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  1. #1
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    Weak link ... cd player??

    I have an Kenwood DP-2040 single disk CD player from 1991 feeding a Sonic Impact T-amp powering a set of Primus 150's. Do you think there would be a noticeable difference in the sound quality if I upgraded the cd player to a modern but fairly inexpensive single disk player?

    thanks,
    Mark

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    A CD player from 1991???

    Dude. Step into the next millenium. Yes, your CD player sucks.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

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  3. #3
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Thats right, nothing good can be old
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  4. #4
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    okay, I guess it sucks, but it's a Kenwood you probably would have said it sucked when I bought it. Seriously though, does it suck so much that this other low end equipment will produce a significant (read: audible in my living room not a sound room) difference?

    Florian, do you disagree that it sucks?

    Also, would a cd player from modern compact Denon, Onkyo or Yamaha all-in-one system have the same benefits as a stand alone? I'm trying to keep it small, thus the use of the t-amp.

    thanks,
    mark?

  5. #5
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    Like in...

    Quote Originally Posted by curiousburke
    okay, I guess it sucks, but it's a Kenwood you probably would have said it sucked when I bought it. Seriously though, does it suck so much that this other low end equipment will produce a significant (read: audible in my living room not a sound room) difference?

    Also, would a cd player from modern compact Denon, Onkyo or Yamaha all-in-one system have the same benefits as a stand alone? I'm trying to keep it small, thus the use of the t-amp.

    thanks,
    mark?
    ...dog years, 15 years in electronics is a really, really long time...lotsa' changes...what you buy today was probably obsolete yesterday...The trade-off is newer stuff tends to feel cheesy...the whole Made in China syndrome...it's like everything is one generic unit with a different face-plate and a different name...But, I digress...

    Rather than use the same negative type of language re: your unit, my advice: why not just find one in your price range, buy it from a store with an OK return policy and listen for yourself...anyone else's opinion is irrelevant...

    When you say all-in-one do you have specific models in mind?

    Speaking from experience I have an Onkyo MC35TECH consisting of a 20Wpc receiver, a three disc changer and two ported bookshelf speakers...I am of the opinion that coupled with a decent sub, it's all most folks will ever need...They have a newer unit (CS-V720S) that can also play DVDs; it however is a combo unit, all on one chassis, which will limit future growth and flexibility...

    jimHJJ(...remember, it's what you hear that counts...)
    Last edited by Resident Loser; 08-04-2006 at 07:53 AM. Reason: add model #
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  6. #6
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    Howdy R.L.,
    Are you stalking me with that big claw? All kidding aside, thanks for the help.
    I'm not thinking of a specific unit, but there are a bunch that look good. The Denon F101s looks awesome, but more then I want to spend. I really like this because it is 2 components and it isn't very deep. The Denon D-M33S also looks very nice. but deeper. I like the Onkyo MC35TECH, but I worry about players with more then 1 cd breaking. in particular. The newer Onkyo looks a lot like the Denon D-M33S, do you think the sound would be as good? How do you think the sound of the MC35TECH, compares to a full size component system? One thing is that I tend to listen at low volume, as in the t-amp seems plenty loud to me.

    The biggest problem I have with these systems is that they only come as packages, whereas I would like to supply the speakers.

    The two problems with buying a cd-player and testing it is that I would most likely return it as I would like a smaller setup, and my wife is getting really annoyed about helping me A-B components. I find I can tell the difference much easier if she switches between them quickly for me.

    Also, the only way for me to do a real A-B is to use an old Hitachi amp that I have, like really old class-G, which might be the weak link. Maybe I should get a dumb switch to hook up to the t-amp; any suggestions?

    -m

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Thats right, nothing good can be old
    Come on now, we're talking about CD players.

    I have plenty of old stuff. I have a Gibson guitar from 1963 that kicks ass.

    But when it comes to digital technology, things are changing so fast it's ridiculous. In my world, even the concept of a CD player itself is outdated. I seriously can't remember the last time I turned one on.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

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  8. #8
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    Backatcha' CB...

    ...again, only from experience I've had no complaints with the MC35 and I think more than it holds it's own soundwise...a bit bottom-shy (hence my suggestion for a sub) but with proper speaker placement and using the Acoustic Presence control which adds 3-6dB below 80Hz. With a slight treble roll-off, I found the sound to be clean and well-balanced...it won't fill a big room, but at moderate levels and using the loudspeakers as near-field radiators (2-3 meters) I think highly of the system...

    Bill Frisell's Gone Just Like A Train is probably one of the best engineered CDs I've heard (although some of his work is an acquired taste)...the system gives a great sense of depth and soundstage...The RVG re-issue of Miles Davis' Birth Of The Cool, Allison Kraus & Union Station's New Favorite and guitarist Paul Galbraith's Bach: Sonatas and Partitas sound equally satisfying...

