How good a CD player is the Denon 2900?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Andrew Pratt, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I'm thinking about trading in my Denon 1600 and going with the 2900 universal player. I'll use this as my CD, DVD-A and SACD player but most important to me is its 2 channel CD performance. I've read tons or threads on the video side and the BM issues but no one seems to comment on its 2 channel musical abilities in any great detail. If you own this player how does it perform relative to other CD players you own?
     
  2. Jeff Kleinberg

    Jeff Kleinberg Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,
    I'm extremely happy with the 2900's redbook performance. I've done many AB against the coax out into my anthem avm20 and I prefer the Denon, but it is very close. I don't think you'll be disappointed. My gear is Paradigm reference 100's V2, CC, ADP, Servo 15, AVM20 and Bryston 9bst.

    Jeff
     
  3. RogerR

    RogerR Extra

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    Andrew,
    I've only had my 2900 for two weeks, but I've been extremely impressed with its audio output no matter what the source. I've played movie dvds, dvd-audio, sacd, and regular cds and one consistent result is crystal clear sound with excellent range. I'm hearing things in music and soundtracks that were either unintelligible or muddled with other players. Prior to upgrading to the 2900, I was using a dedicated cd player that was purchased back in the mid-90s, and the 2900 is noticeably stronger even on music cds than that player.
    I wish I could give more feedback on stereo performance in general, but I always process my 2-channel sources, including music cds, through the DSP Matrix mode on my Denon AVR-3801 receiver.
    But, as I said, everything I have tried has sounded extremely rich. (By the way, my speakers are Definitive Technology Pro Monitors and sub, the 80 series. So these are fairly small speakers, but they have good range and have always provided crisp, clean sound.)
    --Roger
     
  4. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    The question at hand is given that I already own the Denon 1600 which is an awesome DVD player and does DVD-A should I sell that and get the universal 2900 or do I simply add a Sony 555ES CD changer? I can deal with the muliple 5.1 analog sources since I'd just make the SACD Stereo only until such time I wanted to have both available as 5.1 but I'm more a 2 channel guy anyway. So what it boils down to is this how does the CD performance compare between the Sony 555ES and the Denon 2900?
     
  5. Jan H

    Jan H Cinematographer

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    I use Direct Bypass on my Outlaw 950 to take advantage of the 2900's DAC's. I A/B'd the 2900 with the 950 in 2-channel and there was no comparison. I use a very nice Illuminati D-60 digital coax, too, so I know the connection was good. The 2900 is a great player.
     
  6. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I realize the 2900 will likely sound better then most pre amps...my Denon 1600 sounds better then my Rotel 1055 presently so I fully expect the 2900 to sound better then the 1098 I'm getting soon but I wonder how it compares to a dedicated CD player.
     
  7. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    I would say that unless you really have a need to have an all-in-one unit, for space or monetary or cabling reasons, I would stick with the 1600 and add on a 555ES. I compared the 555ES to a 2900 in terms of Redbook CD playback using the same components, and the 555ES won hands down. More transparent, wider soundstage, better focus. Mind you, this was done in a showroom and not in my own setup, but the cables, amps, preamps, speakers, etc were all the same, only the two units were switched. While in the future you might have some issues with trying to have two muti-channel inputs going into your preamp (I am not sure if the 1098 has it, but I think that with the Anthem AVM20 you can assign certain stereo inputs to work together to form another 5.1 input), the 555ES is one of the most remarkable playback machines I have ever seen for the price. Also, while the 2900 is going for ~850, the denon 1600 is going for ~300 used and the 555ES can be had for ~550 used, and in case you would like to upgrade your DVD to something like DVI or 720p in the near future, you only need to replace the DVD/DVD-A capabilities instead of all DVD/DVD-A/SACD/CD capabilities. Also, considering I have yet to hear of any video improvements over the 1600, you might as well keep the 1600, which is a great DVD machine for the price.

