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Need help - Sony SACD or Cambridge Audio D300SE (1 Viewer)

george king

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I need some help. My CD transport died, and I need a new CD player. I have a max budget of $250, that cannot be exceeded. I have a dilemma.

I could get the intro Sony 5 disc SACD changer. I have heard the unit, and SACD lives up to its hype. However, I found the units Redbook playback to be fair at best. Also, at the present time there are only a handful of SACD titles that interest me (that may change).

On the other hand, I stumbled across the Cambridge Audio D300SE player at a dealer, that I can pick up for about $240. For the money, this was a sweet sounding CD player. However, it won't do SACD.

Any suggestions as which to get? Also, anyone have any experience with Cambridge Audio products.

Thanks for the help.
 

Westly T

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I picked up a Sony SACD Player for $179 a few days ago at Best Buy. It was Open Box but didn't look to have ever left the box. I know they can be had for $169 or less on line, so why not save the money? I was surprised the Sony doesn't have a remote power control, only a manual power button. The DVD-SACD for $249 does have the remote power control as well as the manual button.
 

Lee Scoggins

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George,

Get Super Audio as it sounds so much better and a good-sounding CD player can be much more expensive than an entry Sony SACD player.

And there are more titles on the way!

Lee
 

Andrew Pratt

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What do you have for a pre amp/receiver? If you connect the budget SACD player optically to that you might be able to get satisfactory redbook playback using the DAC's in the receiver. That said SACD is only a benefit if there's software you want to listen to otherwise what's the point.
 

KeithH

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George, I am a huge proponent of SACD, but Andrew made a very wise suggestion. Unfortunately, I don't feel you get good CD playback on Sony SACD players until you move to the ES models. Still, you owe it to yourself to listen to the Sony 'CE775 and Cambridge Audio D300SE. You can get both from outlets with 30-day full money-back guarantees (Best Buy and Circuit City for the 'CE775 and Audio Advisor for the D300SE, for example).

If you are using or can use a digital output for CD playback, then the 'CE775 would be an excellent choice if there is SACD software that suits you. However, I suspect that in using the analog outputs, the Cambridge Audio player would be better a better CD spinner, but I haven't used it. I am going on reputation here. The best thing to do is to give both players a side-by-side, extensive in-home audition.
 

Martin Rendall

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Given your lack of SACD interest, I'd go with the Cambridge Audio CD player. I presume you own a number of redbook CDs? Shouldn't you optimize how they sound, and worry about SACD if and when there's software that you want?

Martin.
 

Lee Scoggins

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What do you have for a pre amp/receiver? If you connect the budget SACD player optically to that you might be able to get satisfactory redbook playback using the DAC's in the receiver.
I personally would be careful with optical connections - they are extremely fussy and often have poor sound due to jitter issues.

Otherwise this is good advice, some receiver DACs are pretty good but you can use perhaps a single-ended connection depending on the equipment.

Lee
 

Mike Matheson

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George,

Do you have any interest in the multi-disc capability of the Sony?

BTW, what receiver/processor/preamp will you be using? Does it offer a good Analog Bypass or Analog Direct mode?
 

george king

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Thanks for all the help.

I am using a Yamaha 995 with a Rotel 1075 amp, and I run a Kef Q series setup. The DACs in the Yamaha are not bad, but are probably starting to show their age.

A friend has the Cambridge unit and it sounds sweet for the money. I demoed the Sony at CC (I know not the best setup) and the Redbook playback was fair, although it probably will sound better in my rig (although how much better I do not know).

I said that only a handful of SACD titles interest me (BTW I have about 350 CDs), but some of those I listen to alot (e.g., Al DeMiola et al. - the San Fransisco CD and Patricia Barber).

If they would just release Holly Cole on SACD this would be a no brainer.
 

Andrew Pratt

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I personally would be careful with optical connections - they are extremely fussy and often have poor sound due to jitter issues.

Lee I only suggested optical since if this sony CD player is like most other Sony's it won't have a digital coax out forcing you to use optical
 

Charles Gurganus

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I have the Cambridge Audio D300se (from audioadvisor.com) and for your budget and needs (like was stated, hardly enough software for SACD), I'd go that route.

I have my 300se connected in 2 ways....One, I run the optical out to the Sony TA-E9000es...Two, I run the analog outs from the 300se to the Sony TA-P9000es analog preamp. The two sound very similar and I doubt you could tell the difference in a A/B blind test. I use the analog route most of the time because I feel the P9000es does have a lower noise floor. Given the choice between a cheap SACD player that does not play redbook CD's very well (your main software is redbook) or a GOOD redbook cd player like the Cambridge Audio D300SE, take option 2.

Mike had a good point. If your Yamaha receiver does not have a analog direct mode, YMMV. Being forced to use the optical out from the Cambridge and using the Yamaha's dacs would mean you would not be getting the most out of the 300se. I still think it would be a much better CD transport and would still sound better than the cheap SACD players for redbook cd's however.
 

george king

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Thanks for all the input. If I go the Cambridge route (very likely) I would hook it through the 5.1 inputs to get the analog pass through.
 

KeithH

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Andrew, you are correct. The Sony SCD-CE775 only has an optical digital output. However, the ES models have coaxial digital outputs. That's progress. Many of Sony's ES CD players have only had optical digital outputs.
 

Mike Matheson

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George,
A bit off topic, but you mentioned Holly Cole--have you heard the Canadian releases (on "Alert") vs. the US releases (on "Blue Note")? Someone told me they were a bit different. I thought he was kidding :)
I picked up Temptation by Alert though and sure enough, it's different than the Blue Note version. Same songs and such, but a different mix. I do like the Alert mix better.
Anyway, good luck with your CDP journey.
 

george king

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May 29, 1999
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Mike,

I did not know there were any differences, I will have to check. I got all of my HC CDs from music direct, and they were imports.
 

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