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  1. #1
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    Most expensive or highest quality digital source ever in your system?

    Hi guys, I have the only post in the Digital Domain! I guess that really don't mean much, but I'm easy to amuse sometimes.

    So let us know, what is the most expensive digital source you've had in your personal system and if that wasn't the best to you what was, still having been in your system? I don't want to know what you've heard before, I want to know what you have actually used hooked up in your system.

    My Krell 280cd is my most expensive with having had a msrp of $3,250.00. The Audio Note DAC I'm using now msrp of $1,500.00. Which is better is subjective but I prefer the AN.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Most expensive digital source in my system is Naim CD5x with FlatCap-2x power supply. MSRP is $4,400. This is both the most insanely priced and most rewarding item I've ever purchased.

    Second most expensive was my used Krell KAV-400xi integrated, which I traded for a new Naim Nait5i, which will soon be upgraded to Naim 122/150 separates

  3. #3
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    It looks like you are on the ride I started several years back. It starts out with one good piece and then you wonder, if that is so good, what if I upgrade this piece. Then your system sounds better and you run through your music collection hearing things as if it was the first time again. Then you say, well I haven't yet upgraded this piece yet, and so on. I'm now at a point where I am satisfied. Will I ever upgrade again, maybe, but I'm not looking to, it's like now that I've found something satisfying the restlessness is gone.

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    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    My dream system right now is Naim 202/200/CDX2, I should be able to get there over the next two years if I budget and save. I'm fairly confident I could remain happy with that system for many years to come (unless I do something silly like audition a Hi-Cap power supply with the 202!).

    In any case, my baby Nait integrated amp is fantastic, anything over and above this amp is just icing on the cake

  5. #5
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I can't really participate in this topic, but wouldnt mind hearing more from others on their experience.

    There days, I cannot stand listening to digital source. My Marantz just isnt doing it for me. But I can stay up all night listening to vinyl with my VTL phono pre. I need more tubes in my system!!

    Any recommendation on tube digi?

    JRA

  6. #6
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    don't give up yet JRA

    At our Hifi dealer I saw a heavily modded Marantz cd6000, one of the mods done was a tube output stage, maybe something like that also exists for your marantz

    otherwise, use the digital out and get a tube DAC, enough DAC's out there

    Keep them spinning,
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  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Various things

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Hi guys, I have the only post in the Digital Domain! I guess that really don't mean much, but I'm easy to amuse sometimes.

    So let us know, what is the most expensive digital source you've had in your personal system and if that wasn't the best to you what was, still having been in your system? I don't want to know what you've heard before, I want to know what you have actually used hooked up in your system.

    My Krell 280cd is my most expensive with having had a msrp of $3,250.00. The Audio Note DAC I'm using now msrp of $1,500.00. Which is better is subjective but I prefer the AN.
    For those whining about CD quality, I have a few suggestions:
    • Listen to more classical music where there is less compression and fewer "hot"/bright recordings.
    • Buy more SACDs which are usually recorded with a more audiophile result in mind.
    • Improve your downstream components -- I got far, far more improvement reducing the harsh/bright sound of many CDs by swapping my amp, (high-bias, low feedback) and preamp, (tube), than the various CDPs and DAC I've tried.
    In any case, my most expensive digital component is an Assemblage DAC 1.5 modified by Parts ConneXion. This cost me about $500 which, in retrospect, I don't consider money particularly well spent.

    For CD, nowadays, I fancy a Monarchy M-24 tube DAC, (with actual tube amplification stage, not just a tube output buffer). This unit was highly recommended by Morricab over at AA, and his ears are about as "golden" as they get, IMO.

    Or, alternatively, a Cambridge Audio 840C: it is not only a CD player but also can function as DAC for another source (such as my computer -- critical in my case). It feature selectable upsampling and front-to-back balanced circuitry. The 840C got a rave review in TAS recently, if the means anything.
    Last edited by Feanor; 10-07-2007 at 10:08 AM.

  8. #8
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Bill,

    You got an email..

  9. #9
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    JRA, I can't remember the model but the Jolida cdp that runs around $800.00 is fairly popular. For around the same money you could probably find an Audio Note DAC on the used market. For even less a used Conrad Johnson, though solid state, is very very sweet. If I had to buy another cdp for some reason I have my eye on the single box player by Audio Note that runs around $2,500.00. Shanling has some tube players for less and even a SACD. You could try one of those Musical Fidelity tube buffers but for the money I'm sure you could find a used DAC that would do more for you.

    I have to give Cambridge Audio props, I've wondered for years why some one didn't allow an input to the players DAC.

    Feanor, my thing is if your player don't get the information off the disc to begin with it's just lost. With that said, you do have to have down stream components to treat what information you do have, to your liking.

    Without sounding like RGA's clone, I can't tell you what an impact on my listening direction the Audio Note DAC had on me. Even with it on the front end of my Krell the change was both enlightening and enjoyable. It led me to do a dramatic change in my system to what I have now.

