Which Vintage CD Player To Use As A Transport?

I need a bargain CD player. Emphasis on bargain. One possibility is buying a cheap Schiit DAC and a vintage player to use as a transport. $100 or so for something described as “bulletproof.” Two questions:

—Is this a good idea?

—Which brand/model/year would be a good choice for a transport? 

Many thanks. 


My advice is to focus on the control features you want from a player. The technology of an SPDIF coaxial output hasn’t changed because it can’t. But disc player features vary greatly. I am a fan of Denon, Nakamichii and Sony players, all of which I used to sell. The future reliability is always unknown with old gear…even when new there was no such thing as a bulletproof CD player.  Best bet is to buy a used player from a good repair technician who has checked its spindle motor, laser, and loading belts, all of which are potential Achilles heels. 

+ Onkyo C7030

i bought this new a year ago for $250. Pairs nicely with the Denafrips Ares II 



I had a PD 65 for maybe 5 years, not always in my system, A few years back, it died. Parts not available

If you're looking for cheap outlay with maximum sonic return, almost any single-play player with a digital output paired with an outboard semi-vintage DAC will work well. I am partial to the MSB DACs from the mid-to-late 90s because of their tank-like construction and neutral sound. Currently running a Sony XA20ES through an MSB Gold Link DAC / P1000 Powerbase combo and the sound is excellent. Two Rotel players in other systems are run through MSB DACs with similar results.