Which one would you choose ?
Music taste: Jazz, Blues, classic rock like Pink Floyd, dire straits, Steely Dan, hugo masakela, some classical, female jazz artists like Diana krall.
Amp: Nad separates
Speakers: dynaudio audience 82.
I like a very analogue sound which is punchy, dynamic and natural with a very wide soundstage.
I listen to a lot of jazz and l don't like that digital edge either and I would pick the c542 but consider getting a tube DAC or a non-OS DAC in the same price range and just use any old player as a transport, you will enjoy Diana Krall a lot more that way.
I have a C542 paired with a NAD integrated amp. I highly reccomend this player for its detail and sound quality. Operation is good, some people complain about NAD aesthetics, but as you already use NAD, I assume you are over it.
Additionally, your remote should operate the unit effectively. This is trivial in relation to sound quality, but considering that all the units you are reviewing may be similar in quality, it is an added benefit.
I have the Ca 640 and it is good for small combo jazz and classical music. I cannot comment on its play of rock. Many of my rock CD's are vintage and don't sound very good on anything except my car stereo.
I think they have solved the build quality problems at CA. Audition all your candidates if you can. It will be with you for 2-3 years and presumably lots of listening so make a careful choice. dk
Van Alstine Omega Star SS Pre/Amp
Gallo Reference III.
Yeah I am running a CA D300 from '01. It's an awesome cd player, good for any kind of music. It typically runs on the ever so slightest bright side. Cd noise from the cd player is minimal to audible. After over 4 years of ownership, the only thing I must confess is that their screen bulbs are known for blowing out. There are three in my screen and one blew about 3 months ago. I am not sure if they refigured the new screens any differently, but if the 640c just happens to be to your liking, pick it up.
Do remember that the version 2 640C will be in North America immenantly- using a twin WM8740 configuration and incorporating all the improvements from the last two years. Two awards already in the UK and we're just getting started.......
Technical support for Cambridge Audio and Mordaunt Short.
I listened to Marantz CD6000 ; CD6000ose Limited Edition ; NAD 542 and Rotel RCD-02 . I did not listen to the Cambridge Azur 640 because no matter how good it may sound when new , I doubt it will last as long as the other 3 brands because it does not seem to be made as well inside - despite the new Hi-tech DAC chip it uses . Cambridge Azur may be good value for money in the UK where the Company is based and its products are lower price than the other 3 brands , AND , where the Company will hopefully treat repairs seriously , but in other countries Azur is not cheaper price and as a newer Company they may not have as reliable Service Centres as the other 3 which are long established brands world-wide and all of good reputation .
Of the other models above , the basic Marantz CD6000 is mediocre sound and far inferior to the others - to my ears . The NAD and the Rotel are equal in sound quality but different in tonal presentation - which to buy would depend mostly on the sound of your speakers and your personal taste in sound . I found the NAD did beef up slightly anemic recordings a bit , but if the sound from your current amp and speakers has excess boomy bass you may prefer the Rotel . There are some other differences that you will have to decide on your preference by listening through your speakers if possible .
The oseLE version of the Marantz has extension to the lower bass notes' fundamentals that sound as if filtered off by the NAD and Rotel , and , the oseLE presents more audio detail from the CDs than the others - towards that of a High-end player . I was very impressed and bought the CD6000oseLE version after several comparative auditions of all models through 4 different amp / speaker combinations . Really , one needs to listen with the music one wants the player to perform best with . best wishes , Chris .