Since you are a tube man the obvious choices are Audio Research and CJ; I don't see how you could go wrong with either.
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Dougie, Stan's comment about the CD-5's preamp section are relative to what he feels is "good". Of course no integrated pre-amp is going to be as good as a dedicated reference tube pre for example, but imho the latest CD-5s has an excellent tube pre. I rolled the factory EB tubes in my player to NOS DR's & have been very impressed. In an a-b comparison in the same system, my CD-5s bested an Aesthetix Janus preamp with similar hours to my Ayon. The above-mentioned Meridian/Audio synthesis pair are both solid state, so personal preference weighs in. My advice is, let your ears decide.
"Of course no integrated pre-amp is going to be as good as a dedicated reference tube pre for example,"
I think that this may not necessarily be true. When I went to the CD5s, I got rid of two power cords and two sets of IC's which were necessary with my separate transport, DAC and preamp. These wires and connectors are sources of noise and degradation. Then I was able to take the money from selling these and go up two levels in the one set of IC and power cord that were still necessary, further enhancing sound. The designer saves money in using one versus three separate cases that can be used in higher quality internal components. So if the one unit is well designed and shielded, if think it can compete and beat separates at the same cost.
So if the one unit is well designed and shielded, if think it can compete and beat separates at the same cost.
Gammajo, of course yes the possibility to save the designer and end user money using a single box is obvious, and I agree Ayon have produced an excellent built in pre in the CD-5s. I also agree, that saved money can go toward better ic's & pc's (always a good thing), but assuming you already have reference level cables, adding a separate pre has the possibility of making a good improvement as there is less compromise in a dedicated preamp. In a well sorted system, I think the Ayon Orbis should be good for a 10-20% imrpovement over the CD-5s, and in high end those aren't small numbers. Move up to Vitus and it becomes night and day.
I agree the orbis is a noticeable improvement but no where even ten percent .I felt 5 percent is close.the parts quality is almost identicle
In the two preamp sections. As well as tube complements.
The biggest difference is the regererator filtering which is the biggest difference. If you have a very good line conditioner which Ido with
synergistics latest truly closes the gap.the orbis still is a little better
Across the board. Any solid state comparisons cannot be truly done for vacuum tubes do some things better than even the best in solid state
If using similar price points in my opinion.Everything is system
I also wanted to mention that the parts quality in the cd5 s
Or even slightly better their Ayon Skylla-2 which does not have to share
The power supply for the transport ,their parts quality is not bettered in even $20k digital or preamp section . The Mundorf silver gold oil capacitors are very costly,as well as the Kitamura Kiden R core transformers and at 1 percent tolerance is not bettered by any company
Also S/N ratio of 120 and dynamic range of over 110
Is up their with the best preamplifiers ,and digital out there.
I had over $20k to spend and to buy the Ayon for under $9k just shows What is possible when the best parts are used and the shortest signal paths are implemented correctly.the Ayon is pre class A single ended
With -0 feedback throughout.I have yet to find a more natural sounding
Cd playback system with in the range of the working man.
Audioman, your responses indicate to me you have spent a lot of time reading websites and reviews, but don't seem to have a clear understanding or appreciation for the differences between the two preamps. You seem to place a high importance on the measured figures of the CD-5s. Cheap cd players from your corner audio store can have excellent measurements, but in reality measurements reveal little about the sound qualities of a component. The fact is the Orbis is an ultra new linestage concept, with a remarkable 6H30 circuit (parallel single-ended design with high current bias point yes we are talking about a preamp). Ayon spent a crazy amount of time on R&D for the Orbis to get out a new performance standard. Compared to the CD-5s, Orbis is a superior circuit design imho. It has in-house designed & built transformers, a regenerator ps which compensates for waveform irregularities to provide a clean, low distortion sine wave (It is not a filter as you described, though of course the Orbis uses chokes and filters elsewhere in the ps). Ayon are using a superior custom 4 channel/24 position volume potentiometer & new chassis with superior ventilation. The importance of the ps & volume control in preamplifier design can't be over-emphasized.
I have never had the orbis in my system .I was just trying to point out
That the review I pasted on the forum in this instance the Reviewer
Preferred the cd-5 s with the synergy it provided as being as One
Then the richer sound of the Polaris which I have heard directly.
Extra power cords, interconnects,will for sure effect the synergy
To some extent , as well as change the sonic balance,which may shift
The final balance with the amplifier to the output of the character
Of that particular speaker. Before retiring I owned and operated a hifi
Shop in Europe until 06 and have had the pleasure and opportunity
To listen tomore hifi combinations then most people, with over 35 years
In he field I can say that all the above factors stated above mean
That there are exceptions to every rule , equipment synergy
And personal sonic balance. If everything is equal thenfor sure
The expensive. $$$ preamplifier will give a little more of everything
Across the board.
Audioman, i'm a bit confused as you remarked earlier that the Orbis is a noticeable improvement and were prepared to put a number on the difference, but you haven't heard the Orbis in your system? FWIW, I think the CD-5s as a cdp is an outstanding rbcd player at its price point, and my example is staying. The Reimyo CDP-777 had a better transport & superior processing (Extended K2 processing), but the Ayon has the edge elsewhere. An a-b comparison between those two players would be interesting. The CD-5s has an excellent pre for an integrated player. But i'm having a hard time with your estimate of the Orbis only providing a 5% gain over the 5s. Even an identical preamp as a separate pre should give a 5% improvement. And taking into account my earlier comments, i'd have to say i'm skeptical. But i'll reserve any judgment until i've done an a-b comparison between my upgraded CD-5s & the Orbis around the end of the year which should be interesting. Both pre's will be running identical tubes, so the 5s will have a fair crack. According to Gerhard Hirt, the Orbis has a rich, warm sound like the CD-5s, but it is a higher end pre with a newer, more refined design (even a little bit different to Spheris).