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Just hooked up my Sony CA70ES and now my ears are Bleeding. (1 Viewer)

Jason Bell

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This player seems so harsh in my system. Denon 1802 with Axiom M22s. I've got it hooked up to an analog connection. I borrowed my moms ten year old Kenwood changer and think I actually prefer the sound of it. The Kenwood though was missing some of the subtler soft bass lines and you could definitely tell the highs were subdued. Is there a player that can give me really good detail but still sound warm and relaxing. I only have around $300 to spend. Maybe I should have bought warmer speakers and paired them with something like this Sony. Instead of getting really revealing speakers and then trying to find a CD player to soften them down. This is so frustrating living where I do where you cant really demo equipment. I have only had this thing running for a few hours any chance its sound will change after a few days. The place where I got it has a super liberal return policy 60 days no questions asked, so I'm gonna give it till this weekend to see if i feel any different. In case I do end up returning it any suggestions for a replacement? I listen to mostly classic rock(Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Pink Floyd, etc. etc.) and I also listen to a lot of Alternative(Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Rage, NIN). Thanks.
 

KeithH

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Jeff Kowerchuk,
Where are you? ;)
Jason,
See the following thread, as it might help you out:
http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=68344
Note Jeff Kowerchuk's posts in support of the 'CA70ES. I have the Denon DCM-370, which is rather warm for a $250-300 changer. However, I feel the Denon lacks detail. I use it primarily for recording CDs to minidiscs.
I am not overly familiar with your system, but I feel you can do better than the 'CA70ES without spending too much more than $300. J&R Music World (1-800-221-8180) sells the Sony SCD-C222ES SACD/CD changer for $380. It retails for $500. The 'C222ES is a quality CD changer (much better than the 'CA70ES when comparing the analog outputs on both), plus it plays stereo and multi-channel SACDs. Build quality is at least as good as the 'CA70ES. Definitely give the 'C222ES a listen. I don't feel you will find a better CD changer for $380 or less.
There is one other thing to consider. Have you tried the 'CA70ES via the optical digital output, thereby using the DAC in your Denon receiver? If you haven't tried that, you absolutely should before pitching the 'CA70ES.
 

AaronD

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I agree with Keith, you must try the CA70ES via your receivers DAC's first. Many people agree that the "sony sound" tends to be on the bright side. However, I've always thought denon made warmer sounding gear. Perhaps the combination of the two will yield what you are looking for.

-Aaron
 

Jason Bell

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Thanks for the reply Keith. I haven't tried hooking the CA70ES to my Reciever with a digital cable. I dont have an optical cable and thats the only connection this CD has got. Maybe it would sound better using my receivers DACS. If that worked would you keep the player or trade it for something that you liked using the CDs DACs. I'll probably upgrade my receiver way before I upgrade my CD player. Once I find a CD player that I like I'll probably keep it a while.
 

KeithH

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Jason, get yourself an optical digital cable at Radio Shack for $15 and compare the sound of the 'CA70ES using its DAC and the one in the receiver. If you still are not happy with the sound, then consider replacing the 'CA70ES with the Sony SCD-C222ES for $380, as discussed previously. It would not surprise me if the sound of the 'C222ES using its DAC would beat the 'CA70ES using the analog or digital output. The 'C222ES uses newer DAC technology and is a quality player. Plus, you get SACD. For more on the 'C222ES, check out the following link:
http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S...CDC222&o=m&a=0
Another option to consider is buying a Sony SCD-CE775 SACD/CD changer at Best Buy or Circuit City for around $180 and having it modified at www.sacdmods.com . Matthew Anker does these mods., and he is a member of this Forum. Perhaps he will chime in here. I've read a few good things about the modified 'CE775. For example, it has been said that it beats a stock 'C222ES. The main problem with the 'CE775 that modifying it won't overcome is lackluster build quality, which is typical of Sony's non-ES components. Still, the modified 'CE775 seems to be worthy of consideration.
 

Jeff D.

