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  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Comparing Cambridge 740c to Marantz SA8001

    Well I got both the Cambridge Audio 740c and Marantz SA8001 CDP's today for christmas. I have about 2hrs of listening on them. First off let me say that both units seem to be well built. The Cambridge is in silver aluminum with a flat finish and seems a little understated in its design but it is solid as a rock. The Marantz has a black aluminum front and is larger. The transport on the 740 is noisy just like the reviews state. The Marantz make just a little noise, but neither is whisper quiet like my Music Hall. The one thing I don't like about the Marantz is that it does not come with a grounded power cord, its only a 2 prong, while the 740c comes with a 3 prong cord.

    Now for the sound. These 2 units give totally different CD sound (I'm not comparing SACD because the 740c is not an SACDP but it is upsampling to 384Khz). The 740 is much more transparent and light sounding. Imaging is excellent. It is very detailed especially in the high frequency range. You can distinguish the different instruments much better in the 740 than with the marantz. There is just a hint of harshness but that is supposed to smooth out as the unit breaks in. It supposedly needs about 150hrs of breakin. Bass is a little lighter in the 740 but it remains very tight and I would not have even noticed it had I not compared it to the marantz.

    As for the Marantz, it has a slightly warmer or more analog sound compared to the 740. This was noticed right off the bat by my 20yo daughter and my wife (however, both prefered the very detailed sound of the 740c). Its not as warm sounding as my modified Music Hall though. Treble is not as clear or detailed in the marantz. Cymbals sounded more natural in the 740c. Imaging is very good but the sound is not as transparent as the 740.

    Its going to be a tough decision on which one to keep. I like the warmer sound of the Marantz but I prefer the better detail, transparency and imaging of the 740. I'm going to let them both break in for about a week and listen to some SACD's before I make my decison on which one to keep. If I decide to keep the Cambridge unit, I will be selling the Marantz on ebay for a set price less than the $750 paid for the unit because my wife did not see that there was a no return policy on the web site. So if any one is interested, let me know.

    I'll post further reviews later in the week!
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Santa was very good to you. I am interested in your thoughts on both players. The SACD capability of the Marantz is of interest to me since I listen to a lot of classical and would love to have some of the Red Seal SACD releases. Of course the great majority of digital music I own is in the cd format. Detail is more important to me then warmth but I will be watching for more updates as to which you prefer.
    JohnMichael
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  3. #3
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Different gears and environment require different cable. Have fun experimenting, that's if you are into it.

    Best Regards,

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I've got Audioquest Coral IC's along with 2 pair of Monster M1000i IC's that I picked up on EBAY for $30. I'm comparing them with the M1000i's for now. I usually run the AQ's though.

    I just listened to an SACD and there is a noticable improvement in the sound of the Marantz that I can only describe as richer or fuller sound.
    Last edited by blackraven; 12-26-2007 at 01:03 PM.
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  5. #5
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here's an update on the sound of the players after I let them run continuously for 24hrs.

    The Cambridge has warmed up a bit but is still a neutral to slightly bright sound. Bass has not improved. It is still a very detailed, laid back and transparent sound. It does not seem to add or change the music. There is no coloration of the sound. This may not appeal to some people as some of the other reviews that I've read on this player and the 840c.

    The marantz's sound has not changed and still seems bottom heavy and clearly not as detailed as the 740. Bass is richer and slightly more punchy. It definitely has a warmer sound. It is a more foward sounding CDP like my Modded Music Hall. SACD sound is excellent. The dynamic range seems expanded with SACD. Drums sound incredible.

    The bottom line is, if you like a more detailed refined sound then go with the 740c. If you like more bass and a more foward sound as well as SACD playback then go with the matantz.

    I leaning on keeping the 740c or possibly exchanging it for the 840c and then buy the oppo DV-980 for SACD play. The Marantz may be just too bass heavy for my magnepans and my liking. I like very detailed, transparent music as I listen to alot of Jazz and Blue's.
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  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    840c

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    ...

    I leaning on keeping the 740c or possibly exchanging it for the 840c and then buy the oppo DV-980 for SACD play. The Marantz may be just too bass heavy for my magnepans and my liking. I like very detailed, transparent music as I listen to alot of Jazz and Blue's.
    Thanks, blackraven, an interesting update.

    For my needs, I'd probably make the stretch for the 840
    C; my reasons:
    • It got a rave review in The Absolute Sound; "best CDP under $5k", etc. However reputedly the the 740C is somewhat similar in design.
    • It has fully balanced circuitry; my preamp and amps are fully balanced, so it would complement them nicely.
    • It can function as a stand-alone DAC. This is extremely attractive to me because most often I listen to CDs ripped to my computer.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Thanks, blackraven, an interesting update.

