I also have a BDA1 which I use with a tube pre and an Arcam DV-137 as transport.. The shrillness could be the DAC/CA combination. I do have some CDs that sound shrill however mostly only early rock ones with analog to digital conversion. Any way you could try out another CD only spinner with the BDA1? A marantz 5004 or 5005 player may make for a better transport at not a great cost ($350).
How many CDs do you have, and have you considered a network-based approach instead? Yes, I am suggesting going a number of moves ahead, but you might end up there eventually anyway.
Many of the best sounding digital setups revolve around:
- the music on a shared network drive aka NAS (Network Attached Storage)
- a router to distribute through your home via ethernet cable, wireless wifi, or through power line adapters plugged into a/c outlet
- a network-based player which can be a specially purposed device, mac or pc, a dac
- wireless device to use as remote(i.e. tablet and/or phone).
The advantages are numerous and arguably provide additional flexibility in the future. Within your budget you could leap significantly in sound quality and gain elegance & simplicity in user interface. I'll shut up now. Cheers,
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I was hoping to avoid going the music-server route at least for now even though I know it's the wave of the future (if not the present) and may very well give me the quality I'm seeking. Since I'm a former managing partner in a local CD store, I'm still pretty attached to the physical objects, and I think my collection approaches 1200 discs. Also I'm at that point in my life when I'm getting resistant to having to learn whole new technologies. I'm aware of the PS Audio PWT and how good it is (from the reviews, at least) but even in the used market, it's over budget.
If that's the case, I'd suggest that it wouldn't be worth it to upgrade the transport alone. I'd rather see the money go into a dac if yours wasn't up to snuff, but I don't have any experience with the Bryston and know it's got plenty of fans around here.
An in-home borrow or demo would be the way to go for sure. Cheers,
The PS Audio PWT is a top tier transport, the sound quality is wonderful. You can find them used for under 2K. You have a large CD collection and the PWT would represent excellent value. DACs get the vast majority of the attention yet many people who are digital knowledgeable say the transport is as important if not more so. I purchased a PWT used nearly 7 years ago and it has been superb in my system.
drubin - I have a Pro-ject CD Box RS CD transport and it is very good. It is likely better with the Pro-ject Box RS Uni power supply - I have been unwilling to spring for it.
Though there may well be one, I have not encountered a player serving as a transport that was as good as a dedicated CD transport. There are noticeable differences among transports as well.
I have tried the Oppo BDP-83 (predecessor to the Cambridge/93) and it is a rather bright/harsh sounding transport. Even a really cheap Sony BDP bluray player has a vastly superior coax output (much smoother with more bass and body - less bright harshness). I’ve had bad experiences with earlier Pioneer bluray transports as well. You could try upgrading to a Oppo 103 (as these are much better as transports and it will send 24/192 over the coax! - also has much more music formats / streaming). At $500 and with the Oppo 30-day return policy, it’s almost a no risk / no brainer.
Bryston stuff can have a tendency to sound bright/shouty - try a fuse upgrade to something like a Isoclean or Synergistic RED. (The REDs have less resolution if you need to back off on the high frequencies) Make sure your digital coax is at least 1.5M (I use 6 feet). Shorter digital cables will cause reflections and the sound can be brighter - makes a mess of the sound.
Also, CD music may sound harsh/shrill due to the limited 16-bit resolution. A nice tube preamp (like mesch) or a Class A preamp can help tame and smooth over some of this very limited 16-bit resolution.
I am currently using a Cambridge CXC cd transport with an Auralic Vega DAC and for $500, the CXC/Vega sounds much better than I expected. I replaced an old Krell KV 300cd that could no longer be repaired. I was going to buy an AYRE CD player but could not justify the cost. Besides, who knows how long it will be supported by the manufacturer.
A transport could help. I don't think it will reduce the treble of CDs per se - you shouldn't be losing that information anyway - but it can make the highs sound smoother while solidifying the foundation of the music (mid-bass down) which will balance the sound. Usually high jitter/bad transports sound very thin and weak which makes any recording brightness harder to take. Think of it more in terms of overall balance rather than one particular thing.
Your poor experience with Blu-Ray transports does not surprise me. The clock circuits in video players is a lot messier compared to a dedicated Redbook player/transport that only needs a fixed clock for 44.1k.
I don't have a ton of experience with transports but the best I have used was a now-discontinued April Music Stello top-loading CD player. With a Monarchy NM24 DAC, it was miles better than a mid-priced audiophile CD player (maybe Atoll) that my friend had. But my Onkyo DX-7555 CD player, which has a "high precision clock," was a close second and made a very musical transport that I was happy with. Unfortunately I tossed it because it was too big to fit in my cabinet, and replaced it with the cheaper C-7030 (~$150) which isn't nearly as good. I'd be willing to bet their C-7070 (~$700) is a pretty good transport for the money, but in that price range the Cambridge CXC is probably a better bet - it's on my list to try.
Another thing to try is a PLL/signal conditioner like the Monarchy Audio DIP. Get the Classic one, without oversampling. It greatly reduces the gap between a mediocre and good transport and can add a lot of body to the sound. And yes, SPDIF cables do make a difference, as much as I hate to admit.
BTW, I am leery of spending a lot of money on a transport because at their heart is a mechanical system (the actual transport) which is prone to wear and breakdown, and with those parts becoming an endangered species repairs may be difficult and not cost effective. It's good to hear someone's PS Audio PWT is holding up well though.
If all you want to do is play CDs, this, from Sparkler Audio comes under your budget. I listened to it through headphones at the Newport show and it sounded rather nice.
The designer used to work with 47 Labs and you can see it in his model.
It comes with the 16 bit NOS DAC but you might be able to get just the spinner if that is all you need.
