Need a cd player + integrated amp under $1000 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I've short listed Marantz cd5004 + PM5004 or NAD C 515BEE + NAD C 315BEE.

Now price comes around $800. So I'm thinking of going for the next higher priced CD player or Amp. But here I'm confused whether to buy a cd player or an amp, which would be a better investment? So I would like to know whether I should buy NAD C 545BEE or NAD C 355BEE(Unfortunately I don't have much options in Marantz, coz the next higher amp is PM8004 which is $999, not sure of any other cd player)

Also, will there be any degradation in sound quality if I mix match Marantz and NAD, how is that going to perform?
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post #2 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 11:31 AM
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If I had to choose between upgrading amp or CD, I'd upgrade amp. But I strongly suspect that neither move will improve your sound quality.

The most important question is: What speakers?

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

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post #3 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 12:03 PM
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Mixing CD players and amplifiers from different brands is not a problem. I agree that your speaker choice is the most important factor here, as you will need an amp that is capable of driving your speakers.

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
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post #4 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceepee View Post

I've short listed Marantz cd5004 + PM5004 or NAD C 515BEE + NAD C 315BEE.

Now price comes around $800. So I'm thinking of going for the next higher priced CD player or Amp. But here I'm confused whether to buy a cd player or an amp, which would be a better investment? So I would like to know whether I should buy NAD C 545BEE or NAD C 355BEE(Unfortunately I don't have much options in Marantz, coz the next higher amp is PM8004 which is $999, not sure of any other cd player)

Also, will there be any degradation in sound quality if I mix match Marantz and NAD, how is that going to perform?

Let me ask you, do you currently have an audio setup, amp/receiver and Cd player? If so, what do you have? Maybe you don't really need to upgrade?
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post #5 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 01:08 PM
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CD PLayer - unless you need an SACD Player - do not expect any difference to be made by any CD player. I think the Oppo, Marantz, and Emotiva offerings however should be fine if you insist on blowing money. Personally I would use an all digital transport from my CD Player to a receiver with a DAC. Either way, and differences between CD players are purely in terms of functions, not performance, as they don't really do all that much. I would not spend over $100 on a CD Player, although an SACD player can be pricy.

Integrated amp - I recommend a surround receiver such as a Marantz SR5003. In source direct mode it will be a great integrated amp, but it will also have HDMI and Optical inputs which IMO are prefered. As an aside, it will allow you to add a subwoofer to your system via bass management should you so desire. And if you ever want to add more power, it doubles as a pre so you can eventually add a dedicated separates amp such as an ATI 2002 or Emotiva XPA-2

Otherwise, I would recommend the Outlaw Audio RR2150, which is more expensive, has less features, but does have a higher end amplifier section overall.
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post #6 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Mine is an old setup that you will surely say to upgrade
Sony dvp ns55p + Pioneer SA 408 + Pioneer Floor standers
Floor standers is of my home theater HTP-RS30.

Also I don't have any SACDs, so not looking for SACD as an option.
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post #7 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ceepee View Post

Mine is an old setup that you will surely say to upgrade
Sony dvp ns55p + Pioneer SA 408 + Pioneer Floor standers
Floor standers is of my home theater HTP-RS30.

Why do YOU feel you need to upgrade?

Would you rather not upgrade the speakers first and foremost?
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post #8 of 30 Old 02-16-2011, 10:54 PM
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NAD 326 BEE and an Oppo Bdp-93 should make a nice combination. I have had the integrated before and I really enjoyed it.
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post #9 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 02:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Eternal Velocity View Post

Why do YOU feel you need to upgrade?

Would you rather not upgrade the speakers first and foremost?

I think of my dvd player of not that great for stereo music and an old amp which requires a replacement high time.
Yeah... speakers also I'm thinking of upgrading, but i think I'll start with CD player and Amp first. (Speakers will the joining the home theater part after that).
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post #10 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 02:55 AM
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Speakers make or break a system though.

