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CD Player recommendations for my setup

post #1 of 197
Thread Starter 
Hopefully one or more of you can point me in the right direction as I search for a cd player that matches up with my current system and the components I will be purchasing over the next 12 months.

My current set up includes the following components:

Denon AVR-687
Toshiba HD-A3 (use for movies and cds)
Paradigm Studio 20v.4 fronts (no other speakers at this time)

I will be upgrading the receiver to probably a Denon AVR-2308CI and adding two Paradigm atom monitors for my rear speakers some time in the next 12 months.

Right now I am looking at the following CDP's:
Cambridge Audio Azur 640c v.2
Arcam CD73
NAD C542

There is one shop in town that carries the Arcam and the NAD, but unfortunately I cannot test it with my own setup and their setups are much better than mine, so it's not the best situation for testing. The main types of music I listen to are classic rock and alternative rock.

I've read through all the threads about these players and all seem to get high marks here, and those same high marks are why i am looking at these particular players but I need some opinions on what will sound the best with my setup.

Any advice is welcome and appreciated!
post #2 of 197
Seriously, consider a streaming device. Rip your CD's to hard drive and stream them to your receiver. Way more convenient and feature-laden than a CD player.
post #3 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeK View Post

I've read through all the threads about these players and all seem to get high marks here, and those same high marks are why i am looking at these particular players but I need some opinions on what will sound the best with my setup.

Any advice is welcome and appreciated!

A couple of thoughts I'd like to share:
First, "best" is such a subjective term. While one person may prefer a full bodied, lush presentation, another may prefer accuracy and transparency, which might be too thin for the other person. And that's not even considering bass, which would get you all over the place. So, unfortunately, the only way to find out what will work for you in your system is to take home the component and listen to it.

Second, since you are using an AV receiver, and not an analog amplifier, I presume you will be using a digital cable and the receiver's DAC. In this case, it may not matter that much which of these two players you choose. Keep in mind that recent NAD products seem to suffer from reliability issues (just Google "NAD reliability" to understand what I mean).
post #4 of 197
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by machani View Post

A couple of thoughts I'd like to share:
First, "best" is such a subjective term. While one person may prefer a full bodied, lush presentation, another may prefer accuracy and transparency, which might be too thin for the other person. And that's not even considering bass, which would get you all over the place. So, unfortunately, the only way to find out what will work for you in your system is to take home the component and listen to it.

Second, since you are using an AV receiver, and not an analog amplifier, I presume you will be using a digital cable and the receiver's DAC. In this case, it may not matter that much which of these two players you choose. Keep in mind that recent NAD products seem to suffer from reliability issues (just Google "NAD reliability" to understand what I mean).

Good points about everyone's taste being different. When I demoed the NAD and the Arcam, the NAD definitely had more punch to it, but the Arcam really brought forth all the details, some of which the NAD couldn't seem to do. I really like the more full-bodied sound of the NAD, but the clarity of the Arcam drew me in as well. If only there was a player that had both.

I will definitely be getting a two-channel amp to hook up to the cd player and will continue to have the dvd player connected to the receiver. When I do that I'll definitely have some questions on how to do that properly, so with that being said, it appears that the NAD could be a hit or miss due to some reliability issues, and my two choices are either a CA or the Arcam or something else (i'm open for suggestions).

I have no way to demo the Cambridge Audio, and from what I have read it is bright. I don't know if that means too much focus on the high and mid frequencies or more transparent.
post #5 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Seriously, consider a streaming device. Rip your CD's to hard drive and stream them to your receiver. Way more convenient and feature-laden than a CD player.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! We've read the book and we've seen the movie!

Not everyone has the time or the patience "FMW"! Not to mention that some folks still appreciate the benefit of superior playback because of better DAC's!
Not to mention the satisfaction of having a nice authentic CD player regardless of how old fashion and outdated you think it is!

Regards.
post #6 of 197
Hi,

What's wrong with continuing to use the Toshiba player for CDs?

