Your experience:a cdp that gets best of lesser cds


I'm looking for a cd player that will get more out of the playback and sound of lesser quality recordings and/or poorly remastered cd's from the past (example: 70's soul/ 50's and 60's jazz remasters. By "more" I mean less thinness, leaness, in the sonics and more weight and lows, yet not rolled off or muted in the highs. In other words, a player that will dig deeper- do more with a lesser cd. I currently have an excellent player, the Modwright Sony 999ES, fully loaded, but synergy-wise it's not maximizing in my system. I'm looking for a used player in the $2500 -$3k area that will improve the sound quality on some of the lesser cd's I own. The one thing about this hobby that frustrates me no end is the synergy thing which can take away great performance from a quality piece of gear. My system: LSA/DK Signature int, Reimer Wind River GS, Modwright Sony,Acoutstic Zen cabling, Shunyata Hydra- various aftermarket PC's. Do you know of such a player?
foster_9
You cannot get "more" out of a badly recorded or mastered disc with any electronics. You can find a CD player or DAC (or preamp, or amp, or wires, or...) that colors and masks the problems, or you can find a player that has excellent transparency and highlights the problems.

You already have an outstanding player in the Modwright Sony. Try rolling some Sylvania GB-5687 tubes in the Modwright. They will warm things upa a tad if you are currently using the stock Tung Sol black plates.
Tvad is correct, and a player that colors the sound and makes bad recordings sound better will good recordings sound worse. I think you should be looking for an equalizer you can apply to the bad recordings, not a CD player
I think you should be looking for an equalizer you can apply to the bad recordings, not a CD player
Herman (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
That's one perfectly valid solution.
cd players really won't change or forgive a bad recording, but speakers will still have the biggest influence in the way music sounds. most well engineered speakers make most recorded music enjoyable. more and more current or re-issued cd's are sounding better too.
Well, I have yet to meet anyone that I feel is qualified to decide what the World's Absolute Audio Reference (WAAR) should be. Who is to say what is right and what is wrong? I believe we have yet to find a system, whether recording or reproducing, that recreates exactly what we would hear in a live performance - so there is no standard - and thus no room for absolute judgement.

In addition, hifi is no different than any other complex system: there are infinite combinations, if not in design, then in execution or reaction. Why aren't snowflakes identical to each other? Because there is no right way. There are simply too many variables. To me, a stereo is like a person: it has its own character, attitude, likes and dislikes. You jive with some people and not others - just like some stereo components jive with each other and others don't. Throw both humans and systems together and you get an even more complex result with no hope for an absolute answer. I like to say that if something seems simple to you, then you haven't looked at it hard enough. Our universe is filled with many other examples of this chaotic state but I will digress here.

Foster - I know where you are coming from. Synergy is definately the key and, based on the phrasing of your question, I feel that you are experienced enough to determine when you have it or not. On to my suggestions: You may want to try an Audio Aero Capitole. Not sure if you like the top loading design but it sounds supremely natural to my ears, with fantastic timbre and space. It will make beautiful music rather than beautiful sounds.

Otherwise, the new Naim cd players are stellar and would also lean the direction you seek. They have a very nice treble that never accentuates the deficiencies of poor recordings. The CD5x is my personal favorite after hearing it in a couple different systems and falls right in your price range.

I have an EQ in my McIntosh preamp that serves me perfectly when I am faced with recording qualities I don't approve of. It doesn't take but one dB here or there to make it all much more enjoyable. But then again, I also have two cd players with each different characters that are each suited to their own type of music. See my system page for more info. It is all about specialization - just like any other technical field.

Anyway, there are many good choices out there. Best thing is to "buy and try" to see what works for you. It takes effort and hassle but in the end, it is the only method that covers all the variables relative to you. Good luck in your search.

Arthur
Arthur makes some good suggestions for various ways to color the sound of your bad recordings...and I have absolutely no issue with doing so. However, before you vote the Modwright off the island, you owe it to yourself to experiment with a couple tube alternatives. You will be pleasantly surprised. Even a $20 pair of Sylvania WA5687 would make a nice change toward a warmer sound that what the Tung Sol tubes provide. The change will not be subtle.

Also, the new tube rectified power supply for the Modwright makes a significant improvement to the naturalness of the music.

Start with some tubes, unless you are hurtling toward an inevitable CD payer change (which I sense you are).

