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klif570
02-28-2010, 04:19 PM
Hello,

I've just joined so this is my first post :smile5: I'm from the UK, but hope it's ok to join..

Anyway, what I'd like to ask right away is what you would suggest upgrading for better sound quality.

I am on a budget and have 5.1 Tannoy SFX speakers, Denon AVR1602 amplifier and Onkyo DV-SP501 DVD player. These two are connected with Monster Cable Datalink IDL100 optical cable, the subwoofer cable is Monster Cable Monster Bass 100. I've just also ordered some 1.5mm cable to replace the thin cable I got with my Tannoys.

Now, I am happy with the sound quality - the soundstage and depth are excellent and suits my small room well. But I was wondering how my amplifier rates in comparison with, lets say newer Denon models?

My DVD player is quite old too, although it has Burr-Brown 24/192 decoders so it can't be that bad. Do you think Denon DVD-1940 or 1720, 1730, 1740 would improve the sound quality further?

Any thoughts appreciated!

blackraven
02-28-2010, 05:56 PM
Welcome to AR!

Living in the UK, you should consider Cambridge Audio gear. The Cambridge Audio 640c CDP would be a very nice upgrade for you. Even a Marantz SA 5003 CDP would be better than what you have.

http://www.richersounds.com/productlistmanu/CDPLAYERS/CAMB This sells for $650 here in the U.S. The 640c can be found at bargain prices because the 650c just became available.

http://www.richersounds.com/product/cd-players-recorders-dacs/cambridge-audio/azur-650c/camb-azur-650c-sil

Here's a Marantz 6003 http://www.richersounds.com/productlistmanu/CDPLAYERS/MARA

Take a look at the Onkyo TX SR607 or one of the 2000 or 3000 series Denon AVR's.

http://www.richersounds.com/product/av-receivers/onkyo/txsr607/onky-txsr607

If that's out of your budget, look at the onkyo TX SR577

http://www.richersounds.com/product/av-receivers/onkyo/txsr577/onky-txsr577-blk

These are overkill for that HT system but they will give you good sound and allow you to upgrade your speakers in the future.

klif570
03-01-2010, 12:57 AM
Many thanks for your reply, Blackraven! I have always been a little skeptical about Cambridge Audio as Richersounds is a joint company now and they always push their brands..although the 640c did get very good reviews. I definitelly like that Marantz though..if I can find one, I might just get it.. Thanks

poppachubby
03-01-2010, 03:21 AM
Hmmm. I can't comment on A/V units but as far as CDP's go, your location puts you in a prime situation. There are some legendary CDPs that have been built by UK companies. Naim, Arcam and Mission have all built some considerable pieces in the past. Not sure what internet sites you have available to you for buying used, but look into it.

Firstly the Cambridge CD1 and CD2 are amazing machines. Fantastically built with 4 stereo dacs, the sound matches the build. Ugly as sin however.

I would rec almost any Naim CDP, but the Naim CDS1 and CD3 are possibly almost perfect machines. Naim are engineering gurus and these 2 units will stand the test of time. I have read that a NOS upgrade makes them perfect.

Arcam Alpha One through to Five. The Arcam Alpha Five is a real killer, still commands decent money.

Mission is hit and miss but the PCM 4000 and 7000 are true classics. They can be modded quite easily also.

klif, these machine can be had for a fraction of a new player and will sound better than at least half of what's out there.

klif570
03-01-2010, 04:54 AM
Poppachubby, thanks for your input. I do some shopping on Ebay so getting second hand gear is not a problem.

I had a look at Naim CDS3 and my jaw dropped..currently selling for nearly 3000, which is close to $5000... so this one is out of question, but Arcams are real bargains here, even Arcam 7 sells for around hundred pounds, Arcam 5 is even cheaper. And Cambridge Audio 5 goes for around 40-50 pounds... Are those units much more expensive over there?

I always thought that even a dedicated 10-15 years old CD player won't be as good as a newer DVD player that supports CD playback.. was I wrong in thinking so?

I'm very tempted to get Arcam 5 now!

klif570
03-01-2010, 07:59 AM
So I went on and read some reviews on Arcam 5. A number of people have reported problems with it's drawer and that it sometimes refuses to play certain CDs. Not a big deal as even the best machines can develop problems.

Another thing people have pointed out is that it's very clear and detailed but lacks depth in lower frequencies - not sure how it would match my Tannoys as I do like deep base.

And the good news is that Net Audio, another British company, does an upgrade for Arcam 5, for just above 100 with delivery and fitting instructions. Those who upgraded say it's like day and night and after the upgrade even ultra expensive CD spinners can be put to challenge. Sounds like a cheap way to get a proper hi-end CD player..oh and if any of you guys are interested, Net audio has an Ebay account and ship worldwide.

