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  1. #1
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    Looking for Better Quality CD Sound

    I'm trying to figure out if the quality of sound from my CD player, an old 98 Pioneer 50 CD
    player, is a result of the player or my system. I also have a Sony DVD/CD player that I've
    used to compare with the Pioneer, but they seem to sound the same. The Pioneer has
    analog outputs, and the Sony has an optical output. I don't want to go SACD, but am up
    for upgrading the CD player. Since my amp is a Marantz, I'm looking at the CC4001 CD
    player. The specs state it has SA-CD grade quality sound. Will this player give me better
    quality sound, or am I wasting my time? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    if you are playing standard cd's, you definitely wont be getting the benefits of SACD. that doesnt mean the CC4001 wont improve the sound over the Pioneer, i'm betting it will, and by a better than decent margin.

    retail for the CC4001 is around $350. if you consider the used market (i would look at audiogon first), you may find that $350 will buy you sound that is a few steps up in class over the CC4001.

    consider a DAC (the cdp must have digital output in order for a DAC to be of any use). for the ultimate budget DAC, look for an Entech Number Cruncher (ebay is probably the best source). there are also lots of low cost DAC's from the Chinese market these days. again, the best bang for the buck is going to be the used market (audiogon to start). component matching is important, there isnt much point in buying a high-end player and running it with a low-end DAC, for example, a Rega player with the Entech is not going to give you much, if any, improvement over the Rega by itself. i would think the Entech would work well with the CC4001or your current Sony player.

    consider a device like the Squeezebox, which basically turns a computer into a music server. paired with a decent DAC (the Entech would be ok here, but for this application, i would look for something of better quality), this is an unbeatable combination for the money. as you seem to prefer multi-disk players, this may be your best option.

    for a pure budget solution, get a used Entech or a Chinese DAC like the LiTe DAC-AH, and run it with your existing Sony. you'll get an instant, and decent, upgrade in sound for very little money.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  3. #3
    PDN
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    I believe you'll definetly hear improved sound with the new Marantz unit over both the Pioneer and Sony. I just purchased the Marantz DV3002 DVD player not for music but for DVD's. I have a Rotel RCD 1072 which cost me $700.00 for CD's. Now while that produces superior dynamite sound, I am more than impressed with my new DV3002 for $220.00. I find it hard to believe all that sound eminates from this low cost unit. I am using its digital output with a decent interconnect. Marantz has a sound all its own and I happen to like it a lot. The Rotel has its own sound too and I love that as well. It incorporates the more expensive Burr-Brown DAC and a toroidal transformer but still, that little Marantz is something else. I can only imagine what a more upscale Marantz would sound like. So yes, go for it. I also have a Marantz SR5600 A-V receiver and there must be some compatibility between the two components.

  4. #4
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    Do you use the analog or digital output on the cd player? If you have it connected by digital,try the analog.

    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
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    Remote-- Harmony 1100

    Power-- Monster

  5. #5
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    Paul, PDN, listen up, on your CD player when you use the L/R analog out, the D to A conversion is being done in your CD player. With better CD players this is preferrable. When you use the digital out, the signal is still digital and does not get converted until it reaches your receivers D to A converter. Although, it's debateable whether you can hear a difference between players using digital in the same DAC, you will notice a much greater difference between players internal DAC's and analog outs. No offense, but it isn't going to take much to sound better than a jukebox player, and especially one that old, DAC's have made light years of progress since 98. I firmly believe there is a difference in sound between transports, and the jukeboxes aren't the best, you will still benefit if you used and external DAC, as suggested. That way you can still use the jukebox while upgrading the sound. Unfortunately, I don't know of any good DAC's new that would be cheap. I'd recommend an EAD or Conrad Johnson off the used market, they can be found for $400.00 or less and they are a steal at that. But there are some good single box units around that price, like the Marantz you are looking at. If you don't want a risk, buy it from www.amusicdirect.com who offers a 30 day return policy if not happy.

  6. #6
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    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far. I'm being educated as well as getting some
    good ideas. I look forward to hearing what others have to say.

  7. #7
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Are you sure it is your CD player causing the trouble? Speakers are going to have a much larger impact on your sound quality IMO. Maybe try swapping your Polks with another brand temporarily and see if you like the results better...

    That said, if it is a CD player you need under $1000, then the one I recommend and use is the Opera Audio Consonance CD-120. New they go for about 1K, but used, sub $500 price points can be had on audiogon.com. I bought two of them since I liked them so much (one is for a second system).

