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linden518
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CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Looking for a CDP that can also act as DAC for my Squeezebox 3. (I've already tried the Cambridge Audio 840C & passed.) I'd like the sound to be a touch on the musical/warm side... maybe there's a non-upsampling model that has digital input?

Thanks!

mrlowry
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Very few CD players have digital inputs. One that springs to mind and you should be able to steal one in the Adcom GCD-750. While it's an older model I recently compared one to an Ayre Cx7e and Classe CDP 101 and it held it's own. The Ayre was clearly slightly better but for the price difference it was really, really close. Quite a compliment or a design this old and punching well above it's weight price wise. I owned the Adcom for a number of months, before moving on to a separate DAC/Transport setup. I loved it. It was reviewed in issue XXIII-1 of Stereophile, by Brian Damkroger, unfortunately that review isn't in the online archives that I could find. Mark Levinson (The Company) also had a few CD players that had digital inputs but they would be mucho dinero even used.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

You might look at the affordable Channel Islands outboard DAC ($599). Cd players would include the New Quad that has 3 or 4 Digital ins. But... the price is about $1200. See Phile recomended components listing. Check Underwood HiFi for pricing and availability. This is also Benchmark DAC country which JA loves. Nice Headphone amp as well.

linden518
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Thanks, Jim. I'll check those options out.

One newbie question... I'm really keen to try non-upsampling DACs, but what happens if I want to try 24bit/88.2kHz files later? Would they go through a conversion or flat-out refuse to play?

Elk
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

High resolution formats are no problem for an upsampling DAC. In fact, most DACs up or down sample to a specific frequency in any event. IIRC, e.g., the Benchmark's chosen frequency is 110kHz.

Just make sure the DAC recognizes the the file's format/sampling rate and you are set. It isn't uncommon for a DAC not to recognize 88.2kHz, although this is becoming less common.

linden518
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Elk. I was actually wondering about NON-upsampling DACs, like Audio Note 1.1x... I'll be doing most of my listening through the regular ol' 16/44.1, but you know, the hi-rez Studio FLACs at Linn are just too enticing.

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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Why are you so adverse to an upsampling DAC? Upsampling will allow a higher cutoff anti-aliasing filter thus delivering less phase shift in the audio passband.

Elk
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

A non-upsampling DAC can play any PCM format wiothout a problem as long as the format itself is supported. Thus, a non-upsampling DAC that recognizes 24/88.2 will happily play the file at full resolution.

Is this what you are wondering about?

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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?


Quote:
A non-upsampling DAC can play any PCM format wiothout a problem as long as the format itself is supported. Thus, a non-upsampling DAC that recognizes 24/88.2 will happily play the file at full resolution.


In my understanding, upsampling is used to increase the Nyquist frequency for the sampled data. If the original data is sampled at 44.1kHz and the DAC oversamples by a factor of 2 (88.2kHz), the Nyquist frequency moves from 22.05kHz to 44.1kHz - well above what any of us can hear. The fact that a DAC uses oversampling does not determine the maximum sample rate for the incoming data.

Elk
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

[quoteThe fact that a DAC uses oversampling does not determine the maximum sample rate for the incoming data.

Yes. I hope It does not appear that I implied otherwise.

Upsampling can indeed help by allowing for more gentle low pass filtering.

With current technology I think it is more because the DAC chip is run at one speed and all data rates are changed to match this processing speed.

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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Sorry, I didn't see that your reply was to Selfdivider's original question, not addressing my confusion about why he's interested in a non-upsampling DAC. I agree, a non-upsampling DAC can be designed to accomodate just about any sample rate/word length.

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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Selfdivider

You say you passed on the Cambridge 840CD? Does that mean you sold it or returned it? I am curious because I am considering purchasng one. I would be upgrading from the CA Azur 640 v.2

linden518
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

I'm not adverse to upsampling players, don't even know much about the technology to be against it ideologically. Just a subjective thing, I guess, from personal experience? As some of you may know, I use the Playstation 1 as CD source, b/c I like how smooth & analog it sounds. Out of all the CDPs I actually auditioned, there were only a few that I could say I'd take over the PS1, which were Primare CD31, this player from Opera Consonance (forget the model name), and 47 Labs Shigaraki transport/DAC. Out of these 3, the Consonance & Shigaraki were non-upsampling. Poked around and did some casual research, and found out that there are few audio companies that strongly believe in the non-upsampling. Some Audio Note DACs are non-upsampling, as are products from 47 Labs & Consonance. Some of these folks approach the issue by doing away with FIR digital filter altogether, and claim that this results in better phase linearity and timing. Found this following article on the 47 Labs site:

http://www.sakurasystems.com/articles/Kusunoki.html

I don't know much about that engineer-talk, but I liked what I heard from some of these players. I guess one can have the best of both worlds by getting something like AMR CDP, which lets you choose between non-upsampling or up-sampling via remote control. And it even has digital-in, perfect! But you better find like $10K underneath your couch cushions.

I'm not gung-ho about sticking to the 16/44.1 approach; as I've said in other posts, one of my favorite players is the Primare CD31, really really like that player.

David - I had Cambridge Audio 840C in my system for a little while. I'd purchased it from a dealer but he couldn't deliver it in time, so I borrowed my friend's until I was to receive mine. It's a fine player, don't get me wrong! I was pretty impressed with it when I heard it at my dealer's, and I still liked it at home. But then my audio preferences were becoming clearer & more distinct, and I just didn't like the 840C in my system, wanted to go with other players that better complement my system. So when the dealer was having trouble getting the player to me in a timely manner, I just asked for the refund. But it's a killer player for that money! I highly doubt you can do better at that price point. Especially since you'd be upgrading from 640C, I definitely think it's a good move getting the 840C; you won't be disappointed. The digital input feature is awesome, as you can run music from Squeezebox or something into Cambridge Audio's DACs. I swear if the Primare or Consonance had digital-in, I'd jump on that right away.

