what cdp is good for vocal, jazz music please, give an advice - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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i'm new in audiophile please, give me an advice to pick a cdp under $ 500 go with my harmon/kardon 230 and focal 706 speakers and what kind of speaker cable go well with the system
and what do you recommend with what amp/pre-amp to do better than my hk under 1k

thank you very much
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post #2 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 09:41 AM
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i'm new in audiophile please, give me an advice to pick a cdp under $ 500 go with my harmon/kardon 230 and focal 706 speakers and what kind of speaker cable go well with the system
and what do you recommend with what amp/pre-amp to do better than my hk under 1k

Don't do any of this. If you want to improve your system, start with your speakers. CD players and cables are of trivial importance, by comparison.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #3 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Don't do any of this. If you want to improve your system, start with your speakers. CD players and cables are of trivial importance, by comparison.

i just don't have a $ for this now maybe later but right now i'm looking for a reliable cdp and do good on that type of musics
thank you for replying
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post #4 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 12:49 PM
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i just don't have a $ for this now maybe later but right now i'm looking for a reliable cdp and do good on that type of musics

You have $500 for a CD player, and $1000 for amplification, but you don't have any money for speakers?

There's no such thing as a CDP that does particularly well on particular types of music. CD players are virtual commodities these days. Even cheap-o units are so good that upgrading makes very little sense. And a better preamp/amp isn't going to make your Focals sound any better, either. And for god's sake don't waste your money on cables.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #5 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you for the advice but the things is i just bought this pair of speaker just last week at local dealer and i just can't not return it because the sale is final and i'm stuck with that for a while that why
one more time , thank you for replying quickly
and for the future if i update the speakers, what do you recommended ? what
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post #6 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 02:22 PM
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I would recommend any-'ol CD and pick up a external DAC off the auction site for just over a bill. 99% solution. Forget the wire. Save up for more than your house for speakers. Although baby Focal is a good start. DIY a sub?

To your original question,
A good CD player is a good CD player. It has nothing to do with the kind of music you listen to. At $500, say NAD or Cambridge, you get a very good CD player. Sure 10X more maybe is 1% better. I paid half that for a used Rotel 1070. I have seen last years thousand-buck CD players going for a quarter of it. High end on a budget is not quick and easy. Been at it for many long years and am still learning where the deals are.
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post #7 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 02:30 PM
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thank you for the advice but the things is i just bought this pair of speaker just last week at local dealer and i just can't not return it because the sale is final and i'm stuck with that for a while

That's cool. I presume you like those speakers, and that's great. Some general advice:

1) Don't upgrade your amplification before you upgrade your speakers, whenever that is. Save up your money to do both at once, and put the bulk of your money into the speakers.

2) Don't spend money on fancy cables. They aren't any better than what you can buy in the hardware store. For all you ever need to know about speaker cables, see this.

3) Spend what you like on a CD player, but don't expect more money to buy you better sound. Here's a group that's done scientific listening comparisons of a wide variety of digital audio equipment and found that, a few far-out (i.e., bad) designs aside, no one can tell the difference between the cheap ones and the expensive ones. (Note that this is an automatic translation. If you can read Spanish, find the original; it'll be much clearer.)

4) Consider room treatments to improve your sound. They will definitely have a greater effect than either a new amp or a better CD player.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #8 of 242 Old 01-14-2010, 02:36 PM
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Double-stuff the ballot box for room treatments.
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post #9 of 242 Old 01-15-2010, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Consider room treatments to improve your sound. They will definitely have a greater effect than either a new amp or a better CD player.

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Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post

Double-stuff the ballot box for room treatments.

Here is a photo of $300 worth of room treatments that made a 5x difference in the sound of this room.

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post #10 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 08:14 AM
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so what brand are those panels and how are they
mounted to the wall/ceiling?
If they are $300 total I presume they are not GIK
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post #11 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 08:36 AM
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Google my good man. Many foam suppliers. I used compressed FG ceiling panels I bought cheap(damaged), cotton bat and burlap. 5' x 6' x 4" ran me about $150 each. Best value audio investment I ever made.
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post #12 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 11:02 AM
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The Cambridge 550C, for $500 at Audio Advisor or any dealer, is one of the best CD players available in that price range.

