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altair
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DAC dilemma

I am considering upgrading my Marantz CD5000 CD player. One way is to go for a new CD player (Primare CD21 and Rotel RCD 1072 are strong favorites).
The other option is to buy a new external DAC and use the Marantz as a transport. Prospective candidates are Musical Fidelity X-DACv3 and North Star 192 DAC.
My final decision will (should) be based on the listening test, but I expect trouble getting the samples for home auditioning.
I'd like to hear/read opinions of more experienced people. Any other suggestions are also welcome.
Thnx!

Yiangos
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Re: DAC dilemma

Hi altair

I believe it all come down to personal taste.I do not have personal experience with the items you mention but i do know those brands "house" sound,except North Star.
Personally,i would dismiss the external DACs simply because the Marantz you have is an old model and i do not believe it will be a good partner for those DACs.I am not saying it won't work!Just that a new,dedicated transport will be better.Between the Rotel and the Primare,i wouldn't go for the Rotel,simply because all Rotels i've heard and believe me,i've heard quite a lot,have a certain "hardness" in their sound.That leaves the Primare.Primares are quite "warm" sounding for a solid state equipment but not "laid back",If you like this kind of sound,i do,go for it.Anyway,what i am trying to tell you is,since you can't take them home and listen to them,what i'd do,if i was in your place,i'd play it safe and go for the Primare.I am sure others will insist on the MF dac.I do not know.It is up to you i quess.

altair
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Re: DAC dilemma

Hi Yiangos,
Thank you for the advice. I am trying to be practical here. Considering my experience with Marantz, this old Marantz of mine still has more than cuople thousands of hours to run :-)
Upgraded the rest of the system (amp and speakers), and this seemed like a "inexpensive way" to "upgrade" the digital source. The North Star is a mystery to me. Their web site says it's a 5 yr old model with Cirrus DAC chip that's out of production. I guess that explains why it's on sale :-)
Reviews on MF DAC indicate a MF power supply would be recommended. Very soon, inexpensive upgrade is comparable to purchase of brand new CD player.
There's also a upsample/don't upsample dillema, I believe all these devices are upsampling. Also alavailable is a DAC based on Ryohei Kusunoki's philosophy:
http://www.sakurasystems.com/articles/Kusunoki.html.
Kind gentleman from North Star explains the benefits of upsampling at the end of this review: http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/model192_e.html.
I was also hoping someone would address this issue as well.
I'm aware I've expanded the topic. Frankly, I'd put all the technical explanations aside and follow my ears. But, since most of these shops do not practice home listening, I'm afraid listening to their setup won't give me much to go on.

Yiangos
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Re: DAC dilemma

Altair,it all depends on your personal taste.I hate over analytical equipment.I preffer to sit back and enjoy music not dissect it.Recently i upgraded my VanDenHul "black beaty" to a Koetsu "urushi".If you ask most audiophile,they will tell you i am nuts.If you are asking my opinion,it was one of the greatest upgraded i did in the last 5 years.Am i able to live with the "warmth" and "lusheness" of the Koetsu ? You bet i am ! These are questions you should be asking as well. Another cd player you might consider,is Audio Analoque "Unico".I believe it is within your price range. Just forget upsampling,oversampling etc . If a cd player is good,who cares what's inside it ! Since you've just upgraded you system,why don't you tell us how it sounds right now,with your old cd player,the Marantz? This will enable us to reccomend in way,something.If your system allready sounds too laid-back,adding a allready laid-nack sounding player will put you to sleep whenever you sit down to listen to music.Tell us what you feel your system is doing wrong and we'll go from there.

altair
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Re: DAC dilemma

Shhh, Yiangos :-) You'll flash me out in the open. :-) Actually, you're right, you need more information in order to help me (thank you). I used to own Marantz PM45 and Wharfedale Delta70 for 16 or so years. Old Marantz turntable got overshadowed by CD players: Technics, NAD (broke down after 2 years) and finally Marantz CD 5000.
To answer shortly: I now have Bryston B60 amplifier and PMC GB1 speakers. I like the sound, prefer it to old system. What's wrong with my Marantz CD player? Nothing. Nothing I can explain. I have been told it's a system bottleneck and I am trying to check out if it's true. I will not throw money away unless I am fairly certain it will bring improvement. I'd like it best to get the Primare home, have it for a couple of days and hear for myself if the difference is worth the money.
Now, I am really thankful for any suggestions. First of all, does that "bottleneck" theory stand?

Yiangos
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Re: DAC dilemma

Hi Altair
I need to clarify a few things.In my rush to give you an answer,i confused brands.I meant Unison research Unico , not Audio Analoque.Also,regarding the Primare cd21,this is not the smoothest player around.If your amp/speaker combination is not smooth sounding,better forget about it.
The bottleneck theory stands that one of the equipment,in this instance your cd player,is not on the same par as the rest,therefore limiting the performance of the system.
Noe,i am at a dilemma.Don't know what to recomment ! lol

altair
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Re: DAC dilemma


Quote:

Noe,i am at a dilemma.Don't know what to recomment ! lol

ROFLOL! Fair enough! Audio Aero Prima, Musical Fidelity A5? Those are a bit out of reach, but I'd say they would fit (from the reviews I've read).
Then, we'll talk about cables
Thank you for the effort. CD player over DAC? That's something too.

Yiangos
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Re: DAC dilemma

Audio Aero or MF ? Hmmmmmm i'd say cary Audio.The cheap model but the one with a tubed output stage.Can't remember the model number and to be honest,not 100% sure it is still in production. BUT , if i am pressed to chose between the above two,Audio Aero of course.

mrlowry
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Re: DAC dilemma

Wharfdale Delta 70? That was my first pair of speakers. If you have a Bryston B60 integrated amp they make an excellent optional DAC for that unit. So that might be an option, it

CECE
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Re: DAC dilemma
altair
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Re: DAC dilemma

The Bryston sample I got for home audition had an integrated DAC. I was so into amp-speaker matching that I haven't even noticed.
To sum up the thread, best course of action would be to "mount up" the cash and go for brand new CD (SACD?) player.

altair
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Re: DAC dilemma


Quote:
Audio Aero or MF ? Hmmmmmm i'd say cary Audio.The cheap model but the one with a tubed output stage.Can't remember the model number and to be honest,not 100% sure it is still in production. BUT , if i am pressed to chose between the above two,Audio Aero of course.


So I did. Just returned it from home auditioning. I am inch away from purchasing my new CD player ... Audio Aero Prima
Thank you for your input. I'm gonna put some closure on this matter ... and go back to enjoying music

Yiangos
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Re: DAC dilemma

Case closed..Next !!!! lol

Happy listening buddy !

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