cd player or computer with dac


i have put together a system which consists of the dartzeel cht8550 integrated,ascendo system f speakers with the arcam cd17 but i know the cd player is the weak link i shall be grateful if some one could help me decide the source and cables for the same and does a source really make the difference
jasbirnandra
"does a source really make the difference"

Is it not the source the rest of the system is reproducing?
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Do you have a budget or unlimited funds?

It is impossible to make a meaningful recommendation unless we know what you can afford.

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Source will make a great difference. There are many good options but you need to specify your budget and what is important to you in terms of sound parameters to narrow things down a bit
The source makes a huge difference.

I gave up on cd players a while ago. Instead I have a Eastern Electric minimax DAC ($750) connected to my imac (already had it), with a $70 Silflex glass toxlink cable. Ripped CDs to itunes.

Saved big bucks on a high end CD player and the sound is amazing.
my budget is around $5000 to $7000 and for the cables that is ic with speaker cable should be around $3000
The Playback Designs series of DACs and digital players are often-recommended sources of choice for the Dartzeels, and for good reason. All-custom circuitry designed by Andreas Koch (his background in digital design is close to legendary) and referenced and voiced with the Dartzeels, they have been combined with Evolution Acoustics speakers to win major awards at CES, etc. for several years.

http://www.playbackdesigns.com/index.html

IMO, these sources will place you on the front edge of high-end digital audio and keep you there for years to come.
i am looking at the playback mps/mpd3 but not heard one so do not know what will its sonic signature be like
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Wavelength deserves serious consideration

http://www.usbdacs.com/Products/Products.html

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I went contrary to the usual progression, giving up a DAC in favor of a dedicated CD player. I did it for synergy and got it in spades. Now it is BAT tube CD player to BAT tube preamp to BAT solid state amp.

Conventional wisdom is computer source to DAC. But some guys aren't techie and some guys prefer the ritual of manual media and some guys like to hear a whole "album" and not just one song. So, it is a matter of personal preference measured against your subjective goals.
The MPS-3 mentioned by Jasbirnandra gives him the flexibility of multiple digital sources. It's a "world class CD transport combined with a discrete dual differential DAC that can also receive a variety of external digital sources, including computer based music servers". That, and "future-proofed" with native support for 24/384kHz, and DSD up to 6.1MHz.

Jasbirnandra,
I spent more than an hour with one of the PD - Dartzeel - EA systems.
Difficult for me to describe, except to say that I agree with the assessment of sonic signature found in this article reviewing the MPS-5.

http://positive-feedback.com/Issue46/playback_designs.htm

Good luck.
i don't think there is a definitive answer.

you should audition as many components as you can.

i am partial to tubes, yet i also own a ps audio powerwave transport and dac. there is something to be said for listening to a cd when it is not spinning.

my reference digital source is an old audionote cd player with a 12au7 output stage.
thank you every body who are so cooperative in helping me put a source together i appreciate every audiogoners support for their opinion
The digital source is THE MOST IMPORTANT element of the digital playback chain. This means the digital interface and the clocks. If you want stellar results in a digital system, put your money into a good interface and low-jitter clocks.

If you read the last two DAC reviews in TAS by Steven Stone, you will see that the right USB interface makes a world of difference. The DAC itself becomes less important and the USB interface is actually MORE important, whether it's internal or external to the DAC.

CD players cannot compete in this race IMO. The USB computer audio solutions have it beat on price and performance, as well as convenience.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Audioengr: With all due respect Steve, you could not be more wrong. The DAC IS the ONLY thing that is important. If the DAC is designed correctly than very little else matters (hard drives, jitter, computer power supplies, etc.

To prove this point we intentionally run a $400 Toshiba laptop at the trade shows with a stock USB cable and a cheap ($75 USB hard drive). Reports from all the magazines and those attendees have been incredibly positive.

Please understand that I do agree with you, IF the DAC is not designed and built correctly only then the items you mention have much greater importance.

I also agree with Steve that there is definitely no need for a CD transport any more.

Jonathan Tinn
Playback Designs
Jonathan - We will have to agree to disagree on this one. Just read the last 3 or 4 reviews of DACs done by Steven Stone in TAS. When he says a $1.5K DAC sounds virtually identical to a $7K DAC when driven from a low-jitter USB converter source, I believe him.

I never said that the DAC did not make a difference, but it is really second order compared to the effect of the master clock, particularly with higher end DACs. Remember, I sell DACs too, but I believe in honesty with my customers.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks Steve and Jonathan, you both agree that the CD transport is unnecessary. That has been the unresolved issue for many of us. Now, if we can just make the process of switching over a little less daunting...
"Slowly I turned...step by step...inch by inch...,"
Niagra Falls.....
Phaelon - I cannot speak for Jonathan, but I have a page dedicated to tips and recommendations for computer, S/W player, ripper, ripping drive etc. with many links on my website. I try to make it easy to get good results.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve: Your statement of "I believe in honesty" is a desperate attempt at discrediting me and quite disappointing. As a DAC manufacturer, if you truly believe what you are saying, then it is clear to me that you do not have the knowledge or technology you think you have.

A properly designed DAC is impervious to the problems you are citing.

Churchill said "The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."

