No matter what people will tell you the CD (as it stands right now) cannot come close to the same sound as a good vinyl setup can produce.CDs are convenient,and there are some good ones,but a well recorded Lp will always satisfy more.
Consider the 47Labs Shigaraki DAC and use your Marantz as a transport.I don't really know how to quantify "LP sound" like but if it's the natural ease and flow of vinyl that you're after, the Shigaraki is about as close as you'll find for the money.I believe retail is $1250 but you should be able to find one used for well under your $1K.
A simpler less costly approach than a major component upgrade that you might consider is the rethinking the method of isolation that you use, if any.You can make significant gains here esp with moderately priced digital as these machines tend to use less sophisticated suspensions and less robust construction & attention to resonance management.
Try a Jolida JD-100 tube cdp and experiment with tube-rolling for a warm sound.
Sorry,I haven't heard a CD player that sounds close to an LP.
I haven't heard one, and that includes some good ones -- including Forsell Air w/Levinson DAC and Electrocompaniet.
I have also found, when I turn CD's up loud, they hurt my ears. In addition, you don't get the broad sound stage and life to the music that LP's give you.
That said, the Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1 is a very good sounding player. You also might want to consider a DAC with your Marantz, as Ken suggests. He's also right about isolation. I've found Symposium Rollerblocks under my CD player to offer significant gain in smoothness at the top end.
BUT -- don't expect to get anything that sounds like a record.
Suggestion: pick up one of the lower-priced Sony SACD/CD players. I think you'll find SACD much closer to LP sound than any CD player under $2K. And the CD sound of these machines isn't bad (probably better than your Marantz). Good luck. By the way, the CJ player isn't the answer.
There are no absolutes in audio. Just because someone on an audio board says that cd playback can never be as good as vinyl playback doesn't mean squat.Use your own ears and come to your own conclusions. Some people might equate good sound to lack of noise (i.e. LP playback pops and ticks) and find a good, non-fatiguing cdp the answer to musical satisfaction. Let your own ears be the judge as far as what pleases you when listening to your favorite music.
You probably have "bright" audiophile type speakers and there is a particular drop off in your cartridge that offsets the tizziness that is inherent in you speakers. (It probably does sound better.) Don't use cables as tone controls, I bet you would find your analogue dull sounding when you made the switch. I have heard a few speakers [that were favored by many on these boards] that hurt my ears, so bad that I would not listen to music if that was all that was available. Borrow some other speakers and see if you still find the cd painful. (There are plenty of poorly produced discs that I can't listen to, even with my system, so be sure to get a good one.) There is nothing wrong with a good redbook cd, IMHO, (and also in the opinion of some of the finest recording engineers around.)
Enjoy your music,
A Cary 303 couldn't be blamed for system brightness, and I doubt, relative to a TT, that it would be bright in a decent system. Its hard to make all the sources happy, but the Cary's tonal balance might work out. Good luck.
PS- Even the ol' CD12 doesn't sound much like vinyl.
pickup a used musical fidelity X10D "the missing link" tube buffer for 125.00 give or take. might just solve your problem without major issues involved. kurt
Like Charlie, I listen to cds all the time. (I also have a turntable to listen to old records.) Except for the occasional bad cd, I never have any fatigue or pain. Nothing bright. And I don't like bright. My speakers are not rolled off. I have measured them. Very extended. I use primarily meridian cdps, but I don't have a problem with a denon cdp in my office either. The difference between analog and digital nowadays has nothing to do with listenability or absence of fatigue. Cds are easy to listen to (except those BMG copies, or whatever they are).
I have done many comparisons with the CD and LP medium.
It all comes down to the quality of the recording!
My experience has been that a high-end analog system will
beat a high-end digital system almost every time if......
the analog source is totally tricked-out. Normal everyday listening (to include critical listening) is far more rewarding with the CD player given time and resource contraints.
The digital that I have heard that sounds closest to an LP is $37k MBL digital front end. The problem is that the digital medium of the CD is in itself flawed. I really do not think a CD is ever going to sound like an LP. SACD and beyond medium MAY be a different story.
Yes, I'm in general agreement with you guys. CD's can be a bit annoying compared to a nice turntable, HOWEVER I also agree you don't want to ruin the good thing youv'e got going with your analog rig by changing speaker cables, etc just to tame the disc spinner.
you may want to try other interconnects to tame the cd player without altering the turntable sound. JPS ultraconductor has a very controlled, low distortion sound that may match up very well to the Marantz (or maybe not but it's worth a try). Also some of the cheapo Monster interconnects ($20-$40) might do the trick (although they are ridiculed in hi-end circles).