    Obviously 20Wpc is a limiting factor but even in my main system, with fairly inefficient speakers and 100Wpc, my normal listening levels rarely go above 5W...

    Have you ever considered a portable CDP? I have a GPX unit ($7USD after rebate) gotten at Sears...It can be powered by an optional AC adapter and has a line-out jack...The headphones that came with it really bit the big one, so I sprung for a $5 pair of Koss 'phones (from Wal-Mart)...My vintage HD-414 Senn's do sound better, bottom-end-wise and my Stax SR-44s in my big-rig, better yet...but point is, you don't have to spend a fortune (or even a small part of one) for pleasing and satisfactory sound...The law of diminishing returns applies...

    Since your intent is to use you preferred speakers, IMHO the electronics will be of minimal effect...it will be primarily how they look and the bells&whistles they each have...There may be some subtle differences but, even as a musician, I wasn't ever really concerned with the ability to hear a flea-ph@rt or any of the common audiopile concerns...

    jimHJJ(...it's the music that matters...)
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  9. #9
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    I was wondering about portable CDPs. I have a Panasonic that's from 1999. Do you think this would have most of the sound quality improvements. I'll hook it up and do an A-B comparison. What I would like is omething the size of a portable, that was meant to just sit on the shelf, so more square and with a few more options.

    You mentioned that the electronics would have minimal effect since I want to use 3rd party speakers. Do you think I would be better off with the stock spearkers? The speakers I'm currently considering are the Infinity Primus 150's and the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (a demo set).

    cheers and thanks,
    mark

    p.s.
    any advice on where to buy the components from mini-systems without the speakers. Maybe refurbished, but where?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Anderson
    Come on now, we're talking about CD players.

    I have plenty of old stuff. I have a Gibson guitar from 1963 that kicks ass.

    But when it comes to digital technology, things are changing so fast it's ridiculous. In my world, even the concept of a CD player itself is outdated. I seriously can't remember the last time I turned one on.
    to be sure, you're saying a crappy 2006 CD players would kick the ass of a crappy 1991 cd player in almost anybodys ears?
    -

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Thats right, nothing good can be old


    I don't know I am old and good! Old enough to be your father.

    Back to the thread yes it is time for a new cd player. I replaced my 7 year old Sony and was impressed with the improvements in sound quality. You should experience an even greater jump in performance. Just do not expect another 19 years from a new cd player.
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  12. #12
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    Well...

    Quote Originally Posted by curiousburke
    I was wondering about portable CDPs. I have a Panasonic that's from 1999. Do you think this would have most of the sound quality improvements. I'll hook it up and do an A-B comparison. What I would like is omething the size of a portable, that was meant to just sit on the shelf, so more square and with a few more options.

    You mentioned that the electronics would have minimal effect since I want to use 3rd party speakers. Do you think I would be better off with the stock spearkers? The speakers I'm currently considering are the Infinity Primus 150's and the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (a demo set).

    cheers and thanks,
    mark

    p.s.
    any advice on where to buy the components from mini-systems without the speakers. Maybe refurbished, but where?
    ...my aforementioned GPX unit has shuffle, pause and allows you to pre-select tracks and has 8X oversampling (whatever that means)...it just doesn't have a remote ;-)...

    1999 is eight years newer than 1991...soooo...I dunno...

    Well, the MC35 (for example), now being second on the Onkyo food-chain, can be had for $319USD on-line...Is that cheap enough to leave the included loudspeakers in their box? And they really are surprisingly good...but speakers being speakers and their evaluation subject to well, subjective analysis, it's really your decision as to "better than ____"

    Their new one, the CS-V720S is MSRPd @ $399...Same question...

    I really don't know if you are going to experience an epiphany of sorts...digital is still 0s and 1s but there have been improvements in the DACs etc. in those years...however...the question is will you notice it with your modest system (and trust me, I mean no slight or disrespect)...I'm all for gettin' the most-est with the least-est (and the cheapest).

    jimHJJ(...try your port, see if it makes a diff...)
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    Well, the MC35 (for example), now being second on the Onkyo food-chain, can be had for $319USD on-line...Is that cheap enough to leave the included loudspeakers in their box? And they really are surprisingly good...but speakers being speakers and their evaluation subject to well, subjective analysis, it's really your decision as to "better than ____"

    Their new one, the CS-V720S is MSRPd @ $399...Same question...
    This being the only one I can get without the speakers for $299, do you think it would perform at least as good as the MC35? It's hard because I have the t-amp which I think does a nice job. I'm also thining of getting a better tripath amp and sticking it in a nice box myself; all this would be a lot less. My other hangup is that I really like those Denon mini-seperates, but the $$ for what you get probably does not make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    I really don't know if you are going to experience an epiphany of sorts...digital is still 0s and 1s but there have been improvements in the DACs etc. in those years...however...the question is will you notice it with your modest system (and trust me, I mean no slight or disrespect)...I'm all for gettin' the most-est with the least-est (and the cheapest).
    no offense taken, I like doing things on the cheap and feeling like I got a reasonable system but didn't spend a lot.

    cheers,
    mark

  14. #14
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    I'm confused...

