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Are high price sources worth it?

post #1 of 275
Thread Starter 
Im really starting to wonder if high price sources are worth it. The average non audiophile consumer assumes that a cd player is a cd player and will sound the same regardless of price. I'm beginning to think they might be right. I have had most of my audiophile experience in high end home systems. Probably the most frustrating experience Ive had are with my sources. To start off I had about a $4500 system without a source. In the beggining I had a $80 sony dvp-ns325 dvd player as a source and I immediately wanted to upgrade. so next I added a $900 creek model, I couldn't have been more dissapointed. Well at first I thought wow this seems like a nice improvement, and then I A-B'd it with the sony. I could not tell which was which if I had my eyes closed. This made me frustrated so I got rid of the creek and decided to hook up a high quality dac, so I got the Northstar m192 which retails for around $1500, and I hooked it up to the sony. Once again I was happy at first until I a-b'd it with the sony by itself, I could hear virtually no difference. So I thought things would be much better with a good transport, so I bought a Conrad Johnson transport which retails for another $1500. I have to say that transports are more important than dacs, but everyone seems to focus on dacs. While i could notice an improvement over the sony it seemed like such a small difference. So my $80 sony was almost identical to the $3000 sophisticated transport dac combo, this was about the most frustrating experience i have ever had. Also to note I had very expensive high quality interconnects everywhere possible. Although the sony always had the 5 cent interconnects that came with it, and I still noticed little difference. Im starting to wonder if amps don't matter that much either, because of all this talk about t-amps and k1000's. So Im getting the k1000 t-amp combo and Im trying to decide what sort of source to use, I still have my sony and I may just keep it that way after all my experiences. Sorry for the long post, please comment on your experiences with sources.
post #2 of 275
i'm not experienced enough to give good advice. i'm about to be in the same boat as you are, except i'll be using my Pioneer DV-47 as a source. Whether or not the Pioneer will be a "good enough" source will be left up to what i listen to. you'll probably need to find some decent recordings of cds that'll take full advantage of the system you own. i plan on listening to much more classical with the system i will soon own.
post #3 of 275
You should make sure you are using CDs that are recorded to high standards, but other than that, I do agree with you to some extent. I used a $150 JVC vhs/dvd player combo thing before getting my azur 640c, and although the differences were noticeable, I was a bit let down by just how insignificant those differences were. Perhaps digital audio is easy to get the most out of?
post #4 of 275
High-end sources suck.

It reminds me of that Anti-Cocaine commercial from the 1980s with the slogan "The Big Lie"

I'm now in recovery.
post #5 of 275
I have had my SACDmods Denon 2900 for a little over a week now and I have a little over $1200 in it.Has it been worth it ? It has been worth it and more.I have been nothing but disgusted and frustated ever since the problematic compact disc format became available trying to get one to sound anywhere near as good as a modest turntable rig.I think now that I actually like the compact disc.This is very high praise from me.
post #6 of 275
I have three sources. They cost apporx. $4,000, $900, and $350, respectively. There is a noticeable difference between them, I think. While the $4.5K unit sounds best, I admit that the $350 unit also sounds great. But, I think that I'll spare myself the frustration of critically comparing their performance to each other. A little ignorance in this case may be best for my peace of mind.
post #7 of 275
If the Sony DVP-NS325 is anything resembling the NS725, then it's a very good CD player. Do a search here or at audioasylum.com for the NS725 and you will see that it was mentioned as a great bang-for-the-buck CD player. Since these Sony DVD players were always priced higher than the inexpensive Toshiba DVD players, the Sony players didn't get as much press. However, the Sony's are much better build and look a lot better as well.
post #8 of 275
I know that there are better players out there, but I think I'll stick with my Azur for quite a long time (even with future headphone upgrades). The redbook format is only worth so good a player imo...
post #9 of 275
A lot can come down to system synergy. Just because a player costs a lot doesn't mean it is necessarily better nor going to sound great with your system. Doing the research online and then longer-term in-home auditions are the best way. I was not able to do that with my player so I just researched and researched and auditioned in-store when I could.

