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CD Player with good headphone out for HD600? - Page 2

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

In technical terms a CDP or a DAC with a circuit design like what you will find in a CDP will be better, at least in terms of parts count, where you will probably find one DAC for each channel and an output stage using discrete components (if you can even find one other than Schiit's at that price point) or more complex HDAMs like on Marantz CDPs or AudioGD DACs. For the most part though what you will likely notice immediately is that the output is louder thanks to the full 2volt output that is usually expected from such DACs and of course CDPs (owing to Sony's redbook standard), but unless the amp's gain or output power is too low or gets higher THD too soon, the amp should be able to compensate properly just by adjusting the volume level. Chances are you would need to be using a really badly designed amp to have any issues with a generally properly-designed battery-powered 1.2v lineout vs a 2v lineout.

If anything, if the output stage was designed to color the sound (whether the X3 or the DAC/CDP you might be comparing it to), then whichever one produces the sound you prefer which may not necessarily be the more neutral one, as I've noticed with many people on "audiophile" forums ( for example - like switching out opamps to get close to what they know a tube amp sounds) will sound "better" to you.

Your explanation is awesome man! I think I know what I want now.

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking of settling on the Marantz CD6003 which I've found at half it's retail price. It's a good CDP with a good headphone out I take it?

 

I have listened to music through high-end studio equipment but never owned a dedicated amp/dac or a quality CDP. I'm still yet to be woo'd by a setup like those I've heard in listening booths at record stores run by Sony. They've long shut down now though and I can never seem to find out what was under the hood of those booths. Even the headphones were custom looking. If I could replicate their setup, I would stretch my budget as far as it goes. When I auditioned CD's through those headphones, even with the background noise the experience was so immersing. The headphones almost blew air out with the music similar to quality monitor speakers. I think I'm riding off topic here now though but maybe somebody somewhere may have a clue what I'm talking about :)

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by allets View Post
 

I'm thinking of settling on the Marantz CD6003 which I've found at half it's retail price. It's a good CDP with a good headphone out I take it?

 

As per my previous posts, just be prepared to risk obsolescence coming it sooner. While some people have CDPs that last nearly a decade, if not more, with CDPs you never really know. The transport can die on you, and if you don't know how to fix it or you don't have a local shop that can repair out of warranty CDPs, that means paying to ship it out to someone who can repair them, and that won't be cheap. If it's a $1,500+ CDP, and you're the kind who can afford a $1,500+ CDP, you either live in an area with a local store that has a tech who can diagnose it, or $70 for shipping that big and bulky unit wouldn't really dent your wallet, especially when you compare that to how much you paid for the CDP. However if it's for example a $350 CDP that $70 might cost a lot more for you, and then you spend $100+ on the repairs just because you can't find anything for the same price you bought it for.

 

It's not a guarantee that it will fail before you've made the most out of that $250 and probably at that point are already itching to upgrade (which depends on your assessment anyway), but at least be aware of this instead of getting a bad surprise later. Just to summarize my luck with CDPs to illustrate how someone can be so out of luck with optical drives, I've had a Marantz CD60 that perpetually broke its gear tray (and I couldn't open the tray to get to the disc) then in 2010 just plain stopped reading CD-R's, and also can't read newer discs with PC content on them for some reason (maybe it's in the first part of the disc, then it doesn't check beyond it?); then a Sony SCD-595 that stopped reading SACDs (which was what I bought it for, despite having the Marantz); and then there was that worldwide recall of NAD C520's with bad transports that the local distributor tried to weasle out of (if not profit from selling us new transports, or new CDPs). Oh and then there's that Alpine receiver I had where the panel wouldn't move and I had to listen to the same disc for a month until I got it to the repair shop, plus that Pioneer CDP where my Def Leppard CD inexplicably shattered inside it.

