Should I buy a DVD player or a CD player?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Scott Tufts, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. Scott Tufts

    Scott Tufts Auditioning

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Here's my quandry:

    I have been watching DVDs and playing CDs on my DVD player (a Toshiba Cinema Series from 1999) for the past few years. It recently broke and I've been using my X-Box in the meantime to handle CD and DVD playback.

    I have an ordinary Panasonic 34" TV so I can't take advantage of any progressive features. I am looking to upgrade to a widescreen TV in about a year.

    My receiver is a Denon 1803.

    I have an extensive CD collection. Only redbook, I have no SACD or DVD-A and I don't really care too much about having those features.

    Knowing all of that, what would you recommend? Should I buy a nice DVD player now (like the Denon 2200)? Would that even make a difference in my standard interlaced picture compared to the X-Box? Should I buy a good quality CD player for now? Or should I skip it altogether and wait to get the DVD player until later when I get a better TV?

    I've read all of this stuff about how the DVD player isn't doing the decoding if I'm using optical out so the audio quality for redbook CDs shouldn't vary. But how is it that the sound quality of a $1000 Marantz CD player is touted as much better than most out there? I'm very confused...

    Either way, my budget caps out at $400.

    Thanks in advance!

    Scott
     
  2. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Scott, it is all about D/A conversion (DAC's). People using $1000 Marantz CD players more than likely have them connected using the Marantz analog outputs to a prepro. That prepro (in this case) probably has the ability to bypass any extra processing and contains a true analog bypass (no extra D/A step).

    VERY few home theater receivers will have the ability like described above so just using the digital outputs from the CD/DVD player usually results in fewer D/A conversion steps. The fewer conversion steps, the better the sound usually. It would make no sense to buy a $1000 cd player and connect its analog outputs to your home theater analog outputs UNLESS you have true analog bypass on your receiver (some call it stereo direct).

    In your particular case, what you really need is a decent DVD player/cd transport. I wouldn't lay out the cash for the 2200 unless you see yourself getting into DVD-Audio/SACD. You should probably go ahead and get a DVD player with progressive scan.

    From what you posted I'd probably look at some of Denon's other offers like the 910 or the 2815 models. Using the digital connections would probably be the way to go. Does the 1803 have a 6 channel input? If it does, you could gain the benefit of true analog bypass using that input for 2 channel sources. So you could compare what the CD/DVD player sounds like by connecting the analog outputs from the DVD/CD player to the main left/right 6 channel input and, at the same time, also connect the digital connection to the 1803. Then you could switch from the 6 channel input to the digital input and compare the sound. You may prefer one over the other. A $1000 Marantz probably SHOULD be connected to that 6 channel input since its DAC's are probably better than the receivers DACS.

    Audioadvisor.com is a good company to buy from because they have a great 30 day trial period. If you don't like it, send it back (just keep all packaging material etc). With that in mind, the following link leads to a player that may fit your needs. It does have the ability to play DVD-Audio but it should be a much better than average CD player.

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...20DVD%20Player
     
  3. Scott Tufts

    Scott Tufts Auditioning

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Charles:

    Wow... thanks so much for that response. That's exactly what I was looking for. A few things:

    1) I noticed that Cambridge also makes an acclaimed CD player. Would I see a big jump in sound quality using my existing setup if I went with the CD player instead of the DVD player?

    2) Would this DVD player improve my the image quality of my regular interlaced picture?

    3) Are there any reliable reviews/opinions of the Cambridge stuff on the web? After doing a bit of research I haven't found a whole lot except on Cambridge's actual website.

    Thanks again! When this whole mess is over maybe I'll buy you lunch [​IMG]

    Scott
     
  4. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The inmates at Audioasylum.com are going nuts over the Toshiba SD-3950 DVD/CD player for its CD playback quality. It was only $60.00 when I saw it last Friday. You may want to check it out.
     
  5. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    1. I would think the DVD player would be pretty close to their CD players. I had one of their cd players and it was very good. I only sold it after getting an Onkyo DV-SP800 DVD player, which did CD's just as well. You could just buy a CD player from them but unless you have a 6 channel input or some form of true analog bypass on the 1803, you may not gain much over just getting a DVD player and using the digital outs (or even using the left and right outs from the 6 channel outpus).

    2. You would have to compare the new player to the old player (after calibrating both of course) to be able to tell. It honestly could go either way.

    3. This is apparently a new model but I did find some reviews for the previous model....
    http://www.audioreview.com/DVD,Playe...6_1587crx.aspx

    Cambridge Audio seems to have apparently worked out some early problems as you read the 17 reviews. Note the high quality CD playback (says it is based on the CA 300SE, which is the cd player I had for some time and it was very good IMO). You would have a 30 day trial period so you could put it through its paces and if you didn't like it, send it back.
     
