• 01-19-2006, 08:00 PM
    accastil
    what to do for a better audio?
    guys, if i wanted a better audio coming from plain stereo CD music listening, which among the 2 would make a bigger positive impact?

    1) replacing my universal player with a dedicated CD player
    2) replacing my stereo power amp with a more powerful stereo amp (higher wattage)

    the current player is a PIONEER 655A universal player and the stereo power amp is a ROTEL-RB03
    what i have in mind initially is to replace the pioneer with a 24-bit cambridge audio CDP
    OR horizontal bi-amping (putting 1 ROTEL-RB03 for each of my main speakers). which among these 2 would make a bigger positive impact to my music listening?

    any thoughts?
  • 01-19-2006, 10:45 PM
    paul_pci
    As a preliminary thought, speakers will always have the most significant impact on what you hear. Otherwise, a CD player would also alter what you hear, but, one, you may not like the change, and second, the change, even if you like it, may not be as significant as you have in mind.
  • 01-19-2006, 10:51 PM
    accastil
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paul_pci
    As a preliminary thought, speakers will always have the most significant impact on what you hear. Otherwise, a CD player would also alter what you hear, but, one, you may not like the change, and second, the change, even if you like it, may not be as significant as you have in mind.

    paul, i am only asking between the 2 choices found in my orig message. which of those 2 would you think have the bigger positive change?
  • 01-19-2006, 10:59 PM
    paul_pci
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by accastil
    paul, i am only asking between the 2 choices found in my orig message. which of those 2 would you think have the bigger positive change?

    I don't know what speakers you have, but you'd only go with a better amp if there was reason to believe that your particular speakers would really benefit from better power (read "better" not "more" power). If that is not the case, then a dedicated CD player should make the biggest difference in your system.
  • 01-20-2006, 12:42 AM
    Bernd
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paul_pci
    I don't know what speakers you have, but you'd only go with a better amp if there was reason to believe that your particular speakers would really benefit from better power (read "better" not "more" power). If that is not the case, then a dedicated CD player should make the biggest difference in your system.

    I agree. A dedicated CD player should make the biggest difference.Your system is only as good as your source component.Since you use Rotel amps, why not try their dedicated CDP.

    Good Luck

    Bernd
  • 01-20-2006, 03:39 AM
    gorilla196635
    To go even deeper....

    Your system is only as good as the source recordings you play on it....
  • 01-20-2006, 04:59 PM
    accastil
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bernd
    I agree. A dedicated CD player should make the biggest difference.Your system is only as good as your source component.Since you use Rotel amps, why not try their dedicated CDP.

    Good Luck

    Bernd

    hi bernd, woudl you really recommend rotel cdps over cambridge audio and nad cdps?
  • 01-20-2006, 10:23 PM
    Mr Peabody
    One more vote for upgrading or adding a dedicated cdp. For around the same price, maybe slightly higher, give the entry level Arcam a listen.

    Rotel cdp would be interesting you may get some system synergy and they get pretty good reviews. My personal taste, I do not care for them. I find they give music a laid back presentation.

    Another option, and I know you only gave 2, but, if your universal player has 2 digital outs you could opt for an outboard DAC for stereo listening. But for the price range you are shopping you'd almost have to go used for a good DAC. As an example, I saw a Sonic Frontiers SPD1 for $495.00 in good condition on Audiogon. It's only a 20 bit DAC but retail was around $2,500.00 and even at 20 bits I'd say it would slay any of the players we've been discussing.
  • 01-21-2006, 09:29 AM
    Bernd
    Hi,

    I don't care much for universal players so would stay clear of a separate DAC in your case. Arcam is well worth seeking out though. Very reliable and a very experienced proven company.So if you can stretch to an Arcam (it will outgun a Cambridge or a Rotel) go for that. If not the Rotel might give you more Synergy as you already use Rotel amps, but you would have to audition that to confirm.The Roksan Kandy is also a well respected player in that price range.Different presentation to the Arcam though.
    Good luck

    Bernd
  • 01-21-2006, 01:04 PM
    hifitommy
    not knowing your entire system
    makes it hard to make a recommendation. your budget is another VERY important factor.

    that said, an aggressive purchase that would give the most capability would be a mc cormack combo player. for $3500 you get your moneys-worth. you get great performance in all modes.

    http://www.mccormackaudio.com/

    his electronics are also worthy of consideration. this is NOT mid-fi!
  • 01-21-2006, 06:41 PM
    N. Abstentia
    But just remember...if you have crappy speakers then neither one will make a positive impact. What speakers do you have?
  • 01-21-2006, 07:48 PM
    PAT.P
    On is profile he list MS502 THX and MS905 this would be Mordaunt-Short?Never heard of these.
  • 01-22-2006, 05:24 AM
    markw
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PAT.P
    On is profile he list MS502 THX and MS905 this would be Mordaunt-Short?Never heard of these.

    Some links were posted in one of his previous threads asking this same question but he didn't like most of the answers he got there. They weren't too flattering. Please note that he's restricting the answers to only the options he wants to consider while ignoring any others that, IMHO, would solve the problem.

    http://forums.audioreview.com/general-audio/i-want-better-sound-14975.html
  • 01-22-2006, 07:17 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    But just remember...if you have crappy speakers then neither one will make a positive impact.

