Head to Head: Marantz cc4003 vs Cambridge Audio 640C - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 45 Old 01-29-2010, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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All-

With the assistance of 2 audio buddies, I had the opportunity to do a head to head shootout between a Marantz CC4003 CD changer (MSRP $400) and a demo'd (used near mint) Cambridge Audio 640C single cd player (MSRP $699). The rest of my system is Focal 716v speakers and a Cambridge Audio 650A integrated amp.

Test CD Tracks were: "What now my love" Aretha Franklin and Sinatra from "Duets"; Diana Krall singing "Lets Fall in Love"; Celine Dion and Andrea Boccelli singing "The Prayer", Michael Buble's "Save the Last dance for me"

Net-Net: One buddy was conviced that the CA640C was unequivically "denser" and "richer" sounding, the other thought the CA640C sounded a bit "richer" My own subjective opinion, revalidated with coffee this morning instead of a bottle of wine last night, is that "maybe" I could hear a slight difference in favor of the CA640C. However, with such a small perceived difference, it didnt seem worth the extra money to buy the CA640C in addition to the over the Marantz which I already owned, so I resolved to return the demo and put the money towards another audio toy another day.

How does this help? Perhaps if you are making a decision between 2 CD players/changers, you can get your dealer to give then both to you for a 2-3 day in home demo. But at least for my poor ear, the conveniece of the $400 CD changer outweighs the acoustic benefit of the $700 dedicated CD player.

I hope this very subjective opinion was helpful. The head to head shootout was a lot of fun too! Enjoy the music!

2 Channel audio only:
ZUs Soul Superflys; Marantz PM15S2. Marantz SA8005; Rega RP3; Sonos Connect
ps - try before you buy, and always make sure you have a return option!
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post #2 of 45 Old 01-30-2010, 08:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjaye View Post

How does this help? Perhaps if you are making a decision between 2 CD players/changers, you can get your dealer to give then both to you for a 2-3 day in home demo. But at least for my poor ear, the conveniece of the $400 CD changer outweighs the acoustic benefit of the $700 dedicated CD player.

Given the type of comparison done, in home demo option was not necessary. The convenience of disc players these days is that they are all sonically fantastic. The decision on price comes down to features, ergonomics, durability and perhaps (for some) aesthetics.

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I hope this very subjective opinion was helpful.

Unfortunately it was not for those looking for useful data on disc player's sound comparisons.

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The head to head shootout was a lot of fun too!

If that's what you enjoy, more power to you and don't let my reply stop you from having more fun at home.

If by chance, you want to do more rigorous comparison, here are some tips on the test setups.
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post #3 of 45 Old 01-31-2010, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdjaye View Post

All-

With the assistance of 2 audio buddies, I had the opportunity to do a head to head shootout between a Marantz CC4003 CD changer (MSRP $400) and a demo'd (used near mint) Cambridge Audio 640C single cd player (MSRP $699). The rest of my system is Focal 716v speakers and a Cambridge Audio 650A integrated amp.

Test CD Tracks were: "What now my love" Aretha Franklin and Sinatra from "Duets"; Diana Krall singing "Lets Fall in Love"; Celine Dion and Andrea Boccelli singing "The Prayer", Michael Buble's "Save the Last dance for me"

Net-Net: One buddy was conviced that the CA640C was unequivically "denser" and "richer" sounding, the other thought the CA640C sounded a bit "richer" My own subjective opinion, revalidated with coffee this morning instead of a bottle of wine last night, is that "maybe" I could hear a slight difference in favor of the CA640C. However, with such a small perceived difference, it didnt seem worth the extra money to buy the CA640C in addition to the over the Marantz which I already owned, so I resolved to return the demo and put the money towards another audio toy another day.

How does this help? Perhaps if you are making a decision between 2 CD players/changers, you can get your dealer to give then both to you for a 2-3 day in home demo. But at least for my poor ear, the conveniece of the $400 CD changer outweighs the acoustic benefit of the $700 dedicated CD player.

