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  1. #1
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    Opinions on <$500.00> CD player

    I see a place I can use a good sounding player without spending a lot of money. I prefer comments from actual listeners of the unit you might discuss. Here's what I've been considering:
    NAD c545 - $499.00
    Emotiva - $399/00
    Cambridge 640c - sale $349.00
    Music Hall 25.2 - $599.00, I believe

    I'm sure Rotel has something but I'm not into their sound. I'd also consider any other suggestions in this price range. It also has to be a single box.

    I do like detail but place a bit more importance on tonal accuracy, pace and musicality. I really don't like a player that makes things sound thin.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  2. #2
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    With the 640c at $349, I tend to wonder how there's anything left to discuss.

  3. #3
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    I live in Singapore, the Marantz SA-8003 is going for around $490. How would the Marantz and the Cambridge Audio 640c compare?

  4. #4
    PDN
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    Mr. Peabody:

    First I think you meant to specify NAD C542 CD player and not the C545 at $499.00. Is that correct? Also, can you describe what you mean by not being in to the Rotel sound? What is that? I find NAD and Rotel CD players to be so close in sound. I decided on the Rotel RCD-1072 over the NAD C542 a few years back due in part to the build quality and weight and paid $200.00 more for it over the C542. Reviews have been fantastic and you can probably purchase one preowned for well under $500.00 at other sites. Does not produce thin sound at all. Go for the RCD-1072. That would be my recommendation. The Marantz CD5003 is another suggestion for around $350.00. Many good reviews on that unit as well.

  5. #5
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    The NAD 545 is their current model that replaces the 542 and is already in the marketplace. I'm really getting good feedback on this player. Actually, I will have a chance to bring one of these home for an audition.

    02AN, I am willling to pay a bit more for better sound. Although the 640 got a lot of buzz I've heard it is a bit slow or laid back like Rotel and some shy on bass impact compared to like NAD. The Emo is only $50.00 more and I'm wondering how it would do against these competitors.

    I've heard quite a bit of Rotel and although the sound has been pleasant the pace always seems slower, it made recordings I was used to sound like the band was playing half asleep. There is a Rotel dealer around, I could audition the 1072 by itself at home to see if it has this trait. I get the impression though this is a sound that Rotel goes for.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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  6. #6
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I see a place I can use a good sounding player without spending a lot of money. I prefer comments from actual listeners of the unit you might discuss. Here's what I've been considering:
    NAD c545 - $499.00
    Emotiva - $399/00
    Cambridge 640c - sale $349.00
    Music Hall 25.2 - $599.00, I believe
    .
    Whattup, my good man?!

    Having heard that magnificent T&A cdp in your main system I can only assume you're looking for somethin' for a secondary system...great sounds on that night, my friend...believe me when I say if I wasn't running electrostats or if I had a decent tube cdp that Krell integrateted would be in my hot lil' hands right now...

    I digress. When last I saw you I soujourned at that audio boutique you recommended...and picked up a Cambridge Audio DVD89 for the guestroom. I really like the sonic signature of the unit and can only inagine that you'd be happy with one of their dedicated units...

    ...just sayin'...lemme know how it works out...

  7. #7
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    More comments on the NAD 545

    This player is a keeper. The player is not out of it's league when connected higher priced electronics such as Belles or high end speakers like Reference 3A, Usher, or Nola.

    Just a sec...I am going for the remote right now...okay, i'm back...The remote has a filter button... the filter allows you to select the rate. Here is a copy and paste from the owners disk/manual:

    The [FILTER] button is used for selecting the bandwidth of the audio low pass filter for the CD, MP3 and WMA media being played. The options are NORMAL Bandwidth and SLOW Bandwidth. For some recordings the SLOW Bandwidth may provide a wide frequency range and spatial feeling. Toggle CD 8's [FILTER] button to select “NORMAL” or “SLOW” mode. “NORMAL FILTER” or “SLOW FILTER” will be correspondingly shown in the VFD.

    NORMAL NORMAL NORMAL
    : Select NORMAL bandwidth to engage a standard CD high-pass filter slope for playback of CD, MP3, and WMA music through the two channel stereo audio jacks.

    SLOWLOWLOW:
    Select SLOW bandwidth to engage a gentle high-pass filter slope for playback of CD music through the two channel stereo audio jacks. This feature is particularly useful for higher bit rate recordings.

    The player also has an upgrade port:

    UPGRADE UPGRADE PORT : For future software program updates, use this port to upgrade the C 545BEE. Owners who register their C 545BEE in our international website www.nadelectronics.com will be advised of updates (if any). Your custom installer or dealer can assist you in the proper upgrade and setup of your C 545BEE.

    In the review from What Hi-Fi, the reviewer stated the sound is improved by x% by dimming the unit..... Well, I cannot endorse that statement simply because I hear no audible difference whatsoever when I dim the unit.

    With regard to pacing....the 545 is outstanding while I found the 640 to present all music played through it paced like Lawrence Welk music. With regard to musicality/tonality...I found the Cambridge 640 to be a little bit more fleshy over the NAD 545 but not by much. Also I did find the 640 to have better separation of voices/instruments. That's all the compliments I can throw at the 640.