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I'm here, I'm here!! :)
Jason, I am very surprised at your reaction to the Sony. However,
I have only had this thing running for a few hours any chance its sound will change after a few days.
IMHO, there is an excellent chance things will change. One thing I did notice with my CA70ES - it had quite a substantial break-in period. If you can't stomach the time it takes, pop in a CD and put it on repeat for a couple of days. This will accelerate the burn-in.
The sound of my CA70ES definitely transformed as it broke in - rather surprising, since Sony products usually don't have such an extended break-in time.
So, try that first, before making any changes - don't rush out to get an optical cable yet - as I truly believe the Sony has some very nice DACs.
I suspect the fault may lie with another piece of your system: the Denon. I've never been a fan of the Denon sound as I find it bright and full of digititis. I'm not familiar with the speakers, but if they are revealing then that combo - with the brand new Sony could be nasty. Running the Sony in will ease the pain, but I would recommend looking towards warmer amplification - especially as you say you'll be upgrading the receiver first.
Good luck!
/Jeff
 

Jason Bell

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Hi Jeff,
When I said upgrade my receiver I meant in a couple years:).
I just dont think the Sony matches well with my speakers. They have aluminum woofs and Titanium tweeters. There were things that I definitely liked about this player. Bass was perfect I mean every bass guitar note was perfect and drum notes sounded so real. Clarity, the player seemed very clear on things like cymbals, triangles, other types of subtle percussion that I cant always make out with other players I've tried. This clarity was almost part of the problem though because alot of those treble type instruments just seemed like they should of been farther back in the music instead of so in your face and distracting from the overall sound of the music. The main reason I didnt like the sound of the Sony though was with acoustic guitar pieces and male vocals. Guitar chords like in "Dogs" on the Pink Floyd album animals sounded really edgy the same thing with male vocals. I know a lot of what I'm describing can be attributed to my Speakers. I talked to an online dealer about this player today and he felt the player was bright and when I told him about my speakers he basically told me bright+bright=bright. He recommended that I go with a warmer player to help balance the sound out. He actually said that I should try the Onkyo DCX-380 which to me wouldnt seem like it would be in the same class as this Sony but since I can find one locally easy enough I might go ahead and try it. I also found a Marantz dealer so I probably will check out cc4000. I've read KeithH describe the Denon DCM370 as being warm so I'm gonna try to track one of those down. I'm glad you like your Sony and cant wait till I find a player that blends with my system. Buying, Auditioning, being dissapointed and returning stuff is a drag. Maybe I should just keep my moms 10 year old Kenwood changer but I cant help but think there is something out there just as pleasing to listen to but with a little more clarity. Plus she wants her CD player back.:)
 

KeithH

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Jeff said:
I suspect the fault may lie with another piece of your system: the Denon. I've never been a fan of the Denon sound as I find it bright and full of digititis.
I have limited hands-on experience with Denon receivers, but this sentiment certainly is not in line with their reputation. Many people consider Denon receivers to be warm. Of course, it depends on the system and one's tastes.
Jason,
Www.crutchfield.com has the Denon DCM-370. Also, Tweeter stores have it as well, if that helps you. Finally, I believe crutchfield.com has the Onkyo changer too.
As Jeff said, give the 'CA70ES some time before you give up on it. Part of the issue could be that the 'CA70ES is leaps and bounds better than the old Kenwood, so you may actually be hearing the music more closely to how it was recorded than ever before. Many recordings out there are lousy, and the better the player, the more apparent that becomes. Of course, great recordings sound great with great players, but unfortunately, players don't know the difference between good and bad recordings. As a result, bad recordings can actually sound somewhat worse on quality players than on lackluster ones. The point is that the better the player, the better the player is at "data retrieval", so you hear everything on the disc. That said, different players do have different sonic characters, and you should see which character suits you. Still, as you move up the ladder pricewise, you will find players to be more revealing in general.
So, I am not saying that you won't find a better-sounding changer to your ears among the Marantz, Onkyo, or Denon models when compared to the 'CA70ES. However, all of them might sound a bit "odd" at first because they are all likely to be significantly better and more revealing than the Kenwood model that they are replacing.
 

Jeff D.

