• 03-15-2008, 10:23 PM
    Bigmoney
    cd versus transport and external DAC
    Hello, my system is all but complete except for one major weakness, my source. I have nice brand new rotel separates (1080/1070) and b and w speakers. However, my source is a marantz 3002 dvd player. I heard the marantz 5001 and it sounded much much better in my system when I demo'd it. Therefore I know a good source will truly help my system. I planneed on purchasing the marantz 5001 for 300. Everyone seems to agree the marantz is the best budget player or atleast among the best. But, I wonder if I was to use an external DAC and my dvd as a transport could I achieve better sound for the same price. My question is, if I spent 300 on an external DAC would it out perform the marantz 5001 in using my dvd as a transport. It makes perfect sense that I could achieve better sound for the same price because after all the marantz for 300 includes the DAC among other parts which leads me to believe a DAC for the same price would be better because the marantz DAC must be of lesser quality to meet the 300 dollar price point. Considering the other parts and devices that must going into building the whole player.
  • 03-16-2008, 03:35 AM
    thekid
    Big$

    I can only speak from my experience since I was in the same situation recently. I researched DAC's and with the urging of several members here decided to go with a budget DAC over a similiarly priced CDP.

    From strictly a SQ standpoint I found the DAC a definite improvement from my older CDP's. It may be strictly because of the quality of my CDP players who knows, but at certain price levels I think the DAC/transport combo is going to be better than most CDP's that cost the same. Also I think if you look at it from a budget/long-term perspective the DAC route also makes alot of sense. I am not sure of the lifespan of your average DAC but my guess is that it is longer than your average CDP. If the CDP which is only the transport breaks down you can replace it relatively cheaply and keep going. Spend alot on a CDP upgrade and if it goes you are back to square one.
  • 03-16-2008, 06:49 AM
    Bigmoney
    I agree with what your saying. It makes perfect sense to me that a 300 dollar dac will outperform a 300 dollar cdp. However, I have heard some mention that DAC'S are not worth it until you get into the pricy ones. I am sure that any budget dac will be better than my 200 dollar dvd player. Does everyone agree.
  • 03-16-2008, 08:22 AM
    Ajani
    In theory a $300 DAC should be a better upgrade than a $300 CD Player (Ignoring things like jitter).... BUT the issue is whether you can find a really good DAC at that price range (maybe on the used market, but I'm not sure about new)... In the $300 CD price range Marantz, NAD & Cambridge Audio have the market locked down and for good reason.... but in the $300 DAC price range??? Are there any good brands competing there?

    If I was in your position, I'd probably save up some more money to get into the $700+ CD Player range and get either a Rotel RCD1070 or Arcam CD73T.... Or look to upgrade my speakers first....
  • 03-16-2008, 08:46 AM
    thekid
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    I agree with what your saying. It makes perfect sense to me that a 300 dollar dac will outperform a 300 dollar cdp. However, I have heard some mention that DAC'S are not worth it until you get into the pricy ones. I am sure that any budget dac will be better than my 200 dollar dvd player. Does everyone agree.

    You might be right I can only speak based on my budget/equipment. I got a MSB-Link DAC II for about $280. Is the latest and greatest DAC no. Was it upgrade over my Pioneer and Denon 80's-90's CDP's yes. Is there a great CDP player for less than $400 that will outplay a DAC maybe? As you go up the line it cost then I think the differences might become more noticeable, when you get to their very top of the line the line might blur again. I think you need to look at what is available for your budget and then make the decision based on the available options for either a DAC or CDP
  • 03-16-2008, 09:56 AM
    Bigmoney
    Everyone speaks highly of the rotel 1070 cdp.....is it that much better than the marantz 5001. That is, worth doubling the cost of the marantz 5001 and then some.........?
  • 03-16-2008, 10:28 AM
    blackraven
    BM, save your money and go with the Marantz SA8001 SACDP as I mentioned to you earlier in another post. Its a stereophile class A rated CDP. Its got a great warm rich sound with very good low end on standard CD's and SACD. IMO, its the best CDP for under $1000 and can be found online for about $700 with free shipping. I wish I kept mine when I purchased the Cambridge 840c. Check out the review at www.stereophile.com

    This CDP would be a good match for your system since you had complained about it being too bright or fatiguing.
  • 03-16-2008, 11:52 AM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    BM, save your money and go with the Marantz SA8001 SACDP as I mentioned to you earlier in another post. Its a stereophile class A rated CDP. Its got a great warm rich sound with very good low end on standard CD's and SACD. IMO, its the best CDP for under $1000 and can be found online for about $700 with free shipping. I wish I kept mine when I purchased the Cambridge 840c. Check out the review at www.stereophile.com

    This CDP would be a good match for your system since you had complained about it being too bright or fatiguing.

