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I've owned the Sony XA7ES, and the Wadia 830. In the system I had at the time, they were sonically equivalent. System was SFM-160 Tube amps and virgo speakers with $35 copper speaker cables. The wadia gets rave reviews but I kept the sony due to it's build quality, vastly superior ergo's, and digital output. The wadia made you put the cd on UPSIDE DOWN, and didn't have the way-precise in-track fast forward /reverse or one tough track selector. Wadia is in financial/bankrupt/being bought throes right now. Another CD player with a few rabid fans is the Resolution Audio 50/55. It heard it once, and thought it was detailed yet very natural sounding. Used prices are Sony($1100), Wadia $(2100ish), and RA ($1500ish). Using the variable outs, these CD players are all in the same general ballpark sonically. I did own a non-variable out adcom 750 for a time, and I thought it had about 80% of the sony's sound quality. Nice, but less transparent with a touch of metal. I've heard that Cal audio makes a good tube-based variable out player.
whatever cd-player ewe currently have, will sound better run thru a nice tubed preamp, if yer budget can go up to $2k, than whatever $2k cd player ewe can find that can be run straight-in to an amp. try used melos, cary, rogue, audio-research preamps - these are ones i'm familiar with, i'm sure there are many others.
My vote is for Wadia. I recently adjusted the internal DIP switches in my Wadia 850 in order to maximize its output level. Wow, what a difference this made. I am now listening between the 70-90 range comparred to the 45-65 range. Since I am operating the 850 well beyond the top half of its range the resolution and overall weight of the presentation has been incresed dramatically. When comparing the Wadia's w/out a preamp make sure the internal DIP switches are set to match your systems sensitivity.
the res-audio cd50 *is* an outstanding cd-player, & can be had used for ~$1700. i finally had the opportunity to hear it on my brother-in-law's system, run thru an audio research ls-16 preamp, feeding an a-r 100.2 amp, driving proac 2.5's. i dint get the opportunity to hear it bypassing the preamp as my brother-in-law sez it's not really listenable, when comparing it w/running it thru the preamp. he also said it's splitting hairs between it & his almost half-as-expensive alchemist cd-player, when run thru the audio-research preamp. he *did* say that it's clearly better than the alchemist if comparing them both w/o the preamp. he *also* said that if he needed the money & were forced to sell either the preamp or the cd-50, and use the alchemist in his main rig, that it was a no-brainer - the alchemist run thru the pre was far better than the res-audio cd-50 run straight-in...
as i said before in this thread, i believe, if ya only got $2k to spend, the combination of a good tubed preamp w/your existing cd-player will net better sound than any $2k cd-player run straight-in to an amp. i a-b'd the same alchemist cd-player w/a $500 nad cd-changer in *my* system, thru my melos pre (and thru the cary slp-98, the short time i owned it), and i had the same experience - no discernable differences between the two players when run thru these preamps, and the nad was much better run thru the pre than the alchemist run straight-in. ymmv...
A differing opinion of the RA. It's an incredible deal. You might find a used one close to your range. I've got the Resolution CD55, and it's bettered stand alone DACs I've owned that cost $2-3,000. I use it with Pass monos and Genesis speakers. And I prefer it run direct to amp, rather than through my tube preamp (now sold). BTW, the Resolution DOES HAVE A PREAMP---it's just built-in. It's an excellent, passive pre that is designed to mate well with the (high) output of the DAC section. Some people like passives better than actives, and some vice-versa. I generally prefer the transparency of a passive, but if you listen to a lot of rock, you might like aan active pre better. I wouldn't call it a smooth-sounding player. It's very detailed witout any harshness. Listen to it and decide for yourself.
richards is right - listen & decide for yourself. my brother-in-law also auditioned the cd55 & found it no better than the cd50, if anything, the cd50 was a bit smoother, he said. i haven't heard the cd55, so i have no personal experience. regarding music-choice, my brother-in-law listens mainbly to acoustic music - strings & woodwinds - & hr still prefers his cd50 run thru his preamp. again, listen & decide for yourself
Actually it is not a "passive pre" at all, it just doesn't provide gain above unity (a "passive preamp" implies there is no active device in the output stage, and thus passive preamps are simply resistor networks outside the chassis). It is not comparable to a CD player with no internal volume control when combined with a passive preamp, and I strongly disagree (again) that any preamp, tube or ss, will improve the performance of a CD50. I have listened to mine in a splendid system with a correctly treated room for much longer than Sedond has even heard of Resolution Audio, much less actually heard the unit. It just doesn't need "smoothing out", nor does it need help driving any amplifier load. Your opinion simply isn't as informed as mine, Sedond, and yet somehow you feel that is of no importance, and you keep pushing an uninformed one.
take it easy, carl. my opinion, & that of my brother-in-law, are as equally informed as yours - to our ears - which is what's important, imho. our systems are *also* "splendid", in "correctly treated rooms". who cares if you have listened to res-audio for 50 years, & i only heard it the 1st time yesterday? what's important, is how one thinks something *sounds*.
