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MJS
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Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

I own an SA-8001 and really like it, but I'm wondering what the differences are between the SA 8001 and the Cambridge Audio 840C. Would the 840C be a worthwhile upgrade? (I know about the reviews and cost for both, but I'm looking for a direct comparison.)
Please chime in!

linden518
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

I've had the 840C for a while and I'm one of the few who didn't care much for it. The music had less rhythmic propulsion and color than some players costing less than it, i.e. Opera Consonance CD120 Linear, or even, Sony Playstation SCPH-1001. It was very very smooth, though, but it was too smooth by a good bit for me, to the point that the music sounded a bit listless with an audible sheen that felt artificial. It does have killer features, though, such as digital input... anyway, 840C should be easy to audition, so you'd better listen yourself. It might not be my cup of tea, but it can very well be yours. I haven't heard the SA8001, so I can't comment.

Ajani
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?


Quote:
I own an SA-8001 and really like it, but I'm wondering what the differences are between the SA 8001 and the Cambridge Audio 840C. Would the 840C be a worthwhile upgrade? (I know about the reviews and cost for both, but I'm looking for a direct comparison.)
Please chime in!

A member of another forum, owned both for a while... He initially returned the SA8001 and kept the 840C, as he felt it was more detailed, while the 8001 was much warmer... He recently sold the 840C as he eventually felt that it was too harsh/bright and has been reconsidering getting another SA8001 or the new SA8003... (for the record, he compared the 8001 and 8003 and felt they sounded about the same)....

ncdrawl
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

I dont understand this...one one hand you are saying that the music had less "color", and on the other, the music had too much "sheen" "too smooth"..can you elaborate

I wish that there were some sort of universal codebook for these terms.., it'd be cool if we could all get on the same page(language wise anyway)


Quote:
I've had the 840C for a while and I'm one of the few who didn't care much for it. The music had less rhythmic propulsion and color than some players costing less than it, i.e. Opera Consonance CD120 Linear, or even, Sony Playstation SCPH-1001. It was very very smooth, though, but it was too smooth by a good bit for me, to the point that the music sounded a bit listless with an audible sheen that felt artificial. It does have killer features, though, such as digital input... anyway, 840C should be easy to audition, so you'd better listen yourself. It might not be my cup of tea, but it can very well be yours. I haven't heard the SA8001, so I can't comment.

linden518
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

Sure, I can try. I tend to like components that sound full-bodied and 'colorful,' which doesn't mean that I'm for some sonically distorting properties. Just means that I want my equipment to reflect the tone colors in the music, that's all. What I refer to as the artificial sheen in the 840C that I heard is somewhat opposite of this - it seemed like the player was not letting the music play to its fullest color, especially in the treble. Makes the music sound very smooth, but less colorful and vibrant and honest. What should have sounded blunt and violent - i.e. Stravinsky - sounded too tame & civilized. I just couldn't believe in the sound. Again, my personal opinion.

An analogy to make my point clear about colorful vs. sheen/smooth: imagine a canvas that's painted in bloody red and blackest of blacks reproduced into a print that prettily but meekly renders the canvas into pastel colors of pale reds or glossy blacks.

There have been links before to Stereophile's glossary of audio terms... too lazy to look it up now....

mrlowry
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

Self-

It sounds like the variable which you are calling "colorful" many would call "harmonically accurate" or "harmonically complete." To me "coloring the sound" is usually a reviewers code phrase for some type of distortion which they think some listeners might find pleasant. They also probably use the phrase to soften the blow that a manufacture might feel. "I didn't say Mr. Manufacturer that your newest preamp that took 3 years of work was distorted, I said it had a warm, carmel-like coloration."

linden518
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

Not to nitpick, but I never meant to say "coloring" the sound, which is - as you have it exactly - a pejorative term. (Did I say "coloring" in my post? I'm forgetting... maybe I'm losing my mind!) It seems nitpicky for sure, but when an equipment is "coloring" something, it's ACTIVELY imposing such elements (distortions or whatever) into the music. But when an equipment can portray the full color that is already within a piece of music, all it's doing is capturing the spectrum of tone colors that's already in the score. A big difference, I think, and that's the connotation I want to make clear to everyone.

And to say an equipment can portray full color of a piece of music isn't a negative thing, or a 'soft-pedal,' I don't think. AD often uses a similar terminology to praise equipment, as do other 'Phile writers...

mrlowry
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

Self-

I was saying that while I might understand the distinction that you were making, some might not. They might see "colorful" (mean full of the tonal colors that an instrument naturally has) and "coloring" (an distortion that skews all instruments in a common direction) as the same, misunderstand you. Maybe even ignoring your excellent advice because TO THEM you are the guy that likes "colored" sound because they don't see the distinction that most of us see. That's why I try to use a terms like "harmonically accurate" or "harmonically complete." So I believe that we are describing the same parameter, just giving it a different name.

Having worked in high-end audio sales for a number of years it is truly amazing how people can misinterpret what someone says. That's why I try to choose my words very, very carefully as to avoid misinterpretation.

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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

Got it. I think your terms, 'harmonically accurate or complete,' indeed do a better job of clearing up any ambiguities or confusions. But still, "color" does seem like the best word choice for what I have in mind... maybe I need to look for a better term? For example, when you're dealing with a composer like Scriabin, who was a notorious synesthetic composer who often associated color with sound, you would do better by referring to his music in terms of tone "color," rather than harmonic completeness. To a much lesser degree, and I do think a great many of us are synesthetic listeners, some of us DO hear much of the music & sound in terms of tone color, and harmonic completeness means something a bit different than that.

I think I'm going insane. Maybe tone 'saturation'? Hues rather than color? Gah!!!

Monty
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?