Other thing to do is try changing placement and/or isolation method for the cd player. This has worked wonders for me many times (REMEMBER: all cd players contain sensitive preamps to raise the signal to line level). I use Audioquest sorbothane feet and thy're great for cd!
If you are still frustrated at this point try to find a Musical Fidelity X-Ray. Not the last word in accuracy but very euphonic and warm, but still musical enough to keep you listening.
I used to use the cd63 in my system (as a transport). It isn't a great transport unfortunately. If you do get a dac, which is the cheapest way to do what you want, you'll want to pick up a reclocking device ($100, used). That being said, I think the comment about SACD is right. It's so much closer to analog.... but there's hardly any music on sacd - at least if you're looking for normal, mainstream releases, not 'audiophile' discs which seem to be made for people to listen to their systems, not the music (yeah, there are a few exceptions...). Bottom line: I've seen sony 777es (not the multi-channel) sacd/cd players here for under $1500: they sound very analog-y on regular cds (redbook) and with sacd, it's a whole order (or two) of magnitude better. They take forever to break in, so if you get a chance to audition one, make sure it's played a couple hundred hours at least. (By the way, do you leave your cd player on all the time? That's a huge difference right there.) Good luck.
I second Taters response above. The engineering and production of the LP or CD really does determine how it will sound on a high end system. I have remastered Rudy Van Gelder produced jazz CD's originally recorded in the late 50's that kill stuff recorded today. The LP equivalent is fantastic too as compared to some of the more recently released pressings. Unfortunately, poorly produced recordings will always be the weak link in our musical enjoyment and systems, whether in LP or CD format. I have LPs that sound inferior to the CD, so...it's personal.
I third tater's response. Asian pressed CDs sounds best to my Asian ear. There is also a thread claiming Aussie recordings are damn good. American CDs are awful and cost me a bundle in upgrading digital front end. I am getting a Parasound CDP-2000 with belt drive transport hoping to get off this awful sounding CD merry-go-around.
I too suffered the CD hurts my ears problem, especially on high-pitched instruments like flute, soprano sax, violin and upper register piano. Like you, at first I thought it was the CD setup. Upgrading to a dedicated DAC and then a transport certainly made things more tonally balanced and musical. But the hurt didn't vanish until I switched pre-amps, in my case from a Forte 44 to a Threshold Fet 10.
My guess is when the amplification components are faced with resolving the high signal-to-noise signals of CD but lack the quality to do so, instead those components will produce hurtful noise and distortion. It makes sense that this happens at the frequency extremes, where the proper extension is most difficult to achieve. For years, LP and tube gear cleverly avoid this problem by rolling off the high end signals so the amps never have to deal with them.
So I agree, don't foul up your LP sound to make the CD palatable. Going the DAC route will definately help, and synergizing with the same company's transport will too. I use mid-line Theta separates and feel no urge to search for something better. You're on the right track though. You've identified the problem. But in the long run, dulling your sound is not the answer.
Don't waste your money. There is no CD player I have heard that "sounds like" the an LP played on a well adjusted turntable. Even the most modest turntable set-ups will knock the socks of the most expensive CD players - and I have heard some highly touted ones which cost as much a small house. It alway amazes to see the lengths people go to to make CDs sould more lifelike - sticks and stones, black boxes, glues, polishes, rings, markers, magic potions and snake oil and still the lowly LP sound far better. Sure, it is inconvenient, the click and pops are annoying, the medium is hard to come by, but boy does it takes your breath away !!!
I disagree with Tater, I have many recordings in both the CD format and LPs and the LP definitely sound better. My suggestion is to buy a used Jolida or even a much older California Audio Lab CD player. Preferably a CD player with a volume control that allows you to bypass the preamp. Hook it up directly to a power amp and let it rip. This is the best you can do with the use of external gizmos, vodoo, magic potions etc.
It all comes down to sound quality vs convenience.
China made Original Leonardo da Vinci
I have ever listen it in HiFi show in China, very very LP feel. Especially parting with tube amp.
You might want to try a CAL Alpha or Sigma II DAC. The tubed output stage takes the edge off of CDs. Both can be purchased for next to nothing these days (Alpha around $400, Sigma II around $200 used). If you don't want to use your Marantz CDP as a transport, the CAL Delta transport will run you around $300 used.
Hi Johnny Mac
I'll throw in my 2-cents worth here, only because I used to own the Marantz CD-67SE. I used this unit for a short time with and without the Musical Fidelity DX-10, and this is just a shrill sounding unit, period. I have no axes to grind with Marantz but I, like you, couldn't stand the sound.
While there are no CD Players (that I have heard) that match LP sound, there are some that come a lot closer to this end. I have since used 3 or 4 different players and all have been much closer to this sound.
If at all posible, try to listen to one before you buy, if not good luck and good listening.
