Harsh Transport

In a second system I have a Denon dm380 cd changer as a transport with a Bel Canto 2 dac doing the D A duties. Lately the music has been sounding harsh and dull at certain points. High frequencies especially are starting to sound really strained. Is it the Denon? I'd like to keep a changer in this system. Are there better changers to use as a transport. This set up sounded very good for a long time,then all of a sudden this. Wire I'm using is Shuntata Aries rca's and Stereovox digital. This does not happen with any other disk players I have. Thanks for the help.
More than likely the denon, they are a bit lean and plastic sounding sometimes as transports.. I can tell you I have been bouncing around transports, many variations of the basic concept of a disc reader can render far different results, as of a week ago I refound the fact a dac you get so use to soundwise can always give a different flavor when you change the transport, and also found some effect with digital cables.

Also the power cords in my case have had some more dramatic effects, I tried a transport once with a 12 gauge silver coated copper PC and found it hard and thin, then I decided to go try a 10 gauge copper with shield power cord and it added much weight and midrange warmth to the same Transport with perfectly balanced sound. The dac is effected too by power cords, but in my experience to a smaller degree than the transport itself.

I know it seems silly and well it is just a laser with a clock and digital out circuit, but it is effected by power supplied to it. And if in some way your power happened to fluxuate in the wall and one day it sounds pretty good and another it is something wrong and you changed nothing, it is probably from voltage drops in the house, it happens to me and I can pretty much now pinpoint the times it just sounds better during the day..

Damn I need dedicated lines one day. But I had weird things happen when they do some power work in the neighborhood and then all of a sudden my sensitive gear changes tone.. But this has not happend since they installed a new transformer on my street about a year ago.
when I had the DAC2, I tried it with my Marantz cd changer and the combo just plain sucked. I have a $60 Philips dvd player that I tried and it was a huge step up soincally over the changer. Then I got the Sony S7700 and it took it to another level. However, I also had a Stereovox HDXV cable and did not like it(found it OK but nothing specail). I ended up with Virtual Dynamics NiteII and the highs were silky smooth, yet extended and detailed. Great sounding digital cable. One of the best I heard. Then I upgraded to Virtual Dynamics Master and it was another huge step up. This combo - S7700+Master+DAC2 is extremely hard to beat. With NiteII cable it was awesome too. So, yeah, your transport is contributing to harsh sound. Also, if you plan on keeping this dac, or go with separates for while, then seriously consider Virtual Dynamics digital cables. Also, Audience powerChord had a nice effect on the DAC2 as far as eliminating harshness. You have to try different things with this dac. It is excellent. And responds well to transports, power cords and digital cables.
I have a dedicated 20 amp line for the system and it does sound better at night. I'm trying different IC's to see if I can cure the problem. This doesn't happen on every disk and the Shunyata Aries sound so good. The power cord on the dac is a Zu Cable Birth by the way.
Audphile 1 thanks for the feedback. I have since taken the Stereovox cable out of the mix and put it somewhere else. I replaced it with a digital cable I had laying around from Signal Cable. It really smoothed things out. The Stereovox seems to be a tad bright in system. But like I said ,I do want to keep a changer in the rack. Any Ideas on that?
If I was in the market for a changer right now, I'd consider a music server like the Olive Musica, which is a drop-in replacement for a changer. Here and at AudioCircle there are some comments from users who have attached external DACs and been happy with the result (I think there's even discussion somewhere of the Bel Canto specifically).

I have a Musica, but have not yet gone to an external DAC (hopefully next year!).


In my recent experience, hard drive based audio seems far superior to any low to moderately priced transport. I have yet to be able to test against a really high end dedicated transport, but how many people are interested in spending $5000+ for a unit without a DAC when you can get a Mac Mini for $600?

The sound from my pc is much more liquid and realistic, and lacks much of the edge I am used to with digital. Plus if you are a changer fan for convenience, a pc allows you unlimited access to your music without ever getting out of your chair.

Just my 2 cents.
Well Guy's it would seem that my problem with the sound of my CDP was the fault of one of my son's.(Both grown men). The youngest one brought one of his girls over to watch dads HT. While showing off to said strumpet he went into the on screen menu and started messing around (Anthem avm30)He dumped a lot of extra signal into the cd inputs causing the distortion. He changed a few other things too. Everything is back to what it should be, but he has been banned from the Home Theater room. His mom thinks I'm being to rough on her little darling. Kid's, geez.
Funny! We were all set to help you replace it -- which shows that if you go to a surgeon, they're going to recommend surgery.
PS Audio Ultralink 2 Schematics. Does anyone have a copy? Much appreciated;Robert