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  1. #1
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    CD player- Which one?

    The upgrade bug has hit and I'm looking to replace my Cambridge Audio 640C. The following players all come in under a thousand bucks and should better the 640C. They are the PS audio digital link 3 (DAC), CEC 3300R, Consonance CD-120 linear, Marantz SA-8001, and Rega Apollo. Has anyone had any experience with these players and does any one rise above the others in making music. Thanks.

    Steve

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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Key factors

    Quote Originally Posted by stevo238
    The upgrade bug has hit and I'm looking to replace my Cambridge Audio 640C. The following players all come in under a thousand bucks and should better the 640C. They are the PS audio digital link 3 (DAC), CEC 3300R, Consonance CD-120 linear, Marantz SA-8001, and Rega Apollo. Has anyone had any experience with these players and does any one rise above the others in making music. Thanks.

    Steve
    Easy choice for me: the PS Audio DAC. That's because I mostly listen from computer files nowadays. A few CD players can dedode a digitial signal from an external source, that is act like a DAC, (for one, the Cambridge 840C), but not many.

    The other consideration is SACD: the Marantz SA-8001 is a stereo SACD play. The average SACD sounds better than the average CD -- for at least a couple of possible reasons.

  3. #3
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    If it were me I'd either go with the PS Audio or upgrade within the Cambridge lineage.

  4. #4
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    Consonance cd120

    Quote Originally Posted by stevo238
    The upgrade bug has hit and I'm looking to replace my Cambridge Audio 640C. The following players all come in under a thousand bucks and should better the 640C. They are the PS audio digital link 3 (DAC), CEC 3300R, Consonance CD-120 linear, Marantz SA-8001, and Rega Apollo. Has anyone had any experience with these players and does any one rise above the others in making music. Thanks.

    Steve
    Hi,
    I compared the consonance cd120 linear to the cambridge audio 640c v2. The consonance was certainly a step up or two to the cambridge. Much more natural, smooth musical overall I dare say more anolgue sounding, where as the cambridge more cold and clinical. The cambridge was brighter, had more twang with the guitar and tighter bass. The consonance had a fuller deeper bass, richer musical mid, and top end much more detailed with a bigger deeper soundstage with excellent PRAT. On some rock/pop it was a closer call but with Jazz and acoustic, classical it was no contest as it is very natural, especially on voice (gives you goosebumps) and accurate timbre for the instruments. A friend of mine tried it on a meridan system comparing it to the cambridge and he said he felt the consonance was at least 20% better. The consonance is fairly rich (more full bodied) than the cambridge and i would say probably richer than the rega apollo. The consonance easily beats the Arcam cd73t and the Rotel as well. Not sure about the Marantz, but I tried the cheaper marantz it was musical however soundstage depth it lacked. I would say the consonance equaled the sound of many cds twice its price. Read some of the reviews (CD player of the year). Thats my 20c worth.

    Regards,

    Steve.

  5. #5
    Linear Guy
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    don't know pal

    Quote Originally Posted by stevo238
    The upgrade bug has hit and I'm looking to replace my Cambridge Audio 640C. The following players all come in under a thousand bucks and should better the 640C. They are the PS audio digital link 3 (DAC), CEC 3300R, Consonance CD-120 linear, Marantz SA-8001, and Rega Apollo. Has anyone had any experience with these players and does any one rise above the others in making music. Thanks.

    Steve
    Greeetings Steve.

    I have a 640 C and I'm not sure it can be replaced with a significantly better deck for 1K. You haven't given any indication what you current state of uncomfortableness is with the 640C. Is it detail,space, soundstage timbre? Satisfy the basic laws of frugality before spending money.

    1) check if speaker placement or simply cleaning connectors makes any difference.
    2) consider an external DAC. There are practically too many to mention at less than 1K.
    3) if the unit sounds too clinical, consider a tube preamp. there are some nice reliable ones at around 1K.
    4) If you like the features of your preamp and details in the music are satisfactory, consider a tube buffer stage between the CDP and the amplifier.
    5) consider the 640 V2. the dual DACs will make it sound different certainly, if not better, at around the same money.

    Everyone goes through a stage of wondering if you can do better with your source. In my case, I finally realized it was a combination of speaker placement and being in a rut of listening to poor quality Redbook CD's. Put on some Diana Krall and work that 640C to its potential and see if you feel better. If not, put some of your money to work in the economy.

    .