Panasonic TC-P58S2, Onkyo TX-NR1007, Onkyo DV-SP1000, Onkyo DV-HD805, Onkyo BD-SP807, Onkyo DX-V801, Onkyo UP-A1, Onkyo TA-RW411, Onkyo EQ-201, Yamaha Speakers NS700/750 Series, Blue Jean Cables
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post #11 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Johnnycloud View Post

NAD 326 BEE and an Oppo Bdp-93 should make a nice combination. I have had the integrated before and I really enjoyed it.

Majority here saying to upgrade amp. So considering the cost of Oppo how good that will do if I'm going for it, than a better amp? Is Oppo comparable with any of those Marantz or NAD cd player?
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post #12 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 06:20 AM
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Majority here saying to upgrade amp.

Not really. Now that we know what you're working with, I would say don't waste your money on anything else until you upgrade those speakers. I'm willing to bet others who have commented would agree.

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

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post #13 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ceepee View Post

I think of my dvd player of not that great for stereo music and an old amp which requires a replacement high time..

Um... why? Because it sounds like you're about to spend money on things that won't change a thing.
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post #14 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 08:41 AM
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Majority here saying to upgrade amp.

I'd start with the speakers.

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
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post #15 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Seems like I should scrap this cd player + Amp 'project' and start a speaker one
Btw, any one would recommend a good pair of (bookshelf this time)speakers for my current setup? I would like to have good bass(not boomy) and great mids. Budget $500(stretchable though).
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post #16 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 09:33 AM
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Good base comes from a subwoofer, not a bookshelf speaker. For the latter though, I'd look at the Paradigm and PSB lines.

But why, if you had $1000 available for electronics, do you only have $500 for speakers?

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

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post #17 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceepee View Post

Seems like I should scrap this cd player + Amp 'project' and start a speaker one
Btw, any one would recommend a good pair of (bookshelf this time)speakers for my current setup? I would like to have good bass(not boomy) and great mids. Budget $500(stretchable though).

Take a look at AudioGon. For around $500 you will do well. If I had $500 to spend on a pair of speakers, I would seriously consider these Epos ES-14s available with stands. Great speakers and a very good deal. Bass and mids should be to your liking.

The Era D4 would be a good choice for new speakers. Decent bass and midrange at $400 new from Underwood HiFi.
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post #18 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Good base comes from a subwoofer, not a bookshelf speaker. For the latter though, I'd look at the Paradigm and PSB lines.

But why, if you had $1000 available for electronics, do you only have $500 for speakers?

Not exactly $500, may be I'll put some more money for speakers and if time and money favors I'll restart my cd player and amp quest with rest of the money(like I said if money favors I'll add some more for the quest).

And I hope that your recommendation works great in this case also.
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post #19 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ceepee View Post

Not exactly $500, may be I'll put some more money for speakers and if time and money favors I'll restart my cd player and amp quest with rest of the money(like I said if money favors I'll add some more for the quest).

And I hope that your recommendation works great in this case also.

I dont think you quite get it. amps are only an upgrade if they are necessetated. cdplayers are never an upgrade. If you spend 1000 on a pair of speakers which don't necessetate a new amp then you'll likely have better end results than 500 on speakers, 400 on amp, 100 on cdp.

I reccomend a pair of JBL LSR6325s fwiw.
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post #20 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Eternal Velocity View Post
I dont think you quite get it. amps are only an upgrade if they are necessetated. cdplayers are never an upgrade. If you spend 1000 on a pair of speakers which don't necessetate a new amp then you'll likely have better end results than 500 on speakers, 400 on amp, 100 on cdp.

I reccomend a pair of JBL LSR6325s fwiw.
I thought cd player would be an upgrade since Marantz or NAD will be having a better DAC, better signal processing and timing circuits than my Sony's.

Amp because, mine is an old one and it only works properly with the Aux input. Basically it has some issues with the selector knob.

And even, I would like to know, for $1000 which pair of speakers(of any type, since BS won't be that good for bass, as stevensctt mentioned) would you recommend?
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post #21 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ceepee View Post
I thought cd player would be an upgrade since Marantz or NAD will be having a better DAC, better signal processing and timing circuits than my Sony's.

