Strange that I am caught up in this quandary in this digital streaming age. I currently have an Oppo BDP-95 as my CD player and Blue-Ray video player. It plays through a coax connect to my Auralic Vega G2 DAC with a HDMI connect to my TV with HDMI audio off. The sound seems good through my B&W 800D3 with McIntosh C1100 pre-Amp/ MC1.25KW mono blocks. So I don’t use the Oppo DAC in the current set-up.
I visited the McIntosh dealer today and really liked the MCD600 playing on his set-up. Question to the group here:
Should I be looking to upgrade my Music CD player from the Oppo? If yes, should I be looking at a transport MCT500 and let the Auralic Vega G2 (DAC) play on like the set-up with the Oppo. This will remove any possibility of playing a SACD through the set-up as the MCT500 (like the Oppo) does not pass on the DSD quality through its coax. Or should I go in with the MCD600 which has a built-in DAC and connect it to my C1100 and then retain the option of playing a SACD?
Price difference between the options is $2,500 between the MCT500 and MCD600 as I end up having two high quality DACs in my system (3 if I count the Oppo which I will have to retain due to Blue-Ray video).
I do not have the option to demo either of the MCT500 or MCD600 against the Oppo to compare and I listen to CD music around 2 hours a week, so not too much and not too little.
I want to have the best sounding music from my system, so quality comes before any other consideration. Happy to hear views from people who might have heard through any of the above combos.
"Should I be looking to upgrade my Music CD player from the Oppo?" No. If your primary consideration is "I want to have the best sounding music from my system, so quality comes before any other consideration" then consider consider replacing the CD player with a quality server and network player. Given you own a Vega dac, the Aries would be a good candidate. A QNAP or Synology server are both quality options. There are many considerations such as using ethernet cables and linear power supplies, and the difference between mediocre and very good digital lies in those details. There are many threads of others in similar situations. Spend some time reading the archives to get a sense of their experiences doing similar. Many will say to upgrade the dac, but that is always an option and everyday they do get better in general. @elizabeth You are right about one thing. You are cranky today ;-) Cheers, Spencer
Thanks for all the suggestions. I already have the Auralic Aries G2 as a streamer and the Leo GX clock to go with the Vega G2 DAC. So I am comfortable I have a very good digital source and DAC combo. I question was mainly about playing CDs. No matter how much other media catches up I find myself spending at least some time with CDs and hence the current quandary.
cd318 - Have you actually heard the Oppo BDP-95 and the McIntosh options to say there is no difference?
mahler123 - I am not intending to change my DAC as it works very well along with the Master Clock. So the CD player is the only one (if at all) that I might consider changing
elizabeth - That's what is the easiest option and my mind is drifting towards that.
dave_b - yes that's what's putting me under pressure to ensure I get the best out of my MC1.25s and 800D3s
sbank - I would like only currently look at my CD player as my streaming set-up is quite nice now.
@sudhirgoel, no I have not heard either of the CD players in question but out of all the ones I have heard (Kenwood, Sony, Arcam, Marantz, Cambridge etc) my experience is that the differences in sound quality were minimal. And not related to cost either.
Whether there is an actual difference between the BDP-95 and MCD600 you can only determine by comparing the two side by side, and I can only give you my opinion.
No experience with the Mac, so I can't say if that specific piece will be "better". I have my Oppo 203 playing through my Auralic Vega and it sounds very good, but my Marantz KI-Pearl sounds much better and it plays SACD.
If you want to take a step up in sound quality, there are better players than Oppo, and if SACD is important to you, then you need to make a change.
That's unfortunate you can't get an in-home demo of the Mac. Look into what the return policy is.
@sudhirgoel, I'm glad to hear it, just remember the old trick about volume matching. If you could take a few notes, say on your phone, and share your findings with us I'm sure it would be much appreciated.
The dealer can insist on what he/she likes, but the 2 most 'different' CD players I heard were the Rega Saturn and the Linn CD12.
Through some medium sized bookshelf speakers on stands, can't remember make but I recall they had ribbon tweeters, the Saturn had an almost chocolatey smooth propulsive bass. The Linn CD12 had a huge image through an all Linn system.
Very difficult to say if they were actually better or just different.
All of the rest sounded pretty much alike. Have fun.
