high-end CD player .. worth it? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm revamping my audio system ... stereo music only .. and going with higher quality components. My CD player is a SONY 5-disc player (forgot model#) I bought for < $150 at Best Buy years ago ... nothing special I don't think.

Anyway, I see high end CD players (Marantz, Emotivs, etc) that are quite pricier and was just wondering how much difference they really make to the sound quality ?

Rob
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post #2 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 10:55 AM
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Depends on how good the rest of your system is. A $10,000 cd player isn't going to make a hill of beans difference hooked up to crappy set of speakers. If you already have great speakers, and Pre-amp (amp, or integrand) then go for it. You will see an improvement with the emotiva over your old sony given that the rest of your system is built of quality components. Spend money on speakers first, amp second then source.
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post #3 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 10:59 AM
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Anyway, I see high end CD players (Marantz, Emotivs, etc) that are quite pricier and was just wondering how much difference they really make to the sound quality ?

Here are some revealing comparisons. Bottom line: Lots of people think they can hear the difference between cheap and expensive CD players, but for the most part, nobody actually can.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #4 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lexiconthx View Post

Spend money on speakers first, amp second then source.

And somehow room acoustic treatment was left out while mentioning amp and source to spend money on...
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post #5 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 11:51 AM
 
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Listen yourself and see.

Yes CD players can be audibly different, no it's not a big difference, there are probably better places to make audible improvements for the $ such as speakers and room treatments, etc. IF you already have a fairly high-end system, then differences in CD players may be with the rather steep expense to explore.
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post #6 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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Yes CD players can be audibly different, no it's not a big difference

Nonsense. Tighter bass, better clarity and detail constitute a big difference. The argument is what's causing such difference.
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post #7 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

And somehow room acoustic treatment was left out while mentioning amp and source to spend money on...

I was only listing electronics but yes acoustic treatments would be on the list as well before the cd player... I would still get better speakers before acoustic treatments and I listen at high levels so the amp comes second for me also.
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post #8 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 01:47 PM
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Bought a used Rotel 1070. Very happy. Difference between it and all of my other ones is night and day. However, my $120 Chinese DAC makes my NAD sound just about the same. I have no opinion if a $5000 CD is better than a $1000 CD, but the mid line NAD, Cambridge, Rotel, etc to me are well worth the cost sonically. I can both hear and measure the difference. My ears, my system. Not going down the argument path.
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post #9 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

Nonsense. Tighter bass, better clarity and detail constitute a big difference. The argument is what's causing such difference.

I've never heard what I would characterize as a "big" difference between CD players. Differences are subtle. Differences in rooms or loudspeakers are what I would characterize as "big" differences.

Differences in something like a CDP are relatively subtle. A listener may find those subtle difference significant in their system, significant enough to be worth spending money and time on, but I certainly would disagree with anyone who would characterize these differences as "night and day" or something like that. IF you're looking for that kind of a change, look elsewhere. Playing back a CD is not difficult to do extremely well.
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post #10 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lexiconthx View Post

I was only listing electronics but yes acoustic treatments would be on the list as well before the cd player... I would still get better speakers before acoustic treatments and I listen at high levels so the amp comes second for me also.

Amp comes before acoustic treatments... I see. I get the feeling that you've never tried your speakers in an acoustically well treated room before.
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post #11 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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anyone who would characterize these differences as "night and day" or something like that.

But it certainly can be depends on how it's set up. Again, the argument is about what causes such difference.
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post #12 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

But it certainly can be depends on how it's set up. Again, the argument is about what causes such difference.

I'm not seeing an argument about that at all?

CD players can sound different, obviously due to the DACs/filters/analog output stages. Not really much to debate except what sounds better or whether it's worth the $.
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post #13 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post

Anyway, I see high end CD players (Marantz, Emotivs, etc) that are quite pricier and was just wondering how much difference they really make to the sound quality?

Not likely they make much of a difference. The higher end players might have a higher quality analog stage that may perhaps provide better measurable performance in such areas as dynamic range (noise floor, especially) or distortion. Probably not overtly audible in most cases.

Audible differences between players can and do exist in my experience; however, they're generally very small (or subtle). The differences you might hear are slight differences in frequency emphasis and/or what one might call 'tone color'. For example if a player's output is a little skewed toward higher frequencies, it might sound a little bright compared to one that isn't. Or a player's frequency response may have a slightly unique tone quality, Etc., Etc.
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post #14 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Do amps have more differences in sound?
I just orderd a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s to replace my 30 yo JBL floor standers ...
which have no uppers or low end left in them. That should make a huge difference!

Rob
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post #15 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 07:47 PM
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Do amps have more differences in sound?

Yes in the sense that some amps are more powerful than others, and depending on your speakers and how loud you want to play them some amps will have the oomph to do so cleanly, and others will not.

