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Cambridge 840c or $150 CD player with digtal output +DACMagic?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I am recently thinking upgrade my source components. But I am getting confused with a middle level CD player (like cambrighe 840c) or a decent DAC (like DACMagic or even a Benchmark DAC-1) plus a consumer level  CD or DVD player(like sony or LG etc.) with digtal output as a CD transporter.


IMO, a good CD player is a transporter + a good DAC. The transporter section just read digtal signal(1 or 0)  from a CD disc, the DAC section is more important that it converts the digtal signal to analog signal. So an entry level CD player's transporter part maybe has not too much different with a high level CD player's transporter part. Am I right?


If I choose the DAC+CD transporter, then I have more setup choice, like I can link my computer to the setup.  And maybe I can also save several hundred bucks.


So,finally,  my questions is : Could a DACMagic+  a $150 Sony CD player get the same SQ with a Cambrighe 840c?


post #2 of 45

Heard both.  The 840C is a step above the Dacmagic - more detail, and refinement - the 840C is probably more comparable to the Benchmark.  The 840C also has digital inputs to use its on board Dac.  There is no USB input - however there will be a whole plethora of High Definition 24/96 USB to SPDIF convertors that are about to flood the market.  The choice is between 840 and benchmark.

post #3 of 45

Get a DAC. Or rather one of those audio interfaces from one of the semi pro equipment manufacturers such as Focusrite, E-MU, TC-Konnekt. RME is you can afford more. M-Audio if you cannot.


The reason I say this is because you may well find it much more convienient to copy all your CDs to hard disk at some point. Most people do.


You can you use the £15 optical drive on your PC or other device. Makes not a jot of difference when used as a transport.


Ripping to HD not only makes finding, viewing, organising and playing your music easier and more informative if anything it will provide better sound over time as it will never deteriorate on HD whilst it might on CD. Use AccurateRIP or something similar to check your rips are bit perfect.  

post #4 of 45

The sound quality should be pretty close between the two choices you've outlined. At a push I'd say Cambridge will want to keep their absolute best circuitry for the 840C as it is their top of the line player so it could have a slight edge. High end CD players can come with more durable and quieter transports than low end models but that isn't always the case.


The 840C is a very nice player and with 2 inputs for it's internal DAC it could be used in a future system. In the short term you only have one new (albeit pretty large) box to find space for and a couple of less cables to worry about.


If it were me I'd get the 840C. If you do decide to rip your music to a computer then use it as a DAC. When you don't want to use the computer, or if it's being used for something very demanding, you can still play CDs on the 840C. I have all my music on a NAS and stream it to a network player but there is no way I would get rid of my CD player. It still gets almost as much use and can be much more convenient - if you just want to listen to music starting up a PC is a pain and none of mine are totally silent so they annoy me.


Also check out the Quad 99CDP-2. It has 6 inputs to it's DAC and is about to be replaced by a newer model so you might find one for similar money to the 840C. It's also one of the best CD players I've heard.

post #5 of 45

The DacMagic is a DAC based on the digital section of the 740c CD player. The 840c is more sophisticated. At one point CA was planning a more expensive DAC loosely based on the 840c, but its been too long so I think they dropped those plans.

post #6 of 45

Go for the 840c, its better sounding then the 740c and 740c is better sounding then a dacmagic because of the quality transport used in the 740c. 


If you can, give Richersounds in the U.K a call., they sell tons of Cambridge Audio gear. The owner of the company has a share in Cambridge Audio. You can pick up a 840c up from there for about £600 (b stock) and then may be get it shipped over to you.

Edited by harj - 8/10/10 at 12:53pm
post #7 of 45

The 840C uses two Analog Devices DACs and the 740C uses two Wolfson DACs. I wouldn't be too surprised if they share the same transport, many CD players do. The 840C is also about 2kg heavier - most likely in the transformers and power circuitry and a bit of casework as it is a few cm deeper. I think differences between the DACmagic and 740C (if they do indeed share the same DAC circuitry) will be power related. The DACmagic uses a small plug type transformer which probably isn't as beefy as the one in the 740C.


I just checked Richer Sounds (I know the OP is in Canada) and they have the 740C for £370 B-stock. At that price it's pretty good. 

Edited by Stoin - 8/11/10 at 4:11am
post #8 of 45

£370 is a really good price,

post #9 of 45

740C also upsamples to 384khz, whereas the Dacmagic upsamples to 192 - but you do have a choice of filters with the Dacmagic.

post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.


Today, I visited some local audio stores in Vancouver area, only one store has the CA 840c and they ask for 1800 CND plus 12% tax, then around 2000 CND.  I think that is too hard for my wallet.

My budget is  $1000-1500. So I have to forget the new 840c or wait another half year to save more.


Read all the threads carefully, then I conclude that the DAC section in the source is more important then the transport as most guys were discussing the DAC in the CD player. So think I would rather go to a Decent DAC + a CD player with digtal output. 


And today, I find a Marantz CD5003 on sale in a local audio store for 240 CND, I think this would be a good choice as my CD transport.


Due to I already have a Little dot DAC-1, so it is meaningless for me to get a DACMagic. I don't think the DACmagic would be over LD DAC-1 too much.  So I am thinking about a Benchmark DAC-1 non-usb model, Larry DA10, or a Audio-GD DAC-19 or  Reference-5. Maybe the Audio-GD RF-5 is the best choice.


Or if I can find a good deal on a used CA 840c.


Am I right?

Edited by mudhole - 8/10/10 at 9:53pm
post #11 of 45

Audio GD...You're not mucking around at all - these are serious components.

post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 

I am seriously want to buy some serious source components.  The RF5 will cost $1100 include shipping to Canada, and thanks to the high Canadian dollor rate , it will be under 1150 CND. And plus a 240 CND Cd player, the total cost still in my budget.


Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post

Audio GD...You're not mucking around at all - these are serious components.

post #13 of 45

Well...looks like you did your research...this thread is now TERMINATED!!!  I was seriously considering selling my Bryston Dac at a loss to purchase the ref 7.  Without an audition it won't happen though.

Edited by SP Wild - 8/10/10 at 11:08pm
post #14 of 45

Transports do matter but improvements in the DAC stage are much more noticeable. The most important thing to me with a transport is that it is silent and feels durable. Nowadays most can read scratched discs well so that isn't such a concern. I have a Cambridge 640C v2 and it makes an audible noise when starting and stopping a disc and a very slight noise all the time when playing. It's fine if you're using speakers when you can't hear it. Not so good if you are sitting very close and using open back headphones. Somewhere down the line I'll upgrade my CD.


Have a quick look for a used 840C/740C but the Marantz player should be a fine transport and it lets you look at some highly regarded DACs.

post #15 of 45

Have you looked at the Pacific Valve CDM12 CD transport. I have one, it's a very well made piece of gear that when used with a good DAC makes for an excellent source.





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