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The Pioneer Elite PD-F27 holds 301 CD's and has both a Toslink digital out and a coax digital out. I'm using an EVS Millenium II DAC with it and an Illuminations D-60 interconnect. I'm very happy with the sound. I also have a Denon 2800 and when I've compared them it is pretty tough to say which sounds better. I've never compared my set up to a top of the line single transport. But a few of my friends who have single players agree that my current set up sounds on par with theirs. Before I got the EVS DAC I was using an MSB Link DAC III connected with a Toslink cable. That sounded good as well. I tried a Marantz 9100 changer and the only reason I did not keep it was that it does not have a coax digital out, only a Toslink. I couldn't connect to the EVS DAC as it does not have a Toslink input. The Marantz did sound very good however on its own. You may be happy with it without even using a DAC. I know Sony and some others make changers too but I've had no experience with them.
While I haven't used a jukebox as a transport, I would strongly recommend a jitter reduction device such as an Audio Alchemy DTI 2.0 or Pro. I would also suggest a more "forgiving" or rich sounding dac such as a Micromega DUO BS2. Another option would be to investigate the Art DI/O as a possible dac or even to take the analog out of the jukebox and convert to digital and back, using the tube warmth and upsampling capabilities of the Art DI/O.
Sony has a bunch of changers, but spend a bit extra and get one of their ES models. They hold about 400 CDs. I've got 3 of them hooked up to a very nice system, and while it's not the last word in audio, it's a bunch of fun to hit random play and let the tunes roll. Very decent sound, and it doesn't preclude you from someday getting a nice CD player for "serious" listening. -Kirk
I was also thinking along this line and started wondering how one manages 400+ CDs--Kthomas, how can you figure out what to listen to with 1200?? Its mindboggling to me why they can put extensive brainpower in a Apple iPod, but can't seem to figure out a reasonable interface to create playlists and things for a CD jukebox...
I want my CD jukebox to talk to CDDB on the internet and download track titles. I then want to be able to arrange them in playlists rationally.
Anyone ever play with the Slink-E and DJ software from Nirvis (www.nirvis.com)? The only problem with going this route seems to be that you suddenly need a computer in the room too...
I agree that with a good digital cable, a good DAC, and a good jitter-reduction device, a jukebox with a halfway decent transport and coax digital out will sound pretty damn good and will probably make you feel that you're not missing much at all. Each one of these pieces will significantly affect the sound you get, so you'll have to do some demo time to find the right cable, DAC, and jitter device combo, but it'll be worth it. If it were me I'd look for a used EVS Millennium DAC(I or II, with the II you might not need jitter device), an Apogee Wyde Eye digital cable, and a Monarchy jitter unit. With more cash I'd probably still stay with the EVS DAC but upgrade to an Acoustic Zen or Zcable interconnect and an Assemblage jitter unit if you can still find one. Best of luck.
All of my changers are the older model and only hold 300 each, so I only have to memorize 900 CDs :-)
I make copies of all my CDs that I want loaded into the changer. About 99% of the time that use the changer, I put it on random play and it's like having my own radio station. In other words, I don't worry about the interface because I'm not trying to locate anything in particular. By making copies, I can add CD Text to every CD which means that the title / track info shows up on the display, and if I move CDs around, I don't have to type anything into the crappy user interface. It also saves wear-and-tear on the originals, and leaves them available to be played on a dedicated player. So, if I want to listen to something in particular, I go get the original and play it on the "nice" CD player.
I bought the Slink-E and DJ stuff and have it all hooked up. It works, and the DJ software has a lot of REALLY cool concepts in it. There are several downsides, however - you do have to have a computer within range, you connect up through serial cables, it's kind of expensive to get fully setup, there are some bugs in the software. There's more if you're interested, but I don't want to belabor it - it does what is says it does within the limitations.
I think the real way to do this is to look at the Escient products. They have a couple new ones coming out. They're an audio component front-end to CD jukeboxes, the internet streaming audio, etc. They include digital swithchers so it doesn't matter what the source is, it will switch to the appropriate source. They have network support, so you can control them from a computer, but also a more robust user interface so that the computer is not mandatory during playback. Support for CDDB, etc. They have one for $1200 retail and one for $2000 retail. Hopefully this will be a new type of product and other manufacturers will put out models of similar nature.
None of this replaces the desire for having a really nice, dedicate CD player, but I think the sponaneity of your CD collection playing back randomly is a lot of fun. -Kirk