Denon PMA-2500NE & DCD1600NE review

Khankat

Well-known Member
I now have the Denon DCD-1600NE installed. The bodywork is unmarked, but there are signs, by way of exposed metal of some screwheads, that indicate they have been removed/replaced. Initially, I left it for 24hrs to adjust to ambient temperature, then positioned it.

Minutes after switching on, there was the unmistakable odour of new electronics warming up. So it is that I imagine that the player cannot have been used. I put on Graceland by Paul Simon followed by Dreams Fly Away by Linda Thompson. At the moment, both discs sound a tad veiled, but otherwise play well. After playing on repeat for a week or so, I am expecting the veil to lift. So far so good.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
unmistakable odour of new electronics
That smell hung around for about 50 hours or so of listening and others have reported it too, so whatever went wrong initially must have happened very quick after the initial purchase. My 2500 did improve around that mark as well. The last few days it's been on for around five hours a day since I put it into the main system. Can't get enough of of it.

You may have a good unit there that someone was simply unlucky with and refused a repair. You could be the first to spin a disc though it. Hope it goes well for you.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
That smell hung around for about 50 hours or so of listening and others have reported it too, so whatever went wrong initially must have happened very quick after the initial purchase. My 2500 did improve around that mark as well. The last few days it's been on for around five hours a day since I put it into the main system. Can't get enough of of it.

You may have a good unit there that someone was simply unlucky with and refused a repair. You could be the first to spin a disc though it. Hope it goes well for you.

I agree, whatever happened, it must have been in the very early stages. I made the fatal mistake of not noting the serial number, before I placed the machine. Now I have to haul it out. The thing is built like a brick outhouse.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I agree, whatever happened, it must have been in the very early stages. I made the fatal mistake of not noting the serial number, before I placed the machine. Now I have to haul it out. The thing is built like a brick outhouse.
Serial number will be on the box label. Denon's policy has changed and the warranty is back to dealer.

WARRANTYDownload
DENON produces high-quality products, however should it become apparent that your DENON product exhibits a defect please contact the dealer from whom you purchased the product from.
DENON issues its manufacturer's warranty extending to 2 years through an authorised dealer. Your dealer is responsible for fulfilling the warranty and is also your point of contact.
Throughout this warranty period you are exempt from any repair costs for the repair of your DENON product. Any further claims, except for the repair costs, are excluded. Should, however, it become apparent that the product has been rendered defective as a result of improper use, adverse external influence or as a result of an unauthorised modification (both hardware- and software-related), then the repair costs shall not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
The warranty period will commence upon the date of sale of the product to the end user. A purchase receipt must be submitted as proof of this and handed over to your dealer. Preferably you should deliver your defective product to your dealer in its original protective packaging.
To be sure of the DENON manufacturer's warranty, we recommend that you consult our dealer locator prior to making your purchase. This will ensure that they are an authorised DENON dealer. Unauthorised dealers are excluded from the DENON manufacturer's warranty.
For products with a defect for which the DENON manufacturer's warranty has expired, we recommend contacting your dealer or one of our authorised service partners directly.
 
I've finally got around to putting the DCD 2500 into the main system replacing the Marantz sa8005. It's now connected directly to my Rega Elicit-R with the Lehmann Linear linking to the Rega via the tape loop. First plays were two SACD titles in my new James Taylor Hourglass and the evergreen Beach Boys Pet Sounds.

I now have to slap my face and wonder why I didn't do this months ago as it sounds wonderful, it does put the Marantz in the shade. If I can get use to having headphone leads trailing across the floor it's going to stay in the main system. The Marantz is now somewhat redundant.
Found the same as you! My DCD-2500NE replaced a Marantz SA-14SE and sounds so much better.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
Serial number will be on the box label. Denon's policy has changed and the warranty is back to dealer.

WARRANTYDownload
DENON produces high-quality products, however should it become apparent that your DENON product exhibits a defect please contact the dealer from whom you purchased the product from.
DENON issues its manufacturer's warranty extending to 2 years through an authorised dealer. Your dealer is responsible for fulfilling the warranty and is also your point of contact.
Throughout this warranty period you are exempt from any repair costs for the repair of your DENON product. Any further claims, except for the repair costs, are excluded. Should, however, it become apparent that the product has been rendered defective as a result of improper use, adverse external influence or as a result of an unauthorised modification (both hardware- and software-related), then the repair costs shall not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
The warranty period will commence upon the date of sale of the product to the end user. A purchase receipt must be submitted as proof of this and handed over to your dealer. Preferably you should deliver your defective product to your dealer in its original protective packaging.
To be sure of the DENON manufacturer's warranty, we recommend that you consult our dealer locator prior to making your purchase. This will ensure that they are an authorised DENON dealer. Unauthorised dealers are excluded from the DENON manufacturer's warranty.
For products with a defect for which the DENON manufacturer's warranty has expired, we recommend contacting your dealer or one of our authorised service partners directly.

