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post #1 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi end (ish) CD player recommendation

Hi all


I am looking to get a sort-of Hi End CD player, to replace my early 90s Onkyo that just died.


Someone recommended to me the Marantz SA10, but I am not looking to drop 7k+ on a CD player. Also recommended was a Naim CD5Si, which sells for 2k. That's doable, but at the same time, I don't mind spending a bit more.


First, would there really be a noticeable sound quality diff between the afore mentioned two?


Second, is there something else I should be looking at?


Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiffWraith View Post
Hi all


I am looking to get a sort-of Hi End CD player, to replace my early 90s Onkyo that just died.


Someone recommended to me the Marantz SA10, but I am not looking to drop 7k+ on a CD player. Also recommended was a Naim CD5Si, which sells for 2k. That's doable, but at the same time, I don't mind spending a bit more.


First, would there really be a noticeable sound quality diff between the afore mentioned two?


Second, is there something else I should be looking at?


Thanks in advance.

The question is do you need SACD playback, if you don't you don't need the SA10. If you do need SACD maybe the Ruby-KI from Marantz at 3999. Almost half the cost and a lot of the trickle down tech. I'm intrigued by the Technics SL-G700, which also does SACD and streaming. If I could find one, I'd pull the trigger probably. I've been shopping for a while now.

If you don't need SACD, I'd consider the Marantz ND8006. USB playback airplay 2, streaming etc. At 1099, it's a nice player. I've considered it, and having my SACDs ripped and doing DSD playback from USB.

I don't know much about the Naim player. Any of these will do a decent job at CDs. Even if you don't need SACD the Ruby-KI is an awesome player.

Currently I'm using my Oppos for CD duty, but I'm still shopping for a dedicated player. Let me know what you decide.
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post #3 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiffWraith View Post
Hi all


I am looking to get a sort-of Hi End CD player, to replace my early 90s Onkyo that just died.


Someone recommended to me the Marantz SA10, but I am not looking to drop 7k+ on a CD player. Also recommended was a Naim CD5Si, which sells for 2k. That's doable, but at the same time, I don't mind spending a bit more.


First, would there really be a noticeable sound quality diff between the afore mentioned two?


Second, is there something else I should be looking at?


Thanks in advance.


Can you post the other gear in your system? Do you have a dedicated DAC already?
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post #4 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiffWraith View Post
Hi all


I am looking to get a sort-of Hi End CD player, to replace my early 90s Onkyo that just died.


Someone recommended to me the Marantz SA10, but I am not looking to drop 7k+ on a CD player. Also recommended was a Naim CD5Si, which sells for 2k. That's doable, but at the same time, I don't mind spending a bit more.


First, would there really be a noticeable sound quality diff between the afore mentioned two?


Second, is there something else I should be looking at?


Thanks in advance.


There’s almost assuredly no loss in sound quality fidelity from your Blu-ray player.


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post #5 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
There’s almost assuredly no loss in sound quality fidelity from your Blu-ray player.


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In my recent journey this is a lot of what I’ve found. I think if you want a dedicated CD player and don’t need SACD go Marantz 5005 and use the digital out to use it as a transport that feeds your dedicated DAC which I’m assuming you have if you’re considering dropping 7k on a CD player.
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post #6 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by M0ltar View Post
In my recent journey this is a lot of what I’ve found. I think if you want a dedicated CD player and don’t need SACD go Marantz 5005 and use the digital out to use it as a transport that feeds your dedicated DAC which I’m assuming you have if you’re considering dropping 7k on a CD player.

I’d rather buy just about anything else with $7k than on an optical drive.


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post #7 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 04:07 PM
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Here is a very wide selection from the trusty folks at Music Direct:

https://www.musicdirect.com/equipmen...oducts&c2=grid

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
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post #8 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all!


Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post
The question is do you need SACD playback.

I do not. Thanks for the ND8006 sugg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0ltar View Post
Can you post the other gear in your system?

CD > CJ PV12 > B&K power amp > speakers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
There’s almost assuredly no loss in sound quality fidelity from your Blu-ray player.

So, a high end player, such as the Marantz SA10 (and others) doesn't sound better?


