CD Players.. Cary, Wadia or something else?
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Nezer

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I've decide that redbook is here to stay...

With that in-mind I am looking for a source that does some magic to the high-frequencies. I *clearly* notice on some vocals this god-awful nasty distortion above the vocals. It sounds like fignernails on a chalkboard to me.

Currently the best test I can recommend to see what I'm talking about is "Soon Forgot" from Pearl Jam's Binaural. Listen just above Ed's vocal and you should hear what I'm talking about. If I had to guess I'd say it's happening somewhere around the 12-15k range.

SO... I'm looking for a source that will clean that **** up there up and give me a very smooth presentation up there and maintain detail below.

My local hi-fi audiophile shop carries NAD, Classe, and Wadia. I could go in when I have the cash to buy and compare these but I'm also intrested in the Cary 303/200 or maybe the 306 which they do NOT carry.


With that in-mind does anyone hear what I hear and can recommend something to smooth that crap out?

I have a Meier Analoguer and while it does help, it' doesn't rid the problem and it takes some of the 'sparkle' off the high-end. Jan claims the effect is subtle but to my ears it's anything but! I can hear each step on the Analoguer quite clearly. I tend to either leave it in bypass or crank it depending on whether or not I hear this effect.

Some vocals are worse than others. For example, Mark Knopfler is fine but the effect is all over Sting. Natalie Merchant is another offender (but not too bad on Ophelia due to her soft voice on that album). Ed Vedder can be but usually the music is so busy that I'm not usually bothered by it.

I've considered vinyl but I can't deal with the crackles and pops at all as they are WAY more distracting. Besides, vinyl is hard to come by as is most of my catalog on SACD. SACD would prolly be ideal but it isn't gonna happen anytime soon if ever.

Let's face it, it's the Brittney Spears that keeps the industry running and I *seriously* doubt anyone would buy that **** on SACD. Put another way, the teen-ager with the Sony PCDP and V500DJs will most likely opt for the $12 redbook over the $20 SACD hybrid.

Couple that with the fact that too much of my catalog isn't likly to be remastered to SACD anytime in the near future and I realize I have to find someway to deal with redbook for the long haul.

Please, help me out. I've read a lot of reviews but nothing specifically addresses the problem I'm hearing (and, in the end, maybe nothing will).
 
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aos

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Lots of modern music is heavily processed anyway during production to add special effects. If that is done badly then it may only sound "good" on a crappy equipment. Getting a better source is only going to make things worse... If music you're listening to is like that, try to get some acoustic non-processed music, preferably with some instruments that you heard live at some point, and see if their treble is screwed up. I borrowed Sting: A Brand New Day or whatever came out few months ago and it sounded awful on my system...
 
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carlo

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Nezer,

to me it sounds like the Audio Aero Prima is your best bet, very clean top end, fantastic tone, great soundstager. unfortunately it doesn't sound like you'll be able to audition it, but if you ever get the chance, they go for about $1.5k. as for whats available to you look into the Cary 308 as well (if its even out yet, the world's been waiting for awhile) and make sure to check out the NAD s500 silver series; the NAD's top end is sweet and extended, plus the overall sound is excellent for its price and discounts can be had. i've never been fond of Classe CD players and imo the .5 and .3 are outclassed by the modern digital market.

i haven't listened to binaural in a real long time, but i can't relate to what you're hearing. if you're looking for something forgiving, the 306/200 and the wadia definitely should be avoided (and dare i say, the price tag isn't in line with the rest of your setup). see if you dealer has the old cary 301 or the audio electronic supply cd-1, both extremely forgiving of sources. they also make excellent transports.

btw clean vinyl doesn't crackle or pop


best,
carlo.
 
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Nezer

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Quote:

Originally posted by aos
Lots of modern music is heavily processed anyway during production to add special effects. If that is done badly then it may only sound "good" on a crappy equipment. Getting a better source is only going to make things worse... If music you're listening to is like that, try to get some acoustic non-processed music, preferably with some instruments that you heard live at some point, and see if their treble is screwed up. I borrowed Sting: A Brand New Day or whatever came out few months ago and it sounded awful on my system...



Brand New Day is really only good for about the first 30 seconds for that super-low intro.

As for over-processed, that PJ track isn't. It's Ed singing with a eukalalie(sp) and it sounds like it could be only one mic. Doesn't get much simpelr than that.

Where I hear it is in the naked human voice. If it's over processed it's usually not there due to the processing covering that badness up with other badness. I could live with ****ty productions but the naked voice being that way is just unaccpetable as it's a technical problem with the medium at that point.

