Put it this way, when I am feeling lazy I use the music server, but when I really want to get into the music, I play the SACD player or the turntable.
I own over 3000CD’s and about 200 SACD’s. I have an $8500.00 Esoteric SACD player and I am hoping it is the last cd player I buy. I also have a Sony music server with about half my CD collection ripped to FLAC which I play. Honestly, I like using the CD player and I find it sounds slightly better (due to the better internal DAC) than my music server.
Put it this way, when I am feeling lazy I use the music server, but when I really want to get into the music, I play the SACD player or the turntable.
I concur with stereo5. Much will depend on the size of your CD collection and wether or not it continues to grow. Whichever brand your decide to purchase make certain that said company intends to stock critical parts for future repairs/service. A top tier CD/SACD player will allow the listener to get closer to the music. Yamaha (Japan) still makes a very fine player by all accounts. Keep us posted and have fun!
Personally I rip all my CDs to FLAC. I have about 8K titles and having them out was a real pain. Now they are all in storage (wallets) and live on my server. I use Roon to stream to a Lumin X1 that I very much like. When I buy a CD (rare these days) I rip it with an Iomega CDROM. I use Yate for tagging. The sound is glorious. Not sure why anyone would use a builtin DAC.
That said, I mostly purchase DSDs these days (512!!), or LPs.
CDs are cheaper than ever right now so it is a great time to invest. Soon mass scale manufacturing will end and the prices on the used market will increase.
In case you ever think of streaming: CDs are better than streaming since you can choose which mastering to buy and listen to. Streaming services generally have the most recent mastering which is mastered loud with reduced dynamics and more compression (to sound better on earbuds and Bluetooth speakers). A lot of good audio equipment will sound better with earlier mastering when the CD sounded a lot closer to the master tape. By buying second hand CDs you can easily get these earlier versions of the albums. Not so with streaming
I moved back into 2-channel music about 3 years, and am absolutely loving it. SACD is my preferred source, with Vinyl and then Redbook CD's in succession. I upgraded to the Yamaha S-2100 player, which I think features the same Transport as the S-3000. It produces fabulous sound, and has been completely reliable.
IMO, it's more about you as a person than it is anything else. If you're the type that enjoys fooling around with computers, finding the right ripping format and program, organizing tracks, etc, etc - go for the hard drive.
But if popping in a CD and listening is more your speed, then get a player. Never heard the Yamaha, but you should be able to get something pretty decent in your price range. I think one of the dealers was blowing out the Naim CD5x with a flatcap for something like you want to spend. It is very good IMO.
I like it simple, put it in the CD player, put it on the turntable. I can’t speak to streaming as I don’t. I do copy CDs to my desktop and burn 80 great minutes of custom CDs, for example female vocals, soul, rock, fusion, acoustic jazz, etc. I would invest in a new CD player or a Separate DAC and transport. I listen to 98% vinyl at home but CDs in my car. CDs get a bad rap in mainstream media. Older music lovers like me grew up on vinyl, bought lots of records, then were forced to buy lots of CDs cause we could not get new music by artist we liked on vinyl. Many people have great CD collections of super music. I can’t even get on vinyl now some music I have on CD as the artists were not big sellers so they don’t re-release. Looking through my CDs there was some good, well recorded, kinda jazz music on these labels. Some of these will never be on vinyl, but Some of these artist are adventurous.
I'm still buying CDs and sacds (at bargain pricing) mainly because I want to own it, and I work on a computer all day. The last thing I want to do when I come home is boot up another computer. Will they eventually go away? Probably, but I won't be around to see it.
I own the Yamaha CD-S2100 mentioned earlier. It is a superb unit with exceptional build quality and sound quality. The built in DAC sounds great and allows for USB input so it's got some future proofing built in.
That said, one of the best improvements in my system has been the addition of a Musical Paradise MP-D2 tube DAC. Check out some of the threads on audiocircle on this gem of a unit. It offers tons of flexibility and customization by allowing for tube swaps and output capacitor swaps.
I too buy used CDs. I can buy them now for 1-3 bucks as people trade them in for pennies for the same titled LP. I can buy 10 or so titles for 20 bucks, or 1 decent LP. I burn and stream via Roon to ultra rendu andResolution Audio Cantata DAC/ CD player. I agree now of decoupling the transport and DAC.
Don’t get me wrong. I buy my favorite titles on LP for the foldout and art; but I am very picky. I save playing the LP when I am in the mood to spin a record, but often I just want continuous like music that Roon seamlessly delivers based on my tens of thousands of tracks.
I still buy mostly CD's, but all of them have been ripped to a hard drive and are played only on a server. The CD's I keep on a shelf for reference to their booklet, cover art, etc. I like the access to my collection afforded by having them on a server.