Upgrading speakers is a waste of money until you have a CD player and amplifier that will send some clean sound TO those speakers. Speakers are garbage in garbage out devices, and most CD players and amplifiers introduce significant distortion to the recorded sound.

Besides that, when Robert Harley tested the speakers you have, he said that they were some of the best speakers on the market for under $1000 (www.avguide.com);. He is very experienced and knowledgeable, and time has proved him very reliable. You need a MUCH better CD player and amplifier than you have to even begin to do them justice! The speakers you have are by far the best part of your system! If you don't like what you hear, the speakers are NOT at fault; the other gear is!

I have personally had systems with excellent speakers and inferior electronics, and I can tell you that the sound was not good at all; but eventually a friend who had a hi-fi store did some demonstrations for me that clearly illustrated that I was on the wrong track and needed better components to let the speakers do what they were capable of.

I have also heard systems with a good amplifier and CD player that sounded very good with such speakers as the EPOS ELS3 (only $300), which sounded really nice.

There are huge differences in the sound quality of sound produced by CD players, and if the sound is not good when it leaves the CD player, it isn't going to get any better downstream in the system. It is not cheap to build circuits that do a good low-distortion job of converting the digital information on the CD to a clean analog output signal, for many technical reasons. Cheap CD players SUCK!!! Anyone who says different is ignorant of the truth and needs to get his head out of the sand (or some repairs done to his ears...lol).

The Harmon-Kardon 230 is not something that I could listen to for long; too much harmonic distortion when actually playing MUSIC (not lab test tones...lol); not good at all! The 230 designers put a lot of money into the bells and whistles and skimped on the power supply and amplifier design; big problem...poor sound quality.

There are not a lot of amplifiers for under $1000 that I could recommend; the only ones I know of are made by NAD and Cambridge. If you can afford it, I would recommend the NAD C355BE (around $700-800), or with a bit less power, the NAD C326BEE. You can't buy anything better in this price range. Again, check Audio Advisor online; they have a 30-day no-questions return policy, which I find very nice for trying out gear.
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post #13 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post

Google my good man. Many foam suppliers. I used compressed FG ceiling panels I bought cheap(damaged), cotton bat and burlap. 5' x 6' x 4" ran me about $150 each. Best value audio investment I ever made.

I use the OC 703 panels myself.
My question was specifically regarding those
panels in that picture.
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post #14 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Cambridge 550C, for $500 at Audio Advisor or any dealer, is one of the best CD players available in that price range.

Upgrading speakers is a waste of money until you have a CD player and amplifier that will send some clean sound TO those speakers. Speakers are garbage in garbage out devices, and most CD players and amplifiers introduce significant distortion.

I have personally had systems with excellent speakers and inferior electronics, and I can tell you that the sound was not good at all; but eventually a friend who had a hi-fi store did some demonstrations for me that clearly illustrated that I was on the wrong track and needed better components to let the speakers do what they were capable of.

I have also heard systems with a good amplifier and CD player that sounded good with such speakers as the EPOS ELS3 (only $300), which sounded really nice.

There are huge differences in the sound quality of sound produced by CD players, and if the sound is not good when it leaves the CD player, it isn't going to get any better downstream in the system. It is not cheap to build circuits that do a good low-distortion job of converting the digital information on the CD to a clean analog output signal, for many technical reasons. Cheap CD players SUCK!!! Anyone who says different is ignorant of the truth and needs to get educated.

The Harmon-Kardon is not something that I could listen to for long; too much harmonic distortion when actually playing MUSIC (not lab test tones...lol). There are not a lot of amplifiers for under $1000 that I could recommend; the only ones I know of are made by NAD and Cambridge. If you can afford it, I would recommend the NAD C355BE (around $700-800), or with a bit less power, the NAD C326BEE. You can't beat them for the money.

i'm saving $ to get combo from emotiva, ERC-1 Reference+USP-1 Stereo Preamplifier+UPA-2 TWO CHANNEL AUDIO POWER AMPLIFIER how are they compare with cambridge and NAD
What do you guys think, is this a good system ?
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post #15 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 11:48 AM
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so what brand are those panels and how are they
mounted to the wall/ceiling?

