1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

High End CD Players

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by marck, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    I am looking to buy a cd player for between £1k and £2k - what do people recommend?

    I curently use a Micromega Stage 6 player.

    Also, is it possible to combine the cd and dvd player into one box -the only one that I have heard about is the Primare (£2300).


    My system is as follows:

    Micromega stage 6 cd player
    2 Audiolab 8000MX
    3 Audiolab 8000SX (used for home cinema power - 1 center, 1 sides and 1 for rears)
    Lexicon MC1 processor
    Audiolab 8000T
    Castle Howard S2
    Castle Keep
    Castle Richmond 3 (rears)
    Mission 77DS (sides)
    REL Q200
    Pioneer 626 dvd player

    :)
     
  2. Gambit

    Gambit
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hey Marck
    I've got a Stage 3 kickin about at home, they're good players but there's much better about now. Try the Cyrus CD7Q (£1100), The primare D30.2 , new Talk Electronics thunder 3.1, Sugden Bijou master class, Arcam FMJ CD23T,... It'll be hard to get all the best under one dealership roof, but IMO the Cyrus is outstanding, as is the sugden.
     
  3. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,072
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    For the range 1-2K of CD player your looking at dude, I would say (IMHO) that no current DVD players could match that level of performance in CD playback terms, higher up the scale like TAG DVD32R yes but that is a 4K DVD player, they have a new front loading version of the DVD32 for £2995 with 96% of the performance. But back to CD players there are many in the price bracket your considering check out this thread over at HFC.

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=637

    Primares CD players are well thought of, there is loads of CDs about your probably best auditioning a few to hear what you like.

    May I be as bold to suggest the Chord 64 DAC which is at the top of your range £1900, this can be used with your existing CDP or 626 acting as a transport (I use a 717 with a DAC), this is the current king of the pile as far as £2000 to 3000 CDPs is concerned at present. If you fancy an upgrade at a budget you could also try a TAG DAC 20 which TAG are selling end of line (even though they say refurbed) this used to be part of a £2700 2 box combo and its old rrp of £1249 has been dropped to £449 if you buy direct from TAG (2 year warranty from TAG), this should marry very well with your existing Audiolab kit and I know from personal experience that its runs very well into Castle speakers IMHO.

    HTHs
     
  4. buns

    buns
    Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,066
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Belfast
    Ratings:
    +1
    You could try a meridian player, they are nice and neutral sounding and, in my opinion, good value.

    The dac 20 is also a good route, gives plenty of opportunity for upgrading.

    ad
     
  5. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,277
    A proper question. :) The Tag transport is excellent, would make a great feed to your MC1.
     
  6. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    So is it worth spending the £450 on the TAG DAC or should I buy a new player? Do you think it would make that much difference?

    I would rather wait until I got, say the Copland, then spend the £450 if it was not such a large improvement.

    Also, I am looking at getting a Pronto remote (2mb) version - what are peoples views on them?:blush:
     
  7. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,072
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Marck

    Is it worth it? Ehhhhmmmm? only you can answer that one dude, I personally think that £450 is small change to pay for a couple of reasons, the DAC 20 used to retail for £1250 on its own, on price terms alone it will be above a CDP up to £2000 IMO dude to the transport costs etc in the integrated player. It is part of a 2 box combo (the Tag CD20T transport was £1500) so again talking of cost alone, that is a £2700 2 box CDP. It up to you what you want to do but looking in these terms, I think it is obvious that you get much more sound per pound (£) spending your money on a DAC upgrade, rather than paying for transports again.

    I have this feeling in general terms that is why DACs offer such good value for money, for example look at the Chord 64 £1900 DAC, now if Chord were to bang on a Transport to that DAC and make it an Int. CDP how much do you think it would retail for? Im thinking personally in the region of £3500-4500, now why pay that when you can have say 90-95% of that performance with the DAC in its own right for less than half price, same goes with Musical Fidelity, and their A3.24 upsampling DAC the basic architecture of that DAC is in the £3000 NuVista CDP, but you can sample the delights of the 3K CDP for £800.

    Im not advocating that simply due to cost etc that the DAC is better but more that you get par level performance for a lot less, I think the same is the case for what you are about to spend in the 1-2 mark. There are plenty of wonderful players in that range but do they offer you the maximum sonic performance that say a Chord 64 or DAC 20 would? I think not personally.

    Only you can decide Mark.
     
  8. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    That is certainly something to think about - a direction that I never though of.

    With regard to the TAG DAC, I have never been that impressed with the TAG products - I have always thought that the old Audiolab range was far better, especially if you consider cost / benefit ratio.

