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  1. #1
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    Does Anyone Own a Tube CD or DVD Player?

    With barely an exception, I keep reading how fantastic tube CD players (not truly sure about DVD players) sound & if anyone owns one, I'm curious as to your opinion if the sound is superior or not. These things seem to sell for alot of money.

  2. #2
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    I've been running the Jolida 100a for about 6 months now. Gorgeous unit built with no op amps and two 12AX7 tubes for the analog output stage. I haven't done any tube rolling yet but when time allows I'm interested in trying some Mullard or EH tubes.

    Whether or not it's superior is going to be in the ear of the beholder. To me, it's far better than anything else I've listened to. The most surprising aspect was that I expected to lose a touch of detail in exchange for the smoothness I gained. In blind tests vs. a Marantz CDP I use in another system, the Jolida offers a great deal more detail. YMMV.

    For the price I don't think I can find a better CDP for anything less than a solid 1000+ player. The new Rega looks promising but has too many bugs and quirks to make that a viable option for me at this point. Who ever heard of a CDP with bugs anyway?

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

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    Wow I envy You

    How much did the Jolida 100A cost you? Did you buy one of the modified ones See http://www.underwoodhifi.com/mod_jol...nchor-JD-28247 Will any of these modifications actually improve the sound of the 100A? Does yours have Sovtek 12AX7EH vacuum tubes & 24 Bit DAC with latest Philips and Burr-Brown chip sets? All the reviews I read were ecstatic about this till I read this thread at an interesting site called head-fi (component section) www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?p=1097101#post1097101

    Do you think, best guess please, I won't hold you to this, that I would notice (with analog cables) a significant improvement in audio quality over my Pioneer PD-59, a moderate one, a minor one, or maybe I'd prefer it less? I welcome your opinion on this. They also sell a DVD tube player. I take it their CD one is better for CD's? Any other tube CD players you'd recommend? Any info appreciated.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    You should upgrade your speakers before spending a thousand dollars for a CD player. Get your priorities straight.

  5. #5
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    How much did the Jolida 100A cost you? Did you buy one of the modified ones See http://www.underwoodhifi.com/mod_jol...nchor-JD-28247 Will any of these modifications actually improve the sound of the 100A? Does yours have Sovtek 12AX7EH vacuum tubes & 24 Bit DAC with latest Philips and Burr-Brown chip sets? All the reviews I read were ecstatic about this till I read this thread at an interesting site called head-fi (component section) www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?p=1097101#post1097101

    Do you think, best guess please, I won't hold you to this, that I would notice (with analog cables) a significant improvement in audio quality over my Pioneer PD-59, a moderate one, a minor one, or maybe I'd prefer it less? I welcome your opinion on this. They also sell a DVD tube player. I take it their CD one is better for CD's? Any other tube CD players you'd recommend? Any info appreciated.
    I bought it new for about 800 and it has the stock Chinese tubes. Tube rolling is reported to really boost the performance but I can't say either way at this point. The opinions relating to the mods vary a great deal. There have been many saying that the mods give it a more SS sound. If I wanted that, I 'd have stayed with a SS player in the first place. I have no experience with the DVDP since my Oppo is too freaking cool to even think about replacing it until I get to the point where an HD DVDP is practical.

    My best guess is that you'd think it was a waste of money.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  6. #6
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    You can get a Ah! Njoe Tjoeb from Upscale Audio in Upland for around $750, IIRC. the upscaler is sold separately. Check them out at upscaleaudio.com if you're interested.

    BTW, NA is right. Your next "upgrade" should be speakers. Anything else is a waste of money. Getting a tube output cdp at this point is the equivalent of dropping a rat motor in a Geo Metro. Sure, it can be done...you'll just never get the power to the ground.

    NA, love the Fly By Night avatar. Neil Peart is a god.
    Last edited by topspeed; 04-24-2006 at 12:27 PM.

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    Topspeed, 'm totally lost with your post. Not taking issue with your or NAbsentia's points on the speakers other then he's said it a million times & I heard him the first time but I'm a bit unclear of what you mean by getting the power to the ground in the tube CD player? Are you saying that my Denon Receiver & Orb Speakers are not sufficient power for this or that any audio differences will be minor, or both? As far as the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb are you saying I should consider that instead & it will power & I'll hear a difference in my set up but I'd also need an upscaler too?

