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  1. #1
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    What should I upgrade? Suggestions...

    Hello,

    I've just joined so this is my first post I'm from the UK, but hope it's ok to join..

    Anyway, what I'd like to ask right away is what you would suggest upgrading for better sound quality.

    I am on a budget and have 5.1 Tannoy SFX speakers, Denon AVR1602 amplifier and Onkyo DV-SP501 DVD player. These two are connected with Monster Cable Datalink IDL100 optical cable, the subwoofer cable is Monster Cable Monster Bass 100. I've just also ordered some 1.5mm cable to replace the thin cable I got with my Tannoys.

    Now, I am happy with the sound quality - the soundstage and depth are excellent and suits my small room well. But I was wondering how my amplifier rates in comparison with, lets say newer Denon models?

    My DVD player is quite old too, although it has Burr-Brown 24/192 decoders so it can't be that bad. Do you think Denon DVD-1940 or 1720, 1730, 1740 would improve the sound quality further?

    Any thoughts appreciated!

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Welcome to AR!

    Living in the UK, you should consider Cambridge Audio gear. The Cambridge Audio 640c CDP would be a very nice upgrade for you. Even a Marantz SA 5003 CDP would be better than what you have.

    http://www.richersounds.com/productl...CDPLAYERS/CAMB This sells for $650 here in the U.S. The 640c can be found at bargain prices because the 650c just became available.

    http://www.richersounds.com/product/...-azur-650c-sil

    Here's a Marantz 6003 http://www.richersounds.com/productl...CDPLAYERS/MARA

    Take a look at the Onkyo TX SR607 or one of the 2000 or 3000 series Denon AVR's.

    http://www.richersounds.com/product/...7/onky-txsr607

    If that's out of your budget, look at the onkyo TX SR577

    http://www.richersounds.com/product/...ky-txsr577-blk

    These are overkill for that HT system but they will give you good sound and allow you to upgrade your speakers in the future.
    Last edited by blackraven; 02-28-2010 at 06:09 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  3. #3
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    Many thanks for your reply, Blackraven! I have always been a little skeptical about Cambridge Audio as Richersounds is a joint company now and they always push their brands..although the 640c did get very good reviews. I definitelly like that Marantz though..if I can find one, I might just get it.. Thanks

  4. #4
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Hmmm. I can't comment on A/V units but as far as CDP's go, your location puts you in a prime situation. There are some legendary CDPs that have been built by UK companies. Naim, Arcam and Mission have all built some considerable pieces in the past. Not sure what internet sites you have available to you for buying used, but look into it.

    Firstly the Cambridge CD1 and CD2 are amazing machines. Fantastically built with 4 stereo dacs, the sound matches the build. Ugly as sin however.

    I would rec almost any Naim CDP, but the Naim CDS1 and CD3 are possibly almost perfect machines. Naim are engineering gurus and these 2 units will stand the test of time. I have read that a NOS upgrade makes them perfect.

    Arcam Alpha One through to Five. The Arcam Alpha Five is a real killer, still commands decent money.

    Mission is hit and miss but the PCM 4000 and 7000 are true classics. They can be modded quite easily also.

    klif, these machine can be had for a fraction of a new player and will sound better than at least half of what's out there.

  5. #5
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    Poppachubby, thanks for your input. I do some shopping on Ebay so getting second hand gear is not a problem.

    I had a look at Naim CDS3 and my jaw dropped..currently selling for nearly 3000, which is close to $5000... so this one is out of question, but Arcams are real bargains here, even Arcam 7 sells for around hundred pounds, Arcam 5 is even cheaper. And Cambridge Audio 5 goes for around 40-50 pounds... Are those units much more expensive over there?

    I always thought that even a dedicated 10-15 years old CD player won't be as good as a newer DVD player that supports CD playback.. was I wrong in thinking so?

    I'm very tempted to get Arcam 5 now!

  6. #6
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    So I went on and read some reviews on Arcam 5. A number of people have reported problems with it's drawer and that it sometimes refuses to play certain CDs. Not a big deal as even the best machines can develop problems.

    Another thing people have pointed out is that it's very clear and detailed but lacks depth in lower frequencies - not sure how it would match my Tannoys as I do like deep base.

    And the good news is that Net Audio, another British company, does an upgrade for Arcam 5, for just above 100 with delivery and fitting instructions. Those who upgraded say it's like day and night and after the upgrade even ultra expensive CD spinners can be put to challenge. Sounds like a cheap way to get a proper hi-end CD player..oh and if any of you guys are interested, Net audio has an Ebay account and ship worldwide.

