Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Arcam vs Accuphase: a 12-part review of the Accuphase DP-500
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Arcam vs Accuphase: a 12-part review of the Accuphase DP-500

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
A bit of backstory for these impressions: I really, really like Arcam's FMJ CD33. (Initially I didn't but that's another story for another time.) So much so that when I went into research and buying mode for a balanced CDP, and tried the Primare CD31, 2005 Audio Aero Prima, and Ayre CX-7e, none of them gelled with me, as good as those are reputed to be. I like my FR to be flat, but not too flat that takes the musicality of the mid-range out. And that's what the Arcam does, it's a bit too flat in the mid-range. So when I started looking for a balanced CDP, I wanted something that sounded as close to the Arcam as possible, but with a touch more of mid-range, and as much of that great soundstage as possible.

So I ended up highly interested in the Accuphase brand based on what I read about its legendary players like the DP-57, DP-67, and DP-78. Unfortunately none of these are true-balanced sources, the XLR outputs are not driven in differential mode from the DACs. But Accuphase's NEW DP-500 from 2006 is their first CDP with differential-mode output into the XLR!

So, based on lots of research (and a very wary attitude too), I jumped into the Accuphase DP-500 more than 2 months ago. What did I find? Well you guys will have to wait a bit longer for the next installment of this ongoing review.



post #2 of 81
congrats on the new player.

is it new or used.
post #3 of 81
Thread Starter 
Ah yes, that reminds me of why I couldn't say anything about this CDP before.

It's brand NEW thanks to Audiocubes2.com. The reason I withheld the identity of the CDP was because I wasn't sure if I was going to keep it or not, based on what I've read about Accuphase players needing 300-500 hours of burn-in time for their sound to completely settle down. Ridiculous claim? Maybe, but every single review I read of Accuphase equipment corroborrated this claim. So after I bought it I had to find out for myself if the burn-in claims are true. To put it simply, they are, and I'm keeping the CDP. (I do have to say, initially its sound was unacceptable and would've had me selling it immediately if not for all the claims of burn-in.)
post #4 of 81
Sweet! Thats a great stacked shot, the dp-500 is huge! So you decided to keep it? Can't wait to see the full review.
post #5 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Ah yes, that reminds me of why I couldn't say anything about this CDP before.

It's brand NEW thanks to Audiocubes2.com. The reason I withheld the identity of the CDP was because I wasn't sure if I was going to keep it or not, based on what I've read about Accuphase players needing 300-500 hours of burn-in time for their sound to completely settle down. Ridiculous claim? Maybe, but every single review I read of Accuphase equipment corroborrated this claim. So after I bought it I had to find out for myself if the burn-in claims are true. To put it simply, they are, and I'm keeping the CDP. (I do have to say, initially its sound was unacceptable and would've had me selling it immediately if not for all the claims of burn-in.)
Burn in is very real! Especially for caps in a cdplayer. Good caps can take up to 500 hours (teflon caps)of burn in. I had my amp totally modded and loads of new high end caps in there and i have about 300 hours on them and the sound is still changing a bit.

Same goes for modding your cdplayer, if you put in new caps, resistors etc, it takes time to settle down and perform their best.
post #6 of 81
question, how long did it take to recieve the accuphase from audiocubes2? Did you have any problems with shipping or anything?
post #7 of 81
So does that mean you'll have a balanced amp coming soon?
post #8 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wower View Post
Sweet! Thats a great stacked shot, the dp-500 is huge! So you decided to keep it? Can't wait to see the full review.
Yes, the DP-500 is massive. As the picture shows, it's big enough that the Arcam could entirely fit inside it if it were empty of all its internal electronics. I have new respect for my fellow Bay Area Head-Fiers who have even bigger digital sources than I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinp6301 View Post
question, how long did it take to recieve the accuphase from audiocubes2? Did you have any problems with shipping or anything?
Took almost a couple weeks for the order processing, no probs with the ordering or the shipping. When I asked Kohn how their items are ordered, he said that these are specially ordered direct from Accuphase in Japan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PFKMan23 View Post
So does that mean you'll have a balanced amp coming soon?
Indeed, I'm waiting for it now.
post #9 of 81
Nice! Looking forward to the review.
post #10 of 81
Thread Starter 

Arcam vs Accuphase: a 12-part review of the Accuphase DP-500

Part 1 - The Arcam's Small Victories

Instead of taking a first bow of talking about the Accuphase, I'd prefer to start out with points where the Arcam is better than the Accuphase.

