Question CD Player and Amp?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by SheamusOBoyle, Dec 9, 2018.


    1. SheamusOBoyle

      SheamusOBoyle
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      Hi everyone.

      I’m new to Hi-Fi systems and have recently built my first system (Marantz PM6006 Amp/Q Acoustics 3050 speakers).

      Really enjoy the sound, but some of my audio sources are pretty questionable and inconsistent from my PC, so I would like to buy a CD player for it for a more stable quality.

      I was looking at the Marantz CD6006. My question is this: If I already have the separate Amp, do I need to buy the CD6006? What do I gain from buying that, does it act as a pre-amp? Or is a cheaper CD player that isn’t as big as the CD6006 going to cut it. I’m not entirely sure what it does, other then to send the CD source to the Amp.

      Also, what cable connection is best? Currently I’m using optical cable to connect my PC to the Amp.

      Sorry if this is a softball question, I’m new to audio equipment and want to get better acquainted with it.

      Any help appreciated, thanks!
       
    2. gibbsy

      gibbsy
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      Do you have a collection of CDs or do you intend buying them that's the main question. Little point in buying a CD player as good as the 6006 if you don't as it's a one trick pony. Some other players, such as the Marantz SA8005 can be used as a digital hub because it has a DAC and two digital inputs, but again the main emphasis on that unit is playing the little silver disc.
       
    3. SheamusOBoyle

      SheamusOBoyle
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      Hi! Yes I do intend to buy CD’s, I’m just not sure if the CD6006 is necessary?
       
    4. Khazul

      Khazul
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      If you don't have loads of CD I cant see the point. (Same argument applies to vinyl unless you particularly want something to fiddle with...).

      Just get a decent streamer. What do you mean by 'some of my audio sources are pretty questionable and inconsistent from my PC'? What you think is wrong with them? Knowing that may help us make better suggestions for you. Is it that you have the usual erm... 'aquired' collection of mp3s etc on your PC and many are really low bit rate? Think - its going to take 000s to buy even the favourites of that lot properly - vs cost of a streaming service subscription?

      I would look at either a decent DAC you can plug into your PC, or perhaps something like a bluesound node 2i streamer and a subscription to whatever grabs you as a streaming service - tidal for eg.

      I have a stack of CDs and vinyl, most of the CD was were ripping to 320k mp3 years ago and are slowly being re-ripped to flac, however most of what we listen to too is from Tidal and DI.FM via Roon media system and feeds independent zone streams to everything in the house that is capable of outputting audio, including of couse the main living room hifi/av system via a decent DAC.

      My CD collection is rapidly getting dwarfed by the library additions from tidal, despite that I continue to by CDs (so I can rip them flac) or flacs directly for albums I really like, though of the physical collection was consigned to a number of cardboard boxes upstairs a long time ago.

      If you just want to dip in a toe - then maybe look at a google chromecast plugged into your existing hifi. Not exactly the most revealing DAC around inside it, but it is at least the cheap bargain bin end of what I think are the best sounding family of DAC chipsets and for the money is actually very good and does have a nice punchy sound to it.
       
    5. SheamusOBoyle

      SheamusOBoyle
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      Thanks for replying. What I mean about my music library on my PC is my main streaming source is Spotify, and I have some FLAC albums I have “acquired” but the quality differs from album to album and I was hoping that buying a dedicated CD player would give me a stable quality from album to album.

      Will simply buying a DAC improve my listening quality?
       
    6. dollag

      dollag
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      Firstly, congrats!!! that's some nice gear & glad your happy with it

      i agree with @Khazul, in theory there should not be any difference listening to a digital file via a pc or a cd transport and if most of your files are on the pc, You should focus on getting that right. I have a ton of cd's and after months of ripping, i finally got most of them ripped in flac.

      Couple of q's

      what software do you play your files in? (itunes, windows player, vlc etc)?

      what bitrate are the files (192kbps,320kbps etc)?

      do you hear any interference or is it just the sound quality?

      an optical out direct from the pc uses the onboard soundcard but normally goes through windows sound mixers depending on what software your using and does affect sq. getting a chromecast audio would mean you do not need to connect the pc directly and bypasses all of windows sound mixing.

      I personally use my pc for all media and have an external dac that i feed via usb which goes into my amp. there are many debates as to whats the best connection but tbh i have tried them all and cannot tell any difference.
       
