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  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Cambridge 840c Initial Impressions

    Well, my 840c arrived earlier today after exchanging the 740c for it. I have about 4 hours of playing time so far. My initial impressions are that this cdp was worth every penny and then some. It is very detailed with great resolution and transparency. I can not detect any graininess or jitter. I can close my eyes and pick out the position of each instrument playing. Treble and cymbals sound fantastic. Bass is excellent and very tight sounding with out any boom or muddiness. The music has more of a natural live sound. Even my wife and kids notice the difference. In this respect the 740c was similar but the 840c has a slightly warmer sound with even more detail and resolution, slightly deeper bass and clearer treble. Other reviews say it takes about 200 hours of playing time for this CDP to come into its own, so I will update reviews at 50, 100 and 200hrs. The 740c that I had sounded much better after 50hrs on it. I think that the extra $400 is worth the improvement in sound and I'm saying this with only listening to the 840c with unbalanced IC's. It;s supposed to sound better with its XLR connections.

    One last note, when I had the 740c and marantz SA8001 side by side the 740c sounded much better in standard CD than the Marantz but the marantz sounded better in SACD.
    I think that the 840c comes close to the marantz's 2ch SACD sound but with tighter bass and better detail. I wish I had all three here to compare them directly as audio memory is unreliable.

    Larry

    I forgot to mention, the 840c is solidly built and almost 5lb's heavier than the 740c, weighing in at 18.7lbs It has an all metal chassis. The transport is smoother and more quiet.
    Last edited by blackraven; 01-25-2008 at 04:26 PM.
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  2. #2
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Well, my 840c arrived earlier today after exchanging the 740c for it. I have about 4 hours of playing time so far. My initial impressions are that this cdp was worth every penny and then some. It is very detailed with great resolution and transparency. I can not detect any graininess or jitter. I can close my eyes and pick out the position of each instrument playing. Treble and cymbals sound fantastic. Bass is excellent and very tight sounding with out any boom or muddiness. The music has more of a natural live sound. Even my wife and kids notice the difference. In this respect the 740c was similar but the 840c has a slightly warmer sound with even more detail and resolution, slightly deeper bass and clearer treble. Other reviews say it takes about 200 hours of playing time for this CDP to come into its own, so I will update reviews at 50, 100 and 200hrs. The 740c that I had sounded much better after 50hrs on it. I think that the extra $400 is worth the improvement in sound and I'm saying this with only listening to the 840c with unbalanced IC's. It;s supposed to sound better with its XLR connections.

    One last note, when I had the 740c and marantz SA8001 side by side the 740c sounded much better in standard CD than the Marantz but the marantz sounded better in SACD.
    I think that the 840c comes close to the marantz's 2ch SACD sound but with tighter bass and better detail. I wish I had all three here to compare them directly as audio memory is unreliable.

    Larry
    Looks like you made the right choice and that's not always an easy thing to do. You go out and audition gear and hope when you get it home that it sounds as good at home as it did in the store. Robert Harley of "The Absolute Sound" called the 840c "The best he's heard under 5K" That's pretty high praise in my book. Congrats.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Hello "blackraven"!

    Congrats on the new 840C! Thank you for the update. I'm still trying to decide which way to go, 740 or 840. I'm using part of my tax refund for the purchase. My problem in deciding which one to pick comes down to the advantage the 840 would have over the 740 outside of the XLR connection. My receiver lacks XLR connectivity, therefore it would literally come down to SQ via coaxial digital and analog connection. Is the extra cost justified? That extra $400.00 could go towards CD's or cable upgrades. If money were no object, and for me, it is!, then I would tell anyone without reservation, go with the 840C. But, it's a tough economy, hence the tax refund contribution, so value is very important. That being said, do you think there could be a possibility of diminishing returns with the purchase of the 840C. Please check out my equipment listing in my userCP. (And if you view the images of the system, try not to laugh. There's a lot going on for no apparent reason.) Why I ask is because, any system is as good as it's weakess part. If my system does not allow for me to hear a difference, why spend the money? Unless I was planning on a complete upgrade across the board, and that ain't happening for a long while! Now the big question, how does it compare to the modded Music Hall CD25 CDP?!

