Best CD Player under £500 Part 3

Best CD player under £500 – Reviewed by HiFi Ideas
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Part 3, the superb Marantz CD6005 Reviewed

The popular sub £500 or $750 dollar price point is packed with superb value CD players showing there is still life in CD’s yet.

Third contender in this four CD player test is the award winning Marantz CD6005.
(Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5, Denon DCD 720AE, Marantz CD6005 and Cambridge Audio Azur 651C being the full test group, see other posts)
The Marantz has the same extras above the Topaz spec as the Denon, an iPod/USB socket, upgrade-able mains lead, Coax and Digital Outputs for those wanting to further upgrade with a stand alone DAC plus remote control links to other Marantz products and a headphone socket with volume control.


Marantz CD6005

So how did this award winner compare? at £350. Well mixed really when I did the review this was a mere £20 more than the Denon and so was a good test of the legendary Marantz quality.
However with the Denon reduced from £330 to £178 it moved the goal posts and made me re-evaluate the review.

Putting back on Noah and the Whale, the violin was more detailed than the Denon and the harsh edge of the Denon was replaced with a smoother sound.
Perhaps more musical is how to sum it up.
Marantz cd 6005 pic 2

Moving on to Norah Jones, the piano just sounded so much more lifelike than the Denon and you could now count the number of backing singers rather than just guessing at the number.

How would Holst and the big Orchestral piece compare played on the Marantz to the Denon? The scale and detail shown by the Denon was still there but the slight edginess the Denon put on the piece was gone.Strings were lush and full, overall a more musical experience.

Kings of Leon the guitars just sounded full on and that wonderful dynamic and detailed sound you expect from the King’s. In fact my first reaction was WOW….yes for this type of music the Marantz takes some beating.

So to conclude on the Marantz CD6005 at £350 it is value for money, but with the Denon at £178 this is more difficult one to argue for. Yes the Marantz has a better overall sound balance and is more musical than the Denon but is it twice as good, on this you have to judge for yourselves.
Audition both and decide if that more open musical sound is worth twice the money.

Coming soon Cambridge Audio Azur 651C CD Player review
Marantz rear

System
CD Players
Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5 £120
Denon DCD 720AE £178
Marantz CD6005 £350
Cambridge Audio Azur 651C £499
Other Equipment
Arcam FMJ A19 Amplifier
Dynaudio DM2/7 Speakers
Chord Carnival Speaker Cable
Cambridge Audio Interconnect

Play list
Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Peter Gabriel – So Remastered Box Set
Holst – The Planets Suite
Nora Jones – Feels Like Home

Best CD Player under £500 Super Test Pt 2

Best CD player under £500 – Reviewed by HiFi Ideas
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Part 2, the superb Denon DCD720AE Reviewed

The popular sub £500 or $750 dollar price point is packed with superb value CD players showing there is still life in CD’s yet.

Second contender in this four CD player test (Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5, Denon DCD 720AE, Marantz CD6005 and Cambridge Audio Azur 651C) is the award winning Denon DCD720AE which having been reduced to £200 becomes a serious consideration to advocate nearly doubling your budget from the Topaz.
Extras above the Topaz spec are an iPod/USB socket, upgrade-able mains lead, Coax and Digital Outputs for those wanting to further upgrade with a stand alone DAC plus remote control links to other Denon products and a headphone socket with volume control.



Denon DCD720AE CD

So how did this award winner compare? First of all do consider this was originally a £330 award winner so at £178 or less it becomes an absolute steal, which explains my puzzlement as to how £58 more could give you all those functions, a build quality that makes you have confidence that your investment will be trouble free and a definite upgrade in sound quality.

Putting back on Noah and the Whale, the violin went up a notch in edgy detail with more space around the instruments, vocals came further forward in the sound mix.
Denon DCD720AE close up
Moving on to Norah Jones, the double bass playing technique came across more noticeably with string plucking and drumming on the bass front panel easily heard.Vocals sharpened up with Norah’s voice showing off the familiar sibilance on the track.

How would Holst and the big Orchestral piece compare played on the Denon to the Topaz? The scale and detail of the orchestra were that much more apparent and the track just sounded much more realistic.

Kings of Leon also shone with Rhythm and lead guitars now more noticeably separated and bass going even lower. now I understand why this was given a five star rating!

So to conclude on the Denon DCD720AE at £330 it was value for money, at £178 this is a no brainer, which is not to say ignore the Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5 if your budget is limited to sub £150 as at that price point you will not regret choosing a Topaz CD5.

Coming soon Marantz CD6005 CD Player review
Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5 + Denon DCD 720AE Cd players connections

System
CD Players
Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5 £120
Denon DCD 720AE £178
Marantz CD6005 £350
Cambridge Audio Azur 651C £499
Other Equipment
Arcam FMJ A19 Amplifier
Dynaudio DM2/7 Speakers
Chord Carnival Speaker Cable
Cambridge Audio Interconnect

Play list
Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Peter Gabriel – So Remastered Box Set
Holst – The Planets Suite
Nora Jones – Feels Like Home

Best CD Player under £500 Super Test Pt.1

Best CD player under £500 – Reviewed by HiFi Ideas
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Reviewed Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5, Denon DCD 720AE, Marantz CD6005 and Cambridge Audio Azur 651C

The popular sub £500 or $750 dollar price point is packed with superb value CD players showing there is still life in CD’s yet.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review four fantastic CD players ranging from £120 to £499. Do you get what you pay for moving up the price bands?
Yes you do, but saying that each of these players is a winner in its own band.


This super test will be done in four parts plus an overall winner post over the next few weeks so please keep checking for updates unless you have already subscribed in which case I will update you by email as the posts are published.

The starting point for the test is the no frills but high value for your money Cambridge Audio Topaz CD 5, which comes with a remote control and basic RCA connections on the rear panel, with the usual easy to operate manual CD controls on the front.
This is a very easy to install plug and play deck.
Cambriddge Audio Topaz CD5 front

I would say the sound was better than I had hoped for at £120, with an even handed response to most of the tracks I threw at it.
Noah and the Whale, Introduction with its edgy violin playing was delivered well. Perhaps not all the detail I am used to but still very musical with the vocal duet easily followed.

Moving on to Norah Jones and Sunrise, the double bass was well defined and vocals had all the emotion and detailed phrasing to draw you into the track.

Kings of Leon and Supersoaker had the Topaz showing it could deal with killer bass lines and complicated guitar riffs without being ruffled.
Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5 front angle
For a complete change of direction, I tried Holst The Planets Suite just to see how a full size orchestra would be conveyed by the bargain priced Topaz, to be honest this surprised me more than the rock and pop offerings already tried.
The scale of the orchestra and the delicacy of the strings were a revelation at this price point.

To sum up the Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5 I would say that classical and more acoustic type tracks were delivered a little better than grungy electric guitar, but it is still a very competent all rounder, a definite 4 star award for this one.

CD5rear

System
CD Players
Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5 £120
Denon DCD 720AE £200
Marantz CD6005 £350
Cambridge Audio Azur 651C £499
Other Equipment
Arcam FMJ A19 Amplifier
Dynaudio DM2/7 Speakers
Chord Carnival Speaker Cable
Cambridge Audio Interconnect
Cambridge Audio Topaz CD5
Play list
Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Peter Gabriel – So Remastered Box Set
Holst – The Planets Suite
Nora Jones – Feels Like Home