  10. #10
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Hey Bill,

    You got an email..
    I replied. I think either of the Monarchy amps will be closer to what your looking.

  11. #11
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    Mine would be a Sim Audio Moon Calypso DVD player, canadian retail about $5,000.Absolutely fantastic picture and sound, also a very good cd player.It weighs about 30 pounds, made from high quality components and has a seperate power supply for the analog and digital sections.

    bill
    Speakers-Jm Labs
    Disc player-Sim Audio Moon Calypso
    Pre-amp-Sim Audio P-5.3 SE
    dac= sim audio moon 300d

    Amp-Sim Audio Moon I-3
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    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
    Sacd-Cambridge Audio
    Bluray--Sony and Cambridge Audio
    Remote-- Harmony 1100

    Power-- Monster

  12. #12
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    This will be different...

    I've owned DAC's that cost about $1800, but my favorite by a landslide is, get this.., a Behringer DCX 2496 electronic crossover modified with Selectronic upgrades.

    As a DAC it creates an awesome soundstage and clarity that far outdistances anything I have heard before. There are two or three more upgrades I will be performing that should bring it to world class standard, or so I hope.

    Anyhow, that's my cats meow!

  13. #13
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    JRA, I can't remember the model but the Jolida cdp that runs around $800.00 is fairly popular. For around the same money you could probably find an Audio Note DAC on the used market. For even less a used Conrad Johnson, though solid state, is very very sweet. If I had to buy another cdp for some reason I have my eye on the single box player by Audio Note that runs around $2,500.00. Shanling has some tube players for less and even a SACD. You could try one of those Musical Fidelity tube buffers but for the money I'm sure you could find a used DAC that would do more for you.
    A tube DAC seems to be an option I should look into, but can't keep thinking that my amp is the culprit of my problem. My Marantz was a great player back when I was using a tube integrated. But then again, the speakers I was using at the time didnt reveal microdynamics.

    Jolida seems like a good unit to with plenty of options. I wonder how modified JD100A would stack up against some of the most exotic players.


    http://www.levick.de/javasno4.htm

    JRA

  14. #14
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    I don't know which tube integrated you had but it could be that it smoothed the high end out enough, or hid some of the harshness of the player. I haven't heard BAT or PS Audio, but from reputation, I wouldn't think either of them would cause listener fatigue and why wouldn't you experience the same problem when listening to turntable, if it was the amp. It's probably the higher resolution separates showing the weakness where the integrated wasn't able to.

    It's hard to say about the Jolida, it's like modding it has become a separate hobby to itself. I personally don't want to buy a product and then spend more money on it to make it sound good, I'd rather take the sum of the money and buy a good player to begin with. But maybe that amount would still be cheaper, I haven't researched all the places that mod them and what it costs.

    I wish we lived close enough we could swap some gear around for listening purposes.

  15. #15
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I don't know which tube integrated you had but it could be that it smoothed the high end out enough, or hid some of the harshness of the player. I haven't heard BAT or PS Audio, but from reputation, I wouldn't think either of them would cause listener fatigue and why wouldn't you experience the same problem when listening to turntable, if it was the amp. It's probably the higher resolution separates showing the weakness where the integrated wasn't able to.

    It's hard to say about the Jolida, it's like modding it has become a separate hobby to itself. I personally don't want to buy a product and then spend more money on it to make it sound good, I'd rather take the sum of the money and buy a good player to begin with. But maybe that amount would still be cheaper, I haven't researched all the places that mod them and what it costs.

    I wish we lived close enough we could swap some gear around for listening purposes.
    Mr. Liang or Laing or Luiang or something tube integrated is what I have. I'm 100% positive that it's not one of the more revealing units ever produced, but offers midrange to die for. I still use it for certain music(mellow Jazz) with my Maggies. It's simply amazing, until passages become complexed then it runs outta juice.

    Aside from warmer sound of vinyl, my tube phono pre w/ upgrade REL caps definetely helps feed my tubeatitis.
    Well, I bought it modified so I'm not sure how upgraded caps impacted the unit.

    I'm not exactly sure if every gears would benefit from Black Gate caps, Riken resistors, and better diodes, but seems like mod places such as Underwood HiFi uses the same parts for every mods they offer. I had called them today to see if they can modify my HCA-2, but not luck. Without knowing engineering sides, it makes me wonder why they can't just pop in Black Gate caps, Riken resistors, and some ultra fast recovering diodes like they do to every single units they offer...? Maybe hermv knows a thing or two.

    As for swapping gears, I have 2 projects in Troy, so when I start coming there on a monthly basis, I'll be sure to bring my BAT and VTL if you wont mind.
    I also got some major projects in Huntsville, AL. Maybe Dinno would be kind enough to swap gwith my gears for a month or two.

    JRA

  16. #16
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Hi guys, I have the only post in the Digital Domain! I guess that really don't mean much, but I'm easy to amuse sometimes.