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    Funny you should mention Diana Krall. I just purchased her "Love Scenes." Lovely recording, all cd's should sound that good. After living with the Cambridge, as good as it is, (cost me $300 new) you realize it's not perfect. Bass is more than adequate, guitars sound twangy as one person said, but it has that glare (especially at higher volumes) that can ultimately annoy and make long term listening tiresome. I know the glare can be caused by an imperfect listening space, I know cd's are imperfect, and I realize component matching can be a problem. I'd also say there is a general feeling among some folks that the 640C sounds bright.
    So having said that, I think it's time for a change as we all like to do. The 640C is the weak spot when connected to my Classe' Cap-101 integrated and Revel M22 monitors. I'm looking for smooth and warm now, more musical, whatever that means, and more analog sounding. I have been referred to tubed output stages on other forums. I'm looking for Cd players / Dacs under $1000 that meet that criteria. Thanks.

    Steve

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by daviethek
    Greeetings Steve.

    I have a 640 C and I'm not sure it can be replaced with a significantly better deck for 1K. You haven't given any indication what you current state of uncomfortableness is with the 640C. Is it detail,space, soundstage timbre? Satisfy the basic laws of frugality before spending money.

    1) check if speaker placement or simply cleaning connectors makes any difference.
    2) consider an external DAC. There are practically too many to mention at less than 1K.
    3) if the unit sounds too clinical, consider a tube preamp. there are some nice reliable ones at around 1K.
    4) If you like the features of your preamp and details in the music are satisfactory, consider a tube buffer stage between the CDP and the amplifier.
    5) consider the 640 V2. the dual DACs will make it sound different certainly, if not better, at around the same money.

    Everyone goes through a stage of wondering if you can do better with your source. In my case, I finally realized it was a combination of speaker placement and being in a rut of listening to poor quality Redbook CD's. Put on some Diana Krall and work that 640C to its potential and see if you feel better. If not, put some of your money to work in the economy.

    .
    Hi,
    The cambridge audio 640c v2 i found on my system - (valve pre amp, rotel power amps and B&w speakers with kimber cables (8tc and pbj). It sounded terific with some material (rock/pop) eg dire straits, micheal jackson. But with jazz, classical, acoustic it became tiresome (like Steve said) i found it can have some upper mid glare/hardness -brittleness (see tnt review on net) on piano, saxaphone etc and the top end can sound magical but also in your face at times. The consonance which i had a lend of on my system according to all 4 of us was more natural and balanced. On the cambridge it was exciting but after awhile i felt fatigued whereas the consonance i relaxed and just enjoyed the music the way its meant to be. The cambridge has great clarity and detail but on the wrong system it can be unbalanced (forward mids and lacking warmth). I would recommend it for warm systems that may need some life to it. It is a excellent cd player especially at the price but I found the consonance at around $1000 so much better -it is even more detailed more 3d than the cambridge but with warmth and natural sound. Im selling my cambridge and looking at getting the consonance.


    Regards

    steve.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo238
    Funny you should mention Diana Krall. I just purchased her "Love Scenes." Lovely recording, all cd's should sound that good. After living with the Cambridge, as good as it is, (cost me $300 new) you realize it's not perfect. Bass is more than adequate, guitars sound twangy as one person said, but it has that glare (especially at higher volumes) that can ultimately annoy and make long term listening tiresome. I know the glare can be caused by an imperfect listening space, I know cd's are imperfect, and I realize component matching can be a problem. I'd also say there is a general feeling among some folks that the 640C sounds bright.
    So having said that, I think it's time for a change as we all like to do. The 640C is the weak spot when connected to my Classe' Cap-101 integrated and Revel M22 monitors. I'm looking for smooth and warm now, more musical, whatever that means, and more analog sounding. I have been referred to tubed output stages on other forums. I'm looking for Cd players / Dacs under $1000 that meet that criteria. Thanks.

    Steve
    Hi Steveo,

    I recommend you have a look at the consonance cd120 linear. I wanted something to replace my ageing Marantz cd63se without paying a lot. I tried the nad c542 warm but lacked detail, the arcam cd73t warm but lacked life but better on jazz than the cambridge, but more boring on rock/pop. The marantz cd6000 ose to bright, 5001ose warm and musical lacked soundstage depth. The cambridge 640c detail, clarity but lacks warmth and some naturallness. I have found the consonance a good mix of virtues detail, smooth, natural, dynamic and great soundstaging the top end is very impressive listen to percussion or highhat the detail is there. It is a good allrounder with musical styles. It is not as punchy in the bass as the cambridge but the bass is deeper and more detailed in the consonance. The mids dont jump out as much but its a lot more accurately timbre with more body and smooth. It is balanced some say it may miss the last ounce of clarity (I compared it to a meridan - 5x the price) but i trade for musicallity any day. And no i don't work for consonance - I have just been looking the last 2 years for a cd player on a budget.

    Regards,

    Steve.

  9. #9
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    You're right about the 640C Steve. Although very good, it is upfront and in your face. Thanks for the good advice. You crystallized what I was thinking into words. I'm going to look at the CD-120 which is a good 3 1/2 hour trip from my house.