I hope this very subjective opinion was helpful. The head to head shootout was a lot of fun too! Enjoy the music!

Considering the fact that you used an Int. Amp, you are comparing the analog outs of both the players. It is good to know.

I tried the 640C V2 and also the DacMagic (all the nonsense about upsampling) and I didnt notice significant difference in SQ compared to my good old OPPO 980H ($169 + some $20 S&H)

They make all these claims about great DACs, upsampling etc. Ultimately it is all just marketing gimmick.

I am disappointed to know that OPPO 980H has been discontinued when I wasted to order a backup. I wonder why OPPO wont make a CD changer!
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post #4 of 45 Old 01-31-2010, 11:10 AM
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BTW the other thread on high end cd player isnt useful at all as it involves nothing but bickering and name calling. People go back and forth but no one ever make any useful contribution as to why one is a better player.
So far I have not seen any shoot out either here or in pro magazines on sub $1000 CD players comparing their features SQ etc. Most pro reviewers would go bla bla bla on some classical piece that most people cant pronounse or have heard. But to an average buyer (like $500-600 ) those review are useless.
They never talk about how good the remote is or the tray handling is. These are ergonomics that make a big difference to the buying esperience as the SQ difference is not going to be night and day.

I tried the Denon 390/290 and it is probably the worst CD changer in the market. It makes so much noise when opeing/loading and also so slow. Where as the Yamaha CDC 697 that I have is so smooth and fast. of course the SQ from the analog out of Yamaha is not going to be as good as the Azur 640C or Oppo 980H. I use the Yamaha mainly as a CD transport.

We need more discussion on such issues than the usual bickering as to which is a better player or who's testing is better or who is an expert etc etc.
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post #5 of 45 Old 01-31-2010, 11:31 AM
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+1 on Mupi's comments.

When one has already decided to use digital connections, it's the mechanical features that matter more.

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Marantz SR7009+MM9000/Atmos 7.1.4 (FH+TM:DefTech PM1000)/LCR+TM amped
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post #6 of 45 Old 01-31-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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of course the SQ from the analog out of Yamaha is not going to be as good as the Azur 640C or Oppo 980H.

That may be a useful contribution if you can show some details on how you found that out. Would you?
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post #7 of 45 Old 01-31-2010, 04:20 PM
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... I wonder why OPPO wont make a CD changer!

Probably not much demand for it.
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post #8 of 45 Old 02-01-2010, 01:48 PM
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Actually I think things like aesthetics, build quality, functionality, ergonomics and user friendliness are things that people on this forum should be able to agree, or at least respectfully disagree about, without too much bickering. They are also really the only things I personally would look for in something like a CD-player. If threads only would focus on these things... But as soon as sound quality is mentioned, it all goes down the toilet... I'm afraid that if I express my oppinion about why, I'll start the same thing here.
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post #9 of 45 Old 02-02-2010, 04:48 AM
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Bad ergonomics should be talked about a lot more. From turn on to play. Tray speed. Noise. Being able to see the buttons in poor light. Even which side of the tray buttons are on. Just as reliability, these all effect our long term enjoyment from a product. Example: I had (emphasis on had) a Denon DVD/SACD that could only send signal to the coax or the analog. Not both. It happened to have a better analog than my receiver at the time, but I could not use the analog out for music and still use the digital for movies. Opps. I implied a difference in sound. Here it comes. Sorry.
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post #10 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

That may be a useful contribution if you can show some details on how you found that out. Would you?

If someone really wants to know as they are trying to make a buying decision they could just listem to them and decide. But given your track record, you are here just to start an argument. I suggest if your intentions are the same as in other threads, it is better to stay away from such pointless arguments.

There is no need to prove anyone as to which CD player is better. There is always going to be multiple options like price, features and performance of course. I pick based on what is a good value for me for the money I am willing to spend.