I'm now doing some reasearch on Arcam 7 and Cambridge Audio as well.. not so keen on the latter though, but I could pick up CA4 or CA5 really cheap...hmmm decisions decisions

blackraven
03-01-2010, 08:36 AM
You might want to consider the Cambridge Audio 740c. I owned this as well as the 840c. They sound very similar and are excellent players and perform well above their price point as the 640c does. I did not mention them because I don't think that they would lend your system much benefit given the speakers and amp you have. And if you ever decide to upgrade, any of these Cambridge players will do well in an audiophile grade system. If you need more warmth in your system then go with a Marantz.

For the price, I don't think that you can do much better than a new 640c or 650c. If looking for a used player, I would not buy one more that 8-10 years old due to reliability issues.

And yes, a dedicated CD player most of the time will sound better than a DVD player. If you are looking to upgrade to a Universal Bluray player than consider the Oppo BD-83. I does everything well and even plays SACD's.

klif570
03-01-2010, 11:10 AM
Blackraven, if I understand correctly, my dvd player is the weakest link in my setup. I am considering Arcam 5, Arcam 7 and Cambridge Audio 640.

I'd also like to ask what you think about Marantz 5001 and 6001? Would Cambridge Audio and Arcam still outperform Marantz?

And again, many thanks for your advice

pixelthis
03-01-2010, 02:57 PM
Blackraven, if I understand correctly, my dvd player is the weakest link in my setup. I am considering Arcam 5, Arcam 7 and Cambridge Audio 640.

I'd also like to ask what you think about Marantz 5001 and 6001? Would Cambridge Audio and Arcam still outperform Marantz?

And again, many thanks for your advice

OPPO has several players out.
But most importantly don't waste a wad on an expensive DVD player.
Get a BLU RAY.
Dont know about the BLU condition "across the pond", but if possible that is the way to go.
They make your DVDS look great, and blu discs are amazing.
EVEN if you have a SD TV monitor a BLU player is a great way to prepare for the future.:1:

pixelthis
03-01-2010, 02:58 PM
AND marantz has been aquired by some big conglomerate, better to hold off on their gear for awhile, while they are in "play":1:

klif570
03-01-2010, 03:39 PM
Hi Pixelthis. Blu ray is not a problem to get, would still prefer a dedicated cd player though as I only use my setup for music..5 chanel stereo, yes I know I'm weird. Anyway, how do you find your blue ray player in terms of sound quality?

blackraven
03-01-2010, 04:04 PM
The Marantz 5001 is a very good budget CD player with a warmer sound that is different than the 640c which will be more neutral and give you better resolution, detail and transparency.

Another CD player to consider is the Music Hall 25.2. It has a very open airy sound which I like.

If you want a warmer over all tone to the music, go with the Marantz. If you want a more neutral sound with more detail and clarity, go with the 640c,650c or Music Hall. I can't comment on Arcam because I have never heard them.

Another great CD player is the Rega Apollo. Its a tremedous player and well worht the money. It does every thing well and is very musical. It loads from the top, not the front. It's better than the Marantz, 640c, and music hall. If it was me, I would get this one. Here's a great price for one in the U.K. (it sells for $1,000 here in the U.S.) I don't know why I did not mention it before.

http://www.noteworthyaudio.co.uk/CDplayers.html

You might be able to find a better price on a used one.

klif570
03-01-2010, 05:37 PM
Once again Blackraven, great advice. I sometimes see Rega players on Ebay, they are very unique looking machines, almost high-end'ish.

My Tannoys are quite warm sounding, maybe because of my Denon amp, but I do like this warm sound. I had bright speakers before and didn't even enjoy listening to music.

The Marantz 5001 looks quite attractive, but if it's quite warm I wouldn't want to lose too much detail and higher frequencies. Something with punchy bass and clear treble would go nicely I think so I shall just wait and see what I can find. Maybe Cambridge Audio, Rega Jupiter or Apolo. I will consider the Arcam 5 and 7 too, even though they're old they have had such great reviews.

All the best,
Klif570

blackraven
03-01-2010, 07:25 PM
If you have a chance to get a Rega Apollo then jump on it. It's probably the best of the lot and I would rather have the reliability of a newer Cd player then that an older one. A rega would be the last one you own.

pixelthis
03-02-2010, 11:35 AM
Hi Pixelthis. Blu ray is not a problem to get, would still prefer a dedicated cd player though as I only use my setup for music..5 chanel stereo, yes I know I'm weird. Anyway, how do you find your blue ray player in terms of sound quality?