    7. dollag

      dollag
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      Just saw your reply.

      I do not think your problem is the pc. spotify's music quality differs massively and a lot of tracks on there imo sound awful. I have a premium account and always use iit but the sq is not the best. do you have apremium account? if so have you checked the settings?

      a dedicated dac would yield minimal gains imo, the dac in the marantz is decent
       
    8. gibbsy

      gibbsy
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      The DAC is the 6006 is very good indeed and if you intend buying CDs it is simply hard to beat at it's current price. I own one and can attest to the quality of it's audio output. It also has a very good, if somewhat underpowered, headphone section giving 27mW at 32 ohm, which is enough to drive all three of my headphones.

      As for buying CDs there are plenty of small dealers in most towns, we have one in our local market, where you can buy discs in very good condition. Charity shops are another good place to look with discs going for as little as £1.

      There are some very very good quality CDs available from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. Since then a lot of artists have produced discs with dreadful mastering and very poor dynamic range and the 6006 will certainly show these up. Ed Sheeran, James Bay or Haim to name but a few. There are exceptions with Laura Marling producing some stunning quality discs.

      No good asking me about streaming or ripping, just love the little silver disc.
       
    9. Khazul

      Khazul
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      Indeed - they make great beer mats ;)
       
    10. SheamusOBoyle

      SheamusOBoyle
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      Hi! I use Spotify and MusicBee to listen to audio. Musicbee for the flac files as iTunes doesn't play them. If there is a good service for buying flac files please could you let me know. I'd prefer to buy the best quality flac files than download dodgy ones for free. The bitrate doesn't seem to matter for the flac files I already own, they are all over 1k bitrate but some just don't have the same sound stage as others.

      What is the chromecast?
       
    11. Khazul

      Khazul
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      Assuming you mean chromecast audio - it is a tiny network DAC that costs about 30 quid and for what you pay for it has a surprisingly good and punchy sound even if of course it lacks the detail of much more expensive and higher end DACs (but not badly so). For many people it can certainly provide perfectly acceptable and enjoyable sound for a lot of modern music. It also has optical out so it can be used with a much better DAC if needed.

      I have one that I just use as a upstairs network endpoint for the Roon multi-zone media player system (Tidal with MQA and NAS and internet radio services), and thus I don't not use any of its apps or other features at all. I think it has Spotify on it and you can cast to it from phones, PC's mac etc with suitable software.
       
    12. dollag

      dollag
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      If i'm honest, it sounds like the files are just poorly mastered and because your systems is more transparent, your hearing the good and bad.

      It's very rare to get a poor flac file as it's just a digital container and information is not degraded like say a tape or lp. it's just the way the record is mastered. take ed sheerans latest album. it's un-listenable on my system and that's a 24bit hi res file. read up on the loudness war and modern music mastering, you may find it's what your hearing
       
    13. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      Whether one likes her music or not, but the quality of production of any of the CDs from Enya are exemplary... In a real sense they are electronic music, in that she uses all the tricks of the studio ..multitracking of her voice etc.. but the sound is impeccable.
      I love the thrill of the hunt, and find that the charity shops and now the pound shops have great bargains. One of the pound shops I visit has repackaged , relabeled, recycled , boxed and cellophaned CDs at 1 pound!. . How they can do this economically I cannot understand ,but Katherine Jenkins, David Gray , Hayley Westera, Bryn Tervill, and others have made their way into my collection. .. if you are interested were more Pop or metal orientated, they have a much wider choice.
       
    14. Danhifi

      Danhifi
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      I just bought a Rotel integrated amp and CD player, lightly based on the following articles.

      This just in: The CD format isn't dead
      Quote: "So don't fool yourself into thinking that streaming can come close to the sound of a well-recorded CD played on a fine CD player.

      Peter Qvortrup: High Fidelity, the Decline of the Decades | Part-Time Audiophile
      Quote: "Digital Audio is the latest example of how the high-fidelity industry has distorted the concept of research, and improvement. Since the introduction of the Compact Disc in late 1982, the technology has entered into the usual numbers game. 20-bit is better than 16-bit, 96kHz is better than 44.1 kHz, 24-bit is better still, as is a 192kHz sampling rate, and so on. In addition to this, music is now becoming virtual, and very few customers actually know what level of quality they are downloading onto their computer. Claims from the file-providing services that their files are stored using the ultimate lossless, high-resolution codec, coupled with the convenience of a song at your very finger tips makes this path a rather compelling one for music consumers. And does all the necessary hardware, and software upgrades necessary to play back these new file codecs make manufacturers happy or what? Believe me when I say that a critical-listening session comparing high-resolution files to a well-recorded CD on a decent CD transport quickly dispels any claims of higher bitrates as just another marketing-based illusion."

