Need advise on quality CD player ($1k budget) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 05-21-2012, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I'm looking for a quality CD player that
1) upsamples audio (at least 24-bit/192kHz and maybe up to 384kHz),
2) plays all kinds of audio disc (SACDs, DVD-As, good/crappy CDs, etc),
3) works well with Apple TV streaming for audio upsampling
4) Macbook Air's USB2.0 (plan to use with iTunes/Amarra player)
5) Digital audio output (coaxial, optical or HDMI) to have my MRX receiver apply Anthem Room Correction
6) of course most importantly, delivers SUPERB AUDIO QUALITY.

If it can play blueray, it's a plus but not necessary.

Having onboard DAC and preamp isn't necessary but if it can improve the sound quality, I'm all for it. No discrimination.

My system currently consists of Anthem MRX-500, an AppleTV and a Macbook Air (not connected to AVR yet, but trying to via CD player).

Budget is $1000. Flexible.

I have looked at some of Cambridge Audio Azur players (840C/740C) but would like to seek suggestion from experienced people. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 33 Old 05-21-2012, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhtoo View Post

Hi,

I'm looking for a quality CD player that
1) upsamples audio (at least 24-bit/192kHz and maybe up to 384kHz),
2) plays all kinds of audio disc (SACDs, DVD-As, good/crappy CDs, etc),
3) works well with Apple TV streaming for audio upsampling
4) Macbook Air's USB2.0 (plan to use with iTunes/Amarra player)
5) Digital audio output (coaxial, optical or HDMI) to have my MRX receiver apply Anthem Room Correction
6) of course most importantly, delivers SUPERB AUDIO QUALITY.
Hy
If it can play blueray, it's a plus but not necessary.

Having onboard DAC and preamp isn't necessary but if it can improve the sound quality, I'm all for it. No discrimination.

My system currently consists of Anthem MRX-500, an AppleTV and a Macbook Air (not connected to AVR yet, but trying to via CD player).

Budget is $1000. Flexible.

I have looked at some of Cambridge Audio Azur players (840C/740C) but would like to seek suggestion from experienced people. Thanks in advance!

Oppo 95. But you have to sacrifice Airplay.
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post #3 of 33 Old 05-21-2012, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post


Oppo 95. But you have to sacrifice Airplay.

Not having AirPlay is okay. I can control AppleTV with Remote app from my iph. But Oppo 95 doesn't do upsampling though, one of main features I'm looking for.

Also Oppo 95 digital outs (hdmi, coaxial, optical) bypass onboard DAC? I plan to just use hdmi to connect to MRX receiver digitally to apply Anthem room correction of the receiver. It seems Oppo DAC might become redundant for digital audio out.

One other way is I can use analog output and have MRX re-digitize (ADC) for room correction but not sure extra step or two (Oppo DAC, MRX ADC) would introduce noise.
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post #4 of 33 Old 05-21-2012, 05:57 PM
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^^^

if you are connecting via hdmi, the dac in the player is totally irrelevant*, as it never gets used...

the 93 would be a much better buy...

it would make no sense to feed the mrx analog and have it re-digitize it to process and then feed it through the dac in the mrx anyway...

* in all likelihood, the dac in the 95 and the mrx would be indistinguishable in a controlled test anyway...

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post #5 of 33 Old 05-21-2012, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^

if you are connecting via hdmi, the dac in the player is totally irrelevant*, as it never gets used...

the 93 would be a much better buy...

it would make no sense to feed the mrx analog and have it re-digitize it to process and then feed it through the dac in the mrx anyway...

* in all likelihood, the dac in the 95 and the mrx would be indistinguishable in a controlled test anyway...

Exactly! Thanks for confirming. I intend to use all of Anthem MRX has to offer - ARC, it's DSP, DAC and amps.

I guess what I'm looking for is a CD/BD player with upsampling feature and both digital inputs and outputs.
- Digital in for AppleTV, Mac
- Digital out for MRX (hdmi is a plus)

But what I mostly find are devices like Oppo 95 that has all digital in/outs but lacks upsampling.

Or devices like Cambridge Audio BD751 that has upsampling but lacks digital ins.

From Rotel site, I only find one classic CD player that has neither.

Any suggestion is greatly appreciated!
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post #6 of 33 Old 05-21-2012, 07:19 PM
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No player is going to satisfy ALL your requirements. Either you compromise in some way OR get more than one player.

Generally no player outputs upsampled audio via any digital means, except the CA CDPs IIRC. The CA 751 does NOT do that: upsampled audio is sent internally to the DAC and analogue.

Generally no player outputs SACD (DSD or PCM) via coax/optical, well some do but is downsampled so forget this idea. DVD-A is restricted to 48kHz via coax/optical. So if you care about high res audio, HDMI or analogue are the only options.

No AVR is known to be able to handle incoming PCM 384kHz let alone do further DSP with it. I think the CA CDPs only outputs 192kHz via digital. So forget 384kHz completely.

