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Best Price/Performance CDP under $2500? - Page 3

post #31 of 102
There are a few people that have ordered the QDS-15 (OEM for nOrh CD-1) direct for $550. see harmonicdiscord thread.

Also, you can get mods done.

So if you really want the CD-1 you can have it ..... for $250 less!
post #32 of 102
IMO:

DAC technology evolves very fast these days. How long does a "new DAC" lasts when something new comes out again and again?

For 2500. A good transport with a DAC will be my choice. However, dedicate transports are all expensive. That makes the allocation of $$ on DAC becomes narrower.

So considering in a fundementally well build CD Player with a good transport and waiting for future technology to appear may sound best for today's DAC wars.

For example, TEAC has wonderful VRDS CD players. You may not appreciate the sound but there is no doubt about the quality of their transport.

You can always upgrade/change your DAC afterwards without wasting the transport, or, you may even prefer the TEAC sound.

Check out Europe and Japan Teac website for their VRDS cd players. Basically the difference between each CDP is the quality of the material used in trasnport mechanism (transport speaking), but the fundemental VRDS concept remain the same.
post #33 of 102
Thread Starter 
VRDS?
post #34 of 102
Well, just bought a heavily modified DIO myself. Let's see what all the hoopla is about.

post #35 of 102

great CDP

I use a California Audio Labs CL-15 and highly recommend it. It has the variable output voltage that can be used for volume control. I would also recommend that you contact Cal Audio and purchase the software to go with. With the software you can get in and play with the filtering, dither, output voltage, etc. They retail new for about $1600 and generally $800 - $900 used. With the extra money, I recommend buying some Straightwire Crescendo IC's and upgading power cables.

Cal Audio CL-15 > Cary Audio SLP-50b > MG Head > Beyerdynamic DT831's with Straightwire Crescendo IC's and Ensemble Mega Powerflux power cables
post #36 of 102
Quote:
Vertigo-1 said...

Well, just bought a heavily modified DIO myself. Let's see what all the hoopla is about.
Where'd you buy yours from? Coincidentally (?), I just bought a modded DI/O off Audiogon today.
post #37 of 102
Not only is the Sony 333ES not made any more, but the Dan Wright mod doesn't seem to be available to current owners of the 333 either. Sam Tellig at Stereophile likes the new Musical Fidelity DAC, but I haven't heard it myself. He also liked the 85 wpc integrated MF amp and I didn't, so I wouldn't get the DAC without a trial period.

I'm not convinced SACD is going to make it either, so I wouldn't be too worried about not getting a SACD machine. I have the 333 and it plays SACDs about 1% of the time. If SACD was a stock there would be a class action lawsuit against it for failure to make it successful. Adding insult to injury, not only are SACDs harder to get and much more expensive, but most are not compatible with regular CD players so you can't use them in the car or at a friends house. The technology is there and some titles have this compatiability, but most don't. Sony has everything to make it successful, but they're blowing it; the greedy bastards are getting what they deserve, but unfortunately hurting others more than themselves. Fortunately the 333 is very good with redbook cds.
post #38 of 102
I bought mine off Audiogon. The ad was this one:

http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...846&class&3&4&

Actually as it turns out, the seller actually has four of these for sale...which would explain things. If anybody wants a fully modified DIO that's ready to rock and roll without any of the usual DIO problems, his seems to be an awesome deal. He's got two more if anybody wants to jump on the DIO bandwagon.

BTW dhwilkin, what options did you ask for on yours? Did you include the A/D? Did you ask for the opamp to be socketed or soldered? I told him for get the A/D, and to solder the opamp, since I sure don't intend to screw around with it myself.
post #39 of 102
Quote:
I'm not convinced SACD is going to make it either, so I wouldn't be too worried about not getting a SACD machine. I have the 333 and it plays SACDs about 1% of the time. If SACD was a stock there would be a class action lawsuit against it for failure to make it successful. Adding insult to injury, not only are SACDs harder to get and much more expensive, but most are not compatible with regular CD players so you can't use them in the car or at a friends house. The technology is there and some titles have this compatiability, but most don't. Sony has everything to make it successful, but they're blowing it; the greedy bastards are getting what they deserve, but unfortunately hurting others more than themselves. Fortunately the 333 is very good with redbook cds.
From what I've read DVD-A, which has a much smaller marketing budget, fewer players available, fewer and more expensive titles, and a one year lag behind SACD is already (slightly) ahead of where the CD was when it was first introduced. Sony won't release SACD numbers but I have to believe they're ahead of DVD-A.

As for Sony not releasing dual-layer discs that will play on a standard CDP, I would guess that's a deliberate marketing ploy to force you to buy an SACD player. It's a little under-handed, but it's in the long-term interest of the format to get as many people as possible to buy SACd players, so I forgive them.

IMO, it's your civic duty as a music-lover and equipment freak to buy into the new formats. We ARE the early adopters for this sort of technology. IF they fail, we only have ourselves to blame.