All of my CD's have been ripped to WAV files because that remains the highest quality way to store and retrieve files.
I have a lot of CD's and still buy them (used ones). I have a Marantz KI-Pearl SACD player and when I want to have the absolute best experience from a sound quality standpoint, that's the best source in my system. I do have most of my CD's ripped to a hard drive for convenience and for backup. I play vinyl a lot more often, but the Marantz is really sweet. It sounds a lot better than anything I own for streaming ripped CD's from my hard drive. Which isn't to say that there isn't something better, but I'm very happy with it.
"I know this question is a little hard to answer."
No, it's very easy. There's nothing about a silver disk that adds to the SQ of the files on it, In fact, playing the disk detracts from SQ. Rip the CDs and the SACDs. There are programs that do all the meta-data for you. Once set up it's very easy and it can be set up to control completely from your phone or pad. You can also borrow from libraries and friends to help create a collection.
I have an extensive collection of RedBook classical CDs. My old Sony CD player finally quit, so I had the choice of ether continuing to use CDs or go to streaming. I quickly discovered the selection of what I wanted to hear were not available on Spoitifly (and later, Tidal.) The major "war horses" were available, but little or no choice of orchestras, conductors or performers.
After really studying the reviews and comments about the various CD players, I settled on the Bryston BCD-3 spinner. Yes, it's only for RedBook CDs and doesn't play SACDs; however, only a minuscule of the classical recordings are on SACDs.
Interesting: The BCD-3's DAC uses the same two chips and input/output factors as does their BDA-3 DAC. I've played a variety of discs, in the BCD-3 as a player, and then as a transport, feeding my BDA-3. No discernible difference.
I have a bunch of CDs, some SACDs, and no vinyl. I have no desire to pop CDs or SACDs into a player and play them. I don't even own a CD or SCAD player and don't plan to waste my money on them.
Instead, I rip the CDs and SACDs and load them onto my Roon server. Then I can play them in my 2 channel listening room, my kitchen, my garage, and my backyard. All controlled with an iPad or iPhone.
I have played with expensive CD and SACD transports and have found they don't sound better than the ripped files played through my Roon setup. So why spend the money or take the time to deal with the transports? Plus, I can store my CDs and SACDs out of the way instead of having them all over the house.
I am also a used CD buyer/ripper/Roon advocate. My PC was setup once and is reliable, I rip right to the Roon watched folder, auto-backup to the cloud (IDrive), manually to an external USB drive, and store CDs in sleeves. I don’t miss facing 1200 CDs on my rack to choose something, and extra bonus: jazz listeners especially will appreciate the ability to shuffle an artist, who could appear as a sideman on many recordings you might not even know about-try doing that with physical media!
Like many folk here, I own a large CD collection (alongside a large vinyl collection) and still buy new and used ones (as I do for vinyl). I thought of ripping all of them, but it's time consuming and over the years I've had more issues with hard drives breaking down than CDs going bad. So I thought: "what would be the point of ripping CDs and then keeping them as back-up?" When my CD player died a year ago, I replaced it with Hegel's Mohican (plays only Red Book CDs). I've been very happy with the sound it produces.
I have about 800 CD's, including about 80 SACD's. A few months ago I realized that my interest in them was being deflated by three things--the mediocre quality of some CD's, a lack of information to help me remember which ones I preferred, and difficulty finding them on the shelf. So I created a spreadsheet and spent some time overhauling and expanding the collection.
I now have about a hundred CD's sitting nearby waiting to be sold or donated to Goodwill. The survivors--at least the ones I care most about--have been researched to find and acquire the best version. I have a Denon DCD-A100 SACD player, so SACD's are an option. While I love the detail and nuance of the SACD format, I have found the hard way that mastering needs to be considered before format. Mastering issues are a minefield, but if you invest the time, they can be overcome. Expect also to make some mistakes. A few days ago I had to retrieve a redbook CD from the "sell" pile and replace it with an SACD that I had purchased, which had much poorer dynamic range.
As was said above, CD's are cheap right now. SACD's, not so much. Try to find the hybrid SACD of Peter Gabriel's "So" album under $80 from a reputable seller, for instance. One thing to note, however, is that the condition of used CD's for sale can only go downhill over time. Eventually the supply of good-quality used CD's will play out.
"One thing to note, however, is that the condition of used CD's for sale can only go downhill over time. Eventually the supply of good-quality used CD's will play out."
I have copied used CDs from various sources, some looking unbelievably damaged. Yet the vast majority copy beautifully for later replay. I am amazed at how resilient the CD format really is. Yet if put into a CD player, error correction during listeneing might adversely affect the SQ. That's one of the advantages of ripping.