Quote:
Originally Posted by M0ltar View Post
In my recent journey this is a lot of what I’ve found. I think if you want a dedicated CD player and don’t need SACD go Marantz 5005 and use the digital out to use it as a transport that feeds your dedicated DAC which I’m assuming you have if you’re considering dropping 7k on a CD player.

As I stated earlier, I am def not considering dropping 7k on a CD player.


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Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
Here is a very wide selection from the trusty folks at Music Direct:

https://www.musicdirect.com/equipmen...oducts&c2=grid

Will take a look - thx.
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post #9 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 05:38 PM
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If you’re not going to use the CD players DAC, then no, no CD player should sound different unless there is something wrong coloring the audio imo. Higher cost CD players don’t typically offer anything the lower end ones do aside from more costly components that just increase the price, promises, and aesthetics. Now, higher end CD players can come with better DACs, but like I said earlier in today’s day and age DACs at lower prices have gotten much much better. Today it’s more likely that a lower end DAC is just as good as a higher end one as long as it’s doing it’s job correctly and not coloring the audio.

However, if you do use the internal DAC of the CD player there is going to be a bit of difference in junk CD players to those that have reputable DACs and it will be worth finding one that tests well. Audio Science Review would be a good place to look at DACs and how they test. Just remember that there is a limit to human hearing and just because a DAC doesn’t test perfect and has a bit of distortion doesn’t mean you will be able to hear it.
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post #10 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M0ltar View Post
If you’re not going to use the CD players DAC, then no, no CD player should sound different unless there is something wrong coloring the audio imo. Higher cost CD players don’t typically offer anything the lower end ones do aside from more costly components that just increase the price, promises, and aesthetics. Now, higher end CD players can come with better DACs, but like I said earlier in today’s day and age DACs at lower prices have gotten much much better. Today it’s more likely that a lower end DAC is just as good as a higher end one as long as it’s doing it’s job correctly and not coloring the audio.

However, if you do use the internal DAC of the CD player there is going to be a bit of difference in junk CD players to those that have reputable DACs and it will be worth finding one that tests well. Audio Science Review would be a good place to look at DACs and how they test. Just remember that there is a limit to human hearing and just because a DAC doesn’t test perfect and has a bit of distortion doesn’t mean you will be able to hear it.
Thanks for that.


I am coming out of the CD player, into a Conrad Johnson pre. So the thought process is to use the CD player's DAC; am I better off with a cheap CD player and a high end DAC to put in between the CD and CJ?

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post #11 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 06:08 PM
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Thanks for that.


I am coming out of the CD player, into a Conrad Johnson pre. So the thought process is to use the CD player's DAC; am I better off with a cheap CD player and a high end DAC to put in between the CD and CJ?


My opinion would be to get a CD transport or a CD player like the Marantz 5005 that can act as a transport with digital out and then get well tested DAC separate. I personally like separates as I think it gives me more control.

However, I would wait to hear what others on AVS have to say to form a more well rounded opinion as I believe basing a purchasing decision on just 1 strangers opinion on the internet may not be the best strategy.
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post #12 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 06:11 PM
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Another Marantz ND8006 suggestion - "Audiophile 192kHz/32bit D/A conversion (ESS9016) and dual crystal clock".

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post #13 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiffWraith View Post
I am coming out of the CD player, into a Conrad Johnson pre. So the thought process is to use the CD player's DAC; am I better off with a cheap CD player and a high end DAC to put in between the CD and CJ?
There are so many CD players and outboard DACs available that there can be no definitive answer. As a start, consider trying a Tascam CD-200BT ($400) from Amazon or B&H, among others. Seriously. A link:

https://www.amazon.com/Tascam-CD-200...96&sr=8-3&th=1

Note that not all CD transports, CD players, or Blu-ray transports are created equal. The worst in my experience are the transports in the little Sony Blu-ray units, such as our two S6500s. The equivalent Samsung BR players, such as our F5700 or H5900, sound much smoother and better in other areas as well, but still not a match for a fine dedicated CD unit. (All the Blu-ray transports were tested in our theater system via their HDMI outputs with all audio "enhancements" turned off.)

