Replacement for Arcam Alpha 1 CD player

Danrv

Standard Member
Hi
My Arcam Alpha One CD player has stopped reading CD's.The transport
makes a buzzing noise for several seconds once the tray is shut,even with no CD installed.
If it's a cheap fix it may be worth repairing as I'm pleased with it's sound.
Otherwise I'll be looking for a replacement.
My setup consists of:
Arcam Alpha One CD player
Rotel RA-01 amp
Sony SS-86E speakers
Atacama speaker stands
QED Qunex 1 interconnects
Cable Talk speaker cable
Target Hi Fi tower

I paid £80 used for the Arcam years ago so it's done well and I'd prefer to
buy new this time.What sort of money would I need to spend in order to
get something of similar quality?
I'm a musician and listen to most styles but not Rap & R&B music.
Any help would be appreciated,
Dan (UK)
 

GW43

Well-known Member
I replaced my Arcam Alpha 7SE with a Squeezebox. Prior to that I'd compared my 7SE to the CD73, and couldn't hear a difference.

http://www.slimdevices.com/

The Squeezebox, aside from being far more convenient, gives more detail, better soundstage and is more lively than the 7SE, if that's what you like. All in my humble opinion of course!

The Alpha 7SE is a very good CD player, don't get me wrong. I was told by the shop where I auditioned the CD73 (lets call the dealer "Sixelms") that I would need to spend about a grand to significantly better the 7SE. The Alpha 7SE can be had at a popular auction site for between £100 and £140.
 

Danrv

Standard Member
Looks cool.Never seen anything like that before.
I take it that this is not a music storage device with a hard disk.
Does it need to be connected to a PC to work?
 

GW43

Well-known Member
Looks cool.Never seen anything like that before.
I take it that this is not a music storage device with a hard disk.
Does it need to be connected to a PC to work?


Basically (very!) you have to rip all your music onto your computer hard drive, or use a USB hard drive if you have so much that it would fill your built in drive. You should use a lossless CODEC (EAC is very popular, but it's a bit time consuming, and as I had over 500 CDs to rip I used WMA lossless).

You have to download the server software (it's free of charge) - this is very flexible and gives you lots of options for playback - random, playlists, genres, years etc. You can even attach several Squeezeboxes to the same network, and as long as they have their own amp and speakers you can have either the same tracks or different ones from the same server/hard drive around the house at the same time.

You then need to connect your computer to the Squeezebox - this can be either wireless or wired via CAT5, or you can use Homeplugs (search Google) if you do not have a wired network and wireless is problematic.

The Squeezebox itself is the size of a small radio, and has digital outs if you want to add a DAC at a later date, but it's built in Burr-Brown DAC is pretty decent.

The computer and Squeezebox then "find" each other on the network you have created, and away you go. It accepts the WPA security, so your network can be very secure.

There are a few downsides - your computer needs to be switched on for it to work, although you can get a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive instead already loaded with the server software, but this has to be on all the time you want to listen to music, and, er, that's about it for me.

This is only a brief run-through what it can do and how it works - there is loads of info on the Slimserver web site, along with a very helpful Support section.

Honestly, I didn't think it would change the way I listen to music as much as it has - it's been a revelation. Even the missus uses it - she has her own playlists, so she doesn't have to be subjected to my superior musical tastes.

It's on in another room as I type - randomly exploring the farthest flung corners of my music collection!
 

Danrv

Standard Member
Thanks.My PC's in another room and I wouldn't want to have to turn it on
listen to CD's.
In order for the sound quality to be anywhere near CD,all the files would have to be uncompressed .WAV which would take a lot of harddisk space.Sound quality is the most impotant thing so I'm looking for a standalone quality CD player to replace my Arcam Alpha.
 

nigeltant

Standard Member
If you can run to it, the Arcam CD192 is brilliant. I had a good speaker/amp set up already (B&W spkrs + Audiolab pre and power amps), so I then auditioned CD players around the £850 mark. The Arcam was streets ahead, and everyone who hears it says it is the best they have ever heard. Sound stage is terrific and you can hear every instrument placed across the room. Lovely high end and tight bass response - it really is like having the instruments in the room. In case it matters, I listen to mostly new and old rock, pop, country. On the odd occasion I have tried it classical sounds fine too, but then I'm no expert in that field!
 

Danrv

Standard Member
Thanks for the suggestion.I'm afraid the CD192 is way over my
budget which is around £250 and also considering my setup which I guess would be in the 'budget' category.
I was all set to get the Cambridge Audio Azur 640C from RC but have doubts
over their reliabilty.A recent poster has had 5 replacement units in 1 year.
Unless I can be re-assured about the CA gear I'll be looking at the Marantz
CD5001 or 6002 but have also seen a NAD 521BEE for £149 at a local Hughes Electrical.
 

nigeltant

Standard Member
Yes, I must admit I always was a little shy of Cambridge and I would certainly steer clear of anything that has a bit of previous! £250 is a very decent budget these days anyway. It's obvious but true - just take your time and listen to as many as you can. I alway found Marantz a bit 'bright' and in your face - I've had 2 Denon players in the past and enjoyed them, and NAD have been getting good reviews. Good luck!
 

Danrv

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies.I've bought the CA Azur 640C from Richer Sounds and,wait for it.......WITHOUT LISTENING TO IT FIRST!!
A combination of impatience,WHF review and the re-assurance of RC's 14 day return policy.
No matter because it sounds awesome!! WHF are not kidding.This machine
sounds way more expensive than it is.
The sound is crystal clear and it really opens up the recording.I've only
used it for and hour so it hasn't been 'run in' yet.The recommend 70-80
hrs (read it here somewhere) is going to take some time!
By the way are any 640C owners experiencing a fairly loud click just
after starting a track? I did read a post here about it but if 'they all do that sir' then I'll have to get used to it.
 

nigeltant

Standard Member
Sounds like you got it right for you! :)

RC are good about taking stuff back if you are unhappy (I did it years ago with my first CD player. The click sounds annoying though...on every track or just at the start of the disc? Good luck sorting that out - it doesn't sound 'right' to me, and could get very irritating.
 

Danrv

Standard Member
Hi
It does it on every track.I was aware of this before I bought it as I read
a post here on the subject.
Someone connected with RC said that the noise is electronic
rather than physical and the poster found it annoying especially when playiing something that started quietly.
Can't seem to locate the post though.
I would like to know if it's something that is present on every 640C or whether
it's a fault with a batch of players.
 

Danrv

Standard Member
Just found the post (posted Feb 06).
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=303846

It looks as though the noise is present on all the 640c's.I wonder if
the 340c/540c's do it aswell.
Ed Shelly explaines it as being a 'mute' function that's not just specific
to CA gear so I'm relieved that it's not a trip back to RS.Don't like it though
and it doesn't explain though why most CD players,whatever the cost,don't
do it.
 

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