So, I'm putting together my first semi-serious stereo system, and I need a cd player. Choosing one, has proven more difficult in many respects than choosing speakers or an amplifier. There don't seem to be all that many choices anymore, if you put aside universal players, which most audiophiles seem to discount. I've found a number of old threads on this and other forums, but the advice generally seems to be to keep one's current transport, and buy a better stand alone DAC. The thing is, I don't have a real transport already--just an old boombox. I'm leaning towards buying new. I bought vintage speakers, and have a used semi-vintage amp on the way, so taking some risk out of this stage of the chain seems like it might be a good idea, but I could be persuaded to go a different route. I'd really prefer to stay at or under $500. Of the above listed players, which would you choose. I've heard a NAD player which sounded pretty good, but the Marantz seems to edge it, in those few reviews which I can find. The Music Hall is intriguing, but it seems like there is a lot less information about that model out there. I also have given some thought to the Emotiva ERC-3, but there seem to be a lot of reviews which mention noisy operation. In any large product run, I figure there are bound to be a few lemons, and thus a few negative reviews, but when you see the same complaint consistently, it seems wise to steer clear. Anyway, I would appreciate any thoughts/input.