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New CD player (or maybe even a DAC!)

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Slugsy, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Slugsy

    Slugsy
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    Hi All

    My initial aim was to ask for your views on some CD players I'm going to audition early next year. However, after reading this forum, I will certainly also investigate DACs.

    Anyway - back to the first part of my question for now. I have an elderly Marantz CD67SE couple with a Roksan Kandy Mk III amp and some Monitor Audio floorstanders. I would like to improve CD playback.

    My initial thoughts (limited by financial need) are one of the following:
    - Arcam CD82T
    - Cyrus 6
    - Roksan Kandy Mk III CD player.

    I have read and heard good things about these CD players, particularly on the synergy between the Kandy amp and Kandy CD. So I would really appreciate your thoughts on how each of these would sound in my system.

    I will go auditioning early January and investigate DACs in the meantime.

    Thank you and a Merry Christmas to all!
     
  2. Slugsy

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    A nasty Christmas bout of flu has stopped my auditioning so far. However, I'm getting better and would really appreciate anyone's experiences of the kit below.

    Thanks, Slugsy
     
  3. karkus30

    karkus30
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    What aspect of CD playback are you trying to improve? What music are you listening to ? How loud do you want it to be?

    My experience runs along similar lines to yourself, Naim pre power, NEAT ctitique speakers and originally a Marantz CD 63 KI signature. The addition of a CD 17 player (similar price range to those mentioned, gave a subtle change in performance, not staggering, almost a tweak really, but enough to make it worth the cost).

    I suspect the players mentioned would all have a similar effect on the overall sound. If you like the system as it is, then the best advice is to demo all those players at home, dont buy from reviews or shop demos, audition in your system, with your music in your room.

    Of course you may be want to effect a much bigger change in the sound quality in which case the advice might be different..
     
  4. Slugsy

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    Thanks Karkus30.

    In terms of musical taste, we are a pretty mixed bunch. I'm into classical music (orchestral and chamber) as well as rock (Hendrix, etc.). My wife is into folk and 'vocal' (e.g. singers such as Lesley Garrett, etc.) music!

    In terms of what I'm lacking, the Kandy amp has added a new level of detail and dynamism to my sources and I believe - as far as CD playback is concerned - the Marantz is now the 'weakest link'. I'd like to get more detail, better soundstage and improved dynamism.
     
  5. overkill

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    Try the Kandy and the Arcam for that mixture. The CD17 is ok but the Sig version is a LOT better and would suit your range of material. I have to confess to being not that keen on standard Marantz players, and i have similiar tastes to yours. They tend to err on the bright side of neutral with some material.

    Try listening to the Kandy CD, the Arcam CD82, and a Naim CD5. The latter is out of your price range but can be picked up on ebay for around £800. For classical and folk it would trounce the other offerings and has a superb soundstage.
     
  6. CJROSS

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    MF A3.24 DAC widley available in demo from most 7oaks dude give it a whirl off any £200 ish CD player in store see what you think (you may be pleasantly surprised) I dont think there is a huge jump in going from a player such as a 67Se from a few years ago to a £750 CD player these days, CD repaly in intergrated terms jumps at the £1200+ sector ie CD17Ki Mk II for example, but try a £800 DAC and you may find the path to a more fulfilling digital replay system (worked for me & others BTW)

    ATB
     
  7. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Im with Overkill on this one. I think you should try the Kandy as you like the amp anyway. And the Naim is a great cd player.
    Both of these will be an improvement on your existing player.

    I should point out that I wasnt advocating the CD17, it is a better player than the 67 and no doubt that its not as good as a KI sig, but it was better than ki signature version of the cheaper player.
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Dudes is the advice to this dude really to buy a £800 CD Player over a £800 DAC ? is that truly the way to go (Especially when you can pick up a MF A3.24 for £400-500 second hand) are we saying here that that will sound "better" ?

    Pound for pound DACs are the way IME.
     
  9. overkill

    overkill
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    Yes. Adding a DAC, no matter how good, is always a risky business especially if the transport isn't of the same standard. You risk poor clock synch thus introducing jitter problems and of course with a transport unequal to the task a poor, smeared, sound.

    Choice between Naim 5 or MF DAC, hhhhhhhhhhhmmm now let me think..................... not!! :) Naim 5, anyday!!
     
