My cd player was the latest change to my system. The changes were as dramatic as any other upgrades I have made in the course of my system building.
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The degree of difference between good digital, like your Cambridge, and top shelf digital is relatively small. And probably not a worthwhile upgrade at all unless the rest of your system is highly resolving and up to par with it.
It's all about that last 1% though, so the value proposition is up to you. There's also the matter of "flavor" once you get into those regions, where most of the contenders are rather amazing, but each has its own character.
I guess what I'm saying is "is there any other part of your system that could use an upgrade first to make a digital upgrade worthwhile"?
PS - then again, there's more fun to be had in vinyl (any more expense), if you haven't tried that route yet.
There is no "most important" in an audio chain. Think of yourself as looking at a garden(your recording of musicians in the original venue), through a number of glass panes(source to ears/your electronics and room). Does it matter which panes of glass are dirty or off color, with regards to what you see? Some components have a harder job to perform than others. I've always considered converting a series of electrical impulses into sound waves/music(accurately/believably)and interfacing that with the average listening room, as the most difficult to accomplish. But, that's just my opinion. The player you own is highly regarded/sounds damn good, and yes- You'd have jump a couple performance levels to improve on it(at least get into a tubed output player). Again- my opinion/experience. The improvements in the upper tiers of what's available in players are way more than subtle, affecting sound staging(width and depth), image size and height, instrumental timbre, detail without grain/stridency, frequency extension in both directions.... well- basically everything important to musical realism. As stated- Whether it would be worth it to you to upgrade, would depend on the rest of your system, and your ears.
It's just getting better and better, huh?
All the above input is valid.
My exp is such that no one piece is more key than the source... but one wouldn't put a $5K CDP on a $500 INT amp, now would they? some sense of balance generally pushes things towards higher levels. The culmination of things allows the signal to be realized as being improved upon.
some will stick to spending more on speakers first and moving towards the front end (source), other's will think exactly opposite of that and drop tons on the front end.
The relationship between speakers and amp is pretty important, very, actually. once that is in place, either first or later on, or even last for that matter, the source is going to be where many go to get system wide gains.
simply throwing money on a source, without bringing up to par other pieces of your gear, you're spinning your wheels.
try out some new footers on that Cambridge... or play with it's power cord next. If you've not done that you aren't done addressing the source completely.
You seem to have liked what the new Cambridge did for your rig already. good. Perhaps now address some other area of your gear next. Maybe cables, or conditioning, even isolation.
My ideas are based on simply what I've exp'd. I've heard great sources, with great preamps and amps, on modest speakers, and it sounded beter by far than mid fi electronics on great ($$$$$) speakers.
Seemingly minor changes too, can be remarkably interesting and most positive... and fun.
I like Blindjim's post. In my own system, the analog and digital sources represent the most expensive components by a clear margin but not an overwhelming one. That's just the way it worked out, but I do recall listening with less good sources in the system at times. It was easy to hear their deficiencies.
If you want to know if source improvements will make a difference, try Blindjim's suggestion and swap in a new power cord, some good footers ( try Herbie's Audio Lab ) or an isolation transformer. You can use these items on a new player if and when you get one, or resell without losing much if they turn out to have no effect. IME, though, they do work, and well enough to be considered indispensable.
Here's what I have learned from my experience; if you know what you are looking for, you'll know it when you hear it. That's how it worked for me.
When I listened to my current cdp a few years ago it was a revelation as to just how good cds can sound. That hasn't stopped me from looking for better but through numerous players of various types I haven't found one that beats my old Resolution Audio CD-50. Same applies to my current speakers. Numerous, more expensive contenders have come and gone but none allow me to relax into the music the way the Kestrel HRs do.
Good luck with your search.
You can have a great source (upstream) and a downstream that isn't it's equal and you won't know how good the source is or how poor the downstream is. You can't have a great downstream and a poor source, it's short comings will be evident immediately so I think you should stay downstream until you find the Cambridge isn't doing the job, you'll know when the time has come!!!
I should note that I bought a Cambridge 840C, and I found it to be very sensitive to interconnects. The ICs my previous CDP favored were crap with the Cambridge, I mean really bad. Tried something else, and it improved dramatically, went from "guess I'm gonna sell this thing" to "Damn! It's a keeper".
