If you can get a full priced trade on your X-03, perhaps you should consider an Esoteric SA-50, which would liberate ALL possible options, spdif,usb & word sync inputs... CD & SA-CD transport.
Problem solved ;-)
Problem solved ;-)
I found happiness replacing a high end CD player with a computer...........Move on
Computer based playback will soon replace CD players. A Computer and a high end DAC that the computer will talk to is the current SOTA.
It is so much cheaper to distribute music via download that the hard shiny discs are going away. Not a matter of if, .....just when.
My discs have remained archived in storage for years now. Ever since I got a Modwright Transporter I find no need for them beyond initially ripping them to my library. It is so much more convenient having my entire library at my fingertips and to be able to build playlists, or play random selections within a genre or several genres. No turning back. No regrets.
Who has found happiness giving up cd player?I like Bob_bundus's reply, but it means I have to get up every 15 minutes.
I've been extremely happy with a Mac Mini connected to a DAC using toslink. My laptop serves as a remote via screen sharing. Alternatively, you can use an iPhone to control an Apple TV which connects to a DAC. There's no doubt this is the future.
You can find happiness, but only *after* you've ripped your entire CD collection. And you'll have peace of mind only after you've backed everything up. If you've got lots and lots of CDs, the process can be not a little daunting -- and exceedingly tedious. And you won't want to do it all a second time. If you've got a thousand CDs and rip, say, 10 each morning before work, you are still looking at more than three months. So, try doing 10 in the morning and 10 more in the evening, and maybe 30 each on Saturdays and Sundays.
And did I say to be sure to back everything up?
Then, though, you'll find happiness. I haven't turned my CDP on in over a year. Holding onto the discs, though. 'cause you never know.
I'd slowly begun a project to move 1000's of CDs to NAS/FLAC.
It became obvious fairly quickly that I was simply transferring crappy sounding recordings from one storage medium to another simply for the convenience of random access.
I've since modified the above plan and am now only moving the few fantastic sounding CDs to NAS/FLAC, and, more importantly I'm beginning to build a 24/96 library on the same NAS.
The dozen or so 24/96 recordings I own sound absolutely spectacular. ..Optical from laptop or PC to DACMagic.
This DACMagic/FLAC/PC thing started out as more of an experiment than anything else. Now I'm in the process of looking for a better DAC, although this little DACMagic is darned good.
I could very happily live with all digital media on NAS. 'having said that, I can't imagine ever having all CDs transferred to NAS, so, I'll need a CD/SACD player probably forever.
I just wish there were more sources for good 24/96 recordings. I'm happily paying more for these.
I accept that, for a lot of reasons, computer-based sources are more convenient and usually better sounding, but I just can't make the transistion--it's just feels more visceral and real to hold a tangible disc. Plus I've spent too much of my life hunting down and accumulating my nine gazillion discs--packing 'em away would, i suspect, leave a great big void in my psyche.
I've converted to a mac mini based computer audio system and have never looked back. In the last few years, the number of disks I've loaded into my CD transport can be counted on one hand. If it didn't look so cool, I would sell it.
My wife and friends are also happy I've converted - now they can play my music library without asking me to change the disk...
Amen Spudco....1700 rips later, my wife's happy, Rootman's happy, and I forgot I hadn't listened to 3000 of those tracks that were buried on some of those disc's that random mode has mined out of the gold mine of my discography(is that a word???)
Only problem now is I'm gaining weight, since I don't have to keep getting out of the recliner to change discs every few minutes, so I drink more wine and listen more.....
Time to get the turntable fired up again.........
Where's that Touch remote honey..........
My efforts extracting the most out of computer audio started some years ago. I have several computers that I use for audio (desktops and laptops), various professional audio PCI cards with S/PDIF and Firewire outputs. Other hardware includes Transporter, SB Duet, Sonos, Hiface USB. Also a large variety of software for ripping, editing, mastering, burning, playback, etc. Many CD/DVD-ROM drives, HDDs and memory were evaluated for best results.
Not that Ive given up yet but, so far, the Esoteric VRDS-NEO transport is unbeatable, and by far, IMHO! As best as I could have obtained from computer audio (nice sound indeed), it still sounds "machine-like" to my ears; it fatigues me.
The other thing is; I havent been able to outperform an original CD with a copy of any sort (disc, HDD, Memory, etc.), not to talk about internet downloads which are far from the original sound, IMO!
This kind of reminds me about CD vs. Vinyl when audiophiles gave up quality for convenience. So history repeats, I guess. :-)
You know, I kind of enjoy that different CDs sound different from each other. The Beatles 9/9/09 box is just pure joy after all the tinny recordings before it. And the SACD Rolling Stones discs are also superb. So are some DCC/MFSL discs (Stevie Wonders Innervisions). It's nice to hear the variety of presentations with different discs, as it was in my old vinyl days. I'm not sure you can have that kind of fun and discovery with iTunes.
"I'm not sure you can have that kind of fun and discovery with iTunes."
Why not? I think it is actually easier. I have different issues of the same CD on my computer and can compare them without getting up, instantly, from the same source and DAC. This does not work with SACD, but does work with hi-rez downloads.
