On a budget $150-$200 what cd player would provide the highest quality audio? Thank you!
Any good entry level CD players?
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A used arcam cdp or dvd player would be another good option. The lower end models can often be found on craigslist or audiogon in that price range. They have excellent analog outs, as well as digital, so you can compare and contrast with your dac.
A couple of problems with paring the D1 with a CDP that you're just about to buy:
1) The amp on that is far from the last word among amps; it's a lot better for its DAC than its amp
2) If you use the D1's DAC, then you bought a whole CDP and won't use the DAC that came with it.
Why are you considering a CDP at this point? Using it as a transport has only one advantage over a computer - a CDP starts up faster. And apart from having a tube in the signal path the amp on the Onkyo CDP (or a Marantz) would likely not be too far off the performance of the D1's amp.
If you don't have a computer I'd say get the Onkyo, then try its headphone driver. If it does well enough, you can just use the D1 with whatever computer you have so you can listen while working (I assume you do have a computer with music on it since you have an iPod). Or perhaps even sell the D1 and put the cash towards an amp with more, and cleaner, power; and also more transparent. No need to rush, best to stew in upgrade plans than buy and sell and buy again in quick succession.
I'd suggest a good transport, however the price of the Onkyo for a player with analog outputs is hard to ignore, given transports or even just small-chassis CDPs tend to be more expensive. The Little Dot transport and ProJect CDP are both over $300.
Edited by ProtegeManiac - 12/7/12 at 8:42pm
Transport can be any of the following:
1) The mechanical system that spins and reads the disc in an optical disc player
2) Generally, any system that can read and play digital media then send out a digital stream to another device that will decode it, like the following:
i. Traditionally, a dedicated CD transport like this Little Dot or this Wadia looks like a regular CDPlayer, but actually lacks the DAC circuit inside. It just spins and reads the disc then streams the data through its digital SPDIF output into a separate DAC like your Maverick D1. When you get a traditional CDPlayer and use the digital output, you're essentially using it as a transport, regardless of the fact that it has a DAC circuit in it. In the same sense, when you hook up a BluRay player to an HDMI1.3 and up receiver, it's only a transport since audio and video get sent to your surround processor/receiver, and the BluRay player just spins and reads the disc.
ii. In more general terms nowadays, a transport is any device that can perform the same functions - 1) playing digital music (not necessarily off an optical disc) then 2) sending out a digital stream to a DAC. A desktop or notebook computer can be a transport when you use for example Foobar and send out a digital signal via USB or SPDIF if your soundcard has it (some laptops have a combo earphone-optical SPDIF output). Some products like this Wadia allowed for iPods to serve as a storage and media player, essentially if it was a full-size computer, that Wadia would be the upgraded soundcard. More advanced devices can mimic the full-size/laptop computer - for example an iPad or a comparable Android tablet or even smartphone can be a digital transport too. Then there are music servers now that use mass storage (like HDDs or flash memory) that can play music. Some are essentially like a CDPlayer with some added functions, like this Musical Fidelity, which can be used as a transport since it has SPDIF output; except instead of an optical disc transport (see #1 above) it has connectivity options to other storage devices/media. Others are more like pure transports that do not have their own DAC circuit, only SPDIF output; saw one on eBay before but I can't recall the manufacturer.
You already have the D1 right? Here's something to consider - the jitter (timing errors in transmitting digital signals, since they travel in analog) of a computer via USB might not be that much higher than a CDPlayer, so if you use the Onkyo to feed a digital signal to the D1, the only possible benefit is it starts faster and you won't need to configure your OS on what sound gets to the DAC (for example, you might hear the pinging sound when there's an alert pop-up). If you really just prefer swapping discs rather than waiting for a computer to boot up, you might as well buy a $60 DVD or Bluray player. Given you won't be using speakers that send soundwaves everywhere, the less beefy build on those DVDplayers are less likely to be an issue, much less with the chassis adding to jitter.
If you use the D1 purely as a headphone amplifier, then it might sound a bit different from, say, that Onkyo CD Player since they both have different circuits. However assuming neither is really flawed (unless they're flawed in the same ways) you probably won't hear too much of a difference.
If you mean using your headphones with the D1 vs the headphone amp built into the CDPlayer, it will be hard to tell for sure. Off the bat however here are a few considerations:
1) the D1 amp is more powerful; I can't remember the exact specs but I think it can do over 1watt per channel, just don't remember the impedance.
2) Do your headphones need that much power, or current? If not and the headphone amp on the Onkyo at your comfortable listening level has comparable noise levels with the D1's amp, then you won't hear the difference unless you crank it up. Or you present both with a complex load (low nominal impedance but swings wildly up and down) the D1 is very likely to have a lot more current.
I prefer more focused music players too, but I got an iPad as a gift and aside from the limited 32gb of storage it makes a very convenient transport. It has a large enough screen that shows album cover, current track title, convenient browsing through the library, consumes only about 5% to 10% of the battery for every album I play (I only charge it once a month; only non-music thing I do on it is I have my magazine subscriptions on it now), etc. However if I didn't get that gift, what I was planning to do was use the USB input for my notebook computer, then the analog input for a CDPlayer. Heck, I still buy CDs (I archive music CDs but now I just use Steam for game downloads and Cloud back ups), so either way I might still get one if there's a great deal on something like a well-used but great condition Cayin CDT23; at least that way the quality would be far beyond that of the USB DAC in my amp.
If however I'm in your situation with a D1 and the need for a more focused player, specifically a CDPlayer, I'd say get the Onkyo since that's a great deal on it but I won't sweat too much about using it with the D1 or which one would be better. Unless they'd be on the same table and I can keep all cables in place, I'd rather not use them together. I'd keep the Onkyo in another area - the D1 has USB so it goes well with a computer, have the Onkyo CDP in a more focused room for listening, and probably not move the D1 there. IF it falls short on driving your headphones, you can just get a dedicated headphone amp to go with it - just make sure to invest on one with more power and less distortion and noise, with a beefy power supply design - this way you are more likely to get a lot more sound quality off your dedicated listening set-up.
Edited by chuckle490 - 12/8/12 at 9:57am
Wow! Thanks for all the info! First of all I do not have the D1, but I was planning on getting it soon. I'm getting a CD player just so it can read the disc, I will have it sending a signal to the D1 where I will listen to music from. Should I just get a blu-ray player if I am planning on using it for that purpose? Also I use the ultrasone pro 550 which has an impeadance of 64 ohms.
If you'll have both the optical disc player AND the D1 (or any other amp and DAC in one box) on the same area as the computer, yes just get a cheap BluRay player. All you'll need is to send a digital signal out to the D1 anyway.
BTW what iPod do you have? There's the Pure i20 dock that can decode the audio stored in your iPod at CDP-quality, plus SPDIF digital outputs. It's only $99 so you might want to consider this instead of the cheap video disc player. It should be as good as that, assuming you ripped your music to lossless; however for most cases 320kbps might be enough.
Lossless vs the CD through SPDIF I'd doubt if there would be any audible differences.
Yeah you can always return the DVD player or use it for video. Enjoy the music!