Below is a link (Post 15) to my in-home evaluations in 2017 of four CD players and a transport. I tested the units over an extended period, and price did not correlate with performance. I used my McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier during the testing. At that time I sought a replacement for an Onkyo DX-7555, which had just enough upper-midrange glare and edginess to grate on my nerves with certain recordings, whether used via its analog outputs or with outboard DACs.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/173-2...l#post55187756

Good luck!
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post #14 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 07:14 PM
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not all CD transports, CD players, or Blu-ray transports are created equal. The worst in my experience are the transports in the little Sony Blu-ray units, such as our two S6500s. The equivalent Samsung BR players, such as our F5700 or H5900, sound much smoother and better in other areas as well, but still not a match for a fine dedicated CD unit. (All the Blu-ray transports were tested in our theater system via their HDMI outputs with all audio "enhancements" turned off.)

What measurable aspect of these transports reveals them as unequal or incapable of transparency?



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post #15 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiffWraith View Post

So, a high end player, such as the Marantz SA10 (and others) doesn't sound better?

There’s reference and preference, and there is a very fine yet definite line between the two. There is no reason that a transport will be anything outside of sonically transparent (reference). Which is why I suggest a blu-Ray player you might have lying around.

But, you might want a coloration added to your playback. I’m not sure of your goals, but my goal is to seek components which are baseline transparent, but with DSP or other functionality to toggle coloration, or not. To me using a component as a one stop undefeatable coloration or tone control is asinine. Transparency is relatively inexpensive, but cost matters some, fairly easy to make, and surprisingly common. Outside lemons, defects, or similar, a transport will nearly always be transparent. If someone has measured effect showing a transport to be otherwise, I’d love to see it.

A decent DAC isn’t a bad idea, but even that need not be under $500 if transparency is your goal, which as I mentioned makes the most sense for a component.



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post #16 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 08:42 PM
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I was an early adopter of CD when it came out but switched to DVD/BD players to play them not too long after they came out. I realized there were people who incorrectly thought I was "compromising" my CD sound but I had no idea how nearly universally accepted this myth is even to this day on forums such as this. Now I know.

Luckily the general buying public hasn't fallen for the myth and stand alone home CD players have dwindled in sales and in the number of offerings: in fact the inventor of the format, Sony, makes none.
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post #17 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 09:25 PM
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Get a 6000 series Marantz player and RME ADI-2 DAC or a Chord Qutest You’d be set.
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post #18 of 99 Old 02-08-2020, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ClawAndTalon View Post
What measurable aspect of these transports reveals them as unequal or incapable of transparency?
If you want measurements, feel free to assemble a lab and make them yourself. You obviously have nothing better to do than harass and attempt to bully people here and on other threads. Stop it already.

Good night.
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post #19 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 05:33 AM
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If you want measurements, feel free to assemble a lab and make them yourself. You obviously have nothing better to do than harass and attempt to bully people here and on other threads. Stop it already.

Good night.


He’s just asking for proof to back up your stated “facts”. I for one agree with him. Measurements matter. Just saying there is a difference and not providing any proof is simply an ones opinion and in my opinion holds little value against those that provide proof with their posts like measurements.
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post #20 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 05:48 AM
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If you want measurements, feel free to assemble a lab and make them yourself. You obviously have nothing better to do than harass and attempt to bully people here and on other threads. Stop it already.

Good night.

I’m here to promote the science in audio video science (ya know, AVS). I’ll continue to do that. As a friend @imagic once said, the S doesn’t stand for superstition.

A digital transport is a very very simple transparent operation. Suggesting a better SOTA DAC is great advice, but suggesting high dollar spend for a transport is asinine. If you truly knew how it worked you’d laugh at yourself for suggesting wide variation outside transparent performance.


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post #21 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 06:14 AM
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He’s just asking for proof to back up your stated “facts”. I for one agree with him. Measurements matter. Just saying there is a difference and not providing any proof is simply an ones opinion and in my opinion holds little value against those that provide proof with their posts like measurements.

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I’m here to promote the science in audio video science (ya know, AVS). I’ll continue to do that. As a friend @imagic once said, the S doesn’t stand for superstition.