    For example, I know numerous people that auditioned the AV32R and the Primare processor - there was no comparison - the Primare was far better, and not to mention cheaper.

    I am definitely going to try the DAC's that you mention - I need to check on my cd player what connection I could use - this would obviously make a difference.

    I am off to the hifi show in a couple of weeks so I will make a point of collecting info on any new DAC's too.

    So, the ones that you recommend are the TAG (£450), MF (£800) and Chord (£1900)?

    I am looking forward to hearing a comparison between using my cd as a transport with one of the above DAC's, with say teh Copland 822......
     
  9. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,072
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Marck

    Where to start as far as listening to New DACs are concerned Im sure you will be able to track down a dealer who will have a MF A3.24 or Chord 64, the other new option I would urge would be Pepertual Technologies DACs, though not many dealers stock this highly regarded US brand. Those 3 would be on my audition list if buying new.

    The other option is of course to check out the dealers or 2nd hand sections (I would recommend the back pages of Hifi News or Hifi World) some startling bargains can be had, the other point of buying a DAC second hand is that they dont have the reliability problems associated with CDPs whose transport section are on their last legs. I bought my last DAC from this guy, he stocks some very nice kit in fact CDP wise he has some real wonders going on :

    Copland CDA289 CD player with HDCD £1989 £1299
    Electrocompaniet EMC1 CD Player with latest 24/192Khz £2750 £1999

    http://www.midlandaudiox-change.co.uk/main/contents_db.asp?subCat=Digital&mainCat=SpecialOffer

    The Audio Synthesis DAC has a great rep for instance.

    Funnily enough a couple of the DACs Ive mentioned for you to try new have popped up on the net www.hififorsale.com 2nd hand :

    Perpetual Technology P1A P3A + Monolithic Price: £1200 RRP: £1900 Description Superb DAC and computer to match room & speaker acoustics. With these units even mini disc sounds better than most cd players Only the most modern hi end players will beat it with a close run contest. So make your budget player sound hi end Contact: Ray Seller: Private seller Telephone: 02392340007

    Musical fidelity A3.24 upsampling dac Price: £585 RRP: £750 Description Musical Fidelity A3.24 upsampling dac. 5 weeks old 24 months guarantee, unwanted swap. As new condition boxed, mint. DVD and SACD ready, will give any player a real sparkle but I have new Wadia and so its useless to me! Contact: chris Seller: Private seller Telephone: 01733 701345 07881 525582

    I would still urge you check out the DAC 20 from TAG though, you may be surprised in what It can do. Choices Choices !!

    Good luck dude & try and listen to as many as you can.
     
  10. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    Does anyone know where I can find some reviews of the new Copland CD player? Would like to find out some more about it when comparing it with the pre-mentioned DAC's
     
  11. Sony

    Sony
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Messages:
    36
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Aberdeen
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hi, forgive me if I seem a little out of touch - I haven't used this site in a long, long time.

    You are wanting to spend 1-2 thousand on a player and dont know what to get? Yet you have this massive system, full of top of the range kit? Did you win it in a prize? I just assumed you would have the knowledge there already if you have that system.

    Also, a one-box solution for dvd and cd? Any dvd player will play cds.....

    Incidently, I'd look at Arcam and Linn for one box solutions. Or get a Cyrus or Meridian cd player and spend the rest on good cables. I have a cyrus and it rocks.
     
  12. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    Well I went along to Acoustic Arts on Saturday and listened to a couple of cd players - the best was def the Copland - awesome.

    However, for my needs I think I would be better off with something like the Theta Carmen transport - then I can just use the DAC's in the MC1.... only problem though is that it is some what more expensive... why is that always the case with hifi kit!


    By the way, I have done a lot of research into this topic - cd / dvd one box solution etc and there are so many new products out there it is interesting to get some other peoples opinions. The only way in the end to decide is to listen and watch.

    Infact I am going back next week for a demo of the Theta, and cant wait!!
     
  13. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,072
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Hey Marck Did you say Theta Carmen ? ? ?

    I see the quest continues for the holy grail dude, I don’t know if you have heard of Midland Audio Exchange (they will let you home demo) I know a guy who has just bought a Wadia T+DAC from them, I have bought a DAC from them in the past and find the owner a good guy to deal with they also fire in a warranty period even though it is used equipment. But of most interest is that the have a Carmen on special offer & considering what you are thinking of doing ie feeding the Lexicon (which seems to be a very good idea IMHO)

    http://www.midlandaudiox-change.co.uk/ > Special Offers > Digital

    Theta Digital Carmen CD/DVD Transport £3499 £2295

    http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=437 HFC 5 star review.