    BTW, I currently own a Rotel 1055, Denon 1600 and Sony 555ES, so I may appear to be biased, but my opinion is from my personal experiences with said components. Either way, good luck, and please chime in with whatever choice you make, as well as that beauty the 1098

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    PS: Here is a link of a post at avsforum where I did a short comparison of some other cd and sacd players to the 555es.
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=283837
     
  8. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Chung thanks for the advice..I was leaning that way anyway...though the bass management in the 2900 was appealing. But in the end I own a lot of CD's and only one DVD-A disc so I guess it makes sense to maximize my CD playback...and the 555ES still is a great SACD player. I've got no end of rack space so that's not really an issue either.

    I'll write up a lenghty review of the 1098 when it gets here (hopefully tomorrow) and PS there's a new firmare for the 1055/1066 (see club rotel for details)
     
  9. Daniel Mai

    Daniel Mai Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Chung. I would get the 555ES (wait I have that). I have both the 2900 and 555ES. 2900 SACD section rival that of the 555ES, but its CD can not be compare to that of the 555ES. Just a bit lacking. Look at it this way, the Sony is a 5 disc changer (very convenient) and a great sounding CD player. I would buy that by itself, the SACD is an added bonus. Also, Sony first sold this for $1700 USD. Not to take anything away from the 2900, its an extremely nice unit, an amazing universal player (I love it).
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Andrew, I recall RachaelB saying here awhile back that she much preferred CD replay on the 'C555ES to the '2900 too. I don't recall if she commented on SACD playback.
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Keith, it was stereo SACD playback I thought the 2900 was short on, of course, that's compared to the 555 and 777...![​IMG] I never took any CD's the three times I've auditioned it...on 3 different brands of hi-end speakers. The 555 and 777 are hard to beat. 5-5-5 Andrew![​IMG]
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael, thanks for correcting me. Yep, those Sonys are tough to beat! [​IMG]
     
  13. Dan Stone

    Dan Stone Stunt Coordinator

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    Is the 'C555ES still available new anywhere? I gave up looking for one as I thought they were long gone. Any info is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Dan my local dealer has a bunch of them on sale (~$650US)at the moment so yes they should still be available if you look around
     
  15. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    The Denon exhibits a "round" or "warm" sound,what others would call "tube like", the Sony is more "analytical" or "digital",some might say more "detailed",so I would call this a preference issue not a performance one.Audition both IMO.
     
  16. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    Preference issue is a great way to put it,the 2900 sounds fantastic to me.It can hold its own with any under 1k cd player I've heard.It can also hold its own against some 2k or more players I've heard.
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Dan and Andrew, I believe the availability of new 'C555ES players is dependent on which side of the border you are on. Here in the US, Sony dropped the retail price of the 'C555ES to $800 back in March 2002 (around the time that production ceased), and authorized mail-order dealers in the US blew them out for as little as $550. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a new 'C555ES in the US.

    From what I have read here and on other web sites, Sony maintained a high retail price on the 'C555ES in Canada for a long time after the price dropped in the US, so I would expect that Canadian retailers have moved stock at a slower rate.
     
  19. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  20. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Lewis, nobody is saying the 2900 isn't a really good player, it is. The 555 is the biggest bargain, at the later reduced prices of course, that's come down the SACD pike IMO. The 2900 is closer to the 555 in M/C SACD than stereo IMO. I've been tempted to get a 2900 because all I'd want it for would be M/C music. I could then remove my 555 from my theatre and use it for stereo. IMO, the 555 really excels at stereo. I wouldn't say the Denon sounds warmer. I would say it's less detailed in stereo. Remember, the 555 was made to originally sell for like $1700. It was a totally bitchin' value for what I paid for mine!!! It's a performer!

    I saw Denon's Nipponese SACD/CD player on a link recently. I'd like to see it hit these shores. I'm stille considering a 2900 myself. Next time I look at them it'll be video that I'm intrested in...or Denon's next uni player, maybe? Best wishes!
     

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