    Regards!
    ldgibson76
    Chance favors the prepared mine.

  4. #4
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update

    I'm staying tuned. (You're making me envious, though.)

  5. #5
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Hello again "blackaven".

    After checking out the specifications of both players, there seem to be only 3 differences in the CDPs.
    1) XLR outputs > 840C
    2) RS232 connection > 840C
    3) Twin Analog Devices AD1955 DACs > 840C
    Twin Wolfson WM8740 DAC's > 740C
    We pretty much know that the XLR is a biggie and most likely improves overall performance.
    The RS232 guess would be for multi-room connectivity, so the brochure says.
    I guess on an even playing field, the difference in DAC's, depending on who you are and your ability to recognize SQ differences, is the virtue here. What do you think?!
    ldgibson76
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  6. #6
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here's the deal with the 840c over the 740c. The sound is close but there is a definite improvement in bass and treble clarity. Its a small but noticable improvement. The 840c also sounds a little warmer to me and I think thats because of the improvement in bass. And thats with the 840c not even being close to being broken in.
    Now I dont have the 740c any more so I cant compare the 2 directly now, but to my ears and my family's the 840c sound better. As to your question is it worth the upgrade, If you have the money it is. If its not in the budget, I don't think you will be missing out on much except the XLR connection that you might be able to use in the future if you ever upgrade your amp. I purchased the 840c because I plan on upgrading to an amp with XLR connections.

    Now with that being said, I've read an article where a professional reviewer stated that he could not hear the difference between the balanced and unbalanced sound in the 840c. Another reviewer said it had a punchier sound and the dynamic range seemd to open up.
    I also called both spearit sound stores in boston and asked if there was a noticable difference in the unbalnced sound of the 840c and the 740c and one guy said he could not hear the difference and he recommended going with the 740 if you did not have XLR. The guy at the other store felt that there was still a difference between the 2 units with out the XLR to go with the 840. Go figure! To complicate the matter, I emailed Cambridge Audio directly and asked them which one to get if I did not have XLR. They recommended going with the 740c but that every one hear's differently and it was a personal decision on which one to get. There was also one review I found a while back comparing the sound of the 2 players and they gave better marks for the 840c.

    Looking at your equipment, I think you would benefit from the 840c's slight warmer sound to go with your Klipsch speakers.. I'd much rather have the 840c than spend the money saved on cables. It looks like you have good cables and besides, cables are cheaper to buy than a new CDP. All the reviews on the 840 call it the one of the best CDP's under $5,000 for a reason.

    Look at my thread on some interesting web reviews on the 840c, I think those say it all.

    I hope this helps some. And I will update on how the 840 sounds as it is breaking in. As far as the Modded MusicHall. The MusicHall now has a warm and foward sound. I find it great for Rock music but I prefer a more transparent sound for Jazz, Blue's and Classical. I'm going to put the original op amps back in it to push back the sound like it used to be. I modded it to get rid of the jitter and digital glare which the new clock did. But the upgraded Burr-Brown opamps dramatically changed the sound.

    One last thing. If your looking for a very musical CD player then I'd go with the Rega Apollo for that. The virtue's of this player are that it has a neutral to slightly warm sound, excellent bass and treble with very good detail, resolution and transparency.

    Larry
    Last edited by blackraven; 01-25-2008 at 10:00 PM.
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  7. #7
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Hello "BR".