the only opinion i am "pushing", is my opinion that the digital format (res-audio products included) *can* be improved by quality tubed preamps. this is not an opinion unique to me - many audiophiles share it. i even emailed res-audio directly, & they agreed that in many instances, their player's sound can be improved by the addition of a quality preamp.
carl, i respect the fact that ewe seem to disagree w/me about this, it's baffling why ewe can't seem to respect my opinion about it, or the opinions of others, even including the opinions of the designers of the equipment in question. i'm also baffled why ewe still refuse to divulge which (if any) preamps ewe may have run the res-audio cd-player thru, which has led ewe to your conclusion.
i have always found that having an open mind has helped me to learn about achieving better sound in audio; it's also been quite useful in other real-world endeavors.
Carl_eber, Sedond is right. You've never said what tube pramps you have tried with your CD50 (if, in fact, you really own one). Looks to me like more of your pompous posturing. All talk, no walk. Admit it Carl, you tried your CD50 driven directly and have never gone back. Look what you have done, again, Carl. You log onto a thread in your pushy way, chip stuck on your shoulder, and wreck it for everybody else. Why don't you get another hobby and leave the rest of us alone? Kendall
At the risk of disagreeing with my good buddy John_1 above, I owned a Sony XA7 for several years and much preferred to use it with my SF Line 2 pre-amp. I did try it direct to McCormack DNA-2DX amp and found it highly detailed, but thin, lightweight, flat, and uninvolving. The HQ tube pre-amp added considerable body, weight,timbral richness, and a natural holographic quality that direct to amp didn't even come close too. So, in this respect I fully agree with Doug's experience/position of using a good tubed pre-amp with, if necessary, a less expensive CD player. Ideally, I would want both a good front end and a good pre-amp. I have not heard either of the RA CD players, but they are well regarded in the audio press. Cheers. Craig.
I hesitate to get involved in this thread, but the post above on the Wadia reminded me that, if I'm not mistaken, the initial review on the Wadia spoke of how the volume control on the Wadia was in the digital domain, and that by using the volume control to attenuate the signal (rather than running it more open and with very little attenuation, as noted in the post), the player was using some of its 16 bits to effect the attenuation, thereby at least theoretically degrading the ultimate resolution of the machine. So Jla's advice on setting the internal switches to allow for the need for less attenuation of the signal is a good one, for that player. I don't know how many players with adjustable output use this mechanism (or, if they do but are true 24-bit players, whether they would not have any noticable degradation due to their significantly higher computing power), or if they do the attenuation in the analog domain, but it may be worth looking into.
"who cares if you have listened to res-audio for 50 years, & i only heard it the 1st time yesterday? what's important, is how one thinks something *sounds*." I agree, and you certainly wouldn't better know the signature after one evening, and me having 50 years. The point is, as you state above, that you "don't care" what my expereince has been, and I'm ok with that...it only helps my position here, and helps to show your pathetic bias.
i'm sorry carl, your argument yust duzzent hold water - yew wood have to try a cd player thru a quality preamp in order to determine whether or not it improves the sound - at least for *one* evening...
and, i'm not interested in winning any brownie-points here - i really am not concerned w/whether *my position* is helped here or not. this site is only to help others to decide whether or not they may want to try something in their systems to get better sound. i'm yust giving my reactions to my experiences - they are valid to me, & may or may not be helpful &/or valid to others. of course, i *do* believe that ewe could be more helpful to others by sharing how yu came to yer conclusions - ie: what preamp(s) made yer cd-player sound worse, but if yoo choose not to be helpful, so be it.
ps - i *do* use spell-czech, it's yust filled w/a lot of custom words... ;~)
No, you are obviously using a voice recognition device and software, since your words are all phonetically spelled. In any case, the spelling comment was directed at Subaru, not at you (I had thought that was obvious). I am plenty helpful here, doug. I will reveal which preamp I tried, if you reveal how long you personally heard this CD50 WITHOUT a linestage, and also reveal your brother in law's personal e-mail address, so that I can contact him, and verify this story. THAT WOULD BE "WERY VELPVUL" to all of us.
Hello to all experts.I would like to thank you for all the advices and Pleeeeease!!!! Please try to keep it profressional here.We are all music lovers no matter if you are an expert, an amature or a beginner. We should respect each other opinions.Do not let it get too far.All I want is some advices on the CD and please try to keep it in the topic.I would be appriceated.Again, I would like to thank you all for the advices.