The 24" x 24" wedge foam absorbers are mounted with small finish screws, each panel has a plastic backing that keeps them fairly rigid.

http://www.auralex.com/acoustic_stud...diofoam_2w.asp

The 24" x 48" panels seen above my equipment are OC 703 panels wrap with fabric. The hardware to hang the 703 panels is found on www.atsacoustics.com
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post #16 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 12:15 PM
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I have only heard one system with Emotiva gear, and I thought it was fairly good-sounding, but not great. It looks like the amp and preamp you are talking about would only be about $800, about the same as the NAD C355BEE, which I definitely think sounds a bit better. To be sure which is better, I would have to hear them side-by-side in the same system, though.

I am quite sure that either one would sound 1000% better than the Harmon-Kardon you have now.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best Audio Research preamp and amplifiers for about $40,000), my guess would be that the Harmon-Kardon would rate about a 3, while the Emotiva I would maybe rate 6 and the NAD 7.

You can get the NAD 355BEE from Audio Advisor and try it out for a couple of weeks and ship it back if you are not OK with it; you do pay return shipping costs. I think you will be very impressed and keep it if you hear it; it is a gem for its price.

As far as the CD player goes...I kind of doubt if the Emotiva player would sound as good as the Cambridge. The Cambridge has had outstanding reviews from the major British and American audio magazines, and I currently see two good/mixed reviews on the Emotiva. I strongly suspect that Cambridge has an engineering department that is more experienced in this field, and has greater expertise. If you could put them side-by-side yourself, that is always best...but if that is not possible...the Cambridge has a great track record to go by.

Once again, you will probably find either of them to be noticeably better-sounding than what you currently have.

One thing I am quite sure of, however, is that you could easily spend up to $3000 or so on a very good amplifier and CD player before you need to consider other speakers; your current speakers are very good. If you ever get to the point where you have good electronics and want to get better speakers though, the Vandersteen 2C speakers are an incredible speaker at a reasonable price.
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

It looks like the amp and preamp you are talking about would only be about $800, about the same as the NAD C355BEE, which I definitely think sounds a bit better.

What defines better sound in this context?
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post #18 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

The 24" x 24" wedge foam absorbers are mounted with small finish screws, each panel has a plastic backing that keeps them fairly rigid.

http://www.auralex.com/acoustic_stud...diofoam_2w.asp

The 24" x 48" panels seen above my equipment are OC 703 panels wrap with fabric. The hardware to hang the 703 panels is found on www.atsacoustics.com

Thanks for the info.

So what kind of fabric is it. Did you use the Gilford fabric?
The Gilford is very expensive so I was planning to just use the
felt cloth
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post #19 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 12:56 PM
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Better sounding??:

Closer to what a live performance sounds like; greater freedom from distortion that adds or subtracts anything to or from the natural qualities of the sound.
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post #20 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

As far as the CD player goes...I kind of doubt if the Emotiva player would sound as good as the Cambridge. The Cambridge has had outstanding reviews from the major British and American audio magazines, and I currently see two good/mixed reviews on the Emotiva.

So sound quality depends completely on the reviews?
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post #21 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

What defines better sound in this context?

I'm not sure he knows. His posts are very hard to follow.

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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Better sounding??:

Closer to what a live performance sounds like; greater freedom from distortion that adds or subtracts anything to or from the natural qualities of the sound.

Would you mind listing some of CDs you've used during your auditions? In case I have the same CD, I'd like to use it as demo sources myself. Thanks.
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post #23 of 242 Old 01-16-2010, 02:17 PM
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Would you mind listing some of CDs you've used during your auditions? In case I have the same CD, I'd like to use it as demo sources myself. Thanks.