    I'm now doing some reasearch on Arcam 7 and Cambridge Audio as well.. not so keen on the latter though, but I could pick up CA4 or CA5 really cheap...hmmm decisions decisions

  7. #7
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    You might want to consider the Cambridge Audio 740c. I owned this as well as the 840c. They sound very similar and are excellent players and perform well above their price point as the 640c does. I did not mention them because I don't think that they would lend your system much benefit given the speakers and amp you have. And if you ever decide to upgrade, any of these Cambridge players will do well in an audiophile grade system. If you need more warmth in your system then go with a Marantz.

    For the price, I don't think that you can do much better than a new 640c or 650c. If looking for a used player, I would not buy one more that 8-10 years old due to reliability issues.

    And yes, a dedicated CD player most of the time will sound better than a DVD player. If you are looking to upgrade to a Universal Bluray player than consider the Oppo BD-83. I does everything well and even plays SACD's.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  8. #8
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    Blackraven, if I understand correctly, my dvd player is the weakest link in my setup. I am considering Arcam 5, Arcam 7 and Cambridge Audio 640.

    I'd also like to ask what you think about Marantz 5001 and 6001? Would Cambridge Audio and Arcam still outperform Marantz?

    And again, many thanks for your advice

  9. #9
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by klif570
    Blackraven, if I understand correctly, my dvd player is the weakest link in my setup. I am considering Arcam 5, Arcam 7 and Cambridge Audio 640.

    I'd also like to ask what you think about Marantz 5001 and 6001? Would Cambridge Audio and Arcam still outperform Marantz?

    And again, many thanks for your advice
    OPPO has several players out.
    But most importantly don't waste a wad on an expensive DVD player.
    Get a BLU RAY.
    Dont know about the BLU condition "across the pond", but if possible that is the way to go.
    They make your DVDS look great, and blu discs are amazing.
    EVEN if you have a SD TV monitor a BLU player is a great way to prepare for the future.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  10. #10
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    AND marantz has been aquired by some big conglomerate, better to hold off on their gear for awhile, while they are in "play"
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  11. #11
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    Hi Pixelthis. Blu ray is not a problem to get, would still prefer a dedicated cd player though as I only use my setup for music..5 chanel stereo, yes I know I'm weird. Anyway, how do you find your blue ray player in terms of sound quality?

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The Marantz 5001 is a very good budget CD player with a warmer sound that is different than the 640c which will be more neutral and give you better resolution, detail and transparency.

    Another CD player to consider is the Music Hall 25.2. It has a very open airy sound which I like.

    If you want a warmer over all tone to the music, go with the Marantz. If you want a more neutral sound with more detail and clarity, go with the 640c,650c or Music Hall. I can't comment on Arcam because I have never heard them.

    Another great CD player is the Rega Apollo. Its a tremedous player and well worht the money. It does every thing well and is very musical. It loads from the top, not the front. It's better than the Marantz, 640c, and music hall. If it was me, I would get this one. Here's a great price for one in the U.K. (it sells for $1,000 here in the U.S.) I don't know why I did not mention it before.

    http://www.noteworthyaudio.co.uk/CDplayers.html

    You might be able to find a better price on a used one.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  13. #13
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    Once again Blackraven, great advice. I sometimes see Rega players on Ebay, they are very unique looking machines, almost high-end'ish.

    My Tannoys are quite warm sounding, maybe because of my Denon amp, but I do like this warm sound. I had bright speakers before and didn't even enjoy listening to music.

    The Marantz 5001 looks quite attractive, but if it's quite warm I wouldn't want to lose too much detail and higher frequencies. Something with punchy bass and clear treble would go nicely I think so I shall just wait and see what I can find. Maybe Cambridge Audio, Rega Jupiter or Apolo. I will consider the Arcam 5 and 7 too, even though they're old they have had such great reviews.

    All the best,
    Klif570

  14. #14
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    If you have a chance to get a Rega Apollo then jump on it. It's probably the best of the lot and I would rather have the reliability of a newer Cd player then that an older one. A rega would be the last one you own.
    Last edited by blackraven; 03-02-2010 at 11:38 AM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  15. #15
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by klif570
    Hi Pixelthis. Blu ray is not a problem to get, would still prefer a dedicated cd player though as I only use my setup for music..5 chanel stereo, yes I know I'm weird. Anyway, how do you find your blue ray player in terms of sound quality?
    The sound is amazing.
    I am audio only, but have a hybrid system, its all I can afford.
    96khz concert discs on Blu are about the best sound you can get these days.
    But I CAN SEE where you would want a dedicated CD player if music is your main thing.
    Most DVD players are mediocre for music, and blu players have inherited this sad trait,IMHO.
    But the new formats, DTS MASTER, DOLBY TRUE HD, they are lossless, and
    like, WOW.
    A lot, buying a blu player, are just as impressed by the sound as the picture.
    All a lot have heard is lossy DD and DTS.
    The full range "real deal" is something else
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  16. #16
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    I'll keep this in mind, maybe when I get an HD TV I could do well with a Blu Ray player as I really enjoy live music. I bet they have quite a few concerts recorded in the new formats you mentioned

  17. #17
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Arcam Alpha 5 is one of the best players ever made in terms of musicality. They still run for alot of money over here, no less than $300. If you were able to upgrade the Arcam, I would think this is the way to go. There is a reason people are still on about them.