It's true that only buying and trying, and listening to the possibilities will reveal which is best for you.
I currently have some Raytheon 5687's that I'm using now with the Modwright. I've tried the stock Tung Sol's replaced them with the Raytheons then GE 7044's, then tried a second set of Tung Sol's given to me by Dan then back to the Raytheons's so I have tube rolled. Tvad, I also have the tube rectified power supply. You can't tell me that the synergy present between the front end and the rest of your system isn't going to affect the end product (sound) with all of your cd's, the well recorded and the poorly recorded. I'm looking for a player that will lend itself to my system and improve my collection, the poorly recorded and better recorded cd's. Some of you seem to be saying that this is not possible- but you're not taking into account the overall affects of synergy or the lack of it. IMHO a front end that synergizes better with the rest of your system will improve every aspect of your system's performance. So I feel there may be a player that can provide improved performance if it of all my cd's if works better with my system. (thanks for getting it Aball)

03-13-07: Foster_9
I've tried the stock Tung Sol's replaced them with the Raytheons then GE 7044's, then tried a second set of Tung Sol's given to me by Dan then back to the Raytheons's so I have tube rolled.
The Sylvanias I recommend are significantly different than those that you have tried. But, please do some more research into the Modwright players and preamps, and you'll comments here and on AudioCircle from several users who have installed Sylvania GB-5687. Two local audiophile buddies who have systems vastly different from mine both use Sylvania 5687 tubes in their Modwright Sony 999ES Signature Platinum players. One likes the Sylvania GB-5687 and the other likes the Sylvania WA5687. For $20/pair, you have very little to invest to try the WA5687.

You can't tell me that the synergy present between the front end and the rest of your system isn't going to affect the end product (sound) with all of your cd's, the well recorded and the poorly recorded.
True. However, what comes from the source component is the most critical. What's missing from the source will always be missing. Even the Modwright has information either missing or colored differently from other digital sources I have owned. It's a matter of preference.

Overall, I think the synergy thing is a matter of trial and error, and some luck. Unless you happen to find another audiophile with precisely the same electronics, speakers, wire, AC and room, you will not be able to assume their recommendation will translate to your system. That's a point well made by Arthur, and I agree with him completely. It's one reason I am recommending starting will a smaller expenditure since you already own a world class digital source, and one that fits into many systems regardless of their varying components and speaker systems.

It takes a strong working knowledge of voltage, gain and impedance matching to put together a "synergistic" system. Many of us don't have the working knowledge to do this properly, and that's where the trial and error enters the picture. If along the way we come across someone who knows this stuff in and out, like Alex Peychev did when I owned my APL Denon 3910 (and as Dan Wright does), then their help can be immeasurable in solving problems. Perhaps if you contacted Dan Wright, he might have a suggestion about adjusting the output voltage of your Modwright to better match your system.

Finally, if your Reimer loudspeakers are anything like the excellent Grand Tetons I heard, they are very revealing in the upper mids and highs, and will not help to ameliorate what you find objectionable in any of your poorly recorded CDs (or vinyl LPs, or computer music files). There are speakers that can be revealing and true to well recorded material while also being a little forgiving to bad recordings. You may not be able to hear the tympanist scratch behind his ear, though.

Best of luck on your quest.
Would the Behringer EQ work if it was calibrated to a lesser quality disc, then bypassed when not needed?
I had a Rega Jupiter 2000 that I would call very forgiving and no slush either. On the other hand, I have yet to find one that is sharp as knife with audiophile recording and forgiving with bad stuff.

One other option, just my two cents, is to buy a very resolving one with two outputs, run one direct into your preamp and the other into a tube buffer first (Musical Fidelity X10-v3 for example).

A $250 Behringer EQ is still a very valid option or buy speakers that can be adjusted for treble down a few dB.
Njoe Tjoeb, box stock version & ask for suggestions on tubes if you buy it new. In my opinion.
Tvad, no doubt I will try the Sylanias and thanks for the encouragement on the 999ES. I really don't want to have to replace it. I'd be very happy for it to be my last player. I'm very tired of burning, churning, and losing money.
I'm very tired of burning, churning, and losing money.
Foster_9 (Threads | Answers)
I hear 'ya brother. I still do a little churning, too.

Before you play "Survivor: CD Player Overboard", give Dan Wright a call or an email and explain your goal. He might be able to help with a slight resistor tweak.
Foster 9, why have just one CDP. You can get an inexpensive tube CDP, stuff it with different tubes until you get the tone you want, then play your bad CD's on it and use your good one for the reference stuff. :-)

Other than that, you can't have it all in one player. Tvad is right.
I once had a local audiophile friend bring his Nohr CD-1 tube cd player over. It had an uncanny ability to make bad CDs sound OK and to make great CDs sound only OK too!

