Price range is around 1,200 US. So far I have only considered the Oppo 105D. Current player is a Sony Playstation 1, which sounds better than it has any right to for $30. The player will be the lone source in a bedroom system. Integrated will be Heed Obelisk, small monitor speakers TBD.
@fjn04 I'm responding because of the heading "die hard analog guy". I am enchanted by the sound of LPs as well. I had been using a $1600 Arcam CD player but found myself suffering from listening fatigue on a regular basis. I started reading a lot about disc spinners. I read forum posts, user reviews and professional reviews trying to find a path to a more analog sounding disc player. After all of that research, I concluded that Marantz was the way to go.
Marantz was on the verge of releasing a new model at the time, the SA-8005 SACD player. Its predecessor, the 8004, was very well regarded. The new model was to incorporate more circuit features of the Marantz reference line so I took a leap of faith and ordered the 8005 before it even arrived in the USA. Fortunately when its arrived, I brought it home and let it play around the clock for weeks. I placed the same Herbie Audio Lab Tenderfeet under it and began more intensive listening. It was all I had hoped for and more. Gone is that upper midrange "hash" that overlaid the music through the Arcam. The frequency balance is great. Where it surpassed my expectations was in its soundspace openness. I remain totally satisfied and will listen to a CD or LP for the music I want to hear not the format.
When I read your post I thought of the Marantz SA-8005. Hifiman beat me to it. I have heard it however don't own one. Would if I was looking for a CDP in your budget for the reasons stated by hifiman. Has a smooth warm sound yet detailed enough for my tastes.
I own a Rega Apollo R and a McCormack CDP, both sound very good to me and are in your price range. I would also think about a DAC. I reentered HIFI after a 30 hiatus, using streaming music was the last thing on my mind, but, low and behold, I am listening to it every day.
Thanks for the responses. First to address software. I have a quite a few Redbook CD’s that I would like to play. I am open to streaming, which of course, may contradict my post. The truth is, I’m pretty out of touch with digital. I’ve read several reviews from companies such as Halide, Burson, and of course, Oppo. What I took from them, and people I’ve talked to, is that Streaming (downloading) has better sound than a comparably priced CDP. I may have to make a decision between a CDP or a Streamer. Of course the Oppo would allow me to Stream, as well as spin CD’s. phil9624- I have a Panasonic Blu-Ray and Plasma TV in the bedroom. I would like to improve the video from Netflix, Blu-Rays.... But What I’m trying to figure out is, how much I’d sacrifice w/ the Oppo 105 from a pure audio standpoint. Coincidentally. the Oppo has a switch labeled PURE 2-Channel, which apparently improves the sound when the user is not doing video.
fossda mentions three companies known for their high value to price ratio. IMHO, the Marantz would be the most analog sounding not just for the linearity of its frequency response and smooth texture but also for the dynamics that so many digiphobes find lacking in the medium. I used to own a Rotel CD player. I bought it mostly in reaction to the crappy sounding player that preceded it. It was replaced ASAP because of a lack of dynamic involvement. Cambridge Audio again is high value but the sound flavor varies considerably from one model to the another within their line.
gdhal- I have a local buddy who had the ERC-3, and he liked it very much. He simply went to a much more expensive SACD player from SIM Audio. I've always liked the Gamut amps, and I'm sure that would hold true with their CD Player. I'm just sticking with my price range on this one. I'm even stretching a bit, if I go with the 105D. I figure it's giving me a top-tier Blu-Ray plus excellent Resale value. phil9624- Thanks, and again I'm green when it comes to digital. I had an EAR Acute, and Audio Aero Capitole back in the day, but neither held a candle to analog. In this case, I have no expectation it will come close. I just want to enjoy some digital. Tonality above all else.
I'll second (or third) the Emotiva. I have switched to digital from a server these days, but still wanted a stand a lone player and bought an ERC-3, which I run through my DAC (a Hegel, that does indeed sound better than the on board circuitry on the player).