Tony Zubia
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?


Quote:
You might look at the affordable Channel Islands outboard DAC ($599). Cd players would include the New Quad that has 3 or 4 Digital ins. But... the price is about $1200. See Phile recomended components listing. Check Underwood HiFi for pricing and availability. This is also Benchmark DAC country which JA loves. Nice Headphone amp as well.

Jim, I agree with the sugestion to try the Channel Islands Audio DAC. That thing is amazing and should easily be twice the price that it is. CI Audio really hit the nail on the head with that one.

linden518
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Okay, I'm totally going to check out the Channel Islands DAC; thanks Jim & Ess.

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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

hey, I just saw that the Cairn Fog 3 has digital inputs. Has anybody heard that? I'm also in the market for a CDP that can double as my server's DAC.

linden518
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Cairn Fog 3 is supposed to be very nice. AMR CD-77 also has digital input (via mini-USB), and that player looks very tasty, albeit pricy. I hear great things about Cary players, too.

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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

This is out of the context of Selfdivider's original question, because he didn't want to spend this much, BUT the Playback Designs MPS-5 does accept digital input via Coax, AES/EBU balanced, Toslink and USB. I've tested the coax digital input, using my Pioneer Elite DV-58AV as a trasnport, inputting Redbook CDs, DVD-As and SACDs and the results are exceptional. The PD's DAC and output stage give me about 90% of the benefits of the standalone MPS-5, which uses a much more exotic transport by Esoteric (TEAC's elite company).

Using the digital inputs of the PD will give 90+% of the benefits of using the PD as a stand-along player. I'm looking forward to developing a music server in the next year or so and running it through the PD as the primary source for my system, which will continue to include disc-based digital and LPs; however, I will archive the rarer LPs to the server.

Dave

Jim Tavegia
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Check the new Quad CDP2. I believe it has 3 digital ins. www.underwoodhifi.com

ChiDave1
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Have you purchased anything yet? I picked up a Cairn Fog v3 off of Agon. Very happy with the sound. The bad news for you guys is that I'm a newbie to true hi-fi so can't compare to other high end gear. A non-audiophile musician friend was impressed by its comparative warmth, vinyl-ness. I'm driving it with a Unico SE which helps with this sound.
Also, it's true that the interface is insanely terrible. Maybe this is only on the export version to annoy us . Still need to pick up a digital cable to connect it to my PC server.

linden518
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Dave, that sounds like a killer system, newbie or not! Unico SE with Cairn Fog as digital source. Jeez, you're WAY ahead of the curve, man. Congrats on your purchase (what speakers are you using, btw?)

Well, I didn't make the digital purchase b/c I'm splurging on the analog side. I definitely looked at Cairn Fog, b/c (if I'm not mistaken) you can choose non-oversample/upsample, right? That's really attractive to me. I have a NOS CDP by Consonance right now, and it's pretty phenomenal. I can choose to run it in 88.2, but 44.1 is so much better with this player. The Consonance doesn't have digital in, so that's a bummer, but I do have Paradisea+ DAC, which is also a non-upsampling, non-oversampling DAC... I've swapped the stock tube with Western Electric 396A tube, which I like much better with this DAC. I run my Squeezebox 3 through it in my 2nd system. It's pretty good, but the Consonance CDP beats it, hands down. Both the Paradisea & Consonance use Philips TDA15xx DACs, incidentally... I believe other companies like Zanden, etc. use the Philips TDA15xx family DACs, too, in their NOS players. As of now, I'm pretty satisfied with what I have, and don't feel the urge to upgrade on the digital front just yet.

Although I love getting into analog & prefer its sound to digital by far, I like the fact such a high level of playback is possible at a relatively affordable price point with digital, with no fuss.

ChiDave1
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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?

Speakers are PSB Stratus Bronzes I've had since around '01. These will get upgraded late this year or early next. The rest of this year is dedicated to auditioning potential replacements. Expect to see plenty of posts from me regarding that.
I'll post an update to my thread under "Computer Audio" once I've listened the Cairn as DAC using the various filter settings for a while.
Regarding analog, I'd do the same thing in your situation. But, I've only got a small vinyl collection and decided best use of my budget was to forego that upgrade path entirely. Someday I'll use my M-Audio card to record the vinyl I can't buy on CD .

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Re: CD Players w/ Digital Input?


Quote:
Very few CD players have digital inputs. One that springs to mind and you should be able to steal one in the Adcom GCD-750. While it's an older model I recently compared one to an Ayre Cx7e and Classe CDP 101 and it held it's own. The Ayre was clearly slightly better but for the price difference it was really, really close. Quite a compliment or a design this old and punching well above it's weight price wise. I owned the Adcom for a number of months, before moving on to a separate DAC/Transport setup. I loved it. It was reviewed in issue XXIII-1 of Stereophile, by Brian Damkroger, unfortunately that review isn't in the online archives that I could find. Mark Levinson (The Company) also had a few CD players that had digital inputs but they would be mucho dinero even used.

I agree about the Adcom. I am still using it as my source in my 'good' system. I have had a few fairly expensive DVD units through the home in the last year and none sounded nearly as good as that old ADCOM. I considered trading the thing through Adcom for their new best system but it appears the company has left the high end audio world.

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