If you really care about high sampling, note the Oppo and CA 751 decimate (convert) DSD (from SACD) to PCM at only 88.2kHz, some including myself consider this as a DOWNSAMPLING, while other players output 176.4kHz straight away.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #7 of 33 Old 05-21-2012, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

No player is going to satisfy ALL your requirements. Either you compromise in some way OR get more than one player.

Generally no player outputs upsampled audio via any digital means, except the CA CDPs IIRC. The CA 751 does NOT do that: upsampled audio is sent internally to the DAC and analogue.

Generally no player outputs SACD (DSD or PCM) via coax/optical, well some do but is downsampled so forget this idea. DVD-A is restricted to 48kHz via coax/optical. So if you care about high res audio, HDMI or analogue are the only options.

No AVR is known to be able to handle incoming PCM 384kHz let alone do further DSP with it. I think the CA CDPs only outputs 192kHz via digital. So forget 384kHz completely.

If you really care about high sampling, note the Oppo and CA 751 decimate (convert) DSD (from SACD) to PCM at only 88.2kHz, some including myself consider this as a DOWNSAMPLING, while other players output 176.4kHz straight away.

Thanks a lot for the great input.

I don't mind getting multiple players (rack should have an extra slot or two)

But I do want the upsampling and being able to use with AppleTV. (Amarra on my Mac does provide a better result. It's on trial but I don't plan to buy it to save a few hundred dollars towards the hardware)

So any specific suggestion on how to achieve the goal stated in above thread? Been reading spec all day and very confused. We haven't even started talking about sound quality yet. Thanks, again!
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post #8 of 33 Old 05-22-2012, 02:04 AM
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First think critically if you really need upsampling from streamed media. I'm not familiar with Apple products so not sure exactly what you need for what content. I only see DD 5.1 for MCH in the Appletv page, the other formats I presume are all 2CH (both lossy and lossless). There's not much point (or worth the trouble) upsampling compressed lossy audio if that's what you have. If you download 2CH high res files they don't need further upsampling.

Upsampling for 2CH can be accomplished but not for MCH if you want digital output from a player. Some high-end stuff like Meridian and Anthem D2V upsample everything but are overkill and very expensive.

For players it's limited to one of the CA CDPs you've looked at for 2CH sources (using coax output) and a universal player for SACD and DVD-A 2CH and MCH (using HDMI) - these don't need more upsampling. The current Yamaha BD-A1010 outputs PCM 176.4kHz from SACDs and is cheaper (in street price) than Oppo. If you don't need Blu-ray then some older universal DVD players on the used market with HDMI will do.

PS. Since you already have a PS3 (from the other thread) which can output PCM 176.4kHz from SACD, do you really need DVD-A and thus another player?

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #9 of 33 Old 05-23-2012, 02:52 AM
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Did you consider getting an avr that upsamples? The denon 3313 has AL24+ upsampling fr/fl to 24/192. The 4311 upsamples all 7 channels. Having a reciever do it simplifies things, now all you sources are upsampled.
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post #10 of 33 Old 05-30-2012, 02:46 PM
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If upsampling is really that important to you, you should buy a stanbalone DAC instead.

BD-A1010/CD-S1000/PF60
HTR-6290/A-S1000/KDL46V5100
NS-555/SOAVO-900C/NS-125F

BD - 242
HD - 7
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post #11 of 33 Old 05-30-2012, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^

if you are connecting via hdmi, the dac in the player is totally irrelevant*, as it never gets used...

the 93 would be a much better buy...
.

Well you could connecting both hdmi AND analog for CD
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post #12 of 33 Old 06-04-2012, 03:14 AM
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have you considered the new nad m51? 24 / 192 pfft try 35/844 !

http://nadelectronics.com/products/m...ct-Digital-DAC

"Technology is a drug. We can't get enough of it."


Welcome to my lounge room :)
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post #13 of 33 Old 06-06-2012, 09:59 PM
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No upsampling, but have you looked at Marantz? Otherwise I would recommend Cambridge 751BD, which has the upsampling, but it slightly over your budget and is a universal player. Does not expose the USB prot / DAC functionality you are looking for though.
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post #14 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 06:39 AM
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There is only one player I would even look twice at; the OPPO BDP-95.

In terms of audio quality (CD and SACD), it is noticeably better-sounding than my Ayre C5xe/MP, which I paid $6000 for 6 years ago. The Ayre was the best player for under $10,000 until the BDP-95 came along.

As far as I am concerned, the BDP-95 makes all of the players selling from $800 to $8000 obsolete and irrelevant; if I was a manufacturer of one of those players, I would be running scared.

The BDP-95 is the product of the decade IMO; revolutionary. It is simply an incredible bargain at only $1000; it would still be a bargain at $3000.
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post #15 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

it is noticeably better-sounding than my
That's likely due to not level matching properly when comparing.
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post #16 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 12:32 PM
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kzhtoo,

Why do you want to upsample the digital audio?