I had the Emotiva ERC-1 and it was underwhelming(I'd stay away from them since the ERC 1 and 2 both had issues). I upgraded to the Oppo 95, which though an improvement, seemed somewhat harsh at higher volumes, and not organic but too detailed, at least in my system.
After upgrading the speaker cables and pre, I tried the Nad C565BEE, their top of the line from a few years ago. It has a richer lush sound that the Oppo can't compete with. I paid 450 for it used.
I'm sure the 105 is an improvement over the 95, but a cd spinner is not exactly new technology. There is no need to spend 1300 to get top shelf sound, and I'm betting you don't really need a swiss army knife universal player that the 105 is.
Streaming is done for convenience, it is not superior to CDP playback! You can get many devices that will allow streaming. I bought an Apple TV device that does just fine in this regard, $100.
The streaming choice just depends on what inputs your receiver or preamp has.
Just caught a listen to one of the Rega CD players at a dealers. It was pretty darned good. I preferred the Rega table with a $100 cartridge, but still, the CDP was enjoyable. I did make a purchase that day, to get this rolling. I bought a pair of Harbeth P3's. I'm leaning to the Obelisk to power them. For digital, that's the tough one. It seems from reading here and other places, the 105D as a CDP can be beat for less money. I'm also considering the optional DAC card in the Obelisk, and then getting an Oppo for a transport. I may have to scale back that plan, and do the Oppo 103, being that I will be using the DAC anyway. In the mean time, I have to exhale from the Harbeth purchase. Please keep the great stuff coming (-:
Hi Jfn04, Recently I was in your situation with a CD player . I had a Marantz SA11S1 player that was a wonderful sounding player. It had an on-board computer that crashed and could not be fixed. I loved the sound of that player and decided that I was going to stick with the Marantz brand. When the SA-8005 came out I bought one and after break in , I do not feel that I am missing anything musically with this player. It has that great Marantz sound and is well built. if you check around you can probably pick up a new one for a great price. highly recommended. Carter
If your Sony has a digital out, I would choose a HQ DAC like Schiit. The Sony will spin the CD’s and the DAC will be updated for a much better sound. I tried SACD, was not impressed and not too many discs. Also I have used Spotify and Tidal. You can get very good sound from both with a good DAC running.
If I were to buy a CD/SACD player the Sony SCD-XA5400ES would be at the near top of my list.
I have run a Rega Apollo into a Schiit Bifrost Uber for improved sound. I also run a Sony ES cd player into a Benchmark DAC1 for improved sound.
I would get a good DAC and then an inexpensive transport. You can use the DAC with streamers and other digital sources going forward. OTOH, the Oppo 105 is a pretty good DAC and is in your budget and can perhaps be used as a streamer (I own one but haven’t tried it for that). I don’t know if the Oppo fills your ’analog’ criteria. The are no pops and clicks, speed stability issues, or dust bunnies hitching a ride on a stylus. Nor are there warped lps that gave been sitting in a basement molding away for the last 40 years that will play on it. You do get a significant amount of detail without an overly clinical x Ray feel.
Interesting question, in part due to the claim about how good the PS1 is. I own two of the recommended PS1s, picked up for $5 each from a consignment store. I find them to be terribly inaccurate CD players, with a bloated midrange, rolled off highs, and poorly defined lows. Very easy to pick out in a blind comparison, due to how much they alter the sound as compared to a high quality CD player or DAC. When I played my favorite demo cuts through a PS1 into a high end system, I was shocked by how much they were altered.
A good CD player, and several have been mentioned above, will be far more accurate and defined, capable of producing a beautifully deep, nuanced soundstage.
@fjn04 As someone who has been posting here since the beginning without a commercial interest and in good faith, let me respectfully make a rare statement that I am not sure that much of the advice posted in this thread is current good advice. The exception being to invest more in a better DAC, which will be a good investment regardless of which digital source you choose now & in the near future.
