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Is a high end CDP even worth it any more?

post #1 of 196
Thread Starter 
I guess the question rather speaks for itself. I'm considering pulling the trigger on a Rega Apollo,which I have heard and greatly enjoy, but first I want to take a step back here. Considering the advancements in HDD sources and offshore DACs, does it really make sense to drop $1k on a standalone CD player?

If not, what should i be out looking for?
post #2 of 196
I say go for a used workhorse that can be modded into near perfection. Something like a 9100ES or CE595 can be found, modded, and become reference class for around $1000 or less.


And to answer your question, coming from somebody that has used PC as Source exclusively for quite awhile, there's nothing like a good stand alone CDP.
post #3 of 196
Yup. Whether its jitter or maybe that and a combination of something else.... it's next to impossible for even the best DAC to fully equal a cdp transport based system of the same value let alone beat one of a greater value. If anything can do it its the Empirical Audio offerings that are specifically geared towards advancing the cause of PC based audio.
post #4 of 196
I'm not a believer in player mods (if the mods are effective the designers would've done it in the first place). That said, new CDPs is one of the fastest depreciating components in audiophile-land (except cables, I suppose). The way that CDP designs seem to fall in and out of fashion makes me think that a transport+DAC route would be more cost effective in the long run.
post #5 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarium View Post
Yup. Whether its jitter or maybe that and a combination of something else.... it's next to impossible for even the best DAC to fully equal a cdp transport based system of the same value let alone beat one of a greater value. If anything can do it its the Empirical Audio offerings that are specifically geared towards advancing the cause of PC based audio.
Do keep in mind that newer generation DACs (like the DAC1) are jitter-immune and they've got numbers to prove it. If that's the case then it doesn't really matter what quality transport you use as long as it is bit transparent. Furthermore, modern standalone CDPs tend to have a robust vibration-resistant tranport mechanism that's simply wasted on a headphone system (there being no vibration to speak of). For the same money you might go with the cheap transport + quality DAC route and I believe that should give a better sonic result.
post #6 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dept_of_Alchemy View Post
I'm not a believer in player mods (if the mods are effective the designers would've done it in the first place).
That isn't nearly ever the case. The R&D and hand selection of every last detail and component usually ends up being all about cost effectiveness. The big manufacturers want to sell products for as much profit as possible while keeping the prices attractive. The boutique companies end up hand building or out-sourcing the tricky parts, which costs a lot of money. The modding community sits down and picks apart every last detail of every schematic and opamp until death do they part, building a unique knowledge on how to tweak electronics.

In my book, buying used then modding remains the most cost effective way to get the best for your dollar.
post #7 of 196
Redo,
spot on. I have a Marantz 63 first generation CDP , it's transport is the equal of any of the top flight transports today (offers anyone?).

I also have a 63KI for which I can still buy a new laser (no advances there in 15 years) and it's full of Cerifines and Silmics. Take out the muting transistors, replace the clock for a Tent XO - result one very good deck.
post #8 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
I guess the question rather speaks for itself. I'm considering pulling the trigger on a Rega Apollo,which I have heard and greatly enjoy, but first I want to take a step back here. Considering the advancements in HDD sources and offshore DACs, does it really make sense to drop $1k on a standalone CD player?

If not, what should i be out looking for?
If you spend most of your time listening to CDs, I'd definitely invest in a good source whether that's a standalone player or a transport/DAC solution.

Personally, I prefer the convenience and simplicity of a one-box solution. As far as modding goes, I've only heard tube-modified players, so I can't comment too much on that arena. However, I have listened to a Rega Jupiter before and if that's any indication as to what the Apollo can do, then you've made a fine choice.

Good luck!
post #9 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dept_of_Alchemy View Post
Do keep in mind that newer generation DACs (like the DAC1) are jitter-immune and they've got numbers to prove it.
I believe that the DAC1 has pretty much the same "jitter immunity" circuitry as my Bel Canto DAC2. I can assure that it certainly is NOT jitter immune and most certainly does benefit from a better transport. I'm told the same is true of the Chord DAC64.

As for whether a high end CDP is worth it. Well I've heard an Esoteric X01 against something approximating to my existing source, and that was astounding . So yes, there's still room for improvement.
post #10 of 196
Although I do own a good DAC that I enjoy, I am a simple person and I think it's easier to have one unit of a great CD player. For me, when theres more cables and power cords involved and another external box, it's extra stuff to worry about. I prefer it to be simple if possible.
post #11 of 196
i love my stand alone, my myryad z110. even using the same dac (my mini dac) from cpu and stand alone, the latter sounds better. not sure why, but it does. i am thinking about buying an azur 840c. it seems to compare favorably with more expensive players and has xlr outputs. plus i just don't have the coin to get an esoteric or something in that range.
post #12 of 196
The apollo is worth it, not a shadow of doubt in my mind after ownig it for half a year. The first time in my 20 years or so of CDlisteningt hat I have a CDP that I find affordable and enjoyable.
post #13 of 196
If high-end CDPs weren't worth it, why have companies like Arcam, Marantz, NAD, Rega, and many others been developing them for years? And I've found a lot of other foreign companies not as well-known have also put out CDPs, like CEC, Primare, Linn...et al. If all these companies have been investing time, effort, and research into CDPs, shouldn't that speak for what they can do?

There's gotta be something to the merit of CDPs with all these companies putting large amounts of dollars and research into them, unless someone can make a valid argument against that.
post #14 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
If high-end CDPs weren't worth it, why have companies like Arcam, Marantz, NAD, Rega, and many others been developing them for years? And I've found a lot of other foreign companies not as well-known have also put out CDPs, like CEC, Primare, Linn...et al. If all these companies have been investing time, effort, and research into CDPs, shouldn't that speak for what they can do?

There's gotta be something to the merit of CDPs with all these companies putting large amounts of dollars and research into them, unless someone can make a valid argument against that.
Do I detect a comparo hatching in someone's brain? Let's say a good cheap CDP against a $1000-plus CDP? Or even a computer-as-source against the high-end CDP? Ideally the test would be blind, but that may not be practical. In all fairness, the lineup should probably include a decent DAC to even the playing field a bit. I'm guessing that differences in SQ would be close to insignificant. But I'm open and ready to be surprised. In the end, though, regardless of the results, we may find ourselves back at square one, asking the same old questions.
post #15 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post
Do I detect a comparo hatching in someone's brain? Let's say a good cheap CDP against a $1000-plus CDP? Or even a computer-as-source against the high-end CDP? Ideally the test would be blind, but that may not be practical. In all fairness, the lineup should probably include a decent DAC to even the playing field a bit. I'm guessing that differences in SQ would be close to insignificant. But I'm open and ready to be surprised. In the end, though, regardless of the results, we may find ourselves back at square one, asking the same old questions.
Another problem is when you get into the $500+ CDP range, you are starting to complete against audiophile-geared HDPC systems with lossless codecs and large amounts of storage space and can output bit-perfect to a DAC.

I just can't understand why some people will drop $2000 on a CDP when a Plextor, EAC, FLAC, and a bit-perfect soundcard are a fourth of the price.
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