A CDP can make a world of difference to the sound of your system. I have been through a few CDPs since I bought my first years ago. Each one brought a new diminsion to the sound. More information, better presentation, better overall performance. had it not, I would still have my first one. But with advances in clocking, D/A conversion, laser technology, transports, the list goes on. You have a good system and the basis to hear the differences. Pick out your budget and start researching which player you want.
A system is only as good as its weakest link.Each component,the cables,positioning,and the room are all important as is the symmetry of all put together.Linn always felt that the earliest components in the chain were the most important(the table was more important than the arm,which was more important than the cartridge...).If that logic is followed,the CD player or source component is the most important piece in a digital system.I have a half dozen Good CD players and DACs and they all sound different.
While the previous posts are correct, IMO, you can only appreciate quality source components if your downstream gear and speakers are resolving enough to let the better source gear shine. My own experience, in which I upgraded from an entry-level CDP that retailed for $500 to a well-regarded tube CDP that retailed for twice as much, underlined this point. I could not hear a lick of difference between the two CDPs. The more expensive unit went back. Since then, I've upgraded my amp, preamp, and tweaked the system a bit. I am in the process of upgrading speakers now. Once that is done, I will revisit the digital source upgrade.
IMO, your gear is very capable of resolving the differences between CDPs. I would focus on home auditions that allow you to compare your current CDP with others, using familiar discs. If you feel any improvement is worth the added expense, go for it. You can also keep the Cambridge as a transport, and try out stand-alone DACs. Many new models are on the market from well-known manufacturers who have never before offered a separate DAC (Sim Audio, Cary, et. al.) This will give your system some added flexibility for the future. Just remember to use a respectable digital interconnect.
A wise person once told me that preamp, cables, amp or speakers will not PUT BACK what is not there from the start when asked about the importance of a great source.
A lot, but so does everything else. There really is something to system matching. That said, I would have to ask what you feel you are missing that a new CDP would bring to the table.
Youve got some nice gear, however both the CJ and the B&Ws have a very unique house sound. I have found CJ preamps to be overly dark, and slow (IMHO based upon personal experience with the Premier 3 and the Premier 14). Ive also found the B&W to be a tab dark for my liking, unless properly matched (based upon poorly executed dealer demos).
FWIW, Id rather have a mediocre CDP with a great pre/amp/speaker combo, than the other way around (a great CDP with a mediocre pre/amp/speaker combo) any day.
Transnova said all and said it well.
Garbage in garbage out!
I usually try to select a component upon the needs of my system's needs first, and my preffs second.
As personal preffs go, I'll vote otherwise for the CJ & BW items the other poster said were 'dark' sounding to hem. I found nothing muddy or unclear with either items... CJPV14 or BW 804s. Not at all.
Perhaps if some other digital sources are in or about to be in the mix, a DAC might be in order to seek out. A great DAC will escalate the perfomance of of and improve upon, the current levels of the now CDP. Albeit a very good DAC IMO begins around $1K new, and goes up from there. So there's that to think about.
What does your rig need? What do you want yourself, sound wise? Well, then, there's your direction.
My audiophile friend of 30 years in the biz, both in audio and studio recording, summed that what you heard from your stereo was comprised of 70% speakers, 20% room and 10% components. This is probably pretty close. I might take a few % points from the speakers and give a little more to room and maybe a couple ticks more to components, but speakers by themselves certainly are at 50% or more.
Cambridge digital in general is pretty good. You may have to spend quite a bit to get better, or maybe even just different, but not necessarily better.
Agree with Tholt. Modern electronics and digital technology has resulted in there being less differences between source/preamp/amp (once you reach a decent level like a Cambridge CD player) than with room and speakers.
Choice of speakers and the room can make night and day differences...one cd player versus another is often a matter of degree in quality and clarity or "flavor".
As a follow up if you haven't treated the room, as unsexy as that may sound, one cd player from another won't ever sound as good as they could, nor your system for that matter.
Source first and balance is best. I have heard small speakers sound great with good quality source and electronics.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to my question. I think I read the general concenses is that I would have to spend major bucks to see much of an improvement. We keep lokking for that "perfect" sound that is always just beyond tge last dollar we have invested. But that is what makes this sport such a challnge. Thanks again Jacknorth1178
a master tape with whatever compoents will still soujnd like a master tape. whereas the best components in the world with a problematic recording can be a disaster.
the answer to your question is to find the best recordings and not worry about the components you have.