I get the feeling that many of the replies could have been written 10 years ago, and the perspectives don't reflect much experience with the latest in digital sources. Digital network players, fully optimized computers(including special software and upgraded power supplies) and other "appliance" players with built-in hard drives all can and usually will give you superior results to most conventional disc players. This is a more complicated topic than many and much has been written about players from Sonore, Aurender, Aurelic, Melco and others that IMHO turn the digital music paradigm on its head. IMHE, a modestly priced network player, music stored on a NAS and a good DAC can provide staggering improvements in sound quality and increased convenience vs. disc based solutions. It's really worth investigating! I won't derail your thread with specifics about any particular products. If any of the earlier posters here have compared such products and prefer the sound of their disc players, I apologize to you and look forward to hearing why your prefer them. If your advice is based on the inconvenience of ripping discs, I'd encourage you to overcome that challenge and take the plunge. Cheers, Spencer
@sbank : Spencer- you should start a new thread that helps demystify this for readers. I love my records (even some that were natively recorded in digital and/or pulled from digital masters), but there are some obscure records that have never been reissued and are simply unobtanium as original pressings--(one is a four figure record that a friend had remastered on CD years ago. I just want to listen to the music, not make an "investment" in a collector’s item). I’ve stayed out of the digital arena largely because I believed that I could never achieve what I get from analog without spending a comparable sum --and felt the money better spent on the analog side, but I may be ready to take the dive simply because a lot of the material I’m chasing is very hard to find at a reasonable price. Your thoughts might be helpful for a number of readers. Thank you.
Spencer- I think a streamer is what I want to explore. The word THINK in that last sentence, is because I want to research if a streamer has better sound than a CDP in the same price range. In my reading, I've stumbled across the brands you mentioned, along with Chord, Lumin, Bricasti, and Halide. Sure, I'd like to play my 100 or so CD's, but not at the expense of lesser sound quality. This is the door I wanted to open. Perhaps having just CD player in my initial post was a tad incomplete . I apologize for that, and thanks to all for your suggestions. Again, I'm a bit out of touch with CD players, but with streaming, totally green.
If you have that kind of budget, don't buy any CD player at all. A good DAC with destroy the same priced CD player and those at 5X their cost, period. Stop spinning CDs. Moving parts, jitter, optics, laser, motor, etc.
Buy a simple program like dBPoweramp or similar, rip all your CDs in at at least 24/96k FLAC or WAV and prepare to lose your mind when you hear them through the right DAC.
My Eastern Electric tube DAC ($1,350 new), a Line Magnetic tube DAC or used DAC from Chord, Mytek, Ayre, Auralic, etc.
Getting into computer based audio is not that difficult a transition. I use a MAC laptop and can take my music where I need it. I don't think you would have to spend your entire budget on a DAC to accomplish your goal if you go that route.
I had one thought, does the Marantz 8005 have digital input?
Agree... a "decent" DAC can be had for under that budget (used). At the minimum, maybe get a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic Plus (about $500 new), just to get a taste for it.
The computer necessary to simply run the program (Like JRiver) doesn't need to be anything special in terms of CPU, RAM or anything either, or can just be a laptop.
Just kinda need a big hard drive full of music. The computer is just to run the software from and organize the music really.
I use JRiver on a cheap Dell PC (about $350 new) with 8TB of external hard drives attached to it and JRemote on my iPad Mini.... very easy. Sit in your chair with access to tens of thousands of songs AND it will sound better than your CD player.
