THE AUDIO MISER: Pre-owned cheap CD players shoot out – Akai / Hitachi / Marantz / Meridian / Mission / NAD / Philips / Sony / Yamaha (Part 2 of 2)

TO RECAP:

In this, my latest experiment, I decided to buy as many pre-owned / low cost CD players as I could afford for the investigation and NONE over £40 each from the major auction site.

Part #1: I wanted to determine if via my reference £100 system, I could (a) here and worthwhile improvement and (b) if so, were these improvements consistent?

Part #2: As above BUT via my reference system circa £5k. The system details are irrelevant in this context.

What I had no interest in was:

Facilities, speed of access, what these machines looked like and other distractions.

My purchases all under £40 listed in alphabetical order:

Akai CD A7

Hitachi DA800

Marantz CD63B

Meridian MCD

Mission DA7000R

NAD 5200

Philips CD101

Sony CDP 101775601Toshiba XR 270

Yamaha CD2

RESULTS / CONCLUSIONS VIA THE £100 SYSTEM:

After extensive listening, with different types of music and differing volume, frankly I could not find ANY SIGNIFICANT sonic variation between any of them … except for the Meridian MCD which, by and large sounded more like analogue than any of the others. The Mission was similar in this respect, but not to such a marked degree.

Now then, an observation of some value if I may. After listening to the non UK machines, the Meridian sounded a bit dull. It wasn’t, but it sounded as if it was. Doing the reverse i.e. listening to the Meridian for an hour of so, returning to a few of the other machines, they sounded bright. Inevitable I suppose, and a tad inconvenient.

RESULTS / CONCLUSIONS VIA THE £5K SYSTEM:

After extensive listening, with different types of music and differing volume, yes, the differences in the sonic presentation were readily identifiable as you might expect. However, that said, I certainly couldn’t not express any preferences at all, other than with both the Mission and the Meridian both of whom led the pack - a bit.

Once again, the Meridian MCD by and large sounded more like analogue than any of the others. Similarly the Mission being similar in this respect, but not to such a marked degree.

CONCLUSIONS / OBSERVATIONS:

First things first, every machine involved was purchased by me at £40 or less. The point being that at these prices, if they go wrong then … bin them. None of them were sufficiently outstanding to warrant any form of repair which if even possible would greatly outweigh the preowned purchase price.

Next, some machines have a digital outputs, sometimes more than one. If the machine is a bit disappoint sound-wise but is otherwise working fine, perhaps you could consider what I do, use the machine to transfer your CDs to your other digital devices.

MERIDIAN versus MISSION – if push came to shove?

I’d choose the MISSION because my perception was, and remains that it presents a greater sense of dynamics than the MCD – thorough both my £100 & £5k systems. I never liked the Nextel finish on the MCD.

EPILOGUE

I very much hope that you’ve enjoyed this exploration as much as I have undertaking it. I am already considering my next exploration. A warm handshake to you all.

Part one HERE

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