    The 545 has more upper end detail without being bright or sounding harsh, has more bass that the 640, and the tone of the mids are nearly the same. Also, from the NAD remote you can make a playlist from your PC downloads or let the player play on for hours from your disc:

    FOLDER
    : Select through folder lists.
    FILE
    : Select through WMA/MP3 files.
    ENTER
    : Select desired folder or WMA/MP3 file

    I don't have any exposure to the Emo and I did give a quick listen to the Music Hall about 4-5 years ago but I can't recall any specifics about it.

    Hope this helps.

    LeRoy

  8. #8
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    02AN, I am willling to pay a bit more for better sound. Although the 640 got a lot of buzz I've heard it is a bit slow or laid back like Rotel and some shy on bass impact compared to like NAD. The Emo is only $50.00 more and I'm wondering how it would do against these competitors.
    I suppose the Music Hall CD-25.2 is different than my modded CD-25, so this might not help but...my player is a smidge laid back. I don't know that it's not the mods that caused that characteristic.

  9. #9
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    Bobsticks, you are correct. This will be a secondary player to have that I can move around where I need it. This may seem a bit over the top but I'd like to have a decent player to use with my headphone amp and I'd like to be able to move it around the house. If anything happens to the Denon I'm using for transport this player may also take over that duty.

    When I saw the 640 on sale I pretty much thought this could be a "no brainer" as well. The fact that it may be some sluggish is a deal breaker though. A lean, sort of generic sound like entry mass market is a deal breaker for any unit being considered as well. That is the ppurpose of spending a bit more is to find better than average sound without going into higher end and higher end money.

    A local guy has an Arcam Alpha 7se for $225.00. That is a nice sounding player but has some years since being current. I told him I'd give him $200.00 for it if he threw in a pair of Transparent cables. He came back with $250.00. His sister is moving and he is trying to sell a whole system. It would be interesting to see how that player holds up to what I've been considering. Too bad it couldn't happen.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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  10. #10
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Well, good luck with whatever you choose...

    ...nice review by LeRoy btw...

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Mr. P, I own the MH 25.2. Here's the scoop on it. Laid back, delicate sound with very good transparency and sound stage. Excellent treble. Midrange seems pushed back some what. Good bass. I think transparency, treble and resolution are its strengths. I modded my at RAM and it changed the sound dramatically, worse in my opinion. It was an expensive lesson. I hope some day to reverse some of the mods because it really was a bargain at $540.

    Have you considered the Emotiva ERC-1?
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
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    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
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    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  12. #12
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    Yes, the ERC-1 was on my list. I wish I had some info on how it compares to other players. Some of the reviews of Emo's equipment by people making wild claims like they sold their Mac or Levinson and now use Emotiva leave me a bit skeptical. To have a reason to try a piece of their gear though has me leaning in that direction. I'm also kicking around trying their stereo pre in my second system.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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    PS Audio Quintet

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I'm interested in buying a lower priced CD player and have considered the EMO as well. I would like to see a professional review comparing it to other CDP's as well. I just may buy a used Cambridge 740c. It sounds almost the same as the 840c.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  14. #14
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    Spearitsound.com has the 640 at $349.00.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I saw that. Audio Advisor is also selling it for the same price.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  16. #16
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    I 've heard the Nad and Cambridge units, and stressed out the supplier with the auditions. Unfortunately I am not an audio poet for the evaluation but here goes. I find the Cambridge unit detailed and quiet but I don't care for the soundstage which is forward and centered. If you've never owned a Cambridge unit then you might be blown away by their detail but I have grown tired of the limitations of my 640 V1 and the V2 was not enough of an improvement for me to stay engaged. The NAD also sounded fine but a bit dry and what has been described as "laid back". the NAD and Marantz unit I heard which was a universal player, have that "house sound". I don't like having to train myself to listen to that. If I want analog, I'll struggle with vinyl. The Music Hall is next up on my list. It is supposed to have a wider soundstage than the competetion, while maintaining a detailed yet non-fatiguing sound. We will see. This might be a case where the smaller supplier can squeeze a bit more into the package than the mass produced units, ....maybe.

    Bottom line, for 349.000 the 640 V2 cannot be equaled, just not my cup of tea. dk

  17. #17
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    DK, Audio Advisor is selling the Creek Evolution for $699.00 which is on my list as well. Thanks for the input. I've heard the MH was really laid back. Your impression of the 640 was "forward", a poster here says it was a bit slow in pace and another guy I know said it has a "mid hall" presentation which I take to be the opposite of forward. LOL, I don't know what to think of the 640.

    I've also heard that pushing the budget up, the 840 is the giant killer.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The 740c is a giant killer! I really didn't notice any difference between it and the 840c. Maybe there was a touch better high freq. resolution. However, the 840c does have XLR which I did not get to use. Some say the XLR is smoother on the 840c. The guy I sold my 840c said the XLR sounded better when he compared both RCA and XLR on the unit.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  19. #19
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    I thought I remembered right you having a 840 and comparing it to the 8003. How would you describe the 740/840 sound?
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

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