A digital transport is a very very simple transparent operation. Suggesting a better SOTA DAC is great advice, but suggesting high dollar spend for a transport is asinine. If you truly knew how it worked you’d laugh at yourself for suggesting wide variation outside transparent performance.


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Transports are just another transparent part of the digital chain that superstitious audiophiles try and claim makes a difference. But the cheap drive in an old laptop can do an error-free rip of a CD much faster than the playback bitrate, so the notion there's any performance gain to be had above that seems specious at best.

This seems like a very nice, polite thread, fwiw. And demanding proof of improbable claims is absolutely what you are supposed to be doing in a forum like this, no question. It may be a messy process, but over the years the AVS Forum community can claim credit for being a functional open-source think tank that has had a real influence on the AV industry, certainly no thanks to folks who just want nonsense claims to be taken at face value with no pushback.

Carry on.

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post #22 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 10:53 AM
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He’s just asking for proof to back up your stated “facts”. I for one agree with him. Measurements matter. Just saying there is a difference and not providing any proof is simply an ones opinion and in my opinion holds little value against those that provide proof with their posts like measurements.
I see. All posters are now required to measure gear at home and post the results. Listening evaluations will not be tolerated without a full lab report as proof.

I await your lab results of a specific CD player that you measured. Post it this afternoon in this thread.

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post #23 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 11:01 AM
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Hi end (ish) CD player recommendation

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I see. All posters are now required to measure gear at home and post the results. Listening evaluations will not be tolerated without a full lab report as proof.

I await your lab results of a specific CD player that you measured. Post it this afternoon in this thread.


I never said you had to do it at home. There are plenty of sources of people with proper equipment that post on here and other forums all the time. Like I posted to the OP Audio Science Review is a great resource.

In my opinion, listening impressions are just opinions and can be colored by ones own expectations and/or history. Something may be there to hear that is different or it my just be part of our psyche and imagination. Because of that, especially when making recommendations to others, I think it’s important to provide a factual basis that can be quite literally shown. This is why measurements are important. They are measured results and not opinions. They are material that can be repeated and shown to anyone and are not colored by ones own individual thoughts and desires of a listening session.

If you want me to provide my listening impressions then I will. I have been trying to find a CD player or transport for the past couple weeks and have demos a few in my home system. I’ve used high and low end and even cdrom in PCs. There was no audible difference as long as the outputs were level matched which is why I settled on using my PC as a transport and streamer.

To wrap this up... if you go about trying to determine which gear to get or use using an emotional personal test you will get emotional personal results which is fine for ones self, but may very well be colored like I said above. This is why measurements are important as long as they’re done correctly. They’re repeatable, objective, and universal.

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post #24 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
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Transports are just another transparent part of the digital chain that superstitious audiophiles try and claim makes a difference. But the cheap drive in an old laptop can do an error-free rip of a CD much faster than the playback bitrate, so the notion there's any performance gain to be had above that seems specious at best.

This seems like a very nice, polite thread, fwiw. And demanding proof of improbable claims is absolutely what you are supposed to be doing in a forum like this, no question. It may be a messy process, but over the years the AVS Forum community can claim credit for being a functional open-source think tank that has had a real influence on the AV industry, certainly no thanks to folks who just want nonsense claims to be taken at face value with no pushback.

Carry on.
Just because you personally believe something is improbable does not make it so. I suggest you theorize less and listen more.

In the future I now expect proof to back up what you report in product reviews. Not just your opinion obtained by listening only, but proof as well.
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Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #25 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by M0ltar View Post
I never said you had to do it at home. There are plenty of sources of people with proper equipment that post on here and other forums all the time. Like I posted to the OP Audio Science Review is a great resource.
There were no lab measurements in magazines or online of the players I evaluated and discussed. You expect folks here to hire a lab to measure the gear they purchase, then post the results? You go first.
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Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #26 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 11:19 AM
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Hi end (ish) CD player recommendation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
There were no lab measurements in magazines or online of the players I evaluated and discussed. You expect folks here to hire a lab to measure the gear they purchase, then post the results? You go first.

As I said above, there are plenty of resources to view measurements online.

