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chronos101
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Joined: May 28 2012 - 6:58pm
Suggestions for Turntable and CD Player

Hi everyone,

I'm building my first audiophile system after having listened to a nice one at a friend's place and realized how good music can sound : )

At this point I'm interested in a headphone centric setup as my apartment is very small. I've ordered the Beyerdynamic DT 990 600 ohms headphones along with Little Dot's MK IV SE tube headphone amp. I'm looking for turntable and CD player suggestions. Any help from the Stereophile community would be much appreciated!

What I'm looking for: Turntable up to $1000, new or used, willing to go a little higher if necessary and warranted. Considering getting a Pioneer LP-70II or Pioneer Exclusive P-10 used from Japan as I heard good things about their quality, but I'm completely open to other suggestions or comments. Also, need a CD player at the same price range. Currently thinking about Oppo BDP 95, but again I am new to audiophile equipment and would appreciate suggestions/alternatives.

What I listen to: Generally I listen to various genres, so I wouldn't want my equipment to heavily tilt one way, though I do lean more towards instrumental music with considerable bass, and also rock, so I would need these to be handled well. If it helps, I also love listening to songs played by the Video Games Live orchestra (not exactly sure what genre they would fall under though).

What I care for: Highest quality sound for my budget, i.e. I don't mind forgoing Oppo's blu-ray capability or connectivity for better sound at the same price range. The reason I need a turntable and a CD player is because a lot of my favourite music is unfortunately only available digitally (otherwise I'd just get a $2000+ turntable only). I'm open to any suggestions, such as getting a DAC + CD Player, etc...

Thanks in advance for your help!

jackfish
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My suggestions...

Turntable: Sota Moonbeam II $749 with a Nagaoka MP-200 cartridge $279. Talk to someone at Needle Doctor to set you up.

CD player: Hard to go wrong with the Oppo, especially if you want to try HDCDs, SACDs and DVD-As, and it is a heck of a DVD and BR player.

commsysman
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Components

I spent $6000 on the Ayre C5xe 6 years ago, and had never heard anything that could touch it for CD/SACD playback UNTIL the OPPO BDP-95 came along.

The BDP-95 sounds better to me, and is only $1000. As far as I am concerned, it is a revolutionary product that makes every player from $800 to $8000 obsolete and irrelevant. It is the best-sounding CD/SACD player I have ever personally heard, at ANY price. I recommend that anyone who is considering ANY player buy this one if they can; it is an amazingly good machine that would still be a bargain at $3000.

It is so good that I wouldn't be surprised if they raise the price soon; get it cheap while you can. Oh...it plays Bluray and DVD too...lol.

For a turntable, I would suggest the Music Hall MMF-2.2 turntable with a Benz Micro MC Silver cartridge and Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono stage. I have this setup and it is wonderful. It should run you around $1000 total.

 

chronos101 wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm building my first audiophile system after having listened to a nice one at a friend's place and realized how good music can sound : )

At this point I'm interested in a headphone centric setup as my apartment is very small. I've ordered the Beyerdynamic DT 990 600 ohms headphones along with Little Dot's MK IV SE tube headphone amp. I'm looking for turntable and CD player suggestions. Any help from the Stereophile community would be much appreciated!

What I'm looking for: Turntable up to $1000, new or used, willing to go a little higher if necessary and warranted. Considering getting a Pioneer LP-70II or Pioneer Exclusive P-10 used from Japan as I heard good things about their quality, but I'm completely open to other suggestions or comments. Also, need a CD player at the same price range. Currently thinking about Oppo BDP 95, but again I am new to audiophile equipment and would appreciate suggestions/alternatives.

What I listen to: Generally I listen to various genres, so I wouldn't want my equipment to heavily tilt one way, though I do lean more towards instrumental music with considerable bass, and also rock, so I would need these to be handled well. If it helps, I also love listening to songs played by the Video Games Live orchestra (not exactly sure what genre they would fall under though).

