I have compared it to the Bryston BCD-1. I found the 840C to be bright compared to the BCD-1. If you love bass, the BCD-1 shines, in my opinion.
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06-09-09: Foster_9If it matters, a Burson Buffer will correct impedance mismatch.
Was not aware of impedance matching being the source of problems with the lower bass reproduction with that player. But I just read the preamble for the Stereophile review posted on the PrimaLuna website - yes, looks like they acknowledge that there is a problem with very low input impedance preamps.
In any case. John Atkinson noted in a subsequent discussion in the magazine that the upgraded OP amp boards did improve the upper bass noticeably and with the board installed in his words "the PrimaLuna becomes a straight Class A recommendation." He also noted in his first look at it that "it threw the widest, deepest soundstage from CDs that I have experienced with any player". Hmmmm, strong statement.
I should provide clarity on the cost of the board upgrades: The Super I/V OP Amp kit "Basic" is $150, the Super I/V OP Amp kit "Plus" is $235, or a difference of $85 between the two. If you are investing that much for a player, I would pay the roughly 10% extra and get the "Plus" upgraded board.
I've heard the Cambridge and Bryston and I feel the Sony strikes the best balance between detail, warmth and dimensionality while maintaining accurate tonality. The Prima Luna is an unknown quantity with questionable reviews, plus I am not comfortable with adding coloration and distortion at the front end. I owned the BAT VK-D5SE and I couldn't stand the colorations that highly regarded player offered so I declined on buying a Prima Luna. I find the Sony to serve up RB and SACD playback with truthfulness, natural tone, great detail/air and dimensionality while rendering superb dynamic contrasts:O)