Enjoy,

TIC
Newbee, thanks but I already a second player the Jolida JD 100.
FWIW, the top-of-the-line Ohm Walsh 5 loudspeakers can be adjusted along the lines of what Beheme suggests. They can also be adjusted for bass.

I owned a Behringer EQ, and I believe it is a good solution for some people. I was not engaged enough to learn the intricacies of the Behringer to make it worthwhile, but I think it's a powerful tool.
Well, on the cheap you could do worse than the Raysonic 128 as a 2d unit. It really responds well to tube changes and turns in a very credible performance. I retired my old Cal Alpha/Delta without a tear.

I'm not as as fond of the use of an equalizer in this function. IMHO, you can shelve down the frequencies where the 'digital glare' occurs on 'bad' CD's but you don't change the fundamental glare - at least I can still hear it anyway. But using the right tube CDP (or an outboard buffer as suggested by Beheme) you can by selecting the right tubes soften the glare itself.

FWIW.
But using the right tube CDP (or an outboard buffer as suggested by Beheme) you can by selecting the right tubes soften the glare itself.

FWIW.
Newbee (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
OK, here's an idea I can't believe I didn't mention...and I've done it myself with excellent results.

Use a tube buffered Paradisea DAC, available on E-Bay for $525 delivered. Wow, talk about taming the digital nasties and producing warm, creamy and liquid music! Just run the Paradisea from the Modwright's Toslink or Coaxial digital outputs, and you have the best of both worlds!
OK, I think we need some clarification here. Do you seek a single player that can do everything (make everything sound good) or an additional player or another piece of hardware than can compensate for bad recordings?

If it is the former then you seek the impossible. How can one player color bad recordings and not color good recordings? I don’t care how much synergy there is you can’t find a player that can do both. You can find a player that compromises on both ends and make everything sound mediocre, but you can’t have everything in one box.

I suggest the following. Switch to computer based audio with a USB DAC. Rip all CDs to hard drives. Investigate equalizer software that can be applied to bad recordings and bypassed for good ones. Properly implemented computers make great transports so you can concentrate on the software and DAC.
Check out a previously owned Esoteric DV-50. It is within your price range. It has what Esoteric calls "Digital Filters". It has three settings. Using it has always reminded me of tube rolling. I seem to change settings more when I playing CD's from the 80's and early 90's. Another plus is having the ability to play SACD and DVD-A. I use mine in a music only system but I can listen to DVD-V concerts. It is a very versatile machine.

Good Luck
Vegasears is right, my fathers DV60 does this also, and I cant remember the settings names but the second selection tamed hash up on 1st generation cd's. But overall the Esoteric is more detailed or analytical then we thought it would be, his Lexicon RT10 wich the DV60 replaced has a warmer and smoother sound signature.
Thanks a lot everyone for your words of advice. I always appreciate getting advice here. Herman, I'm looking for a player that provides a little more weight to the presentation of older recordings. Not looking for a DAC but I've considered an eq. In my original post I said I was looking for a player that would provide less thinness, leaness, in the sonics and more weight and lows, but not rolled off or muted in the highs with my older recordings. I just want a little more meat on the bones of the sonic picture with my old recordings that often sound anemic. I currently have 2 cdps with the Sony as my main unit. It's excellent, and I believe it just doesn't have the best synergy with the rest of my setup and thus isn't performing to its full potential. I believe that a player that had better synergy in my setup would be more satisfying even with the older cd's I have.
Tvad - You should avoid making condensending remarks about people's "colored" suggestions when you are guilty of it yourself. You start off by suggesting that anything other than the Modwright is colored and then keep suggesting these tubes to effectively change (i.e. color) its sound. You don't honestly believe your Sylvanias are as uncolored as any other tubes, do you? What about the Paradisea DAC? Is it uncolored only if you have the Modwright as a transport? Your point isn't clear at all. Nevertheless, I am glad to see you come around and accept that even the Modwright's sound can be modified from "neutral," whatever that is.

Arthur
03-14-07: Aball
Tvad - You should avoid making condensending remarks about people's "colored" suggestions when you are guilty of it yourself. You start off by suggesting that anything other than the Modwright is colored and then keep suggesting these tubes to effectively change (i.e. color) its sound.
Arthur, I never intended to suggest that the Modwright is uncolored and all other players are colored. If I gave that impression, then I needed to be more precise in my writing, because it's absolutely the opposite of what I believe, and I certainly had no intention of being condescending. So, let me correct it here.