      In regards to streaming...

      What happens when you stop paying for the service?
      What happens when your internet is down?
      What happens when the album you want is removed or not there at all?
      Last I checked, Tidal does not support gapless playback...sorry fans of Dark Side of the Moon and most classical works.

      Streaming/renting music is nice for what it is, but I would not trade the Amp/CD convenience for all the parts that can go down when streaming or PC based audio.

      The CD6006 is on sale at Sevenoaks for $349
      Marantz CD6006 UK Edition CD Player
       
      Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
    15. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      In fairness, I thnk you need too distinguish between PC based Audio and internet based streaming.. my current process is to buy CDs and then convert the music to FLAC. Play the music via the PC and perhaps stream locally. The quality is full CD with whatever colouration that the DAC provides.
      P.S. I have just read with increasing amounts of puzzlement, bemusement , and finally disbelief the strongly felt and utterly incorrect opinion piece by Mr Overtrupt. I need to check was it published on the first of April!. Sorry, but I cannot allow an utter disregard for facts and industry and the work of many hundreds of thousands of engineers be vouced unchallenged.
       
      Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
    16. Khazul

      Khazul
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      Not sure if it is because I access tidal through Roon, but Dark side of the moon is very definitely playing back gapless for me off tidal.
       
    17. Danhifi

      Danhifi
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      Computer audio is an interesting beast. My experience is with jriver and audirvana using the optical out on a MacBook pro to my amp. My research has shown that the programs add their own "flavor" and to get the sound "right" takes tweaking. I see no method more simplistic then popping a CD into a player and pressing play. It leaves very little guessing as to where the weak link is. Computers have their own issues...
       
    18. muljao

      muljao
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      I think your issue with PC based music may be depend on how you plug PC to music system.

      First things first, I'd go for marantz cheaper cd5005 and use one of it's digital outputs to plug it into the amp. The pm6006 and cd6006 have same dac so using a cheaper CD player as a transport and using the amp as the decoder gives same sound quality results
       
    19. dollag

      dollag
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      I disagree in my experience. I use foobar mainly and after ripping red books, they sound identical. I do agree that it’s finicky to get right as there is a lot of opportunity for the windows/macs mixers to colour things but never had an issue with wasapi in foobar. Play the same file in iTunes or wmp and I can hear differences.
       
    20. hifilowfi

      hifilowfi
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      An interesting thread.

      I'm reading between the lines here, but I'm assuming that Sheamus is interested in knowing what a CD6006 would bring to the party. You haven't said if your PC has an optical drive, but I'm making the assumption that it does given the path of your questioning.

      So, if CDs sound fine when played in your PC's optical drive connected directly to your amplifier, then that's great. You could possibly look at purchasing a standalone DAC (Digital-to-Analogue-Converter) which acts as a bridge between your PC and amplifier; this should improve the decoding of discs AND digital files (FLAC/WAV/MP3 etc) stored on your PC. They range in price quite a bit, but should definitely help to improve the sound. Alternatively, some CD players & amplifiers have an "exposed" DAC, i.e. you can connect a PC directly to it (usually to a USB socket at the rear) which allows you to hook directly into the DAC functionality. I have a Marantz SA-CD player containing this functionality and the DAC is absolutely incredible.

      The only way to really judge whether a standalone DAC or CD player is the way to go is to phone a local dealer and get a demo set up. Explain that you're simply not sure of next steps, give them a rough idea of your budget and they'll be able to help you formulate a decision.

      Personally, I'm a big fan of CDs but in the recent past few years I've also amassed a fair-sized collection of digital downloads. Like you, I've found that highly compressed MP3s sound terrible unless you're listening on headphones on the tube, but FLAC really does compare well with CD, particularly when played via a good quality DAC.
       
    21. Filipedine

      Filipedine
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      Hi,

      CD... No CD...Guess the only one that knows if you need one is you.

      All Audio electronics have an intrinsic way of playing (or character if you will) that is related with how they are designed & engineered. This means that the same song on 2 different CD players can sound different. They are just different.