Thank you. I have registered it. Been playing the tribute to Gram Parsons CD Return of the Grievous Angel. Sounds good, except for cymbals on one track. I will run the player for longer then listen again.
 

LampPost

Banned
I had the DCD-2500NE for a couple of months (also had the smell issue), it is a very nice player but I found it could sound a little artificial in the high registers. I put this down to the AL32 processing so sold it and purchased a Marantz SA-KI Ruby that frankly blows the Denon out of the water, a sublime player!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I had the DCD-2500NE for a couple of months (also had the smell issue), it is a very nice player but I found it could sound a little artificial in the high registers. I put this down to the AL32 processing so sold it and purchased a Marantz SA-KI Ruby that frankly blows the Denon out of the water, a sublime player!
One man's meat as they say. I prefer the more analytical approach of the 2500 in the higher registers because that's how I like my music. I find the 2500 pairs very well with my Rega amp and with my Lehmann headphone amp. I certainly prefer it over the more laidback approach that my Marantz sa8005 has.
 
I had the DCD-2500NE for a couple of months (also had the smell issue), it is a very nice player but I found it could sound a little artificial in the high registers. I put this down to the AL32 processing so sold it and purchased a Marantz SA-KI Ruby that frankly blows the Denon out of the water, a sublime player!
Don't understand the smell issue! Not doubtiñg it happened, never had a new bit of HiFi kit that smelled. Some of it stunk sonically, that's a different story.
 
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LampPost

Banned
Don't understand the smell issue! Not doubtiñg it happened, never had a new bit of HiFi kit that smelled. Some of it stunk sonically, that's a different story.

It's not a bad smell, Denon told me it was probably dust / oil on the power rails burning off, it went after a few months of use.
 

AudioSG

Novice Member
Greetings from Singapore,

Hope everyone is safe, healthy and enjoying music/movies during this period.

I came across your forum when researching for an AV receiver/amplifier to replace my 35 year old Technics SU-45A amplifier which died in its right channel last month.

For what its worth, the DENON PMA-2500NE amplifier won Silver in the 2017 Japan Audio Excellence Awards.

Highlighted below are the awards won by Denon and it's sister company Marantz, which may suggest that they are established brands in the Japanese audio market.


Japan Audio Excellence Award 2020

GOLD AWARD 2020
DENON
DCD-SX1 LIMITED CD / SACD player
PMA-SX1 LIMITED integrated amplifier

Bronze award 2020
DENON
DCD-600NE CD player
PMA-600NE integrated amplifier

Bronze award 2020
MARANTZ
M-CR612 Network cd receiver

Special award 2020
Marantz
NR1200 Integrated amplifier


2019

Bronze Award 2019
MARANTZ Integrated amplifier
PM-12

Bronze Award 2019
DENON Integrated amplifier, digital player, network player
800NE series


2018

Special Award 2018
MARANTZ ND8006 / PM8006
Development of new generation 8000 series


2017

Silver Award 2017
DENON Digital player / main amplifier
DCD-2500NE / PMA-2500NE

Bronze Award 2017
DENON Digital player / main amplifier
DCD-1600NE / PMA-1600NE


2015

Silver Award 2015
DENON Integrated amplifier
PMA-SX1

Bronze Award 2015
MARANTZ CD / SACD player / main amplifier
SA8005 / PM8005

Product Development Special Award 2015
DENON PMA-SX1
For the construction of DENON's high-end series


2010

Silver Award 2010
Denon Integrated amplifier PMA-2000SE


2009

Silver Award 2009
Denon Integrated amplifier PMA-SX


2006

Silver Award 2006
DENON Integrated amplifier PMA-SA1


2005

Bronze Award 2005
DENON PRE-MAIN AMPLIFIER PMA-SA11
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Thread bump!

Just want to publicly say thanks to @gibbsy for his help and advice.