For example I picked the Yamaha CDC 697 as I wanted to use it mainly as a CD changer. I use the DAC on the Behringer DEQ2496 which soon would be replaced by the Integra DHC 40.1

I didnt spend the extra dollar on the Azur 640C as its analog performance wasnt any better than my OPPO 980H which I use with the analog pre-pro NAD C162. I didnt sit down and do any measurement as I am not trying to prove anyone which is better. Also I sit down and listen and not always make measurements every time I play a song. So measurements are meaningless to me. To my ears there was no perceivable difference between the OPPO 980H and Azur 640C when hooked up to the same gear. So I just didnt want to spend the extra money. Simple. I didnt have to convince anyone which is better before buying it. I also dont buy a CD player based on some reviews. I get them/borrow them and listen to them.

I use the reviews mainly to find out what kind of options are there. I cant buy every single CD player in the $500 range and listen to them before making the final decision. So reviews/opinions help me narrow down the choices. A product cant be bad if there are a lot of people who claim to like that product. They dont have ro prove anyone why they liked that product.
Even if someone proves why one is better than the other, it doesnt help me unless I listen to them.

So lets just drop this notion of having to prove why one CD player is better than the other. Just listen to it and if you like it and can afford it just buy it.

It is similar to buying a car. If going from point A to B is the only goal then a cheap car will do. But if other aspects like reliability, comfort, appearance etc. etc are also important then one can spend as muach as he or she can afoord to get the car that meets his/her requirements. There is no need to prove anyone that the car they picked is better than something else. of course a little bit of homework regarding what others have to say about cars that are out there in the same price range with similar features would help narrow down the coices.


I hope I made my point clear. So lets not start the bickering in this thread too.
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post #11 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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If someone really wants to know as they are trying to make a buying decision they could just listem to them and decide. But given your track record, you are here just to start an argument. I suggest if your intentions are the same as in other threads, it is better to stay away from such pointless arguments.

There is no need to prove anyone as to which CD player is better. There is always going to be multiple options like price, features and performance of course. I pick based on what is a good value for me for the money I am willing to spend.



I hope I made my point clear. So lets not start the bickering in this thread too.

There are two things you are not understanding here.
1. There have been many cases of lecturing about CDPs which you perceive as bickering (there have been some bickering but not as much as you think). A few members don't like to be lectured and don't like to see lecturing going on here for some reason even when there is option to join Audio Asylum.
2. My question was about the method of extracting your findings about aforementioned CDPs which you would get the drift of if you've lurked around in this section for a while. If not, I suggest you spend more time following through threads here.
Hope this helps.
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post #12 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

There are two things you are not understanding here.
1. There have been many cases of lecturing about CDPs which you perceive as bickering (there have been some bickering but not as much as you think). A few members don't like to be lectured and don't like to see lecturing going on here for some reason even when there is option to join Audio Asylum.
2. My question was about the method of extracting your findings about aforementioned CDPs which you would get the drift of if you've lurked around in this section for a while. If not, I suggest you spend more time following through threads here.
Hope this helps.

Like I said in my post many times, my method of finding was "just listening"
I really dont care about any other method. It doesnt matter how sophisticated the measurements or the testing methods are, it ultimately comes down to your ears and of course to other features, ergonomics etc.

I just listen and try out the features/operation myself. Period.

So stop this pointless argument.
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post #13 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 08:52 AM
 
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So stop this pointless argument.

What you should say is, stop this argument because it's pointless to me in which case you can just not participate. My reply wasn't just for you, it was also for other lurkers who are following this thread.
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post #14 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 09:51 AM
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So stop this pointless argument.

UserCP>Edit Ignore List>Add a Member to Your List...>*username*>Okay

An invaluable feature in this and other fora.
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post #15 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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An invaluable feature in this and other fora.

But it still shows if someone quotes or the reader isn't logged in.
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post #16 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 04:07 PM
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Thank you RUR. Did not know that.
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post #17 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 04:19 PM
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My pleasure. Improves the S/N wonderfully.
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post #18 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 10:36 PM
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.. My reply wasn't just for you, it was also for other lurkers who are following this thread.

