I would get a new preamp first and keep the Marantz for now. A preamp would make a bigger difference in SQ.
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Well I am open to that suggestion if that seems like the overwhelming response. I will say the pre is well thought of and so are the amps. I really do believe based on forums and direct conversations with a guy who has spent years with all the older era exposure systems that the system will respond with better overall system. I really believe the CDP is the weakest part of my current system.
There's a nice Marantz SA-15s1 Reference Series in the classifieds for $800 used; an excellent price.
If you're happy with the timbre of your system, then keep the pre and get a better source. In your price range is the Jolida 100A, which is not a detailed sounding CDP, but has a huge soundstage and is so smooth. It responds very well to rolling the tubes to get a more detailed sound.
Are you limited to CDP only? What about Blu-Ray or SACD players? I owned Marantz CD-5003 and when I moved to the Oppo BDP-83 I found sonic improvements all around in my system. At the $1000 range you could probably get an Oppo BDP-95 or Oppo BDP-105 used. For CD or SACD I liked the Pioneer Elite SACD PD-D9J vs the Marantz CD-5003 I had.
A CD player only I would look at the Emotiva ERC-2 or Emotive ERC-3 to replace your Marantz.
too complicate things further what about adding an outboard DAC and use your existing CD-5004 as a transport? You can get a Schiit Gugnir and a Black Cat Northstar 75 ohm Coax cable for under $1k.
Good luck with the search.
I appreciate all the responses. I am aware of the stereophile review. It is indeed a great CDP. I'm not really trying to tweak my timbre or sound. I just want more detail, more of a layered soundstage and maybe a little smoother sound. The smoother sound is the least important as it's pretty good in this area already.
I Did test the waters on a DAC using the 5004 as a transport. I had a rega dac fed with a cheap blue jeans cable. Problem was it was very little difference in sound presentation. I could not justify the cost of the rega. Also then you have to look at a better transport and a computer and then jitter and it just becomes to cumbersome. That is why I am looking at a stand alone CDP.
I have looked at the jolida player. Some good talk about the it and some bad but interesting.
I am in a hard spot because my speakers and amps are not well known. But replacing the speakers is a non starter. I really think I would have to spend 2000 grand used to really get a nice upgrade.
It's hard to swallow that upgrading a $300 CDP is not the solution when my speakers and amp cost so much more.
You've obviously done your homework on this upgrade. I would suggest you try a different DAC; they come in all flavors.
To get the most out of a standalone DAC, a usb to spdif reclocker should be added to the chain. Both can be had for $1000.
Check out Audio Advisor; they have a 30 day return policy if you're not happy with the item. (and the Blue Jeans cable is quite decent).
I still say that a preamp is most likely the best upgrade. That said:
From JA's measurement sidebar in Stereophile:
The Marantz CD5004's measured performance indicates that its intrinsic resolution is better than is needed by the CD medium. That it can offer this level of performance for just $350 is astonishing.
I'd look elsewhere than the source for the sonic tweaking you want. Speakers would be my first choice, but maybe a tube buffer would get you there.
Bob_reynolds (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I appreciate all the responses. I am aware of the stereophile review. It is indeed a great CDP. I'm not really trying to tweak my timbre or sound. I just want more detail, more of a layered soundstage and maybe a little smoother sound. The smoother sound is the least important as it's pretty good in this area already."
You're only focusing on half of a CD player here. The digital half. To be successful, you need to consider the analog portion as well. That has at just as much, if not more, to do with how a player sounds. A good place to start would be to look at CD players that are made by companies that make other products you like. For example, I like Ayre. The Ayre "house sound" is present in all their products (at least I think so).
Now look at this quote:
"It's hard to swallow that upgrading a $300 CDP is not the solution when my speakers and amp cost so much more."
Nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes the cheaper component sounds better. Just because something costs more doesn't mean its not as good. Going by price, I feel, is not the best way to put together a system. Pick your components based of sound quality.
As a previous owner of a Marantz Sa-11S1, I suggest considering another option. If you can find a good used Arcam FMJ Cd-37, it's definitely worth considering. I've had them both and greatly preferred the Arcam. It's something of an off the radar "sleeper" but there are reviews out there to help you get a handle on its sound. They are well built and sound great. I bought a demo from a dealer for just over $1k. Another option for a good sounding bargain are the re-manufactured units sold by accessories4less in Orlando. They are factory authorized resellers who offer good discounts if you're willing to consider B-stock. The Marantz Sa80o4 and Onkyo C7000 are both good options at your stated price point.
I wish I could hear some Acram cdp players I have read very positive things about them in the fourms.