Have recently had contact with Hi-Fi Corner and purchased a new 2500 whilst trading in my Exposure 3010 CD player - cost £1199 in total.

The only downside is that they didn't have any in stock and new deliveries won't be until 18th August, something to bear in mind for any prospective buyers. Having said that, AV Online have 1 left at £1495:


But they wouldn't accept my Exposure as part exchange, alas.

Thanks to this Thread, I now know two very important pieces of information:

1. The Denon will be smelly for a while!
2. I need to run it in for at least a week via a repeat CD play.

The Denon will be going into a system comprising a Lyngdorf TDAi 3400 integrated amp, a Questyle CMA-800R headphone amp, Sennheiser HD 800S headphones and PMC Twenty.26 speakers and I intend it to be the last CD player I ever own (fingers crossed).

Just as an aside, I've never had an amp and CD player that supported both Optical and Coaxial digital connections before, it's always been one or the other. Any difference/preference between them?
 

HenryHonda

Active Member
Update...

Have really been enjoying my DCD-2500NE for many months now - both with SACDs and Redbook CDs.

For Redbook CDs, I much preferred the onboard PCM1795 DAC rather than sending digital via coax to my Oppo Sonica DAC. However, during lockdown, I started to research a good quality streaming solution as an addition to my sources. Long story short, I am now the proud owner of an Auralic Aries G1 streaming transport - but that's another story...

The Aries was rather good with my Oppo doing DAC duties, but I thought that some streamed HiRes material was not being represented to best SQ - which led me to try a Chord Qutest DAC... Wow, that produced a significant leap in SQ!!

Now to the point of this post. Naturally, I was keen to hear what the Qutest could do for the Redbook SQ from the DCD-2500NE... So, now - for Redbook CDs - I have Pure Direct switched off on the Denon, thereby activating the coax digital out. The Denon is connected to the Qutest by a Chord Shawline RCA to BNC cable.

For me, a significant step up again in SQ - clearer, deeper more well-defined bass; more well defined soundstage (particularly noticeable in well-mastered classical recordings); significant reduction in slightly harsh edges to higher frequencies. I think, in this configuration, the Denon AL32 Plus processing is bypassed - but the Qutest produces a superior result. This is improves even further by the addition of the LPSU.

Now, I know that the Qutest is a significant extra cost (but I have saved quite a lot of expenditure by not going out during lockdown and after) - and is therefore not for everyone - but I would recommend a home audition from your friendly Chord Electronics dealer if you're at all interested :)
 

HenryHonda

Active Member
Just as an aside, I've never had an amp and CD player that supported both Optical and Coaxial digital connections before, it's always been one or the other. Any difference/preference between them?

In general, I would go for a good quality coax cable. However, there are some Optical cables which use glass fibres - rather than the generally cheaper plastic fibres - and these can perform just as well, whilst not being susceptible to RF noise pickup. However, an optical connection can only be as good as the transmitter circuit in the player - and the receiver circuit in the amp.

As an example (others are available) the QED Reference Optical Quartz cable uses a couple of hundred individual glass fibres. You do have to be very careful though not to bend glass fibre cables through tight angles, there's a risk of breaking fibres.

Don't forget though - you may find that you prefer the SQ produced by the onboard PCM 1795 DAC chipset, the associated AL32 Plus processing and preamp in the Denon - rather than the AK5394A DAC chipset in the Lyngdorf. If the former, you will just need a pair of good quality RCA interconnects from Denon to Lyngdorf... Certainly, before I got my Qutest DAC, I much preferred the SQ from the Denon onboard DAC, AL32 Plus etc.

If your interest is piqued, see if you can borrow some examples of each from your friendly local dealer for home audition...;)
 
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Khankat

Well-known Member
Update...

Have really been enjoying my DCD-2500NE for many months now - both with SACDs and Redbook CDs.

For Redbook CDs, I much preferred the onboard PCM1795 DAC rather than sending digital via coax to my Oppo Sonica DAC. However, during lockdown, I started to research a good quality streaming solution as an addition to my sources. Long story short, I am now the proud owner of an Auralic Aries G1 streaming transport - but that's another story...

The Aries was rather good with my Oppo doing DAC duties, but I thought that some streamed HiRes material was not being represented to best SQ - which led me to try a Chord Qutest DAC... Wow, that produced a significant leap in SQ!!