I would hang onto your money for now, and see if there are some folks locally through audio clubs or other online forums willing to lend you equipment to audition.

Moving to those other players you mentioned is not cheap, especially with today's economy.

- Steve O.
post #7 of 197
I don't know about streaming devices. When I tried that, there were far too many drop out and problems. So I do both. I have a CA 740c which IMO is a highly capable player with excellent SQ that has digital inputs that are connected to my "streaming" solution, direct connect to digital out from my pc. Also solid operation and great cosmetics, it fills up my rack space. I bought mine without an audition and have been very happy with it. Good luck with your pursuit.
post #8 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldgibson76 View Post

Yeah, yeah, yeah! We've read the book and we've seen the movie!

Not everyone has the time or the patience "FMW"! Not to mention that some folks still appreciate the benefit of superior playback because of better DAC's!
Not to mention the satisfaction of having a nice authentic CD player regardless of how old fashion and outdated you think it is!

Regards.

You could give the Escient a go, it has the CD player/hard disk/encoding-decoders/analogue out to pre, so it does remove a lot of the hassle and without the streaming requirement (but it still has the flexibility to connect to PCs etc).
And if required a digital out.

I do think FMW does raise a good point in showing how technology is moving forward, and there are products these days that go beyond the setup FMW mentions.
Regarding sound quality, well seems some are impressed with the FLAC playback (to rip a CD takes around 5 mins) so it should be competitive.

If you do manage to audition the Escient FireBall MX range I would be interested to hear what you think about it.
Cheers
DT
post #9 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

You could give the Escient a go, it has the CD player/hard disk/encoding-decoders/analogue out to pre, so it does remove a lot of the hassle and without the streaming requirement (but it still has the flexibility to connect to PCs etc).
And if required a digital out.

I do think FMW does raise a good point in showing how technology is moving forward, and there are products these days that go beyond the setup FMW mentions.
Regarding sound quality, well seems some are impressed with the FLAC playback (to rip a CD takes around 5 mins) so it should be competitive.

If you do manage to audition the Escient FireBall MX range I would be interested to hear what you think about it.
Cheers
DT

"DulcetTones".

You are a voice of reason! You are correct. Technology is moving forward. And yes, CD players are fast approaching "relic" status. But, like vinyl connesiours and their affinity to LP's and high quality turntables, there's just something about owning a high quality digital playback device.
Now, I must admit, Escient makes excellent products and could be the ultimate solution, if streaming and storing music is the virtue. I'm very familiar with the SE-D1 model and it's capabilities, but I'd still rather have a dedicated player. That's just me. To each his own!

Regards.
post #10 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeK View Post

Hopefully one or more of you can point me in the right direction as I search for a cd player that matches up with my current system and the components I will be purchasing over the next 12 months.

My current set up includes the following components:

Denon AVR-687
Toshiba HD-A3 (use for movies and cds)
Paradigm Studio 20v.4 fronts (no other speakers at this time)

I will be upgrading the receiver to probably a Denon AVR-2308CI and adding two Paradigm atom monitors for my rear speakers some time in the next 12 months.

Right now I am looking at the following CDP's:
Cambridge Audio Azur 640c v.2
Arcam CD73
NAD C542

There is one shop in town that carries the Arcam and the NAD, but unfortunately I cannot test it with my own setup and their setups are much better than mine, so it's not the best situation for testing. The main types of music I listen to are classic rock and alternative rock.

I've read through all the threads about these players and all seem to get high marks here, and those same high marks are why i am looking at these particular players but I need some opinions on what will sound the best with my setup.

Any advice is welcome and appreciated!