Years ago I compared my Oppo 95 against a new then McIntosh MCD500. Since it was easy to do, I brought the 95 to the dealers showroom and made the comparison. I thought the MCD500 was so much better that I left the showroom with a new MCD500. I believe the MCD600 would be even better. I now have an Oppo 103, 105D and 205 but these are only used for movies and video. Just to throw in some confusion, I did sell the MCD500 for a Esoteric K-03 and then to a K-01x which I preferred even more.
I also have a C1100 but with MC2301 mono's. I believe once you upgrade you CD player you will have a fantastic system.
Thanks all again for spending time on my question and helping me make a decision.
big_greg - Thanks very much and I am also inclined to think similarly
cd318 - Will do as much as possible
elizabeth - No problem at all and sorry for being a novice else I would have figured the language
mcgal - Wow. Thats exactly what I wanted to hear. I buy McIntosh stuff because I have a very friendly dealer, I love the looks and it goes very well with my other equipment
twoleftears - My McIntosh preference is quite clear by now but I appreciate if you think the sound would be better with other brands. Please could you recommend me a specific CD player in each of those brands that you think would perform better than the MCD600. I normally will only buy stuff that have auth dealers in Hong Kong so I can get after sales support for expensive equipment. So thats also a pre-condition.
I have scheduled time with the dealer on Sat and am looking forward to it. Have a good day/ evening all of you wherever you are and enjoy your music.
Since I spin discs rarely these days I'm not presented with the transport dilemma. One you may want to consider is the PS Audio DMP. Recently discontinued (utilized Oppo drives) you would have to see if any dealers have new stock or find used. I have it's predecessor, the PWT, which sounds very good but the DMP is a definite upgrade. McIntosh makes great stuff, and I agree, looks fantastic. I am intrigued that you ended up with an Auralic G series stack. I have the Aries G2 streamer feeding a PS Audio Directstream Dac with Snowcloud firmware. Prior to the Aries, I was streaming through a Bridge II. The Aries was a major improvement in every respect. Very little information out there and even less possibility of a home Auralic demo. I am very interested to know what you had prior to the Vega/Leo and your specific thoughts as to what they added to the musicality (read emotional attachment) of your system's presentation. I am very tempted to replace the Directstream and feed my preamp with all Auralic. The few things I've read claim the this front end transforms from a hi fidelity presentation to the a live performance in your living room or the best seat in the venue. Any light you can shed on this would be much appreciated.
I demoed the Esoteric Grandioso K1 and that CD/ SACD player trumps all other players and the Auralic digital stack hands down. The CDs sound so much more fuller than the streaming songs. No comparison at all.
I moved to the Auralic stack from my earlier MacBook source/ Classe SSP-800 DAC. The improvement was dramatic. I first installed the Aries G2, then the Vega G2 and then the Leo GX. The main difference was the detailing on using the Aries & Vega. The Leo made a big difference in the soundstage. The music sounds much larger and you hear far more details.
I would truly recommend you to also add an audiophile CD/ SACD player and hear music through that once in a while. It's awesome.
Given the rest of your system why don't you buy the Esoteric Grandioso K1 and be done with it. Are you going to be happy with the MCD600 considering you can't "unhear" the Esoteric transport? I appreciate discovering the absolute best source or front end because it is so vital in the playback chain. And, your recommendation... However, my quest to be entirely satisfied (when is an audiophile completely satisfied?) with streaming. I have a lot of discs, but not a lot of desire to feed a tray (probably why I gave up vinyl as well). Streaming is getting so good, and with both Tidal and Qobuz subscriptions, the libraries are almost bottomless. My system is at the point of resolve that a cable can make as much or more of an improvement than a new component. I am really keen on your experience with Auralic. My Aries G2 was more than a significant upgrade. Auralic is producing groundbreaking gear -in my estimation- which is quite a feat for any company. My dilemma is either go with a full G2/Gx stack or wait for the PS Audio TSS dac. I have a lot of respect for PS Audio and Ted Smith and their ability to get digital right.
Congratulations! Enjoy, I'm sure it sounds fantastic. Seems like the Leo GX will be the foundational piece (and most expensive) with upgrades to G3, G4 etc.. One thing PS Audio does that is super cool is update the FPGA with new software updates crafted by Ted Smith. On the fence for that reason. I have been through enough of these free upgrades to understand it's not just hardware but programming that drives sonic performance. On the other hand, Auralic with their solid billet chassis...