site. It's poorly designed and difficult to navigate but there are pictures on there of the CD-25 circuit board with the opamps identified. If you can't find them, let me know and I'll email you a picture I saved from my own installation.

All that is required is that you lift the old opamps off the circuit board of the player by prying up the edge with a small flat-blade screwdriver and then lifting straight up. Putting the new opamps in just requires aligning the pins and pushing down. The only critical factor is to make sure the #1 pin on the board is in the same place as on the one you remove.
Hi, awhile back I had decided on a Music Hall CDP that is made by a Chinese Co named Shandling. Thru Agon I found out about the Onix-88 which is pretty much the same machine as the Music Hall. Very satisfied and saved a few bucks. I upgraded to OP Amp 627s. Well worth the $$. I installed them myself, very easy, although you have to be careful of the surrounding caps. And yes, the 627s required adaptors. Tweaks that are remaining are to replace the power cord and different ICs. Hope this helps. Dave
I am waiting on my new Music Hall 25.2 cd. It is due to arrive this Monday, Oct 16. I will let you know what I think of it in about a week.

Also, A big thanks to chapnak for the link to Parts Connection. I for $15 dollars the op amp replacment is a no brainer.
My apologies, I should have said big thanks to SFAR. Thats what I get for not reading the entire post.
So Kees, i know's its only been a few days, but how's the new Music Hall 25.2? I'm looking at getting one myself with the 627 opamp upgrade.
Hi Amp,

Had a delay which I did not receive my cd player until today, 11/2. I connected the player and put in Robbie Robertsons and played Fallen Angel. I thought something was wrong with my speakers as the bass was incredible. I had never heard the beginning to this song like this player brought out. I also listened to parts of Grover Washington Jr.'s: Winelight and Donald Fagen: The Nightfly. Every cd I could hear something new. This player is impressive.
I like the imaging and the soundstage. There is space between the instruments and they can be defined in space. I can tell where the drummer is in relationship to the vocalist, etc. On one of the quitier passages in Winelight, I could hear each individual drumstick hitting the drumskin. I am hearing so much new information, that I will have to listen to some of my favorites several times before I can really tell you what all of the differences are. My system hasn't sounded so good since I sold my Linn lp-12 turntable.

I had listened to the new Rega Apollo and a Quad and the $5000 Audio Research CD3. The Music Hall has better bass than the Rega with just as nice mid and hi frequencies. Nothing beats the Audio research, but I really don't have a need for a $5000 cd player.

Hope you find this helpful, James
I do own a brand new cambridge 540c,I am happy about the sound,but not about the build quality after owning it for 7 months had to ship it back because the cd drawer was stuck closed.I have not heard the music hall so I can't comment on it.Sonically I am happy,but noy otherwise.Troy