 

Basically what I'm getting at is why not just get a DAC with a headphone amp? Provided you choose the right products (including what headphone they can drive) they will have the same dynamic range and response as a CD, right down to most albums ripped to 320kbps VBR.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allets View Post

 

I have listened to music through high-end studio equipment but never owned a dedicated amp/dac or a quality CDP. I'm still yet to be woo'd by a setup like those I've heard in listening booths at record stores run by Sony. They've long shut down now though and I can never seem to find out what was under the hood of those booths. Even the headphones were custom looking. If I could replicate their setup, I would stretch my budget as far as it goes. When I auditioned CD's through those headphones, even with the background noise the experience was so immersing. The headphones almost blew air out with the music similar to quality monitor speakers. I think I'm riding off topic here now though but maybe somebody somewhere may have a clue what I'm talking about :)

 

 

In some stores those demo CDPs are by Nakamichi, but if they're owned by Sony, they might be their older CDPs that had decent headphone outputs (comparable to the Marantz CD60 I had), but packaged in a hassis similar to the Nakamichis that would make them more useful and more aesthetically pleasing in a CD store.

 

Personally a Meier or Schiit amp for example with a proper DAC/CDP and the right headphones still sound much better than those. The treble seems more open on those demo CDPs but after about six songs I already feel some fatigue in my ear drums; not that you're supposed to smooth out the music too much like how people like their tube amps, but at the very least fatigue should set in well after 70mins (or one full CD). 

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

ProtegeManiac, thank you for such a detailed and informational reply. To be honest, CD players breaking down has been part of the charm but definitely expensive and hassle to repair nowadays.  The issue now is which DAC/CDP combo to go with. Space is a bit of an issue in my room. You mentioned Meier which I assume is the 'Audio Corda Cantate.2' you have listed? They seem to be scratched out everywhere. Which Schiit amp were you suggesting? My listening pleasure will be 90% CDs but I do plan to take the step into vinyl in future.

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by allets View Post
 

ProtegeManiac, thank you for such a detailed and informational reply. To be honest, CD players breaking down has been part of the charm but definitely expensive and hassle to repair nowadays.  The issue now is which DAC/CDP combo to go with. Space is a bit of an issue in my room. You mentioned Meier which I assume is the 'Audio Corda Cantate.2' you have listed? They seem to be scratched out everywhere. Which Schiit amp were you suggesting? My listening pleasure will be 90% CDs but I do plan to take the step into vinyl in future.

 

The Cantate has been out of production for a while now. in fact it already was when I got mine. I got lucky enough to listen to one, then a year later another one came up here on Head-Fi. I think there are only two units in this country, plus a black Symphony that I saw posted in a local HT forum (and a lot of the smaller amps). I did however use Meier as an example as I also liked every other product of theirs that I got to try out, like the Stepdance, the Headfive, and the second iteration of the portable amp that had a USB DAC in it (forgot what it's called, sorry). Based on these products plus reviews on the newer ones (that seem consistent with the older products, but improved), I wouldn't mind buying "deaf" (normally "blind," but since it's audio...) if it's the Meier Corda Jazz for example, or even the Classic (however i really do not see myself replacing the Cantate.2). As for Schiit, I liked the Asgard with the HD600. The Cantate seems to have a blacker background but it's not something you would notice easily and for less than half its SRP the Asgard/Asgard2 is a great deal. I have not listened to the other Schiit amps aside from the Mjolnir, which personally is for the most part good but overkill for my needs (especially the size).

 

You should also check out AudioGD, they also make solid performing products. I've only listened to the NFB-16 and NFB-12 though so I can't elaborate on the other products, but I liked the NFB-12 which was closer to neutral; the 16 was a little bit warm for me. Not sure if these work with Android devices though, in case you were considering a compact set-up like what I posted in the first page.

When you step into vinyl I assume you'll keep the digital source, so what will drive your purchase should be having the appropriate inputs. You'll need at least one analog input for the vinyl with one digital input (if it has a DAC built-in), or two analog inputs (if it's a pure amp, no DAC built-in), problem is that most of the lower priced amps usually have just one analog input and maybe a USB input. The lower-end AudioGD DAC+HPamps, despite their solid amps, were really designed more as DACs, and have no analog inputs (but they have a host of inputs and outputs for the DAC and even the preamp).

