Dedicated CD Player - is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Vodder, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    Now I've had a couple of months with my system, I'm getting itchy again and thinking of getting a dedicated CD player - is this worth it over my Pioneer 565a DVD player?

    I'm not into spending £800 on one, more like £300 or less if I would notice the difference. I have a fairly decent AMP and want to take advantage of that.

    Quickly browsing I've been looking at the NAD 542?
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    17,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Rainham Essex
    Ratings:
    +2,452
    Until recently I had a separate Arcam CD73 CDP and a Toshiba SD-900 DVDP.
    The SD-900 was very good as far as a DVD player goes for playing CD's, but I still found the sound flat compared to the Arcam CDP. Both player when playing a CD were used with the internal DACS and not those on my processor.
    I have since replaced the SD900 with an Arcam DV27. This is a great DVD player for both DVD & CD and I therefore also sold the CD73 and found the DV27 was better at CD replay than the dedicated CDP. Again, this is useing the internal DACS on the DV27 for CD.
    I then ran out of inputs on my processor and so started useing the MC-8B's DACS via a digital coax from the DV27 and to me the performance was even better than before.

    I think that the only way you will know if it is worth you getting a dedicated CDP is to demo a few within your budget and see if it does make a difference to your ears.
    In most cases an integrated AV receiver will not have the best DACS and so a good CDP should sound better connected to it via analogue leads. Or if you only have a HiFi amp you will not have this option and will only be able to use the CDP's internal DACS and in this case I think that even a £100 - £200 CDP will sound better than your 565a - but its your ears that you need to convince. No amount of theory can tell you what works for you.

    Mark.
     
  3. Hawklord

    Hawklord
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    3,536
    Products Owned:
    4
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Aldershot, Hampshire
    Ratings:
    +295
    I was in the same boat a while ago with my Sony dvdp/sacd whilst it was great with movies and sacd I felt it limited with music cd's.I decided to get a designated cd player and opted initially for the Arcam CD72T. This was a fabulos player that breathed new life into my cd collection highlighting bits I'd never heard before.This rejuvenated my interest in music which led me down the path of better speakers, integrated amps and power amps to bi-amp my front stereo pair. I eventially decided that I wanted even more from my cd's and went to audition the usual suspect around the £700-£1200 range and opted for the Naim CD5i. This wasn't the best cdp out of all of them but was my second choice (the cyrus cd8 and psu were my favorites) and was the best value for money imo coming in close to <£400 than the cyrus combo at £825.
    If I was to go back a couple of years I would never have thought I'd spend so much money on a cdp but to me it has been worth every £.

    I feel if good music is a prority then a designated cdp is VERY necessary, but, be carefull what you wish for as this can lead to you spending a fortune:)
     
  4. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    Cheers guys, interesting stuff. Been reading up on this DAC thing, may go this route.

    Hawklord - your very right, I've gone from having a silly idea on Sunday morning to now convinced myself I can justify spending another £500+! :devil:

    I was so concerned about getting decent cinema sound that I didn't consider my CD playback at all. Luckily tho the kit I bought for cinema stuff I think is fairly decent for CD - just the tweaking improvement bug now that's got me!
     
  5. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,524
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Central London
    Ratings:
    +17
    Vodder,

    I own 2 Pioneer 565s. One sits on the Hi-Fi rack and is connected to an offboard DAC (Tag McLaren DAC20), while the other feeds directly into an amplifier.

    I am quite happy with the sound from the 565's internal DACs. I think people too readily criticise DVDs sonic performance without giving them a chance. Some of them sound perfectly listenable. Coupled with a good amp & speakers (note: STEREO amp & speakers), I could happily live with the 565 on it's own. Treble-heavy rock music at loud volumes will fatigue very quickly though - Californication is one of my favourite albums but can be a difficult listen on the 565. Same goes for Classical - strings can sound pretty awful. (refering to redbook cd, not sacd & dvda which are awesome!)

    Rather than buy a separate CDP, I bought an offboard DAC. The DAC20 does a great job unearthing detail and has a fast, neutral sound compared to the 565. You'll wonder where all that bass came from! You also get flexibility with DACs - you can connect up dedicated transports, satellite, dvd players, minidisc etc. via the digital inputs.

    Good ones are difficult to find though, especially under £300 (DAC20 was £285 off eBay, which is unusually cheap). Best bet would be the MF X-24. £450 might get you a Meridian 566 or 563.

    Beware - budget CDP's might not give you the performance boost you're looking for (although I've heard nothing but good things about the NAD 541i/542).

    DT
     
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Copied from HFC : £500 DVD+DAC combo


    http://www.sonifex.co.uk/redbox/rbdac1_ld.shtml £400 DAC

    OK DAC Looks are a “bit suspect” but has the required socketry to plug & play without modification. Got a headphone jack also. £400 bargain seems well specced. £70 (seems to be the standard online price) for a Sony 355 DVD Transport, £10 Digital cable. £20 on some ICs. £500, Im sure the Redbox DAC is available online for less than £400.
     
  7. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
    AVF Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    11,201
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,674
    Does it come in any less um sudden colours?
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Pretty rank colour scheme I agree, but surely a good colour scheme for redbook CD :D . Imagine they sold these DACs in black/silver ? They seem to do so for other products but not the redbox range. Here is another product of their homepage :


    Quite nice visually IMHO.
     
