UPDATED Denon PMA-2500NE & DCD1600NE review - a voyage of discovery…

Ron Hilditch

Well-known Member
I was considering the CDS27, but it uses a vanilla DVD-ROM drive... The DCD-2500NE uses a very heavy/rigid custom-built drive (based on a DVD-ROM drive) - built like a tank. Much less error correction going on, top-notch RedBook CD playback, superlative SACD reproduction.

No accessible DAC, or streaming - but then that's what my Sonica DAC is for.. :cool:
Got both a DCD-2500NE and a PMA-2500NE and use the PMAs DAC for internet radio and streaming. Prefer the sound of the PMAs DAC when playing red book CDs. They both use the same DAC. The coaxial lead is of better quality than the interconnects?
 

LampPost

Member
Got both a DCD-2500NE and a PMA-2500NE and use the PMAs DAC for internet radio and streaming. Prefer the sound of the PMAs DAC when playing red book CDs. They both use the same DAC. The coaxial lead is of better quality than the interconnects?

Does the inbuilt DAC still do the AL32 processing on red book CD's?
 

Ron Hilditch

Well-known Member
Does the inbuilt DAC still do the AL32 processing on red book CD's?
The two DACs are identical. Reread the Ken Kessler review in HiFi News and he wrote it's worth comparing the two methods. With a cheaper SPDIF cable the sound difference wasn't as noticeable. Since having the Dcd-2500NE, have been revisiting my CD collection. Regretting giving so many CDs away to charity shops.
 

Iggy930

Standard Member
I have that difficult decision now. I am tempted to go for the 1600's and have money left to upgrade my B&W 685 S2's if necessary, however if I do that I will probably regret not getting the 2500's. I need to think about it longer. It would be nice to be able to demo both but am not sure how long i will have to wait to do that.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I have that difficult decision now. I am tempted to go for the 1600's and have money left to upgrade my B&W 685 S2's if necessary, however if I do that I will probably regret not getting the 2500's. I need to think about it longer. It would be nice to be able to demo both but am not sure how long i will have to wait to do that.
If you go to the Denon web site and pull up the side by side specs there seems very little difference between the two. The 2500 has a better signal to noise ratio but both have the same impressive THD figures. The difference comes from the different layout of the power supply which is different on the two units. The 2500 has a better and more rigid body with an extra metal chassis and aluminium sides which is reflected in the weights of each unit, 13.7kg for 2500 and 8.2kg for the 1600. The 2500 is slightly taller and deeper than the 1600.

The difference in price is around the £500 mark with the 2500 being available for £1499 at HiFi Corner. Worth a phone call to them as I negotiated a cracking deal on my 2500.
 

Iggy930

Standard Member
Thanks for that I will check it out. Do you reckon my speakers will be ok with them?
 
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LampPost

Member
Thanks for that I will check it out. Do you reckon my speakers will be ok with them?

I would go for the 1600 and get better speakers, speakers will make a larger improvement in your system compared to a CD player. I listened to both the 1600 and 2500 and could not tell any difference between them, both excellent!
 

Iggy930

Standard Member
I would go for the 1600 and get better speakers, speakers will make a larger improvement in your system compared to a CD player. I listened to both the 1600 and 2500 and could not tell any difference between them, both excellent!

That is what I was worried about. Hi Fi is a money pit :) but a fun money pit.
 

AudioSG

Novice Member
Greetings from Singapore,

Hope everyone is safe, healthy and enjoying music/movies during this period.

I came across your forum when researching for an AV receiver/amplifier to replace my 35 year old Technics SU-45A amplifier which died in its right channel last month.

For what its worth, the DENON PMA-2500NE amplifier won Silver in the 2017 Japan Audio Excellence Awards.

Highlighted below are the awards won by Denon and it's sister company Marantz, which may suggest that they are established brands in the Japanese audio market.


Japan Audio Excellence Award 2020

GOLD AWARD 2020
DENON
DCD-SX1 LIMITED CD / SACD player
PMA-SX1 LIMITED integrated amplifier

Bronze award 2020
DENON
DCD-600NE CD player
PMA-600NE integrated amplifier

Bronze award 2020
MARANTZ
M-CR612 Network cd receiver

Special award 2020
Marantz
NR1200 Integrated amplifier


2019

Bronze Award 2019
MARANTZ Integrated amplifier
PM-12

Bronze Award 2019
DENON Integrated amplifier, digital player, network player
800NE series


2018

Special Award 2018
MARANTZ ND8006 / PM8006
Development of new generation 8000 series


2017

Silver Award 2017
DENON Digital player / main amplifier
DCD-2500NE / PMA-2500NE

Bronze Award 2017
DENON Digital player / main amplifier
DCD-1600NE / PMA-1600NE


2015

Silver Award 2015
DENON Integrated amplifier
PMA-SX1

Bronze Award 2015
MARANTZ CD / SACD player / main amplifier
SA8005 / PM8005

Product Development Special Award 2015
DENON PMA-SX1
For the construction of DENON's high-end series