The sound is amazing.
I am audio only, but have a hybrid system, its all I can afford.
96khz concert discs on Blu are about the best sound you can get these days.
But I CAN SEE where you would want a dedicated CD player if music is your main thing.
Most DVD players are mediocre for music, and blu players have inherited this sad trait,IMHO.
But the new formats, DTS MASTER, DOLBY TRUE HD, they are lossless, and
like, WOW.
A lot, buying a blu player, are just as impressed by the sound as the picture.
All a lot have heard is lossy DD and DTS.
The full range "real deal" is something else

klif570
03-02-2010, 03:33 PM
I'll keep this in mind, maybe when I get an HD TV I could do well with a Blu Ray player as I really enjoy live music. I bet they have quite a few concerts recorded in the new formats you mentioned

poppachubby
03-02-2010, 07:26 PM
Arcam Alpha 5 is one of the best players ever made in terms of musicality. They still run for alot of money over here, no less than $300. If you were able to upgrade the Arcam, I would think this is the way to go. There is a reason people are still on about them.

Blackraven is correct about Rega. I would also add that Music Hall employ the same philosophy, analog sound through the entire line.

poppachubby
03-05-2010, 06:02 AM
, how's the hunt going? Did you score the Arcam?

klif570
03-05-2010, 07:53 AM
, how's the hunt going? Did you score the Arcam?

Thanks for asking, poppachubby

I've been looking on Ebay, but haven't found any good deals yet. Lots of Cambridge Audios though, even the D100, which is probably ancient as I've never seen it before

I lost one auction for Arcam 5 though.. but in this world or the next I shall have my revenge :lol: Anyway, I might have to wait until another one (in good cond) comes along so in the meantime I'm checking Marantz players as well, CD5001 in particular.

I'll try to keep you updated if I find anything good

poppachubby
03-05-2010, 08:50 AM
Great to hear form you klif. I am honestly interested in your hunt, as I have just gone through a digital pursuit myself. The Alpha 5 is worth the wait and hassle. The Cambridge D300 is an excellent unit, and one of the last transports they made if I'm not mistaken. I almost owned one myself.

If I may suggest some Marantz for you. The CD 80 and 94 / 94MKII contain the TDA1541S1. This is a 1541, single crown. They also made S2, double crown. Both are highly revered as they are no longer in production. So sought after, there is actually a fake market that has plagued places like Ebay.

As I'm sure you will read, these Marantz models are also great for upgrading and tweaking. DIY guys love them, so you will read good reviews from that crowd.

Since acquiring my orphaned, $6 Magnavox, I have been listening to much more CD's. CD was almost lost to me, using viinyl and computer FLAC files instead. It's been nice to get reaquainted.

BTW, are you a footy fan? AS Roma over here...

klif570
03-05-2010, 11:06 AM
The problem is that I'm quite indecisive, especially when there are so many great players to choose from. I even thought of simply ditching my Onkyo for the Denon 1740, which I could buy brand new. It's a budget player, but if I can trust Techradar.com, they say the CD playback is superb by DVD deck standards, although isn't quite as clean as their dedicated CD player. But would I notice any difference with my Tannoys?

Another thing is that I would prefer my player in black. Now I could buy the Marantz DV6600 for just above 100 pounds (!) but it's in silver...

I might have to get both - a DVD and a CD player - I'd love to do some tests as well. Shouldn't be a problem because I buy and sell on Ebay so after I do my testing I can sell the unit that I like less.

This certainly looks like a new addiction; about a year ago I was crazy about cameras and lenses..but it's always been one of my biggest hobbies anyway.

Thanks for your suggestions, they are always appreciated! And as for football, I'm not a big sports fan, but I'm gonna say FC Celtic. I'm not far from London so they're miles away, but their manager, Mr Mowbray, used to play for Ipswich town which is really close to where I live!

poppachubby
03-05-2010, 11:24 AM
But would I notice any difference with my Tannoys?


Indeed, Tannoy makes great speakers and would certainly reveal subtlties. The real question is, are your ears keen for what to listen for?



I might have to get both - a DVD and a CD player - I'd love to do some tests as well. Shouldn't be a problem because I buy and sell on Ebay so after I do my testing I can sell the unit that I like less.

Have you looked at the Yamaha DVD player that everyone is buying? There's a thread on it somewhere. Anyhow, they closed it out so online retailers went from $350 to $80! There are some really credible guys on here who highly regard it. It plays SACD as well as RBCD. Make a move because it will be gone soon. Could be for you...

