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wackydesigner
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Help me choose my source!

Ok guys heres the deal. This might not be a source problem.

Over the past 10 yrs my dad has collected various cds (mostly international). I recently bought a B&W 804 and paired it up with a Portal Panache integrated amp and Transparent Audio Musicwave cables. My source is a 5 yr old $50 panasonic dvd player.

The problem is that most cd's I have sound horrible. Only the latest recordings are crystal clear. Now I understand this is because of the high-quality system, but can I use a device that will add more clarity to the old cds? Is there such a thing? Is that what a DAC is?

Jeff Wong
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Re: Help me choose my source!

I guess some of this depends on what you define "clarity" as. You mention that only the newest recordings sound clear -- it might help to know what these recordings are, or what some of the sonic attributes you find appealing in these newer recordings are, and what you feel the older ones lack. What do you feel you're not getting in terms of how the music is presented?

A DAC is simply a digital to analogue converter. An outboard DAC can vary in quality like anything else, but, can offer a path to better sound depending on its implementation, but, it is not without drawbacks.

Your source could very well be the bottleneck in your current system.

JoshCary
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Re: Help me choose my source!

What kind of budget are we talking about? A new dedicated CD player would be more affordable than a quality DAC, also, the DVD player won't be great for stereo audio, and may not have the right digital output you need.

Josh

wackydesigner
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Re: Help me choose my source!

What I mean is that in the new recordings, I can tell where the palcements of each instruments is. There is a soundstage. The older cds seem like everything is coming from one place.

Clear, as in the highs are prominent and the midrange in the vocals are warm, rich and engaging. The older recordings seem like the its sung with a light cloth over their mouths. There is no engaging in music.

As far as the price, Im willing to spend as much as $300. What I have now is this,
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/B00005AR4L

Good player. I dont know how much of a difference another cd player will make. It plays the new recordings fine so thats not the problem is it?

ohfourohnine
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Re: Help me choose my source!

Following your logic, the problem lies with the recordings themselves, doesn't it? Tell us about them - how old?, what labels?, etc.
I suspect you'll get superior CD playback on everything with a new dedicated CD player. Your budget of about $300 will get you a new Marantz CD5001 or a Cambridge Audio 340C, both of which offer excellent quality for the price. I'd pick the Marantz.

Best of luck,

wackydesigner
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Re: Help me choose my source!

What about this? Its an all-in-one. I love the fact that I only have one unit to play everything! Is this as good as a standalone cd-player? Sells for cheap used.

http://www.hometheatermag.com/discplayers/604marantz/

MJS
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Re: Help me choose my source!

The DV 6400 is an excellent choice. I own one (as well as an SA-8001). The 6400 was a REAL improvement sonically over typical $200-$300 cd and dvd players I've owned. Clearly a step up musically. Less brittle highs, transparent sound, and decent low end once it's broken in. It plays everything under the sun without a glitch. You can buy them new online for $300!!! They were originally $600. (I paid $450 about a year ago.)

Now I'm using the SA 8001 for CDs and the DV 6400 for DVDs. I'm not big into video, but the picture/sound from the 6400 is noticeably better than the JVC it replaced.

Like Cheapskate says above, the 5001 could be a possibility for a CD (only) player. I haven't heard one or anything about them, though.

59mga
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Re: Help me choose my source!


Quote:
The older cds seem like everything is coming from one place.

Phil Spector made this recording method popular, back in the 60's...it's called "The Wall of Sound".

ohfourohnine
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Re: Help me choose my source!

I don't know that player, but between reviewer and MJS's evaluations, it looks to me like you've found a winner at a good price. Let us know how it turns out.

commsysman
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Re: Help me choose my source!

The January issue of The Absolute Sound has an article on a DVD/CD/SACD player that costs $149 (the OPPO DV-970), and which they are saying compares favorably with units costing over 10 times as much!!! They even made it their Budget Component of the Year!

For that magazine to comment favorably on anything costing less than $500 is pretty unusual, and for them to rave about it is very interesting! I think this unit is going to raise some eyebrows. If I were you I would look into that unit seriously.

DBZ
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Re: Help me choose my source!

Sounds like the quality of your CD playback machine could be way out of line with the rest of your system. I know there's been some buzz lately about how some cheapo DVD players sound really good. Don't know whether or not they're right. But I think you owe it to yourself to at least try a decent CD player on your system. My 5-year old Rotel RCD 951 CD player sounds an awful lot better than my 5-year-old DVD player when playing CDs. It also sounds much worse than my friends' high endy CD players.

You really can't be sure you don't like the sound of your CDs until you've tried listening through a good CD player.

Rdrcr
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Re: Help me choose my source!

Some of my "rock" CD's have muddy guitars and highs that sometimes develop static. This makes listening to these particular CD's very annoying. Currently everything is being played through a Marantz DV6600, which I have been very happy with.

I really believe it has something to do with cheap recordings than poor equipment. But it does seem that better equipment brings out the worst or best in each recording.....At least, that is my interpretation.

I have a Lexicon RT20 on order and it should arrive early next week. I don't think the CD's that sound bad now, will sound any better with this player, but I could be wrong?

Mike

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