I have found that high end players matter a whole lot, but I can't discount system synergy first and foremost.
post #10 of 275
It’s only worth it if You think so. I can’t tell You one way or another.

There is a huge difference in sources. The difference gets smaller as you move up the chain. Is it worth it? You decide.

I have.


Mitch
post #11 of 275
Hmm interesting question. I suppose how far you will go to get the best posiible sound. But then the law of diminishing returns applies. As for me I will say yes. But not to the extent where my ML combo is X many times better than my tri-vista or DCS combo, The ML is best for ME, It has warmth and more and conveys the emotion of the music. Whereas the DCS is analytical and reproduces the music exactly. I always prefer equipment which is warm and musical than analytical and possess outright detail.

If you feel that they are not worth it, no matter how good a source you hear they will never be worth it to you. You could apply the same theory to headphones and whatlike. Is the Qualia, Omega 2's, Orpheus, R-10's better than the RS-1's or whatever headphone you posess. It depends on the person. A lot of it has to do with cost V performance (over your old phones)
post #12 of 275
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geise
You should make sure you are using CDs that are recorded to high standards
I made sure to have an assortment of discs, and got some that were of the highest standards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy
If the Sony DVP-NS325 is anything resembling the NS725, then it's a very good CD player
Yeah I wonder if the 325 was just a really good cheap player, I really haven't tried other cheap players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stryker
High-end sources suck.
IMO I think that the law of diminishing returns really applies. I don't think people use this term correctly, because if they are like me they think "ok I'll pay 5x the price and get 2x the performance. Which a 2x increase would really be worth it. IME and IMO its more like 37.5x the price and get a 10% increase in performance that is real diminishing returns, lol.
post #13 of 275
Wow, interesting thread! I agree with Zanth about the synergy aspect. My modded MH cd25 is clearly superior to my Sony sacd and JVC dvd-a(using cd) players in detail and smoothness through headphones, but when listening through my loudspeakers I was a little disappointed when it's smoothness turned into dullness.

The brighter, edgy sound from the cheaper players actually came out with a more pleasing sound, albeit with less resolution. I ended up putting the Sony with the speaker setup and the MH with the 'phones.

I certainly don't regret buying the Music Hall, but I would have if I hadn't heard it with headphones.

Too bad I don't have $$$$ to cycle through all the equipment I would like just to find the right combination.
post #14 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnysize
I made sure to have an assortment of discs, and got some that were of the highest standards.



Yeah I wonder if the 325 was just a really good cheap player, I really haven't tried other cheap players.



IMO I think that the law of diminishing returns really applies. I don't think people use this term correctly, because if they are like me they think "ok I'll pay 5x the price and get 2x the performance. Which a 2x increase would really be worth it. IME and IMO its more like 37.5x the price and get a 10% increase in performance that is real diminishing returns, lol.

The mistake you are making is that you cannot stop seeing it as a cost percentage V Performance percentage. You would need to be naive to think that a cd player costing 10 times as much your existing one will bring in 10 times the performace. It is not even double. Who's to say there isn't a cheap sony cd transport and dac in my ML combo?
post #15 of 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnysize
IMO I think that the law of diminishing returns really applies. I don't think people use this term correctly, because if they are like me they think "ok I'll pay 5x the price and get 2x the performance. Which a 2x increase would really be worth it. IME and IMO its more like 37.5x the price and get a 10% increase in performance that is real diminishing returns, lol.
I couldn't agree more...the law of diminishing returns occurs more in audio than any other area I've found.

I would suggest not upgrading unless you have a specific sonic "problem" you're trying to cure. Like, "my system is too bright" or "I want something with more toe-tapping rhythmic vitality." If it ain't broke, don't spend $3000 to fix it.
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