Nice spec write up...
http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/item/features/486804252/yamaha-dvd-s1800bl

Purchase...
http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-DVD-S1800BL-1080p-Upconverting-Player/dp/B000WKTG76

klif570
03-05-2010, 11:43 AM
Great find, and it's in black! I gotta find a site that can send this to the UK. Amazon.com redirects me to Amazon.co.uk

poppachubby
03-05-2010, 11:48 AM
Yes, when you said black I thought about it. Cheers.

klif570
03-05-2010, 11:51 AM
By the way, I didn't try to say I'd have to get an all-in-one unit that does CDs, DVDs, SACDs, etc.. I meant two separates - a CD player, and a DVD player. But I would grab that Yamaha anyway.. I shall check local sites and if they have good deals on it as well. I've always thought though that prices over there are so much better. They seem to ignore conversion rates here in England, only change $ to and we pay nearly twice as much. Sure, EU tax system doesn't help it either

klif570
03-05-2010, 12:00 PM
Oh, you mentioned vinyl as well. Do you prefer vinyl to CDs? I think you can't beat recordings from the 70s on vinyl, though you can get very analogue sounding CD players like Vincent CD-S6 MKII, it's still not the same..

Woochifer
03-05-2010, 12:33 PM
I will simply add the answer that I've always given to questions like this one.

Don't bother with equipment upgrades until you've optimized what you already have. That means, properly positioning your speakers, using a SPL meter to level match all of the channels, using a calibration disc to properly set the levels on your TV, etc.

From my perspective, the biggest improvement that you can make is with the room acoustics. That means controlling the slap echo and reverb with room treatments. Also, if you use a subwoofer, the single biggest improvement you can make is using a parametric equalizer to reduce any room-induced boominess. (do a keyword search for the Behringer Feedback Destroyer for past threads on this topic)

Those are all much more cost effective ways of improving your sound quality. IMO, source component and amplification upgrades should only be done after you've addressed those other issues first.

poppachubby
03-05-2010, 09:14 PM
Don't bother with equipment upgrades until you've optimized what you already have. IMO, source component and amplification upgrades should only be done after you've addressed those other issues first.

Well said Wooch. He's right klif...


Oh, you mentioned vinyl as well. Do you prefer vinyl to CDs? I think you can't beat recordings from the 70s on vinyl, though you can get very analogue sounding CD players like Vincent CD-S6 MKII, it's still not the same..

Indeed I do prefer vinyl. There's some great LP's being pressed nowadays as well klif. Also, great re-issues of all your faves.

There's not one CDP I have mentioned to you that doesn't have that analog type vibe. The Arcam Alpha 5 being the granddaddy of em all. That's how my ears like to hear it. You're right, when you get down to it, it's not the same.

I just fit my table with a high output moving coil cartridge (HOMC). It's a Sumiko Blue Point. To be perfectly honest, I've never experienced music like I have with the Sumiko. If I was a more emotional man, I'm sure I may have been moved to tears at a couple of points. I can only imagine how amazing the TOTL table/cart must sound.

klif570
03-09-2010, 05:04 AM
Hi Poppa, what you spinning today? Pink Floyd Wall and Kraftwerk Tour De France here, the latter I always use to test low frequencies. Audiophile quality from their famous Kling Klang studio.

Anyway, I've got myself a little upgrade so just wanted to update this thread. I replaced my Onkyo with a newer Denon 1740. It was time to upgrade it to something with HD anyway.

Next on the list is a dedicated CD player, whenever I can find one. I will probably wait till I find the Arcam 5 or Arcam 7. I guess they never made Arcam 6 though?

A bit on the new DVD player. The only thing I don't like about it is that the loading mechanism is a bit louder than my Onkyo. Sound quality is slightly better, the soundstage appears to be a bit wider as well.

Also, I connected it to my amp with Chord Calypso phono cables to test the inbuilt dacs in the DVD player vs the dacs in my amplifier. Really hard to say which ones I prefer more - they sound different, but I like both. The amplifier gives me a crispier sound with more treble. The DVD player gives out a punchier bass but somewhat lacks in treble. I can easily compensate this with the treble adjustment on my amplifier though.

What is quite hard to believe is that I've seen the dvd-1740 selling for $99 in America, and here it's 199. Convert that to dollars and it's above $300..

poppachubby
03-09-2010, 10:51 AM
Hi Poppa, what you spinning today? .

Aretha - Live at the Filmore West
Clifford Brown / Max Roach - Pure Genius Vol.1

Not feeling so hot today, called into work. Glad you're having fun with your gear. I am in a phase of no tinkering, just listening, and I love it. I have a couple of things to upgrade but I'm in no rush.