  8. #8
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Topspeed, 'm totally lost with your post. Not taking issue with your or NAbsentia's points on the speakers other then he's said it a million times & I heard him the first time but I'm a bit unclear of what you mean by getting the power to the ground in the tube CD player? Are you saying that my Denon Receiver & Orb Speakers are not sufficient power for this or that any audio differences will be minor, or both? As far as the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb are you saying I should consider that instead & it will power & I'll hear a difference in my set up but I'd also need an upscaler too?
    If I may, the post seems pretty clear to me. The Ah Tjoeb is just another tubed CDP to consider. Basically a heavily modded Marantz product. What he's saying is that his opinion is that your speakers will be too limiting to make use of the product. I just said it in a more diplomatic way.

    You have a fine CDP on hand. No reason not to stick with it given your set up.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  9. #9
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Exactly.

    You've taken your system, as it's currently configured, about as far as it will go. Any improvements you seek at this point are going to be wholy limited by your speakers. Again, I'm not saying the Orbs are bad, simply that they can only do so much. I apologize if my automotive example was a bit too obtuse for you.

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    No offense taken. You may be totally right, unfortunately I won't be able to know or satisfy myself that this is so, unless I hear for this myself. I've almost given up being able to have something demonstrated to me at higher end stores.

  11. #11
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Try the Digital Ear in Tustin. They are usually really cool and they carry some pretty cool lines such as Maggie, ML, Audio Physic, Thiel, and Wilson. Front end gear includes ARC, Krell, BAT, Wadia, and Music Hall among other.

  12. #12
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    Being an ex NY'r who doesn't drive, any car analogy is totally lost with me. But I get the drift that you guys feel that with my speaker system, I basically will notice limited improvement with any high end CD player, which might be perfectly true but I have to experience this for myself.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Being an ex NY'r who doesn't drive, any car analogy is totally lost with me. But I get the drift that you guys feel that with my speaker system, I basically will notice limited improvement with any high end CD player, which might be perfectly true but I have to experience this for myself.
    Okay then...forget the car. It's like your bicycle. You can pedal and pedal until you're red in the face, but if you don't have good tires you won't get anywhere and you'll just be working your a$$ off for nothing.

    First step: get tires.

  14. #14
    nightflier
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    EG,

    Have you considered adding a DAC?

  15. #15
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    EG,

    Have you considered adding a DAC?
    Yes, he tried an Adcom DAC, but preferred his Pioneer CD player to it. I actually liked the way it sounded on my system, but I really don't have the money to spare on that. But it got me thinking that I should shoot for a good DAC in the future instead of trying to find that golden player.

  16. #16
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    Not exactly, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    I'm curious as to your opinion if the sound is superior or not. These things seem to sell for alot of money.
    I use a Manley Delta Sigma DAC with a Pioneer transport in the vintage system. It uses a pair of 12AX7s for the analog line stage and has gain controls. It drives a Threshold Stasis 3 amp directly.

    It certainly has higher resolution than the onboard unit on the PD-54. There is more inner detail to be found. While I won't say that tube driven outputs are always better, I do prefer them in general for line stages. The best preamps and line stages in my experience such as the Conrad-Johnson ART / ACT, VTL 7.5, along with various ARC models are all tube designs.

    rw

  17. #17
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    I should add that this is going straight to a receiver Benchmark DAC1 Seems to Be #1

    I should add that I'm talking about a tube CD setup connected directly via analog or optic cable, whichever sounds better, to a Denon 3801 receiver to an Orb Audio Mod 1 Speaker & Sub set up. In regards to DAC's the one that everyone seems to be raving about is Benchmark Dac1. See www.benchmarkmedia.com This retails for $1,000 or so & right now is too expensive for me but I'd like to hear it in a store. You can get this on Ebay right now for $800. When I used an Adcom GDA-700 DAC, that retailed when it originally came out for I think $1,000 & has since been discontinued, I got one in excellent condition on Ebay for $250. It did improve the CD sound from my Harmon Kardon 31 DVD player but I preferred the sound of the Pioneer PD-59 by itself instead of through the Adcom. Paul PCI who heard this preferred the Adcom sound better. I subsequently sold it for around what I paid for.