2010

Silver Award 2010
Denon Integrated amplifier PMA-2000SE


2009

Silver Award 2009
Denon Integrated amplifier PMA-SX


2006

Silver Award 2006
DENON Integrated amplifier PMA-SA1


2005

Bronze Award 2005
DENON PRE-MAIN AMPLIFIER PMA-SA11
 

audiounphile

Standard Member
@Numpty112233 Thank you for your very detailed review of the PMA-2500ne and your journey to date - I really enjoyed reading it and learning from your experience. I currently have a set of MA Silver 500s being driven by the CXA60 amp and looking to upgrade my amp. I've been reading and shortlisting pretty much like you've done. I am interested to know your thoughts on the sound signature of the PMA-2500 as compared to the CXA80 that you have? Is it more detailed, better separation of instruments, bigger soundstage, better bass managment, less bright on top, fuller sound?

I dont dislike the CXA60 but feels a tiny bit bright and forward after reading all the reviews and listening to it, maybe a bit thin - if that is a thing. Like you, I'm no expert so just learning and listening as I'm going. I also have a pair of SVS SB 1000 to augment the setup (wow - its amazing) - after following Paul McGowan from PS Audio on YouTube.

It is virtually impossible to audition the equipment here in South Africa - coupled with the fact that it is also almost double the price - makes things extremely difficult - so really relying on other peoples experiences - I know, the best is to audition it for yourself but no choice here really.

Another amp on my list that people often pair with the Monitor Audios is the Roksan K3 - have you auditioned this as well?
 

santiago66

Novice Member
a question to you all from a technical clown who owns a pma2500ne powering a pair of Sonus Faber toy towers in one room, and an oldish Yamaha rxa3030, in another room, powering another pair of toy towers, toys and Centre for HC duties. Downsizing house size so all music/movie will be based in one room. The pma is a keeper, as are the SFs (unless you have recommendations), so would like to keep the 2 channel solution going for music, but have multichannel available for movies and occasional SACD. I know the denon and Yamaha can be linked (pre ht?), but I’m absolutely clueless as to how to go about connecting them up. Please help an old chap out, I’d be most grateful. Thanks and happy listening to all
 

gibbsy

Moderator
a question to you all from a technical clown who owns a pma2500ne powering a pair of Sonus Faber toy towers in one room, and an oldish Yamaha rxa3030, in another room, powering another pair of toy towers, toys and Centre for HC duties. Downsizing house size so all music/movie will be based in one room. The pma is a keeper, as are the SFs (unless you have recommendations), so would like to keep the 2 channel solution going for music, but have multichannel available for movies and occasional SACD. I know the denon and Yamaha can be linked (pre ht?), but I’m absolutely clueless as to how to go about connecting them up. Please help an old chap out, I’d be most grateful. Thanks and happy listening to all
The Yamaha has a full set of pre-outs and the Denon is HT by-pass capable. All you have to do is run a pair of RCA interconnects from the Yamaha's front left and right pre-outs to the EXT.PRE IN on the Denon. The speakers should then be connected to the Denon only.

To use for surround sound both the Yamaha and the Denon need to be fired up, select the EXT.PRE on the remote. I am not a PMA owner, I just have the SACD player, so I assume that you will select EXT.PRE from the remote. The volume will then be controlled by the Yamaha.

To use the Denon just for stereo music then you only need fire up the Denon and use as normal.


Connecting a pre-amplifier
Conne Preamp PMA2500NE.eps


The EXT.PRE input terminals are equipped with a short pin-plug. Remove this plug to connect a pre-amplifier. Store the removed short pin-plug in a safe place so as not to lose it.


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DJH56

Standard Member
I am very late to the party here, sorry about that. I own both the 1600 amp and CD player and concur with all the positive comments regarding Denon gear. I did have a mild flirtation with possibly changing the amp for a Cambridge Audio CXA81, but when I tried one in my system it was simply nowhere near as satisfying to my ears. Just goes to show the dangers of getting sucked into “flavour of the month” products. The CXA81 was fine, just not as good.

The rest of the system is:-

KEF LS50
REL subwoofer
Technics SL1210GR turntable with Audio Technica cartridge
Denon 800 streamer (I do love a matching item!)
Oppo 205 disc player
Stay headphones and energiser

All used with way too many LP’s/CD’s/Blu Rays etc, etc.......
 

Ron Hilditch

Well-known Member
Use a Denon PMA2500NE in my main system and a Denon PMA800NE in my second system. Sold my DCD2500NE and went back to using a Denon DVD A11. Prefer the sound, although reading SACDs is a bit hit and miss. Sent it away last week for a seeing too. Hopefully they will be able to fix it. Bought a Primare DVD 30 and comparing it to the A11 is interesting. Using their own DACs the A11 is better. Using the SPDIF output into the PMA2500NE's DAC, the Primare sounds better. The A11 in SACD mode is much better. To be fair if they weren't side by side the Primare sounds really good.
 

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