 

At this point the cheapest I think would be the Matrix Mini-i with the USB amp at around $299; that gives you USB input for use with digital audio from some kind of computer, plus I think an analog input; the non-USB version I think has two sets of analog inputs. There's also a Shanling DAC-HPamp that has analog inputs, plus all sorts of digital inputs including an iDevice USB-A (regular data cable input) and another USB input (for PCs, IIRC it works with some Androids when you use a proper OTG adapter), but I have not had the chance to listen to it. They are the subcontractors for mass manufacturing Meier gear, but the topology on the Shanling is very different.

post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

This is troubling. All the loved DAC/AMPs I've come across that are also well priced end up lacking inputs for CD players. Also I can't find any 'compact' CD players with coax/opt output. I simply have no room for those wide dvd/blu-ray players. It needs to be desktop friendly. DAC/AMP-wise I'm now eye'ing Yulong D200 and trying to figure out if it's for me ;)

 

Edit: ProtegeManiac, I didn't see your new reply before. Taking a looking at the latter you mentioned now. Schiit I think is out of question due to lack of inputs. Cheers


Edited by allets - 6/18/14 at 9:02pm
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by allets View Post
 

Also I can't find any 'compact' CD players with coax/opt output. 

 

1. Shanling Tempo

 

2. Pro-Ject CD Box S

 

3. Little Dot CDP II

 

4. Musical Fidelity M1CDT

 

5. Bel Canto CD2

 

Here's a similar Shanling with the matched headphone amplifier stacked on a desk:


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 6/18/14 at 9:53pm
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 

Information overload ;). Hopelessly and utterly confused. Hearing = Audiophile. Technology knowledge and attention span = Average Consumer :)

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by allets View Post
 

Information overload ;). Hopelessly and utterly confused. Hearing = Audiophile. Technology knowledge and attention span = Average Consumer :)

 

Among those I've listed I'm most likely to go with the Pro-Ject - slot loading CDP, very compact, no gimmick DAC circuit. Then either Shanling since they're about $100 cheaper than the Pro-Ject and Little Dot. If money's no object, well, the Musical Fidelity (M1CDT+M1DAC) and Bel Canto are great options.

post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm about to pull the trigger on Maverick Audio D1 DAC Plus (With the Tube and OPamp upgrade) as the DAC/Headphone Amplifier and Little Dot CDP_II as the CD Transport player for US $650 total. Somebody please tell me not to buy these if you can and reasons why not :)

post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

Among those I've listed I'm most likely to go with the Pro-Ject - slot loading CDP, very compact, no gimmick DAC circuit. Then either Shanling since they're about $100 cheaper than the Pro-Ject and Little Dot. If money's no object, well, the Musical Fidelity (M1CDT+M1DAC) and Bel Canto are great options.

No Headphone Output on M1CDT+M1DAC? That's a deal breaker. Also, I'm looking for something through eBay and hoping to make the decision by today as there is a 15% off deal on eBay Australia until tonight. Another thing is, I'd love to avoid anything from China if possible. Bad experiences in the past and the reason I'm overlooking all the aforementioned dac/amps including the CD6003. 

post #27 of 29

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by allets View Post
 

No Headphone Output on M1CDT+M1DAC? That's a deal breaker. 

 

Then get the M1CDT with a DAC-HPAmp like the AudioGD NFB-11.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by allets View Post
 

Also, I'm looking for something through eBay and hoping to make the decision by today as there is a 15% off deal on eBay Australia until tonight. 

 

Well, did you search for the transports on that list on eBay Australia?

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by allets View Post
 

Another thing is, I'd love to avoid anything from China if possible. Bad experiences in the past and the reason I'm overlooking all the aforementioned dac/amps including the CD6003

 

I can't think of anything that isn't made in China these days. British brands, even Musical Fidelity, have a factory in China; Meier Audio designs everything in Germany but the manufacturing is handled by Shanling in China (Cayin also has a similar business model), and lots of high-end audio brands like Aurum Cantus are Chinese companies. Check with Bel Canto where their factory is, but I wouldn't get my hopes up considering even high-end brands use Chinese factories.

 

The only CD transport I can think of that might not be made in China, and possibly still made in Japan, is this CEC, but...well, it's a lot larger than what you need:

 

I'm sure there are others but until Bel Canto checks out that CEC's probably still going to be the cheapest. AFAIK it's over $4,000.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 6/21/14 at 11:22pm
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 

I ended up just stepping up the budget and getting the latest Marantz CD6005. The dac/amp/cd research and options were giving me a headache. Now, out of the box this thing is really great! I now know what soundstage is. I don't remember the HD600 being this good! Too bad CD's seem to be going obsolete, this is some unit. Cheers!

post #29 of 29
Congrats. Glad you are enjoying the Marantz. Time to order some CDs!
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