    Thanks for the detailed response. I do know that I will eventually upgrade my speakers to the B&W 800 series to go with my new CDP purchase. That will have a huge impact on sound quality, not to mention that I'm also looking at pre-owned multi-channel amps on eBay and Audiogon. After reading your response, I thought to myself that if I'm going to do this Audio thing, I should try to do it as right as my income will allow. With that said, I will most likely go with the 840C. And understand, although I do not know you, I do value your opinion when it comes to your experience with the CA CDP's. Yes, I can read reviews and speak with sales reps at various retailers, but in my opinion, you are closer to real world than any of the reviewers or retail reps. Don't get me wrong, I value their input, but like me, you're an average Joe with an appreciation for good sounding music and no agenda other than to try to create the best music environment you can with what you have. So again, thank you for the knowledge and I will let you know once I get my 840C, B&W speakers and multi-channel amp how it works out!

    Regards!
    ldgibson76
    Chance favors the prepared mine.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Thanks! I think your making the right decison with the 840c. I went through the same process on whether to go with the 740c, 840c and Marantz SA8001 SACDP. All three are excellent players but the 840c came out on top with the slightly better sound, XLR and better DAC's. I hope you like the 840c. its always a crap shoot when you cant audition them. I bought mine from www.wildwestelcetronics.com They have a 30day return policy, so you might want to consider buying from them so you can return it if you dont care for the sound. They gave me no hassle when I exchanged the 740c for the 840. They just got a shipment in this week and they sell out fast. They offer free shipping too.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
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    Luxman DA-06 DAC
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    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here's an update on the 840c. I have about 60hrs of burn in on the unit and the sound has gotten better. When I first got the unit I noticed it was a little fatiguing to listen to for more than an hour at a time. The sound has smoothed out and the detail and resolution of the treble has improved slightly. I do find that the midrange is more transparent and pushed back compared to the 740c.

    I found it interesting to note that on the inside lid of the box that the 840c came in, it said "for best sound please allow 36 hours of continuous play". So I don't think it really needs 200 hours of playing time to break in. I left mine in continuous play for 36 hours and it sounds great.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Congrats raven. It appears as though the 840 has to be taken seriously at this pricepoint.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Robert Harley thinks very highly of the 840c. If memory serves, in the review he reckons its the best he's heard under $5000. It certainly competes with some of the best.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Its all a matter of personal taste. I've heard better sounding CDP's but they were all over $4K. The best that I've heard was a $10K Ayre CDP. But if you like a more neutral transparent sound with exellent treble and tight bass then its a great player. I've read some negative user reviews on the 840 because that type of sound did not appeal to them. Some people feel it is a little thin on the midrange, but that has to do with the transparency of the CDP.

    I'll give another update at 150hrs.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  13. #13
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    i'm jealous..

  14. #14
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    A couple things, first, Larry do you realize you now have it in writing that you heard a difference in CD players

    ldgibson, there are a couple things I picked up on in your comments that I'd like to clarify and may be unnecessarily. Though the 840 may have a better transport than your current digital playback units there will be negligible difference between them using a digital output. Using a digital output will always have your receivers DAC's doing the decoding and therefore will always be similar in sound. XLR outputs are just a gimmick if the circuitry inside the unit is not a truly balanced design. and, even if it was truly balanced, you'd need your pre/power amp to be truly balanced to get the full potential. My Krell gear was balanced, the balanced outputs give a 6dB signal gain. I really couldn't tell much difference between XLR and RCA, I actually found my preference was more cable orientated. XLR was my favorite using Transparent XLR cables until I tried a pair of RCA's built by a friend. They had silver conductors. These cables conveyed the best sound I ever heard from my Krell equipment. The differences between the 740 and 840 will not and can not be determined by paper. Any differences in sound will be upgrades in how the signal is treated after being converted to analog and better analog circuits/outputs. In looking at the 840c it seems according to the grounding technique used that it is indeed fully balanced. Both units have the ATF and upsample.

    I suspect the 840 is a decent player and maybe even a "giant killer" but best under $5k has got to be an exaggeration and one of the reasons I can't stand audio magazine reviews. Of course, they have opinions and it is all subjective but think about all the great players under $5k that the 840 would have to beat, please, give me a break. I would like to put one in my system though to see what it is capable of. Reviewers do have a cherry job.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Mr. P, I've used to think that there was no difference in CDP's until I got into higher end audio and started cruising the Audiophile shops. There is not doubt a difference in CDP's
    sound. Depending upon the model, some differences are sublte and some are dramatic.