An honest A/B comparison of analogue to digital is challenging. You need good quality LPs and CDs of the same recording, a phono stage with a separate volumn control (the ear tends to prefer the louder sound, so you have to control for this) and comparable, high-end analogue and digital gear not to mention interconnects. The more neutral, revealing and musical the rest of the system is, the better. In my listening tests, sometimes accompanied by other audiophiles, a Cary 303/200 CDP is compared with a Sota Comet w/Benz-Micro Reference and EAR 834P phono stage w/nos Mazda tubes. While the Cary does sound analogue-like, it is deficient in certain respects. On Sarah Vaughan's "How Long Has This Been Going On?" there is a body and depth to Ms. Vaughn's bass vocals that is simply not imparted on digital. Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic in Copland's Appalacian Spring, Rodeo, etc. sounds marvelous on digital, but the analogue is more dynamic and, again, has a fuller bass. As has been noted on Audiogon and elsewhere, upper end distortion/glare is a problem with many CD transfers. There may also be a loss of naturalness, ambience and air. It has been my experience that there are a few CDs that will not cause ear fatigue. (Trio da Paz's Black Orpheus comes to mind.) This has led me to conclude that most of the sonic loss one typically hears from LP to CD is attributable to something not inherent in the CD format itself.
I'd try a MIT T-2 interconnect on your CDP.
Tone control or not,it may do the trick for you and wont bother the analog set up you have.
Used T-2's are cheap and hold their resale value well in case you dont like it.
Yeah, that's one way to tame cd nasties, throw a wet blanket MIT cable over the signal.
I am not so sure cd's glare. I just had some folks over for an audio party and one of them brought over a Wadia cd player. It went up against my far cheaper Jolida 100. Using the Wadia, there was a noticeable frequency condensing going on. It sounded HiFi. Decay was truncated, and occasionally glare crept in. Because minor detail was lost , clues such as enclosure reverberations and air were lost. Bass retrieval suffered too. With the Jolida, a great cathedral organ sounded just like that, whereas the Wadia reengineered the pipe vibrations into musical notes, devoid of color.
I want the recording of a performance to draw my imagination in. That is what LPs do so well, and that is what my tube outstage cd player does well too.
No, but I can point you in the direction of a TT whose sound is closer to the positive attributes of a CD: modded Technics 1200 with tonearm fluid damper. Read Zaikesman's review in the accessories section.
It is my goal to keep my CD and vinyl playback close to each other and balanced, performacewise. I had a serious conversation with Dusty Vawter about this subject prior to buying his DAC.
To answer your question directly, you need to attack noise control, damping and isolation in your digital rig. This will assure the smoothest, jitter and artifact free playback possible.
A few years ago, after I moved back to my mom's house for the summer, I had the loft for my stereo system. The acoustics in the loft was pretty bad. I had to move the system around the den before even the LPs sounded adequate. But, the CD always sounded dry and bright. I then upgraded the Marantz 63SE to CAL Delta/Sigma. Things improved, but the LP still sounded much better.
At the suggestion of DeKay, I removed all the cables and gave all the connections a good polish. I separated all the powercables from signal cables. And, I separated the digital stuff from the amp stuff. Afterwards, even the CD became listenable again.
Dekay is just the man!
A couple of recommendations: a tube-equipped CD-player such as the Shanling TCD-200, or upgrading your existing player with a DAC such as Musical Fidelity's or Chord's DAC64. I went for the Chord, and like the sound very much. As urged above: Go and hear for yourself. I think the rigid affirmations "CDs never can sound as good as LP" are no longer true. There's by now a lot of excellently produced, or remastered CDs (not SACD, DVD-Audio) that, given goog CD-players, sound excellent, sometimes better than the old LPs. Good examples are a lot of remastered CDs from the EMI "Great Recordings of the Century"-series. Then, there is the XRCD-series from JVC. In Germany, even high-end-die-hard-vinyl-pope Attila Csampai was forced to admit that they sounded better than the original LPs on his state-of-the-art turntable system. I did a vinyl-CD-comparison with a vinyl-fan, and even fooled him when playing from CD.
Yes. Meitner SACD 1000 Transport and DAC 6. And not just close.
I recently acquired a Mark Levinson 390S which I play through an Audio Research Ref 2 Mk II preamp, ARC VTM200 monoblocks, and Acoustat 2+2 full range electrostatic speakers. These speakers will show ANY digital harshness at all if it's present, and THERE SIMPLY IS NONE with this CD player. I can listen to CD's for hours, and it even lulls me to sleep sometimes. I also listen to a lot of vinyl, especially new records I buy off of ebay that have never been played. The best LP's have a magic and "rightness" that the CD's do not, but this is the first CD player I've ever heard that I consider a legitimate audiophile product.