transport, DAC, bi-amping woes

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by dood, Apr 30, 2002.

  1. dood

    dood
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    Arcam alpha CD player (as a transport)
    Wadia 12 DAC
    Cyrus straightline and XPA (bi-amping)
    Denon 3300 AV receiver (used as a processor with the cyruses)
    Sony 525 DVD player (region 2)
    Yamaha S700 DVD player (region 1)
    Philips and panasonic VCRs
    Kef Q55.2, 95C.2
    Arcam delta 2s as rear speakers
    Kenwood amp for multiroom duties
    Kef Cresta 2, Bose 201, Bose AM3 in other rooms

    comments/questions:

    1. The Wadia DAC has been my most high end component for some time. However it is a few years old and can anyone tell me how it compares with more recent DACs and in what price range? In particular how would the TAG mentioned earlier fare? The hifi mags rave about new CD players in the 500 pound price range - are these likely to be a match for my wadia?

    2. I use the Cyruses in a bi-amp setup. When my Arcam speakers used to be my main speakers I had to use the Straightline (integrated) to drive the bass and the XPA (power) to drive the tweeters because the other way round sounded far to brittle and harsh, especially when using the Wadia source. However with the Kefs as my main speakers, the music seems to pold along so I've switched the amps around. With the XPAs driving the bass this has certainly tightened up, but now the resolution of the upper and mid ranges has deteriorated. What do I do? Will using just the power amp and bridging my speaker terminals help or is this a backwards step and will I now lack power as well?

    3. I've followed with interest the threads above concerning using DVD players as transports with DACs for music, and using a separate digital out to the AV receiver for movies. I do this with my Sony DVD player, but most times I just use the Arcam as a transport because it feels more sturdy. DVD players are generally very light and I have my reservations about their abilty as transports when coupled to good quality DACs. Does anyone know which DVD players up to 500 quid excel as CD transports?
     
  2. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Hey Raj

    You have 3 choices of transport IMO that are DVD-V based in that price range.

    I’ve always said that 24/96 PCM capable DVD-V players are my choice of slave. So when my Pioneer 717 (it is 24/96) packs in (which it will) I shall replace with a similarly specced DVD-V player from current £500 ish models– Ie a Pioneer 737 or a Denon 2800 – ie ones with high mass & build quality at the £500 mark. The other machine that is of considerable interest would be the Sony NSV 900 (see the link below from the HFC forum) this again is 24/96 PCM capable from its digital output and offers the bonus of SACD replay as well from its onboard DSD decoder. BTW I’d keep the Wadia and try out a few different transports I’d be surprised if you get a marked difference in performance from any other DAC’s available including the DAC 20 (which is sublime BTW). Check out the thread and do a search on DAC threads.

    http://www.futureforums.co.uk/hific...these+days+%3F&Forum_Title=General+Discussion
     
  3. Guest

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    I would not suggest using a DVD player as a transport. IMHO a dedicated CD spinner will crucify any reasonably priced DVD unit when it comes to music playback.

    I changed from a Pioneer 717 to a Meridian 500 transport and the difference was night and day.

    I would suggest trying one of the new generation of upsampling CD playback options. These provide a silky smooth almost analogue sound with a great soundstage. It will sound very different to your Wadia. As you complain of some brittleness in your current set up, this may well be the panacea you are looking for.

    Try the new Musical Fidelity stuff at sub £1K or if you want to push the boat out, there,s a Talk Electronics CD player at £1.5K or the Perpetual Technologies kit at about the same.

    The Perpetual kit is really superb , almost as good as it gets. The trouble is it is best purchased on the net direct from the USA. If you like the sound of the MF kit, then you will love the Perpetual Technologies product.
     
  4. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    “I would not suggest using a DVD player as a transport. IMHO a dedicated CD spinner will crucify any reasonably priced DVD unit when it comes to music playback.” “I changed from a Pioneer 717 to a Meridian 500 transport and the difference was night and day”

    Well Airwise that of course is your considered opinion, but would you not say a transport that is capable of 24/96 pcm output is a ‘better’ output than one limited to 16/44.1 even if playing redbook CD’s? purely because it can reach that level of PCM output? I would. I got into offbaord DAC’s after I bought the 717 and the first DAC I slotted into my system was a Musical Fidelity X-24K which could lock onto a pure 24-96 pcm signal from hi-res 24-96 DAD discs this combo was pretty well tasty for a mid level 2 box combo IMHO, I have recently sold the X-24K and bought a TAG DAC 20 and can tell everyone here that this is a stunning system – due in no small part to the DV-717’s transport abilities. So I have to say that is only your experience with DVD transports. WHF did a review last year of the Audio Analogue Maestro CDP and rated it poorly on its own as a Integrated CDP but when fed via a £600 Rotel DVD-V player and used as an offboard DAC it blew the reviewer away. I’ve also read a few guys trying out the Chord 64 with a DVD-V as transport and being very responsive about it.

    The other thing that we should consider is that not all DAC’s are as transport dependant as each other - ie true reclocking devices & upsamplers. I’m not suggesting any cheapo feed (I always opt for coaxial) into these DAC’s will do - but that they are all different if attention is paid to getting a DAC with very good recovery clocking and low jitter design (The X-24K was as is the DAC 20). The other thing about upsmapling is that at the end of the day it is only an ‘Interpretation’ of what the manufacturer (Chord, Purcell, MF & Perpetual Techs) think you should be hearing, there not rustling up any more info from the discs than is available.

