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Modern CD player work as a DAC from PC?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Do modern CD players have the option to connect a coaxial spdif from my sound card and then through the CD players DAC into my amp?

post #2 of 14

Yes, the Cambridge 750 and 850, and I think the NAD C565BEE, can do that, among others. I think some of them work with USB drives, maybe computers, too, but I think the primary goal was for the former, since it's the player that will extract and play the files, instead of just receiving the digital stream, through USB. In nay case if you're using SPDIF it shouldn't be a problem.

 

If money's no object, and you like detail, try the Musical Fidelity M6CD/DAC.

post #3 of 14

Marantz has a few offerings as well. The SA8004 is a real bargain.

post #4 of 14

Marantz sa8004, Ayon Cd 1 s, CA 840, audiolabs 8200 etc are some that come to mind that perform the function of a cdp as well as external dac.

post #5 of 14

Check for a line out. Most cd players should have one.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

Check for a line out. Most cd players should have one.

 

They all do, the redbook standard is a fixed 2V output  - what he's looking for is a CDP with SPDIF input.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

They all do, the redbook standard is a fixed 2V output  - what he's looking for is a CDP with SPDIF input.

 

Don't you think its a bit complicated? A cd player is made for playing CDs, not as a DAC. A/V Receivers may have these features, but then its overkill if you just want the DAC.

post #8 of 14

I once considered one of the CA CDPs for this reason -- I would have a disc spinner AND a dedicated DAC - but there are so many other options now that I wouldnt go there. If anything, I prefer the combined USB/coax/spdif DAC/speaker amp approach employed by an increasing number of amp builders. If I was going to go the other way, I would look long and hard at the Oppo BDP-93 : a universal player which would give the OP a lot more options going forward. 

 

I dont see the analog-only amp disappearing anytime soon, but I like where NAD are going with Digital Direct : unfortunately, it means that you pay for both the DAC and the ADC needed to convert your analog input to a digital stream. I think JHA use the same approach in their JH-3A.

 

http://nadelectronics.com/products/masters-series/M2-Direct-Digital-Amplifier

http://www.jhaudio.com/product/jh-3a-dsp-amp-jh16-pro-custom-ear-monitor

 

What makes this compelling is that it drags legacy sources into the digital domain without the need for multiple boxes, but the real action for me lies in a thread that has been consigned to the Computer Audio wasteland. 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/582370/streaming-audio-devices-review-and-information-thread-updated-4-23-with-jf-digital-review

 

Of course, many music lovers will be perfectly happy with a single source, be it CDP or turntable, but I'm very keen to watch the rapid evolution of the streamer. As long as it doesnt mean lock-in to a single octopus like Apple, I think the streamer is a fantastic device and much more versatile than a CD transport. Get it right and the OP can have several cakes and be eating them simultaneously. 

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

Don't you think its a bit complicated? A cd player is made for playing CDs, not as a DAC. A/V Receivers may have these features, but then its overkill if you just want the DAC.

 

Because almost all times anybody throws away an otherwise good CDPlayer it's due to a failure in the transport. I had a Marantz CD80, Sony XA700, Onkyo (don't remember the model anymore), Sony SCD595, I could go on and on - and all of them were thrown out or sold because of a transport issue. The Marantz I really loved but it had issues reading audio CDs with bonus PC data content and the tray mechanism breaks every few years. The Sony SACD really pissed me off - at some point it couldn't play the SACD layer. W. T. F. I bought it for that and then my SACDs won't play, not even the PCM layer. I almost tossed it off the ledge of my condo if I didn't get anyone who asked to buy it for about $30.

 

Imagine if I spent over $1,000 on a Cayin CD17 back then, and by now I'll probably be about to shell out $200 to replace the laser (assuming I actually locate one) and have it installed. Without that transport (or a digital input) what would become of the excellent DAC and tubed output stage (which I might have loaded with Blackgates, too) ? Basically trash, that's what a CDplayer with a broken transport is. It's like trying to find a specific needle for a TT cartridge, except you can just buy an entirely new cartridge and continue using that TT investment with a heavier platter and smoother belt drive (then again that's like buying a new DAC chip too). I still miss having a Marantz CD Player with just its own amp and an HD580 by my nightstand, but now having an iPad2>Cantate>HD600 main/bedside rig I assume would last longer. At least, until I realized Apple might not stock iPad2 batteries the same way I can go online and just get a new one for my iPod Video.