  9. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    Those would really mess up the look of my room! :laugh:

    Thanks dynamic turtle some good info there. I've just bi-wired my frontsa and was blown away by that, so reckon I'm defintely looking at this DAC thing - no Tags on ebay tho :(

    Just how to you connect it up tho? Does it go transport > DAC > AMP? Also do you use the DAC for all sources? So any DVD goes through it? Would that make the processing on my amp redundant? :confused:
     
  10. Knightshade

    Knightshade
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Messages:
    2,004
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +43
    Hi Vodder,
    Transport to DAC via COAX or Optical Digital cable. DAC to Amp via RCA Analogue cable.
    A DAC can also be used for any digital source. CD player, DVD, PC, etc.
    Your DVD will have a built in DAC. All you'll be doing is by passing it. Your amp certainly won't be redundant you'll just be going straight to the Pre amp stage of the amp.
     
  11. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    So I would be improving my setup on all sources? Would I still be able to use the DSPs on the AMP?

    If the answers yes on all of them then looks like you have a convert! What are other DACs recommended other than the Tag DAC20? I wouldn't really be wanting to spend much more than £400 tops...
     
  12. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    These are the devices/formats I stream thru my DAC at present :

    DVD-V Music – 5.1 (Downmixed to 2.1) & Linear PCM Stereo 16/24/48Khz
    CD From DVD player
    Freeview Digital from My Nokia 221T
    Minidisc Deck

    One set of ICs from DAC to Amp for all those above, Just 3 Digital leads to DAC from each “source output”

    I could also hook up a PC, CDR, DAB (crap data rates though comapred to Freeview/Sky) if I wanted.

    Your AV amp will hinder all stereo source upgrade IMHO. Do a search on the subject in this forum it has been covered a few time when people want to improve CD but still use a AV Amp.
     
  13. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    That sound ssweet - so all movie soundtracks and SACD/DVD-A still go through the amp then, its just stereo that goes through the DAC?

    How does the amp know, or am I just missing something? My DVD player has digital coax out, optical out, multi-ch out and normal analogue out. Do I connect one of the digital connections to the DAC and the other to the AMP?
     
  14. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Yep from your Pioneer universal player :

    For SACD / DVDA : 5.1 / 6 channel Analogue outputs to Amps 5.1 Anlg inputs
    For DVD-V 5.1 Surround sound : Toslink Optical output
    For Dac Signals (CD & DVD-V Stereo Linear PCM) : Coaxial Digital Output – then from DAC to Amp with anlg inputs.

    Still remember the stereo ability may not shine through due to AV amps stereo ability.

    HTHs
     
  15. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    Cool - I'll have a look for those threads you refer too. I think the Yammy sounds the business in stereo, having said that though I've never really listened to dedicated hifi amps.

    The DAC would improve the quality of CDs though even if I still use the AV amp?

    I don't really want to start having 2 separate systems for hifi and AV - bit of a nightmare that with speakers and the like...
     
  16. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    I cant really answer that having been stereo only my whole career, but there are plenty in here who can, I would think though that a DAC will offer better CD play than the Pioneer your using (as would a CD player for example) into the Yammie but by how much its hindered by the AV amp who knows but you till you listen.

    As I said many on this site have grappled with the problem maybe worth a search.
     
  17. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,524
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Central London
    Ratings:
    +17
    The RXV1400 is a good AV amp. Rather than get an entirely separate Hi-fi system you could instead spend a few hundred notes on a stereo power amp for the front left & right channels.

    Those B&W's can handle (and would benefit from) extra juice. In fact, given the quality/power consumption of all 5 speakers, you should really invest in a 5 channel power amp (something from Rotel or Roksan perhaps), to do them justice.

    With a good DAC added, you'll have a superb 5.1 & good stereo setup.

    Best of all, you could probably do this for less than a grand if you shop around :)

    DT
     
  18. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    Hmmm, this could get out of hand - but sounds good! :devil:

    So I'd be bi-amping the front speakers then?

    Can you get 7 channel power amps? Cos I'm also thinking of getting some 603s and moving the other speakers round to get 7.1

    The funny thing is, the thing that'll block me most is a shortage of power sockets! :laugh:
     
  19. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,524
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Central London
    Ratings:
    +17
    Can't name any 7 channel PA's of the top of my head. You could get 7 monoblocks instead, but that would be very expensive!

    Bi-amping the fronts would be a good start though. See how you get on with that first!

    DT
     
  20. Vodder

    Vodder
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London, UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    Sound, well I think I'm going to get a DAC first and then look to bi-amp the fronts, after that it'l probably be speakers and then bankrupcy! :suicide:

    I'm off to research more....
     
  21. jimmy_b

    jimmy_b
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Vodder - I recently purchased a MF a3.24 DAC to run off my Pioneer 565. The result is fantastic!! I do use a dedicated stereo amp but was using that anyway with the Pioneer onboard DAC beforehand so the DAC is the only thing in the chain that has changed. The sound is more detailed and the extra clarity of the drums is the really noticeable thing. I would fully recommend the DAC route.

    Incidentally, I found it VERY hard to get any demos at all of DACs as places don't seem to stock them much. I had to trust the opinions of the other DAC users here and bought one of the ones they shortlisted. My MF a3.24 cost £430 factory boxed on e-bay and I am well pleased with it!

    Good luck!
    Jimmy
     
  22. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Have to agree with Jimmy here re. demos of DACs its nigh on impossible to get a demo unless you go to estoric dealers who sell high-end efforts, each time I have bought a DAC it has been under the impression that If I did not like I would simply sell on and recoup my money, in fact my first DAC I bought from Midland Audio Exchange and sold it 2 years later for the same price I paid, I also could do the same with my present DAC that I bought 3 years ago. As long as your comfortable buying/selling they are a fantastic way to sample the high life from CD. Buying a second hand DAC is a no-brainer IMHO. This is where VFM or sound per pound ratios far outweigh new CD players, you also don’t havge to worry about the transport packing in as you would with a 2nd hand CD player.

    Smashin :smashin:

    FWIW it should be possible to get a demo at most 7Oaks of the new MF X-DAC V3 or the Cyrus DAC-X when they get rolled out nationally
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice