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Source Upgrade -- I'm ready (up to $2500) - Page 3

post #31 of 66

.

wadia 830.

and keep the change.

or bel canto DAC2 plus good transport.
post #32 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanahachi
wow, thanks guys. i guess i have even more homework now.

I hope I can find somewhere in southern Calif. to audition some of these suggestions.
Post in the meeting forum or the off topic member forum. Some guys may offer you some help. There are some very nice Head-fier down at Socal.
post #33 of 66
Go Meridian 588.24

Nuff said
post #34 of 66

Try Benchmark DAC1

How about Benchmark DAC1?

My CD playback used to be a Sony DVD-NS900V SACD/DVD player. Its MSRP was $1000 when it first appeared. Many audio press said it is quite decent for CD and SACD playback. I just got Benchmark DAC1 for two weeks. It is obviously better than my Sony's DAC for CDs. I have never owned a $1000+ CD player, but I assume SACD being played on my Sony can match CD being played on $3-5k players. Using hybrid SACD discs, I can confidently say CD through DAC1 is as good as SACD through Sony. DAC1 gives better imaging, resolution and maybe bass. But SACD sounds smoother with violins and other high frequency stuff. The enjoyability is about the same, becuae CDs no longer sound cold or over-analytical through DAC1 .

Benchmark's website lists user feedbacks from mastering engineers. It is amazing to see so many famous engineers (Doug Sax, Bob Katz, etc.) speaking so highly of this DAC. According to independent lab measurements, DAC1 is completely immune to interface jitter so there is no need to invest on expensive transports and digital cables. A $200 DVD palyer should be good enough. DAC1 is just below $1000, and it will continue to operate after the transport dies. Its headphone amp section is also quite good. I never had a dedicated headphone amp before so I can't make direct comparisons. Using AKG K501, a superb violin CD recording actually sounds like a real (but not great) violin. I think this is an indication that the amp section is of high quality .
post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferbose
I have never owned a $1000+ CD player, but I assume SACD being played on my Sony can match CD being played on $3-5k players.
I hate to be rude, but why are you posting? Assumption is what causes hype...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferbose
Its headphone amp section is also quite good. I never had a dedicated headphone amp before so I can't make direct comparisons
There ya go again... making assumptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferbose
Using AKG K501, a superb violin CD recording actually sounds like a real (but not great) violin. I think this is an indication that the amp section is of high quality .
No, this is an indication that the DAC section is of good quality....
post #36 of 66
Sorry to chop down your first post... don't take it personally. Just stick to what you hear and not what others hear or claim to hear...
post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregeas
I second the Arcam CD33T rec. I've paired this player with a Singlepower MPX3 amp and HD650s... The result is fairly amazing (the new Wilco album was made for this setup). See the latest issue of Stereophile for a rave review of the CD33T (not that I put much credence into these magazine reviews).

I have a tough time imagining a much better sound; at a certain level it's all about personal taste. I do wonder what the Meridian players would sound like in my setup.

GE
I third the Arcam CD33T. I run HD650s from a CD33T via the full monty PPA and the detail is just amazing. I'd love to compare this player with the Meridians and hope to at a meet some time.
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hankins
The Sony 9000ES dvd-sacd-cd and 999ES player that go used for about $5-6 hundred with the Modwright.com ultimate truth tube mods (another $1300.00) are supposed to be even better. If I was going to spend in the $2K range for a CDP some kind of modified sony or denon would be in my furture.
If I was starting over fresh for 2K or less I believe I would get a Modwright 999ES Audio Truth Mod.......have not heard one in person, but reviews like this make it tempting:

Modwright 999ES

It is a hassle to buy stock unit and send away then wait for modded unit to return, but results appear to be stellar and cost effective.
post #39 of 66
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas everyone.

At this point, the main contenders are:

* Meridian 588
* Meridian 508.x

* Cary 303/x00
* Cary 306/x00


I have found a 588, 303/200, and 306/100 all at about $2000. Right now, I am truly stuck trying to decide between the Meridian 588 and the Cary 306/100.

Sooooooo many good things have been said about the 588, especially from people whose opinions I respect, but I have no real experience with the player myself. I loved the Cary 306/200 that I listened to just a few weeks ago, and after talking to the people at Cary, the 306/100 is pretty much the same as the 200, except for some minor changes (upsampling to 192, not just 96 with the 306/100), newer HDCD chip, etc)

So, what can i say, I can't decide. I'm terrible when it comes down to making a choice btwn 2 contenders, and I know that I probably can't go wrong either way. The Meridian is a safer bet (it's newer, has a warranty, etc), whereas the Cary is older (<3yrs) but built like a brickhouse.

Any further thoughts would really help. Cary owners, speak up!!
post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanahachi
So, what can i say, I can't decide.
You can always keep your money and save up for a nice car
post #41 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanahachi
Any further thoughts would really help. Cary owners, speak up!!
That is a toughie but it's so subjective that you are the only person who can make the decision. I would suggest doing whatever it takes to get to hear the Meridian and Cary players so you'll feel good about your decision.
post #42 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanahachi
Thanks for the ideas everyone.

At this point, the main contenders are:

* Meridian 588
* Meridian 508.x

* Cary 303/x00
* Cary 306/x00


I have found a 588, 303/200, and 306/100 all at about $2000. Right now, I am truly stuck trying to decide between the Meridian 588 and the Cary 306/100.

Sooooooo many good things have been said about the 588, especially from people whose opinions I respect, but I have no real experience with the player myself. I loved the Cary 306/200 that I listened to just a few weeks ago, and after talking to the people at Cary, the 306/100 is pretty much the same as the 200, except for some minor changes (upsampling to 192, not just 96 with the 306/100), newer HDCD chip, etc)

So, what can i say, I can't decide. I'm terrible when it comes down to making a choice btwn 2 contenders, and I know that I probably can't go wrong either way. The Meridian is a safer bet (it's newer, has a warranty, etc), whereas the Cary is older (<3yrs) but built like a brickhouse.

Any further thoughts would really help. Cary owners, speak up!!
This is only my opinion. I have a Meridian 508.24, and a Cary 306/200. I use the Cary in the upsampled 24/192 mode all the time. it is a much nicer player than the 508.24. Better detail, more bass, and a more even balanced and smoother presentation. Through speaker systems they are closer than than through headphones. next to the Cary it just is not in the same league IMO.
post #43 of 66
OK, I am a newbie on this forum and I do not own a lot of audio equipment in my own home to do side-by-side comparison. But I try to be honest about what I say. I don't know why I am getting this kind of feedback after just my first post.

Time and time again I have seen audio reviewers and home users say playing SACD on a cheaper player gives obvious sonic improvements that can only be matched if the CD layer of the hybrid disc is played on a several-times more expensive CD player. This is why so many audiophiles think favorably of these hi-rez formats, isn't it? My Sony DVP-NS900V is already a mid-level SACD player, and has won some praise for its sonic performance. I have not had a chance to get a $3k CD player to do an A/B test yet. But I don't think it is ridiculous to "assume" that my Sony can sound like a $3K CDP when playing SACD. As a person going through scientific training, I know there are assumptions and experimentally verified facts. It is so hard to do a 100% rigorous A/B blind test on audio equipment to experimentally verify the things we think we hear. Therefore most of the opinions we express are actually assumptions. As long as the assumptions are stated in a honest way, which I am trying to do, I don't think they should be classified as "hype." Audio hype is created, in my opinion, when assumptions are being forcefully presented as facts. I have heard some expensive CD players before, and based on this experience I am inclined to say SACD played on my Sony sounds like a reference-quality CD player. That Benchmark DAC1's CD playback matches my Sony's SACD playback is no small feat.

I used to play the violin for a number of years as a child. I go to a lot of classical music concerts. I echo the opinion of many audiophiles that it is very hard to make a violin sound like a violin on a hi-end audio system. When I was at a hi-end show, not even the most expensive systems playing CDs made me feel I am hearing a real violin. That is when I realized why CDs are considered technically insufficient for hardcore audiophiles. Using AKG K501 and the headphone jack on Benchmark DAC1, there is one CD in my entire collection that makes a violin sound like a violin to my ears. This is of course an indication that the DAC section is very good. But, the headphone amp section is also good enough to keep the violin sound like a violin, and I don't feel awkward calling the amp section high quality. I have heard good DIY tube headphone amps and lower-level Stax systems, so I have experienced how a high-quality headphone amp can make headphones sing. The Benchmark DAC1 headphone amp is very transparent driving AKG K501, in reference to live music I hear so often. Oh, I can't drag the concert to my room and do an A/B test with my K501. I guess I have say this comparison is an "assumption" as well. Compared to the Stax system I recently heard, a little more detail would be nice. But I am not sure whether K501 can ever offer the details of an electrostatic system, regardless of how good the amp is.
post #44 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hankins
This is only my opinion. I have a Meridian 508.24, and a Cary 306/200. I use the Cary in the upsampled 24/192 mode all the time. it is a much nicer player than the 508.24. Better detail, more bass, and a more even balanced and smoother presentation. Through speaker systems they are closer than than through headphones. next to the Cary it just is not in the same league IMO.
I am not surprised since the 508.24 came out around 1997-1998 and the Cary is a newer design. Also don't forget that the Cary 306 retails for $1,000 more than the Meridian X08.
post #45 of 66
Thread Starter 
gpalmer, youre absolutely right. well, i have my homework to do to try and find somewhere to demo these...If anyone can help, please let me know.

david, you dont want your 588 anymore, do you. you want a G08. yes, yes you do....sell me your 588....sell me your 588...

Canman, you know youre not making things any easier thanks for the PM.

Ferbose, I don't really understand what your post is doing in my thread. It seems like you meant to reply elsewhere. Either that, or i read too quickly. Anyway, stick around, dont get too discouraged by what others say. Everyone here is just spouting off their own opinion, and you and i arent any different.
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