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
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    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
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    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
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    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
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    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
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    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  8. #8
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    First off, make sure you keep all packing materials when you get the new CD player home for your audition. If, within a week or so, you're not totally convinced that it's any "better" than the old ones, send it back.

    Second, don't ignore the software. some CD's just plain suck. Try some "recommended" (Reference Recordings, Mapleshade, Telarc, etc...) CD's and see how your currenty kit sounds. A lot of your problems might be coming fron the CD tray itself.

  9. #9
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Have you tried moving around your system in your room?

    I dont konow how your room is layed out, but if it's tucked away in a corner with speakers right up against the wall, quality sound can be hard to achieve.

    How/Where do you have your speakers placed?

    Try something that could work for free, then consider spending our money.

    Whatchu think?

  10. #10
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    You should try the Sony's analog outputs to see what they sound like. Use the Bypass, or Direct, feature on your receiver if it has one, it will allow the analog signal to bypass all the HT circuitry.

    There have been some good ideas on improving your presentation but the fact remains if you don't start with a good source up front (CD/turntable etc. ) you just won't get good sound no matter what. The rest of the system just passes it through, it won't build it up or improve it. Start with the source and maintain the signal the best you can until it exits your speakers. Then hope your room is friendly to it. It don't make sense to do anything with speakers, or amp, if your source isn't as good as your budget allows. I don't know which Sony you have, it may have potential but your Pioneer is a definite weak link. #1, it's a jukebox, and #2, it's very old DAC technology. You chose the right part of the system to upgrade first. It's your sources job to extract the detail/information off the software (CD), once it leaves your player, nothing down stream can add to it. Other components will have different presentations or delivery of the signal but NONE will add detail or information that isn't there to start with. If your have a poor signal coming from the source, switching speakers won't do anything except let you hear that same poor signal in a new way. If a recording allows you to hear the breath of a sax player but that information doesn't come out of your source, it's LOST, and nothing you will ever do down stream in the system will allow you to hear it. I don't see how this can be such a difficult concept for professed audiophiles to grasp. The point is not to change the sound, it's to improve the sound. If "the sound" isn't there to begin with, anything you do down stream is a waste of money. .

  11. #11
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    You should try the Sony's analog outputs to see what they sound like. Use the Bypass, or Direct, feature on your receiver if it has one, it will allow the analog signal to bypass all the HT circuitry.

    There have been some good ideas on improving your presentation but the fact remains if you don't start with a good source up front (CD/turntable etc. ) you just won't get good sound no matter what. The rest of the system just passes it through, it won't build it up or improve it. Start with the source and maintain the signal the best you can until it exits your speakers. Then hope your room is friendly to it. It don't make sense to do anything with speakers, or amp, if your source isn't as good as your budget allows. I don't know which Sony you have, it may have potential but your Pioneer is a definite weak link. #1, it's a jukebox, and #2, it's very old DAC technology. You chose the right part of the system to upgrade first. It's your sources job to extract the detail/information off the software (CD), once it leaves your player, nothing down stream can add to it. Other components will have different presentations or delivery of the signal but NONE will add detail or information that isn't there to start with. If your have a poor signal coming from the source, switching speakers won't do anything except let you hear that same poor signal in a new way. If a recording allows you to hear the breath of a sax player but that information doesn't come out of your source, it's LOST, and nothing you will ever do down stream in the system will allow you to hear it. I don't see how this can be such a difficult concept for professed audiophiles to grasp. The point is not to change the sound, it's to improve the sound. If "the sound" isn't there to begin with, anything you do down stream is a waste of money. .
    While I agree that if you have a bad source no speaker (or anything else) is going to improve it, there is an asumption you are making here that it is the source that is the problem. I, of course, have no reason to say that it *isn't* the source that is the problem here, but until a new pair of speakers is tried out, we will never really know if they are not (or are part of) the real problem. I believe source and speakers are equally important... You need a clean signal in, and you need transducers that can reproduce the signal properly and in full (as best as one's budget allows).

    By temporarily swapping speakers in the chain, a decision can be made whether it is the source that is the cause, or actually the reproduction of the signal (the speakers).

    All of that said, even if the speakers are *a* reason, they may not be the only reason. By swapping the speakers (if needed), it may allow the poster to hear a difference in various sources that were not able to be discerned previously (and then swapping the source may indeed add futher to improving the sound). I had an experience similar to this in my own system.

    In any case, just another angle to the issue at hand. Each person needs to find the best sound in their own way...

