Advice sought on possible CD player upgrade

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Mark Hedges, May 1, 2003.

  1. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    I am considering adding a CD player to my system, to improve the sound and to save wear on my DVD player. My system is as follows:

    Reciever: Sony STR-DE485
    Mains: JBL S36II
    DVD/CD: Sony DVP-NC655P
    SUB: SONY SA-WM20
    (Surround components omitted as the CD player is only for 2 channel operation)

    Actually the reciever is from the Sony HT-DDW840 HTIB kit, but I am convinced it is just a rebadged -485. I realize it is pretty crappy. Would adding a good CD player such as the Sony 333ES or even a NAD or Cambridge audio unit improve the sound, or would I not notice any improvement due to the low quality of my reciever?

    Thanks!

    Mark
     
  2. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    The Philips 963SA DVD Player also plays SACDs and can upsample CDs to 24-bit/96khz or 24-bit/192khz.
     
  3. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

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    If you aren't looking for a SACD player, and hoping to simply play CD, CD-R, and CD-RW, I'd make a Marantz recommendation.

    I purchased the CC-3000 from Marantz about a half year ago and it works wonderfully. It doesn't really have any bells and whistles, but it has a fast, stable mechanism, plays flawlessly, has a handy remote, and button placementon the unit is wonderful, IMO.
     
  4. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    Yes, if you don't have a good source: garbage in, garbage out

    You may want to consider adding an outboard DAC. I don't know if they still have it but AudioAdvisor was clearancing a Camelot DAC for $300.


    For a CD player depends on budget:

    under $250:
    HK CD changer with HDCD ($225 retail, $170 refurb)


    $250-$500
    Music Hall MMF CD-25
    Rega Planet
    Cambridge D500

    $500 - $1000
    Roksan Kandy KC-1
    Rega Planet 2000


    SACD

    Philips 963SA
    Sony CE775
    Sony 222ES

    DVD-A

    Pioneer 656

    Universal

    Denon 2900
    Yamaha 2300
    Onkyo SP-800

    and what I wish I could afford...


    dCS Verdi/Elgar/Purcell combo - $34K


    When using an outboard DAC of a good CD player do NOT connect digitally and be sure to use source direct.
     
  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Mark, I'd go for a Sony SCD-222ES. SACD is a better sounding format. You might as well be able to play them too. Don't worry that your other equipment isn't up to par, you think. A better player and a better format would certainly help your present equipment. Besides, you'll trade up to other stuff eventually. Then you SACD player will sound even better. The Phillips 963A might be worth trying too. I haven't heard it but people seem to like it...in general. Best wishes![​IMG]
     
  6. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    I'd upgrade your receiver and then the main speakers - it'd be touch and go as to whether you could hear the difference between your DVD player and a good CD player, especially if you are going to use bass management to source the sub from the sub out.

    Note that unless you use the 5.1 inputs, any analog input will be digitised for processing and then DAC'ed back for amplification within the receiver.


    Sometimes people don't see the forest for the trees...
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mark, since you raised it as a possibility, I would consider upgrading the receiver. Consider doing the same with the speakers too. I agree with Craig that it is hard to say whether you would hear a difference in adding a dedicated CD player. Perhaps if you went with a more expensive player, but then it would beg for an upgrade of the receiver and the speakers.

    Getting back to the player, you could still get something even if you do not replace the receiver and speakers since you said that you want to reduce wear and tear on the DVD player. What is your budget? Are you looking for a changer or single-disc player. I agree with Rachael that the Sony SCD-C222ES is an excellent buy, especially at $350 from authorized mail-order dealers.
     
  8. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    Thanks for the input!

    I am really partial to changers, although I am considering single disc units as well. $350 or so would probably be max budget.

    Eventually I plan on replacing my reciever and moving the S36's to the back and getting new mains, but for now I really can't. I am considering the H/K FL8380 ($150 refurb now) or maybe I will wait a couple of months and get a 222ES. My reciever does have multi channel inputs - it seems a shame not to use them!

    How does the 222ES do on redbook audio? I heard that the CE775 was pretty good for SACD's but not so good for normal CD's. Is the 222ES similar?

    Is HDCD something I should have? The H/K unit has it but I don't think the Sony does.


    Mark
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mark, the 'C222ES is a better CD player than the 'CE775. I would also go with the 'C222ES over the H/K changer. Besides the fact that the 'C222ES does SACD, I would expect it to be the better CD player. The 'C222ES is an excellent value. I've also never been a fan of buying refurbished components, but that's just me.

    Sony players do not perform HDCD decoding, but I would not be concerned with HDCD. I have played HDCD discs on a number of non-HDCD players with excellent results. If you have a good CD player, HDCD discs can sound great without HDCD decoding. I find that HDCD discs are usually very well mastered, and they sound great on most any player.
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Mark, Keith and I are like double stars revolving around each other when it comes to SACD. I concur with Dr. Keith.[​IMG] I feel the same about HDCD too and I have 15 to 20 so encodes discs. The lion's share are from one label, Higher Octave. They all sound fine sans any HDCD decoding. I wouldn't wait forever on a 222. It's an older model and it could begin to sell out some time relatively soon...? Never can tell? You wonder when or if Sony will ever offer another audio only 5-disc changer? I suspect it's gonna mostly be DVD/SACD combi players from now on...? Besides maybe a few hi-end models like the SCD-9000 that's supposed to land soon, of course. I think it's projected at $3000-ish...?[​IMG] I just wouldn't wait too on a 222. Best wishes! [​IMG]
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    No matter how good of a CD player you get, your number one limitation is the receiver. You will get much more of an improvement from upgrading that than you will from a CD player.

    I have the 222ES and it is very good with redbook CDs.
     
  12. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    It really sounds like the 222ES is the way to go. I am worried that the supply will dry up soon, like the CE775 did, but if I buy any more HT gear right now my GF will be REALLY upset with me, unless its like $100 or less. I guess I will have to take my chances and wait 3 or 4 months.

    I plan on getting a new reciever eventually but my problem (other than the same reason as above) is that virtually no recievers come with 3 component video inputs. I have 3 sources, and I don't want to buy a reciever that will not be able to handle all of my video switching needs. Hopefully by next year more middle-of-the-road recievers will be available with 3 component inputs.

    Mark
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael, thanks. You know what they say about great minds. [​IMG]
     
  14. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Say Hay Keith! ...but is it a beautiful mind?[​IMG] Does Ed Harris follow you around too?

    Mark, you might scrounge around some and see if you can get a 775. I got one sans remote and manual from Circuit City a couple of weeks ago for $99. I haven't used it's optical out. I just use the analog pair so that I can put a mixed bag of SACD's and CD's in and not need to change inputs. I's do'es me's better listening on another system. The 222 is a little better though...Good luck on your upgrades![​IMG]
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael asked:

     

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