alpha9 vs cd33

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by Plump, Dec 23, 2003.

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  1. Plump

    Plump
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    I simply have to write this. I am somewhat confused at the moment , after a week of playing with the toys.

    As every other hifi sickhead I also bought one piece of hifi as Christmass (and wedding - hit two in one) present for my sister, pardon babysister (had to put this word in if she ever reads it :) ) . She's gonna get silver Arcam CD33 tomorrow. Now I am not sure if it was really such a great decission!

    Since I own alpha 9 for 5 years now (and DVD32R since one and half years ago) I of course couldn't resist to plug it in and to compare.
    OK, it is almost brand new unit (two months old ex-demo) an not broken in yet but it was by far the least impresive player of three.
    Still as smooth as Alpha 9 but there is something missing. I can not explain it with words but it is somehow dry, without soul.
    I'd rate alpha 9 and DVD32R (with AV32RDP) at least one class higher (with all differences between these two)

    Sorry but I did not like it at all!
    Kastrup

    P.S. for those who do not agree - it is all IMHO
     
  2. life sucks

    life sucks
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    Hi Plump,
    interesting findings.
    I was also surprised that all leading magazines did not find FMJCD33 such a great player as RING DAC models.

    I first thought it was their "sensual connection" to RING DAC, but soon after I heard the same from two experienced dealers. Funny story. Maybe ARCAM should open their ears here and start fine tuning that model (it has great potentials according to whats packed inside the player).

    Regards
    Pedro
     
  3. Caber

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    Wow, glad to hear someone else finally admit the truth. New is not always better. IMHO, Arcam made a big mistake when they dropped the RING DAC. The CD33, however, does have vastly superior internal parts to the Alpha 9 (save for the DAC). The biggest weakness of the Alpha 9 was that it was put on the Alpha 7/8 chassis - in order to keep Arcam's promise to permit upgrading to Alpha 7/8 owners. The Alpha 9 has a weak power supply, poor clock, poorly dampened chassis, cheap internal wiring and cheap gold plated over nickle connections. But, the RING DAC almost makes up for all of this. That being said, all of the weaknesses of the Alpha 9 can be fixed with a few modifications. I have often found that taking good equipment and upgrading them internally produces vastly superior results to new equipment. For example, I have an Arcam Delta 110 preamp and two Delta 120 power amps. For the cost of about US$3000, I have replaced all the resistors, capacitors, power supplies, connections, op amps, etc etc etc in each of these units. The quality of parts used would put anything Arcam could even dream of to absolute shame. These units now sound vastly better than anything Arcam has, or likely ever will, come out with. I am now in the process of doing the same to my Alpha 9 CD - most parts will be changed, except the DAC.
     
  4. riverrun

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    Are you forgetting the (Ring DAC) CD23?
     
  5. crion

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    That was exactly my thought, how is the CD23 then?
     
  6. Caber

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    No no - you are quite correct. The CD23 is a vast improvement over the Alpha 9. It was, in fact, released the following year to satisfy those who wanted the great Ring DAC, but on a chassis superior to the Alpha 7. Still, however, it lacks quite a bit in the inards dept. That's not to say that the CD33 is any better. It's simply that nothing Arcam makes can compare to the highest end parts available. My point is simply that buying a good used Alpha 9 (or cd23) and modifying it will retain the Ring DAC and also be a huge improvement over stock stuff (including the CD33) and at a price on par with a new cd33.
     
  7. riverrun

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    Would you care to quote a price for improving my CD23?
     
  8. Caber

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    Well, I just got my Alpha 9 back. Very nice indeed. The cost was about $1500 Canadian. I say "about" because the invoice included a lot of work to my B&W subs and I haven't broken out the cost between the two. The work to the Aplha 9 included putting in a new clock, new WBT connectors, By-bee quantum purifiers, enhanced power supply, all new resistors and capacitors, etc. etc. If interested, I can look at the invoice and provide more details. The difference in sound is quite incredible. I was very pleased with the Alpha 9, but admit that this mod was well worth the cost. One other improvement you may also want to consider is replacing the cheap power cord it comes with. If you're interested, have a look at the site of the mod expert: http://www.partsconnexion.com They are based in Canada, but ship worldwide.
     
  9. michels

    michels
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    Hi!
    Long time ago!
    have you done all the changes on your Arcam alpha 9 CD player? If so, how good is it? Would you still recommand to do it?
    Thanks!
     

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