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
    Rotel RB-985 5 X 100 Watt Amp
    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
    1 Tyler Linbrook Signature Center Channel
    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
    1 ACI Titan II Sub
    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
    Panasonic BDT-210 + 350 Blu-ray
    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
    Opera Audio Consonance CD-120
    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  12. #12
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    some SACD players upsample the 44.1

    this produces a smoother, more complete sound that i found to make me appreciate my rbcd collection a great deal more. the bonus is that IF the music you want is available on sacd, you can benefit from the superiority of the sacd sound.

    my sony ns500v is no longer made but there are numerous universal players at affordable prices. just because you have the player doesnt mean you must buy the software, its just nice when the prices of that software are within easy reach.
    ...regards...tr

  13. #13
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    For all who have contributed your ideas, thank you for your time. This has definately been
    a learning experience, especially the info on the DAC's.

    I've been doing some research, and it looks like the DVD and CD players I have are
    definately lacking in quality. It would seem my receiver and speakers are much better
    than the CD and DVD player, and are fairly newer technology. Some would probably
    disagree, but there have been lots of good reviews on both the speakers (Polk RTi10's),
    and receiver (Marantz SR5600 w/90wpc) I'm running. While not the best, they should be
    sufficient enought to do a good job (rebuttals welcome)!

    So now we turn to the sources, and as most of you have mentioned, are the point where it
    all starts. Through researching and reading everyones posts, I've come to realize that the
    Sony DVD/CD and Pioneer CD player don't have what it takes to reproduce the quality
    sound 'm looking for. While researching the specs on the DVD/CD player (via internet and the manual that came with it), I couldn't find any mention of the type of DAC being used.

    That being said, I'm going to switch to the analog outputs and try the "bypass" or "direct"
    suggestion on my DVD/CD player just to see if there's any difference, but I'm not too optomistic.

    Moving forward, most of you have suggested either upgrading to an external DAC, or
    purchasing a better CD or DVD/CD player. Having said that, I could use some input on
    what direction to move. I know trying to improve the Pioneer is a waste of time since it
    only has analog outputs and is so old. But I'd like to know if just adding a better DAC to
    the DVD/CD will help? Do you need a quality reading mechanism/head/whatever reads
    the DVD/CD, or can you add a good external DAC to the inferior quality player and still
    get significantly better sound?

    And if I do need to purchase a new DVD, CD, or DVD/CD player, which combination
    should I consider? There seens to be some good DVD/CD players out there like the
    Marantz DV7600 DVD player for not a lot of $$$.

    Any Ideas? Thanks!

  14. #14
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    I'd think the Sony would probably make a decent transport if you wanted to just get a DAC. A good DAC will run toward $1k though. You could buy a very good Arcam for around $699.00. Dollar for dollar, I don't think anyone can beat Arcam in CD playback. The DV7600 is an incredible deal if you can still find them, retail was $1,099.00 and they were being blown out at $599.00. www.amusicdirect.com has a demo for $495.00 but I didn't see any mention of new ones left. On the 7600 you'd use the digital out for movie sound and would use the analog out for music. Personally, if you have a DVD player already and you are happy with the picture, just buy a good CD player. Of course, if you would be interested in SACD, the 7600 might be the best way.

    If you don't have an Arcam dealer in your area, you can view them at: www.acousticsounds.com

    If you have a dealer that you do business with a lot, see if you can bring a player home to try.

  15. #15
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulross
    I'm trying to figure out if the quality of sound from my CD player, an old 98 Pioneer 50 CD
    player, is a result of the player or my system. I also have a Sony DVD/CD player that I've
    used to compare with the Pioneer, but they seem to sound the same. The Pioneer has
    analog outputs, and the Sony has an optical output. I don't want to go SACD, but am up
    for upgrading the CD player. Since my amp is a Marantz, I'm looking at the CC4001 CD
    player. The specs state it has SA-CD grade quality sound. Will this player give me better
    quality sound, or am I wasting my time? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
    Thanks!
    One experiment that you could try is to switch out a few CD players in your current system without changing anything else just to see what type of differences your current gear might reveal in different CD players.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular jim goulding's Avatar
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    Hey P- I've got an Adcom DAC just sitting around here. It's the one with the HDCD chip and uses Burr Browns and Ultra Analog devices. It tore the crap out of the Sony player it replaced. It has a bold, vivid and clear presentation and if you might be interested gimme a sign. It cost a grand new and I'd sell it cheap. I replaced it with a Bel Canto DAC 2 which has an upsampling feature that I bought used on Audiogon for $500. It's adds a little refinement to playback beyond the Adcom but doesn't have quite the balls. These were all over Audiogon when Bel Canto came out with their latest series but have gotten kind of scarce now. I use a Sony DVD player as a transport.
    designer/manufacturer of custom made time and phase correcting real wool surrounds

