Rotel RCD-971 or Rega Planet.
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I also have an Arcam Alpha 7 and I upgraded with a good DAC. the 7 is a great transport, because it was made for the Alpha 9 (that upgrade just changes the DAC. You could get a great older DAC like a Muse Model 2 w/ Besel Filter option or a Model 2 plus for $400 - $500. You might also find a Timbre TT-1 in that price range. I'm not a big fan of MSB, but a link DAC III with upsampling could also be found in that price range.
Hi Joolz, have you auditioned any "better" CD players in your home rig ? The reason I ask is that you already have a pretty reasonable CD player, and I think that you might be expecting too much from a CD player upgrade. Personally I have never found changing the CD player to have any more than a subtle effect on the sound quality. I know I risk being flamed by those with high-end CD players, but after I home auditioned a Meridian player I just couldn't justify it since it was only very slightly better than my Marantz CD67SE, and cost $2k more. I'd recommend a home audition before laying out any cash ... do you have a friend with a supposed top-notch player ? You might be surprise at how little difference it makes.
Do you have a well damped listening room ? I have previously had a lot of success with drapes and curtains in damping muddled music and splashy cymbals. And it cost me less than $100.
Hope this helps ... I'm not deliberately trying to go against the grain ... rather save you some cash.
yeah thanx sean! i moved from london uk a couple of years ago and i live in ohio where my wifes from and there is a serious lack of audio freaks here so a demo of another product is not gonna happen soon(between friends)--so i end up here with cyba friends exchanging ideas......
yeah i do like the alpha 7 but i just want more (of course)--i guess as a musician i'm kinda fussy.
i want to hear the drums less buried and cymbals clearly not splashy and the idividual bass notes more pronounced---the guitars and vocals sound fine though i would prefer a little more air around the instruments.....i may be asking a lot out of what i got, but hey its worth asking and what better place than here.
if anybody listens to what i do(rock/metal/techno/acoustic/female vocals,ect)please write in about what you have what kicks keister...
thanx a lot for all your help peep's
Hi Joolz, a fellow brit eh ? I'm now living in California with my US wife, who's from Boston. We're planning to move either to New England or back to Old England next year.
Here's a suggestion which has worked well for me : make yourself a pair of interconnects for the CD player. For about $50 you can make a knockout pair of interconnects. I recently did just that, and the effect it had on the sound of my Marantz was more profound than changing to the Meridian player, even though my existing interconnects (also home-brew) were not too shabby in the first place.
The cable I used is on Maplin electronics in the UK:
look up code RG214 ... silver plated OFC MIL spec RF cable. Get some BIG phono connectors to attach to it (and I mean big ... the cable is 8mm in diameter) and then spend a happy evening soldering. This cable is a bit of a pig to solder, but the resulting improvement in sound was much more than I expected ... space and definition definitely improved, cymbals (I play tenor sax in a local blues band, so I know what cymbals really sound like) now have that shimmer that they should have.
Again, just a suggestion. For about $100 I made 3 sets of interconnects and they sound great. I don't think you'd get the same level of difference for anything under $1000 spent on a CD player.
yeah i know all about maplin and i'm dab handy with a solder gun too--tell ya what i may try that-i'll get on the site later tonight...
its good to get feedback off a musician as we have the ear to hear what instruments realy sound like.
may be moving home some day too! i just went back home to do a tour of the uk with a few bands for 2 months and boy do i miss all those small things what made me leave in the first place!!hahah----thanx man! joolz