Network Music Player or CD Player-Opinions Wanted

My current audio system consists of a Linn Turntable, Linn DMS Speakers, Sony CDP-XD707ES CD player and Naim Electronics. Everything is circa 1984 except for the CD player which is early 1990's. I have never had any problems with the system and it still sounds great. But after all these years it is time for a change. My music collection is albums and CDs. Every time I play an album, it reinforces why I bought the Linn/Naim system.

Besides changing the amp, pre-amp and speakers, I am definitely going to invest in upgrading my turntable. The opinions I am interested in receiving pertain to the digital side of the system. I have nothing against a high end digital network player, except most of the music I enjoy listening to is 1970's, 80's and early 1990's hard rock, metal, "Big Hair", new wave/dance music (mostly high energy). To my ears, an album still sounds better than a CD playing the same exact music. If faced with the following scenario, what would you do?

At least from what I have researched so far, the type of music I enjoy listening to is mostly available in CD format, and for streaming. It is not available in a high resolution downloadable format. I am not interested in MP3 or a low quality music download format. So if I want to build up my music collection, I will probably have to buy CDs. While streaming is convenient, I want to own the music. Some will say that the CD is a dying format, and the network player is the future. That is fine if all of the music one listens to is available in a high quality downloadable digital format. What does one do if the music that person listens to is not available in a high quality downloadable format? It makes no sense to me to buy CD's only to spend extra time transferring them to a hard drive. I don't mind changing a CD every 45 minutes or so. I am more interested in sound quality. When faced with this same situation, would you find it unreasonable to invest in a newer high end CD player vs. being coerced by a dealer to purchase a network music player, transfer my current CD collection to network storage and continue using my Sony CD player for the occasional CD. What good is the hardware if the software is not available? The turntable investment is justifiable. I can only justify the network player if all of my originally recorded analogue music is available in a high quality digital format. Otherwise, I feel investing in a higher quality CD player is just as important as my high end turntable. Convenience is nice, but without the sound quality, I feel like I am wasting my money. If anyone knows where I can purchase my type of music in a high quality downloadable format, please reply. Your opinions are wanted as high end audio these days is a costly endeavor and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
i was a diehard, reactionary cd guy; i still own gazillions of cds and like the tactile feel of a physical medium. however, since buying a squeezebox touch 3 years ago i rarely actually play a cd--mostly i just ogle the covers. we can debate whether the music sounds better on a high end cdp vs. lossless files on a network player, but even the purists would conceded that the differences are marginal at best. the convenience and flexibility of having all my music on a hard drive ultimately trumped my purist sensibilities.
I think I got the best of both worlds. Since like you I am still committed to Cd's I bought an ARC CD9. This is a true reference CD player as well as a wonderful DAC. Tube based providing warmth with incredible detail.

Sounds equal playing cd's or using as a DAC streaming through my IPAD or playing high quality files also through the IPAD.

Quite satisfied with the purchase.
Vpm, I think you've answered your own question in your post. For you, a turntable does makes the most sense, a CD player comes in a reasonably close second, and a network music player is a very, very distant third. It makes no sense for someone with your music interests to jump on the digital audio file bandwagon by acquiring any of the many pricey digital file players now on the market.

An Oppo 105 at $1200 will give you a very good CD player without breaking the bank (it will be a solid step up from your current Sony CD player), and you can also use it to play digital audio files if you so desire. It's the obvious solution for you.
Of course, if you've got $13,000 lying around just for your "source" component, the ARC CD9 would be hard to beat.
You can beat that for a lot less money and get more functions.

I also like classic rock, particularly in the afternoon. I rip mostly CDs and I expect my 44.1kHz redbook digital to match the performance of vinyl. I want detail, imaging, smoothness in vocals and particularly dynamics that make the hair on your neck stand up. The dynamics actually beat vinyl BTW. IF you know what the CD rip of the stones LET IT BLEED sounds like, you know what a challenge this is. The first cut, Gimme Shelter is a wonderful track, but a terrible recording. I can make this sound amazing. Monkey Man sounds even better. Same with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.