When I originally made the determination that the sony's variable out was superior, I had a set of sonic frontiers kt99 tube amps and an adcom gfp-750 and different cables. The sony's direct out was immediatly noticable as better. This may have been because of the sfm amps softening of detail. Now that I have the Pass Labs amps and Preamp, I prefer the preamp outputs. It has the same detail, but is just a little softer and less strident. Not quite as much glare. I have a feeling it's probably a component matching thing. They are so close that I almost feel silly making the distinction.
there's a resolution audio cd50 that's yust been listed for $1650 on audiogon, if anyone's interested. it *is* a nice sounding unit, regardless of whether or not *i* think it's not worth it spending that much money on a cd-player... ;~)
and carl, i don't think i'd get much family respect dragging my in-law into this, but, if yer interested, his comments closely match those of john_l above, regarding "same detail, but less strident & not as much glare." but, he differs in that he doesn't think the differences are so close - he feels the player run straight-in is hard to take for more than 30 minutes or so...
Gee, I guess this imaginary in-law is right, and I'm wrong. What other explanation could there possibly be? Oh yes, and the designer would also have to be an idiot for putting a volume control in there to begin with, since it sounds so awful "straight in". You should build a better player Doug, since you are such an expert in the field of CD player design...............It seems you never tire of making your little blanket proclamations about this player based on not much of anything Doug, and I do find them pathetic.
carl, please don't misunderstand me - i'm not picking on ewe or yer cd-player - my comments about a cd-player sounding better run thru a good (tubed) preamp apply to *all* cd-players - yers yust happens to be one of 'em.
of course, i'm not so obstinate to think that there no folks out there who get better sound from their cdplayers run straight-in, in fact many of them post their experiences right here in these threads. only difference between them & ewe, is they give comparisons: what cd-players they've tried, what preamps they've tried, etc. they give me & other people a chance to try & learn something. i'd *love* to find out about a relatively affordable digital playback system that could markedly improve my current set-up.
I own a Wadia 830 that I'm running through a 3B-ST into Totem Model 1 Signatures. I'm using Cardas Neutral Ref. interconnects and Cross bi-wire. The speakers don't take advantage of the base I know the Wadia's capable of, but what I have is natural, tight and smooth. Voices are great. The Theta Digital Miles wasn't terribly far behind this combo.
For some time I used a Resolution Audio (RA) CD-55 directly into my amplifier and found the sound to be detailed, with little glare, great bass response; all in all very enjoyable listening.
I searched a great deal before jumping into the RA CD-55. The short list came down to the CD-55, Theta Miles and Levinson CD-39. Some of my requirements for a CDP included a fully balanced design, as well as analog volume attenuation. While the analog volume control is (IMHO) superior to digital, I will admit that I am not sure if I can truly discern the difference between a fully balanced design, and that of a CDP utilizing single DACs for each channel. I believe neither a used CD-39 nor will a new CD-55 be in your price range. I have no experience with the CD-50, but they certainly are available used in your price range, with more than an ample following and reviews, here and at other sites, to warrant some listening. The balanced version of the Miles filled my bill, but I could not audition one with balanced outputs and decided to go with RA. Non-balanced used/dealer versions of the Miles are available on this site, and are definitely worth a listen prior to making a decision as well.
Neronian, although your original post did not specifically address this question, and at the risk of repeating previous posts, I must add the following: My desire to listen to other source material warranted that I return to a pre-amp, and I have since added a SF Line-3 pre-amp to my system. I believe the RA sound is more enjoyable with the pre-amp than without, but that may be attributable to output/input impedances on the pre/amp and the warmth of tubes in the system more closely matching my listening preferences than the ability of the CDP to provide accurate reproduction. My opinion, for what it’s worth. Happy Hunting!
The output impedance of the Line 3 is no lower than that of the CD-50, it is actually much higher (thus it drives the amplifier load with less aplomb). That said, if your power amplifier has an input impedance higher than that of typical amps (i.e., like SET's, higher than 100k ohms), I suppose it is possible that a CD-50 might drive the amp "too well", and turn bright. HOWEVER, MY EXPERIENCE IS WITH THE CD50, AND IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE CD-55 HAS BEEN COMPROMISED IN SOME WAY (since others have found it to be brighter than the CD-50). I also considered the Theta Miles, but it only uses 18 bit DACs.
I would have to disagree with you, Carl_eber. The output impedance of the Line-3 is not much higher than the RTA-55, it is lower. The SF Line 3 output impedance is 90 ohms (balanced, 45 ohms SE), vice the 100 ohms of the RA-55. That being said, however, I still don't know if that is the real reason why I prefer the RA-55 with a tube pre-amp. Again, my opinion, for what it's worth. Happy hunting, Neronian.
Actually, the CD-50's is only 50 ohms, single ended. OK, there is essentially no difference in the impedance (between Line 3 and CD-50 or -55), then. Like I said, other CD-55 owners, who also owned the CD-50, have all said that the CD-55 was bright by comparison to the 50. So according to the specs, the output impedance must not be the factor at play, here (assuming the specs are accurate, which can be a problematic assumpiton). Perhaps it has to do with the output devices, or the DACs. In any case, I submit that no one could listen to my CD-50 in my system (either se or balanced), and come away not thinking it's the best buy in CD players with volume control. If you doubt it, come by anytime.