    Blackraven is correct about Rega. I would also add that Music Hall employ the same philosophy, analog sound through the entire line.

  18. #18
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    , how's the hunt going? Did you score the Arcam?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    , how's the hunt going? Did you score the Arcam?
    Thanks for asking, poppachubby

    I've been looking on Ebay, but haven't found any good deals yet. Lots of Cambridge Audios though, even the D100, which is probably ancient as I've never seen it before

    I lost one auction for Arcam 5 though.. but in this world or the next I shall have my revenge Anyway, I might have to wait until another one (in good cond) comes along so in the meantime I'm checking Marantz players as well, CD5001 in particular.

    I'll try to keep you updated if I find anything good

  20. #20
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Great to hear form you klif. I am honestly interested in your hunt, as I have just gone through a digital pursuit myself. The Alpha 5 is worth the wait and hassle. The Cambridge D300 is an excellent unit, and one of the last transports they made if I'm not mistaken. I almost owned one myself.

    If I may suggest some Marantz for you. The CD 80 and 94 / 94MKII contain the TDA1541S1. This is a 1541, single crown. They also made S2, double crown. Both are highly revered as they are no longer in production. So sought after, there is actually a fake market that has plagued places like Ebay.

    As I'm sure you will read, these Marantz models are also great for upgrading and tweaking. DIY guys love them, so you will read good reviews from that crowd.

    Since acquiring my orphaned, $6 Magnavox, I have been listening to much more CD's. CD was almost lost to me, using viinyl and computer FLAC files instead. It's been nice to get reaquainted.

    BTW, are you a footy fan? AS Roma over here...

  21. #21
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    The problem is that I'm quite indecisive, especially when there are so many great players to choose from. I even thought of simply ditching my Onkyo for the Denon 1740, which I could buy brand new. It's a budget player, but if I can trust Techradar.com, they say the CD playback is superb by DVD deck standards, although isn't quite as clean as their dedicated CD player. But would I notice any difference with my Tannoys?

    Another thing is that I would prefer my player in black. Now I could buy the Marantz DV6600 for just above 100 pounds (!) but it's in silver...

    I might have to get both - a DVD and a CD player - I'd love to do some tests as well. Shouldn't be a problem because I buy and sell on Ebay so after I do my testing I can sell the unit that I like less.

    This certainly looks like a new addiction; about a year ago I was crazy about cameras and lenses..but it's always been one of my biggest hobbies anyway.

    Thanks for your suggestions, they are always appreciated! And as for football, I'm not a big sports fan, but I'm gonna say FC Celtic. I'm not far from London so they're miles away, but their manager, Mr Mowbray, used to play for Ipswich town which is really close to where I live!

  22. #22
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klif570
    But would I notice any difference with my Tannoys?

    Indeed, Tannoy makes great speakers and would certainly reveal subtlties. The real question is, are your ears keen for what to listen for?


    Quote Originally Posted by klif570
    I might have to get both - a DVD and a CD player - I'd love to do some tests as well. Shouldn't be a problem because I buy and sell on Ebay so after I do my testing I can sell the unit that I like less.
    Have you looked at the Yamaha DVD player that everyone is buying? There's a thread on it somewhere. Anyhow, they closed it out so online retailers went from $350 to $80! There are some really credible guys on here who highly regard it. It plays SACD as well as RBCD. Make a move because it will be gone soon. Could be for you...

    Nice spec write up...
    http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...ha-dvd-s1800bl

    Purchase...
    http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-DVD-S18.../dp/B000WKTG76

  23. #23
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    Great find, and it's in black! I gotta find a site that can send this to the UK. Amazon.com redirects me to Amazon.co.uk

  24. #24
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Yes, when you said black I thought about it. Cheers.

  25. #25
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    By the way, I didn't try to say I'd have to get an all-in-one unit that does CDs, DVDs, SACDs, etc.. I meant two separates - a CD player, and a DVD player. But I would grab that Yamaha anyway.. I shall check local sites and if they have good deals on it as well. I've always thought though that prices over there are so much better. They seem to ignore conversion rates here in England, only change $ to and we pay nearly twice as much. Sure, EU tax system doesn't help it either

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