I actually own a Cambridge Audio Azur 640C. I personally think it's a fine player. Yes, it is more on the dynamic side of sound. Very detailed, while the others are a little warmer in sound. Does that mean they lack detail? Not really. Just a different presentation. It all depends on the music you listen to. I listen to primarily jazz, r&b, fusion, easy listening, and some classical. To me, this is perfect for the CA 640C. It really enhances the highs allowing for more detail. Now when I listen to progressive rock/pop like Sting, U2, Maroon 5, Cold Play, etc,.... I use my Denon DVD2910 universal player. The DAC's (burr-brown) are a little warmer. I also have to say that your speakers play a major factor in sound quality also. Make sure you consider what's going to be more compatible with your speakers and the type of sound they produce.

Regards.
post #11 of 197
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldgibson76 View Post

I actually own a Cambridge Audio Azur 640C. I personally think it's a fine player. Yes, it is more on the dynamic side of sound. Very detailed, while the others are a little warmer in sound. Does that mean they lack detail? Not really. Just a different presentation. It all depends on the music you listen to. I listen to primarily jazz, r&b, fusion, easy listening, and some classical. To me, this is perfect for the CA 640C. It really enhances the highs allowing for more detail. Now when I listen to progressive rock/pop like Sting, U2, Maroon 5, Cold Play, etc,.... I use my Denon DVD2910 universal player. The DAC's (burr-brown) are a little warmer. I also have to say that your speakers play a major factor in sound quality also. Make sure you consider what's going to be more compatible with your speakers and the type of sound they produce.

Regards.

Thanks! This is exactly the type of advice I am looking for. I am actually more concerned with how the player will pair with my Studio 20's than if the player is bright, or warm etc.

I am going to try one more time to see if can audition the NAD and Arcam with my setup. I'd really like audition the CA too, but no a/v shops around me carry it. I think a place in Dayton Ohio carries them so that might be my only shot.

Besides the three I listed and the Escient, are there any other players either used or new under $600 I should keep on the radar?
post #12 of 197
Thread Starter 
I have the opportunity to purchase a Linn Mimik II for $450 or a Rega Apollo for $750. I auditioned the Apollo and I really like the music it reproduces. I would like to spend less money if possible, but will the Apollo totally outplay the Mimik and be worthy of the extra $300? (The mimik would be a blind-buy)

It'll be hooked up to a Denon A-9555 integrated amp and my Paradigm studio 20's.
post #13 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeK View Post

Thanks! This is exactly the type of advice I am looking for. I am actually more concerned with how the player will pair with my Studio 20's than if the player is bright, or warm etc.

A player should not be 'bright' or 'warm' anyway. If the 'brightness' or 'warmth' are real it implies a serious deviation from the flat frequency response that CDPs routinely offer.

Most of the time the reports of 'brightness' or 'warmth' are more likely to be either imagination at work, or some simple output level mismatch being misinterpreted.

You shouldn't need to worry how a player will pair with a set of speakers...the only pairings to be even remotely concerned about, would be amp vs. speakers, and, if you are talking about long runs, cable length.
post #14 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

A player should not be 'bright' or 'warm' anyway. If the 'brightness' or 'warmth' are real it implies a serious deviation from the flat frequency response that CDPs routinely offer.

Most of the time the reports of 'brightness' or 'warmth' are more likely to be either imagination at work, or some simple output level mismatch being misinterpreted.

You shouldn't need to worry how a player will pair with a set of speakers...the only pairings to be even remotely concerned about, would be amp vs. speakers, and, if you are talking about long runs, cable length.

Sorry guys, I inadvertently made him aware of this thread.
post #15 of 197
Yeah, he posted a link to it in an AVSF thread where he's only been arguing with me and others for days now...about the audibility of DAC differences.

Gosh, what are the chances anyone would follow the link from THAT thread to THIS one?

OOOPS.
post #16 of 197
I was giving him an example of what a normal discussion thread looks like - and this is the result. Sorry.
post #17 of 197
To bmw1fan "normal" is defined as "not tainted by the annoying possibility that your ears might be wrong".
post #18 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

To bmw1fan "normal" is defined as "not tainted by the annoying possibility that your ears might be wrong".