    For my needs, I'd probably make the stretch for the 840
    C; my reasons:
    • It got a rave review in The Absolute Sound; "best CDP under $5k", etc. However reputedly the the 740C is somewhat similar in design.
    • It has fully balanced circuitry; my preamp and amps are fully balanced, so it would complement them nicely.
    • It can function as a stand-alone DAC. This is extremely attractive to me because most often I listen to CDs ripped to my computer.
    Hello "Feanor".

    Both the 740C and 840C can function as stand-alone DAC's. The difference is in the actual DAC's. The 740C uses dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC. The 840C uses the more progressive dual Anagram Technologies 24-bit/384 kHz DACs.
    I've been researching these players for a while, and although the 840C is without a doubt the better player, my system would not be able to take advantage of the technology (XLR connections) the 840 offers. I have the 640C v.2 and it's a nice player, but I also have an iPod w/docking station, which I would love to route thru 740C and take advantage of the upsampling capabilities. Not to mention the iPod Command.

    To "Blackraven". Thank you for the review and updates on the Marantz and CA Azur CD Players. It was very enlightening and really helped me make a decision on which way I should go. By the way, I'm purchasing my player from "Audio Advisor". They have a 30 day money back guarantee. They are authorized retailers of both manufacturers and are very helpful and knowledgeable.

    Regards.
    ldgibson76
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  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Your all welcome! We bought the 740c from wildwestelectronics.com and they have a 30day return policy as well. The Marantz came from audiophileliquidators which will only allow you to return it if its broken.

    I'm probably going to exchange the 740c for the 840c even though I don't have XLR. The 840 is supposed to have more resolution and detail.

    Your right, the 740c can also be used as a DAC.
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting discussion of the 740c, 840c and SA8001
    http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/cam...0/index12.html
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  10. #10
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Could you compare and contrast the two players with your Music Hall cdp? I would be interested in what improvements you are hearing. I own the Marantz CD5001 and I have always been pleased with the sound but want to kick it up a notch. I would like SACD capabilities but improved cd performance is important. Is the Marantz superior in cd mode than the MH cdp? My short list is the Marantz SA8001, Rega Apollo and Cambridge Audio 740c or 840c. I decided I would not be comfortable buying used. Thanks
    JohnMichael
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  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The most transparent of the three CDP's was the MH in its unmodded state. It had a very laid back and detailed sound but it also had some digital glare that I found fatiguing. Unforturnately the mods ( new superclock 4, higher end burr-brown op amps with high end caps, transitors and modded analog stage and bybee filters) turned it into a very aggressive and musical CDP but did away with the digital glare and it made it more analog in sound and gave it a very foward bass and midrange. Its still a great sounding CDP but I like a more neutral sound. The Modded MH sounds similar to the Marantz in some respects. And the unmodded MH sounds closer th the 740c.

    I've got 60hrs on the 740c and the sound keeps improving. Its a more foward sound then the premod MH but less foward then the Marantz. The Marantz definitely has a warmer more analog sound with deeper bass but less resolution and detail in the higher frequencies than the 740c. With the right speakers the marantz is sweet in CD and SACD sound. My good friend has a pair of tower Triangle speakers ($3500 pr.) with a bryston amp and preamp and the marantz is a perfect match because the Triangles are weak in the lower frequencies. The SACD and CD sound on his system blew me away, thats why I considered the marantz, but for my system it seems bass heavy. It could just be my speaker cable which are the Monster Z4's which really does bring out the lower frequency IMO. (I'm looking into replacing them, got a good deal for $100 on ebay, retail $399) Any way, the 740c would not be a good match for his system because it is so neutral sounding. Some peolpe may not like this sound and think its boring but I like alot of detail in my music and I'm not a bass fanatic. I find that bass will give that false feeling of a larger sound stage and warmth but obscure detail and resolution. I have to admit that on certain music the marantz is absolutely wonderful and sounds better than the 740c but for most of the music that I listen to (jazz and blues as well as 60's and 70's rock) the 740c is more to my likingbecause it does not add anything to the music and cymbals, brass and horns sound fantastic.

    As far as SACD sound vs STD CD sound on the marantz. the difference is very apparent. The dynamic range just seems to expand right in front of you. Its a much more pleasing and fuller sound. Low and high frequencies sound better, vocals sound more vibrant.

    If I dont keep the Marantz I will definitely be buying the oppo-DV-980H for its SACD playback. If I had a large collection of SACD's I probably would keep the Marantz and fine tune my system with different cables. But I'm leaning on returning the 740c and exchanging it for the 840c for that little difference in detail and resolution among instruments.

    Hope this helps some!