Well I hear you about more money $$$$ not = better sound quality. I have recently heard a very high priced system that really didn't impress me over what I have currently. That being said I did choose my gear based on sound quality as opposed to price.
I started with an older exposure intergrated. Before upgrading to the 17/18 I Listened to NAD,Rouge and Audio research gear an I still choose to go with what I have. My speakers were chosen between the local dealer had and I thought based on Sq and price this was the correct choice.
I have a creek tuner that I bought for 90 bucks on here and it's smoother and provides more depth and layered soundstage then the marantz. I would not say it has more detail though. This experience has made me think a source could change the music's presentation on my system. That is what leads me to believe I should be able to get what I am looking for with a better CDP.
"I wish I could hear some Acram cdp players I have read very positive things about them in the forums."
"I have a creek tuner that I bought for 90 bucks on here and it's smoother and provides more depth and layered soundstage then the marantz. I would not say it has more detail though. This experience has made me think a source could change the music's presentation on my system. That is what leads me to believe I should be able to get what I am looking for with a better CDP."
This is why its so important to demo equipment. Results can be relative and will vary depending on personal preferences. I have an Arcam 33 and like it very much. Compared to my other players (both Wadia), the Arcam doesn't do the audiophile stuff (imaging, dynamic contrast, scale, detail.....) nearly as well. Its a more forgiving, easy to listen to kind of player. I use it, for the most part, on recordings that don't sound good on the Wadia.
"Looking for more detail a smooth sound which can expand soundstage particular depth."
That's you stated goal. I'm not sure an Arcam would be the best choice. But only you can make that decision. One other thing I would mention about you goal is, for the most part, the qualities you are seeking to improve upon, have more to do with the analog section of the CD player than the digital. I would focus there. (Or a new preamp!. Sorry, I know you're probably tired of hearing me say the same thing.)
While I agree with Zd, regarding benefits of a pre toward attainment of your goals, you seem happy with your Exposure equip. I would consider the purchase of a used external DAC and use the 5004 as a transport. A DAC will provide greater flexibility regarding the potential use of other digital sources. Using my case as an example, I use a Arcam DVD-137 as a transport, but also use a computer via a SPDIF/USB converter, therefore I wanted a DAC with two SPDIF coax inputs. I bought a used Bryston BDA-1 which allowed that flexibility. As a DAC, I feel it is as good as I could own for my $$$ (~$1000 used). It's weak link is its USB input, non asynch. The USB/SPDIF converter covers that problem and facilitates further flexibility. I recognize that the consideration of a DAC opens additional complicating options, and apologize for this, I just think it might be one you should consider. Good luck in your quest.
Thank you for your thoughts and participation in this thread. Based on your comments the Acram is not right for me. I am still not thinking about a pre right now as I am Convinced based on other Exposure users feedback that these amps respond to any upgrade in the chain. When I do upgrade the pre it will be used tube or a DIY tube pre project.
But I do have a question for you. Since you think a pre is the right route I have to ask why do people spend $$$ on digital sources? What does it bring to the table buying these high priced DAC and CDP players? Do you fall into the camp of all digital sounds the same? I have to think people are getting something for the extra money.
Not being a smart a@@. Really want to know your thought process.
I think a used cary CD player because it can play MOFI SACDs. I Have really enjoyed the vinyl MOFI I have great sound and soundstage, a real pleasure to listen to. Plus I can use the Cary as a transport or Dac in the future. And finally all the descriptions and reviews point the Cary having the presentation I want. If I don't like it I will sell it.
Of all the amps I have heard not one has crushed the Exposure. They have been different but not out right better. I like the Rouge audio intergrated and would be happy with it. The Audio Research stuff was nice more detailed but not as fun to listen to IMO. The Mac stuff I heard was very high dollar and some what similar but the exposure out did it slightly in many aspects for much less $$$. None of these amps were so much better to cause me to literally spend a thousand or more dollars on an upgrade that would get me something different but not better. I sure it's out there but I have not heard it yet.
I do not know if this post is still relevant, but I am looking for an 8004 or 8005. I have had a demo 5003 and purchased the 6004. That alone was a nice step in the right direction for layering redbook cd's. Going up to a better and quieter power supply will also help reveal more of whats there. The 8's also add an additional layer as well as a gel material between the top one for resonance dampening. As well as the dampened tray itself, the 8005 steps it up with an enclosed disc drive, that the 8004 is still open. The claim is a more rigid chassis with additional shielding and sound deadening to keep the already quiet drive from being picked up on the output side. Look for the 8004 or 8005. You will be happy I know I will.