Let me ask you this. What is it that you think a CD transport does? It takes a CD, that has 1 and 0 coded on it, and turns them into a digital stream of 1 and 0 to send to the its next destination. The only way that stream can be messed with is if the actual laser in the reader is doing something wrong or the media is damaged. Years ago there was a difference in how well lasers read. Now though, just like dacs, tech has advanced to the point that even entry level equipment is on level with much more expensive equipment.
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Last edited by M0ltar; 02-09-2020 at 11:45 AM.
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post #27 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 11:40 AM
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As I said above, there are plenty of resources to view measurements online.
That's exactly how I knew it was pointless to own both a DVD player and a separate CD player: the professional measurements, which I can read and understand how they relate to human perception, showed me that the DVD players reproduce CDs just fine. [And I'm picky.]


There may be a few "clunkers" out there but for the most part the differences are completely trivial. People will of course play the "How would you know? You don't have a discerning ear/gear" card, but when I challenge them to show me they can hear the difference in a blind test I prepare they flee like cockroaches when you turn the lights on.
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post #28 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 12:14 PM
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If you want me to provide my listening impressions then I will. I have been trying to find a CD player or transport for the past couple weeks and have demos a few in my home system. I’ve used high and low end and even cdrom in PCs. There was no severance difference as long as the outputs were level matched which is why I settled on using my PC as a transport and streamer.
The subjective information you provided above is valuable. Everyone should provide their listening impressions. We all know that it is subject to bias, we all know it is imperfect, and we can all decide how to weight every bit of feedback for ourselves based upon the information posted. Talking repeatedly about bias, that everybody already knows, and has heard a million times, is a waste of everybody's time, and it suppresses valuable feedback from others (who would otherwise share their impressions but don't want to be attacked (or just drowned in a 100 more bias posts)).


.
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post #29 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
Just because you personally believe something is improbable does not make it so. I suggest you theorize less and listen more.

In the future I now expect proof to back up what you report in product reviews. Not just your opinion obtained by listening only, but proof as well.

You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. The science exists whether you, me, or @imagic , believe in it or not. We just take the time to properly understand it, and promote that understanding. You think that’s a waste of time, and an uncontrolled experiment is more relevant.

If you want to make an extraordinary claim and challenge the well established understanding of the science I will ask for the same; extraordinary evidence. I’ll at least ask you for your understanding of how we measure to understand it, which i did, and you have not provided it, and I’ll dismiss your claim accordingly.

Be as flippant as you want. Shift burden of proof and ask about my gear or things I’ve done or not, etc all you want. It only makes you look more foolish, and does nothing to dismiss my request for information, or it’s need.



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"Most theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change."
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post #30 of 99 Old 02-09-2020, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RiffWraith View Post
I am looking to get a sort-of Hi End CD player, to replace my early 90s Onkyo that just died.

Someone recommended to me the Marantz SA10, but I am not looking to drop 7k+ on a CD player. Also recommended was a Naim CD5Si, which sells for 2k. That's doable, but at the same time, I don't mind spending a bit more.

First, would there really be a noticeable sound quality diff between the afore mentioned two?

Second, is there something else I should be looking at?

For that kind of investment, my advice is the same as what several others have said -- buy a quality standalone DAC and then find a lower-end CD player as a transport. That will probably be a much better investment sound-wise and it's definitely a better investment financially because a good DAC will essentially last forever and you can use it for everything (streaming, CD, etc). The expensive DAC in a high-end CD player becomes a waste if the CD player breaks or goes obsolete, and even while you have it, you can't use that built-in CD DAC for anything else.

I have never compared transports, so I don't have any opinion on whether transports matter. My gut says that any quality transport will be fine, but I don't ever comment on anything I haven't experimented with myself. I probably will never have the spare time, or enough interest (because my gut says they aren't that important), to evaluate transports -- that's why I love hearing impressions from those who have. As imperfect as all personal impressions are -- having subjective feedback from those who have done it is a million times better than me being in a vacuum with my own presumptions and having zero experience to support those presumptions.


.
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Last edited by pjp; 02-09-2020 at 12:53 PM.
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