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A dilemna between two sources (Computer VS CD Player)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I have made up my mind to purchase for myself a v200 amp for myself this fall/summer.  However, upon further reading of the "Review: Violectric HPA V200 amp" (can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/551173/review-violectric-hpa-v200-amp/1560), I figured that my sources needed to be upgraded.

 

As a bit of a behind the scenes my current set up is:  Foobar->WASAPI->Pico USB DAC/AMP-> Grado RS1i and 325is.

 

I would like a more desktop-like, or "home setup" if you will. 

 

With that in mind, I originally wanted to get the computer audio TO my V200 VIA the Pico USB DAC/AMP.  But there is a problem, and that is double amping.  From what I gathered from posting in that V200 review page, double amping as a permanent solution isn't too ideal.  (I'll miss you, Pico DAC).  And that I should really get a dedicated source to bring out the full potential of my v200 + LCD-2

 

So here is the fork in my road (and the reason why it's so hard is because a nice CD player and a nice computer DAC is pretty the same price):

 

Should I go for the CD player route (perhaps invest in a Marantz/Cambridge player)?

 

Pros:  hm...excellent sound quality.  I don't have to be tied to my computer if I want to listen.

Cons:  Burning CDs (I have mostly FLACs with their respective .cues/.log so I can create an identical copy), and having to keep a stack of CDs next to me and if they get scratched, I cry. 

 

-or-

 

Should I go for the dedicated DAC route (v800 perhaps)

 

Pros:  With all the inputs from that back, it's rather "flexible"

Cons:  Tied to my computer!  My laptop must be on for me to get any music.

 

Please help me out here, and perhaps add to my pros/cons list.  I am also wondering if there is a big difference between computer audio flacs and the physical copy, on a CD.

And to help you guys help me better:

 

My headphones right now are:  Grado SR325is, Grado RS1i, Sony MDR-v6, Westone Um3x.  (I will be getting flagship models such as HE-500 or LCD-2 once I get this mess sorted out).

I love listening to classical symphonies, metal, classic rock like Pink Floyd and electronica.

 

 

Cheers!


Edited by esn89 - 8/30/12 at 3:33pm
post #2 of 20

I think I have an even better solution that can negate those cons for you. Buy an Oppo 95. Why?

SACD/DVD/BD and 3D capability

Can connect external hard drives via USB and eSATA --reads FLAC etc. just fine

Can stream music via DLNA from your PC music software to the Oppo

Sabre 32bit reference DACs (Yes, Two!)

Dedicated 2-channel DSD analog out via XLR/RCA (Hello!) and PCM of course

Dedicated 7.1 RCA out

Volume control if need be (XLR too hot or something)

You also dont need your PC running if playing a physical media or external hard drive

Tons of audio processing options to play with

Con:

The navigation using DLNA is a bit clunky, but it's perfectly manageable. Not as easy as using a mouse obviously, but not being chained to one (remote) is nice too


Edited by brunk - 7/2/12 at 3:27pm
post #3 of 20

I love Oppo gear.

 

I'm also a big fan of that old dinosaur, the stand alone CD player.  Every cent of the price goes into doing one thing, and one thing only- making music.

 

I've had a Marantz CD player in my main stereo for over a decade.  It rocks.  In my little "headphones only" system, I have a new Onkyo C-7030 that I've been really happy with.

 

I also looked into the Cambridge Audio CA350C.  I liked what they had to say about the "proprietary servo solution," the DAC, and the oversized transformer.  Looks like a nice unit for around $300.

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input.  The Oppa 95 has really got me thinking, it sounds like it does exactly what I want it to do, plus more.

 

Are there more systems similar to that of the Oppa 95?  I would like a bit more variety and choices.  Thanks!
 

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by esn89 View Post

Thanks for the input.  The Oppa 95 has really got me thinking, it sounds like it does exactly what I want it to do, plus more.

 

Are there more systems similar to that of the Oppa 95?  I would like a bit more variety and choices.  Thanks!
 


Yes there is, but with Oppo's endless R&D funding, licensing paid for, and the fact it's actually built for music you're not going to find anything better south of $5k. I think there has also been rebadged Oppo products that sell for 2x the price to accomodate the brand snobs too lol.

post #6 of 20

Another option is to buy a solid older CDP with a good transport (Rotel, Arcam, Rega, etc) and a good DAC with a decent complement of inputs. Then you've got all kinds of options, and you've not overspent on legacy tech.

 

best,

 

o
 

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by orkney View Post

Another option is to buy a solid older CDP with a good transport (Rotel, Arcam, Rega, etc) and a good DAC with a decent complement of inputs. Then you've got all kinds of options, and you've not overspent on legacy tech.

 

best,

 

o
 


Could you briefly explain what a "transport" in terms of a CD Player is? 

 

I think that if I were to buy the V200, CD Player AND a DAC, I would be very broke (unless I totally misinterpreted your meaning).

 

 

Also, I have been reading up on the Oppo 95's fan having noises.  Is that true?  Can it be confirmed?

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by esn89 View Post

Also, I have been reading up on the Oppo 95's fan having noises.  Is that true?  Can it be confirmed?

The fan is totally inaudible when playing music, obviously with headphones. The only time I hear my fan is if I deliberately put my head 6 inches right over it. Honestly, I don't know if those people have fan issues or are being totally unreasonable. That fan is silent as can be.

post #9 of 20

whoa,what a dilemma.  I would love to have your headphones and amp.  These components have excellent capabilities and to short change them with your source would be a disservice.  I assume you are running windows and that you are using a laptop with mostly Flac files.  First question is how do you get the audio from the laptop to the dac?  Second is what player are you going to be using to play the files?   And last are you going to be using the laptop to do other things while listening to music?