    That's an even better suggestion...

    @BM - if you can raise your budget or shop around for a good deal, you can get into Stereophile Class A Rated CD Players/DACS... such as the Marantz SA8001, Rega Apollo & Bencmark DAC1....
  • 03-16-2008, 03:20 PM
    Bigmoney
    Thats a good idea. But would you really buy a 700 dollar cdp before upgrading your 600 dollar speakers.
  • 03-16-2008, 04:15 PM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    Thats a good idea. But would you really buy a 700 dollar cdp before upgrading your 600 dollar speakers.

    :biggrin5:

    I owned the Rotel combo you have, combined with Mission V63 floorstanders, a Marantz CD5001 CD Player, NAD C520bee CD Player(replaced with the Marantz), Panasonic DVD player and Apple Mac Mini... For me, the Marantz was the best of the 4 source options... but that said, the differences were hardly significant and I found that I did more listening using the Mac than either CD player or the DVD player....

    So my point is that unless you are ready to invest in the $700+ range, I wouldn't suggest spending money on a dedicated CD player (unless you don't already have any digital source)...

    In your position, I'd keep the Marantz DVD player and start saving for new speakers first and then get the $700+ CD player... or see if I could get my dealer to let me trade the Rotel RC1070 Pre/RB-1080Amp combo for a Rotel RA-1062 Integrated/RCD-1072 CD player combo and start saving for the speakers....
  • 03-16-2008, 06:48 PM
    Bigmoney
    I wonder though if the rotel integrated would be a big step down from my separates?
  • 03-16-2008, 06:57 PM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    I wonder though if the rotel integrated would be a big step down from my separates?

    IMHO, In terms of power - yes... but otherwise - no....
  • 03-16-2008, 07:00 PM
    Bigmoney
    That sounds contradictory...........I thought more power= better sound. Are you saying the integrated should outperform my separates??
  • 03-16-2008, 07:47 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I personally am a source person. Nothing you will do down stream from that source will add to that signal any detail that isn't already there. If you don't extract it off the disc, or whatever, you will never hear it. Better speakers won't make you hear anything that isn't coming down the line, it has to already be there. The speaker is the last thing before escaping into the room. You have to begin at a good source and maintain the signal the best you can until it reaches the speakers. You said your self you heard a difference even with your $600.00 speakers, so get the new disc player and then save for speakers. I don't know of any good DAC's until you approach $1k. At least not new.
  • 03-16-2008, 08:14 PM
    Bigmoney
    I guess I am a bit skeptical..........you say there are no good dac's for under a thousand.........but you say a cd player such as the marantz 5001 or 8001, 300 and 800 dollars respectively would be a big improvement. That being said the DAC'S used in those components must cost less than the price of the component itself thereby being under one thousand dollars. Setting asde my skepticism, Mr. Peabody, you claim yourself to be a "source" proponent. This leads me to believe that you are the best person to take reccomendations from. Of the following please give your input, marantz 5001, music fidelity 25.2 (600$), marantz 800, rotel 1072 cdp, nad bee, oppo... I would only lay out the money for the 8001 if you could justify why it is worth the extra dough..... I will be leaving for college next year so I am tight with the money.
  • 03-16-2008, 08:38 PM
    Mr Peabody
    What I should have said is, I don't know of any outboard or separate DAC's under $1k. There may be even, I just haven't found them yet.

    I'm sorry, I hate to weigh in on which player, I actually haven't heard any of those models personally. When going to unknown I lean toward the same brand for synergy sake but not always the best way to go. I like Ajani's suggestion of the Arcam 73t. The 73t you should find fast and very detailed for the money. I've heard various Arcam and Rotel, the 2 are opposite ends of the spectrum. I find Rotel polite and seemingly a bit slower pace where the Arcam is quite a livelier snappy type of presentation. But the 73t is getting into the 8001 territory. The best thing is to audition the brands you have available and select from that, a sure thing will probably be better than buying on our recs. If you don't have a Marantz dealer, www.amusicdirect.com will allow a 30 day return and sells Marantz.

    Just curious if your system sounded bright when auditioning the 5001? You may find a better source can help that fatigue.
  • 03-17-2008, 03:09 AM
    Feanor
    My impression too
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    What I should have said is, I don't know of any outboard or separate DAC's under $1k. There may be even, I just haven't found them yet.

    ....