Jonathan Tinn
Playback Designs
This is maddening! For those who don’t understand our trepidation concerning the "computer with DAC” option, this thread should be an epiphany. I can’t understand why two esteemed DAC designers would have almost diametrically opposing viewpoints on what, seems to me, should be a matter of basic science. Determining what’s important in the relationship between the interface, master clock and DAC shouldn’t be like resolving competing theories in quantum physics. I’m not trying to put anyone down; it’s just frustrating.
After a good night’s sleep and breakfast, I’m unhappy with the harsh tone of my last post. And in the first place, I am not technically competent enough to be the one to make that point. I apologize if I offended anyone.
Phaelon: Your point in the previous post was well taken. I took offense to Steve's insinuation.

All I was trying to say is if the DAC is designed properly, the things mentioned by Steve are of no importance.

I certainly never intended for this to get personal in any way and felt respectfully disagreeing with someone is fair.
jtinn whats your take on power cables in the price bracket of 700 to 1000 dollars i would appreciate your opinion if you have any recommendation as i see you also use the same amp and mps5 and what the waiting period for playback mps3
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Just an FYI for anybody new to the forums.....

Audioengr and Jtinn both are selling something. I've never dealt with either but it is incomprehensible that someone who is selling a product in this category wouldn't have a biased opinion that favors what they sell.

Both are probably swell fellows but take what they say with a grain of salt.

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There is a DAC manufacturer that is very well known that states that their DAC will acheive the following:

"By connecting a PC or a Mac to the USB2.0 port you will be able to play audio files in high resolution beyond the limits imposed by the previous technology on USB ports. Appropriate drivers have been developed for different operating systems, thus ensuring a proper timing and a no-compromise reproduction quality.

But all this would not be enough to get an audiophile reproduction. One of the big challenges in the reproduction of streaming music is the (negative) influence of the computer on the quality of reproduction. Many audiophiles have the experience that for playing music from a PC or Mac via a dedicated sound cards, also of great quality, one often faces limitations related to noise generated by power supplies and not to mention the noisy fans needed to cool down the computer, which are limiting the pleasure of listening. Forget about all that. Today you can get the most from these sources by designing the converter to make it independent of the computer used for playback.

Two are the devices used: data resynchronization and magnetic separation of the ground. The first solution allows different methods to release from the transmission on USB, using on-board reference oscillator with low jitter of the DAC is capable of re-clocking of incoming data from the computer with absolute precision. The second solution allows to completely decouple the ground of the computer from that of the DAC, allowing the transmission of signals at high speed but without the noise generated by the computer. We can say that, whatever the computer, the playback quality will always be at the highest levels.

Whether it's music from a PC, MAC or traditional source such as a CD player, DAT, satellite receiver 's USB dac32 represent the heart of your system, capable of dialoguing with each type of source always at the highest levels."

I think this is the philosphy that Jtinn is talking about.

I have brought this exact same opinion up on another thread several days ago.

We will see I guess.
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You say

There is a DAC manufacturer that is very well known

Why play a guessing game?

Why not name this mysterious manufacturer ?

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"data resynchronization and magnetic separation of the ground. The first solution allows different methods to release from the transmission on USB, using on-board reference oscillator with low jitter of the DAC is capable of re-clocking of incoming data from the computer with absolute precision.

Thank you. I now know what to do. I’m buying a turntable. :-)
Herman: You stated: "Just an FYI for anybody new to the forums.....

Audioengr and Jtinn both are selling something. I've never dealt with either but it is incomprehensible that someone who is selling a product in this category wouldn't have a biased opinion that favors what they sell.

Both are probably swell fellows but take what they say with a grain of salt.
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I don't think either Steve or I made it a secret about who we are. I certainly made no mention of my DAC being the only solution or even mentioned my own product.

There is really nothing that anyone needs to be warned about here.
Herman:

http://www.northstar.it/english/Dac_USB32.html
This thread sums up the dilemma for many of us considering moving from CD player to hard drive/DAC. There seems to be no agreement at all on where we are with the development of discless digital.

This comes down to the basic question. Are we yet at the point that $ for $ you are better off continuing with standalone players or going discless? What is the comparitive sound quality?

I know all these questions are discussed, ad nauseam, but I can deect no consensus at all.

Related to this, but a different point, Are we yet at the stage that using a server or PC/mac, is sufficiently user friendly, that non computer experts like me, can really contemplate the change? Looking at some of the posts on this and other sites, even one box solutions like Olive, ripping and playback is not simple, with frequent manufacturer upgrades to software.

The final point for me is, should you go for one of the purpose built HiFi servers like Naim for example, or the much cheaper Mac/PC route? Is there a difference in sound quality and ease of use between the two options.
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Jtinn,

If I recall correctly at one time your were registered as a private user and posting high praise about things you were selling with no mention of your affiliation. With that in mind I did think a warning was in order. I see now that you changed your status to commercial user. Even so, I see no harm in pointing out your status to those who may be unaware.

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Herman: Not true at all. When I was registered as a private user, I was a private user. Not only that, if you look at the earlier post by me I fully disclosed my affiliation as did Steve Nugent.

I guess we can never have enough police, but thanks for protecting everyone from us and our evil ways.