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  1. #1

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    Default 5 CD Changer Recommenation

    I have a 10 year old Harman Kardon AVR-630 (upper end model) receiver with Monitor Audio SilverSeries 9i floor-standing speakers. My Harman Kardon CD changer, which I was delighted with sound quality wise broke and I am seeking a replacement. For some reason in thrift stores, I see a lot of Sony (both regular and their ES line) and Denon CD changers. Is this because people are unhappy with them reliability or sound quality wise? Besides Harman Kardon, what other brands of cd changers would sound good (be a good match) with my receiver and speakers?

  2. #2

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    What is your price range? Do you want to buy new or is used an option?
    There are lots of options depending on your budget and if you want to buy new or used.

    I have a Rotel RCC-1055 CD changer (5 disc changer) and love it. You will have to find one on CL or e-bay but they are great-sounding units and are built like a tank. They usually go for around $300 in nice shape, maybe a little more if it has the original remote. For some reason, most that show up on e-bay or CL lack the remote. I always wondered why so many people lose remotes.

    Rotel makes great CD players and I'd highly recommend them. I have not checked out their new product line but I am sure it is equally impressive.

  3. #3

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    Rotel 5 disc CD players are at the end of their life spans. We have been replacing them with Marantz like crazy.
    ( I work in the a/v field and we have been Rotel dealers for 25 years)
    http://www.amazon.com/Marantz-CC4003.../dp/B002KKCPA6

    Yamaha gear will out live you and sounds good too.
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  4. #4

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    Those six disc Onkyo DXC390s are not bad in that less than $200 range. Another favorite in that range is the Sony SCD-CE595 (also does SACDs)--but it's no longer in production so you'd need to pick it up "used" or "refurbed".

    For more coin the Marantz is probably OK though there seem to be reliability issues with earlier models?

    The Yamaha CD-C600 is also getting some nice reviews--in that Marantz range.

    It goes without saying that these are not TOTL players, but there are not many CD changers in that rarefied HiFi space. And most changers are used for background music, as a rule!

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 08-29-2013 at 11:21 PM.
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
    Office Two Channel: LSi-7s (Nakamichi CA-5, NAD 214, Pioneer BDP51fd)
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    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

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    Thanks for the tip on Rotel and Onkyo. I'm looking to spend under $100. I bought my Harman Kardon FL8550 six years ago from a private party for $75. If I wait patiently on CL, I might see one. This will be a CD player not for background music but instead to sit down on the couch next to it and appreciate vocals and instruments. I've read how it's important to match a receiver and cd player with speakers to make sure they are both warm, bright, etc. Someone ought to put together a chart to help people match components.

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    I had a California Audio Labs 5 disk changer in my system for a number of years and liked it very much. You can find them on the gon from time to time.
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    Get any Sony cd changer with an optical or digital coax output, mate it with a decent DAC. Problem solved. Other than Sony, Yamaha makes very good changers, especially if you get the ones with higher (6xx/7xx/8xx) model numbers. I do not care for Denon changers. The mechanism is not very reassuring. Another to consider if you can find it used is the Marantz CC-4000. I've had one for many years. It has one of the slickest, fastest changer mechanisms I've ever seen. The sound isn't that great from the analog outs, but it has Digi-coax out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TG Meat View Post
    I had a California Audio Labs 5 disk changer in my system for a number of years and liked it very much. You can find them on the gon from time to time.
    Me too. They made some good stuff, great sounding stuff actually. Their record on repairs however was a tad sub par.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Me too. They made some good stuff, great sounding stuff actually. Their record on repairs however was a tad sub par.
    I'll triple the recommendation on the CAL (CL-10) - both it's analog outs and it's digital out to a DAC are really quite good.

    The others are really a big step down, and I have a couple of those mentioned so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SawaSun View Post
    For some reason in thrift stores, I see a lot of Sony (both regular and their ES line)
    You won't have a problem if you buy the next Sony ES you see.

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    Well I did some thinking and it came to me.
    a very high quality cd changer to match your Rotel. How about the high-end Onkyo gear "Integra"?


    CDC-3.4
    http://www.integrahometheater.com/mo...4&class=CD&p=i

    This would be your best choice to match that Rotel. They are very well built and sound great. Just like the Rotel they offer RS-232 support with feedback.
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    I do have the Sony CE-375 w/ the formentioned optical and audio outs w/o a stratch or mar on the thing. It works great and came w/ the remote.I got mine at the East Brunswick Good Will for a whopping $12. Funny thing about the remote it does not either power on the unit or open the tray and I called Sony and that's the way it is.I guess you have to pick your ass up to load the discs anyway so no biggy there. For few hours of CDs at a really low price go for it.

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    pay attention to what kind of DAC the changer is using. For example the link to the Integra changer states that it uses a Wolfson DAC. This is a good quality convertor. Do a little research before you purchase to make sure the digital conversion is of good quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canadianicon25 View Post
    pay attention to what kind of DAC the changer is using. For example the link to the Integra changer states that it uses a Wolfson DAC. This is a good quality convertor. Do a little research before you purchase to make sure the digital conversion is of good quality.
    the Rotel also uses the Wolfson DAC ( well at least the newer stuff does). Good stuff.
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    Rotels are nice, but you're going to have to go used there.

    And George is spot on, old Sony ES models have good build quality and reliability, and most do SACD too!

    cnh
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
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    Vintage Polks: Polk Monitor 5As, Monitor 7Bs [HK 730], Monitor 10As [Marantz 2265], SDA-2Bs [Jolida JD-303, Jolida MV-MK4]
    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    ...and most do SACD too!

    cnh
    Actually, there are only a few SACD capable Sony ES changers and they can be hard to find now. They are the SCD-C333ES, SCD-C555ES, and SCD-C2000ES. There are a couple other non-ES SACD changers as well (CE775, and CE595). I think there is a 400-disc juke-box type as well, but I would avoid that. I also would not buy the CE595. I had a few and they were junk. Sony kept sending me replacements and they were all non-functioning in some way or another. I gave up after the 3rd replacement was DOA.

    Now, there are a whole bunch of older (80s and 90s) ES CD changers that just play CDs. They would all be good choices.

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    I think I am going to wait until a used unit that I can test appears in online classifieds. How do you all think a Sony CDP-CA80ES or Denon DCM-390 would compare sound wise with a Harman Kardon FL8550?

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    In my experience, you will have a hard time telling the difference in sound between those CD changers. You can usually hear the difference between the stuff at the high end and the stuff at the low end, but in the middle, it is very hard to discern a difference. That is, unless the rest of the system is very resolving.

    Of the two you mentioned, I'd go with the Sony ES player. Sony mechanisms are more reliable and the ES sound is usually pretty good.

    BTW, you didn't elaborate. What actually 'broke' with the old HK changer that you were delighted with? Changer mechanism? Discs not reading? Circuits fried?
    Last edited by billbillw; 09-10-2013 at 09:11 AM.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    In my experience, you will have a hard time telling the difference in sound between those CD changers. You can usually hear the difference between the stuff at the high end and the stuff at the low end, but in the middle, it is very hard to discern a difference. That is, unless the rest of the system is very resolving.

    Of the two you mentioned, I'd go with the Sony ES player. Sony mechanisms are more reliable and the ES sound is usually pretty good.

    BTW, you didn't elaborate. What actually 'broke' with the old HK changer that you were delighted with? Changer mechanism? Discs not reading? Circuits fried?
    Thanks for the info. My old HK changer worked sporadically. Sometimes would not read perfectly playable pre-recorded CD's and sometimes it would play CD's with a strong hiss sound.

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