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Jeff
Part of the issue could be that the 'CA70ES is leaps and bounds better than the old Kenwood, so you may actually be hearing the music more closely to how it was recorded than ever before.
This is an excellent point. The CA70ES is a high-resolution machine. It is going to make poor recordings sound poor - as they really ought to, if accuracy is the aim in your system. The Kenwood probably masked over this character and it now being revealed.
I would also like to add that the Sony deserves a decent interconnect. Let us not turn this into a cable debate. Suffice it to say that, in my opinion, cables make a big difference and the Sony definitely deserves to be partnered with an appropriate cable. I use AlphaCore TQ2 and it seems to be a match made in heaven.
/Jeff
/Jeff
 

Jason Bell

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Hi Keith and Jeff,
Keith,
The point you make about the quality of my recordings is good. A lot of my CDs have 12-13 yr old manufacture dates. I wouldnt be suprised if some of them or most of them just used the old ananlog recording and did a straight digital conversion which probably wouldnt yield the best results. If this is the case am I gonna have to get a lesser player to enjoy these old CDs? I've looked at stores at the numbers on the jewel cases and the versions there most times are the same as what I've already got. Are there specialty versions of the same CDs? Should I change formats completely I've got around 200 cds but only about 40 of them would I consider my core group that would have to be replaced soon. If I did change formats to say stereo SACD(I'm not interested in multi-channel formats) would these recordings just add more resolution and make my music sound even worse? Do I need to go back to Vinyl to get the best out of what these mostly made in the 70s recordings have to offer since thats what they were originally mastered for? How available is vinyl these days I never see it in the stores these days thats for sure:) Thanks for taking the time to answer my endless questions.
 

KeithH

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Jeff,

I was just saying that Sony SACD players are considered to need a long break-in period, and possibly Sony players, in general, do as well. As for the sound characteristics of Denon receivers, or any other component for that matter, it is very hard to relate in words what we hear. We use words like "forward", "bright", "harsh", "digititis", etc., and one person's interpretation of "bright" could be another's interpretation of "forward". Suffice it to say, we have to decide what sound we each like and go with it. Denon receivers don't do it for you, but obviously, many people like them. That's O.K.

Jason,

Many CDs have been remastered over the years, and in most cases, the remastered versions are significantly better than the originals, especially for CDs that were originally manufactured in the '80s. Check CDs in the stores closely to see if any of your favorites have been remastered.

It is hard to say whether a quality player will make your recordings actually sound "worse". It depends on the particular recording. Just remember that if a recording sounds worse on a $500 player than on your Kenwood, then chances are, it is the recording that is at fault and you are hearing increased detail that you never heard before. Upon upgrading players, I have encountered poor-sounding discs, and I actually find it quite refreshing. Sure, some recordings sound poor on quality players, but again, the better players will bring out more of what is on the disc, and some discs have a lot of bad stuff on them. The bright side to all of this is that great recordings are a wonderful experience on great players.

My suggestion is that you continue your search for a better player than the Kenwood. Anything in the $300-500 range should best the Kenwood. As I said, try out the Sony SCD-C222ES. If at the end of the day, you still cannot find a player that suits you, then you could either spend more on a CD player or consider vinyl. I've run into many people who have given up on trying to find a smooth sounding player with CDs and have gone over to vinyl as a result. That is a route to consider, but I don't think you are at the stage yet where giving up on CDs is warranted.

If you get the Sony 'C222ES, or even better yet, the 'C555ES for $550-600, you will have SACD capability. SACDs sound smoother than CDs. However, the SACD catalog is limited yet, so you may not find the music you want on the format. In any event, I would go for a Sony ES SACD player. They are excellent CD players.
 