@fjn04 Yes, some of the brands you mention make nice stuff, but the Bricasti DACs and Lumin network players are well above your stated price range. Not to worry though. It's true like @audiofreak32 and @mesch say that running computer audio (from a PC or Mac) into a DAC is not that hard to do and can be an improvement with good software. I did that for a few years in my case with a Mac running Audirvana+ But for my money, the better sounding and wiser investment is in storing your library on network attached storage(NAS) and playing that music on an ethernet based network player such as the Sonore microRendu, Aurelic Aries, Aries Mini etc. with a quality linear power supply & that fed into the best DAC that you can afford. Supplement your library with Roon and Tidal streaming service music if that's your cup of tea. Many sonic benefits result from using a lower powered single purpose device in the listening room and isolating the music files via ethernet. High quality power supplies in the listening room can have dramatic impact on the digital gear. The only reason to stick with a powerful PC based system is if your are a more hardcore PC enthusiast and you want to tackle running HQ Player and take advantage of its digital signal processing and mega upsampling options(a whole massive topic in itself & more complex than many want!). To get a handle if this approach is a good fit for you I suggest reading Chris Connaker's and Michael Lavorgna's reviews of the Sonore microRendu and watching Hans Beekhuyzen's video reviews of the same and the Aurelic Aries Mini. Cheers, Spencer
@sbank -Thanks. FWIW, re linear power supplies, i was pretty surprised to see how much some of the audiophile ones were (maybe I should not have been). And many of those were limited to one voltage/current output. I bought a decent bench supply of the type used for testing/repair that has variable settings for both voltage and current, a large toroidal transformer, etc. Not a true high end lab quality model, but good enough for my purposes- I am using it to run an Acoustic Revive thingie right now. I can supply a link if anyone is interested.
Running music direct from a hard drive, via USB will be more than adequate. Using an ethernet setup does not automatically make better sound. Setting up a NAS can be very expensive and is far more involved than simply connecting an external USB hard drive to a DAC. The money would be mush better spent on just buying a better DAC.
I defy anyone to actually be able to hear a difference between hi-res files fed from an external USB hard drive and those sent via ethernet from a NAS.
IHME, I heard a difference as did plenty of visitors here and none of us claim golden ears. But I agree with you that if that changing the file storage to NAS is your only change it wouldn't be a great value investment. The bigger difference vs. just changing from external local HDD(via Firewire to Mac) and NAS via ethernet(CAT6A) was getting rid of the Mac(running A+ or Amarra) completely and replacing with a microRendu with a good linear power supply. The digital source can make a critical difference and the better your DAC, the more you will likely appreciate it. 1)Running a lower powered device with cleaner power 2) less process intensive Linux O/S not fighting against many non-audio related processes that run on typical PCs & Macs 3) elimination of disk drive in the listening room (especially if not solid state drive) 4) optical isolation between NAS & audio analog components all improve the sound in most cases. 5) Regen technology and optimized USB output vs. full function computers All these result in sonic improvements that result in more believable digital music. This stuff is discussed elsewhere in greater detail, Cheers, Spencer
I'll be the outlier here. I've dabbled in Computer Audio, and currently use a Bluesound whole home system. I still get my greatest enjoyment from popping a disc into a transport, sending it to a DAC, and enjoy! No operating system hassles, no Drm issues...and my DAC is agnostic about inputs...hard drives and spinning discs sound equally great .
If someone is spending $XXX (say $4,000) total on a front end source...
There is NO WAY any CD player will touch a DAC at that same price.
I stopped spinning CDs about 6 years ago and never looked back... it has been proven to me time and time again by demonstration and in the transformation of friends' systems from CD to DAC. Getting up to search for/change CDs is more time consuming than sitting in a chair with an iPad with access to 25,000 songs at your fingertip.
First things first: audition Naim budget CD player if u can: CD5 or used CD3, these should go for under a thou. My CDS3 or my older CDX cannot beat my Keel-ed Sondek/Aro but they do sound "alive" playing CDs... ripping my collection of a few thousand classical CDs did not work out for me: all the copies of the 9th ended into one folder and its a full-time job to rename tags as No.9, No9, #9, etc...plus with all new boxes ($1 per CD) coming up I do need a CD player... For pop musik a laptop and DAC should suffice, plus considering the amount of compression for the sake of winning the "loundness war" and all the butchering during mastering, even MP3 files sound as good as FLAC. read the last chapter in Schiit Happened by Mike Moffat of Theta Digital: he left the industry when decent DACs became unavailable, Naim bought whatever was left out there in the early 90-ies, so if CD5 is HDCD- compatible, it should sound OK, otherwise a spinner and a decent DAC from, say, schiit, is your ticket..........