So as somebody mentioned you could try playing with interconnects first. I found success with Zu Varial XLRs, others have reported good results with Cardas Golden Reference, and Mapleshade ribbons. The one my Cambridge hated was Cardas Neutral Reference.
>Based on the reviews I have read, you would have to spend over $5,000 to better the Cambridge 840C<
Don't believe everything you read. I have heard that player and my lowly TRL modified Sony universal player cleaned it's clock. I also heard a BAT and a Granite Audio seedee player in the same session that were better.
I upgraded from a Rotel 1072 ($700) to a Linn Majik ($3,500).
I have to go from memory, as I did not do a direct A/B comparision. I do like the Linn better, but is it 5 times better as reflected in the price? Probably not, but that's not a complaint. I'd say the Linn is more natural sounding. But the Rotel is an excellent player, and has a pretty good resale value, and used ones sell quickly, so I'd say that it is becoming something of a classic, at least for the money.
But I do think you can get better sound with a higher $$$ CD player. However, as noted above your Cambridge has received outstanding reviews, and you'd probably have to spend quite a lot of $$$ to upgrade.
Shakey- You mentioned that your Sony was modded. Obviously you would agree: They take modding(especially those OS-AMPs) to sound good. What was the original cost of your Sony and the final expenditure, before you were satisfied? I know the popularly modded SCD-1 was originally $5K. I've got a VK-D5 that was very close to $5K new($4500, then I added six NOS Siemens CCa's). What BAT costs less(the SE starts at $5500)? To which Granite did you listen, and with what upgrades? The 657 starts at $2900(almost twice the cost of the Azur), and if it was a 650 upgraded to the tubed version(makes a world of difference), that would up it's price to $2900 as well. Still a significant jump, even if not to the old $5K mark. The reviewers that set that price, admittedly hadn't listened to everything out there. They wrote based on their experience, ears and preferences(always encouraging readers to audition for themselves). What else can be expected of reviewers? Then, of course, there's always that ubiquitous/highly subjective term, "better".......
Beware the point of diminishing returns!!
It is within every product we can buy... sources, amps, speakers, etc.
As valued and impressive as speakers are, in fact the most noticeable and significant step up an addition to a system as anything one can add to a rig, they don't improve the signal itself... they simply reproduce what they are fed... the better the purity and quality of that signal the better the speakers will respond.
Fact. Plain and simple.
If a 'one box' solution for a source must be had the present extent of digital sonics progress has lowered the expense to get some pretty good sounds at non wallet or heart breaking levels.
From what' I've heard lately, less than $2K will do most people very well. Step up another grand, and things improve, though not proportionately. Add still a couple more dimes to the project and another level is achieved... and again... not on a porportional level to the added expense.
And each differign CDP offers a different take on the presentation... who's to say what different is indeed better?
Whoever is paying the tab.
If a person really wants to gain some significant ground sonically speaking, gain more ease of use, flexibility and variety, they merely have to investigate the world of hard disc drive storage and playback approaches now available.
Spending the heft of the 'source' budget on the DAC, and again, more (to a point) is better here, one can readily equal or surpass one box solutions in the $4K to $6K retail price range at less than half their costs.
Sony, BAT, MF tri Vista, Wadia, etc.... and none of those units store 500+ CDs, yet are either equaled or surpassed by my desktop, sound card, IC, pc, and DAC, which altogether ran me right at $2K.
To get a $2K investment to be on par with the likes of the aforementioned CDPs, I can think of no other way to go about it.
Keep moving up the CDP ladder and you are only guaranteed two things, you'll surely obtain different, and you'll certainly spend far more than is absolutely necessary to improve your situation than if you consider an alternative path.
My TRL modded Sony cost me 1100.00. The BAT VK-D5 we listened to is 12 yrs. old and goes for ~1300-1500. The Granite was indeed the 657 and it goes for around 1400.00 or so when you can find them on the used market. And from what I heard of the Cambridge, I would prefer my long gone Jolida JD-100. To each his own, as they say......
