Jump to content

Alpine Electrocats

Do expensive cd players sound much better than basic ones?

Recommended Posts

Perhaps a dumb question to some, but i am wondering to what extent and expensive cd player or transport improves digital sound. Of course i know in audio that the law of dimishing returns applies, so i am expecting snall changes for big bucks

i am a big vinyl man but my digital system is mac playing lossless files into base model schitt dac

and oppo bdp 103 for savd and high res

 

the best digital i have heard is the Beatles hi res dvd and the Pixies Bosanova Mobile fidelity sacd on the oppo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kinda the same as any source/dac. More detail, longer listening sessions, imaging, soundstage, less glare/distortion

 

All relative to budget 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I had a Marantz CD63 KI sig and then bought a California Labs CL-15, huge difference in SQ.

 

The cal labs is full on dual mono including the mains transformers.

Edited by Batty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The great thing about CD players right now is that there are superb sounding units out there that you can buy for a few hundred bucks. Rega do a few rippers, Battys CAL beast gets dozens of thumbsups too. NAD C542 is another bang for buck champ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience the answer to your question is yes.  Which is why second hand cd players are such good value, not that many people buy cd players at all these days.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you asking whether expensive CD players are better than cheap CD players? 

 

Or whether a CD player with more things is better than a CD player with less things?

 

Because the thread title mixes both themes.

 

Depends on what you're looking for doesn't it?  Of the two CD players I've heard recently, the more expensive certainly had the better playback and sound.  But the cheaper had more functions which came in handy at times.

 

:poke:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


The Marantz SA14S1 provides CD playback close to what LPs sound like on a good system.  Retail at $4,500 or so. Hope that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Grizzly said:

The great thing about CD players right now is that there are superb sounding units out there that you can buy for a few hundred bucks. Rega do a few rippers, Battys CAL beast gets dozens of thumbsups too. NAD C542 is another bang for buck champ.

 

This is spot on. There is some very good value to be had 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Cafad said:

In my experience the answer to your question is yes.  Which is why second hand cd players are such good value, not that many people buy cd players at all these days.

 

I agree, you can get an excellent cd player for 25% of the original RRP after about 5yrs of age in my experience. Having bought one it generally sits idle as streaming and playing from servers is so convenient. I also found that the more expensive cd players mostly sound better (of course subject to diminishing returns).  My Naim Cdx2 was a big step up on the CD5X.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, another option is to buy a DAC you really like with a range of inputs and use it for all your digital sources, including digital out from a transport or CD player, streaming, sonos etc.

 

In my experience the differences between DAC's are relatively subtle (well, compared to speakers/rooms for example) but become more apparent over longer-term listening.  And the law of diminishing returns applies as always.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, ThirdDrawerDown said:

The Marantz SA14S1 provides CD playback close to what LPs sound like on a good system.  Retail at $4,500 or so. Hope that helps.

You're dead right Murray, At a whisker under 3k my recent purchase of the Pioneer PD-70AE put paid to some some fairly handy vinyl setups. Its about time, for years and years we were at the mercy of paying mega dollars for quality playback, but thanks to companies like Marantz, Pioneer and now Arcam with their newly released CD50, definately puts us, the consumer in the box seat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @maximus lovely to see you! Agree, it's a very good time for the consumer.  Your ability to seek out really good speakers, coupled with good source... does this mean you and yours nowadays are kicking back and just listening to the music? :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


1 minute ago, ThirdDrawerDown said:

Hi @maximus lovely to see you! Agree, it's a very good time for the consumer.  Your ability to seek out really good speakers, coupled with good source... does this mean you and yours nowadays are kicking back and just listening to the music? :)

 

Yes and no Murray, after recent renos', the lounge, living, kitchen and hallway  are all one, thus causing mayhem for my love of bookshelf's.  I'm bringing home some PMC twenty5.22's next week, hopefully being a bigger box might iron out some of the frustration I was experiencing. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone, lots of really good answers here- 

most obvious to me is that a really good dac is the thing to get-it would cover all bases- for those of us streaming to thise of us with big files on our computers and those of us who play cds.

the Rega DAC looks interesting especially if their cd player is so good ( thats what they call it, no other name or number)

by he way, to add to my list above of grest discs, the Fresh Cream boxed set’s 24/96k blu-ray audio disc- juat astonishing sound. I tried selling my spare copy of it here bu didnt get a single taker...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, maximus said:

You're dead right Murray, At a whisker under 3k my recent purchase of the Pioneer PD-70AE put paid to some some fairly handy vinyl setups. Its about time, for years and years we were at the mercy of paying mega dollars for quality playback, but thanks to companies like Marantz, Pioneer and now Arcam with their newly released CD50, definately puts us, the consumer in the box seat.

If you mean Maximus that you scored the Pioneer under 3k I'd be keen to hear where from. Best i can see online and a few calls is $3388 with the usual ramblings about price pressure etc from supplier. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Digital Cinema in NSW Rodders, Atish or Bowen will look after you. I get along with them very, very well. You can try Stereophonic in Brunswick if you want, but they look at you as if you've got two heads if you push for a discount, so stuff them and go with digital Cinema.

Any questions, PM me, I'm glad to help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers mate. Funnily enough I rang Sterophonics friday. Asked about the cdp which they didn't have but would kindly take my coin now and "should" get one next week faster than anyone else cause they have a great relationship with Pioneer. When i asked about cost it was like listening to Basil Fawlty. I let the bloke run out of stumbling reasons why they can't give a discount, gave a chuckle and told him "sure, I'll just take all that in". 

