Originally Posted by clew84
Thanks everyone - I have been away for the holidays so sorry for the slow response.
Looks like I have some auditioning to do. The NAD and Rega combination sounds interesting.
I used to like Arcam until they treated me poorly on a DVD player I used to own (the DV78 I think was the model). I may give them another try as I have heard great things about the FMJ line.
I was also looking at auditioning the Bel Canto Pre3 and Cambridge Audio gear. Their new CD player has been getting rave reviews.
Was at a store this weekend and auditioned a bunch of McIntosh tube gear with Thiel speakers. Absolutely amazing sound. There were 2 275 tube amps, a tube preamp, and MCD201 CD player, and also a SS integrated unit, the MA6900. We tried both combinations and then compared them to an Ayre preamp (V-5xe?) and their CX-7e. Both the McIntosh, one listening with tube and the other with the integrated, blew the Ayre pieces away. Wasn't even close. So I decided to get McIntosh at some point in my life (just not yet).
After reading this I fully 100% back the REGA/NAD combo. This will allow you to save money for McIntosh gear of the future. If you're planning that kind of future you might as well not spend FMJ type of money.
The Bel Canto is sweet but more expensive I believe than the NAD. The REGA imho is better than the Cambridge Audio CD players. The REGA is to me the best sub $1200 player in recent memory. Some major changes were done by REGA and it shows in playback.