This has all the ingredients to make for an Epic Pissing Match Thread.
Gonna be fun to watch! :)
Gonna be fun to watch! :)
Northstar model 192 dac & transport should get you a similar sound to lp playback. It is very detailed and smooth. I can't give you an opinion on the Cary because I haven't heard it. I don't know if you will actually get the "vinyl" sound from any digital but the Northstar was the closest I heard in presentation. Hope you find what you are after.
I am a huge fan of vinyl, I purchase about 600 lps a year, have a nice Nottingham TT, Shelter etc. But, I do think that one can build a very pleasing system with digital. I have an Arcam FMJ 33 CDP. Though there are many much nicer, and more expensive, I find this one to be very musical, detailed, warm and well, vinyl sounding. I have heard great things about the cary, and Ayre. I would also take a look at SACD, I listened to an Esoteric recently with SACD that was very impressive.
I agree with Herman, you won't get better sound than your vinyl, but perhaps your life will be simpler.
For my taste, I like the (tube) Audio Note DAC's, as they're easy on the ear. Perhaps you could buy one used here at Audiogon, drive it with a DVD player and be happy (assuming you already have a DVD to watch movies).
I had the new Cary for audition for two weeks. It has wonderful bass, tight fast and deep, but has a couple of places in the midrange frequencies that were troublesome to my ear, so I was glad to send it back.
For me, digital is better if it's not bright or "in your face." I will accept less than ultimate digital resolution, in favor of being able to listen to more CD's.
Your goals may be completely different, so choose accordingly.
I agree with Baddabob ... I'm running a Krell KPS 20i with a Levinson 360s and I go from amazed to dissapointed by just switching a disc. Most all of my post 1995 CD's are very good to great but some of the 1970's and 80's recordings leave me wondering why I bother. I never had that feeling with vinyl or at least not to the extent that digital formats vary.
Case and point ... The Eagles :
On the boarder - Not good ... in fact bad.
The Long Run - Great sound
Both titles released before the age of the digital formats.
I see many of the classics being reissued and remastered. I'm hoping it will clean up some of the more dismal sounding older titles.
All that being said ... If I had it to do over again I think I'd go with the Cary 306/200 SACD and in fact I still might. I do really like the Levinson DAC but it was spendy and I dont know that a similar sound couldnt be found for less cash. I have heard that Cary has a fantastic build quality and wasnt aware they had build issues. I guess I'll have to do some more reading.
Good Luck ... I'd keep the vinyl however. I'm going back to vinyl as soon as I can make space. I'll keep my CD's as well.
I can't believe no one has mentioned the Exemplar 2900 or Exemplar 3910.
Replace vinyl? I don't know about that, but my Exemplar beats every other unit I've owned. That includes Sony SCD-1, Meridian, Reolution Audio Opus 21, Ayre, and a few others!. The next best I've ever owned was quite good as well: The Electrocompaniet.
I also think that naim cdp is the most vinyl sounding one among commercially available quick solutions. We recently compared cdx2 and ML390s to an analog rig. ML390s has such a dadaist soundprint, so different than analogue, while cdx2 was remarkebly close. None the less, I also urge you to look at Altman dac. I recently heard it. The most life like music was produced by the rig in which was inserted that I have ever heard.