Thanks for your response man, i felt pretty alone in this thread. I like the NAD system, expensive but seems good quality. I haven't seen any 'competitor models' i.e. good receivers w/ an integrated cd player. All there is pretty much at best buy are receivers, dvd/cd players, and a few cd only players. no units combined that are worth it apart from the all in one bookshelf system units which aren't worth it.
question: what do you think of the audioengine a5 powered speakers? Do you think i can hook up a cd player system to them without the need of a receiver? They have some aux inputs. http://www.audioengineusa.com/a5_home.php
I wish i could go to a store and try those speakers you mentioned out, but around here we're stuck with what best buy offers. Two stores in the city (NY) are worth it, J&R and B&H but i live in central jersey so its not too close.