Or, may stumble on it at a future date?
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post #19 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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Or, may stumble on it at a future date?

Thank you CharlesJ. Did not know that.
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post #20 of 45 Old 02-06-2010, 06:32 AM
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Geek I am just trying to see if I completely understand your position. (I spent a couple days reading this as well as a year-old thread on interconnects.)

Is it your opinion that scientifically there is no (0) audible differences between interconnects or CD players?

In other words.... you would contend that a cheap personal CD player from Walmart with in the box interconnects hooked up to any 1k to 100k system would sound no different than "hi-end" sub $1000 CDPs with sub $200 interconnects on the same system?

I'm not judging you just trying to be sure I understand your interpretation of the physics and audio engineering data on these 2 ranges of products.
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post #21 of 45 Old 02-06-2010, 07:59 AM
 
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Is it your opinion that scientifically there is no (0) audible differences between interconnects or CD players?

If you were asking me instead of other "geek", it is my assessment upon searching series of data published and my own experiences that properly designed and constructed IC cables that meet the standard performance criteria for its transparency, it will be audibly indistinguishable regardless of price. Now if you are talking about visible distinction, I shouldn't care.
Here are couple links on cables.
http://www.sound.westhost.com/cables.htm
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

As for CDP comparisons, I've heard differences and do you know what causes that?

Quote:


In other words.... you would contend that a cheap personal CD player from Walmart with in the box interconnects hooked up to any 1k to 100k system would sound no different than "hi-end" sub $1000 CDPs with sub $200 interconnects on the same system?

If they both meet the standard parameters for transparency (uncolored sound) which is very common, yes. By the way, you'll have to find the answer for the question above.
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post #22 of 45 Old 02-08-2010, 06:28 AM
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My assumption is that the difference in sound is due to different DAC's as well as other smaller less obvious micro components used in the design and construction.

(Or, perhaps is just differences in noised placed into the system by different analog portions of each unit)

Thoughts?
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post #23 of 45 Old 02-08-2010, 09:47 AM
 
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My assumption is that the difference in sound is due to different DAC's as well as other smaller less obvious micro components used in the design and construction.

(Or, perhaps is just differences in noised placed into the system by different analog portions of each unit)

How did you discover that?
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post #24 of 45 Old 02-08-2010, 10:09 AM
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By hooking up my 3 different CD players to my receiver and hearing differences with each.
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post #25 of 45 Old 02-08-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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By hooking up my 3 different CD players to my receiver and hearing differences with each.

Did you match the volume level of those 3 CDPs?
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post #26 of 45 Old 02-08-2010, 12:41 PM
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Yes. I used my Phonic audio analyzer PAA2. I tried to match to about 72dB.
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post #27 of 45 Old 02-08-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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Yes. I used my Phonic audio analyzer PAA2. I tried to match to about 72dB.

You may want to try it again. This time at 72db (within 0.1 db accuracy), not about 72db. Let us know what happens.
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post #28 of 45 Old 02-09-2010, 11:22 AM
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Hey geekhd should I match the highest dynamic point to 72 or the lowest, or does it not matter as long as they are the same for each?

I felt like before I heard a higher dynamic range in one of the CDPs so I should probably match the low to 68dB on each. Right?
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post #29 of 45 Old 02-09-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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Hey geekhd should I match the highest dynamic point to 72 or the lowest, or does it not matter as long as they are the same for each?

I only mentioned 72db because you seem to prefer it but it can be at any level as long as they are matched to 0.1db accuracy.
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post #30 of 45 Old 02-10-2010, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarn View Post

My assumption is that the difference in sound is due to different DAC's as well as other smaller less obvious micro components used in the design and construction.

(Or, perhaps is just differences in noised placed into the system by different analog portions of each unit)

Thoughts?

My experience exactly. DAC and analog output. Power and ground execution.
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