Warming up my Marantz CD player...

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by AjayRAV, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. AjayRAV

    AjayRAV Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,
    My front end consists of a Marantz 6200 receiver, CC4000 OSE CD changer, VC5200 DVD changer, ascend CBM 170s (fronts) and CMT340 (center). I find my CD playback (through Monster CD analog interconnects) a little too detailed. It is worse using the digital outs. I love the soundstage and overall sound, but would like to rein in the treble a bit. I don't want to use the tone controls on my receiver, since Source Direct sounds MUCH better for the Marantz receiver I have. I tried the KAB sound escorts, but that flattened the sound a bit too much. The Taddeo digital antidote (www.taddeodigital.com) is another posssibility? I haven't seen any chatter on the forums about this product recently. If you have it do you like it? Are there any other ideas on warming up the sound of my system without really changing any of the components?

    Any comments are welcome!


    Thanks,
    Ajay
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I have not heard the OSE, but I had the regular CC4000 and I really did not like the way it sounded. When it failed and the shop replaced it with a Sony ES CD, I was surprised that the Sony actually sounded better. It may very well be your source. The 6200 is pretty laid back, I had one for about 3 years, and I would not expect the Ascends to be the problem either.

    I know people are going to jump all over this comment, but I would recommend you try out some other interconnects. The less expensive Monster ICs tend to exhibit treble problems, IMO, and this is common with inexpensive ICs - treble differences are more apparent. The only Monster ones I've used that I liked are the THX (600?) ones, at about $50/pr. for 1m, which is a bit much for what they are. I'd recommend you give Bluejeans cables a shot. I use all Audioquest cables with my 8300.

    The last thing would be the room and speaker positioning. You don't happen to have hardwood or tile floors or a lot of leather furniture do you? I noticed a jump in brightness in my system when I bought a leather couch and recliner.
     
  3. AjayRAV

    AjayRAV Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi John,

    The interconnects I use were about $35 monster cable ones which did tame the treble slightly over Rat Shack cables. Aahhh, it is good to know that Marantz CDPs are not all warm in tonality and that I'm not just hallucinating! What kind of AQ cables would you recommend that is super warm? Do you know of anyone in the Bay Area who actually will let you listen to cables at home before purchase? GoodGuys actually has a no-return policy!

    Also, you have pegged my listening room to a 'T'- hardwood floor, leather couch, though I have window treatments and area rug to tame reflectivity. Maybe I'll just have to bite the bullet and get Rega Planet!!

    Also, how good is the Denon 2200 which you have with Redbook CD?

    Ajay
     
  4. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    What are your speakers. And the room acoustics. This is probably the biggest source of this problem...
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I get my AQ stuff from Magnolia HiFi and Bay Area Audio. Magnolia has a 30 day return policy on them so you have plenty of time in which to check them out - which is one of the reasons I go there. I have returned cables a few times with no complaints on their side (meaning you have to BUY them, but you can return/exchange them if you don't like them). I noticed they dropped Monster altogether recently too. I know the guys at BAA very well, so they will usually work with me also, but Magnolia has a better selection in stock.

    I haven't really spent any quality time with the 2200 and redbook. The only audio I use it for is the occasional DVD-A, the rest is mostly DVD movies & music. I feel the sound quality is very good. I use my 222ES for redbook.

    I use Diamondbacks for most everything, including the 2200 for DVD-A (2ch only), as well as CD in my bedroom also with a Marantz integrated. I have King Cobras between the 8300 and my monoblocks. I tried out Corals too, and while I liked them, the DBs actually sound just as good for less $$. For digital I use VSD-2s for both the 222 and 2200. All of these ICs tend to be a bit neutral, so in a bright system, they may not help tame anything. You might want to start with the Copperhead or Sidewinder. My speakers are on the softer side (GR Research A/V-2s and -1s), so these cables work very well with my system.

    It still sounds like room is going to play a larger role in the overall sound in your setup than ICs will.
     
  6. Steven_Jobe

    Steven_Jobe Stunt Coordinator

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    Theres probably a 99% chance your cables will not change a thing. Those usually aren't the source of the problem. Especially since it does it using optical/coax as well. It's all about your components matching up with your speakers. Apparently yours just sound "bright" when put together and are the source of the problem.
     
  7. AjayRAV

    AjayRAV Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys for all your help! The issue I have is definitely with my CD player and/or interconnects. DVD and DSS playback are great! Some room issues too, but that can't be helped for now. I switched my CD interconnect out with a friend's Monster I400Mk2 and it definitely tames the treble. While that is not the ideal solution, it may be the best for now. John, I work in Emeryville, minutes away from a Magnolia, so I'll be auditioning cables soon!! Also Audioquest Coral CQ cables are on sale for 65 bucks for a 1m pair at HCM Audio, but I don't know too much about these....

    Ajay
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I've never heard of the Coral/CQ. Corals should be audio cables AFAIK, and they are likely on sale because they were discontinued - replaced by the King Cobra, but even the new version of the Diamondback is using the same design that used to be in the more expensive Vipers.

    WOW, I just checked out HCM...great prices. I'm going to order some Corals [​IMG]
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Are you using a sub?
     
  10. AjayRAV

    AjayRAV Stunt Coordinator

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    Ooh, guess I forgot to add that... I'm using an Adire Audio RAVA for a sub.

