my 21 year old Marantz cd player is starting to behave funny: some disks won't play, the tray door won't open half the time. I though that maybe it's time to look for a replacement. And that is where things got a bit complicated.
First I thought of using a cheap DVD player as a replacement. Found a brand now Sony one for around 40€ which has analog out to my SMSL AO-200 desktop amp.
By doing this I realized what I was missing and so I came to these requirements which I find extremely difficult to find in a modern cd player:
1. Silent operation (must): I do not want to hear the disk spinning when looking for 96dB+ SNR audio output. That kind of defeats looking for a quality audio experience.
2. Short time between loading and playing (nice to have): multi-format devices seem to take their time figuring out what an audio cd actually is.
3. A display (must): I like to see what's going on. Many dvd/Blu-ray players are out because of that.
4. Physical buttons (must): Play, pause, stop, next, previous and eject buttons are a minimum requirement.
5. CD Text (must): quite some albums I have collected over the years (I think mainly Sony Music & Columbia) have this feature and I like it a lot.
6. Index support (nice to have): Some classical music releases have it as well as some progressive rock and even rock albums (e.g. Pump by Aerosmith) feature this. I'd like to see the index of the song that's playing. I don't really have the need to control jumping through indices though. I have one cd that ends with a track that has index 0 which makes the player count down from 1 minute to zero in an endless loop. I do hope that new players support this too (in case you're interested: Adrenalin by Ashbury Faith - the 1995 Columbia release with the Lee sticker on it).
7. Unbalanced output (nice to have): Just because the AO-200 has an unbalanced input feature.
8. Compact (nice to have): My desk has limited space, less is more.
9. Sound quality: SNR & channel separation at around CD quality levels (96 dB or better to avoid investing in an extra DAC).
I did quite some research and found out that the combination of user manuals and youtube videos give me only half of the answers. It is really hard to find out how fast these players start or how silently they operate.
So I am looking for the collective experience and knowledge of the ASR community to help me figure out which way to go.
Here's what I have come up with with regards to new products for sale:
1. Atoll CD50/CD80/CD100 (expensive, no index support found, compact)
2. Rotel CD11/CD14/RCD-1572mkII (probably the most sensible option)
3. Tascam SS-CDR250n (expensive but seems to match most requirements, 1 u rack format)
Anything I might have missed? I was surprised that Marantz does not support cd text anymore (https://support-uk.marantz.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1148/~/cd-text
Seems like cd players are going technologically backwards like cassette decks did in the '90s. And that's a shame for a format that is high quality and has liner notes to read while listening!