    So let us know, what is the most expensive digital source you've had in your personal system and if that wasn't the best to you what was, still having been in your system? I don't want to know what you've heard before, I want to know what you have actually used hooked up in your system.

    My Krell 280cd is my most expensive with having had a msrp of $3,250.00. The Audio Note DAC I'm using now msrp of $1,500.00. Which is better is subjective but I prefer the AN.
    2-weeks ago a friend of mine brought over his Accuphase MDS CDP DP-500, which I thought was very good, but wasn't totally blown away with it. I am not even sure what it lists for these days, but it wasn't dramatically better than my Parasound D3 unit that I am using. The Accuphase gear looks retro in pictures of it, but up close it's actually better looking and feels more rigid than pictures would allow you to believe.

  17. #17
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    The Accuphase gear looks retro in pictures of it, but up close it's actually better looking and feels more rigid than pictures would allow you to believe.


    I totally agree, at the premiere of B&W's diamond series, the speakers were driven by a 45 watt class A accuphase amp, and the TOTL accuphase preamp, cd transport & DAC.

    that did blow me away

    accuphase gear has a classy look on it, but different than Macs, but they are kinda the same build quality & rigidity
    Life is music!

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  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I love 'em

    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    2-weeks ago a friend of mine brought over his Accuphase MDS CDP DP-500, which I thought was very good, but wasn't totally blown away with it. I am not even sure what it lists for these days, but it wasn't dramatically better than my Parasound D3 unit that I am using. The Accuphase gear looks retro in pictures of it, but up close it's actually better looking and feels more rigid than pictures would allow you to believe.
    Accuphase components are gorgeous, IMO. Retro? I'd just say classic. Much less gaudy than McIntosh, which are retro -- I love McIntosh too, though.

    Accuphase DP-500 ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Most expensive or highest quality digital source ever in your system?-accuphase_dp-500.jpg  
    Last edited by Feanor; 10-11-2007 at 08:07 AM.

  19. #19
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Accuphase components are gorgeous, IMO. Retro? I'd just say classic. Much less gaudy than McIntosh, which are retro -- I love McIntosh too, though.

    Accuphase DP-500 ...

    I guess what I meant is that the look of their gear still is reminiscent of the 1980's, but when you actually get up close and personal their look is more timeless, you can then see just how sturdy and defined the units are. I was impressed with how much detail is lost in the pictures of them online. They are beauties!

  20. #20
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    I think I'm in JRA's camp on this one. I rarely listen to CDs in my home system. Accordingly, I have a Sony CDR deck that retailed for $800 about 8 years ago and use the DAC in my Yammie AVR. My DVD player is and 8-9 year old JVC, again DACs in the Yammie. High end digital I am not. Some of you jimmies have cables that cost more than my entire digital front end.
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  21. #21
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    The best source I ever had was a Sherwood CD-7080R.
    Mark Wellman
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  22. #22
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    an Enlightened Audio Designs DSP 1000 MKII, upgraded to MKIII. very nice sounding DAC that has performed very well with 4 different players.

    most recently a Wadia WT3200 transport that i am still evaluating. this thing is really good at bringing out subtlety and nuance in the recording. as far as i can tell (at this point, still messing with cables) there isnt much difference in the rest of the sound from the Kenwood dvd player that i was using.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  23. #23
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    Mr. Wellman, you haven't begun to hear the potential of your discs yet.

    Dingus you have me confused. First you say the Wadia brings out the subtleties, then you say there's no difference between that and the Kenwood DVD player. I'm assuming you are talking about just using the DVD as a transport as that is all the Wadia is. In my experience the sound quality differences are less noticeable between transports than they are between players analog outputs. So if the Wadia and DVD are running into the same DAC the difference you hear will be subtle.

  24. #24
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Dingus you have me confused. First you say the Wadia brings out the subtleties, then you say there's no difference between that and the Kenwood DVD player. I'm assuming you are talking about just using the DVD as a transport as that is all the Wadia is. In my experience the sound quality differences are less noticeable between transports than they are between players analog outputs. So if the Wadia and DVD are running into the same DAC the difference you hear will be subtle.
    Quote Originally Posted by dingus
    ... there isnt much difference in the rest of the sound from the Kenwood dvd player that i was using.
    ... the big difference i notice with the Wadia are the subtleties, the rest not so much and yes, that is with the Kenwood dvd acting as a transport as well. i am using a digital coax cable at the moment but i am waiting for an original Wadia st optical cable to arrive before i pass final judgment.

    i will also be demo'ing a tube buffer with the Wadia and the Kenwood so i still have lots of evaluating to do before i settle on a final configuration.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  25. #25
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    I don't think the tube buffer excepts a digital signal, so it may work with the DVD's analog out but not directly from the Wadia. I think the buffer would be a waste of money putting it after the EAD. I would have thought the EAD sounded pretty good. One review was favorable but mentioned it was a bit soft for things like Rock. The buffer may be too much. Let me know what you think though.

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