Quote:


I just orderd a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s to replace my 30 yo JBL floor standers ...
which have no uppers or low end left in them. That should make a huge difference!

Not sure how much low end the 20s have, but if you want to improve your sound by upgrading components, upgrading your speakers is the way to go.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #16 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post

Do amps have more differences in sound?

I would say no. The degree of audible differences - if they exist - are about the same for amps and CD players.
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post #17 of 266 Old 01-13-2010, 10:53 PM
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I am still trying to "qualiting'' the sound of my old Sony player (60 buck) versus my emo erc (319 buck) I must say that there should be difference after spending the dollars!
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post #18 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 12:21 AM
 
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Just because you spend more money doesn't mean there should be a difference.
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post #19 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 01:06 AM
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It depends. As for aesthetically speaking, the emo is very nice looking cdp. No comparison with the sony. As far as sound goes, is not something like u will notice right away withough seating there and listening to it. So far, i would say that the emo plays tighter with bass and the mid seems better. But defientely not night and day difference, after all, we are talking cd quality, not tape deck vs cd.
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post #20 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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A sighted test is of dubious value.
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post #21 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

Amp comes before acoustic treatments... I see. I get the feeling that you've never tried your speakers in an acoustically well treated room before.


Once again things are all relative here, what amp does he currently have... how are the acoustics in his room currently. I don't think either of us can say what he really needs more sense neither of us know what amp he is using or how the acoustics are in his room...

I'm actually wanting to get treatments for my listening room though but don't even know were to start, I will agree with you that room treatments make a huge difference but I'm guessing also cost big bucks so may not be the best bang for dollar upgrade.
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post #22 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexiconthx View Post

I'm actually wanting to get treatments for my listening room though but don't even know were to start, I will agree with you that room treatments make a huge difference but I'm guessing also cost big bucks so may not be the best bang for dollar upgrade.

It's easy to spend a lot of money on treatments from retail (RealTraps, ASC, GIK et al), but there's plenty of online advice on fabricating inexpensive absorbtion panels. Bob Golds* provides a list of how-to links, and there are plenty more to be found. Both Ethan Winer of RealTraps, and Bryan Pape of GIK post room treatment advice here, in the Acoustics Circle at Audiocircles and elsewhere, free for the asking.

*scroll to the bottom of the linked page
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post #23 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Here are some revealing comparisons. Bottom line: Lots of people think they can hear the difference between cheap and expensive CD players, but for the most part, nobody actually can.

For the most part, that's actually your opinion.
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post #24 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by RUR View Post

It's easy to spend a lot of money on treatments from retail (RealTraps, ASC, GIK et al), but there's plenty of online advice on fabricating inexpensive absorbtion panels. Bob Golds* provides a list of how-to links, and there are plenty more to be found. Both Ethan Winer of RealTraps, and Bryan Pape of GIK post room treatment advice here, in the Acoustics Circle at Audiocircles and elsewhere, free for the asking.

*scroll to the bottom of the linked page

Looks great thanks for your help.
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post #25 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by RUR View Post

It's easy to spend a lot of money on treatments from retail (RealTraps, ASC, GIK et al), but there's plenty of online advice on fabricating inexpensive absorbtion panels. Bob Golds* provides a list of how-to links, and there are plenty more to be found. Both Ethan Winer of RealTraps, and Bryan Pape of GIK post room treatment advice here, in the Acoustics Circle at Audiocircles and elsewhere, free for the asking.

*scroll to the bottom of the linked page

Looks great thanks for your help. I have to start looking into room treatments next
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post #26 of 266 Old 01-14-2010, 07:44 PM
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I'm about to buy my first CD player. The one I reveived for free, BSR MCD-8050, is on its death bed.

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post #27 of 266 Old 01-15-2010, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by lexiconthx View Post

Looks great thanks for your help. I have to start looking into room treatments next

ATC Acoustics...DIY materials to fabricate your own panels.

http://www.atsacoustics.com/cat--DIY...ials--102.html

pm me if you would like more info.
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post #28 of 266 Old 01-16-2010, 07:17 AM
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A great CD player is essential for a great system. What most of the inexperienced people posting here don't seem to comprehend is that only if the sound comes out of the SOURCE component with low distortion and high accuracy can it be that way at the end.
I have been an audiophile for 30 years and have built up an awesome system; I know what makes a difference. I have spent thousands of hours listening critically to various components and how they sound with different kinds of music, and my ears tell me which components make the cut. My system would make most people's jaw drop; the low overall distortion actually gets you very very close to the sound of a live performance (even at concert sound levels). MOst people simply do not appreciate what IS possible with the right stuff.
Another thing that people do not understand is the importance of a quality amplifier. Most amplifiers priced under $1000 have GROSS amounts of distortion when playing actual MUSIC (despite the silly published specs using a test tone). NAD and Cambridge DO make some amps that have fairly good sound for under $1000; they are the only exceptions to the rule that I know of.
It is pretty obvious from some of the ignorant garbage posted above that many of these people have never heard a system with a really good amplifier. Without a good amplifier that truly has low distortion it is impossible to tell what sort of sound a CD player is putting out. Trying to tell which CD player is better with the average crappy amplifier is like trying to tell if a blu-ray player is better than an el cheapo $39 DVD player when watching both on a 15" TV set that cost $69 in 1990 (duhhhh...they are all the same....duhhhhh).