    Quote Originally Posted by curiousburke
    This being the only one I can get without the speakers for $299, do you think it would perform at least as good as the MC35? It's hard because I have the t-amp which I think does a nice job. I'm also thining of getting a better tripath amp and sticking it in a nice box myself; all this would be a lot less. My other hangup is that I really like those Denon mini-seperates, but the $$ for what you get probably does not make sense.



    no offense taken, I like doing things on the cheap and feeling like I got a reasonable system but didn't spend a lot.

    cheers,
    mark
    ...which this...I don't see a this...

    Plus if you like your amp and speakers, why not just a CDP?

    Denon is good stuff...they are a bit pricier and I'm sure name-value plays a part in it...also their gear, particularly the mini-components have a limited distributorship...that adds to the cost...no competition; no discounts...

    jimHJJ(...later...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  15. #15
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    sorry, this = CS-V720S. Bose sells them as a seperate unit because they want you to buy their speakers. They have a very good in home trial policy, so maybe that's what I'll do.

    maybe I just have the upgrade bug. The problem is, if I stick the t-amp in a nice case with source and speaker selectors then I'm easily at $200, and with a lot fewer features then the CS-V720S. The t-amp sounds good to me but spiffing it up can add up quickly. Add on the speakers and I'm at the price of a Denon, but I have to believe the speakers I buy 3rd party are a good investment, please let me believe that....
    -m

  16. #16
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    I'm sure that if Curious had said that he was using nordost cables & interconnects, the responses would have been very different. Let's asume that he wants to build up to a hi-fi setup that is still compact in size & cost. This is still an honorable quest in my book. Maybe he figured like RL that it's all 0's & 1's, so the player didn't strike him as all that important - who here hasn't thought that at one point or another?

    My guess is he's looking for something small that will meet the WAF. Something like the CAL Delta transport. This one is selling on ebay right now:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/California-Audio...QQcmdZViewItem

    I'm sure there are other compact mid-to-hi-fi players out there, Musical Fidelity, has one, I think. Anyhow, there are options - then add a nice Bel Canto DAC:

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...u=DMBELCANDAC2

    And he's in business. I would guess that by having such a "simplified" setup would actually take a lot of interference & complexity out of the equation and could be extremely revealing and rewarding. With an upgraded digital amp, this could outperform many systems out there.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    The degree of improvement will depend a lot on how good a CD player that Kenwood was (my listenings with Kenwoods of that era were not especially impressive). Since the early-90s, the capabilities of the digital circuitry has improved, even though the CD format itself has remained unchanged. Even with the improvements to the digital circuits, a lot of older high end CD players can sound better than a current player because they paid a lot more attention to the analog signal path.

    But, for a mass market player like yours, the chances are pretty good that replacing the CD player will result in an audible improvement in the sound quality. The exception would be if your player used a one-bit (or "bitstream") processor similar to what Philips and Technics used in their CD players in the early-90s. Those players seemed to have a noticeably smoother and less grating sound than other mass market players at that time.

    As RL suggested, why not just get a CD player at BB or some other store with a generous return policy. You can try it out and see if the difference is worth the upgrade price. One of the better budget players out there right now is Sony's SCD-CE595. Best Buy sells it for $150 and I've seen it elsewhere for as little as $120. It uses the same Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter found in some much more expensive players, and it can play SACDs. I have the ES version of this player and was impressed with how well it handles CD audio. For $150, it's definitely worth trying.

    Other frequently recommended CD players in the lower price ranges include Cambridge Audio and NAD. Either way, I think you'll hear an improvement to the sound quality compared to what you're using right now.

    And on your question about portable CD players -- the one that I bought in 2000 sounded a lot better than two mid-80s Sony players that I compared it to.
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  18. #18
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    When I replaced my dearly departed Pannie XP-50 with the NAD c542 for dedicated cd audio, the difference was huge! The detail retrieval, bass response and treble smoothness all took a quantum leap forward. Taking into account that the well-reviewed XP-50 was, I believe, only 5-7 years old, I'll bet that you, too, will experience an equally dramatic change for the better when you upgrade to something more current.

    Happy Hunting!