    “The Perpetual kit is really superb , almost as good as it gets. The trouble is it is best purchased on the net direct from the USA. If you like the sound of the MF kit, then you will love the Perpetual Technologies product.”

    No argument from me the PT’s lead the way just now for DAC performance IMO, but not everyone I’ve read about enthused about the £800 MF A3.24 DAC so as they say it’s a funny old game hifi some like some not. BTW they are available in the UK from : At GBP to USD rates.

    http://www.connoisseuraudio.co.uk

    They even have a ex-display P3-A on offer which was very tempting till the DAC 20 arrived. What is your Meridian 500 T feeding just now then DAC wise?.
     
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  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    “CJ. This makes no sense to me I am afraid” >

    OK Airwise tell me why a dedicated CD spinner is ‘night & day’ different to a DVD-V transport that can send a coaxial signal via an output which can go to a higher resolution than 16/44.1? If were talking here of course of increased jitter then that can be recovered at the conversion stage would you not agree. But that is a failing of the coaxial conenction. As long as attention is paid to the output being 24-96 capable , the DVD-V transport being a heavier mass than normal players (I’m thinking here Pioneer 737 or Denon 2800) for stability and good quality coaxial cabling is used. The only reason I would advocate a dedicated CDT is if your DAC has Balanced XLR AES/EBU inputs or BNC inputs which are regarded as better digital connections. BTW my DAC 20 has a XLR input but I feel no need for using a transport with that feed as the 717 does fine to my ears.

    The original post was for someone asking about a £500 DVD-V transport that can send a signal to a DAC – all you’ve answered is that he should’nt !! not very helpful when loads of people use DAC’s in tandem with DVD’s and would disagree with your opinion - maybe he does’nt want a CD box that purely spins on his rack to feed his DAC. As I said earlier there are DACs that are transport dependant and ones that sound just as good with others ‘lesser’ transports than dedicated CDT’s. I’m not arguing that dedicated Transports are crud sounding just that I feel DVD-V transports are just as good in feeding a DAC with a stable signal.

    “(why I'd want to when the catalogue of music is so poor is another story)” >

    Why do you think I sold my old 24-96 capable DAC? I was’nt stating that DAD is a top format beyond all others - it’s lack of software ruled that out IMO & its SACD’s arrival and performance on the scene as ‘THE’ hi-res format IMO.

    “But why would I want to compromise my CD playback by using the dual purpose DVD player for that as well? DVD players are literally two machines in one, with two specific purposes who's technical needs contrast quite sharply. I have a Meridian 596 DVD player and 500 CD transport. For music I prefer the 500.” >

    I cant argue with what your hearing Airwise it is of course your opinion, but to use your points then the 500 is better than the 596 DVD as a transport OK – So the 596 is a duff transport ? I find that hard to believe unless the 568 is succeptable to transport input would you not agree?.

    “It sounds typical of the new upsampling generation, natural, spacious and almost analogue in presentation.” >

    Dude I have an LP12 of reasonable quality and the DAC 20 fed via the 717 is very analogue sounding as well.

    “But why would I want to compromise my CD playback by using the dual purpose DVD player for that as well?” >

    So everyone else not suing a dedicated CDT is compromising their playback, I have no doubt your hearing good tunes on your system Air, but your telling guys like me that were hearing things as the DVD Trasnport is hindering the performance so were hearing things – which is wrong.

    “I am currently considering switching to a two channel system and am taking a long hard look at the Perpetual Technologies kit. I will probably buy from the States because neither Connoisseur Audio or Ultimate Sonics ever answer the phone and therefore I feel loathe to buy from some fly by night unprofessional dealer who charges inflated prices for imported goods.”

    Hey man I only posted Conn’s Audio details to let you know that there is a company who sells them direct in the UK, there are people over on the hifi-choice fourm who’ve bought stuff from these “fly by night” characters without complaint. Some people would prefer to have a warranty from a UK dealer than shipping the goods from the US AFAIK. If were still on the case of transports then and Perpetual Technolgy DAC’s are you considering using the P1-A correlation engine in tandem with the P-3A DAC? because this is said to ‘transform’ the sound of a digital stream and upsample and make a true 24 bit word length, so would the signal sent to the P-1A engine make much difference from the 500 or the 596 – do you think you would hear a difference?
     
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  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    "I am considering using the P1A initially running into the 568. I would like to find out if the result is superior to the upsampling carried out by the Meridian. The P1A uses a Sharc processor to perform sample rate conversion and interpolation. The P3 in contrast uses an OEM sample rate conversion chip which is poor by comparison and suffers appalling jitter. I will also be ordering the seperate power supply as I believe the power supply makes a vast difference to all DAC's."

    Airwise the reason I was asking about the P-1A Correlation Engine is that this 'signal enhancement' stage from either the 500 or your 596 DVD should be identical sounding from the P-3A - hence you feeding the P-1A should not be (500 or 596) transport dependant I reckon IMHO. In effect your saying that the performance of the P-1A+P-3A will also vary depending on what is fed from either the 500 or the 596. I dont think it will.

    I think we could go on all day disagreeing about what is acceptable but your future CD based playback system is going to comprise of a - Dedicated CD Transport + P-1A 'Correlation Engine' + P-3A DAC + a Monolith PSU - 4 boxes which seems a bit extreme to me for spinning redbook CD's. When a very acceptable level can be achived from 1 box or even CDT/DVDT-DAC systems.

    So let's just agree to disagree duder.
     

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