I made the mistake 30 years ago of spending some fairly big bucks for speakers, and then feeding them with a mediocre CD player and amplifier; it basically sounded pretty bad.
The fact is that a pair of well-selected $300 speakers can sound very very good with a quality CD player and amplifier, but $3000 speakers will sound like **** if the CD player is a cheap unit.
Anyone who thinks that you should spend a lot of money on speakers first is ignoring the fact that they will give garbage out when you put garbage in! It is a stupid mistake that lots of people make when they don't know better. A quality amplifier is the essential first step to building a good system.
I just improved my $30,000 system by replacing my $6000 Ayre C5 SACD player (rated A+ by Streophile) with a $1500 Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD player. I think the Sony is the best unit you can buy for under $10,000; it really is THAT good.
I know most people are not going to invest the time or money that I have in my system, but a budget of $2000, if used INTELLIGENTLY, can get you a system so much better-sounding than the average that it is very nice to listen to. If you spend about $600 each for a NAD amp (C355BEE), a Cambridge CD player (550C), and some EPOS speakers (ELS8), for example, you will have something very nice to listen to. That NAD amp has low enough distortion that you will be able to accurately evaluate whatever you hook up to it.
See my detailed comments on the sound quality under "Sony vs Marantz" below.
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post #29 of 266 Old 01-16-2010, 07:47 AM
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A great CD player is essential for a great system. What most of the inexperienced people posting here don't seem to comprehend is that only if the sound comes out of the SOURCE component with low distortion and high accuracy can it be that way at the end.
I have been an audiophile for 30 years and have built up an awesome system; I know what makes a difference. I have spent thousands of hours listening critically to various components and how they sound with different kinds of music, and my ears tell me which components make the cut.
Another thing that people do not understand is the importance of a quality amplifier. Most amplifiers priced under $1000 have GROSS amounts of distortion when playing actual MUSIC (despite the silly published specs using a test tone). NAD and Cambridge DO make some amps that have fairly good sound for under $1000; they are the only exceptions to the rule that I know of.
It is pretty obvious from some of the ignorant garbage posted above that many of these people have never heard a system with a really good amplifier. Without a good amplifier that truly has low distortion it is impossible to tell what sort of sound a CD player is putting out. Trying to tell which CD player is better with a crappy amplifier is like trying to tell that a blu-ray player is better than a cheapo DVD player when watching both on a 15" TV set that cost $69 in 1990.

I made the mistake 30 years ago of spending some fairly big bucks for speakers, and then feeding them with a mediocre CD player and amplifier; it basically sounded pretty bad.
The fact is that a pair of well-selected $300 speakers can sound very very good with a quality CD player and amplifier, but $3000 speakers will sound like **** if the CD player is a cheap unit.

This is the best parody of audiophile idiocy I've ever read! Thanks for the laugh, man!

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #30 of 266 Old 01-16-2010, 08:55 AM
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mcnarus...

I always appreciate constructive criticism. If you ever become capable of any, be sure to let me know about it! In the meantime, feel free to continue with the silly and meaningless gratuitous insults; they certainly indicate the depth of your intellectual capabilities for everyone to appreciate!

I am stating what my careful listening experiences over the years have allowed me to discover. You can deny it, but you can't change my opinion of what I hear. When I hear distorted sound from a system it makes me wince, and when I hear clean realistic sound I know that too...and smile! Ridicule is a very puny weapon indeed; especially when it is obviously used without adequate knowledge or experience.

If you could come listen to my system and fail to appreciate it, that would indicate that you have a severe hearing problem indeed; my wife and I don't. We are thrilled by the beautiful music that we listen to from our system. We have many friends who share our opinion. For you to ridicule our opinions or our sound system, when you have not shared our experiences, is like someone who has never left Peoria poo-poo-ing the Grand Canyon; pretty damn foolish!

Your lack of experience with good audio equipment is painfully obvious. You should go to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and hear some really good sound systems. Unfortunately it just ended; maybe next year.

People who make comments like yours fall into two categories; those who have never really heard a quality sound system...and/or those who are never going to spend more than $500 on a sound system and don't want to acknowledge that there might be something better.
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