Oh, for crying out loud, will you stop baiting him? You're only stinking up the thread and giving him a platform.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #24 of 242 Old 01-18-2010, 05:25 AM
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william-

Putting equipment in your system is by far the best way to audition; unfortunately, that is hard to arrange sometimes, depending on where you live.

Another problem is that it may be pretty hard to tell one CD player from another when you are using an amplifier with as much distortion as the Harmon-Kardon 230 or the average junk that most people use. It is pretty much true that all CD players pretty much sound the same when the sound has to pass through the average mass-market cheapo amplifier. That is why I tell people that a decent amplifier has to be the first thing you spend money on in order to make progress to a good-sounding system.

Until you get a fairly good amplifier in your system, it is very difficult to make good decisions about which CD players or speakers sound the best when you audition them. That has been my experience over and over again in more than 30 years of careful listening.

Reviews, and the long-term reputation of the manufacturer, are only tools that can be considered as an alternative to a direct comparison to guide you in a decision. I NEVER NEVER buy anything without hearing it in my system at home!

As I mentioned, many good units are available from Audio Advisor with a 30-day unconditional return policy. If you can't get a loan of the desired gear from a local audio retailer, that is one good way to hear the gear.

P.S.-I apologize if the edits bothered you; in a couple of cases I added something for clarity, but most of them were just to clean up typing errors.
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post #25 of 242 Old 01-18-2010, 05:41 AM
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g-

Some CDs and SACDs that I use for auditioning gear are:

Pictures at an Exhibition; Chicago Symphony/ Reiner (SACD, CD, and LP)

OPUS 3 Test CDs #1, #2, and #5 (these are excellent recordings that have a broad range of program material; great for testing and comparing); available online from May Audio-highly recommended

Pictures at an Exhibition (original piano version); Byron Janis

Nojima Plays Liszt

The Late Piano Sonatas; Richard Goode

Schubert Preludes; Alfred Brendel

Paradise and Lunch; Ry Cooder

Peace to the Neighborhood; Pops Staples

Carnegie Hall Concert; Paul Robeson

Beethoven Mass in C; Monteverdi Choir

Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis (CD and SACD)

Tomas Ornbeg's BLUE FIVE (OPUS 3 CD)

The Plow That Broke the Plains (Vanguard/Everest CD)

Jean Gullou; Organ Encores (Dorian CD)

And also several of the SACDs from the 1960s RCA Living Stereo reissues
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post #26 of 242 Old 01-18-2010, 06:16 AM
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Oh, for crying out loud, will you stop baiting him? You're only stinking up the thread and giving him a platform.

Is there some reason that your posts mostly consist of gratuitous insults and telling others what YOU think they should do or say? Is that your idea of how to contribute something useful to this forum?

It would be refreshing if you could try to make your posts informative or constructive; insults and immature cheap-shots are not really helpful (except to demonstrate the kind of person you are).
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post #27 of 242 Old 01-18-2010, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

P.S.-I apologize if the edits bothered you; in a couple of cases I added something for clarity, but most of them were just to clean up typing errors.

fyi...You may want to utilize the "Preview Post" option at the bottom of the Message window, it is to the right of "Submit Reply" this allows you to proof read and make corrections to your post prior to submitting it.
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post #28 of 242 Old 01-18-2010, 07:30 AM
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P.S.-I apologize if the edits bothered you; in a couple of cases I added something for clarity, but most of them were just to clean up typing errors.

BS. You kept editing it to change your snide remarks. I read them. And you have edited the entire post today, to read something entirely different, and remove them.

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Last edited by commsysman; Today at 10:07 AM

Does it really take you three days and over a dozen edits to get a post right?

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Another problem is that it may be pretty hard to tell one CD player from another when you are using an amplifier with as much distortion as the Harmon-Kardon 230 or the average junk that most people use

Thanks for the amp advice, and assuming everyone here uses junk. BTW, the Harmon 230 is not an amp, it's a reciever.
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post #29 of 242 Old 01-18-2010, 07:50 AM
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William-

I said "that MOST people use"; that is very accurate, I think, from personal observation. MOST people use receivers or amplifiers from Pioneer, H-K, Panasonic, Kenwood, etc. etc. and at least 90% of them are hi-distortion crap!

