NAD, hands down. It is much more "musical" than the other two, IMHO. Now, if you went to the Cambridge 640c, I would say cambridge, but the NAD is better sounding than the 540c. Finally, I do not think the Marantz is even competitive with the other two. The Marantz sounded very two dimensional to me--absolutely no depth to the soundstage.
Great...I am considering the 640C as well as the 540C, I just was trying to justify the cost. I can pick up the NAD for $299 whereas the 640C is $479. Is it worth the $180 difference? I am going to make a quantum leap forward either way going from a 5 year old off the shelf (BestBuy type) Sony product.
Thanks....This will be my first purchase of a higher end cd player so I figured I wouldn't be missing much by going with the NAD, I do like the fact that it has HDCD capacity as well. I think this will probably be my choice for the time being, maybe a better one on down the road. I am glad you got a chance to hear the Wharfedale's, I still to this day can not believe the sound they offer at that price point. It is truelly incredible, I can't wait to hear the Diamond 9 series as What Hi-Fi Magazine states they are even better and priced justaboe the 8 series. It suprises me that more people haven't chosen Wharfedales for their great sound and price. Thanks for the kind comments and I am glad to see you are back!
The competition should be rephrased into: Marantz CD7300 vs CA 640A vs NAD C542
In this scenario and despite being an NAD guy, the Marantz take the cup as the soundstage and imaging factor are simply phenomenal for the cash. All three have a sweet sound with enough details to rival each other. The CD7300 however is a bit slow paced and might initially sound less exciting to the unprimed ears but they are quite a feat for vocals though. Try auditioning them and hear for yourself.