To the OP's question about starting inexpensive or going all out, I recommend the former. IME, part of "going" computer audio is finding not only the best sound for you but figuring out the right system topology and user experience for you. You need to live with it for a while to know if it's right for you --and there's no substitute for personal experience. So I recommend jumping in low cost before committing to anything truly expensive.
I auditioned the SA-50 in Dec last year, when I bought my system, and found that a song playing through the USB input didn't sound as good as through the transport. I later read Robert Harley's Esoteric SA-50 review, which I thought did an excellent job of explaining why.
I also found that the SA-50 fell short of the X-05 (and the X-03) in playing CD's. I ended up buying my dealer's demo X-03 instead.
I can't give it up just yet, but I rarely listen to my cd player. I primarily listen to my Squeezebox for music. I'm waiting for the next generation Logitech Transporter, then I know that I'll say goodbye to my cd player forever. I have two turntables that are both in excellent shape. I may have played two hours of vinyl total over the last three years. The convenience and good sound of digital is here to stay and it is constantly improving. The avalanche/tidal wave towards digital has begun and it will get stronger as the years go by. The cd player is destined to go the way of the turntable, only a few high-end die-hards will own them. The handwriting is on the wall. All of the high-end mfgs that sell cd players are offering DAC's in their product line. Those that aren't soon will, or they'll suffer for it. DAC's will eventually canibalize the cd players, there will be no need to have both.
I started playing with an old mac laptop and a music streamer plus. The convenience was great, the sound OK. I finally "got" what having an i-pod was all about though - you get to hear music that you haven't heard in years because you never think to dig it out. The server in shuffle takes care of that problem. In short, I started out slowly and am now hooked on a server based system.
I'm now on to Mac Mini and just replaced an Ayre QB-9 with a Metric Halo LIO-8 inteface. The DAC's in the MH are, IMHO, superb and you can also use it to record things to the server at 24/192 or whatever sample rate you choose. I use Pure Vinyl to archive records at 24/192 and the Pure Music part of the software for general digital playback. I agree with the recent August 2010 Stereophile article by Fremer - using pure Vinyl with digital RIAA equalization is certainly the best vinyl playback I've had in my house, and my old phono pre (Aesthetix RHEA), while not state of the art was pretty decent. The Music Streamer was a decent budget DAC, the Ayre was great and (with Pure Music) the best digital ever in my house to that point, but the MH is even better. IMHO, it sounds better at any playback sample rate, goes to 192K and has so much more flexibility. Bottom line is I have both better convenience and sound with my server setup. I don't miss a CD player at all. If you haven't yet chosen a computer, I highly recommmend a Mac Mini - it is small, quiet, and has both USB and built in Firewire so you can use pretty much any DAC. Plus, as far as I know, neither Amarra nor Pure Music will run on a PC, and one of them is essential for the best server sound.
The QB-9 also does 192.
Precisely. Why give up the ease of a CD player, particularly when you can buy a model with quality digital inputs and have the best of both worlds. In any case, computers don't do SACD and the selection of high resolution music for download is, if we are going to be generous, limited. I would love to build a computer based delivery system to augment CD replay, but, unfortunately, there just is not currently an adequate selection of high resolution music to push me over the edge. Maybe in 3-5 years things will be different.
Right, it sure is a pain to have all of my music arranged by any of about 30 different ways (artist, genre, album, etc.) and be able to access any of them with just a few clicks of a mouse and the ability to do this from my comfy chair, the ability to play any or all randomly by shuffle play by album or song, to make and save playlists of any songs in my collection in any order, the ability to access hundreds of streaming radio stations and other music services, the ability with Pure Music to apply plug-ins for a variety of EQs or tone controls if I wish as well as triamp with no passive crossovers and time align my drivers, and many other things.
I didn't realize what a pain it is to have a computer based system! Now that I do I'll be sure to go back to a CD player and lose all of those painful features.
My comments were not questioning how good your system can sound. My comments were directed at your reference to tone controls/EQs which are not generally associated with quality reproduction and neither are streaming radio stations and other streaming music. That level of reproduction quality is a long way from SACD and even CD for that matter.
Oh, for sure, streaming radio is not audiophile quality, but it is fine for background and discovering new music.
As for tone controls and EQ and I will have to differ. While many audiophile snobs turn up their noses they are powerful tools when properly implemented. They don't have any qualms about using a cable to tune their system but are shocked when someone suggests they do it another way, and a much easier and effective way. With my crossover points and slopes now selected in software I can fine tune them in ways impossible to do with passive ones. I'm afraid many are stuck in the past and don't have any idea how much software has improved and teamed with the computing power of todays computers it's time has come. Even using 64 bit calculations, a 3 way crossover, and time alignment my computer is just loafing.
It is indeed now state of the art sound.
I love the convenience of my squeezebox (just got the Berkeley DAC) and I also love my CD/SACD player. The server sounds pretty darn good and hours of uninterupted music is awesome. BIG plus is hearing those tracks that you either never played, or forgot about.
BUT, I also love my CD player (and my vinyl rig, FM tuner and reel to reel). It's all a great hobby. No need to limit oneself to any one source, unless you want to. I have just as much fun and musical enjoyment with each of my sources. It's a huge world out there. Enjoy it.