  17. #17
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim goulding
    Hey P- I've got an Adcom DAC just sitting around here. It's the one with the HDCD chip and uses Burr Browns and Ultra Analog devices. It tore the crap out of the Sony player it replaced. It has a bold, vivid and clear presentation and if you might be interested gimme a sign. It cost a grand new and I'd sell it cheap. I replaced it with a Bel Canto DAC 2 which has an upsampling feature that I bought used on Audiogon for $500. It's adds a little refinement to playback beyond the Adcom but doesn't have quite the balls. These were all over Audiogon when Bel Canto came out with their latest series but have gotten kind of scarce now. I use a Sony DVD player as a transport.
    Send me a PM with a price you had in mind.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim goulding
    Hey P- I've got an Adcom DAC just sitting around here. It's the one with the HDCD chip and uses Burr Browns and Ultra Analog devices. It tore the crap out of the Sony player it replaced. It has a bold, vivid and clear presentation and if you might be interested gimme a sign. It cost a grand new and I'd sell it cheap. I replaced it with a Bel Canto DAC 2 which has an upsampling feature that I bought used on Audiogon for $500. It's adds a little refinement to playback beyond the Adcom but doesn't have quite the balls. These were all over Audiogon when Bel Canto came out with their latest series but have gotten kind of scarce now. I use a Sony DVD player as a transport.
    I'd also like some info and Price. Please forward when possible.

  19. #19
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    After taking in everyone's comments and thinking about this, I leaning towards two
    solutions.

    First, since my DVD player (Sony DVP-NC600) will probably need to be upgraded soon, I
    could use it as my CD player and add a good DAC. The Adcom and Entech, mentioned
    by a few, seem to be good choices. Pro's and cons on that option?

    Second, purchase a good DVD player (any suggestions)? I've heard the Marantz DV7600
    is a good choice. I've also looked at the Marantz VC6001 as another option. I'm not
    stuck on Marantz, but since I'm not putting it all out there ($$$), I am trying to component
    match my system.

    Maybe another area I need help with is the multi platter players. I like the ability to play
    multiple CD's, but most of you are saying they're not as good. Could anyone explain why
    that is, and if there is a good one out there, please point me to it! I'd also like some
    suggestions on good DVD/CD player. Thanks!

  20. #20
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    The Oppo 981 upgrading DVD has become a legend. You might also consider one of the HD disc formats.

    The Adcom DAC would be a good move for your system. If the Arcam is out of your range you might also listen to CDP from Cambridge Audio, or Rotel for a warmer sound.

    The dv7600 could give you both high quality DVD/CD in one box. You have options, you just need to listen to a couple.

  21. #21
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulross
    Maybe another area I need help with is the multi platter players. I like the ability to play multiple CD's, but most of you are saying they're not as good. Could anyone explain why that is, and if there is a good one out there, please point me to it! I'd also like some suggestions on good DVD/CD player. Thanks!
    i dont quite understand it myself, but the transport mechanism in multi-players are considered inferior to single players. as i see it, the best solution for this dilemma is a music server or a Squeezebox.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  22. #22
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    It is not just the transport,picture it like this.If you ask a $1,000 box to be a cd player only it
    likely will do it well,but if you ask a $1,000 box to be a universal player,the odds of it doing everything well would be smaller.

    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
    Display-Toshiba CRT
    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
    Sacd-Cambridge Audio
    Bluray--Sony and Cambridge Audio
    Remote-- Harmony 1100

    Power-- Monster

  23. #23
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    OK, to show we can all ask dumb questions, what is a Squeezebox and what does it do?

  24. #24
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    OK, to show we can all ask dumb questions, what is a Squeezebox and what does it do?
    http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_squeezebox.html?
    (i think) when used with a decent dac its an unbeatable combination for the money. get an old version 2 on the used market and really maximize your audio bang for the buck.
    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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    Screw that, my wife had a laptop and we tried to go wireless, it was a nightmare. We tried 3 different brands and could get none of them to work. It's not as easy as they make it sound. When we returned the last wireless router the girl at the counter said those things are their number one returned item. I don't know if Y-fi is the same type of thing or not.

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