You can have your cake and eat it too. Its called the Overdrive DAC. It is a DAC, not a server, but you can add the Antipodes music server and drive the DAC using USB cable. This puts the master clock into the DAC, not the server. Very important.

Overdrive DAC:


Antipodes server:!prettyPhoto

You don't need a preamp with this DAC either. Instead, you use a transformer buffer/selector called the Final Drive. This allows you to drive your amps directly from the DAC and still bring-in your vinyl preamp AFTER the DAC. You can also use it to bring-in your SS process for home theater. This is what I do.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I don't believe I've played many discs since I started using computer audio...mechanical transports require a huge expense to compete with what computer audio can do. I think you would be very happy with a Naim UPNP streamer, a laptop to rip your discs, and a Synology or QNAP NAS to store/serve up your media to the Naim streamer. And don't forget an iPad for music library eye candy :<)
You can also buy a pc and use something like jRivermedia Player. You can rip discs to the hard drives(s). You can also play music from networked drives or any device connected to your network, wirelessly or attached or any drive or storage format that is on the network.
I bought a dell precision T5400 and did this. It works Great.
you will need a seperate Dac and it would sound best with a Usb to SPDIF convertor like this
grey9hound, I don't think you looked at the op's system quality and stated intentions. What you describe would be a downgrade, closer in sound to the Linn Genki I have that's gathering dust. If the OP wanted to go the route of async usb, they should be looking at a CAPS Zuma media server and at least an audiophilleo async usb converter. Personally I prefer streamers as less trouble to get the best sound. After 2 years of tweaking PC's with Jriver, I'm fed up with it, the only role left in my system for one is CD ripper, music downloads, and "super NAS" feeding my streamer while I sit back with Kinsky remote control and choose my music without the annoyance of Gizmo limitations.
I am a big fan of using a music server. The ease of access is much more than a matter of not having to get up every hour or so to change the music. I like the ease of browsing my collection on my iPad and "discovering" recordings I have long forgotten that I even have in my collection; I can easily sample these recordings by playing a track or two. I also like making temporary playlists of selected tracks and albums. My server, a Naim NDS, also links to a music data base that provides a constantly updated "booklet" on most of the CDs in my collection (includes description of the album and artist, reviews of the disc, and a constantly updated discography of the artists). These features are particularly useful for a larger collection (I have nearly 4,000 CDs loaded on my server).

The downside is that it really doesn't quite sound as good, to me, as my old CD player. The Naim server is their current top-of-the-line server. My player is the Naim CDP555, their top CD player. I actually prefer the sound of the CDP555 (more weight in the sound).

larryi, consider these steps (1) make sure your NAS is on gigabit wired network with the Naim as wifi will degrade your sound (2) consider using a CAP's Zuma as media server with asset UPNP and a Red Wine Lightening battery power supply to fix the power supply issues that leach low bass for a media server. Just a $50 Ankar battery
powering the 2 2.5" HD's in my media server makes an audible difference in low bass weight.
grey9hound, I don't think you looked at the op's system quality and stated intentions.
The Op's thread title does say opinions wanted.
Network Music Player or CD Player-Opinions Wanted
My pc running jRivermedia with the McCormack DAC-1 Deluxe sound really good. You are welcome to come and hear it for yourself. Then you can give your opinion.
if you do a search for 'Lumin Network Music Player' will see why, almost everyone who owns one, thinks it is much better then any of the CD / SACD players they HAD. i owned a Meitner CDSA-SE and the Lumin is much better. i have read owners that owned Esoteric K-01 players that sold them to use the Lumin. i now have only the Lumin and my SET mono blocks as i take the Lumin directly into my amps. the sound is as close to the best analogue as you can get and much better than is so very simple to use, especially with the MinimServer, that is one of the best music servers on the net. i can sit at my listening position and in 5 minutes create a playlist,as long as i want, and hit play and put my iPad down and close my eyes and listen all day to superb music without ever having to get up to change a disc. i have all my cds and am almost through with ripping all my SACDs to my iMac and being able to play them also. the HD downloads on the net are superb and the Lumin does DSD also. just my thoughts....