      Finding the one that matches your taste, is some what hard, because you need to ear what you have available at the your price point, and then decide. I am shore people in the Audio industry can help you narrowing down models and makes and do some audio evaluations... lots of fun...

      Comparing a CD player with a PC (file reader/streamer) is somewhat not the same thing and out of the box you will probably have a better sound & quicker start with the CD player - but a CD player (only) is less flexible.

      In the current days buying a CD player, my also be risky has you now have stream services, network streamers and new audio formats that give you more flexibility.

      Finally, Hifi streamers and CD players are far better devices than a PC linked with a cable to the input of you amplifier.
       
    22. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      I am sorry, but I cannot agree with the proposition that the PC with external DAC is inferior to to a CD player.,when played into an amplifier. It is only if one is reduced to using the built in soundchip on a motherboard that the PC is inferior. If one considers that a pc motherboard typically costs 80 quid, and this for a premium one, and there is a lot of electronics on that board, then the cost of the sound chip is pence.
       
    23. gibbsy

      gibbsy
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      A DAC is a DAC is a DAC. Can you really tell the difference if just listening to how a DAC performs. The difference in audio quality comes from how the analogue side travels after conversion. There could be some difference in how the information is initially read, the components on the reading side, quality of the laser on a player.

      There is far more to be gained, or lost, once the signal is in the analogue domain. The quality of the amp, speakers or headphones is far more important. I have two Marantz players, both share the same DAC, the venerable 6006 and SA8005. Initially the 8005 would have cost three times more than the 6006 the main difference being it's ability to play SACD.

      They do sound different, maybe not in the signature which with both is typical Marantz, warm and friendly. It's in the detail, the extra soundstage and instrumental separation that the 8005 wins out over the 6006. That down to the components used, the signal pathway and power supply. The 8005 is better, no doubt. For that quality you can discount the DAC from the equation.

      The 8005 has been linked by analogue to both my Denon receiver and my Rega stereo amp. No guessing as to what sound the best. That's purely down to how good each individual amp is, even a relatively poor amp can marr the sound of a reputable DAC.
       
    24. Mario2018

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      Hi
      PM6006+CD6006+Q Acoustics 3050 good match.
      The DAC installed in computer is usually not quite well and thus most music lovers would like to have an external DAC.But it seems CD6006 dont have USB input for using its DAC and connectng it to computer. It seems ND 8006 may fit to use, but the price would be doubled that of CD6006. :)
       
    25. Julian Stevens

      Julian Stevens
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      As does my 6005, I imagine that Marantz's PM6006 has an integrated D:AC and Marantz make a transport only CD, so the two should partner nicely.
       
    26. Paul7777x

      Paul7777x
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      If you want to use a CD player a pc as a streamer and a CD player then the simplest way to kill the arguments about better this or better that is to use a usb dac or a usb to optical converter with the optical going into the well regarded PM6006 dac.

      This is an excellent one of both. It’ll sell for about 75 quid. The Explorer 1 for about £50.

      Meridian Explorer 2 DAC/Headphone Amplifier (Tidal MQA Compatible) | eBay

      Both can be used as very good usb dacs straight into the analogue input of your amp. That’s how I use mine.

      They really are a first class piece of electronics. Made by Meridian and 250 quid when released.

      If you want to try your Marantz dac instead, the Explorer can also convert the usb output to a clean and shiny noise free optical output.

      Try them both and see if you can tell a difference, and if so, which you prefer.

      The dac in the Explorer is not a hasty, cheap job. It’s a job done well by a world class hifi electronics company.

      And for less than a hundred quid it really is first class.
       
    27. Mario2018

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      ND
      Hi Julian and all

      Julian, you are right. I've just check the official website of marantz. PM 6006 does hav digital inputs and we can use its dac to bypass the dac installed in computer. ND 8006 can be an option for those who want cd player, digital input for its dac installed, and streaming etc., though quite expensive in my eyes.Thx :)
       
    28. Mario2018

      Mario2018
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      PS: Seems marantz transport is not available now. Cambridge did make an affordable transport. Chord and Cyrus transports are beyond my budget ar.:thumbsdow
       
    29. dollag

      dollag
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      any old cd player will do. even an old dvd player if it has a digital out.
       
    30. Mario2018

      Mario2018
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      Yes, if it has a digital out. Thx:hiya:
       

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