    The XLR's on the Cambridge unit are true balanced. I'm not sure if there is a difference in sound or not but The guys at spirit sound said there was and so did a professional reviewer. There was one reviewer who said he could not tell the difference.

    I agree, you have to take pro-reviews with a grain of salt. Although they give just about every product a decent review (and you almost never see a poor review) and many a great review, I've got to figure that if its getting a great review vs a decent review that it has to be a good product. Average reviews I'm always suspicious of. With that being said, I have to say that I've only heard 3 players under $4K but over 1k and the 840c sounded as good if not better than them in transparency and treble. Thats not to say that the other players didn't have some attributes that I like better.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
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    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
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    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
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  16. #16
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Hello Mr.Peabody!

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. Just when I think I'm approaching audio/video satisfaction, a "hi-end elitist" (Your equipment listing gives you away!) somehow finds a way to bring me back to reality! (smile)
    So correct me if 'm wrong, what you're trying to say is that Value is a state of mind. With what I currently own, the purchase of the 840 instead of the 740 would render diminishing returns, unless I also upgraded to a XLR capable pre/pro and multi-channel amplifier. Especially using RCA and/or coaxial digital connection, the chances of me really hearing a difference between the 840 and 740 that would justify paying $400 more would be almost bordering minimal. The upsampling ability of the 740 is justification enough to upgrade from the 640C. Although I recently decided to go with the 840, I digress. The 740C is an excellent value. I'll put the $400 savings toward the multi-channel amp.
    Again, thanks for the input. I'm flattered that you would comment on my dilemma.

    Regards.
    ldgibson76
    Chance favors the prepared mine.

  17. #17
    nightflier
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    Is the 840c thin on the midrange?

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Its all a matter of personal taste. I've heard better sounding CDP's but they were all over $4K. The best that I've heard was a $10K Ayre CDP. But if you like a more neutral transparent sound with exellent treble and tight bass then its a great player. I've read some negative user reviews on the 840 because that type of sound did not appeal to them. Some people feel it is a little thin on the midrange, but that has to do with the transparency of the CDP.

    I'll give another update at 150hrs.
    I almost bought the player last year and since I like to do a lot of research before settling down to review the units that
    on paper at least seem the top contenders, I was dissuaded from a number of negative reviews. There are several reviews out there that refer to the player as underwhelming and not very exciting. This sounds to be the opposite of what you're describing. Maybe this is that recessed midrange, that you refer to?

    You also mentioned that you were going straight into your amp with it. I didn't think the player had volume-controlled outputs. If so, these would attenuate the sound, so is there an audible degradation at lower volumes?

    Finally, what about using a lower-priced unit as a transport and adding a much higher quality DAC? I know that may push the price up, but in that case I would probably purchase the DAC second hand. Had you considered an external DAC as an option?

    I'm not trying to be contrarian, here, but I'm starting to feel like I really should have bought the player when I had the chance. Needless to say, I'm very interested in your experience with this player. Keep us posted.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I'm not going straight into my amp. My adcom receiver is my amp, I guess I should have said receiver.
    And there is a real difference in sound between the 740c and 840c. I heard it, my family heard it as well. The differences were sublte but they were there. There was betted detail and resolution and the sound as a little more transparent. Now is this worth the extra $400? To me it was, especially since I could afford it. If I was on a very tight budget than maybe not. But I also did not want to be wondering if I made a mistake by not going with the 840c because of an extra $400 which is not alot when your talking about audiophile equipment.

    I can see why some people would not like the sound of the 840c. Its very neutral and does not add any thing to the music like cheaper players do. The transparency is also an issue. You either like a transparent sound or you don't. I prefer this sound and appreciate that cymbals and treble sound natural.