 

Will follow up your lead, thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful lead thanks@maximus. Spoke to Bowen and he remembered you. I got same pricing. Under 3k delivered to Melbourne. Here in a week. Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


On 12/07/2018 at 7:46 PM, Grizzly said:

The great thing about CD players right now is that there are superb sounding units out there that you can buy for a few hundred bucks. Rega do a few rippers, Battys CAL beast gets dozens of thumbsups too. NAD C542 is another bang for buck champ.

Yes, the CD542 is a great sounding CD player and so was its earlier namesake, the 5420.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, rodders3 said:

Wonderful lead thanks@maximus. Spoke to Bowen and he remembered you. I got same pricing. Under 3k delivered to Melbourne. Here in a week. Cheers.

Good stuff Rodders, tell us your thoughts..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 13/07/2018 at 7:50 PM, maximus said:

being a bigger box might iron out some of the frustration

Well, at least you know source isn't an issue.  Pioneer! Still have a great liking for them ever since the EAD/ California Audio Labs tweaks of the Stable Platter.  I've got used to the Marantz but always feel nostalgic for putting a disc into the player upside-down!

 

Edited to add - speakers would be the topic for another thread...

Edited by ThirdDrawerDown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Yes they do.   For example my Grandinote Volta at $13.5k sounds better than my PS Audio Direct Stream at about $8k and Direct Stream Jr at about $4.5k and surprisingly the about $300.00 Explorer 2 with good cables sounds nearly as good.   But to get this level of performance from that little DAC you also need a ISO Regen with linear supply;:

https://uptoneaudio.com/products/iso-regenx

http://www.speakerparts.com.au/ProductsPage/index.html

 

You also need good cables - both USB and RCA - all up that raises the price to about 1.5-2K.

 

That's nearly the same as a Grob DAC at 2.1K, which only the Grandinote I have found better.

 

So yes, more expensive is generally better, but there are a few standouts as far as value goes and you do require good cables and perhaps a regen plus good power supply to go with it.

 

I used to be the DAC guy around here and can assure you the gap between some of the cheapest and most expensive has closed.

 

Personally if money was no object I would get a Chord M-Scaler, and Dave DAC and feed it directly into some high quality sensitive speakers.  It produces 2W into 8 ohms directly but because of the ears logarithmic volume response it  is lot louder than you may think.  I have done a few tests on my system which has 89db speakers.  I have 500W monoblocks and a Direct Stream DAC.   It produces 1.25V max voume ie at 100 on the voume control.  My amps produce 500W when fed with 2v but for ease of calculation lets assume the DAC produces 2V at max output.  Now each digit of that 100 in the volume control  of my dac lowers the volume by 1/2 db.   I find the volume I listen at is about 40 - ie 30db down.  Now 10db corresponds to 10 times less - so my amp is producing - on peaks - a puny .5W.   See what I mean about power - you don't really need much.  Personally I think its the way of the future - you feed the output of your DAC directly to speakers - no thunderous levels but for sensible listening just fine.  In  fact Chords new DAC, the TT2 will produce 18w into 8 ohms which is fine for virtually any speaker.

 

Yes things in DAC land are changing and there is no need to spend much for top gear and I think cheaper DAC's will only get better in the future.

 

Thanks

Bill

 

Edited by bhobba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, bhobba said:

Yes they do.   For example my Grandinote Volta at $13.5k sounds better than my PS Audio Direct Stream at about $8k and Direct Stream Jr at about $4.5k and surprisingly the about $300.00 Explorer 2 with good cables sounds nearly as good.   But to get this level of performance from that little DAC you also need a ISO Regen with linear supply;:

https://uptoneaudio.com/products/iso-regenx

http://www.speakerparts.com.au/ProductsPage/index.html

 

You also need good cables - both USB and RCA - all up that raises the price to about 1.5-2K.

 

That's nearly the same as a Grob DAC at 2.1K, which only the Grandinote I have found better.

 

So yes, more expensive is generally better, but there are a few standouts as far as value goes and you do require good cables and perhaps a regen plus good power supply to go with it.

 

 

 

Here’s a report on that the ISO regen.  Note particular the effects it’s had on the measurements of a good dac, and a Shcitt Modi 2.    

 

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/uptone-iso-regen-review-and-measurements.1829/

C973298C-4DE2-41B3-A99D-26484B62A424.png

DA1857C8-C50F-407E-B27C-8371D3D0D6B9.png

Edited by Addicted to music

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

Here’s a report on that the ISO regen.  Note particular the effects it’s had on the measurements.

 

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/uptone-iso-regen-review-and-measurements.1829/

Love these mostly measurement based reviews.

 

With a number of other audiophiles we heard an earlier one and it sounded Ok - somewhat better than without it.   Then we put in a linear supply - instant quite noticeable difference.

 

Mike sells them.  Bring your DAC and have a demo.  Do a blind test - its that simple.  But ring him first - I will need to bring mine down as he doesn't have one in the shop right now.

 

Thanks

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@Alpine Electrocats if you come across an 808 Meridian CDP for sale, this can set you up with the works, pay no more than 5k. Dac is stunning and a swiss army knife for everything else and a sharp one at that. ROON, digital files etc, all boxes ticked. Would suit your music methinks. Don't know where you will find one these days but nothing beats them for redbook CD playback.

 

Budget wise, you wont beat the Audia Flight in the classifieds but it is CDP only. I don't think there is a digital-in.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×