  19. #19
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    I can't imagine the DAC on a portable CD player being any good at all. I would forget the idea. And what's up with you folks and "compact" everything? It's not like a "normal" sized cdp takes a huge amount of space. And don't give me the "it's the wife".

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I can't imagine the DAC on a portable CD player being any good at all. I would forget the idea. And what's up with you folks and "compact" everything? It's not like a "normal" sized cdp takes a huge amount of space. And don't give me the "it's the wife".
    Believe me, after listening to a first or second generation CD player (with those brickwall filters, can you say ringing?), your ears will thank you for switching out to a current portable player. The DACs inside those portables are far more advanced.
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  21. #21
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    Can you borrow a few CDPs from...

    Quote Originally Posted by curiousburke
    I have an Kenwood DP-2040 single disk CD player from 1991 feeding a Sonic Impact T-amp powering a set of Primus 150's. Do you think there would be a noticeable difference in the sound quality if I upgraded the cd player to a modern but fairly inexpensive single disk player?

    thanks,
    Mark
    ...your local dealers? A CDP is light and easy to transport - unlike speakers. There might be a small fee (hopefully not), but it's the best way to go.

    That would be the only real way to tell. I have a hunch that you would indeed glean some benefits from a more modern unit, even if it's not all that esoteric.

    But, bear in mind I don't hear HUGE differences between players between $400 and $2K. They can certainly sound different, but not necessarily better. Besides, your "huge" diff might be my "subtle" diff. Up to you, go listen.

    Oh... I have a pet peeve...lol... not that it was said in this thread, but there is no need for an apostrophe within "LPs", or "CDs" (as in LP's) - that would show ownership, we are only talking plural. Sorry! I had to get that off my chest :^)

    By the way, I like the Primus line... very resolving mids (within their $$$ range) and simply a fun, clean-sounding speaker. I think these are way better than the Athenas... whatever.

    Good luck in the CD player hunt, and sorry for rambling!

  22. #22
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    I'd be curious about trying a portable w/line out with the t-amp and Infinities. The main reason for me is that you would have a fairly decent system that can run on batteries when the power's out! That might not excite some folks, but when you've gone through long power outtages from hurricanes and such, something like that could raise your spirits.

    In fact, I picked up a nos Optimus portable cdp with a line out on Ebay for practically the cost of shipping, a pair of Insignia 6.5" speakers for $35 at BestBuy and am planning to order the t-amp so I can have something to fiddle with the next time we have to go through an extended power outtage. The Optimus and Insignias are matched with an old Sansui integrated now and are performing surprisingly well. (Thanks for reminding me to order the t-amp. Hurricane season is upon us.)

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    Wow! I stepped away from my desk for awhile (to compare component's) and a bunch of response's when I returned ... awesome!

    First, yes a compact and fairly hi(mid)-fi is exactly what I would like. I'm being forced to give up my old system out of space concern's so I am replacing the floor stander's with bookshelf speaker's. I'm currently comparing primu's 150's with wharfedale diamond 9.1's which I got on a massive discount for being a demo set. The infinitie's are brighter and a little more efficient, but they sound pretty similar. Which set would you go for? ($100 price difference)

    The old Kenwood CDP is a 1 bit dual DAC, so maybe it is a little better then most of the early 90's crop. I hooked my portable CPD up to my old amp and I really can't tell the difference between it and the Kenwood. Again, this isn't the toughest challenge for the Kenwood and I should probably try a new CDP.

    On the amp front, the t-amp sound's better than my old amp, but I have no facility for testing A-B with it so all the speaker's are still being compared with my old amp. I probable couldn't tell the difference between the t-amp and one of it's higher power Tripath sibling's (Autocostruire 2020-m, Amp6, Charlize) but I'm still tempted to get one of them and stick it in a box with input and output selector's. How annoying will it be not to have bass or treble adjustment?

    Anyway, I'm having fun. Thanks for all the interest.

    -m

  24. #24
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Before you drop any money on a CDP, be sure you check out this thread:

    Pssst, letting you in on a little secret: You Don't Need a CD Player!

    IMHO, the bang for the buck is much greater in computer-based systems. For several hundred bucks, you can easily get the quality of a pretty high-end CD player, plus all the power and convenience of computer-based management and storage.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

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    Mike, I have done something like this for internet radio; although not with an external DAC. I don't have any problem with the idea theoretically, but practically I don't have a good way to run wires from PC to my stereo anymore and I don't want to have it on all the time. I'm pretty sure I want a stand alone single disk cp player.

    Is the quality of a dvd player playing a cd as good as a dedicated cd player?

    -m

    BTW: my earlier post was styled just for you JimmyC
    Last edited by curiousburke; 08-06-2006 at 07:52 AM.

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