Quote:
Got it. I think your terms, 'harmonically accurate or complete,' indeed do a better job of clearing up any ambiguities or confusions. But still, "color" does seem like the best word choice for what I have in mind... maybe I need to look for a better term? For example, when you're dealing with a composer like Scriabin, who was a notorious synesthetic composer who often associated color with sound, you would do better by referring to his music in terms of tone "color," rather than harmonic completeness. To a much lesser degree, and I do think a great many of us are synesthetic listeners, some of us DO hear much of the music & sound in terms of tone color, and harmonic completeness means something a bit different than that.

I think I'm going insane. Maybe tone 'saturation'? Hues rather than color? Gah!!!

That's why Wes makes the big bucks.

commsysman
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Re: Cambridge Audio 840C vs. Marantz SA-8001?

Impressions may vary when viewed through a different lens....

Before I would accept much in the way of comment regarding the nuances of the two players in question, I would ask what amplifier/preamp they are using!

I can tell you that the two units in question are going to give very different impressions through a NAD 325BEE integrated , a Creek integrated, or a Cambridge integrated amplifier, just to name a few.

All of these integrateds add their own signature to the sound, and how it works with the player in question is NOT insignificant! I strongly suspect that one might prefer one with the creek, for example, and a different one with the NAD. If using even lower quality amplification, the choice is even more problematical, since an accurate player may sound "edgy" due to the charateristics of the amp. If the amplification is not so good, you may get a more pleasing sound with a somewhat "softer-sounding", less accurate player.

Synergy is not to be overlooked.

405line
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Cambridge 840c CD player.

I'm a bit late to this discussion but here goes....

I'm not what you'd call keen on the 840c (I have recently put mine in the cellar after years of not really using it) either, it manages to be both bright and brittle sounding and boring to listen to simultaneously, it seems to do left and right very well, good seperation is its best attribute in my opinion but not much in the middle (projection) or back to front depth. I should have listened to it in more detail before buyng it, but I was blinded by its technical attributes for such a"bargin" price.

I 110% agree with the all the previous comments about artificial sheen, lack of rhythm etc. It just sounds like the digital signal has been manipulated too much and it all ends up sounding a bit "confused". I also suspect that not enough" attention" has been paid to the analogue stages and maybe thats the reason that I do not enjoy listening to it.

In essence I think this is a £250 grade player with some fancy digital internals.

Question:Is it asking too much for someone to build a CD, DAC or any other digital player with a reasonably specified (cheap and if necessary) Transport, DAC and use oversampling etc by all means, but actually spend the majority of the overall budget doing what's best for the part of the sound we humans can actually hear...i.e the analogue stages.

Those are just my opinions, some may really like what it does.

Paul Welch
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  back to the use of the

 

back to the use of the word "color" to describe sound

the piece of audio gear that is lacking of full harmonics, lacking of harmonic details, less musically involving and therefore not very "colorful" is often called "dry".  Dry disc player, dry amps, dry loudspeakers,dry cables may at first sound technically accurate, they may be flat from 16 hertz to way above the limits of human hearing but something is amiss in their ability to make harmonics properly.  Phase distortions, dopler affects, jitter, ringing hanging on to notes too long, or somewhat opposite the inability to hang on to notes as they disapate into the pallet of other notes that are coming in stronger over short periods of time...  I  am no expert but know what I hear. For $1000: try the Jolida CD player, very musical.  For $2800 try the Bryston.  I have yet to hear any CD or SACD or univeral player better the prices of those 2 that have any significant merit over one another.  I have not heard the newest $999 Marantz CD/SACD unit that has thumb drive input and USB PC compatibilily nor the Rega players but have heard most of the rest.

 

so a component will either be harmonically "rich" or it will be dry, liveless, uninvolving

"color" should be reserved, for example, loudspeakers with a lot of cabinet vibrations that add to and color the sound

or an amp that is not flat and overemphasis the midrange for example

Another thing that happens and confuses is components such as the Cambridge disc player mentioned here,

it is just not very forceful and dynamic in the bass, so bass lovers will find it lacking, and depending on speakers and amps used may

call it bright or analytical but when doing comparisons to a better sounding unit will be able to better put their ears/brain on one of its real downfalls. 

Why these forums are great: magazine reviews most often do not give product to product comparisions or not the one you are interested in,

whereas someone out there has and maybe able to convince you to try out another unit. 

kager
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code book for ncdrawl

 

I wish that there were some sort of universal codebook for these terms.., it'd be cool if we could all get on the same page(language wise anyway)

I got this awhile back from another website, hope it helps... Jerry

At times, reviewers and Forum members may somewhat overstate the differences in sonic performance among components. Don't be shocked if differences are subtle, and you may have to concentrate one thing at a time. Here are some of the things that I listen for (not necessarily in the following order):

 

Dynamics (macro): volume peaks and softest passages (rock and orchestral peaks)

Dynamics (micro): subtle differences in volume (acoustic recordings)

Transients: clear and fast; slam where appropriate (guitar strings, drums)

Clarity: precision and lack of smear

Low level detail: soft sounds are clearly heard, ambience cues are present (can you hear the size of the concert hall or studio?)

Transparency: sound is not veiled

Soundstage width: extends beyond sides of speakers

Soundstage depth: front of speakers to beyond rear wall (very important in assessing analog gear)

Imaging: accurate and stable presentation of instruments and vocalists

Body: sound has appropriate weight and "tangibility"

Bass: extends to deep lows, appropriate weight, "tight" (meaning that it has a clearly enunciated leading edge with a realistically swift decay)

Midrange: musical tone, natural instrument and vocal timbres (listen to a good acoustic recording and a good female vocalist for these)

Highs: extended but natural, not etched or strident (cymbals sounds like metal struck by a stick rather than electronic hiss)

Noise: the component should be silent at operating levels when no signal is present

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