Equipment being used so far in my listening have been the AE-2, Gilmore Lite LE, Square Wave, and EC/SS amps, along with my Signal Cable Silver Res Analog, the PS Audio xStream Transcendent RCA, and my new VH Audio Spectrum Ag - with the NEW updated WBT-0102 connectors. Power cord is still the Signal Cable Silver Res Reference. Headphones are the AKG K701 and Sennheiser HD650, both with the Stefan AudioArt Equinox re-cable.

Now most might think the Accuphase is overall the completely better CDP than the Arcam, right? The DP-500's SRP in the USA is $6900 while the CD33's former SRP in the USA (it's discontinued) was $2500. Pretty huge price difference, and their internals are very different too. The Arcam has a total of 8 Wolfson WM8740 DAC chips (4 per channel) that are configured in dual differential for the dual single-ended outputs, and the Accuphase also has 4 per channel, using the TI PCM1796, also in dual differential, into the XLR. The Arcam is also a 14-lb machine with a few physical enhancements to dampen vibration, while the Accuphase is a 36-lb machine built in solid aluminum pretty much on every plate of the chassis. The front, sides, back, top, and the bottom are all completely metallic plates - some of it brushed, some of it matted, and some of it anodized. There is absolutely no plastic on the Accuphase - everything on the outside of the Accuphase is metal. This of course is the main reason it's 36 lbs. Of course that also means it's extremely rugged and extremely solid. And visually it looks expensive and makes the Arcam look like a toy.

Cheap as though the Arcam looks now, it still puts up a very worthy fight against the settled-down sound of the Accuphase, and in fact there are still areas where I prefer its sound quality.

First is the soundstage. The Arcam clearly takes the lead in the bigger soundstage. It's just plain bigger - it expands out more and gives you a better sense of projection out into space. It gives the better picture of elements being out and away from you.

Second is the agile, lithe character it has. The Arcam has a kind of "youth" to it, as it's always sounded clean and fast, with oodles of class and grace. "Graceful" is absolutely a word I'd use to describe the sound of the Arcam. It may lack body, but what it lacks there it makes up for with a character that always sounds like it's floating on air, on the tops of the notes, like a dancer or figure skater. This kind of sound is a true glory to behold in the mind of the right beholder. While some might prefer to live in the music, the Arcam has the kind of sound that dances across the top, kinda like an analytic machine, allowing you look into the music but not actually taking you on the journey to within it.

Third is the Arcam's treble response - it just has MORE. Granted its treble response is more audible due to its much flatter mids (some might say it's recessed but I'd dissent with that) but it portrays more air, and is more prominent. Clear and crystalline, and the fine edges of notes are always picked up with complete accuracy.

That ends the parts where the Arcam takes the edge over the Accuphase. To come later will be impressions of the Accuphase.
post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
...lithe..
I had to look that up. Thanks google! [wower is waiting patiently]
post #12 of 81
The DP-500 is big and heavy. I remember carrying it in its giant cardboard box took some effort, and I decided I needed to do more pushups.

post #13 of 81
sigh... nice pic Elephas...
post #14 of 81
Congrats on the new source, Asr. I've heard about all Accuphase having reverse phase polarity (I don't even know what this means) and that most U.S. buyers are unaware of the adjustments necessary for use with most other gear. Have you come across this and been able to address it?
post #15 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elephas View Post
The DP-500 is big and heavy. I remember carrying it in its giant cardboard box took some effort, and I decided I needed to do more pushups.


So you think 45 lbs is heavy huh? How about my 80lbs modwright/Kern Mod Sony SCD-777ES w/ a custom Anvil Case? I had to ship this unit for a repair once and it was a nightmare. My tube rectified PSU for the 777ES is another 15 lbs by itself.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Arcam vs Accuphase: a 12-part review of the Accuphase DP-500