    I believe Charlie Whitehouse is the man to talk to in here regarding the actual performance of the Carmen but from what Ive heard on other boards (AudioAsylum) this is a very nice piece of kit & at a knock down price IMO it should be on your audition list.

    HTHs dude !!
     
  14. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    Thanks for that - I actually saw that over the weekend. I think that is a very good price for a quality piece of kit. Unfortunately the shop is closed until 4th September, so I am going to go along to my demo on Saturday.

    I am interested to see and hear the difference between my Micromega Stage 6 and Pioneer 626D DVD player.

    By the way, anyone interested in those two products, they may not be needed for too much longer.....
     
  15. Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    If you can stretch to five grand you can get a Marantz SA-1. JAWDROPPING with normal CD...
     
  16. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    Hi,

    Think the misses would divorce me! I will post a reply after Sat. I have heard excellent reviews re the Carmen, especially when partnered with my MC1.

    Rgds
    Marc.
     
  17. Charlie Whitehouse

    Charlie Whitehouse
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Marck,

    Get a demo, then buy cheaper elsewhere?? Tut! Tut! Tut! :D

    Seriously, are you going to demo the Carmen through your MC1? I would strongly recommend doing so. And don't let them demo it through a Theta processor unless you're really prepared to get seriously hooked! :eek:

    There are some other worthy contenders at or around that price level. The TAG is certainly strongly supported by many here. You may also want to consider waiting for the Theta Carmen II to become available over here in a few weeks' time. Pricing is not available yet, but it will probably be a bit more than the Mk I given the new features. Alternatively, you may be able to pick up a Mk I ex demo.

    Let us know what you think after your demo.... :D
     
  18. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    Thanks for that Charlie. I have just returned from my demo and I thought it was just amazing! The CD replay now sounds like how a high-end cd player should sound.

    The other unit at Midland Exchange was 2nd hand - that is why it was cheaper. Anyway, I have gone with Acoustic Arts - I find that their service level and knowledge is second to none.

    As for the Carmen II - that is not out yet, but it will be over £5k - the main benefit is the new format which it will support - however the Carmen I will be able to upgraded at a later date to the II - but that will be some way off.....


    Marc.
     
  19. Charlie Whitehouse

    Charlie Whitehouse
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Marck,

    Glad you liked it! You won't go wrong with AA. Tony, Kingsley and Fraser are some of the nicest guys you will come across. I suspected the Carmen 2 would be quite a bit more, but at least you have the option to upgrade later. Just one word of warning with Theta when it comes to upgrades, you do have to be patient!! :p
     
  20. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    Thanks for that Charlie. I have just returned from my demo and I thought it was just amazing! The CD replay now sounds like how a high-end cd player should sound.

    The other unit at Midland Exchange was 2nd hand - that is why it was cheaper. Anyway, I have gone with Acoustic Arts - I find that their service level and knowledge is second to none.

    As for the Carmen II - that is not out yet, but it will be over £5k - the main benefit is the new format which it will support - however the Carmen I will be able to upgraded at a later date to the II - but that will be some way off.....


    Marc.
     
  21. dts_boy

    dts_boy
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    2,536
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Manchester suburbs...
    Ratings:
    +142
    with the risk of sounding stupid, will the Tag DAC improve DVD performance as well? i have a Primare v25 and while i am happy with it i want better stereo performance as well. Also, how would it wire up, at the mo my dvd is linked via coax into my amp, would the DAC be wired via an analogue output into my 1se for music and coax straight from the dvd for surround sound?
    Many thanks, i feel that the higher end 2 channel market is quite daunting for a person like me!:blush:
     
  22. marck

    marck
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    600
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +1
    Hi dts_boy,

    A DAC will only improve sound when it has to be converted from an analogue to digital source. The Primare that you refer to, I take is the DVD/CD player? If it is, then the source is already digital.

    If so, you should be connecting this to your amp using a digital connection and not coax. Likewise, if your amp has more than one digital input, it may be possible to run a further digital lead from your Primare to your amp for cd replay.

    By connecting using coax you are changing the source into analogue.

    I am sure if you change it to as above you will notice a huge improvement.

    Rgds
    Marc.
    :)
     
  23. Charlie Whitehouse

    Charlie Whitehouse
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Marc,

    I think you are a little confused about your digital/analogue & coax. :confused:

    What dts-boy is proposing is correct, to take the coaxial SPDIF digital output from his Primare DVD/CD player into the TAG DAC and take the analogue RCA phono outputs from this into his 1SE amplifier into one of the analogue inputs. The coaxial SPDIF interface will give the best (lowest jitter) signal connection between DVD/CD player and DAC for PCM stereo signals, and should be used for playing CD's.

