Do high end CD players actually make a difference?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by steve paul, Jan 22, 2002.

  1. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    I have my setup almost 100% how I want. I have the KRELL HTS2, and sunfire cinema grand amp which I am upgrading to the signature II this week. I have a sunfire true sub MKIV and Monitor Audio GR60 speakers. I am using a Toshiba 9200 DVD player for DVD as well as CD playback. NOW I went to my dealer and he had some LINN CD players - 2 in particular..one was $1700, one was $3300 - Do these expensive CD players actually make a difference in sound compared to my DVD player playing a CD? With the DVD player now, I use teh digital and Analog outs. Teh Analogouts may sound a little better f rom the 9200 - I bypass the Krells DACS doing it that way.

    Im tempted to try one of these fancy CD players but never really looked into it as I thought all CD players were the same basically. The dealertold me these CD players would blow away any mass market CD player and he said he did a face of between a sony super audio CD player and the $1700 Linn and he said the Linnblew the sony away big time.

    So the question is..will it make a difference? The one area where I am not 100% happy is with CD playback. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Steve, your dealer is NOT blowing smoke.

    I was using a Sony DVD player as a source for a while (out of necessity, not choice). Sound was TERRIBLE...no matter what I used, Analog outs or Digital. Still sucked.

    When I got my Sony SCD-555ES player recently, it was night and day. You have such amazing stuff in your system you owe it to yourself to get a better source man!!!!

    You won't believe the difference.

    As for the comparison between the Linn and the Sony, you don't state which Sony he used, but you can ask RicP on this forum how he likes the X777ES Sony player (lists something like $3500 or so). You can search for the thread, he thinks the player is jaw dropping.

    Still, for $800, I love my 555. You definately need to upgrade this part of your system, IMO.
     
  3. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    WOW, I never knew that...I thought a Cd player was a CD player! Ill go tomorrow and probably pick it up. Hell, even if it doesnot make an improvement (and Im sure it will after reading your experience) I can return it.

    Ill post tomorrow after I get it hooked up. I may also check out the sony...
     
  4. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually thats the weird part. I haveit connected both ways. Through an optical connection to let the KRELL do the work and through the Analog outs from the DVD player to the Analog ins on the Krell. I have it bypassing the KRELL Dacs in this mode (preamp mode) -

    The Analog mode (using the DVD players DACS) is slightly better than using the KRELL dacs.

    The Toshiba SD9200 was $2k when it came out and everyone claimed it had awesome CD performance...ifyou read reviews on ot some people say you can throw away your CD player and replace with the 9200...

    So maybe a dedicated high end CD player wont help..
     
  5. EarlR

    EarlR Stunt Coordinator

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    A good CD player will definitely help. You are using the Toslink optical output to your Krell and this is a terrible connection. The Toslink is bandwidth limited and restricts the performance of your system. With a good CD player either use the analog output and bypass the Dacs in you Krell or use a Coaxial cable to connect the two.

    Earl
     
  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    You might want to also check around for other high-end CDPs to, I replaced an old Denon DCD-2560 with a Meridian 506.20 (which was like $1900 as a demo model). So sweet, it beats the living daylights out of the older Denon and the D/A converters in my DD processor. Check around, also another CDP I was considering which was cheaper was a Classe' one, forget the model number but it was a bit less than the Meridian.

    Jay
     
  7. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, by all means a good dedicated CD player (Theta Miles is a good one, or Cary 303 at a higher price point) will hugely improve soundstage, bass, tonal quality - basically everything. By the way, ditch the optical connection first and get a good (Acoustic Zen, for example) digital coax cable. You may find enough of an improvement where you don't need the CD player, although it will still improve the sound quality.

    One other thing - does the Krell have an analog bypass or does it convert analog inputs to digital? If it converts, I am very surprised you would prefer the sound of the analog connection.
     
  8. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks everyone! Ill goout today shopping for a new CDP!
     
  9. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Well...went out and haggled for a sony X777ES and got it for $2250 at Ultimate Electronics who listed it for $2999 - Got it home and was a bit disapointed as there was a very minor difference. It was a little bigger on the bass and thats it. Hooked it up digitally and through Analog. Bought a Billy Joel SACD and it did not sound any better than the original on CD. SO I tried the Sopranos soundtrack and that was better. SOunded great. BUT my regular CD's did not really sound much better..worth the $2300? Not really, but it is built like a tank.
     
