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Multi-Format vs. Standalone

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by meep, Apr 16, 2003.

  1. meep

    meep
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    Hi

    Looking to add a CD spinner to my hardware collection.

    How would a "Universal" DVD with SCAD, CD etc. like pioneer 656 compare with a dedicated CD deck like one of the low end Arcams or Rotels?

    The attraction of multi-format and surround format support appeals to me but I'm tempted by the cheaper price of the CD only deck (would allow me look at dedicated hi-fi amp as well rather than pushing stereo through my receiver).

    Any thoughst appreciated (probably been covered before but not quite sure what to search under).

    Thanks

    Peter
     
  2. nathan_silly

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    Get seperate CD player and DVD player. DVD players are pretty awful for CD replay.

    Although depends what kit you have really.
     
  3. meep

    meep
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    Nathan

    Bumping into you in several threads today!

    Would there really be a great deal of duifference between a €600+ DVD with universal audio and a €400 standalone CD from the bottom of the range of one of the "respected" manufacturers.

    (I suspect the answer is yes but just checking here for confirmation)

    Of course, only the demo will tell......

    Peter
     
  4. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Yes you would "notice" a difference.
    (especially if you use analogue outputs)


    Steve
     
  5. MrC

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    The old saying goes...
    Jack of all trades, but master of none.
     
  6. meep

    meep
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    Steve,

    Just come across this recently - analogue outputs better than digital?

    What's the reason for this?

    Peter
     
  7. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    The best way to get CD quality replay out of a DVD player is to add a DAC, which will elevate its performance to that off a pretty decent CD player.

    For example, I've directly compared my £130 Pioneer DVD player and £60 second hand Cambridge Audio DAC with the newest Rotel RCD-02, and I have to say, I preferred the DVD/DAC setup, not bad considering it cost just over half of what the RCD-02 costs.
     
  8. meep

    meep
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    Paul,

    So how does that work, adding a DAC? Is it an external device which accepts digital output from the DVD deck? Or is minor surgery required?

    Any ideas of brands/sources?

    I presume the problem with DVD players spinning CDs is the onboard DAC then?

    Is this the generally accepted view or are there other factors (drive mechanism, additional circuitry etc)

    Thanks
     
  9. nathan_silly

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    You take the digital outputs from the DVD/CD player into a DAC, then the analogue outputs from the DAC into a spare input on your amp.

    When you play 2 channel PCM, the DAC decodes this.

    Yes DVD player DAC's are usually pretty awful, you need to spend at least £1000 to get a DVD player with adequate CD sound quality. Better to get a DVD player with awesome picture quality, use the digital outs to a DAC and a AV processor for 2 channel music and DD/DTS processing.

    I have a Tag DAC20. I've used a Toshiba SD-100E for about 10 mins from it's analogue outputs. No comparison. The Tosh sounds flat, almost like a tape deck (no dynamic range) Good PQ though.

    Tag DAC20 is good purchase, they were available from Tag for £350 about 6 months ago (I bought mine then), gone upto £450 now.. :)
     
  10. mjm01

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    Good thread ... here's my tuppence worth.

    I recently replaced my Samsung 709 DVD player within a Pioneer 656A ... great move.

    At that point I had a Marantz CD52 MkII CD Player connected via digital out to my Yamaha RX-V800RDS Receiver.

    I tested the Pioneer as a CD player and after a period of setting up my subwoofer etc, I have now removed the Marantz from the stack ie the 656 is now also my CD player.

    The Marantz was never a high end player but it was good .. the 656, to me, actually blows it away. Using analogue outputs it sounds crap though.

    So, IMHO, the dedicated focus laser on the 656 allows it to become a decent transport and the amp is doing a decent DAC job ... producing a very well balanced combination.

    I would never have believed it ... an technically I'm sure its not right.

    But my ears know what works .. I listen to a lot of music ... and the 656 (with digital outs) is a great CD player.

    Flame away !!
     
  11. nathan_silly

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    Really depends on your system though. With a AV amp it won't be noticeable, with a high quality stereo pre-amp & poweramp setup it will be.
     
  12. meep

    meep
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    So back to the original question, with a slight variation....

    DVD (like 656A) & DAC to Stereo Amp or Dedicated CD to Stereo Amp?

    Peter
     
  13. nathan_silly

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    What DAC model?

    What CD player model?

    What stereo amp model?

    What speakers?

    Not really clear cut, lots of factors...
     
  14. WhyAyeMan

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    Pound for pound, I believe DAC's offer superior value for money. For example, my DVD/DAC setup is capable of rivalling any £400+ CD player IMO, and it only cost £200. I have heard CD players costing up to £500 or more that I wouldnt replace my DAC with.

    The TAG DAC20 thats been mentioned is very, very good by all accounts, and can certainly rival players costing up to £1,000. Although rumours are going around that TAG have put their prices up to £550, which suddenly makes it seem less good value for money IMO. Especially as the Musical Fidelity 24-bit upsampling model is available at more or less this price.

    DVDs make more than acceptable transports as well IMO.

    If you go the DAC route, I have found that the quality of the cable is possibly *the most critical link* of the system. It doesnt have to be expensive, I paid someone from this forum to make one for me for £25, and is a genuine 75 ohm design. The difference this cable made is very noticable, over a £25 commercial "75 ohm" cable.
     
  15. Steve.EX

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    Meep.

    If you were using a Tag 32r (for instance) and a cd player of less than 800-1000 (ish, these figures are just for example purposes) then you may gain marginally better results by connecting the cd player to the Tag via sp/dif as the quality of D-A conversion within the TAG's DAC's may/should be superior to the DAC(s) within the cd player.

    If you had a 500.00 stereo amp (with no sp-dif input) then a standalone (reasonable quality) cd player will sound MUCH better than a comparitively price dvd/multiformat machine. There are several reasons for this (DAC quality aside), the cd player would/should have better (linear) circuit design, properly designed internal layout/shielding, superior voltage supply/regulation etc etc.
    The do-it-all in one box will have the same design compromises present on most do-it-all in box designs - genre indifferent.
    Invariably if you had a budget of 600.00 and enjoyed music i would be inclined to say buy a 200.00 Toshiba dvd machine and a 400.00 Arcam/Cyrus or the like cd player.
    If you can keep the systems separate.
    NO compromise stereo/A.V performance is the realm of real expense generally speaking.

    Steve.
     

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