  6. Page Ferrell

    Page Ferrell Agent

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Audio review is a good place to check out reviews of both DVD and CD players. I am a purist, if you want really good musical sound, I would get a CD player. These things are dedicated to reproducing music and since they do not have circuitry related to reproducing images, should, dollar for dollar, do a (much better) job at making music than a DVD player. I have separates: A home theater receiver and dvd player for my movies and a mid-fi ($800)integrated amp and mid-fi ($1000) CD player for making music. There is no way that my home theater receiver and some denon dvd player could compete with the stereo system I have. However, one's physical space constraints, budget constraints, and degree of musical quality preferences all factor into this decision. I am surely sure that there are some good dvd players that also play music well enough for many folks. Lot's of people extol the virtues of some of the more expensive denon dvd players in this regard. Not for me though.

    Many ways to skin a cat. Do what works best for your tastes, space, and budget.
     
  7. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am a purist also Page but I do have one system instead of two. I probably listen to music more than doing the HT thing. Dollar for dollar, yes a $250 dedicated CD player will beat most any sub $300 DVD player for CD sound quality. On the other hand, my Onkyo DV-SP800 universal sounded so good with CD's I sold the dedicated CD player. The Onkyo does have a video off mode so no video circuits get in the way of audio.

    What sounds interesting about the Cambridge Audio DVD-A player is it basically starts out as a CA CD player which happens to have added DVD capability. In other words, they are made with audio in mind first. It is a very similar approach that Aragon took in making the Soundstage I use, which basically starts out as 2 channel preamp and then added the HT preamp part.

    With that in mind, I think there is a good chance this CA DVD-A player might be very close to their very good CD players with an added bonus of DVD capability. Given his $400 budget, I think it would be a good match (and one he can send back). Now I could also see him buying the CA CD player....
    http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...%20CD%20Player

    Will his setup allow for him to hear the difference between the CA DVD player vs the CA CD only player? I am thinking probably not but only his ears can tell. He could easily order both and send one back to audioadvisor. He may even find they have previously returned items of both for a cheaper price. The CA 540 CD player linked above does sound like it has better DAC's but can he take advantage of that with his setup? His receiver does have a 6 channel input bypass (one) so his best sounding music input would be that input. With that in mind, maximizing the source for that one analog bypass input for music is his best option. I am pretty sure either choice will kill the Toshiba he is currently using for DVD/CD's.
     
  8. Scott Tufts

    Scott Tufts Auditioning

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks again for all of your help guys.

    After doing this research, based on price/performance I was down to 2 choices:

    Philips 963SA
    Cambridge 540D

    I was told by the person at Audio Advisor that, considering my current setup, it wouldn't really make sense to get the Cambridge 560C standalone CD player. It would end up being double the price (beucase then I'd still have to buy a DVD player) and the difference in sound quality compared to the 540D would be incremental.

    Right now I'm 99% sold on the Cambridge. The only ? I have left is the video quality. It's not a huge issue, though, becuase I'm certain that it will help my interlaced picture quality and, as far as progressive, I guess I'll find out in a year or so [​IMG]

    Thanks again for everyone's help. I look forward to coming back soon!

    Scott
     
  9. Page Ferrell

    Page Ferrell Agent

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Enjoy. It's a good feeling doing research and then making a decisions...and then playing with your new toy!
     
  10. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 1999
    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Scott, I've delt with audioadvisor for several years now and have never had anything but praise for their service. I've kept a few products from them (Creek OBH-8 phono stage and a CA 300SE CD player I used for a couple of years before selling) and tried a few others that I sent back. It is just a great place because they have good customer service and the 30 day trial is the best safety net around IMO. Remember to connect to your 6 channel input on the receiver for the best CD sound. Heck, you might as well go ahead and buy the 6 RCA cables and get a couple of DVD-Audio disk. It is a HUGE improvement in sound, especially with multi-channel. The Philips player would have been a fine choice as well. Let us know how it works out.
     
  11. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    At $299 retail, the new NAD 521BEE is as outstanding CD player. I just recently got one, and I can't believe I ever let myself listen to CD's off a DVD player. The 521BEE is a refined and improved model from previous generations. I listen to a lot of critical music listening, moreso than DVD movies, so wanted a really good CD-only player for a good price.
     
  12. JimmyK

    JimmyK Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    479
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Jim
    Another consideration is ergonomics. Even though my Tosh DVD player does a good job on CDs, it's more difficult to use as a CD player than my separate Rotel CD only player. So in my case having separate players gives me the best sound and ease of use. It may be important to note that I listen to music far more than I watch movies.

    JimmyK
     
  13. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I use a Toshiba SD3900 for CD, DVD, and DVD-A playback via coax digital... works great.
     
  14. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1999
    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You mean DD and DTS .[​IMG]
     
  15. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    DD, dts, and 24/96 PCM Stereo via coax.
     
  16. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1999
    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's more like it.
     

Share This Page