Yes, the Modwright is colored. I happen to like it's coloration, and even more so with some tubes other than those provided with the unit. In fact, I made the following statement in a post above:
Even the Modwright has information either missing or colored differently from other digital sources I have owned. It's a matter of preference.

The Paradisea is also colored. Wonderfully so. In fact, it's exactly the meat-and-bones coloration that might fit Foster_9's goal perfectly.

The only digital source that I have ever owned that I believe showed the least amount of coloration, and yet was amazingly musical with tremendous meat on the bones was an APL Denon 3910.

Now, I'm going to re-read my posts to see where I wrote that the Modwright is uncolored and all other players are colored. It bothers me that you read my post as such, because it was not my intention to convey that message. Further, I did comment that the rectified tube power supply added to the naturalness of the Modwright's sound (freedom of grain and an added liquidity), but I don't believe I ever stated that the Modwright is neutral.

Frankly, in my opinion several of us are on the same page, and yet there is a continuing debate among us as though we are on opposite sides of the topic, and I cannot figure out why this is so.
Chadnliz...While the Behringer DEQ2496 can be used like tone controls to fix individual recordings it is not very convenient to use this way. Its primary benefit is to fix problems of room resonances, and secondarily, frequency response of your system...in other words, things that don't change from one CD to the next.
Foster 9, You have restated your desires - I completely read thru these and went to the obvious complaint so many folks have about 'glare', so common in early CD's. Sorry 'bout that. Noting your desires, my recommendation would be the same. A well broken in Raysonic, using stock EH 6922's, has a full, reasonably tight, warm bass/lower mid-range, lots of detail without brightness, and of the 3 CDP's I'm currently using it provides the best imaging. It ain't perfect but its dammed good, and in MHO it fits your description of what you want in a 2d CDP. BTW, no commercial interest in the success or failure of this unit. I just think its a hell of a value when I see them selling used for as little as $1200. :-)
Tvad - ok, now I see that we are on the same page. I figured that had to be since there is no other way. There is no need to ever use the word "colored" since everything is. I just had the impression you were saying I was wrong in making "colored" suggestions. Anyway, truce.

Foster - I am now a little confused by what you are after. Is the Jolida not good in your system either? YOu could just use it for bad recordings and seemingly get what you are after. I am assuming it is a good bit more forgiving than the Modwright (I've had two JD100s).

If you want to replace the Modwright with an equally detailed cd player that also has more body, then you may have to spend a bit more to have your cake and eat it too. Try the Sylvania tubes (I have always loved mine) and see how that goes. Also, have you tried different interconnects on your Sony? Some Cardas or van den Hul might work for you.

Arthur
Aball, the Jolida is good but I'm looking for more extension at the frequency extremes. My opinion is that it's a nice music-maker but I feel that it's possible to get more "meat on the bones" in a player at the price point of $2500-3k used and add more foundation to the performance of lesser/older cd's. Right now I'm using Acoustic Zen Ref Matrix II interconnects. The Rega Saturn is a player I'm curious about.
I know how the EQ works and still think it may help, if in general bad CD's sound bright or thin or whatever then having the EQ may help more on some then others but still may help, then hit the bypass button when it isnt needed. The cost of the EQ makes it almost a non-risk and it may even get used to fix the reponse in general.
All I can say is GOOD LUCK, I had to go thru digital hell, with over 50 players, but, my final player, actually does EXACTLY what you all desire. My player is unbelievable in playing poorly recorded cd's, and even more amazing on audiophile, all ya gotta do is add a zero to the price, and you can have it all.

Best of luck in your digital part of this journey, cause, HAPPILY I am done with mine.
Cary offers variable sampling rate players, controlled via the remote so you can chose parameters from the listening chair. I'm thinking that Wadia also offers this feature?

Spectral used to demo a player at the CES which had front panel switch selectable filtering & sampling modes.

If you want to gloss over some of the gory details on lesser-quality recordings, you can easily build filtering into any preamp that has a tape loop. I use selected interconnect cables as filters, simply connecting the tape output jacks back into the tape input jacks, then switch in the tape loop to filter the signal according to the cable's characteristics. For example, a lower-end Cardas interconnect provides a smoother somewhat rolled-off less resolving effect. You can chose cables to whatever sonic effect you desire. If you have two tape loops available then you have even greater flexibility.