  10. CJROSS

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    Overkill, I have heard plenty of decent sounding digital setups in my time, and I think I know what qualifies as "smeared sound" you are thereby saying that me & countless others are hearing defective digital replay because we dont use a total psynch lock from transport to dac, I know very few people using DACs these days with that arrangement, in fact I know of a few users on the HFC forum who would shoot you down in flames with what you suggest, they have faith in the jitter recovery from the DAC alone, how do you synch lock a MF A3.24 or a MF Trivista DAC by the way ? can it be done with the input quality of the connection on said DACs ? Well I have heard a few reports that these DACs blow away similarly priced integrated CDPs FWIW running of normal CD players. If you are interested in the vibes of a DAC user on HFC check out a dude called "ClintonF" and his experiences from his Arcam Cd82 - MF A3.24 - Now MF Trivista.

    Its all in a well designed DAC a lot of the time IMO.

    Oh & the world does not end with a Naim 5, many hearing that will find it hard & fatiguing comapred to many other CD player on the market, gibe me a Arcam 9, CD 17KI Mk II or a Nad S500I anyday. Well after the DAC of course.

    ATB
     
  11. overkill

    overkill
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    *sighs* Did i say that? No. Was there any need to start ranting? Hardly. I was offering advice not setting anything in stone. I worked in hi-fi for a more than a few years setting up various types of gear and give advice, now, as then, with a degree of impartiality. Have you?
     
  12. CJROSS

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    Overkill, 2 things I was not ranting I just disagree that a £800 CD player is a better CD replay device than say a £800 DAC like the MF A3.24 this is the advice you are giving is it not ? you are also saying that using a DAC at this price level results in “smeared sound” IIANM, this is a Discussion forum where one is allowed to query advice/opinion. Have it your way and there would be no discussion at all just your advice/opinion, it sounds like you like to give advice but cant stand someone to disagree with you.

    Impartiality ? what on earth are you on about ?, check my joining date here Nov 2000, in that time I don’t think I have been accused of having a hidden agenda or having alterior motives, I like DACs & I think the standard advice to simply buy integrated CD players is often to the detriment of a buyers wallet when the sonic & pound per pound advantage of a DAC is a better all round bet (unlike you I think the simple design of sepaarting DAC circuit board from transport PSUs and having a dedicated PSUs makes an instant dividend – check out Naims XPS PSU addition to get my drift, then choosing a low jitter recovery recloking design handles jitter well enough), this is from experience Overkill, you seem to think that working in a hifi shop in the past makes your advice a little more apt than mine, as for impartiality working in a hifi shop, I would bet my bottom dollar that the advice you gave a lot of the time was meant to shift boxes and increase your shops profit margin was it not ?. I hate to say it but saying you were impartial as a hifi dealer is as daft a comment as Ive heard to date.

    ATB as I said when I was “ranting”.
     
  13. overkill

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    Talk about pot calling the kettle...........

    Sarcasm, and an attack on Krokus and my own comments. No? I did not attack your suggestion or even mention it until the above was posted.

    As for the insulting remarks (period) about my impartiality, please, grow up. I spent a whole year at one shop arguing the toss with the manager about treating customers fairly, and giving advice based on their needs not his. I left in disgust.

    OLP, This slanging match helped no-one. The advice was given in good faith. If you disagree that's fine, just point out alternatives. YOU started the ball rolling on what should or should not be said and then escalated with insults.

    Yours, now totally cheesed off

    O'kill:mad:
     
  14. ditton15

    ditton15
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    ... stepping carefully into this one ...

    Slugsy, The conclusion I have come to is:

    a) the more functions are kept separate, the less prospect for interference from one function upon another

    b) separate transport & DAC allows independent upgrade options

    c) separate DAC can be used to decode different digital stereo sources

    **but**

    there is this matter of jitter

    so, there is scope for argument:

    1) that manufacturers can produce good integrated CD players
    2) that a good DAC cannot overcome a poor transport

    Accordingly, some search for good CD transports - which it happens can be older, formerly top-of-range and then expensive and well-made CD transports (eg the Meridians). (Whether an entry/mid range DVD player can be that transport is another set of argument - speeds and much else are different.)

    Similarly, there is good value, in terms of 'sound-per-pound' to be had buying s/h DACs.

    I am not in the hifi industry, nor do I have as many years top-end listening experience as many, but I have had Yamaha and Arcam integrated CD players, and I have found older transport + dac combinations preferable and a better 'spp' value. As it happens, having had good advice on this Forum, I was both bold and lucky - eventually spending serious money on the DAC and getting a bargain buy on a 'matching' Ncode transport. Even though I now have to pass on the Meridians (which perhaps are not sufficiently in fashion here at the moment), my walk on the DAC side has led me to music reproduction that is truly wonderful - and I would not have got that had I stayed 'integrated'.