  10. #10
    Linear Guy
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    Steve,

    Please PM me with your experience when you upgrade to the Consonance deck. My 640 is going on 3 years old now and aparently a lot has happened since in the 1K range. My taste has gone to classical choral in that time and the Consonance mitght be worth an audition. dk

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo238
    You're right about the 640C Steve. Although very good, it is upfront and in your face. Thanks for the good advice. You crystallized what I was thinking into words. I'm going to look at the CD-120 which is a good 3 1/2 hour trip from my house.
    Hi stevo,

    Makesure the consonance has at least 100 hrs burn in. Or if you can borrow and try on your system -that would be good. I found intially with no burn in a bit dry and in your face. But after burn in it smoothes out and becomes a lot more musical,. I heard the consonance cd120 24/192 is not as good as the consonance cd 120 linear.

    Regards,

    steve.

  12. #12
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Have you tried the Esoteric products? Just throwing another idea out there!

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    Sure I'd love to try an Esoteric if it weren't for the fact I"ll never be able to afford one.

  14. #14
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo238
    Sure I'd love to try an Esoteric if it weren't for the fact I"ll never be able to afford one.
    I have seen some great Esoteric gear on audiogon for some reasonable prices. I recently had the chance to hear and check out the DV-60 and was impressed with abilities, but I am still happy with my Parasound D3.

  15. #15
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    Have you considered vac tube players? I recently picked one up and really love this player.It's an eastern electric minimax.It's just an option.

  16. #16
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enrique
    Have you considered vac tube players? I recently picked one up and really love this player.It's an eastern electric minimax.It's just an option.
    I've never heard this player, but I've heard of it. How about a link and some of your impressions or a comparison to what you were using before...inquiring minds want to know.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    I've never heard this player, but I've heard of it. How about a link and some of your impressions or a comparison to what you were using before...inquiring minds want to know.
    It's hard for me to actually describe the player in a very discriptive way.I'll tell you it replaced a marantz cc4300 changer(via analog) which isnt the best anyways.But the difference was very much night and day.It's connected analog to my rotel.It's seems warm and precise,not laid back nor in your face either.there are a few reviews online if you google.sorry i cant be more discriptive.But either way it's subjective as to what i hear and what someone else may hear.It was only an option that i was offering.I had nothng to really compare it to other than my budget marantz that i had.Regardless i like it alot.And if a phone jack is something one may like,this miimax has one that is outstanding.

  18. #18
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Cool. Sounds like somethin' I should check out.

    Peace

  19. #19
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Anyone ever check out the EMM labs SACD/CD player???

  20. #20
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    Anyone ever check out the EMM labs SACD/CD player???
    Hey bro, I could be wrong but I think that both the EMM labs and the Esoteric exceed the OP's budget. If you know where to find the deal share it

    Peace

  21. #21
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    SA-8001 is a good CD player with SACD capability. It's not going to wow you with some shrilling highs or massive bass, but it's not boring or lacking. Let's just say "neutral"(whatever that means). But it allows me to listen to shiny discs for hours and hours. And that's saying alot cuz I've been spoiled with a half decent vinyl playback.

    GOt mine new for $700ish brand new, so that'll leave you with enough doe to buy some music.

    Regards,

  22. #22
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Hey bro, I could be wrong but I think that both the EMM labs and the Esoteric exceed the OP's budget. If you know where to find the deal share it

    Peace
    I wish. I was just throwing it out there since we were talking about some higher-end players. I have been curious about the EMM labs upsampling.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo238
    You're right about the 640C Steve. Although very good, it is upfront and in your face. Thanks for the good advice. You crystallized what I was thinking into words. I'm going to look at the CD-120 which is a good 3 1/2 hour trip from my house.
    hi Steveo,

    When you have a listened to the consonance let me know what you thought about it. I be interested to your experience when you have compared it to the cambridge 640c. Has any one else listened to the consonance cd120 linear.

    Regards,

    Steve.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    You should look into modifying the 640c at www.referenceaudiomods.com They can upgrade the clock in the unit which will get rid of the jitter and digital glare. They do good work and upgraded my musichall CDP. I had the same problem with glare on some music . Replacing the clock took care of the problem. I got a 10 day turn around on my unit.
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  25. #25
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    You should look into modifying the 640c at www.referenceaudiomods.com They can upgrade the clock in the unit which will get rid of the jitter and digital glare. They do good work and upgraded my musichall CDP. I had the same problem with glare on some music . Replacing the clock took care of the problem. I got a 10 day turn around on my unit.
    Maybe so, but the cost of those mods can be pretty expensive too and it might be more beneficial for him to sell his unit and just get a better player, although that Cambridge is a great little unit!

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