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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!


This is my first post here. I've read through dozens of older threads and I couldn't find answers to my specific questions. (Perhaps there are no answers.) If there are other threads I should read, please direct me to them. (I hope I have chosen the right forum. Since this question is about the combination of a player and receiver, I wasn't sure where I should put it. If I'm in the wrong place, I apologize!)


For the past twenty years or so, I've been listening to CDs on a Sony ES changer, a Sony ES receiver, and a pair of Polk Audio Monitor 5B's. Since I am finally gainfully employed, it's finally time for a serious upgrade: I'm going to put together a 5.1 system for the enjoyment of CDs and SACDs (of which I have many). (I know that this is not a speaker thread, but just so you have an idea of what I'll be listening on, I'm going to purchase front main speakers that cost between $1000 and $1600 a pair. I've been thinking about Polk RTi A7's and Revel F12's, among others.)


I've been looking into various SACD player/receiver combinations, but there are so many choices and possibilities that I'm having a hard time making even the most basic decisions. I'd like to spend no more than $2000 or $3000 for these two components, but I have a little flexibility here.


Here are some of the options I've been considering:

Option 1

An Oppo or Pioneer universal player that sends DSD over HDMI 1.2 coupled with any of the newer receivers that can decode DSD over HDMI (Denon, Sony, Pioneer, Yamaha).

Option 2

The Sony STR-DA71000ES and an SACD player with i.Link (such as the discontinued Denon 3100CI or the soon-to-discontinued Sony DVP-NS9100ES). A bunch of the Sony fans over at Agoraquest rave about this combination. As far as I understand (and that may not be very far), the 7100ES is a digital amplifier, and it converts everything into DSD before amplification. So, in addition to the usual advantages of sending DSD over i.Link (reduced jitter, apparently), this combination would save the D/A conversion to the very end, as it were. And I take it that that is a good thing.

Option 3

Denon 2930 or 3930 universal player connected to a Denon receiver with D-Link.

Option 4

Forget all of these digital connections and find the best SACD player I can afford and then use its analog outputs and bypass all of the receiver's digital processing.


One thing I should make clear immediately is that I'm concerned almost entirely with audio results for CDs and SACDs. I will probably use the receiver for home theater stuff as well, but I will connect my PS3 directly to my TV for Blu-Ray playback. Of course, all other things being equal, I'd prefer a receiver that can handle the latest home theater audio codecs (like DTS HD). But that is definitely a secondary concern. I care much more about music than movies.


So, given that I'm looking for the best CD and multi-channel SACD playback possible (at least in this rough price range), does anyone out there have any suggestions regarding these four options, or perhaps other options I'm not considering? Ideally, I could try a bunch of these combinations out in my home, but I don't think that's feasible. I know that my own ears must be the final judge, but I'd love to have some input and guidance from more experienced audiophiles. If I'm interested in maximizing sound quality, what is the way to go? (Or at least, where should I start?)


I should note that one advantage of Option 2 is that the discontinued STR-DA71000ES is available for about a third of its initial MSRP. Plus, it has Sony's nice 5-year warranty. One possible disadvantage is that it's a digital amplifier, and my understanding is that many people dislike the sound of digital amplifiers.


Option 3, on the other hand, is going to be fairly expensive. But I like the idea of buying equipment that isn't several years old and that can handle all of the latest HD formats. Option 4 is probably the most expensive, since then I need to worry about buying a player with the best D/A converters I can afford.


I've obviously been looking at the high-end, mass-market brands, but perhaps I should look elsewhere. (I suspect that anything else will be outside my price range.)


As I said above, despite the fact that I've tried to do as much research on my own as possible, I still probably have no idea what I'm talking about. In that case, please be patient, as I'm just a beginner. I haven't looked into buying new audio equipment since 1988!


Thanks in advance for your help!


Matty
 

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A popular set up commonly recommended in the forum is Integra 9.8 processor + Oppo universal player combo. With your budget of $3,000 you can afford Integra + Oppo and have enough money left over for good amplification.


I don't know about DA7100ES, but I used to own Sony DA5000ES before. In short, the system software was somewhat buggy and had usability issues. Class D digital amplification has merits, but implied purity of sound with DSD signal being preserved to the amplification stage is more of a marketing spin IMHO. With your budget I would stay away from any consumer receivers, because you can do much better with separates.


As for the connection between the player and pre/pro, go with HDMI 1.3. It's a standard, and can handle advanced HD codecs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's interesting. I've never really considered separate components before. I just sort of assumed they would be out of my price range. Apparently not. The Integra 9.8 looks terrific, and it certainly has everything I'm interested in (except for an i.Link connection). I know absolutely nothing about separate amplifiers, though. Yet more to learn!