    But as clearly evident above, different folks like different strokes.

    Stay cool and enjoy the music ...
     
  15. Slugsy

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    My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed. I really appreciate it. There are obviously some passionately-held views on both "sides".

    It has been useful for me and it's now going to be down to me to do the "legwork" to try and audition the various options.
     
  16. overkill

    overkill
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    HI Ditton!! LOL at your comments!!:D I would just like to state that i have nothing against DAC's or DAC/transport combos, as in fact is evidenced by my comments on other posts. No to mention the fact i recently tried to buy a Tag Maclaren DAC20 myself on ebay!!

    However, i don't see them as the panacea to all situations or the right answer with a fairly low end transport/integrated. I say this from personal experience. An average transport will not give as good results, even with a good DAC, as a quality integrated. If people don't agree then that's fine. Just trying to help is all..................
     
  17. ditton15

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    Cool for cats. No probs.

    saw a DAC20 sold, no given away, for £240 last weekend!! Given that TagM started off selling those at £1200, its just got to be a bargain - but I passed it up - wish I'd seen it 12 months ago.

    So what do you rate as better than average transports then?

    (Incidentally, CJ was also trying to help - and I've heard him just as adamant that transports really do matter. His main point is that, like you, he thinks that DACs can be a really good buy. Funny old world ...)
     
  18. CJROSS

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    Hey Ditton, £240 for a DAC 20 is an out & out bargain I agree, £110 less than I paid for mine from TAG. Although saying that : Dino, the guy selling it is well known for his generousity, regularly giving away pieces of hifi kit for free just to clear space in his abode for more hifi kit. As for the pricing of the DAC 20 I think everyone agrees that its new rrp of £1249 was over the odds by £449, part of the rap it gets is its rrp it was sold at and its more in the league of a say a £800 DAC IMO (albeit) with better inputs specs & buffered analogue outputs for long run IC scenarios. If you see one these days for anything over £400 2nd Hand its overpriced IMO.

    As for transports, yep they do matter if you are intent of wringing out every last ounce of performance from a DAC say from its superior input connections then you should try and use the best ones available to you, ie I wont ever discount getting an CD/DVD-V transport with AES/XLR transport at some point (When Theta Carmens come down to reasonable US pricing levels for us in the UK for example) but the point I always try to make is that DACs in their own right are to most people usign them, very very accpeptable, jitter effetcs do not effect me in the same ways it effects a lot of other audiophiles listening to dedicated CD transports (conversely ask many hifi DAC users using RCA SPDIF what they hear and they are pretty happy with it), with synch links, BNC or XLR/AES or other jitter busting connections, In short as I have said 2 things matter to me when it comes to DACs :

    Simple separation of DAC board & PSUs in transport, including a dedicated PSU for the DAC in its own casework. (Naims CD player upgrades are a case in point)

    Simple recovery reclocking designs for jitter effects (I only have experience with MF & TAG DACs and like what they achieve TBH)

    Over and above those 2 points, better transports, better connections etc etc wotk for a lot of other people, just that at this point in time Im happy with what I hear with these 2 factors above.

    Good luck Slugsy, BTW dude there are plenty of very decent sounding Int. CD players out there also just to show im not totally blinkered. They just cant match DACs sound per pound – sorry could’nt resist.

    ATB dudes
     
  19. overkill

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    :) I won't get into another run-in with CJ, but i do think, from seeing his comments & posts he's a DAC freak!!!!:D

    I'm not commited either way. However, I've heard poor results from Transport/DAC mis-matches which is what puts me off. Losing a sale that way tends to make you a tad cynical............ Unless i have a rock solid transport (which i have!) i wouldn't bother upgrading the DAC only, when there are plenty of quality integrateds floating around second hand.

    But, as CJ says, if you're Integrated is around the £500-600+ mark then a quality DAC might well be the answer. Just check both options before you buy!!!
     
  20. CJROSS

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    Overkill, as Punch once said to Judy : “DACs the way to do it” :rotfl:

    No need for a run in honestly dude, we all have differeing levels of acceptance from our hifi gear you & I may differ in transport terms but that should not stop us offering our views, both are valid in discussions like these.

    As for Integrated CD players I would I have heard a couple of players that would walk right my system if they were a tad cheaper, for example Coplands 822 & Sugdens Masterclass CD player very very nice, hmmmmmm.

    ATB :D
     

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