    It's when you get it ~$1k DACs look interesting, e.g. Benchmark, PS Audio, Monarchy M34, or for that matter, Cambridge 740C/840C. (Of these the 740C might be the best deal apart from the fact that it isn't USB.)

    Under a grand you might as well buy a player unless you're interested in compter-source playback.
  • 03-17-2008, 03:22 AM
    Bigmoney
    Simply not interested in computer playback, but I understand what your saying about the outboard DAC'S now. Mr.peabody, the 5001 was definately a more warm sounding cdp and I would say that it did soften up my system a bit. Seemed like a pretty good player. My best knowledge tells me that the 5001 would be a big step up from my dvd player, that is worth the 300 bucks. I also believe that a player costing more would be better but a less dramatic step up than that from the low end dvd to the 5001. I am not sure that my speakers now dm 602 s3's are capable of discerning the differences?
  • 03-17-2008, 04:58 AM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    That sounds contradictory...........I thought more power= better sound. Are you saying the integrated should outperform my separates??

    Nope, I never said that, nor was I implying it.... What I am saying is that IMHO, the difference between the Rotel integrated and the Rotel seperates is more power.... So the Integrated is just a less powerful version of what you have now.... It won't sound better, but unless you have really insensitive speakers and/or play at rock concert levels, then it probably won't sound any worse either....

    But as I've suggested from back when you were considering buying the Amp/Pre combo, listen for yourself at the dealer (since your dealers should have both the combo and the integrated available) and decide for yourself....

    With audio it's best to ask for a few suggestions and then go out and audition, we can't tell you what will sound good to you....
  • 03-17-2008, 05:40 AM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    Hello, my system is all but complete except for one major weakness, my source. I have nice brand new rotel separates (1080/1070) and b and w speakers. However, my source is a marantz 3002 dvd player. I heard the marantz 5001 and it sounded much much better in my system when I demo'd it. Therefore I know a good source will truly help my system.

    Hmm, I just re-read your initial post and I think the part I've higlighted in bold is the answer to your problems.... Since you really liked the Marantz CD5001 in your system, then buy it....
  • 03-17-2008, 04:20 PM
    Bigmoney
    That's just it, I want to just buy the right thing. I have only heard one dedicated cdp, that being 5001 in my system. I haven't heard others, therefore for all I know others may sound better. I would really like to upgrade my speakers though. What do you think is a warm to neutral speaker under 1000?
  • 03-17-2008, 06:55 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I am the resident Dynaudio fanboy, I consider their speakers the apitomy of neutral. So this will make them very system dependent because they let you hear the weaknesses or strengthes of your system. Some people aren't ready for the truth to be revealed. You could get the Audience 52's for under $1k.

    If you like your B&W's you could always go up in the line.

    What lines do you have access to for audition?
  • 03-17-2008, 07:10 PM
    Bigmoney
    The only dealer nearby carries only b and w products....would it be fair to say you pay extra for the name? I can think of one other dealer which carries only focal, martin logan and polk.
  • 03-17-2008, 07:27 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Focal might be worth giving a listen. ML's aren't what I'd call "warm" but they are great speakers, you should go hear them just for the experience. Oh, and you can't afford any for $1k. Besides that, they are a lot to lug around if you will be moving a lot.

    You might take a look at www.crutchfield.com who carry Thiel. They are a very sweet speaker. I just don't know where they start in price. Crutchfield will allow a 30 day return if not happy with your purchase.

    You can see how John Michael feels about his Mobile Fidelity, if there are any left in stock www.amusicdirect.com were blowing those out at a good price. Again, 30 days.
  • 03-18-2008, 04:40 AM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    The only dealer nearby carries only b and w products....would it be fair to say you pay extra for the name? I can think of one other dealer which carries only focal, martin logan and polk.

    I would suggest checking out the Focal 714V ($1K), they are floorstanders with a sound that is supposed to be similar to B&W, but less fatiguing at the high frequencies (I plan to test out some Focals later this year)...

    Also, you can try the Magnepan MMG ($500) - Personally, I don't like the sound of Magnepan but way too many people love them for me not to suggest that you audition them - as you may like them as well...

    Dynaudios (the ones mentioned by Mr. Peabody) - I find Dyns to be pretty much the opposite of B&W (and I don't like them either, but like Magnepan they are well loved and a must audition of you get the chance)....

    Try these online sites, all of which offer return policies if you don't like the speakers:

    www.audioadvisor.com

    Has PSB & Energy

    www.musicdirect.com

    Has Focal, Epos & Mobile Fidelity

    You have to audition different brands to really discover what's best for you....