  18. #18
    nightflier
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    EG,

    You might want to try a tube-based DAC. Musical Fidelity makes one that I've seen online, and there are a couple on Audiogon in the $500 price range as well.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Where oh where would Ed be without Ebay?

  20. #20
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    I should add that I'm talking about a tube CD setup connected directly via analog or optic cable, whichever sounds better, .
    I am somewhat reluctant to bring this up, but as has been stated previously, if you're bound and determined to use a digital connection then you can save yourself the time and money of a tubed CDP. The tubey goodness only comes into play with an analog connection. You can't "tube" a digital stream.

    I'd have thought that this would be clear by now, and maybe it is. I'm just making sure.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

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    I thought your Jolida player as well as other tube Cd players came with digital outs. If I'm wrong so be it. I'm not determined to use a digital connection but to use the connection that sounds the best. So far on my Harmon Kardon 31 DVD player, my Pioneer PD-59 & the Pioneer PD-65 when I tried it out, analog connections were not superior to the digital ones, they were either roughly the same sound or the digital sound by my tastes were better. I consider things like "brightness, warmth, natural sound, smooth sound, forward in your face sound (which I don't like)" differences in audio sound. Perhaps other people don't. I also think that people who are into a certain type of music & have spent many years listening to the same recordings/groups, can spot differences that the casual listener wouldn't notice & that something I would consider a difference for the better someone else might not notice.

  22. #22
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    ...and awaaaaaay we go!

  23. #23
    nightflier
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    EG,

    My experience with the HK and Pioneer players has been that they sound quite different. I didn't compare the same models you have, but there were noticeable differences.

    Adding a DAC, in my experience has always added depth and soundstage, almost as if someone pulled the different instruments away from each other when switching to the DAC. I also hear differences between different DACs, such as more detail and sharpness, although those differences are much more subtle than comparing to a system w/o a DAC.

    Anyhow, that's been my experience. Haven't done much with tubes, but I'm very interested in doing this. As others have said, if you can't tell much of a difference between what you've tried already, you might want to check some other things in your setup first.

  24. #24
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    Right Now I actually love my Pioneer PD-59

    The more I listen to CDs on this player, the more I love it. The sound for me is perfect as I like a smooth not in your face sound. My major weakness in life is I'm greedy & I always think that if something is really good there is something even better down the corner. So I assumed from reviews that the Pioneer PD-65 would be far superior but I preferred the 59 because I thought the 65 was a more in your face brighter sound which I don't care for. So I got my money back on that one & now went with a Sony 707ESD which should be arriving shortly. I need 2 CD players- 1 for the living room & the other for the bedroom. If the Sony707ESD isn't as good as the PD-59, that'll go on the market too. I'll then probably wait till another PD-59 turns up on Ebay or try to save for a highly rated more modern but used tube or high end CD player. If I do & again am disappointed in the sound, I'll definately get another PD-59 & give up the chase. I'm also going to try to pester Paul PCI for a ride to one of the high end places he likes & maybe actually hear a product I'm interested in. My experiences to date at these places in LA have not been good because I definately know what I'm looking for in terms of audio sound & the combination of saleman, store setup, system set up etc. had not made my listening experience very productive at all. I'd also like to hear some Dacs too. The Adcom Dac improved my HD DVD players CD sound but & thought it made the Pioneer PD-59 sound worse. Everyone raves about Benchmarks DAC & I'd love to hear that. The one thing I've gathered based on numerous reviews & writeups in my different websites & I know people do not want to hear this is, for strictly regular 2 channel CD's, CDs will sound better on CD players then universal or DVD players. I can't comment personally on this from experience, but to me where there is smoke, there's fire & if enough different people say this in different places, I got to think thetre must be something to this.
    Last edited by EdwardGein; 04-26-2006 at 04:34 PM.

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