CD Player into amp?

I would like to run my Cary CD301 stright into an amp -- ARC Classic 30, CJ MV50, 52, 55. I have read that performance is cleaner. What are the downsides? Appreciate your input/comments. Thanks Dave
I had an early 90`s top of the line ($1500) Yamaha CD player with it`s own volumn control, I was able to run it directly into an my Classic 120`s.

BUT your CD player must have a volumn control,(this player did)otherwise your sound would be at full volumn and probably self destruct the whole system.

You are by-passing the pre-amp and extra connections,(IC`s)and the sound is a lot more revealing in every way, except that it then revealed even more, all the hash and grit and robotic sound that is CD.
AND...make sure you have VARIABLE outputs on the back of the CD player. On some CD players, the front panel volume control only controls the headphone.
There are no out controls on the CD Player but the remote has volume up and down. Is this OK?
I've had many CD players with variable volume control connected directly to power amps. If you have a single source system (CD only) it can be a very economical way to go. You obviously save the cost of an extra interconnect cable and pre-amp. I've always enjoyed the added transparency that this type of setup has provided. However, added transparency may not be a good thing if you listen to a lot of CDs that are not well recorded.

The downside typically mentioned is that many people feel that a quality pre-amp adds an additional level of dynamics to the sound. This may or may not be needed depending on the type of music you typically enjoy on your system. I would think it would be most important with classical, but I don't listen to much classical, so I've never wanted for added dynamics.

A good friend of mine has a very highly resolving system using CD-direct to amp. He recently built a simple tube buffer to place between his DAC and amplifier and he swears that it is one of the biggest improvements he's ever noticed in his system. So, if you try CD-direct and the music seems to need more drive or dynamics, maybe a tube buffer would suffice. I've never used one, but I often see the Musical Fidelity tube buffers for sale here on the 'goN.



I've previously owned a Cary CD-308. The volume control on the remote did control the variable output of the CD player. I would test it to varify that it works, but I'm fairly certain you are "good to go" with the remote variable volume control.


The Oppos also have a variable output controlled by the remote. Mate one of those up to a good amp and you have the maknings of a very fine sounding system for cheap.


You are correct. The Oppos have remote controlled variable volume. However, I believe it is a digital domain volume control which drops bits in order to decrease the volume. Digital volume controls have generally been attributed with losing some amount of resolution once they are turned down more than a couple of steps from max.

I own an Oppo 970 with level 3 mods from EVS. It is a very good player all around and I do use it connected directly to my power amps using the built-in digital volume control. I haven't noticed any major sonic degradation when playing it a lower volume levels, but I do sometimes feel that it is giving up a bit of resolution at lower volumes.

I believe that the Cary uses an anolog domain volume control. Same with the Theta Miles, Quad 99 CDP and resolution Audio Opus 21 players that I also owned and used CD direct to amp. These units control volume in the analog domain, so they do not lose resolution as the volume is lowered.


Everytime I've tried running a CDP direct, I lost macrodynamics. This loss was greater than any of the advantages put together.

I had a similar experience as Arthur. I ran my philips cd-80 direct into my amp cj mf2500 at the time. Could not tolerate the sound I had to go back to using an active pre cj premier 17 at the time.
I think it all depends on whether the cdp was designed to drive the input section of an amp. DCS, Audio Aero, Wadia have up to 6 volts of output.(I've had all three). I can see where a typical cd player with an off the shelf out-put op-amp at two volts is going to have problems. The quality of the volume control also is important at such low voltage.
I had a Placette passive volume control woth a Marantz cd player and it was great...but only at 75% volume and up. the rest of the volume range had the dynamics problems mentioned here. I just think if you took the money it costs for a good preamp and put it in the player it is a better value...assuming youa re cd only. Good luck.
It wasn't a volume issue it was that the music was unmusical. I have heard the AA direct albeit not in my system but the same results.