  10. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Steve,

    You are upgrading/swapping various components in your system so fast that I think you might be confusing "a novel, different sound" as "truly better sound." We can notice a slightly different sound, and immediately call it better. But if we live with the new sound for a few days, even a week, we may come to realize that the sound was not any better (or even worse).

    Also, is your Krell the prepro that has "inside" of it, the guts of a Krell stereo preamp? Just trying to verify that you have pure analog bypass.
     
  11. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Steve: I haven't had alot to add to this discussion as I read along with the added posts during the day, but now, I gotta say... HUH? When I saw that you did not hear a major improvement with the 777es versus your old Sony CD player I just had to jump in here. My first guess is that something is wrong with your setup.? First thing to try is to disconnect the digital connection between the 777es and the Krell pre/pro. Connect the 777es only to the 5.1 direct inputs of the pre/pro. Next, play the demo SACDs that came with the 777es. They are wonderful demo material and you should be awed almost immediately. The BJ SACD is not one of the best discs, IMO, to notice the differences between SACD and CDs. My second impulse is to think that something is wrong with your system. In another post, I think you mentioned that the Krell/Sunfire/MA combo sounded bright. It "should" not as the Krell is more revealing than bright and the Sunfire to me was a very warm amp. So, try the 5.1 analog only hookup and if you still are not impressed, get back to us.
     
  12. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    I was using a Toshiba 9200 DVD player as my CD player not a sony..and I found out why there was no diff...if you look up reviews of the Toshiba 9200, even teh Stereophile review, you will see they rated it as beating some $2000 CD players for sound quality so I already had a good CD player. I found out what my problem was..My Speakers! My GR60's just do not sound right in my room. I hooked up my GR10's (rear bookshlefs) and they were stunning. The clarity, midrange and BASS (yes bass) were better than the flagship GR60's..Now, Imnot sure i f its my room or I have defective speakers but I started with the GR20's and will goback to them. Maybe the 60's are too much for my room but they sounded slightly tinny and flat. The 10's sounded near perfect and for their size they are amazing. The 777 is going back today..

    Thanks guys!
     
  13. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  14. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Here's my 0.02 since I have gone through similar experiences with CDP's in the past.
    About 1 1/2 yrs ago I went CDP shopping. My budget was $2-$3k.I had in home auditions of a Rega Planet, Arcam FMJ23, Theta DAC, and a Cary CD-303. My pre-pro was/is a Classe SSP-25 which has excellent DAC's but I wanted more of a good thing.
    Each unit sounded nice but compared to my Classe unit, none of them really blew it away. The differences were VERY subtle but I was willing to spend the bucks at that time even if the improvement was subtle.
    I ended buying the Cary CD-303, mainly because of its better bottom end, HDCD capability, and finally, balanced connection option. It was $2,500 with a 1 year trade in policy. After almost a year with it, I decided the $2,500 was better spent in a speaker upgrade since the overall improvement with it was very little. The speaker upgrade is way more noticable than the subtle difference the Cary gave me. I'm under the impression that if you have a good quality pre/pro, you will need to make a significant upgrade in a CDP to really hear improvement(IMO). I would recommend a digital(jitter) filter between your SD-9200 and Krell preamp, at least give that a try and listen for any improvement. Always buy with a 30 day return option!
    Sorry for the long winded response. [​IMG]
     
  15. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Do you guys usually use analog or digital?

    Where can you get the 555ES for $800?
     
  16. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Howard, www.oade.com has the 555 for $775 plus $25 shipping. Being in BC, I don't know how that would work for taxes and the like (duty). That is when they have the player in stock. They go through quite a few of them.
     
  17. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Ric P, what a load of crap. hey I CAN tell a difference when I A?B 2 CD players IF INDEED there is a difference. 1st off I bought the 77 retail, not mail order so of course I overpaid, 2nd it WAS a floor model anyway so it WAS broken in, thank you. There was a VERY VERY VERY minor diff between the 777 and the toshiba with the 77 being a bit more bassy and maybe 5% less bright, but IT WAS NOT worth $2300 - thats for sure. Sure I have the ability to go through $50,000 worth of gear in a month and you know what? I will until it sounds right and I just changed something tonight that did it.

    Why doe sit nee dto be in my system for 21 days? Is this a set time? A golden rule? It either sounds better or worse than what I have. If better I keep it, if worse I return it. Simple as pie.

