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Mid-Range CD Player Upgrade Advice

charliecossie

Established Member
Gentlemen,
A question for those of you in the know.....
I currently have the following equipment:-
Denon 3910 connected by firewire to
Pioneer AX10AiS which bi-amps a pair of
Canton Karat M80DCS with a Karat CM4 centre, Karat AS200 sub and LE109 surrounds.
The Pioneer is a new addition and is a "last and final" amp (says SWMBO)!

Although the sound of DVD, DVD-Audio and SACD is lovely through this lot, I do feel that I could do a bit better on the red book front. A few years ago I used a Philips SACD1000 (until it died just out of warranty:( ) and my memory of it's CD playback is better than the 3910.

I can spend up to about 1500 Euros.

There are no dealers within reasonable travelling distance where I can listen anything half decent - all we've got locally is Germany's equivalent of Currys (called Media Markt).

German eBay is much safer to use than UK eBay and the following are on at the moment, for example:-
Arcam FMJ33 for 1000 Euros (10months old)
Rega Apollo for 900 (new)
Quad 99P2 for 1400 (new)

Would any of these make a significant improvement over the 3910 firewired into the AX10? (CD connection would be analogue, of course)

My music tastes are wide, I like pretty much anything.

Thank you for any advice.
 

Cable Monkey

Prominent Member
Hi,
use the 3910 as a transport. Buy a DAC. A Benchmak DAC1 is well within your budget, will bring significant improvement over the 3910 or Pioneer DACs and is readily available in Germany I have the DAC and sold my CD player as a result, surplus to requirements!:)
 

Thekop

Established Member
Hi charliecossie

My take on this is that I'm a firm believer of having a dedicated CD player for red book cd playback...I have a Denon DVD3910 which is a great all rounder but it's just no match for my Quad 99 CD-P2 CD player. It uses a proper CD Drive for a start which is perfectly optimised for 1x reading which a DVD Drive or cheap data drive is not... Plus the fact it uses the latest state of the art Crystal 24 Bit 192khz DACS a 3 laser pick up and an ultra smooth servo, for greatly reducing the jitter clock - a curse of 2 box CD players in my opinion. It can also be used as a DAC if desired, and also has a Digital pre-amp for direct use into a power amp - with stunning results......

This is my baby :cool:



Goodluck on what you decide.

Tim :)
 

charliecossie

Established Member
Cablemonkey:
Thanks for the input. The DAC1 is, as you say, readily available for just under a grand (Euros).
Is the performance of a DAC dependant on the transport? I've had more DVD players die on me than you can shake a stick at so when the Denon dies I'll probably buy a Marantz. :)
I have to say that I lean slightly towards a dedicated player. Why is a DAC a better proposition than an Arcam FMJ33 or a Rega Apollo (as they're all the same price)?

Thekop:
How on earth can I take advice from you? Once blue, always blue and my name isn't Wayne. :D
The Quad is slightly favourite at the moment. I didn't mention a couple of other interesting players here though. There's a Shanling CD80T (?) at 900 new and a Cayin tube player for 1500. Any thoughts/knowledge of these two?
 

Bee-Man

Established Member
There are a number of Asian brands that are rather decent and when considering the volume of electric and electronic components that are now Chinese/Asian sourced, it stands to reason that China will start to produce some acceptable local merchandise....

Shanlin - Chinese make and depending on the model, very good or very overpriced. Not my preferred make to be honest - but each to there own.....

A not so well known Chinese manufacturer is Audiovega who do (and rather well) the valve amps and valve CD players....at very good value. Upgrading the valves gives significantly better sound - wow!

I have the Audiovega CD55 which ought cost around 500 Euros - and in direct comparison to say CEC players from Japan....

To me, that is great value however I wouldnt stack them against the high end Audiophile components.....

Good luck.
 

Thekop

Established Member
charliecossie said:
Thekop:
How on earth can I take advice from you? Once blue, always blue and my name isn't Wayne. :D
The Quad is slightly favourite at the moment. I didn't mention a couple of other interesting players here though. There's a Shanling CD80T (?) at 900 new and a Cayin tube player for 1500. Any thoughts/knowledge of these two?

I've put my money where my mouth is.... :D

The Shanlings are hard to come by, goodluck in finding one to audition though. :rolleyes:

I can't see beyond the Quad myself and this RED isn't for turning :eek: Goodluck this coming session, you're going down by the way :devil: :rotfl:
 

Cable Monkey

Prominent Member
charliecossie said:
Cablemonkey:
Thanks for the input. The DAC1 is, as you say, readily available for just under a grand (Euros).
Is the performance of a DAC dependant on the transport? I've had more DVD players die on me than you can shake a stick at so when the Denon dies I'll probably buy a Marantz. :)
I have to say that I lean slightly towards a dedicated player. Why is a DAC a better proposition than an Arcam FMJ33 or a Rega Apollo (as they're all the same price)?
The 3910 is actually a very good transport. It is a chunky well made beast and has played CD's other players have failed to so I am confident it will not be significantly worse than a dedicated redbook player IMO. The Benchmark Dac1 is largely transport independant because of the way it has been engineered so very little mileage is gained by mating it to a prefered transport. It will work well with whatever you mate it to and the only caveat is if you like its sound (very neutral and analytical). I think I am getting the very best I can from my 3805/3910 combo with the introduction of the DAC for CD. Stereo amplification is the next best jump IMO.
 

dynamic turtle

Established Member
?

Is it really worth running a €1500 CDP into an AV amp?

You'd probably be better off spending €500 on a chinese valve output CD player like Consonance/Shanling/Cayin and €1000 on a nice tube integrated from Ming-Da or Consonance.

This should be easily achievable if you buy direct from Cattylink and will probably give you an much warmer & enjoyable sound than an Arcam!

DT
 

charliecossie

Established Member
Dynamic turtle said:
"Is it really worth running a €1500 CDP into an AV amp?"

I don't know, that's why I asked "Would any of these make a significant improvement over the 3910 firewired into the AX10?" :rolleyes:
German customs will charge me a wedge of cash (about 25%) on the import, therefore I could spend 1200 on the Chinese stuff. Is 1200 Euros worth of Chinese stuff really gonna better what I have now? Significantly? And what happens when it breaks?

Thanks to all for the replies. I can get a DAC 1 for 950 delivered and 30 days to try it and return it if I wish. If it doesn't work out, I'm back where I started but it's only cost me a few quid in return postage.
 

dynamic turtle

Established Member
charliecossie said:
:
German customs will charge me a wedge of cash (about 25%) on the import, therefore I could spend 1200 on the Chinese stuff. Is 1200 Euros worth of Chinese stuff really gonna better what I have now? Significantly? And what happens when it breaks?.

Well, most of these Chinese dealers declare low values or mark the item as a gift, so you only pay minimal taxes, if any whatsoever.

I think you'd be surprised just how good a sound you can get for €1300. A Consonance M100S+ (300B push-pull) would set you back €750, or perhaps a Ming-Da MC34 MKII at €550? A Shanling CDT-80 would cost €450, and a Cayin CD17T €550 . Any of these combinations would sound very special indeed and certainly represent incredible value compared to equipment like the Benchmark.

With regard to faults & repairs, Cattylink offer a 1 Year RTB (Hong Kong) warranty, as does Ben at ChineseHiFi (located in France). FWIW, the above amps are all hard-wired, and could be repaired by any competent engineer with a circuit diagram. All parts would be readily available. The CD mechs are Sony/Philips VAM/KHM designs and are available worlwide, as are the caps/dacs/PSU's etc. Repair/servicing should be no problem, even in they are out of warranty.

DT
 

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