There was a long argument discussion in the thread about the new Dolby upsampled audio. The conclusion (so far as I'm concerned) was that upsampling the end-user audio data does no good and usually causes harm. High sampling rates are needed during the data acquisition and audio mixing, but not once the audio has been finalized.

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post #17 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

There is only one player I would even look twice at; the OPPO BDP-95.
In terms of audio quality (CD and SACD), it is noticeably better-sounding than my Ayre C5xe/MP, which I paid $6000 for 6 years ago. The Ayre was the best player for under $10,000 until the BDP-95 came along.
As far as I am concerned, the BDP-95 makes all of the players selling from $800 to $8000 obsolete and irrelevant; if I was a manufacturer of one of those players, I would be running scared.
The BDP-95 is the product of the decade IMO; revolutionary. It is simply an incredible bargain at only $1000; it would still be a bargain at $3000.

What parametrics are responsible for the Oppo's superior sound quality? THD? Freq Resp? Low-level linearity? IMD?

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #18 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 12:51 PM
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If the adio quality is the key, I would suggest Cambridge Azure 840C.
Has top level DAC, upscaling, digital ins, balanced outs. Well it does not do nothing more than CD but upscales and DACs superb.
Sounds better vs Oppo95. I have both and playing CDs exceptionally on Cambridge.
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post #19 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 12:56 PM
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^^^

ummm... adc?

that post doesn't fill one with confidence..

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post #20 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 01:10 PM
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DACs, they are DACs, not the ADCs, typo, ofcourse its typo.
But as the subject says "CD Player", the specialized CD player would perform best, as more playable multimedia formats added to the list, as the price will start going beyond the target $1000 or quality will start deviating from described: SUPERB AUDIO QUALITY.
But I agree with others, OPPO95 has one of the best ratio for audio quality/price/the ammount of formats it plays, just a superb machine over all.
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post #21 of 33 Old 06-07-2012, 04:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordo32 View Post

SUPERB AUDIO QUALITY.
Disc players with superb audio quality can be had for around $100 new.
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post #22 of 33 Old 06-10-2012, 01:53 PM
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Go with the Oppo 95.

Upsampling audio is pointless.

192/24 playback is pointless, too.

read this:
http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

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post #23 of 33 Old 06-10-2012, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

Disc players with superb audio quality can be had for around $100 new.

ehh, a lot depends on the quality of the power supply and the DAC used in the player, and $100 players don't invest in quality parts for either of the aforementioned areas.

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post #24 of 33 Old 06-10-2012, 01:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlassWolf View Post

ehh, a lot depends on the quality of the power supply and the DAC used in the player, and $100 players don't invest in quality parts for either of the aforementioned areas.
So what? Do those "areas" make +- $100 disc player audibly inferior to more expensive ones?
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post #25 of 33 Old 06-10-2012, 02:39 PM
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It depends on your definition of "audibly inferior". For many people, just knowing that the equipment is using inexpensive parts can make its music less enjoyable. That's sometimes called "expectation bias".

Personally, I use HDMI connections, so the analog performance of the player is irrelevant: it's just being used as a transport. As a result, the quality of the processing and the analog components in the downstream electronics is what matters.

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post #26 of 33 Old 06-10-2012, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

It depends on your definition of "audibly inferior". For many people, just knowing that the equipment is using inexpensive parts can make its music less enjoyable. That's sometimes called "expectation bias".
I should have phrased "audible difference".
Quote:
As a result, the quality of the processing and the analog components in the downstream electronics is what matters.
Speaker is one of downstream electronics so yes, I agree.
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post #27 of 33 Old 06-10-2012, 06:16 PM
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Audibly inferior? yes, to some peoples' ears, and no to others. A lot will depend on the rest of the equipment being used, and the environment where it's being played.

If you have it connected to a pair of $30 speakers in your garage, then no, it won't make any difference at all. The quality of the DAC will make a bigger difference than downloadable content that's encoded at 192/24, vs 96/16, though. I am mainly speaking to the OP, though with my responses, as he was the one asking for a good CD player in the $1000 range, and he had a list of requirements, some of which won't make any difference, and some of which will.

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post #28 of 33 Old 06-10-2012, 11:24 PM
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If using HDMI or toslink you only need a transport. Cheapest player will do that can handle the formats. I use analog outs, so went with a decent lower-mid-fi machine (HK HD 990) and like it.
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post #29 of 33 Old 07-10-2012, 07:24 PM
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PS3
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post #30 of 33 Old 07-11-2012, 08:47 PM
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I owuld avoid the PS3 unless you're an avid sony console gamer. it requires bluetooth to operate via remote which most universal HT remotes do not natively support.
I also tend to see a high failure rate with game consoles, including the PS3

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