    The other digital output from the Primare, a TOSLINK optical fibre. I think, should be connected to the digital input on the 1SE. This will carry the bitstream for DD/DTS film use. Bitstream is less susceptible to effects of jitter, so if you have to make a choice, it is better to use the coax for SPDIF PCM and optical for the bitstream.

    You will have to be careful not to accidentally pass a DTS bitstream to your TAG DAC as the result will probably fry your tweeters! It's usually better to have the DAC switched off unless you want to listen to a CD. :eek:

    Some DVD's carry a 48kHz PCM stereo track which would also benefit from being passed through the TAG DAC. Also, some audio DVD's called DAD's have a 24bit/96kHz stereo PCM track. But I'm not sure whether your Primare can pass this signal without downconverting it to 24/48. Pioneer players (and Theta which are based on Pioneer), for example, are able to pass this 24/96 signal. Also, I'm not sure if the DAC20 will accept 24/96 input though I'm sure some of our TAG experts will be able to say for sure - just checked, it doesn't ! So ignore the bit about 24/96!

    HTH. :)
     
  24. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,072
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Dts Boy, the way Charlie suggest is the best way IMO for connecting up the V25 (I assume you have 2 outputs – 1 RCA coaxial & 1 Toslink optical) the coaxial would go from the V25 to the DAC for CD duties carrying PCM signals, then the optical for bitstream duties for AV movies (for exactly the same reasons as Charlie states). But Im sure you are in fact talking of the RCA coaxial output on the DAC 20 that can pass the signal that the DAC 20 recieves (From V25 in coaxial input) through the unit (correct me if Im wrong dude) I think someone has tried it and the DAC 20s processor does doctor the signal, I think If I remember the bass was lighter from this output, but I think it is academic, because you will simply run a separate optical cable for movies and all other processing (CD & DVD music) via the analogue outputs into your 1SE from the DAC 20, I asked TAG about the output loop and this was the official reply from TAGs (Very Helpful) Helpdesk :

    To answer your question: Yes, the DAC20 will pass through the digital information from a DVD player up to 48 kHz. This information is also re-clocked inside the DAC20, helping reduce any jitter. However, improvements in sound quality will depend entirely on the quality of the output from the DVD player, the cables used and the quality of your AV processor.

    So the signal is doctored by the DAC 20 AFACIT. But don’t let this put you off the DAC 20 in conjuntion with a very good DVD player (like the V25) will give serious CDPs above £1500 a good run for the money hell in my book even outgun them.

    FWIW I only use the DAC 20 in conjunction with a stereo hifi set up, and the processing it does from my Pioneer 717 is astonishing in stereo mode (for AV 5.1 & 48Khz PCM stereo), I find the DAC 20s decoding from 5.1 downmixed into its 2 channel DAC much clearer (Better Bass & Separation) than any Dolby Digital 2.0 track @ 48Khz (I have done many A/B comparisons on the same movie), this show me that it is a superior processor in its own right. I also listen to a lot of 16/48 PCM music via the DAC 20 (For example U2s Elevation & Neil Finn Live DVDs) and I am here to tell you this is wonderful. Obviously you can still get your 5.1 from the 1SE via its optical cable, but I would suggest if listening to music then even its downmixed stereo listening to DVDs would sound better than the 5.1 processor (IMHO of course)

    HTHs dude get back with any questions & do a search on the DAC 20 above, there will be something your thinking that has been asked already.

    Charlie, I tried a DAD 24/96 through the TAG DAC 20 (With the Pioneer set @ 96Khz Linear PCM) and the result was silence, the limit of the TAG being 48Khz it would not lock onto that level of signal, but it also showed that PCM signals greater than 48Khz will not be downmixed to the 48Khz level. Not a huge problem IMO as the DAC 20 decodes up to 48Khz anyway and the results with HDCD are to my mind equally as appealing as DAD 24/96 from what Ive heard (Not to mention the catalougue differences). So if you want DA 24/96 the DVD players onboard DACs can deocde that and you can listen via a set of ICs from DVD to Amp.
     
  25. dts_boy

    dts_boy
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    2,536
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Manchester suburbs...
    Ratings:
    +142
    Thanks for that guys - i think i got it now:
    SPDIF outta my V25 into DAC20 then analouge into amp
    optical outta my V25 into amp for 5.1 listening?
    i guess it would be easier to wire the analouge out of the dac into the cd input of the amp and have it completely seperate - this way the films and music would remain seperate yes?
    thanks ever so much for the help, i asked at my local shop today for advice on DACs and they looked blank and tried to tell the improvement in picture was not worth all the effort, just buy a new dvd player!:eek:
     

Share This Page

Loading...