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CD player, HDCD

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a Marantz SR4023 stereo receiver and NOLA Boxer speakers and am currently using a Pioneer DV-610AV-K to play both CDs and DVDs.

I'm thinking about getting a standalone CD player, but have a few questions.

1) A friend tells me that he would be surprised if I could hear the difference between my Pioneer and, say, a Marantz CD5004 ($349.99 list). I've seen discussion of this issue here and elsewhere. I may decide to get a standalone CD player simply to help share the load with the Pioneer, but also wonder whether a dedicated player in the Marantz's price range would give me better quality.

2) I have a fair number of discs labeled HDCD. Some say this may simply be due to the mastering equipment used. Also, some claim that better engineering of HDCD discs accounts for what some hear as better quality and that a HDCD player doesn't help that much. The Emotiva ERC-1 ($449 on their web site, but out of stock and expected in late March) decodes HDCD. The ERC-1 seems to be a polarizing player. Is it realistic to expect good HDCD at this price? Will I hear the difference?

I don't have any DVD-As and only have one SACD so the Pioneer will do for the stereo layer of the SACD. I like the price of the Marantz CD5004, but would go a bit higher either to get HDCD if it's worth the money or for better quality. I'd like to stay below $500 (and at $350 if not HDCD, but would go higher for markedly improved quality). I think I'd prefer to buy new, but would consider used for a particularly good value.

Is it reasonable to expect an improvement in CD playback for the $350 the Marantz costs? If you have the CD5004 are you happy with it? Are there any other players I should think about or should I stick with my Pioneer?

Thank you very much.
post #2 of 10
I'm with your friend on the general question. There have been loads of objective listening tests of CD players, and no one has ever demonstrated the ability to tell them apart, a few defects and outre designs excepted. So my advice is, don't upgrade just for the sake of upgrading.

If you want to decode HDCD, that's another matter. But again, any deck that can do it will do it equally well. To me, HDCD is a solution in search of a problem, so I've never worried about it.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you, mcnarus.
post #4 of 10
I jumped on the HDCD bandwagon immediately and rather like most of the HDCD disks i own so in my opinion trying a player with the decoder is worth a shot. On the other hand under no circumstances would I ever swap a Marantz for an Emotiva. I must say that I have never heard the ERC-1 but if it is anything like their crummy amps i would stay clear. Lots of other inexpensive options out there.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Could you suggest a good "entry-level" HDCD player?
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW. View Post

Could you suggest a good "entry-level" HDCD player?

My Yamaha 5-disc DVD player (DVD C961) decodes HDCD. I would guess most DVD players manufactured within the last 2 or 3 years can do it too. Would highly recommend not getting a standalone CD player for this purpose.

I have my CD collection ripped to my computer. Interestingly, the songs which were encoded on HDCD's are decoded in that format through my Sonos ZP90 wireless transport even though they're in lossless flac format. (The "HDCD" light on the receiver comes on.) Personally I can't hear any difference between HDCD's and ordinary CD's.

By the way, don't listen to the guy who says Emotiva makes crap equipment. He doesn't know what he's talking about. Their amps sound fine, and I'm certain their CD players are perfectly serviceable too. There's just no reason to get one when there are cheaper options for playing HDCD's.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you shodulik and Phlegm Hankie.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegm Hankie View Post

My Yamaha 5-disc DVD player (DVD C961) decodes HDCD. I would guess most DVD players manufactured within the last 2 or 3 years can do it too. Would highly recommend not getting a standalone CD player for this purpose.

Your Yamaha does not decode HDCD. Are you confusing this w/ SACD? Neither HDCD nor SACD capability is particularly common among DVD players.

AJ
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW. View Post


1) A friend tells me that he would be surprised if I could hear the difference between my Pioneer and, say, a Marantz CD5004 ($349.99 list). I've seen discussion of this issue here and elsewhere. I may decide to get a standalone CD player simply to help share the load with the Pioneer, but also wonder whether a dedicated player in the Marantz's price range would give me better quality.

no it will not, to hear a difference y0u will need to spend in the thousands generally


Quote:


2) I have a fair number of discs labeled HDCD. Some say this may simply be due to the mastering equipment used. Also, some claim that better engineering of HDCD discs accounts for what some hear as better quality and that a HDCD player doesn't help that much. The Emotiva ERC-1 ($449 on their web site, but out of stock and expected in late March) decodes HDCD. The ERC-1 seems to be a polarizing player. Is it realistic to expect good HDCD at this price? Will I hear the difference?


yes it is reasonable to expect good quality at this price but not from the ERC-1. In fact I doubt it decodes HDCD at all, it likely only has a light that claims to.



Quote:


I don't have any DVD-As and only have one SACD so the Pioneer will do for the stereo layer of the SACD. I like the price of the Marantz CD5004, but would go a bit higher either to get HDCD if it's worth the money or for better quality. I'd like to stay below $500 (and at $350 if not HDCD, but would go higher for markedly improved quality). I think I'd prefer to buy new, but would consider used for a particularly good value.

Is it reasonable to expect an improvement in CD playback for the $350 the Marantz costs? If you have the CD5004 are you happy with it? Are there any other players I should think about or should I stick with my Pioneer?

Thank you very much.

there is no markedly improved quality by spending an extra $150. I do think a Nad at $500 is a better buy however as there is subtle improvement and increased quality. BTW I own both the Marantz CD5004 and the $500 NAD.
(also a very pricey SACD player)
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you, eljr.
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