Amp because, mine is an old one and it only works properly with the Aux input. Basically it has some issues with the selector knob.

And even, I would like to know, for $1000 which pair of speakers(of any type, since BS won't be that good for bass, as stevensctt mentioned) would you recommend?
First of all, CD Players should not have signal processing.

Second - How bad is the audio jitter in your DVD Player? Is it so bad you can audible reliably tell the difference between your DVD player and a high end DVD player? Or is it just a number that you probably don't even know? Jitter is overblown.

Finally, with respect to DACS. I'd say Benchmark DACs for example are the best DACs in the world. But I'd also say I don't know if that means anything. If to your ears the superiorly designed DAC sounds identical... then why exactly do you need it?

I recommended the JBLs but if you do want more bass extention, then I actually recommend going DIY or adding a subwoofer. They're active so if you ran them off your DVD player alone you may not even need an intergrated amp or preamp in between (I believe).

So is DIY an option? Could you do the woodworking and assembly if given instructions? You could build an ~800-1000 stereo kit that can run with things in the $3-5k range. A huge upgrade over what you're running right now - even if you stick with the current amplification!
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post #22 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I recommended the JBLs but if you do want more bass extention, then I actually recommend going DIY or adding a subwoofer.

So is DIY an option? Could you do the woodworking and assembly if given instructions? You could build an ~800-1000 system that can run with things in the $3-5k range. A huge upgrade over what you're running right now.
DIY... not sure, haven't done anything of that sort. Any speakers to recommend at that price range?
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post #23 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ceepee View Post
DIY... not sure, haven't done anything of that sort.
If you've got the time and can get your hands on the tools, I highly recommend it. Some kits even come with pre-soldered crossovers. All you have to do is make the box.


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Any speakers to recommend at that price range?
Besides the JBL studio monitor (which won't have the deep bass without a sub but will otherwise sound great and you can always just add a sub) you should probably look into PSB Image T6, SVS MTS-02, EMP Tek e55ti, Revel F12, and Emotiva ERM-8.3 would be among my choices. With that said however they might be current hungry and I don't know enough about your amp to know if it would suffice for them. The DIY speakers I have in mind would not have these issues. These would include Linkwitz Pluto, Zaph ZRT-3.5, Zaph SB12.3, Dennis Murphy ER18 MTM, and Statements to name a few.
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post #24 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 12:20 PM
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I don't think CP is anywhere close to ready for DIY yet. Let's stick to what's within his grasp as he climbs the audio tree.

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

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post #25 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 12:34 PM
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You'll have several excellent choices in the $800 to $1000 range. PSB Image T5 and T6 come to mind, as do the Energy CF-70 and the Revel F12 speakers. Not knowing the power of your amplifier, I'd look for something fairly easy to drive (i.e., a sensitivity of at least 89 dB).

The JBL L880 and L890 speakers might be available well below your price range, and are also worth your consideration.

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post #26 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 12:38 PM
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It is hard to get an idea of what will help you without knowing the system you are listening to now. One thing you can try is to listen to 2 or more devices that play CD's such as a DVD player and an XBOX or Playstation if you have one. If you can't tell any difference between these devices (not that one will be better then the other, just different), you probably shouldn't worry too much about a player. If you can hear a difference then you should think about getting a quality cd player as part of your upgrade path.
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post #27 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnycloud View Post

It is hard to get an idea of what will help you without knowing the system you are listening to now. One thing you can try is to listen to 2 or more devices that play CD's such as a DVD player and an XBOX or Playstation if you have one. If you can't tell any difference between these devices (not that one will be better then the other, just different), you probably shouldn't worry too much about a player. If you can hear a difference then you should think about getting a quality cd player as part of your upgrade path.

Good advice but what good is it if he dosent conduct a proper listening test? Like most people do.