 

And it's not all just about using it after the transport dies and you can't find a replacement part (or the entire transport system). It also allows you to use the CDP with other sources, like a media player loaded with music or concerts, when the CDP's output stage is better than the AV receiver's.

 

Then again, why a CDP with digital input and not a DAC? Some people still use CDs, for one. Also, a CDplayer with a digital input is like a DAC with its own transport, and you reduce wear on it by using the CDs when you're listening critically. All other times, you get the same sound, even just as background music, without adding wear to the most notorious subsystem (reliability-wise) of an optical playback system. Then, why not an A/V receiver? For people who want just 2ch audio, or to separate the gear for HT and audio, the receiver has too many disadvantages: it shares a single PSUwith too many subsystems and compared to an amp (speaker or headphone) + CDP of the same price, the receiver will start choking on many speakers sooner, and this is just the amp subsystem - others subjectively or objectively prefer the sound of a dedicated CD/SACD/Universal player's DAC and analog output stage over an HT receiver's. It's also huge - so for those who don't have dedicated theaters and don't plan to set one up, it's pointless unless they got it free.

 

In the end it's the same as "why not get a DAC-Amp (vs separate amp and DAC)" - they can have advantages and disadvantages. In the end, good designs can minimize the gaps, but still it depends on the end user's needs and capabilities (like money, or space in wherever the system is).


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 5/8/12 at 10:22am
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

Don't you think its a bit complicated? A cd player is made for playing CDs, not as a DAC. 

 

CDs are 0s and 1s, CD players ARE DACs (unless strictly a transport). They are fully designed and capable of converting 16/44 audio files into an analog signal.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by obzilla View Post

 

CDs are 0s and 1s, CD players ARE DACs (unless strictly a transport). They are fully designed and capable of converting 16/44 audio files into an analog signal.

 

Of course, what I meant was that a CD player is not generally used as a standalone DAC with dedicated digital/usb inputs.


Edited by proton007 - 5/8/12 at 6:12pm
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

Of course, what I meant was that a CD player is not generally used as a standalone DAC with dedicated digital/usb inputs.

 

Well there are various that do, it's just a question of their input implementation (SPIDIF/USB/etc). Some are rubbish, some are as good as standalones, albeit you pay for that through the nose.

 

The only reason that there aren't so many is because the demand isn't huge. Not because there is a fundamental difference between a DAC in a CD player and a standalone DAC. Most of the highend players these days do have digital inputs (Esoteric, Cambridge, NAD, and Marantz come to mind there are plenty of others I'm sure).

 

I would love a CD player with digital inputs that were as good as the standalones, that I could afford. NAD's new flagship player will even rip to FLAC with the NAD supplied attached storage. Cool beans if you ask me.

post #13 of 14

There was a significant push here and elsewhere a couple of years back to replace expensive CDPs with a cheap DVD player hooked to a good outboard DAC - unfortunately, people soon realised  that there is more to a good transport than having a laser and a mechanism for extracting the 1s and 0s for use elsewhere, That said, I would buy a DAC or amp used, but there is no way I'd buy a used CDP regardless of how good a deal it appeared, for the reasons stated earlier. 

 

Stereophile created a short-lived jump in the price of ancient Playsations with its favourable review, but nothing mechanical lasts forever. 

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

There was a significant push here and elsewhere a couple of years back to replace expensive CDPs with a cheap DVD player hooked to a good outboard DAC - unfortunately, people soon realised  that there is more to a good transport than having a laser and a mechanism for extracting the 1s and 0s for use elsewhere, That said, I would buy a DAC or amp used, but there is no way I'd buy a used CDP regardless of how good a deal it appeared, for the reasons stated earlier. 

 

Stereophile created a short-lived jump in the price of ancient Playsations with its favourable review, but nothing mechanical lasts forever. 

 

So I guess a better option would be to either go for a dedicated DAC, or a A/V receiver, comes with other features as well.

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