    If your interested in the Marantz I'll give you a good price of $675.
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  12. #12
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Great info

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    The most transparent of the three CDP's was the MH in its unmodded state. It had a very laid back and detailed sound but it also had some digital glare that I found fatiguing. Unforturnately the mods ( new superclock 4, higher end burr-brown op amps with high end caps, transitors and modded analog stage and bybee filters) turned it into a very aggressive and musical CDP but did away with the digital glare and it made it more analog in sound and gave it a very foward bass and midrange...

    ....
    b/r, thanks again.

    The confusion I have with your comments is your remark that the unmodded MH was the most transparent but had digital glare: they don't go together in my personal experience, but I could be misinterpreting what you say. I'm lover of transparency and detail, but I try to judge those things by listening for the separation of voices and instruments in the soundstage, resulting a realistic sense of "air" and space, rather than listening for "detail" which can be falsely convey by an "etching" of the highs that isn't pleasant for very long.

    Similary, I wonder about the modded MH sounding both "aggresive and musical". Perhaps it's the type of music I usually listen to, but I don't find that these two go together.

  13. #13
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    740C as DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by ldgibson76
    Hello "Feanor".

    Both the 740C and 840C can function as stand-alone DAC's. The difference is in the actual DAC's. The 740C uses dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC. The 840C uses the more progressive dual Anagram Technologies 24-bit/384 kHz DACs.
    ....
    Regards.
    Thanks for informing me, ID. I had overlooked the fact that the 749C can function as a DAC -- that would be a key consideration for me. If I got right, the 740C also uses Anagram technology, albeit with the Wolfson DACs.

    Since I also have a bit of an SACD collection, the Marantz is attractive, but because I listen most often to my computer, including to the CD layers of my SACDs, a great DAC is my more important objective.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I don't equate digital glare as transparency. Digital glare to me is a slight harshness that digital music tends to have. Transparency to me is a very open sound and clear sound. The MH had a very open and clear sound with a hint of digital glare that was fatiguing to listen to on treble heavy music.
    www.audioc.com/library1/glossary.htm

    As for the modded unit being aggressive and musical, I mean that its a very foward in your face sound as opposed to laid back sound. I dont see what musicality has to do with being aggressive. I think we have different idea's on what certain terminology means.
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  15. #15
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    We're no far off

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I don't equate digital glare as transparency. Digital glare to me is a slight harshness that digital music tends to have. Transparency to me is a very open sound and clear sound. The MH had a very open and clear sound with a hint of digital glare that was fatiguing to listen to on treble heavy music.
    www.audioc.com/library1/glossary.htm

    As for the modded unit being aggressive and musical, I mean that its a very foward in your face sound as opposed to laid back sound. I dont see what musicality has to do with being aggressive. I think we have different idea's on what certain terminology means.
    B/r, I appreciate your response re. definitions. I don't think we're too far off from each other. You and I both agree on the ACI definition of "transparency". Unfortunately, ACI doesn't define "glare", "aggressive", or "musical".

    However I would agree that a transparency can coexist with brightness, viz. per ACI, "Usually refers to too much upper frequency energy", but not with grain, viz. per ACI, "A sonic analog of the grain seen in photos. A sort of "grittiness" added to the sound".

    Similarly, if by aggressive you mean having strong micro-dynamics, (or "PRaT" -- pace, rhythm, and timing -- a superfluous term, IMO), then that that can definitely coexist with musicality. Unfortunately "musical" is a term very difficult to define, but let's say it means what music is supposed to sound like.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Yep, I agree totally with your post. From all the reviews I have read in the past, glare, musicality and aggressiveness are always hard to define. These terms are frequently mentioned in describing audio equipment with no real definition. I've always taken digital glare to mean thatt harshness and fatiguing sound that some CDP's produce which you typically dont see much in analog audio. Your desription of aggressiveness is right on. My unmodded MH had a very laid back pleasing sound for the most part, but the upgraded burr-brown op amps changed that. As far as musicality, I felt that the mods made the individual instruments sound fuller more life like. I don't know if that defines musical or not. Describing the nuances and differences of audio equipment can be difficult because many of the desriptions are so subjective and vary greatly with each individuals likes and dislikes. I've ofren read proffessional reviews and then gone and auditioned the equipment and often wondered, what they hell they were thinking.
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  17. #17
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Cool Final decision!

    Well, I've decided on the 740c for now. I've got 100hrs on it and the sound has gotten better and better. I dare say that its almost as good as the SACD playback from the marantz but its not quite there . If I had all SACD's I'd probalby go with the marantz but standard CD playback is much better on the 740c.

    I've got 30 days to decide if I want to exchange the 740c for the 840c. As for the Marantz, does any one want to buy the SA8001 from me. I paid $750 plus shipping. Its got about 50hrs of playing time on it. I will discount the price. Its a great sounding CD player but doesnt quite match my system as well as the 740c. SACD play is awesome and thats where this player really shines. Standard CD play is excellent but I prefer the 740c.
    Email me if your interested in purchasing it.