Jason Bell

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I think I've decided on a player after trying these 3.
Sony CA70ES
Marantz CC3000(local dealer didnt have 4000 or 4000SE)
Onkyo DXC-380
I've got them all hooked up with analog connections and so far after constant listening to the same sections of music on all three. I like the Onkyo the best. It has easily got the best vocals of the three. There is no edge to them at all they're liquid smooth, very nice. I'm so happy right now I cant beleive it. The Sony definitely had better detail so I guess you could say accuracy to. But the sound from the Onkyo was way more laid back and to my taste. The Marantz was a distant third. It was too laid back in the vocals and guitars i guess you would call that midrange but still had the forward sounding treble(that I dont prefer) like the Sony but without the clarity to go with it. The Onkyo is laid back but still has enough detail so I can hear everything in the music without becoming fatigued. After listening to the Onkyo nonstop for the last hour I feel no ringing and can actually turn up the volume and enjoy. This in itself makes it a keeper. This is how I would rate the three.
Detail (Cymbals, triangles, marracas, etc. percusion.)
1.Sony-Crystal clear nothing missing at all. ear overload:)
2.Onkyo
3.Marantz
Vocals
1.Onkyo
2.Marantz
3.Sony
Guitars
1.Onkyo
2.Sony
3.Marantz
Bass guitar and Drums
1.Sony
2.Onkyo
3.Marantz
Mood of the music(does that make sense:)
1.Onkyo
2.Marantz
3.Sony
Fatigue (this is very subjective YMMV)
1.Onkyo-None
2.Sony-Mild but still there for me.
3.Marantz-Terrible dont know why but this player had me feeling ringing in just a few minutes.
Build Quality
1.Sony Onkyo
2.Marantz
Tray Speed
1++Marantz you guys werent kidding this thing is fast and slick feels very hi-tech
2.Sony-plenty fast enough
3.Onkyo-this is the main negative with this changer this tray is very very slow. I'll learn to live with it.
Well this is just my subjective opinion and I'm just happy I found something I really like. Good luck to anyone else looking for a CD player to fit your system. Thanks again to everyone who has answered any of my questions. Happy Listening Everyone.
P.S. Keith you were right I guess I was ready to jump ship on the format a little prematurely.
 

KeithH

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Jason Bell

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Keith,

You might be right but thats a little out of my budget. I have basically upgraded my whole stereo in just a month or so and didnt leave myself much for a CD player. I overestimated how well my DVD would do for the job. It was terrible by the way. All three of the players I tested were better in every single way. Only thing it did well on was strangely classical that just had a few instruments playing at a time as soon as anything complicated would hit it the thing would distort really bad. I have it hooked up digitally with coax. Maybe Jitter, not sure. Sounds fine with movies though. Anyways, I was tempted to try the 222 when I was returning the CA70ES but the salesman was already lookin at me like he couldnt believe I was returning the CA70ES. Plus they were asking $799 U.S. for it and I knew if I liked it I would have to return it and buy it online, I mean even Crutchfield has it way cheaper than that and they are usually same as B&M stores. Somehow I would have felt guilty for doing that. So maybe I'll audition one around Tax time next year and sell this one if I like the Sony better. One thing I have learned from all this was that there is a huge difference in sound from player to player. I mean it was very obvious especially if you broke music down into one aspect and listened specifically for different traits. I use to be one of those people that thought any player in a particular price range would sound the same. A $200 player would sound like any other $200 player. A $1000 dollar player would sound like any other $1000 player. And you could just pick by looks, features, build quality with sound being a given. I was definitely wrong. Take Care.
 

KeithH

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Jason, I understand. I was thinking that since you were considering $300 players (typical price for the 'CA70ES, for example), that you might be able to go up to $380 for the 'C222ES by mail. However, you found a player to your ears' liking for only $170, and that's great.

The 'C222ES used to retail for $800, so either the store you were in had an old sign posted or was out of touch. The current retail price is $500. For the future, note that J&R Music World has a 30-day money-back guarantee in the event that you were to order something and didn't like it. You would just pay return shipping.

I remember when I first realized that there is a difference in sound quality among CD players. I once had a Sony CDP-CE535 carousel changer from a couple of years ago (non-ES model). It was only $160 at Costco, and it had a lot of features. I was very happy with that changer at first. Then I decided to get a Sony CDP-CX333ES 300-disc megachanger. I had more CDs than the megachanger could hold, so I still used the carousel changer. One day, after having the megachanger for a couple of weeks and using it very regularly, I loaded a Tears for Fears CD in the carousel changer. Immediately upon pressing 'Play', I thought something sounded odd. I knew nothing was wrong with the player operationally, but I didn't like the sound at all. I then put the disc in the megachanger, and the music sound much fuller and more detailed. The megachanger killed the carousel changer. Still liking carousel changers, I sold the 'CE535 and got a Sony CDP-CA80ES, which used to be a step-up model from the 'CA70ES.

The whole thing with players can become a slippery slope. The 'CA80ES was decidedly better than my megachanger, so I loved it...for awhile. I had a 'CA80ES in each of my two stereo systems and have since sold them and bought better players. I still have the megachanger, actually two of them daisy-chained, but I have several players that are much, much better now. The megachanger is only for convenience and background music.

Anyway, I am glad that you found a player that you are comfortable with, especially for only $170. Nice going.
 

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