    While I don't disagree with the overall sentiment, my opinion in this matter has changed as of late. I put together a vintage system for my garage centered around a double pair of my first "real" hi-fi speakers: Advents (actually New Advents, circa '78 with updated crossovers and internal wiring). It is driven with some nice hand-me-down components from the main system: Threshold Stasis amp, Pioneer PD-54 CDP and JPS Labs and DH Labs cabling. I recently purchased a used Manley DAC to replace the Pioneer's internal unit. The sound is now less mechanical sounding with better focus and separation. This revealed with speakers that cost $105 each in those days.

    I'm convinced that system synergy is everything. This system is exceptionally natural sounding with excellent resolution. It achieves one very important performance criteria to me. It doesn't sound loud even when played at room filling levels. While I would not start with the notion of building a system where the speakers represent less than 10% of the total investment (the figure is over 50% in my main system), the result nevertheless works out very well.

    rw
  • 01-22-2006, 07:27 AM
    Bernd
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by E-Stat
    While I don't disagree with the overall sentiment, my opinion in this matter has changed as of late. I put together a vintage system for my garage centered around a double pair of my first "real" hi-fi speakers: Advents (actually New Advents, circa '78 with updated crossovers and internal wiring). It is driven with some nice hand-me-down components from the main system: Threshold Stasis amp, Pioneer PD-54 CDP and JPS Labs and DH Labs cabling. I recently purchased a used Manley DAC to replace the Pioneer's internal unit. The sound is now less mechanical sounding with better focus and separation. This revealed with speakers that cost $105 each in those days.

    I'm convinced that system synergy is everything. This system is exceptionally natural sounding with excellent resolution. It achieves one very important performance criteria to me. It doesn't sound loud even when played at room filling levels. While I would not start with the notion of building a system where the speakers represent less than 10% of the total investment (the figure is over 50% in my main system), the result nevertheless works out very well.

    rw

    Totally agree!!
    System Synergy-here it is again. I can't stress enough the importance of this in achieving maximum performance of your system, be that budget or hi end.

    Bernd
  • 01-22-2006, 12:15 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I agree that a system should have synergy and the system is only as good as it's weakest link but with that being said I think there is too much emphasis put on speakers especially if the front end is not comparable.

    One of my first encounters with real high end gear was in the service shop of an audio store I worked at. The shop used a cheezy pair of Kenwood speakers on the bench to hook things too. They hooked up an old Mac tube amp to these speakers and I was blown away by the sound. I know that if things were in reverse a Kenwood amp hooked up to quality speakers the sound wouldn't have been as impressive. This has been proven to me over and over as I have played with audio gear. Years ago I had a very good Kenwood integrated driving some Infinity Kappa 7's, as I began to upgrade I added an Arcam CD player and then started auditioning amps and eventually ended up with Krell 300i and 250cd which still drove the Infinity Kappa 7's and they were good enough to allow me to discern the abilities of the different front end pieces. But they then became the weakest link and when I upgraded to Dynaudio speakers the system greatly improved. But if I would have gotten the Dyn's first I would not have realized their ability from the Kenwood gear. And, in fact, may not have ended up buying them at all. A speaker cannot improve on the signal it recieves, some are just better than others at interpretting and reproducing the signal. And a lot of that ability depends on the amps capability to drive the speaker properly. So it's much better to give a speaker the best signal possible. Another example is in my second system I have an Adcom preamp and power amp driving some Dynaudio A60's. My source used to be a Denon CD player than retailed around $1k, probably from the 90's. I didn't realize it but the Denon was the weak link here. I dropped an old Conrad Johnson DAC between the Denon and preamp, and that system took a large step up in performance. If I kept the Denon and upgraded the Dyn's to a higher series my system would not have improved in the same magnitude as it did with improving my source. And if you want to consider economics, the DAC cost around $400.00 used where a step up the line in speakers would have been several times that.
  • 01-23-2006, 08:37 AM
    Bernd
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I agree that a system should have synergy and the system is only as good as it's weakest link but with that being said I think there is too much emphasis put on speakers especially if the front end is not comparable.

    One of my first encounters with real high end gear was in the service shop of an audio store I worked at. The shop used a cheezy pair of Kenwood speakers on the bench to hook things too. They hooked up an old Mac tube amp to these speakers and I was blown away by the sound. I know that if things were in reverse a Kenwood amp hooked up to quality speakers the sound wouldn't have been as impressive. This has been proven to me over and over as I have played with audio gear. Years ago I had a very good Kenwood integrated driving some Infinity Kappa 7's, as I began to upgrade I added an Arcam CD player and then started auditioning amps and eventually ended up with Krell 300i and 250cd which still drove the Infinity Kappa 7's and they were good enough to allow me to discern the abilities of the different front end pieces. But they then became the weakest link and when I upgraded to Dynaudio speakers the system greatly improved. But if I would have gotten the Dyn's first I would not have realized their ability from the Kenwood gear. And, in fact, may not have ended up buying them at all. A speaker cannot improve on the signal it recieves, some are just better than others at interpretting and reproducing the signal. And a lot of that ability depends on the amps capability to drive the speaker properly. So it's much better to give a speaker the best signal possible. Another example is in my second system I have an Adcom preamp and power amp driving some Dynaudio A60's. My source used to be a Denon CD player than retailed around $1k, probably from the 90's. I didn't realize it but the Denon was the weak link here. I dropped an old Conrad Johnson DAC between the Denon and preamp, and that system took a large step up in performance. If I kept the Denon and upgraded the Dyn's to a higher series my system would not have improved in the same magnitude as it did with improving my source. And if you want to consider economics, the DAC cost around $400.00 used where a step up the line in speakers would have been several times that.

    Really well put. The old adage still holds true: Garbage in Garbage out.
    Get the source right and the rest will follow.

    Bernd