All the best,
Thanks again for the opinions and advice. I'm actually pretty fond of my Bryston DAC with its pure class A output circuits. It's a huge step up from the DACs I've had (including a PS Audio DL III with mods). (I may even someday consider a BDA3, as it also has HDMI inputs and DSD capability). The CA universal player is a really good for video, especially with Bryston doing the heavy lifting for sound. That's why I'm thinking transport rather than a CD player--just to lift the sound of CDs that one step higher. The weight of opinion seems to favor PS Audio's PWT, and I'll certainly keep my eyes open for that, but I'm still interested in any opinions about Cyrus (the availability of which seems pretty limited in the US), if anybody's actually experienced one. The reviews are very positive.
For a great cd transport the 47 Labs Flatfish is a good choice. I have mine modified with a super clock and custom battery power supply. I have yet to hear anything better including computer audio. Unfortunately mine is in a box since I lost my listening room. At your limit of 2k you could find one used.
Ask around on other forums like Audio Circle about the Cyrus your considering.
Cooper52, I initiated a thread with the intent on focus toward CD players that make for good transport. Now thinking it to be overly redundant with this thread. I wish to defer to yours and will say so in my thread.
I would think that the Cambridge CXC would serve better than the 751BD for CD playback. This I don't know as fact, however if true I would like to hear further from others as to the reasons.
Cooper52 6-15-2016 3:05 pm EDTSo it sounds like you have the analog outputs of the player connected to the integrated amp, and the coaxial S/PDIF output of the player connected to the DAC, with the analog outputs of the DAC connected to the integrated amp.
I’m thinking that a simple experiment that may be worth trying would be listening to CDs with the analog outputs of the 751BD disconnected. I’m envisioning the possibility that having both digital and analog connections between the player and other components in the system might be conducive to ground loop effects that would cause or contribute to jitter in the DAC. And in fact I can recall a thread here a few years ago in which the sonic issues that were being addressed turned out to be the result of having multiple connections between components.
If that reduces the problem to a satisfactory degree, we can discuss further how to implement a permanent solution.
Also, I’ll second the earlier suggestions that it may be worthwhile trying a different length and type of digital cable, even a much less expensive one.
Good luck. Regards,
Here’s the present hookup: Nordost digital coax between the CA and the Bryston DAC, Audioart XLR between DAC and amp, plus Clarus Aqua RCAs between the CA and the amp for the express purpose of playing SACDs (the Bryston DAC doesn’t handle DSD). Per your suggestion, Al, I’ve done some experimenting with different combinations of the above, including disconnecting the RCAs. If that made any difference, I couldn’t hear it, but just for fun I did some A/B testing between XLR and RCA (those same Clarus Aquas) connections from DAC to amp, and I suppose it’s no surprise that the XLR won that contest hands-down. Next step, I guess, is to try some other digital cables and see if that has the desired effect. That’s an experiment that has the potential to get pretty expensive.
I also have a bryston Dac 1 and use a Roksan Caspian m1 cd player as a transport, the advantage of this cd player is that it has 3 digital outputs AES/EBU, Coax, and toslink. Imho the the Bryston DAC sounds better through AES/EBU (110 ohm balanced digital). I use a Wireworld gold starlight 5.2 for this, and sounds better than with the Oyaide coax, that I also have connected and can compare on the fly.
This thread has gotten me really interested in a new transport... the Onkyo C-7030 I'm currently using, while serviceable, isn't a world-beater by any means, and understandably sounds inferior to my previous DX-7555 player as a transport.
I'm not sure I'm willing to go all-out with the PS Audio PWT. Was going to go affordable with the Cambridge CXC, but now considering stepping up to a C.E.C. TL-5 ($2k) as a longer-term investment. They're still made in Japan and I've heard they last forever. Cambridge, OTOH, isn't know for their reliability...
Anyone audition a TL-5 before? I know there are reviews that say the PWT trounces the TL-5100, but then there are reviews stating that the TL-5 trounces the Tl-5100 as a transport, so maybe it is a little closer... not that I put a lot of stock in reviews or anything... :)
Im not familiar with your partucular Cambridge Audio player but maybe this will help. Due to the differences in the size of the pits or burned surface of DVDs and CDs, they require the reading laser to send a light beam of different wavelengths to read the information on each type of disc.
To accomplish this, a DVD player is equipped with one of two things: A laser that has the ability change its focusing accurately based on DVD or CD detection or, more commonly, a DVD player will have two lasers, one for reading DVDs and one for reading CDs. This is often referred to a Twin-Laser Assembly as is usually listed in the spec sheet for DVD players that have them.
Nutty, thanks for the information. I did some poking around and couldn't find any reference to a twin-laser assembly in my 751BD in the owner's manual. The very detailed 6 Moons Audio review (http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/cambridge/1.html) makes no mention of it either, but does briefly refer to the signal being read by a "modified universal Sony drive." One assumes that if it did have such a feature, it would have been loudly touted in the literature.
On a different subject, my Wyred4Sound reclocker arrived yesterday and I've had only a little time to listen to what it does. First impressions are extremely favorable though. I'll detail this in a separate thread in the next few days, after some more thorough listening.
cooper52, and others in copy.
Years ago, when I was shopping for a new CD player my local vendor emparted some of the information I posted above. Also on disc players, the motor slows gradually as it reads the disc from the center to the outer edge....CD's play at a lower RPM than DVD's. I suppose all transports are not created equally. And some are created specifically. Perhaps the OPPO BD 105 has a dual transport, judging from all of the glowing reviews.
That promised review of the Wyred4Sound reclocker is now posted in the Member Reviews section. It's been up for a while now, and it does contain a bit of misinformation (sorry!) that I acknowledge in the subsequent discussion, but as it stands, this little gadget has, for now, put my search for a new transport on the back burner.