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What will be more noticeable, if i upgrade the Source or the Amp?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
My current source/amp is the Pana ct570 and a CHA47 amp. I'm running my 4s' and sr325s through it right now, but i have about 200-ish to upgrade. Should i go for the source or the amp? I know that i will eventually need both a new source and amp, since the setup i have was meant for portability, and not for a decent home setup. Either way, which upgrade would be more noticeable?

Oh, i almost forgot, i'd either upgrade my source to:

NAD 520
NAD 540
Sony 500v (too long of a name, can't remember)
Sony 775 (can't remember the full name either )

Or my amp to an all-out META config.
post #2 of 25
Thats really a tough question, because it really is a matter of opinion. The ideal would be to try each one and choose that way. Not really feasable though is it? The Panasonic is a decent source, and the JMT is a good amp. But, they could both be bettered by the choices you have listed. Maybe you could arrange to audition a Meta 42 and see if it is what you want. I would suggest you send JMT an e-mail and get his thoughts on the amps.
post #3 of 25
I'd go with the source. If you don't require portable use, portable players in general are rather turdly. I have the Panasonic CT570 myself and I'd bet any modern DVD player sounds better than it.
post #4 of 25
I agree with kelly, get a better source. Though you still could improve the performance of the cha, too.
post #5 of 25
I agree with Kelly, I don't think the Pana will be able to show you the superiority of the Meta. But your amp with the headphones you've got probably can show the superiority of the Sony dvd player.
post #6 of 25
I agree.

The NAD is an excellent redbook performer. Make sure you get the "i" version i.e 520i, 540i, which are the upgrades.
post #7 of 25
Another one for the source! Then, get an amp.
post #8 of 25
listen to your fellow head-fi'ers and upgrade the source.

moo sez so.
post #9 of 25
Yes, upgrade the source!
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Alrighty, will do! Source it is. That's just dandy, because i've been eyeing Audiogon for the past few days. I don't know if i'll be able to buy the "i" versions of them though, i don't see any on there so far. Aye, only if paypal's virtual credit card limit was higher than 140 dollars
post #11 of 25
Yep...source definetly. I'd go for that AH! toejb that's fs in the gear for sale/trade forum.
post #12 of 25
The rule of thumb that I generally recommend for the biggest bang for the buck is the following order:

1. Headphones
2. Source
3. Amp
4. Cables

This of course depends on where you are on the food chain when it comes to various components. In your case, I think upgrading the source will make the biggest improvement in your listening. I would also recommend that you save a bit more money and get a REALLY good CD player like a Rega Planet 2000, Musical Fidelity A3CD or the newer one, Adcom or Rotel player. Keep in mind that you're looking to spend from about $600-$1500 on these players, which is a far cry from your $200 budget.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ahh, i don't think that'll happen anytime soon, 600 bucks on ONE cd player, sheesh. I still need to save up for college
post #14 of 25
College schmolege! Your education will become obsolete in ten years, but music is forever!
post #15 of 25
You will be able to hear the difference between a CHA47 and a META42 with your present PCDP, erikiksaz. You will especially be able to hear the difference between a CHA47 with OPA2132/4 op-amps and a META42 with moderately high-end chips, which you can get for your $200 number.

I also have a Panasonic SL-CT570, and it's my current portable reference. While it is indeed flawed, it's not bad for a portable. One thing to consider is that getting a better amp may help you to hear the problems in this player more clearly.

My current full-size reference CDP is the Music Hall CD-25 ($600 street). While it does sound better than the Panasonic, it's not 6x better to match the cost difference.

Spending just $200 on a full-size player probably won't give enough benefit to be worthwhile. Keep in mind, that's not much more than $100 over the cost of your PCDP, a difference that's probably completely going to cover the larger enclosure, the "real" power supply, the larger display, the remote control, and the larger I/O jacks. Kelly's idea on DVD players might have some merit, though: if you bought a good DVD player with a 96 or 192 kHz DAC, you might get a worthwhile sound improvement, and even if you didn't, you'd at least have a good DVD player so your purchase wouldn't be a complete washout. Also, you could always add an outboard DAC later if you wanted.

Keep in mind, I'm biased on the META42 issue, since I've got a stake in the META42 -- but unless you can raise that $200 spending limit, I would say you'd get a bigger bang from an amp upgrade. At the same time, setting your sights a little higher and getting a better source is also a good idea. Remember, once the signal is analog, everything you do to it is damage in some sense of the word. Better to start with a good signal than to try and fix it after it's been damaged.
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