    People will always have their preferences. Every body hears something different. Thats why we have so many choices in the audio world. My friend took home the $10K Ayre CDP and returned it because he didn't think it was worth the money and it was not a big improvement in sound over his CDP. I thought it sounded great and was the best CDP I have ever heard.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
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    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  19. #19
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    It's typical

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    ...

    I can see why some people would not like the sound of the 840c. Its very neutral and does not add any thing to the music like cheaper players do. The transparency is also an issue. You either like a transparent sound or you don't. I prefer this sound and appreciate that cymbals and treble sound natural.

    People will always have their preferences. Every body hears something different. Thats why we have so many choices in the audio world. My friend took home the $10K Ayre CDP and returned it because he didn't think it was worth the money and it was not a big improvement in sound over his CDP. I thought it sounded great and was the best CDP I have ever heard.
    "Thin midrange" is a fairly typical response from tube equipment lovers to a very neutral component. I suspect these guys just love the "harmonic richness" or "organic" quality that tubes deliver. Personally I think it's the extra harmonic distortion -- and I say that as tube user myself.

    As between the 740 and 840, I'd stretch for the latter if only because my preamp and power amps are fully balanced.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Hello "BR".

    Please understand that my observation/response to 'Mr. Peabody" in no way diminishes your opinion regarding the 840 and 740 sound quality difference. Your experience with both players has been invaluable to me. You see, I'm what you call a "Bottom Feeder with a healthy appreciation for the 'high value to performance ratio'." You're right, when talking Hi-end audio, $400 is not alot of money, but I do know that I must upgrade my speakers and my amplification to really elevate my aging system's SQ and reap the benefits from buying either CA CDP. But , Mr. Peabody did make interesting point that I must consider. Actual value as opposed to perceived value. Hey, both are excellent values for the $. And even if I did purchase the 840, once Cambridge Audio introduces a v.2 of the 840, (possibly making it SACD capable) history says that a v.2 will come...., they have on everything else they make......I'm sure I will wonder if I should have held off. That goes for the 740 also. (Drawer/transport upgrade and/or change in DAC's or even SACD or HDCD). Who the hell knows?! Anyway, enjoy your 840C!
    ldgibson76
    Chance favors the prepared mine.

  21. #21
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    .........

    People will always have their preferences. Every body hears something different. Thats why we have so many choices in the audio world. My friend took home the $10K Ayre CDP and returned it because he didn't think it was worth the money and it was not a big improvement in sound over his CDP. I thought it sounded great and was the best CDP I have ever heard.
    I think that pretty much sums up the difficulty in audio.... it's all down to preference... it's why some people swear by tubes, while other love solid state.. some love planars others like cone speakers...

    It's why I try to avoid claims of "x brand will totally decimate y brand in sound quality", when I make recommendations to people....

    My own experience is that the worst high end setup I heard was a new McIntosh & Magnepan Combo.... Products some claim are the pinnacle of High End excellence. On the other hand my absolute favourite combo was a relatively inexpensive Monitor Audio & Musical Fidelity combo....

  22. #22
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    ldgibson, I think you read too much into my statements. My main point I wanted you to understand is the more expensive CD player, of any price or brand, will only be fully realized using analog outputs. Using digital connection you wouldn't hear much, if any, difference between any Cambridge and your 2910.

    Also, remember when I was using balanced gear I really couldn't hear much difference between the 2 outputs. But it is difficult to get a comparable XLR and RCA set of cables for a perfect match.

    I believe BR when he says he heard a difference. Also, anyone who knows me here will tell you I am one who believes and preaches having a good front end. It could certainly be worth $400.00 if you plan to upgrade your receiver some day. Adding just power will help some, mostly with driving your speakers better and allowing more power reserves but that type of set up is still limited by your receiver's preamp section.

    I am not an "elitest". I try not to offend anyone by their choice in equipment and I started out using receivers and climbed through the ranks of hi fi gear. Although I do forget sometimes and let a comment fly on Pioneer, Klipsch, Yamaha & Bose. I'm really trying to behave though.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Point taken. There's still a lot for me to learn in this genre.
    And please understand that the "Elitist" description was a compliment. It takes a lt to reach "Elite" status. You said it yourself, you had to work your way up. It's just my way of saying you know what you're taking about.