Under proper conditions you shoul dnot hear a difference in CDPs DVD etc...
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post #28 of 30 Old 02-17-2011, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Johnnycloud View Post

It is hard to get an idea of what will help you without knowing the system you are listening to now. One thing you can try is to listen to 2 or more devices that play CD's such as a DVD player and an XBOX or Playstation if you have one. If you can't tell any difference between these devices (not that one will be better then the other, just different), you probably shouldn't worry too much about a player. If you can hear a difference then you should think about getting a quality cd player as part of your upgrade path.

I don't have an XBOX or PS. I used to listen songs from my desktop and those times my DVD player was not used that much. Someday I burned some of my flac songs to CD and played using my DVD player. And that was a revelation for me and I could feel the difference starting from the lows(mainly) to the highs. That time I truly 'experienced' a difference when sourcing from desktop and DVD player. I also felt the same with my laptop(and my brother's too) when compared to DVD player.

So that's one another reason I thought of going for a hifi CD player.

But as you said, I didn't try with another CD player.
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post #29 of 30 Old 02-18-2011, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ceepee View Post

I don't have an XBOX or PS. I used to listen songs from my desktop and those times my DVD player was not used that much. Someday I burned some of my flac songs to CD and played using my DVD player. And that was a revelation for me and I could feel the difference starting from the lows(mainly) to the highs. That time I truly 'experienced' a difference when sourcing from desktop and DVD player. I also felt the same with my laptop(and my brother's too) when compared to DVD player.

So that's one another reason I thought of going for a hifi CD player.

But as you said, I didn't try with another CD player.

there are too many variables at play here...even if the amp and speakers were kept constant....

-the snr of the computer
-the dsp of the computer sound card
-the output voltage headroom of the computer sound card
-level matching and gain (which in turn can bring into play the SNR of the preamp or amp ahead in the signal)
-possible grounding issues
-software DSP and filtering

In general for stereo listening I prefer digital output from the source if possible to a surround receiver with quality preouts, and no processing in the signal path. So a hi fi cd player should sound the same as any decent cdp. the only difference in things you won't hear - features, aesthetics, and inaudible but measuable performance differences. if it is half decent it will sound the same as hi fi. amps are a bit more complex. but a good $500 surround receivers fan be shown to sound essentially the same in controlled tests as $20,000 hi fi dual mono amps - although controlled test is a key word as many variables most certainly come into play.

speakers and their interaction with the room, on the other hand? HUGE. if you're willing to pay more, then a smart decision will be worthwhile.
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post #30 of 30 Old 02-19-2011, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Eternal Velocity View Post

there are too many variables at play here...even if the amp and speakers were kept constant....

-the snr of the computer
-the dsp of the computer sound card
-the output voltage headroom of the computer sound card
-level matching and gain (which in turn can bring into play the SNR of the preamp or amp ahead in the signal)
-possible grounding issues
-software DSP and filtering

In general for stereo listening I prefer digital output from the source if possible to a surround receiver with quality preouts, and no processing in the signal path. So a hi fi cd player should sound the same as any decent cdp. the only difference in things you won't hear - features, aesthetics, and inaudible but measuable performance differences. if it is half decent it will sound the same as hi fi. amps are a bit more complex. but a good $500 surround receivers fan be shown to sound essentially the same in controlled tests as $20,000 hi fi dual mono amps - although controlled test is a key word as many variables most certainly come into play.

speakers and their interaction with the room, on the other hand? HUGE. if you're willing to pay more, then a smart decision will be worthwhile.

Ok... I can understand that so many variables comes into play when interfacing computer and an amp.

One thing with your receiver suggestion is, if I buy a receiver with digital input, i can use my existing DVD player's coax digital output. Then I don't have to look for another CD player and concentrate more on buying a receiver and forget about buying a CD player(i.e. much more money for speakers). Not sure if any other parameter comes here also. I hope if I'm taking the digital output from a CD player, then I'll get everything clean from the CD.
And can you recommend such a receiver for around $600? I found HK 3490, is there anything better?

But in case of receivers, I'm bit doubtful, so I would like to know how a receiver would size up against an integrated amp in sound quality?
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