The Audiolab would be my first choice if I were you. I haven’t heard your ProAcs or your Kefs but I run an Audiolab through SL2s with a Qutest and it sounds great. You can buy through Amazon with a 30 day return window in case you don’t like it (here in the U.S.).
I’ve been looking around on the usual sites for a CDX2 (there are several) hoping to find a version 2 with a digital out.
Does anyone have any thoughts or direct experience of a CDX2 as player into the Nova’s RCA vs as transport into the Nova?
I should add that I have heard an Audiolab CDT 6000 into my Nova and I liked it, but I was only trialling a few CD players last year and I didn’t keep it or any of them. However, circumstances have now changed and I would like to add a CD player or transport.
Yes, as I was trying say the AudioLab is very good, the CDX2 .2 is better.
If I was having to replace my CDX2 , I would be happy with the AudioLab , with a good funds available (say £2000 ish, then it would be a Rega Saturn or my personal choice would be the top of the range ProJect CD transport.
Cambridge Audio do a good transport and Cyrus have two transport models, all depends on how much money you want to spend to get better CD playback performance.
As others have said Audiolab get very good reviews for their transport at that price point.
I’ve always quite liked the aesthetic appeal of these players, not all the specific models, but some certainly do look the part. The Audiolab isn’t exactly a high class design, with its more obvious utilitarian look leaving the SQ alone to sell it.
Ive just put an old Arcam Alpha Plus CD player (circa 1990) in my system. I have recapped it and given the trusty old CDM4/19 a recalibration and lubed the tray.
It too has the Philips TDA1541A DAC chip. It sounds phenomenal.
Probably about £100 all in.
Worth considering an older CD player.