    Regards.
    ldgibson76
    Chance favors the prepared mine.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Brent Burmester of Audioenz in New Zealand wrote this review of the 840c in comparson to the 740c..

    " While the 740C is a great player, the 840C marks a step into the world of serious furrowed-brow hi-fi. Round the back from its aluminium-plate front panel are the signs that only the initiated need apply for ownership: balanced XLR output sockets, two digital signal inputs, so the player can act as a DAC for other digital devices; and an RS232 serial port for communication with high end multi-room audio controllers. But the real bling is advertised in small letters on the white dot-matrix display in the unassuming face-plate. Prior to converting CD's familiar 16-bit binary words sampled at 44kHz, the digital data is translating into 24-bit words sampled at 384kHz. That last number is worth reading again – not DVD's 96kHz, not even DVD-A's maximum of 192kHz, but a whacking great 384kHz!

    You're not wrong if you protest that the 740C can do the same, as it and the 840C share Anagram Technologies' Adaptive Time Filtering asynchronous up-sampling algorithm and a 32-bit Black Fin digital signal processor from Analog Devices. However, if I may deploy an automotive metaphor, in the 840 the fancy engine gets the suspension, transmission, steering, and chassis tuning that ensures none of its power goes to waste. Whereas the 740C makes do with off-the-rack DACs from Wolfson, the flagship model uses Analog Devices' own 24-bit/384kHz DACs, capable of wringing the most out of the incoming upsampled signal. Magic pixie dust is sprinkled elsewhere in the circuitry as well, as testified by the eradication of capacitors in the signal path.

    The sound of music
    If all that made you want to hurt an engineer, put down your instruments of torture and consider this: the 840C may represent only a 5% gain in musical insight over its little brother, but that amounts to an extraordinarily involving experience once you're parked in front of your speakers. A few nights ago Mazzy Star played above me in the lounge while I was trying to work downstairs, but even from there I was distracted by the sense of space and depth in the sound the 840C conjures from humble CD.

    Kula Shaker's new album, Strange Folk, turned out to be an excellent showcase for the 840C's talents, as it swings from folksy to rave, and in scale from cinematic to intimate. Instruments, whether played to death or with a delicate hand, had an almost exemplary tangibility. Crispian Mills' voice, and those of any number of backing singers, were simply arresting, and I should note that the album is far from an audiophile recording. Portishead's eponymous debut is likewise a bit of a sonic shambles, but, in view of the fact that they'll soon release a new album, I gave the disc a spin and was at once sucked deeper than ever before into the damp, oppressive, yet somehow alluring atmosphere the band evokes.

    Perhaps the most telling evidence of the 840C's accomplishment is my inattentiveness to the usual things reviewers dwell on when evaluating a component. Bass extension, dynamism, resolution, neutrality, soundstaging, I'm pretty sure were all top-notch, because I had no occasion to think about them. It's really that good, and might be the best player I've heard under $5K. No, it is the best player I've heard under $5K.

    I'm the Decider
    Most equipment sent for review is pretty competent stuff, about which not much need be said. Every now and again, however, a component comes along that seems to have been made by people unaware of what might reasonably be expected of such a thing, so they happily exceed every reasonable expectation. The 840C is just such a something. If you're at the point in your hi-fi development where you need a player to help you understand what a performer means by their music, and those sort of players are never cheap, I'd advise starting your search here. If you can't afford more, just get one. "

    I think this says a lot about the sort of player the 840c is....

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldgibson76
    Point taken. There's still a lot for me to learn in this genre.
    And please understand that the "Elitist" description was a compliment. It takes a lt to reach "Elite" status. You said it yourself, you had to work your way up. It's just my way of saying you know what you're taking about.

    Regards.
    Well then, thanks

    O'Shag, good input.

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