Does your suggestion that I go with an HDMI connection imply that you question the supposed sonic advantages of i.Link and Denon Link over HDMI? I've read a number of threads at various forums in which people rave about i.Link and Denon Link and rant about audio over HDMI. I have to admit, though, that I don't really know what jitter is, and so I don't think I would know were I hearing it.


Thanks for your suggestion. I will definitely keep it in mind.
 

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im thinking about grabbing the oppo within the month problably. I bought the 40 gig ps3 not knowing they scalped the sacd player. Now i have 10 sacd's and no player lol. Keep this thread updated with which way you end up going
good luck bud.
 

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HDMI vs proprietary connection is better discussed in the prepro forum. I'm sure you'll get varying response. What's more important for me is going with standard based approach and not marrying into single manufacturer than marginal improvement in SQ if any.
 

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I'm in a similar situation… leaning towards a variation on option 1. I've sort of ruled out the Denon AVR line for now due to the video processing (also have a Denon 2910 but the version of HDMI/Denon-link is too old for digital SACD transfer, analog out is good though, and a nearly dead Sony ES player). One of the reviews that caught my eye was a Stereophile review of the Oppo 980H passing DSD to an Integra 9.8 (the other two Oppo's appear to be video oriented and pass SACD in PCM, which a lot of people seem to like as well). The Oppo DV-980H (when combined with the 9.8) made Stereophile's recommend components list this year (April 2008 issue - fairly lofty company). I'm still in the "review" mode, but hope to buy in the near future. I'm looking at the 9.8, but don't have much knowledge on amps in my price range (probably limited to used), so the Interga 8.8 and Onkyo N905 are on the 'short list' as well (I think the Onkyo 875 might take the DSD over HDMI at a lower price point too).


I in-store demo'd some "era" speakers in Seattle earlier this year and they may be worth a listen if a dealer is nearby (there's an era thread in the speaker section that has more information), also like the Dynaudio Focus line.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by msilverz /forum/post/14214904



I'm going to put together a 5.1 system for the enjoyment of CDs and SACDs (of which I have many). (I know that this is not a speaker thread, but just so you have an idea of what I'll be listening on, I'm going to purchase front main speakers that cost between $1000 and $1600 a pair. I've been thinking about Polk RTi A7's and Revel F12's, among others.)



Matty

A footnote to my earlier reply: There's a large contingent of folks (in this forum and in some of the HT mags) that argue if a 5.1 system is intended primarily for music the 5 speakers should all be the same to properly develop the sound stage. Another bunch of folks think the front 3 speakers must be the same for proper staging, while the rears could/should be from a suitably 'matched' speaker line (i.e., lower priced surrounds). Currently I'm leaning this way, but budget and some downstream in-home demo's will tell...


Enjoy the music.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Quote:
Originally Posted by aal5441 /forum/post/14225114


A footnote to my earlier reply: There's a large contingent of folks (in this forum and in some of the HT mags) that argue if a 5.1 system is intended primarily for music the 5 speakers should all be the same to properly develop the sound stage. Another bunch of folks think the front 3 speakers must be the same for proper staging, while the rears could/should be from a suitably 'matched' speaker line (i.e., lower priced surrounds). Currently I'm leaning this way, but budget and some downstream in-home demo's will tell...

.

I'm in a similar situation. That said, while music is certainly my primary interest, I probably will be connecting this system to my TV and PS3 at some point, and I don't think a third vertically oriented front speaker will really work very well (at least in terms of room setup and furniture and what not).


Thanks for your thoughts, though!


Matty
 

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I'm using the AVD-C700ES which has the most unique combination of SACD/DVD 5 disc changer and Sony's Class D Pro-Master receiver that's fully loaded with features. This can be had for cheap now. Sure it won't have HDMI and new Audyssey etc etc... but it has direct SACD to receiver without analog out. At least I hope...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoltenLava /forum/post/14217525



I don't know about DA7100ES, but I used to own Sony DA5000ES before. In short, the system software was somewhat buggy and had usability issues. Class D digital amplification has merits, but implied purity of sound with DSD signal being preserved to the amplification stage is more of a marketing spin IMHO. With your budget I would stay away from any consumer receivers, because you can do much better with separates.

I have SONY DA5000ES paired with SONY NC555ES for SACD. IMO, this combination is very close to if not better than SACD through HDMI with mono blocks. DA5000ES has always worked perfect w/o any problem since purchased in 2005. However, NC555ES buttons have to pressed twice to work is an inconvenient issue.
 
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