I'm considering both players to replace my DVD player as source, but I'm not sure which one to get. Neither has HDCD support, and I believe only the DACs are different. 82 is much more expensive, but is the difference worth it? I have an A85 running B&W CDM7NTs.
Only way to tell is to audition both - preferably at home. I auditioned the Alpha 7 & 9 and couldn't hear a difference. Other people can hear a difference, so what would not have been worthwhile for me would have been for them.
the 72 can be upgraded to the 82 (they put a better power supply in and Wolfson DACs instead of Burr-Browns) so if you go for the 72 now, it can become the 82 at a later date if needed. The 82 can be furthur upgraded to a 92, so a good system from the Arcam boys.
I was trying to say that although the 82 will get more from a cd and output it to your amp, if the amp aint up to it the extra definition etc will be lost. Crude way of putting it, put a £800 cd player on a £150 amp !!!!
Same applts to your speakers, if they are being run to their full potential with cd72, very little benefit.
Put the cd82 on a high end amp and you will think its money well spent.
Try and demo them both at home on your setup, that will sort them out. If not in the shop on a similar setup to yours.
My flatmate works for THX and he says they've been playing around with Wolfson's new 192KHz DAC's a lot and they think they're just amazing - and the THX boys tend to know what they're talking about. Arcam, also, appear to have been quite taken with Wolfson's 192 DAC's - they show up in a lot of Arcam's new kit, including the top spec £3,000 AV8 processor.
Incidentally, Wolfson is based just around the corner from where I live, not that that has anything to do with anything.
Anyway, the CD82 uses Wolfson DAC's, so if they're as good as THX say, it may indicate a large step up in performance from the 72. However, I haven't heard either player, so I'm only speculating.
Incidentally (again), I always find it amusing that even the best new 192KHz DAC's, which are one of the most important electronic components in expensive CD players and AV processors, only cost about a tenner each.
I wonder of any of the Arcam boys on this forum would like to comment about the Wolfson DAC's, or about the CD82 specifically?
We are delighted with the top of the line Wolfson DACs - we use the WM8740 - the best one.
They are multi bit sigma delta DACs and use similar (though not identical) technology to that pioneered by DCS in their Ring DAC, which is used in recording studios and, in ASIC (application specifiic integrated circuit) form, in Arcam's award winning CD92 and FMJ series CD23 CD players.
The result is that distortion generated by the slight mismatching of the circuit elements is turned into benign white noise. The multi bit part (we are talking between typically 24 and 64 elements in these designs i.e. 4.5 to 6 bits resolution approximately) means much better initial s/noise ratio, before noise shaping, than a one bit DAC and thus much less residual HF energy from the noise. A true one bit DAC (as unfortunately exemplified in SACD) has horrendous ultrasonic noise issues.
So, all in all, this kind of technology is the way forward.
Of course just using a specific DAC chip does not guarantee good results - you need to do a lot of careful work around the DAC to get audible excellence. The Arcam team knows how to do this
Ok... I went for the 72 in the end. The 82 was just too expensive for me in Holland. It's around 750 pounds over here, 150 pounds more expensive, while the 72 cost me 500 pounds, 100 more.
I'd be interested to hear what JD has to say about these price differences... two things are puzzling: why the huge difference between english and dutch prices and why the difference in premium between the 82 and 72 (150 and 100)?
Back to more important things. So the 82 was out because of budget problems. It was between the 72 and the DV88Plus then (in case you're wondering, 750 for a CD player is too much, yes, but 1062 (there's that difference again) for a DVD player which is very good with CDs as well is not), which I had heard would perform better than the 72, and slightly worse than the 82. Without going into too much detail, the 72 sounded warmer, punchier if slightly less detailed. I especially like the warmth it delivers, as I needed that in my system. However, now that I'm using it at home (demo on loan from the shop until mine arrives), I'm having doubts... on some CDs the bass is too strong... I've played around with bungs in the reflex ports, but to no avail. Since my 72 won't actually be ordered until Tuesday, I'll have some testing to do...