    Ajay
     
  11. Oachalon

    Oachalon Stunt Coordinator

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    is it me but shouldnt a cd player not affect the sound at all. It is digital 1s and 0s. It either reads it or it doesnt. The dacs i guess could change that but a lot of people just send it right to the receiver to do that. Also why would wire change the way something sounds. All it does is send the signal no reason why it should just change anything. I dont believe in expensive wires or different wires change anything. Wire is wire. The only thing that would make a difference is how thick the wire is and how much power it can handle. Thats all.
     
  12. Oachalon

    Oachalon Stunt Coordinator

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    Just to put another thing in if i play the same cd playing the same song in my computer or my xbox or my ps2 or my dvd player or my cd player it sounds exactly the same. Each thing is using different wires also. My computer is going through a cheap digital coaxial cable my xbox is going through a cheap optical cable my ps2 has a little more expensive optical cable my dvd player is going through a different optical my cd player is going through regular rcas. My cd player is using its dacs instead of the receiver while the receiver is doing the other stuff. Also the cd player is a 6 year old magnavox cd player. Works perfect. I dont think you guys are really hearing a difference. I think my receiver and my speakers are good enough to hear a difference if there was one. I have a yamaha rx-v1400 axiom m60s vp150 center and 4 qs4s and i have a tempest i built seeing around 7.8cubes tuned to 15.4hz. I should hear a difference if there was one. I dont know just my 2 cents.
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    If I didn't hear a difference, I would just buy all my stuff at Radioshack. Your gear may be good enough, but do you know what to listen for? Have you gone and listened to the same CD on a $40K setup? A $100K setup? I have. You've got to have a frame of reference, or you don't know what the differences actually are. Interconnects and wires do make a much more subtle difference, but it is there, not just because I want it to be because I like to spend my money on useless things.
     
  14. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Is the brightness just on CD's and not on other sources? Meaning does your Home THeater sound come across very bright/overly detailed?

    If not then I'm willing to bet that your CDP(or IC's are the issue) and Room Acoustics are not. I would think if Room Acoustics were the cause, it would be apparant on all sources.
    It should actually. IT's a transport and will affect it. Upgrading transports does make a difference To me but why I don't know. I don't personally care either. It either sounds good enough for me or it doesn't. My Sony CDP 7ES is leagues better as a transport than my normal DVD player and Xbox.

    Upgrading your transport might be your best bet.
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    You might also look into having that player modded to improve performance, but I agree with Shane, long term, a different player is probably going to help the most. Good players aren't really priced outrageously these days, new or used, IMO. I don't think the solution lies entirely in ICs, though they may help. IOW, a little bit of auditioning may be in order [​IMG] Where are you located in the Bay Area? You are welcome to stop by sometime and listen to my setup.
     
  16. AjayRAV

    AjayRAV Stunt Coordinator

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    John, I live in Walnut Creek. Thank you for your offer. I'll trek down to santa Clara to hear your gear as soon as time permits. Life is a little hectic these days! Of course, it will be hard for me to keep my grubby paws off your 8300! Seriously, I agree that a new CD player is in order, but I don't have the time to go about auditioning them now. Soon hopefully!

    Oachalon, John is absolutely right! You need to know what to listen for. Play your favorite recordings on your system. Close your eyes and see how natural it sounds. Can you localize your speakers (not good if you can)? Can you distinguish individual instruments and voices with 'air' or aural space around them? (I can, and I suspect John can as well) Is the timbre right compared to live performances? The ultimate goal of any hifi is to sound as close to live as possible. Now take those same recordings to a GOOD hifi store (not Best Buy or Circuit City) that carries mid to high end gear like Magnolia Hifi (OK , they are owned by Best Buy!). Listen to, for example, Sonus Faber speakers driven by Primare electronics with a REL sub, or Martin Logans driven by McIntosh gear. Close your eyes and repeat the same exercise as you did at home. If you hear a difference-that is what we are talking about! If you don't, that is awesome because you just saved yourself a ton of money! For people like me, without a trust fund, hearing a difference is actually a curse! Oh and interconnects, at least to my ears, make a substantial difference to the sound (at least when you graduate from el-cheapo cables to better ones in the $50 range).

    Ajay
     
  17. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Let me know when you have some time available. This weekend is good, but I am busy for the weekends after that this month. Most evenings are OK too, but that's a pretty long drive for an evening. E-mail me privately when you like, and we can set something up.

    My Corals should arrive today [​IMG] I needed one last pair for my bedroom system.
     
  18. Oachalon

    Oachalon Stunt Coordinator

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    I did the test of the speakers. I cant localize my speakers at all. I can also distinguish individual instruments. I havent done the test yet at a high end store yet. I guarantee that i will hear a difference because the speakers are probably higher end than mine and so are the amps and mine are just running off a receiver. Now if they changed wires or the cd player i bet i wouldnt notice a difference. I will have to try it some day.
     
  19. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I was most amazed by a guy's 2ch system that I listened to. $5k CD, tube preamp, tube monoblocks, $7K pair of speakers, power conditioner, exotic ICs, room treatments, etc... probaby around $20K. WOW, it was like you were in the room while they were recording. All of the things in the sound's path are factors at some level, though it may be very small in some cases. Hearing something like that helps me understand what is possible with the same recording. I'm quite happy with what I have right now though, and that's the most important thing [​IMG]

    Axioms are great speakers, IMO. I think I'd be pretty pleased with your setup too, Oachalon.
     
  20. AjayRAV

    AjayRAV Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, upgraditis has warped my fragile little mind! Went on a little trek to Magnolia HiFi and managed to snag a demo Sony SCD-C222ES for 250 bucks. Will hook it up soon and see if I like it better than my Marantz cc4000OSE in my system.

    Ajay
     

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