    WHat will my ears automatically like the sound that is bad after 21 days?

    Sounds like you are an owner of a 7700 who is defending your purchase. Have you ever heard a Toshiba 9200 as a CD player? I bet not..if you read reviews, or read stereophile you will see it beats many high end players. It weighs 40 lbs itself, so the Sony was not an improvement. Not enough to warrant $2300 anyway. SACD was not that great to me and what, you can buy 20 titles? Mostly classical? I can wait on that.

    Anyway in the past 8 months, yes 8 MONTHS not 30 days..Ive been thorugh

    Denon 5800 with def Tech setup..lived with this for 8 months, never happy with it as the defs were muffled sounding with the denon.

    Then went to B&K 307 with Monitor Audio 60's - Sounded good but still a bit muffles.

    Tried Pioneer Elite 49tx - This was impressive and almost kept ituntil I picked up a used sunfire amp and noticed much more punch in DVD's - so I was bitten by the seperates bug. My wife told me we had extra cash so I said what the hell and bought the KRELL HTS2 -

    Then found out there was a tinny sound not full or smooth. This is why I thought it may be the CD player after my dealer told me CD players make a big diff, which I know they do, but I didnot even realize my DVD player is an awesome CD player.

    Anyway, tried the 777 and it did not really improve anything. Turns out it was the Sunfire amp. I went to my delear to try out a B&K ref 7750 II and it did the trick. SIlky smooth midrange, nice highs, great soundstage. I canknow say my system is the best its ever been, and no it did not take me 21 days to figure that one out. Hell, I spent maybe $12000 in the past month (with what I have now) but I got what I wanted and got to tryout everything I wanted a s well. My Sunfire Cinema Grand is now on ebay since I found out that it did not mate well with the KRELL and Monitors.

    Wow, if what you say is true, on feb 14th my system should sound twice as good! (21 days, cant wait)
     
  18. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    That just proves that you have no idea what I'm talking about. No matter...enjoy your new system, however you decide to build it.
    Cheers!
     
  19. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh I w ill and I do enhoy it, but when I add a 42300 piece of gear and it doesnot sound much different I cannot justify the $2300..that is being smart..keeping past my return privelage date would be very dumb indeed. I experiment with different setups because I can. Not everyone has the ability to go buy 4 different amps, see which they like better and keep the best one for them. I am not an "Audiophile" - I just enjoy good sounding music and I wasnot getting it with my previous setups. Waiting for gear to settle in will not change that. You either like the sound or you do not. BTW, my 9200 sounds beautiful with the new amp. If this amp di dnot work out I was going to go buy the Theta amp and be done with it, but I wanted to try all of my options 1st, why is this wrong??

    No, I still do not get your 21 day thing..you still do not make sense with that. The only thing in my setup that is pretty expensive is the Krell preamp, everything else is middle of the road in my opinion. I tried to get the best performance for the lowest amount even though the Krell did cost a bit much but it is my fav piece of equip.

    Hell, I could go buy three CD players tomorrow, hook them up and know within 10 minutes which I would keep, if any. To be honest..Im tired, and I am now 100% happy with my setup. I spent the money to build a dedicated room, a screen, projecter, ect ect. Of course I am going to try out as much as I can! If you can do it, why not. You make it sound like I am stupid for trying many different amps, recievers, ect. In my book its VERY smart and I ended up with something I am happy with.

    I thank god I did not buy the 777 on line..then I could not have returned it! Now, I can see if I had a $100 Cd player and then tried the Sony, I would of loved it, but to be honest there was MINIMAL difference. If there was a good diff I would of kept it no problem.

    My wifes opionion on 777 vs 9200

    "It sounds a little fuller..maybe"

    My friend on 777 vs 9200

    "No way that is worth $2300..there is no difference at all"

    Me, I did notice more bass but the midrange seemed a bit richer with the 9200.

    Anyhow...its weird that you ask for help and end up getting insulted becuase you have the time and money to try new things in your system..and god forbid you dont try every componet for the magical 21 days.

    Im done.

    Steve
     
  20. steve paul

    steve paul Stunt Coordinator

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    BTW..I also tried the Sopranos SCD - didnt sound as good as my Sinead Oconner or Jewel discs!

    Also, when I asked about the CD players initially there were a couple responses like

    "His jaw dropped" reffering to when someone upgraded to the sony 777 - his jaw dropped instantly, not after 21 days. My jaw just twisted and said "huh?"
     

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