Great thread. I am someone who also enjoys using the compact disc as my main music source. I enjoy putting going to my collection and picking out something that fits the mood. Big_Greg above recommended the Marantz black pearl and i highly concur. what a great all in one player. I now use the DMP player and DSD DAC from PS Audio and they are fantastic. Love live the compact disc
$3000.00 for a CD Player! $300.00 maybe. Start thinking along the lines of the Elcaset, the Open Reel, the Cassette Tape, Beta Tape, 8-Track Tape, 78-RPM, 33 1/3, RPM, and all the other formats that have become obsolete. Please don't get upset turntable lovers. Tubes and spinning platters are a wonderful pastime for the hobbyist. Constantly cleaning records and replacing tubes can provide hours of enjoyment. But if we are boldly going forward towards the momentary suspension of disbelief, let us embrace the future and free ourselves from the world of petroleum platters, shredding tapes, and other museum worthy artifacts.
My enjoyment of the hobby includes the tactile and the kinetic aspects. I like to touch the record and marvel at how it can produce wonderful music. I like placing the stylus in the groove and anticipating the music starting as the turntable spins. I like looking at the covers and reading the liner notes and I like how I can still faintly hear the music coming from the record grooves if I play the record with the amps turned off. To me, records, or vinyl as they are now referred to, are magical, mysterious and amazingly musical. I was fortunate enough to have a career in radio broadcasting where I got paid to play records until the early 1990's. I discovered records before I was 2 years old and 70 years later my love of them has only increased.
Your mileage may vary.
Here is our take on the subject, you have really two ways of looking at the issue.
Point One: The future is streaming It is abundently clear that Tidal or Qbouz or any other non compressed preferably high resolution or at least 16 bit 44k data stream can sound as good or better than an optical disc especially when played on a good dac with a great server.
Point Two: You can easily store via ripping your CD library, this ensures that you have a visual catalog of all of the artists you like, and also can provide for CD’s that are from abstract artists as well as providing titles which may not be available on a streaming service.
Point Three: You gain conveninece, no more getting up to change discs, you can make playlists, no more skipped discs, or skipping or failing lasers, no more stuck trays, continuous background music for partys and events.
Point Four: You gain storage space no more racks of CD’s cluttering up the place.
Point Five: With Roon you can find new artists that the service will recommend to you that are similar to artists you like.
Point Six: With a streaming service you have instant access to both new music, new artists, and other albums from your favorite artists that you don’t already own.
Point Seven: On most servers you have access to internet radio which has some marvelous internet radio stations such as Radio Paradise, Jazz Adore, and many others, all without the noise and drop outs of terreterial radiio.
Point Eight: Roon is a gateway to control and access music via Apple devices, Chromecast, streaming loudspeakers from Naim, NAD, Sonos and many others so you can have one seemless interface and have music controlled and accessable throught your home which can be a great way to encourage a family to listen to and explore great music.
One of the biggest hurdles for the neophyite is ripping, hence we recommend the Innous line of servers which start at $1,200.00.
The Innous is super easy to use, you insert a disc in the slot and boom six-eight mins later your disc pops out and you have added the disc to your library.
So in our opinion there really is no comparison of the two worlds, with the streaming world you can still have your cake and eat it too.
Currently we have about 12TB of music on our server plus the streaming services and although we have had some of the world’s absolute best CD players in the shop, the Esoteric K03, K01X, the T+A PDP 3000HV and others, once you adopt the world of having a ripped cd libray plus a great server, you will probably never want to spin an optical disc again.
For the guys that are using a laptop or a PC connected to a dac there is a world of improved sound quality going to a good server, a PC is not designed to pass a noise free data stream to a dac, the resulting garbarge is one reason why a lot of guys are not prefering the sound of the server over the optical disc, you have to get a good server and usb or ethernet cable.
We would recommend you look at a good dac Mytek Brooklyn Bridge, or an Ifi DSD Pro or a Lumin D2 along with an Innous Zen Mini and for a very similar price to the disc player you can get a product that will span both the past as well as the future.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Innous, Lumin, Mytek, Ifi dealers
As you might suppose I am in agreement generally with audiotroy. Except that you don't have to spend big bucks to rip the disks. I rip disks (with metadata) easily and maintain my library using JRiver. Also, I have discovered that a laptop can give fine and quiet service provided it is a very simple (and inexpensive) one. I use a 14" ASUS with small eMMC storage and with the screen turned off for playback. I believe this works better than a powerful laptop to minimize computer-generated noise. Great laptop for travel too as its simplicity results in very long battery life. Add a 1TB portable HD and you're in business.