Now to the point of this post. Naturally, I was keen to hear what the Qutest could do for the Redbook SQ from the DCD-2500NE... So, now - for Redbook CDs - I have Pure Direct switched off on the Denon, thereby activating the coax digital out. The Denon is connected to the Qutest by a Chord Shawline RCA to BNC cable.

For me, a significant step up again in SQ - clearer, deeper more well-defined bass; more well defined soundstage (particularly noticeable in well-mastered classical recordings); significant reduction in slightly harsh edges to higher frequencies. I think, in this configuration, the Denon AL32 Plus processing is bypassed - but the Qutest produces a superior result. This is improves even further by the addition of the LPSU.

Now, I know that the Qutest is a significant extra cost (but I have saved quite a lot of expenditure by not going out during lockdown and after) - and is therefore not for everyone - but I would recommend a home audition from your friendly Chord Electronics dealer if you're at all interested :)

Thank you for this. Very interesting indeed. Could prove to be expensive pour moi.

I have the 1600 and am still getting used to it. Why? Well, for one thing its very revealing. Ruthlessly so, in fact. Hopping to it from an original Arcam Alpha was a bit of a shock. I like the Arcam.

As but one example of just how ruthless the 1600 is; I have a CD of Linda Thompson entitled Dreams Fly Away: A History of Linda Thompson. Its a compilation disc. Played on the Arcam it's as though each track was recorded in the same studio by the same engineer. Not so on the Denon. On it, I can hear each and every change, track by track. It no longer sounds as if it were recorded in the same studio by the same engineer. With the Denon, I am hearing the truth, is as good a way of putting it as I can think of.

Then I played Graceland by Paul Simon. Wow, what a revelation. I left that on repeat all afternoon.

Recently, I purchased two SADC's of Joseph Hayden string quartets. These are the only SADC's I have at present. The recordings have been described in the press as being a tad thin in places and the 1600 reveals this to be true.

At times, I do consider switching back to the Arcam. At others, I think of running both the Arcam and the Denon on split duties. Then along comes this fella @HenryHonda who gives me more ideas. Aaarrrgh! 😊
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Thank you for this. Very interesting indeed. Could prove to be expensive pour moi.

I have the 1600 and am still getting used to it. Why? Well, for one thing its very revealing. Ruthlessly so, in fact. Hopping to it from an original Arcam Alpha was a bit of a shock. I like the Arcam.

As but one example of just how ruthless the 1600 is; I have a CD of Linda Thompson entitled Dreams Fly Away: A History of Linda Thompson. Its a compilation disc. Played on the Arcam it's as though each track was recorded in the same studio by the same engineer. Not so on the Denon. On it, I can hear each and every change, track by track. It no longer sounds as if it were recorded in the same studio by the same engineer. With the Denon, I am hearing the truth, is as good a way of putting it as I can think of.

Then I played Graceland by Paul Simon. Wow, what a revelation. I left that on repeat all afternoon.

Recently, I purchased two SADC's of Joseph Hayden string quartets. These are the only SADC's I have at present. The recordings have been described in the press as being a tad thin in places and the 1600 reveals this to be true.

At times, I do consider switching back to the Arcam. At others, I think of running both the Arcam and the Denon on split duties. Then along comes this fella @HenryHonda who gives me more ideas. Aaarrrgh! 😊
@HenryHonda
Good observations by both of you.

I agree with Khankat that the Denons can be analytical in their approach and will certainly find out poor discs be it redbooks or SACD. Then it rewards you with the extra detail squeezed out of discs as good as Gracelands.

Don't know about a standalone DAC, that's another box to get past the wife.

 

HenryHonda

Active Member
Then along comes this fella @HenryHonda who gives me more ideas. Aaarrrgh!

Sorry :rolleyes:, I did acknowledge that this could easily push the budget of many...

Denons can be analytical in their approach and will certainly find out poor discs be it redbooks or SACD. Then it rewards you with the extra detail squeezed out of discs as good as Gracelands.

Trying not to be too 'gushing' about it... but ripping Redbook CDs and SACDs, then playing them via the Aries G1/Qutest/Sbooster brings the detail and soundstage to a whole new level (apologies for the audiophile cliché) :cool: Of course, as you say, poorly mastered/compressed material is revealed even more in its true awfulness!

In spite of my new alternative source route, I'm not about to stop using the DCD-2500NE. There's still something rather satisfying about slipping a disc into the tray, shutting one's eyes and drifting in to the music :love:
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Sorry :rolleyes:, I did acknowledge that this could easily push the budget of many...