Yes, its them! My CDS3 had its laser mech excanged three(!) times by AVOptions, but my older "olive series" CDX works non-stop for 17 years now without any glitches. I am Very happy with Naim service... My experience with Linn was not this pleasurable: when my Linn Classik needed a tuneup (laser sled mech became noisy) the responce was that its 10years old, they won't touch it. I had to fix it myself, got lucky! Same with my Wadia 781i: Wadia response was that if anything happens they will fix it but they don't have spare transports/laser mechanisms. And my Wadia was still under warranty at that time, truly amazing how some companies operate :-( I also had Krell SACD Standard until it died on me, like all those first SACD players from Krell and Musical Fidelity. Loved the looks of McIntosh SACD player but it sounded too "polite" (some call it "fluid") to my tastes, so I sold it here on Audiogon. What else... Bought Linn Akurate but its digital power supply f$&@-ed the rest of my all-Naim system so I had some fun time returning it to my local Linn dealer for a credit. Sorry, I talk too much about SACD players but there is a Lot of excellent SACDs in classical music these days, and the prices are lower than hi-def downloads
In 2010 I switched to computer audio, if found myself never firing up my CD players. I sold them off a couple of years ago, but they were both very good for the money... Don't remember either model number, but One was an NAD... I know that it was an upper end BEE model... The second that I had was an MHZS Tubed player. I found a bunch of threads for mods and I modded the crap out of the MHZS... It was a great sounding player.
I had a friend over to listen who is solely a digital guy. He uses a Marantz SA11/3, which of course is up near $4000. I hope I have the model correct, but I believe the latest iteration SA11….His friend uses a Dac from a well respected manufacturer, which is in the $2000 range. I don't want to mention the name, because I didn't officially get the green light to share this on a forum. Anyway, this guy with the Dac has an SA 8005. He says the Dac is better than the SA8005 alone, but not much better. I have no idea what this guys system is like, but with north of $3k in digital, I figure it must be pretty good.
Has anyone had a chance to compare the Marantz SA 8005 and the UD 7007 for audio quality? Intuitively, you'd expect the 8005 to win as none of the cost is 'wasted' on blu-ray or DVD; but the 7007 seems to have better S/N and dynamic range specs.
Very happy with my Cambridge 851C. It is so close to my table, I use it more often unless I'm in the mood to go through the process of spinning vinyl. It's not a forgiving player, so if the quality of the recording is poor it's not going to fudge things. The previous 840C is a little more forgiving and still a fine player, but it's not as refined as the newer player. I am running SR Black fuses in my 851C which brought it to another level, but even with the stock fuses it's still an outstanding player. As with any of these better to players, they require proper cables to bring out the best they have to offer so be prepared to spend a little extra to get there. Very versatile player, with a strong DAC and preamp if you ever want to use it with a NAS, computer or feed an amp directly.
I just got another SACD (Marshall Crenshaw, ) and a DVD-A (Freddie King) yesterday. $19 each. Also ordered a SACD/DVD combo set of Ricki Lee Jones SERMON ON EXPOSITION BLVD from Amazon for $15! Didn't even know it existed. Keep the faith!
Responding at this point, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but here goes.
If you like the idea of playing a record, the ritual of looking through your collection, pulling a record out, placing it on the turntable and cleaning it, etc., you may want to go with a CD player. My advice in that case it is to go with a decent CD player, such as the Marantz 6006 and spend the rest on a DAC.
Otherwise, you should probably go with a music player or music server. Overall, it is probably going to cost more, but it has the potential of sounding better than the CD solution.
Let us know what you make your decision and what you actually purchase.