You just can't wait until the rest of the world makes up its mind about the new formats.

markl
post #40 of 102
You can get a jolida JD-100 for around $900. Tubed-player. A guy from TNT-audio (a respectable review site) has some feedback and he loves it. He hasn't written the review yet but it's coming.
post #41 of 102
Quote:
IMO, it's your civic duty as a music-lover and equipment freak to buy into the new formats. We ARE the early adopters for this sort of technology. IF they fail, we only have ourselves to blame.
What??? To blame ourselves???
$20 for a new CD is already too expensive for me, and I'm buying $10 second hand CDs most of the time. I know SACDs are better, but it doesn't worth the price. How much money to manufacture a SACD? A few cents probably.

We consumers have been robbed for decades. And the new format obviously is MP3. Unless Sony dropped the SACD to a reasonable price, such as $5-10, there's no way they can win the battle over the MP3 format, which gives what consumers want. Too bad Sony didn't learn anything from the Beta Vs VHS battle.
post #42 of 102

Arcam FMJ 23 CD

I just spent three days living with and auditioning the Arcam FMJ in my #1 system and I can't say enough good things about the unit or the auditioning process. As it fits in your stated specifications ($2200MSRP/$1850Street and both short and compact), I believe I will rave on.

At this price level, you should be able to borrow a unit and try it out with your other stuff. The silver loaner Arcam FMJ 23 changed the whole character of my #1 system. Between solidstate electronics, silver interconnects, redrivered Frieds with higher tweeter SPL output, and BurrBrown DACs, my system is right in between bright and "crunchy". The Arcam made it considerably more musical and emotionally involving, greater clarity and detail of low level program material. Also less fatiguing. I usually read while listening to music in the evening, and I found (for a change) myself putting my book down more and more often to listen to the new found beauty in old musical friends. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but signal source components are of primary importance in system performance and are the easiest place to effect material system character changes. Try before you buy.

The Arcam's ring DAC is really amazing. After trying it with a bunch of well-recorded CDs of music I love from all genres, I went for the several mid 80s classical CDs I have with significant technical problems; they normally reproduce with rude and most unmusical electronic noises. The Arcam's DAC cleaned them all up! For Head-Fi-ers, the Arcam also has two (2) sets of analog line outputs allowing connection from the unit to both your speakers amp and your headphone amp directly and at all times. I should also mention this is an HDCD unit and makes use of Pacific Microsonics excellent filter for HDCD decoding and to make all redbook CDs shine their best. I should also mention that the Arcam is a unit generally held to make significant changes during the lengthy (300 hour) break-in period; my loaner had more than 300 hours on its clock (closer to 400 when it went back!). Design and build on the Arcam FMJ are definitely first-class (dare I say "Brit"?) and I felt a certain confidence that the quality here would reflect in durability down the road.

I felt very badly returning the Arcam FMJ loaner, but am in the process of voting with my own dollars for my own new black FMJ 23. While Stereophile carries the Arcam FMJ 23 as a "C" component, I think this is an advertising revenues issue (Arcam and their distributer can't spend enough and the "A" and "B" component manufacturers and their distributors spend a much greater aggregate amount). May also be a trace of price elitism; compared with the "A" components, the FMJ is a steal. With the number of reviewers who are actually buying the Arcam FMJ 23 for themselves, and the real value the unit represents in the marketplace, any rational audiophile has to question the "C" classification. As an aside, this is one of the first audio components I have purchased in the last 35 years that I do not see eventually upgrading from the getgo.

With SACD and DVD-A gaining no real world traction, and a wall full of redbook CDs, HDCDs, and high res CDs to enjoy for the foreseeable future, the Arcam FMJ gets my nod. Now if I can just make it through this trial separation . . .
post #43 of 102
Quote:
What??? To blame ourselves??? $20 for a new CD is already too expensive for me, and I'm buying $10 second hand CDs most of the time. I know SACDs are better, but it doesn't worth the price. How much money to manufacture a SACD? A few cents probably.
I agree. 80% of the CDs I buy are used.

SACD is new technology so prices are high. It's a "tax" on those of us who are willing to buy in at this early stage. All the CD manufacturing, mastering, packaging plants have to be upgraded to support SACD with all new equipment. They are doing this on spec and faith. The disc itself may be cheap, but that's the least of what is included in the asking price.

This is NEW NEW technology. I accept this and I knew what I was getting into when I bought in to both DVD-A and SACD.

markl
post #44 of 102
I agree with Old Pa. The FMJ CD23 is an excellent cd player. However, the differences are mainly comestic between the FMJ and the older Alpha 9 which has the same ring DAC but with a rather cheap look in terms of aesthetics. I had a most difficult time choosing between the Alpha 9 and CAL CL-15. Both were very detailed players much in the spirit of the solid state sound but the Arcam had the edge in terms of surgical precision and separation. The CAL was definitely more aggressive sounding and had better bass response and faster dynamics but not quite as precise(I'm splitting hairs here as differences between CDPs at this price range are hardly night & day). In the end it was a toss up and I chose the CL-15 due to better construction quality than the Alpha 9. Warm these players were not. They'd probably have A&M running scared with their detail and clinical accuracy
post #45 of 102


Vert, that's the very ad I got mine from! Spooky. What time did you contact him?

I told him to leave the ADC capability off, since I'd never use it. Also told him to solder the op-amps on, since as you said, I'm not going to mod the thing myself. I also asked him if he had an upgraded power supply for it, but he didn't, so I guess I'm going to try to buy one from Bolder Cables. Oh, and I also got the RCA analog output connections. I think he's a little sad that people don't seem to want the BNC connection.
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