 

I have long ago made the switch from cd player as transport and dac to computer based music server.  I can tell you the sound improved immensely.  The music server must be dedicated while listening to music if you want it to sound the  best.  Here is an idea that is sort of a compromise  price wise but with very good sound.  Get a used desktop or laptop  and a Logitech Touch (I believe it plays flac and you can run it on Linux if you like as well as Win).  Use the dedicated computer as your music server and stream from it to the Touch.  Run the Touch into your amp and you are good to go.  No USB to spdif bridge to get the bits out of your laptop, no new dac (the Touch can compete with dacs up to $500).  No sound degradation from other processes running on the computer and a nice clean interface to choose your music.  And with wireless you can move the Touch to different rooms and hook it up to another system for a party in the living room let's say.  

 

And no creating cds for a cd player based setup.

 

Cost of used desktop w/ monitor or laptop is under $250.  Add in the Touch for another $200 and you are done.  

 

Thoughts?


Edited by bixby - 7/4/12 at 7:31am
post #10 of 20

I would go with the high end DAC.  Any CD's you have rip them to Flac and put the originals away.

post #11 of 20
Do you need a amp or dac if your using a iPad to listen to music. I mean does the quality increase, the volume is loud enough., and btw how loud is your music ?
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bixby View Post

whoa,what a dilemma.  I would love to have your headphones and amp.  These components have excellent capabilities and to short change them with your source would be a disservice.  I assume you are running windows and that you are using a laptop with mostly Flac files.  First question is how do you get the audio from the laptop to the dac?  Second is what player are you going to be using to play the files?   And last are you going to be using the laptop to do other things while listening to music?

 

I have long ago made the switch from cd player as transport and dac to computer based music server.  I can tell you the sound improved immensely.  The music server must be dedicated while listening to music if you want it to sound the  best.  Here is an idea that is sort of a compromise  price wise but with very good sound.  Get a used desktop or laptop  and a Logitech Touch (I believe it plays flac and you can run it on Linux if you like as well as Win).  Use the dedicated computer as your music server and stream from it to the Touch.  Run the Touch into your amp and you are good to go.  No USB to spdif bridge to get the bits out of your laptop, no new dac (the Touch can compete with dacs up to $500).  No sound degradation from other processes running on the computer and a nice clean interface to choose your music.  And with wireless you can move the Touch to different rooms and hook it up to another system for a party in the living room let's say.  

 

And no creating cds for a cd player based setup.

 

Cost of used desktop w/ monitor or laptop is under $250.  Add in the Touch for another $200 and you are done.  

 

Thoughts?

 

 

Hahaha, thanks.  : )  The RS1-i HPs are wonderful.  Though I am lacking the amp department, you probably wouldn't want that :P

 

Your post really convinced me to move away from physical media, talk about clutter!

 

You are absolutely correct, I am running Windows and Linux (Fedora) on the side.  And yes, I am mostly playing FLAC files for music I care about, which are symphonies, and rock.  The cheesy electronica music I leave it as either v0 or 320. 

 

The way I get audio from laptop to dac is via a USB cable.  And that goes into my Pico USB DAC/AMP (can be seen here:  http://www.headamp.com/pico/pico_dac_amp/index.htm).

The player I am planning on using, is, well Foobar for Windows and DeafBeef for Linux IF and ONLY IF I plan on sticking to the computer audio route.

Most of the time when I'm on my laptop, I read, I surf the web, study and code.  I always listen to music when I do those things. 

 

Lately I have found myself wanting to listen to music while reading a book or just looking out the window.  I don't want to turn on my laptop just for that as it gets quite hot.

 

Regarding your idea about the Logitech Touch: 

 

I have read up on that product today (in class, hahaha I am a bad student...but..the power of head-fi is too appealing).  I saw what I liked.  I really did.  It had what I want, and that is, a touch interface, SD Card Input, USB Input, can talk to my desktop at home and the fact that I don't have to turn on my laptops! 

 

The only thing I am worried about is the DAC on that little device.  I do understand that you said it can kick it with the big-boy DACs up to $500.  But because it isn't dedicated, I am still a bit weary that it may be missing something. 

 

So my fix is that, since I saw that it has a digital output, via TOSLINK or digital COAX, does it have USB out?  (So I can throw more money at a dedicated DAC?)  And is it bit-perfect?

 

Right now, it feels that I am paying for a hard drive with a touch interface with digital output.  Isn't it just like my Cowon J3 without the digital out?  And wouldn't I save myself more money if I plugged my J3 into the v200?

 

Please help me out : (

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

I would go with the high end DAC.  Any CD's you have rip them to Flac and put the originals away.

 

So, stick with computer audio?

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winterpeas View Post

Do you need a amp or dac if your using a iPad to listen to music. I mean does the quality increase, the volume is loud enough., and btw how loud is your music ?

 

I am not using an iPad.  Just a laptop that holds all my FLAC.

My music is never loud, it is at a normal, conversation-level volume.  Because of this hobby, I never ever want to damage my hearing.

post #15 of 20

A transport just spins the CD- no digital to audio converter.  In the old days, a dedicated transport hooked up to an outboard DAC was the hot way to go.

 

With the Oppo stuff, Audio Adviser sells some modified / upgraded Oppo players.  Usually the upgrades are on the sound quality side of things, as the video from those players is already super impressive. 

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