Whatever a VK-D5 or 657 are selling for now; They were originally $4500 and $2900(respectively). Both are also tubed units which I had mentioned earlier would probably be an improvement. I prefer the presentation of my modded BAT to that of the Cambridge, but don't consider it a fair comparison. I enjoyed my(long gone) CAL Alpha/Delta combo, but- I couldn't honestly state that I'd prefer it to the Cambridge, without actually comparing them in my present system in an extended listening session. The Cambridge is an excellent sounding (currently manufactured, out of the box)player(for the price), BUT(as you said), "To each his own." Happy listening!!
Here's my experience: I had a mid-fi system (B&W DM12s, NAD receiver, Magnavox CDP, Technics 'table) for many years and have since upgraded. First, I replaced the NAD with an Ayre integrated. A very nice improvement, made me want to sit and listen rather than simply have background music. I can't quantify the improvement, let's just call it it "X". I next got Thiel 1.6s and the improvement was roughly similar to the amp upgrade (again, X). Next up was the CDP and I opted for the Ayre CX-7 to match my amp. This time, the improvement was a bit less than X, maybe 75% of X. Well worth it even if not quite as dramatic as with the amp and speakers. I've often been curious how my perception might have been different had I upgraded in reverse order . . . So, my suggestion is to explore better CDPs.
Magfan- those cables are excellant as you are finding out;Ralph from Atmasphere recommends Mogami as well and I found they are a real hidden secret for sure.
When it came to cd player for me the only way I could make a decision was to do home auditions;if you can find a dealer this is how I would proceed.
Better study your grammar a bit more, Zim. "Affect" is a verb, and "effect" is a noun. The OP used the word correctly in his post(though the title is iffy). CD players may not have affections or affectations("affect" is neither a feeling or an attitude), but they WILL affect(cause an effect on) the sound of a system.
That's a good player that is hard to beat for sound quality in a well set up rig. Different players sound different and some may sound better to you. Some mayhave better build quality but that does not necessarily always translate into a better sounding player. How the whole system works together in your room is what matters most.
I have never heard the Cambridge AZUR 840c player. However, different CD players definitely sound different. Even different CD players by the same manufacturer in the same system. I became acutely aware of this when I visited Ancient Audio in Krakow, Poland. This company makes three high-end players. I listed to the Lektor V and the Lektor Prime (low and middle points of the line) - same room, same speakers, same amplifier, and same volume. It was striking how much better the Lektor Prime sounded.
Your lesson in grammar is quite incorrect, sir.
The first listing for "affect" in the OED is "Noun: mental disposition.... desire, passion." This is by far the more common usage in English.
So, what Jacknorth1178's headline asks is "What is the mental disposition of a cd player?" The answer is obvious.
"Effect" can function both as a verb (as in "He effected -- brought about-- a significant change in procedures."), and as a noun (as in "The effect of his decision was significant.")
You might consult a dictionary.
David Zimmerman (to you)
Oh Zimmy- The first definition for affect in Webster's(a very popular dictionary in this country), "verb: to act upon; to produce an effect upon; to excite the feelings(of); make a show of; pretend". The Miriam-Webster's dictionary has no mention of affect being used as a noun at all(hardly common in this country). The first definition for effect: "noun: that which is produced by some agency or cause; a result; a consequence; etc. There is mention that IN CONJUNCTION with other words(ie: for effect, in effect, take effect) it can be used as an idiomatic verb, or as a transitive verb by ADDING OTHER LETTERS(ie: effectED, effectING, etc). IOW: "Effect" has to be modified to be be use as a verb. This says your use of, "affect"(under noun) is, "obsolete": ( http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/affect ) As I stated, the OP's title was, "iffy", but(as Tbg posted) in the context of exciting the emotions........
The overall affect of the CD player has to do with the kind of amp and the speakers you have. I used a Cary 308T player with a $400 sub/satellite combo and that combo sounded the best it ever did and later that same CD player with the SLI-80 Cary tube amp and vandersteen 2ce signatures and the music sounded so wonderful. A well made and great sounding CDP ought to let you hear the recordings as they natural as possible but it is subject to the amp and speaker match also where you are sending your signal through.
Finally, all CD players have their own signature: some are brighter, some are more tonally accurate, some are forward and dynamic, some are warm with a dark background. Depending on the genre of the music, choose accordingly.
Have fun in your experiments!!