    Thanks,
    Larry freezing in Minnesota!
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  18. #18
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    As for the Marantz, does any one want to buy the SA8001 from me. I paid $750 plus shipping. Its got about 50hrs of playing time on it. I will discount the price. Its a great sounding CD player but doesnt quite match my system as well as the 740c. SACD play is awesome and thats where this player really shines. Standard CD play is excellent but I prefer the 740c.
    Email me if your interested in purchasing it.

    Thanks,
    Larry freezing in Minnesota!

    Larry I have a question. I visited the site where you purchased the Marantz and it does not look like you receive the Marantz warranty but it is warranted by the site. Is this your understanding?
    JohnMichael
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  19. #19
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    JM, I just visited the site and saw that you are correct. My wife didnt check the warranty from this site unfortunately. She got the name of this site from my friend who bought his there. I certainly would not have bought from them if I had known this. All I can say is that at least they offer a warranty and I guess that they would have to replace it if broken.
    This site has been around for a while and I havent heard anything bad about them, have you?

    Thanks for pointing that out though! I'll probably lower the price of the unit a bit to off set this.
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  20. #20
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Thanks again, blackraven

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Well, I've decided on the 740c for now. I've got 100hrs on it and the sound has gotten better and better. I dare say that its almost as good as the SACD playback from the marantz but its not quite there . If I had all SACD's I'd probalby go with the marantz but standard CD playback is much better on the 740c.

    ....

    Thanks,
    Larry freezing in Minnesota!
    This has been a most interesting thread from my perspective since this is price range in which I'd be looking.

    If I couldn't stretch to the 840C, I too would go for the 740C. If not exclusively for the CD sound, then because it can function as a stand-alone DAC.

  21. #21
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    This has been a most interesting thread from my perspective since this is price range in which I'd be looking.

    If I couldn't stretch to the 840C, I too would go for the 740C. If not exclusively for the CD sound, then because it can function as a stand-alone DAC.


    I am now also most interested in the 840C. I have hundreds of cd's and only three cd/sacd's so my emphasis is on cd playback. From all I have read and blackravens experiences I would be happier with excellent reproduction for my current cd's.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  22. #22
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I wish I could audition the 740c and 840c side by side. I called the guys at both spearit sound locations and 1 guy said if you dont have XLR then dont bother with the 840c. The guy at the other store said there still is a big enough difference between the 2 to warrant buying the 840c over the 740c even if you dont have XLR.
    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

  23. #23
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Well, as much as I like the 740c, I've decided to exchange it for the 840c just to get that extra bit of detail and accuracy. Tomorrow I send the unit back and they should send out the 840c in 1 week. I'll post a review of it when I get it, but it will need plenty of break in time.

    One last comment, I was reading about the 840c on another forum, and some one stated that they Emailed Cambridge Audio about which unit to buy. They stated that if you did not have XLR then to go with the 740c. Now I read a UK review on the 840c and they stated that there was not a noticable difference between the sound with and without XLR. I also spoke to both spearit sound locations about the 740c and 840c. One guy stated the same thing as Cambridge Audio did and the other salesman said he thought there was still a noticable difference between the 740c and 840c even without XLR. By the way, every review I have read comparing the 2 units places the 840c on top. I think that speaks for itself.

    Confused in Minnesota!
    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

  24. #24
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Well foolishly, I opened pandora's box when I upgrade elements of my system. I am trying to close it with my latest purchase of a CDP.

    I am so happy to hear the CA 740c is a strong player as I listen to a wide assortment of music. All that I want is a system that faithful delivers the input signal while heeding the law of diminishing returns.

    Looking at my system, do you fellas believe that it will be a good match? What should I listen for when it finally arrives?

    Thanks in advance.
    Emotiva MMC-1 replaces Onkyo TSDX575x
    Emotiva IPS-1 replaces Onkyo TSDX575x
    CA AZur 740C - On Order replaces Yamaha CDC615
    CA Azur 640C v1 - On Loan pending order
    Magnepan MG12 replace Mission Cyrus 753
    Canare Cable GS6 Interconnect replaces Kimber PBJ
    Canare 4S8 Speaker Wire replaces Kimber Cable 8TC
    StarChoice DSR530
    Samsung BDP1400
    Dell Optiplex 620

  25. #25
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The 740c will be worlds better than the yammy. Its a little on the bright side though. If your system is on the bright side it might not be agood match. Its neutral sounding and needs about 100hrs of break in to really sing. At first you may think its nothing special, but give it time and listen to it with well recorded source material. If you prefer a bass heavy sound you will be disappointed with it. You will appreciate the detail with your magnepans.

    I just sent my 740c back to the dealer in exchange for the 840c. I should get it in about 10-14 days.
    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

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