Krabapple,

Or that there is the possibility that your opinion maybe wrong!!!!!

Some of you guys are unbelievable!
post #19 of 197
Thread Starter 
Any thoughts on the Linn Mimik II vs. the Rega Apollo?
post #20 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldgibson76 View Post

Or that there is the possibility that your opinion be wrong!!!!!

I'm not sure if one wants to right or wrong an opinion. It may be based on right or wrong information but, an opinion itself is just that, an opinion.
post #21 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

I'm not sure if one wants to right or wrong an opinion. It may be based on right or wrong information but, an opinion itself is just that, an opinion.

Unless you want 15 pages of a a derailed thread, I abhor you to stay on-topic.
post #22 of 197
Quote:
Unless you want 15 pages of a a derailed thread, I abhor you to stay on-topic.

Buy a dictionary.
post #23 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Buy a dictionary.

OK, got it now. Them - I implore; you - I abhor. Better?
post #24 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

I'm not sure if one wants to right or wrong an opinion. It may be based on right or wrong information but, an opinion itself is just that, an opinion.

Ah but is Krabapple pushing forward opinion, fact, or religion (where they control both the opinion and facts)

Cheers
DT
post #25 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

A player should not be 'bright' or 'warm' anyway. If the 'brightness' or 'warmth' are real it implies a serious deviation from the flat frequency response that CDPs routinely offer.

Most of the time the reports of 'brightness' or 'warmth' are more likely to be either imagination at work, or some simple output level mismatch being misinterpreted.

You shouldn't need to worry how a player will pair with a set of speakers...the only pairings to be even remotely concerned about, would be amp vs. speakers, and, if you are talking about long runs, cable length.

Absolutely, 100% correct in every respect. I couldn't have said it any better myself.
People subjectively describing the "sound" of a particular CD player is always good for a belly laugh!
post #26 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Ah but is Krabapple pushing forward opinion, fact, or religion (where they control both the opinion and facts)

Perhaps you could answer, followed by the reason/s why your answer is what it is.

I find post #13 very well put especially the interface between speaker and amp since there is a critical issue on speaker impedance and amp’s ability to drive it. As for post #14, it seems that someone’s trying to initiate a derailment process.
post #27 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

Perhaps you could answer, followed by the reason/s why your answer is what it is.

I find post #13 very well put especially the interface between speaker and amp since there is a critical issue on speaker impedance and amp's ability to drive it. As for post #14, it seems that someone's trying to initiate a derailment process.

Actually looking at the trend of this thread and when it started, who responded,etc.
It could be deemed that it is actually you and Krabapple that has derailed this thread.

Anyway, your right maybe I am wrong in stating religion controlling both facts and opinions.
Really I should had compared it more to fanatic sect, sorry that I used the wrong comparison

Cheers
DT
post #28 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldgibson76 View Post

Krabapple,

Or that there is the possibility that your opinion be wrong!!!!!


The existence of sighted bias as is not an 'opinion', it's a fact.
post #29 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaroldTheBarrel View Post

Absolutely, 100% correct in every respect. I couldn't have said it any better myself.
People subjectively describing the "sound" of a particular CD player is always good for a belly laugh!


So again to the OP, my advice is buy a CDP for its feature set -- e.g., connectivity, how many different formats it plays, single vs multi disc, output level control -- looks, ruggedness, and price. Those are all going to influence your perception of 'sound' anyway, even if the sound isn't really any different from one with different features, looks, and price. So you might as well focus on them from the start , and not worry so much about probably imaginary 'warmth' or 'brightness'.
post #30 of 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

Perhaps you could answer, followed by the reason/s why your answer is what it is.

I find post #13 very well put especially the interface between speaker and amp since there is a critical issue on speaker impedance and amp's ability to drive it. As for post #14, it seems that someone's trying to initiate a derailment process.

Dude, leave me out of the "derailment process" talk. I was merely offering an apology.
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