I DID NOT say "everyone", nor am I assuming anything about any particular person. Please do not change my words in a way that distorts them.

A receiver is simply an amplifier with an integral tuner; its amplifier was under discussion. I am very familiar with that H-K and know exactly what it is.

I had several H-K amplifiers and tuners in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were making some good equipment, and I know about the junk they make now.

If I want to add something to a post or make a minor correction, I have a perfect right to do so, and if it bothers you that is YOUR little personal problem, not mine.

BY the way...a "snide remark" is a criticism of another person; I think my posts were strictly MY OPINIONS on sound systems. You are free to take them or leave them.
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post #30 of 242 Old 01-18-2010, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by pterpm View Post

i'm new in audiophile please, give me an advice to pick a cdp under $ 500 go with my harmon/kardon 230 and focal 706 speakers and what kind of speaker cable go well with the system
and what do you recommend with what amp/pre-amp to do better than my hk under 1k

thank you very much

Hey pterpm,

Nice of you to ask rather than just go left and right to buy something and end up disapointed!

First, i think its important to understand that there are no "more important" parts to a sound system than others. They are all equally important, and the choices you make will later affect your overall experience.

Like building a house, you must start with the foundations (ground up); in a sound system, the "ground" is the Media from which you will play the music. Therefore, a good quality CD player is very important.

Some people on this thread have said otherwise, and i could go on saying "trust me it is", but rather than doing that, i invite you to go to a store and listen to a very good sound system (Naim, simaudio… whatever you can put your hands on…) and try a high – end cd player and a crappy dvd-player. Alternate between the two and you will see/hear a huge difference in the quality of the sound.

Overall, since we are talking about building a system on good foundation, the two most important things you need to consider right now are the Media reader and the cable that brings that information to your receiver. Now you can consider a CD player, or you can look at a digital media player to play “mp3s”. Naturally, since we are talking about ‘audiophile” stuff, Lossless quality files are recommended of course.

However, your original question was concerning a CD player. For under 500$ you will find yourself in mid-range land, which is close to your current setup anyways. I would highly recommend you “plan ahead” and purchase a better quality player (around 1000$ worth) and some very good cables, but that is your call.

Here are good mid-range CD players company I’ve listened to which were very nice. However, keep in mind that that quality of CD players will not really provide rich sound composition. They don’t have the definition processing quality that will allow the sounds to expend properly (as they are meant to ) and you won’t get a very defined warmth to the sounds. For example, they will probably not allow you to hear the subtle squirks of fingers on guitar cords or the scratch of nails on a piano key; you will only hear the intended sounds recorded for the average user. Higher quality players will transport that information on to your speakers more easily. You will notice the same dimished quality in soundstage and musician disparity. The sounds will most probably find themselves more bundled up in the “center” of the room, at the exception of the obvious stereo recording intentions from the studio.

Rotel - http://www.rotel.com/UK/products/index.htm?cat=28
NAD - http://nadelectronics.com/products/cd-players
Arcam - http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,fmj,CD-Players.htm
Cambridge - http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products.php#cd-players

Just go on these sites and pick the player you think fits the bill the best.

However, if you are interested in a little higher quality player, and are willing to spend a bit more, here are a few companies that I would recommend. I have heard all of them and they are stunning.

Micromega - http://www.micromega-hifi.com/lecteurs-dvd.html
Naim - http://www.naim-audio.com/products/intro_cd.html
Simaudio - http://www.simaudio.com/moonaudio.htm


I would also invest in some good quality cables to go with that system and perhaps give your speakers the same treatment. For that, I recommend Transparent cables. They carry the sound quality and definition with grace and no noticeable loss in quality.

http://www.transparentcable.com/

I hope I could be of help in some way or another. And Btw, nice choice on Focal speakers! I was gonna go with the 836 myself. Amazing quality speakers for the high/mid-range. That was until I heard the audio physics Tempo… but that’s another story
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