what cd player ?

looking for suggestions for a cd player in the $1k -1300 range.


A little bit more, but I have heard solid positive reviews of the Jay’s transport.

I have an Audiolab CDT6000, which I think is very good for half your budget.




dac already in it if possible. dont know much about dacs ,so dont want to have to add a dac to it if possible.......unless a separate player and dac could be purchased around that much ?



which Rotel ?      do they make a good player ?        havent heard of them being suggested before.



have seen jays transport....but is it just a transport and a dac would be needed ?


does the audiolab  require a dac ?




There is a Jay’s that is a full player I believe, with DAC, but in the $2,100 range.

The Audiolab requires a DAC. But I prefer a separate DAC, as I can use for streaming too. In addition to changing the sound or technology of the DAC separately if I choose.

I have a Denafrips Ares II, which was about $650 (more now), and the Audiolab CDT6000 was an open box I got for about $450.



the jays is more than $1100-1300 and cant afford that at this time.


i dont know much about dac's to venture down that road.....and then have to look at connection between player and dac.

I had a cdt6000, but returned it.  It just didn’t sound good in my system.  I was considering buying the latest iteration of Jay’s audio transport, but got sidetracked with upgrading my streamer and DAC.  I once again considered Jay’s, but decided to first try using a cheap Amazon cd drive and DBPoweramp to rip CDs to my streamer’s storage and the musical reproduction was greatly improved.  Currently, my CDs streamed approaches my analog and that is a major compliment.

One of the most common questions, here.

Search discussions.

Denon, Marantz, NAD, Rotel, Yamaha.

I went for Sony xa5400es, SACD/CD player. I found one with light use, i.e. less hours use of the laser, they do get weak after a lot of use.

My saga to find a new to me CD player, I went thru 9 different maker’s units, until I got, love, kept this one.

Surprisingly, they hold their value, selling for as much as when they were first introduced.

here’s a nice, lightly used one, right in your budget, $1,100.


Crutchfield still has info on old units


After preliminary top of the list from research, I asked for advice here:


Also, complete laser assemblies are available on ebay, some models, no parts at all.

If you do not care about SACD, this CD only unit is also a definite keeper

Integra CDC-3.4 Mark II

I got the Mark II model, there is a letter after the serial number on the back. Mark 1 may be just as good, I do not know the difference.

Wanted SACD, got the Sony, sold the Integra.

Post removed 

Over the decades I have owned many players and transport/dacs, several in the $4K range

Pro-Ject makes CD 3 player that has Coax out in case you ever decide to try a dac, but from what Ive been told it is a VG player: MSRP $549

I have a Audiolab CDT6000 transport with an Audio Alchemy dac/pre. I think many who are not impressed simply failed to consider high quality ancillaries. The 6000 responds extremely well to better power cord, coax cable, and isolation/vibration devices


I bought a Emotiva ERC-4 to replace a old MH cdp.  It has inputs for a digital signal if you want to use it for streaming.  Built like a tank, around $600 new.  Great sound

I bought a used Marantz SA-14 back in 2003 that is still going strong and sounds wonderful, still have an even older Denon I use with the den system and also have an old Rotel in the garage that is nice and has been bullet proof.

Lots of nice old players out there that I'm sure you could pick up cheap but it I were in the market for a new player, I'd probably buy that Yamaha that winoguy17 posted. I had a Yamaha back in the 80's that sounded great.

  • Audiolab CDT9000 just dropped. Paul Rigby placed in higher standing than the 6000, consistent with the difference in price. I’d personally try that one, although haven’t even heard the 6000CDT:



Simple question find a Cary 306 SACD player and send it to me for upgrades. It will be the last CDP you buy ever!

Happy Listening.

As per another reader I have an Audiolab 6000 CDT and Denafrips Ares II. The combination is excellent.  The Audiolab replaced my Rotel RDD 980 transport and the difference is substantial. I also looked to replace with other CD players including recent models from Rotel, Marantz and Naim, if any of these sounded any better I would have bought them. If you already have a DAC or need a DAC for other sources the Audiolab at the price is outstanding. 