What I care for: Highest quality sound for my budget, i.e. I don't mind forgoing Oppo's blu-ray capability or connectivity for better sound at the same price range. The reason I need a turntable and a CD player is because a lot of my favourite music is unfortunately only available digitally (otherwise I'd just get a $2000+ turntable only). I'm open to any suggestions, such as getting a DAC + CD Player, etc...

Thanks in advance for your help!

bierfeldt
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Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
I have a....

Rega P3 with an Elys II cartridge.  I got it just before it was discontinued and replaced with the new RP3. All the reviews say that the RP3 is a step forward from the P3, It would be a touch over your budget at $1100 with an Elys II or the guys at Needledoctor may be able to recommend an alternative cartridge.  I hear the Ortofon 2M Blue is great for the money. 

Another alternative is the Pro-Ject Xpression III with an upgraded cartridge, With that same Ortofon 2M Blue, you should be at around $900.  The only irritating thing about the Pro-Ject is the anti-skating system is a pain in the butt to set up. 

After spending months shopping, those were the two tables I settled on.  I loved the Clearaudio Concept and thought it was superior to any of these units but it is $1500 and was way over my budget.  I was going to get the Xpression III and the guys at Needledoctor talked me into the Rega.  I have had it for 9 months and have not regretted it for a second.    

chronos101
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Joined: May 28 2012 - 6:58pm
  Thanks for the suggestions

 

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I've researched each component mentioned and learnt a good amount in the process : )

 

Here's the set up I'm going with and why:

 

CD Player/DAC

 

The Oppo BDP-95 has been amazingly reviewed, however after some research I find I prefer to build my system with separate specialized components (i.e. separate DAC, CD player acting as transport, etc...) for better build quality, minimize interferece from other components, and to more easily switch between DACs. I also would miss the optical input that the Oppo lacks (just about the only weakness I found about it).

 

So I looked around to see why the Oppo was awesome for sound compared to other well built source systems, and found its multiple SABRE Reference DACs made by ESS (specifically the top of the line ES9018 version) were the key. Just about every product I saw with the ES9018 SABRE was rated very well.

 

I looked around for a very well built DAC (Class A) with the ES9018 SABRE for sub $1000 and found the Audio Lab M-DAC (not to be confused with the well built Audio Lab 8200DQ, which I was informed is surprisingly inferior to the M-DAC, though still an impressive SABRE based DAC). It's selling for $899 here in Canada.

 

Now for the CD transport I'm still searching to see what's best, I'm budgeting another $500-600 for it. Overall the CD + DAC combo will likely be around $1,500 instead of my original $1,000, but it's a price I'm willing to pay for separate high quality components.

 

P.S. I'm selling the Little Dot MK IV SE tube amp and cancelled my order for the Beyerdynamic DT 990, instead I'm considering the Woo Audio WA2 + Sennheiser HD800, just need to find a place to try them out first.

 

Turntable

 

This was a tough one. I looked into the Music Hall, the Regas, and the Clearence Audio (which looks fantastic). After trying a couple of TTs I realized there is considerable room to upgrade into the $1000-2000 price range, after which point the law of diminishing returns kicks into high gear.

 

So I've decided to wait a few more months, save more, and get one of the following turntables:

 

Pioneer Exclusive P10 (http://audio-database.com/PIONEER-EXCLUSIVE/player/p10-e.html) <-- Very heavy aluminum direct drive turntable, considered by many to be the second best turntable made by Pioneer (after the P3) and one of the best mass produced turntables in the world. I have tried it at a friend's house and really enjoyed it

 

Nakamichi TX-1000 (http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue33/tx1000.htm) <-- This is rare, so it would depend on if a) I find one and b) it's cheap enough

 

I'm still considering different cartridges, but I'll likely save up to get a moving coil one with a solid pre-amp. 

 

So yeah, I realize the new system I'm building is considerably more pricey than I originally intended, so I'll be building it 1 or 2 components at a time throughout 2012 instead of buying it all in one go. Considering the quality of these components I'm convinced it's the right approach.

 

Thanks again for your help guys! Let me know if you have any comments on the above.

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