brian: when you say the sony has "an optical cable connection only" for digital output, do you mean the connection is toslink or st? the answer to this question has a rather large effect on the answer to your question. -cfb
Kelly, i think that the Sony's use a Toslink.
There is a guy on AA that uses a Sony megachanger with a CAL Sigma II DAC. I know this because i sold him the CAL ( i bought a dozen or so and got a good deal on them ). He swapped a tube in the Sigma and thought it was a DRASTIC upgrade over the stock Sony unit. He said that he was finally able to understand what people meant by "musicality" and "liquidity" after doing this. As far as i know, he has made quite a few changes to his system, but the Mega Changer and CAL are still with him. Sean
The CAL Gamma is a very musical DAC for the money. I used one with great results. If you could stretch your budget, a Theta Digital Cobalt is a big upgrade over the Gamma. A Theta TLC and/or a Monarchy DIP along with true 75 ohm digital cables will really make your system sing!
Correction on my part. It is a Toslink Cable connection. It sounds like the Sigma would be a pretty good improvement? It is connecting to SF Line 1. Any cable recomendations? Thanks for the help guys. I'm kinda new to the forums.
I have had great luck with my sony multi cdp running the toslink to a SF jitterbug than to the processor. This also converts the signal to rca output. My multi cdp player also benifited greatly by using cones.
What type of cones are you using and what about a bright star audio Isorock Platform. Would an rca connection be better than a toslink? Thanks for the help guys. Much appreciated.
I am using a Sony ES changer with an Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0 and Sonic Frontiers Line 1 with superb results. Don't buy in to the hype surrounding high priced transports. You are much better off to spend the money elsewhere.
I am using DH cones, Don,t know about the isorock but have tried some diy (bubble wrap and board) with minimal but positive results. When I tried the toslink directly to my old dac(adcom 600) I was not impressed. When I added the jitterbug, Wow. The jitterbug added detail and clarity, the soundstage really opened up. I do think that the rca cable is much better regardless of the jitterbug. My current dac does not support toslink so my view is limited. I do think that being able to convert from to toslink to rca is a big advantage. You can play with digital cables to find the synergy. Hope this helps
I have tried a number of different transports and dacs and currently run two systems with digital separates.
Firstly, I have found that a jitter reduction device such as the Audio Alchemy DTI Pro will improve the sound of most transports. I also disagree with the comment above about transports not making much of a difference in sound quality.
For a toslink cable, I would recommend the Monster Lightspeed 100. Some say the 2 meter sounds better than the 1 meter, but I have not tried that. I have tried the Lightspeed 200 and the lower priced 100 is better.
For dacs, I would avoid the Cal Gamma. I have read a lot of good things about the Sigma and have just bought one, but have not received it. Dacs to consider if you want something small would be the Bel Canto or Micromega (Duo BS or Microdac). Micromega's can be bought used fairly cheap.
I have not tried a Sony ES changer as a transport, but I know of one high end dealer that used to recommend them for customers buying high priced dacs that insisted on a changer as a transport. I use a Stan Warren modified Aiwa changer as a transport and it is a good transport, but not as good as a Parasound single play belt drive transport that I also use. If I had not stumbled across the Aiwa, I would have gotten a Sony ES to try.
I have not tried a lot of changers.
Thanks for the info guys. I think I will probably go with the Sigma and the Manarchy or an Audio Alchemy. I will post the results.
I just received my Sigma today and plugged it in. Right out of the box I can say I really like it and would recommend it over the Micromega and as a better value than a Bel Canto. These are initial impressions and should be viewed as such. But for around $300 or maybe less for a used one, you can't go wrong trying one. The Sigma has some of the magic of tubes and images better than the Micromega.
Joe b thanks for the info. I have been leaning toward the Bel Canto with the Monarchy DIP but as you said it is about 300 more used. Did you have the chance to do a side by side with the Bel Canto?
Take the Monarchy Dip over the Audio Alchemy product - better reviews and better resale if you get the 24/96 version. It can be had from AudioAdvisor.com, which has an excellent return policy if you decide it doesn't make an appreciable difference.
I can not A/B the Bel Canto against the Sigma. I owned the earlier version of the Bel Canto (just before the 1.1) for about a year. The Bel Canto had more subtle detail and a larger soundstage than the Micromega Duo BS2. The Micromega was a little smoother and richer sounding. The Bel Canto worked great for me while I was using it with a Parasound CBT2000 transport. However, for reasons irrelevant here, I needed to switch to a cd changer and that combination with the Bel Canto did not work as well. I was willing to trade some detail for tonal balance so I sold the Bel Canto. The Cal Sigma is a little more refined than the Micromega, but it does also present more information. I especially liked what the Sigma does with violins, which is one of the weaknesses of digital reproduction. Images seem larger, something I had not experienced since I sold my Theta processor years ago. Does it present more information than the Bel Canto? Tough call, but I can tell you absolutely that the Bel Canto is not 100% better which is about what the difference in cost will be (if not more). Consider this: if you buy the cheaper Sigma you would have $ left over for better cables, maybe some more cd's and you can play with tube rolling.
Along the same lines (similar?), how about using a DVD player to send out the signal to the DIP/DAC? Would it make a difference to send out the signal as 24/96, considering CD data is 16/44?
I am sure you'll find people who will give you various technical reasons why a dvd player makes a good transport, especially using the toslink output. Bel Canto recommends dvd players with their dacs. When I first got my Bel Canto I corresponded with two people who tried dvd players as transports only to find they preferred the sound of their cd players as transports. Since I liked what I heard with the transports I had, I never tried a dvd player as a transport.
One follow up point to my comments on the Cal Audio Sigma. I purchased an Ensemble Digiflux cable with it and this is apparently a synergistic match and partly responsible for the smooth sound I hear.