Budget just increased, looking at universal players again

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by PaulDA, May 7, 2004.

  1. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I'm aware of the usual suspects on the universal front: Denon, Pioneer, Yamaha, Onkyo. My budget is 750-1000$US, and I'd like to know if there are any other players out there I should look at (so I don't overlook a little-known gem). Also, I don't have to spend it all, if something is worth looking at below my target price range. Audio is more important than video, as I can't use prog scan and my screen is only 32" (so I think imperfections will be harder to notice than on really giant screens).

    I know I have to listen for myself, but I essentially looking for a list of players to audition.

    Thanks.
     
  2. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    My possibilities are as follows:

    Denon DVD2200 or Yamaha S1500 plus Cambridge Audio 540 C or NAD 541i

    or

    Denon DVD2900 or Yamaha S2300MkII and no dedicated cd player.

    Audio is of prime consideration and I have a lot of CDs.

    Any thoughts?

    P.S. My budget can accomodate either scenario.
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Paul, you have a lot of good choices out there. I'm not saying no universal player will be good for CDs but every one of them in that price range makes compromises. They'll all likely use the DVD-V (48k) bitstream for transmit PCM audio for CDs which is not necessarily ideal. There is also the used market such as places like audiogon.com where you may even find something locally. There's also merchandise like: http://www.underwoodhifi.com/mod_pioneer.html or

    http://www.underwoodhifi.com/mod_den...hor-Deno-57265 or

    http://www.aplhifi.com/Pioneer563a.html

    as well as others like it that may get you more of what you are looking for.
     
  4. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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  5. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    I love all aspects of my Denon's DVD2900 performance but offerings from Pioneer and Marantz around $500-$600 range (and the Denon 2200) are quite capable performers. This "middle" level will do you fine if you've already got a dedicated CD player and plan on keeping it. You may want to go higher, towards $1000, if you plan to use this player for CD's as well as DVD-A/V & SACD.

    Bill
     
  6. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    PaulDA: If you only listen to stereo, then you could buy a dedicated player for each format & avoid the compromises many universals have.

    If you do enjoy surround music, then your receiver/processor would need to be equipped with two sets of 5.1 inputs (still very rare these days).

    LJ
     
  7. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I went browsing today, and was offered the following (in Canadian dollars). Either a Yamaha S2300MkII or a combination of a Marantz DV6400 AND a NAD 542 cd player for 1500$ retail, with an implied wiggle room of 200-300$. I had gone in there to see if they had the new Yamaha S1500, but the sales rep said it's not slated for Canada (doesn't appear on the Canadian Yamaha website as a product for this year). I'm in no rush, I was just interested in what's out there. It'll be a few months before I can put my system together again as it's all in storage while we're house-hunting.

    The sales guy wasn't too impressive though. He was nice and not sleazy, but he didn't know much. He thought the Yamaha C740? SACD/DVD carousel was a universal player because it said SACD and DVD on it (at 800$ retail Cdn, I'd have grabbed ten and sold them online--a universal carousel is high on a lot of people's list). Also, he told me Marantz was owned by the Harman group and they were merging production facilities early next year. Anyone else know about this?

    [​IMG]

    FWIW, I can the Marantz DV6400, if I buy by Tues. for 650$Cdn (normally 799$) (about 475$US at today's exchange rate) Is this a good price?

    LanceJ,
    I do enjoy good stereo, but I'm intrigued enough about multichannel to want to have the capability. I have eight DVD-A discs that I've used with the DD and DTS tracks and have usually (though not always) enjoyed the surround mixes. I don't have any classical or jazz in the surround formats yet but I look forward to sampling them. If I find stereo more appealling, then I'll likely look for a stereo dedicated player (probably SACD) in the future. For now, though, my regular CD collection is extensive enough that I'd like a good quality stand alone CD player, if I can swing it, and rely on a universal for hi-res.
     
  8. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    Just had a thought. If I use my receiver's ability to apply bass/time management to multichannel input (I realize it adds a/d/a, but I feel the receivers Wolfson DACs are up to the task), does it really matter what universal player I get or will I still benefit from the initial quality of the DACs in the player before the signal is re-digitized? This is becoming a bit esoteric to me, but I'm curious. I probably won't go this route, but it is an option, and depending on the room I end up with, size-wise, I may need the time delay that appears lacking for almost all SACD portions of universal players. Moreover, I can apply a flexible crossover through my receiver.
     
  9. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Yes, it'll still matter since the player will be doing the first conversion. I don't know which receiver you have, but I remember some owners of the Pioneer 49TX, which also can apply BM & TA on the multi-channel inputs, saying they didn't notice any degradation when having the receiver redigitize the hi-rez signal.

    It'll be equipment dependent, I would imagine, so I'd just A/B it and go with the one that sounds the best.

    DJ
     
  10. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I have an Integra DTR 6.4 receiver. So far (it's in storage for the next few months while we house hunt) I've only used it with a cheap DVD/VCR combo as a transport via optical cable. In that mode, it sounded fine. I can only imagine it will sound better with better equipment attached. So, if I understand you correctly, it's POSSIBLE (depending on equipment of course) that a signal coming from a cd player with high quality DACs will sound better through an A/D/A (to keep the sub in the mix) in my receiver than a cheap player used as a transport via digital connection and letting my receiver do all the work, as long as the DACs in the player are better than those in my receiver? Just want to understand.
     
  11. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Well, there are alot of things that influence quality throughout the signal chain. The converters are certainly a big part of it, but not the only thing. Of course, it depends on the related equipment.

    You really need to try different connection options and see what works best. IMO, in your situation, you have a good receiver, so I wouldn't invest alot for analog CD playback unless you decide you want to go all out by buying a good player and the related equipment for a clean analog path(which could get expensive).

    Instead, I would get a good universal player, not a dedicated CD player, and use it as a transport for CDs to your Integra. For hi-rez, try it both ways with the straight pass-through and adding the extra conversion for BM & TA. My preference would be to keep it all analog after the player, but I've never had a receiver that applied any processing on the multi-channel inputs.

    You'll just have to evaluate the differences and if there is any noticeable degradation, I would opt for keeping it analog over having the BM & TA. I don't know what kind of speakers you have, but unless they're small satellites, the BM probably won't be a huge issue with most music. TA can be a problem, but that'll just depend on how you have your speakers set-up in relation to your listening position.

    DJ
     
  12. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    for what it's worth, i've never noticed anything weird about the way my sacds sound with no ta. and my surrounds are NOT equidistant from my sweet spot.
     
  13. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    My speakers are Boston Acoustic VR-M60s front, VRC centre and VR-M50s rear, with a Boston PV900 sub. If the cd player is less important, I might get a less expensive one to use as a transport, as I want to a)extend the life of each component and b) not get caught without a player if one of them goes down, leaving me without music for an extended period of time. Thanks for the responses.
     
  14. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Paul: speaking of CD-only players, I just saw this new(?) Onkyo carousel player at Circuit City last night for only $200 so if you are wanting to use your receiver's DACs and b.m. system anyway then this player might work out O.K., and also, your Integra's remote should be able to operate it:

    Onkyo DXC390

    It seemed built solidly--IIRC it even had a metal faceplate because that part felt cold to the touch--and was styled nicely too. They probably keep the price low at retail outlets like this since CD-only players probably don't sell very quickly anymore.

    And according to some of the reviews, it plays MP3s if that is any use to you.

    LJ
     

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