+1 for the Audiolab 6000CDT. I have mine hooked up to a Denafrips Pontus II standalone DAC and it sounds awesome. The 6000CDT currently sells for $499 on Amazon and you can maybe pick up a Denafrips Ares II DAC used for $500 - $600.  The Pontus II is the next model above the Ares II and sells for about $1800 USD new. Your only other expense would be to buy a quality coax cable to connect the 6000CDT to the Ares II. Buying quality separate components (CD transport + standalone DAC) will more than likely outperform a similarly priced all in one CDP.  Having a standalone DAC is also useful for future system expansion such as adding a dedicated streamer or headphone amplifier. I have both of mine connected to the Pontus.

Get a DAC you'll need it later anyway and then almost any transport will be ok. I use a Pro-Ject and an integrated with a DAC; Just to eliminate the analog connections is such a relief.

Lots of folks getting out of CDs and into streaming makes it a good time to buy a used CD player. Here’s a Naim CD-5i for $1200:

An Ayre CX7 for $1100:



I guess you can only paste one link per post but here is the aforementioned Ayre CX7 for $1100



VERY happy with my Yamaha CD-S1000.  Going by memory on model number and price. I’m 95% vinyl but have no complaints about it and don’t cringe at the idea of playing it, especially SACDs.  Built like a tank, weighs nearly 40 lbs.

Rotel CD11 player was a revleation in my system using internal dac.  It's well within your budget brand new.

you can't buy anything good with that money...
Steve Descartes recently made an sd card player with a transformer output - call him.

Better yet, use a mac mini + software by Mark Levinson (now Daniel Hertz's company).

A real good CD player is 5-10K

I would do the Oppo, and use a DAC !! I have a professional recording cd player with a updated TEAC transport for professional use, mated to a Schitt Gumby. And I stream out of my gamer ASUS laptop. Love the sound. And.. the Gumby is upgradeable. Most of the other DACs are not. Plus the proprietary USB is just  a smooth, warm, phenomenal sound. Gets me 98 percent of where I want to be. So, my nest purchase if the OPPO universal player next.

you can't buy anything good with that money...
Steve Descartes recently made an sd card player with a transformer output - call him.

Better yet, use a mac mini + software by Mark Levinson (now Daniel Hertz's company).

A real good CD player is 5-10K



personally, i'd buy a really good universal player used, but if you want new the yamaha s100 is $799 at accessories4less and is built like a tank

Lots of good suggestions here. I would like to add that When I was looking into getting a high end Esoteric I first dipped my toe in the used market and bought an Esoteric DV 50. It’s a universal player but I was totally surprised at the detail and overall musicality of this machine. Built like the proverbial tank, very heavy and can be found used well in your price range.

Just an idea for flexibility and sound quality, I bought this unit for CD and video as well. Panasonic DP-UB9000P1K. Audio section gets great reviews. Balanced output for 2-channel. 

Mainstream companies like Marantz, Denon, Rotel, and Yamaha all make very fine all-in-one players in your price range.


I have an Emotiva ERC3 that is a great transport to an external DAC; I second the comments here about upgrading the power cable and getting good isolation. The Audiolab CDT-6000 is another great way to get your toes in the water. I have a Gustard X16 DAC that like the the Emo and the Audiolab.

I 2nd the Audiolab CDT6000. Amazing sound for $600 and it reads discs well. I haven't had a skip.

Onkyo C-7030.  GREAT SOUND.  Long life.  Inexpensive.  Good transport if an external DAC is added later.


I have tried different cd players. Naim cd5xs, Marantz cd 6005, Cambridge cxc, and Roksan caspian m2 cd. Naim and Roksan are better, very close. If your amplifier has balanced input, Roksan caspian has got balanced output and the sound is really better with it compared with the Naim and its rca connections. The Roksan matchs very good with my Luxman 590 axII.

Well, I have owned the Audiolab CDT6000 for about a year shy a couple months and it has this weird tendency to skip once in a while. The disc usually is pristine and strangely can be played again with no trouble. While its rare and getting more rare as time passes, it bugs me whenever it happens. Like someone banging on the window outside out of the blue. Very jarring. It was a demo from Audio Advisor and they told me within 30 days to return but its so infrequent I kept hoping time would heal all. Any ideas? It does play faultlessly some old CD's that have no business being near a player. The mechanism somehow gets in a wad temporarily. I will assume its a one off since no else reports problems.... 

Maybe try treating the edge of your CDs with the audiophile green marker tweak and see if that helps?