Trying not to be too 'gushing' about it... but ripping Redbook CDs and SACDs, then playing them via the Aries G1/Qutest/Sbooster brings the detail and soundstage to a whole new level (apologies for the audiophile cliché) :cool: Of course, as you say, poorly mastered/compressed material is revealed even more in its true awfulness!

In spite of my new alternative source route, I'm not about to stop using the DCD-2500NE. There's still something rather satisfying about slipping a disc into the tray, shutting one's eyes and drifting in to the music :love:
I doubt very much that I will enter the streaming territory and will keep on buying the little silver disc although storage room is becoming something of a premium. As for getting better audio I think the impasse is probably my room and where I can position speakers. I do love that 2500 though, playing right now.

As for speakers I did miss out on an ex-demo pair of KEF Reference 1s just as we went into the first lockdown. Couldn't visit the dealer because the wife was shielding. Maddening part was that I had seen them and listened to them just a few months before.
 
Thinking about getting the new PMA A110 that's on presale in the US. It has the same topography of SX11 with a step forward in some areas. 80wpc into 8ohms, should drive plenty of speakers.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
Sorry :rolleyes:, I did acknowledge that this could easily push the budget of many...



Trying not to be too 'gushing' about it... but ripping Redbook CDs and SACDs, then playing them via the Aries G1/Qutest/Sbooster brings the detail and soundstage to a whole new level (apologies for the audiophile cliché) :cool: Of course, as you say, poorly mastered/compressed material is revealed even more in its true awfulness!

In spite of my new alternative source route, I'm not about to stop using the DCD-2500NE. There's still something rather satisfying about slipping a disc into the tray, shutting one's eyes and drifting in to the music :love:

No apologies needed. I didn't intend to be critical. It's just that you were making me think of trying something similar, which would, of course, meant spending more money. But just before typing this, I had been reading a piece by Darko on how Redbook CD's walk all over streamed material. Food for thought. Must investigate.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
I doubt very much that I will enter the streaming territory and will keep on buying the little silver disc although storage room is becoming something of a premium. As for getting better audio I think the impasse is probably my room and where I can position speakers. I do love that 2500 though, playing right now.

As for speakers I did miss out on an ex-demo pair of KEF Reference 1s just as we went into the first lockdown. Couldn't visit the dealer because the wife was shielding. Maddening part was that I had seen them and listened to them just a few months before.

Like you, I dismissed the idea of streaming. But a week or so ago, I began thinking about linking my PC to my analogue only amp with a view to listening to the music I have on the PC which only ever gets played when I am using it. I don't know, but imagine a DAC would be required.

I can imagine your frustration at missing out on those speakers.
 

HenryHonda

Active Member
I had been reading a piece by Darko on how Redbook CD's walk all over streamed material.

Yes, I would agree with that - especially when played with my DCD-2500NE. The improved transport - together with onboard DAC, AL32 Plus processing and associated analogue circuit - manages to extract far more detail from a Redbook CD than most disc players and on-line streaming sources.

However, if one first rips a CD to 44.1 kHz/16-bit .flac files using the very accurate and excellent dBpoweramp - then streams from a NAS via the Aries G1 + Qutest - the result is a stunning further improvement in detail and soundstage. A solid 5 GHz wireless connection to the Aries avoids noise resulting from an ethernet connection, a high quality USB connection (Chord Shawline) from the Aries to the Qutest avoids RF pickup (as do galvanically isolated USB circuits at either end), and a good linear power supply to replace the Chinese SMPS supplied with the Qutest - all conspire to improve yet further on the Denon player.

Although, I have to say, in spite of the above, I have no intention of ripping all of my CDs, SACDs and Blu-ray audio discs. Far too time consuming! I have contented myself with just ripping my most favourite albums - and, of course, you can never own on-line albums (unless you pay for a download), which can unpredictably disappear for various reasons.

Yes, I follow John Darko, and generally think along similar lines. Certainly, streaming from on-line sources is inferior to using the high end Denon players - although I find Qobuz comes closest.

As I said, I'm not about to forsake the silver platters anytime soon :cool:
 
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Khankat

Well-known Member
Like you, I have no intention of giving up my CD's, just as I won't be giving up my vinyl.

The article by Darko was found as part of a search for something else, don't recall what, other than it was audio related. The piece got me thinking, not least when he wrote that 16/44 is always that, no matter how you hear it. Must try and retrace my steps and see if I can find it.
 

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