I have honestly considered ripping my whole CD collection to WAVs and upsampling and processing the upper frequencies to massage that crap out. It would probably be cheaper buying the disks than the Wadia 301.
 
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Nezer

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Quote:

Originally posted by carlo
Nezer,

to me it sounds like the Audio Aero Prima is your best bet, very clean top end, fantastic tone, great soundstager. unfortunately it doesn't sound like you'll be able to audition it, but if you ever get the chance, they go for about $1.5k. as for whats available to you look into the Cary 308 as well (if its even out yet, the world's been waiting for awhile) and make sure to check out the NAD s500 silver series; the NAD's top end is sweet and extended, plus the overall sound is excellent for its price and discounts can be had. i've never been fond of Classe CD players and imo the .5 and .3 are outclassed by the modern digital market.

i haven't listened to binaural in a real long time, but i can't relate to what you're hearing. if you're looking for something forgiving, the 306/200 and the wadia definitely should be avoided (and dare i say, the price tag isn't in line with the rest of your setup). see if you dealer has the old cary 301 or the audio electronic supply cd-1, both extremely forgiving of sources. they also make excellent transports.

btw clean vinyl doesn't crackle or pop


best,
carlo.


The problem I'm finding with the high-end gear is it's just near impossible to audition it!

As for the price, if I buy a new CDP it's gonna be with me a LONG ****ing time so the price isn't really a consideration at this point (to a point). I just want some options.

Ideally it should have balanced outputs, clean up the top end, have a lot of detail and resolution, be fast, have BNC coax digital out (just because), and cost under $200. I know I'm going to have to comproimise somewhere and that's going to be on the price first, followed by the output options. I will NOT budge on that top end even if that means a $5000 player. But a $5000 player damn well better meet the other criteria and some criteria I haven't even thought of yet!!

I'm really dying to hear the Wadia 301 but they won't have another in stock for about a month--they *just* sold the one they had!

Ideally I'd love to compare the Carys to the Wadias to some of these others at the same time.
 
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MirandaX

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If you're into the human voice, you've got to try tubes. If you haven't heard the MG Head with your current source, I'd give it a try before plunging into a very expensive source upgrade.

Seriously, the linearity of tubes seems to work midrange magic, plus they remove a lot of digital harshness. If you're already using the Analoguer (sort of an odd name for a solid-state device!), why not try something truly analog?
 
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Dusty Chalk

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Quote:

Originally posted by Nezer
Let's face it, it's the Brittney Spears that keeps the industry running and I *seriously* doubt anyone would buy that **** on SACD.


I don't know, they already put Mariah Carey on SACD.
 
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Nezer

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Quote:

Originally posted by Dusty Chalk
I don't know, they already put Mariah Carey on SACD.


yeah, What is *that* about?!?!?!

Sorry, this transcends tubes... It's in the source and the amp will only make it louder, not fix it. This is a problem in the digital domain and it needs to be fixed there.
 
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eric343

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You've tried tubes?
 
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MirandaX

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Quote:

Originally posted by Nezer
Sorry, this transcends tubes... It's in the source and the amp will only make it louder, not fix it. This is a problem in the digital domain and it needs to be fixed there.


I don't follow your logic. You said that the Analoguer partially corrects the problem you're hearing. Wouldn't it make sense that another non-source device could have an equally strong (or stronger) impact?

If the artifacts you're hearing are caused by interference effects of missing second (and third, etc.) harmonics above 20kHz, you won't find those in the redbook digital domain. No DAC/filter in the world can retrieve them, because they're aliased beyond reconstructability. It's true that vacuum tubes add second harmonic distortion, but the ear tends to welcome these because they partially replace what's been lost to redbook. Solid-state feedback and nonlinearity in the midrange are other potential problems.

I dunno, it just seems simplistic to ignore tubes as a solution to your problem, especially given that you really liked the tubed EAR.
 
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Nezer

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Quote:

Originally posted by MirandaX


I don't follow your logic. You said that the Analoguer partially corrects the problem you're hearing. Wouldn't it make sense that another non-source device could have an equally strong (or stronger) impact?

If the artifacts you're hearing are caused by interference effects of missing second (and third, etc.) harmonics above 20kHz, you won't find those in the redbook digital domain. No DAC/filter in the world can retrieve them, because they're aliased beyond reconstructability. It's true that vacuum tubes add second harmonic distortion, but the ear tends to welcome these because they partially replace what's been lost to redbook. Solid-state feedback and nonlinearity in the midrange are other potential problems.

I dunno, it just seems simplistic to ignore tubes as a solution to your problem, especially given that you really liked the tubed EAR.


The Analoguer doesn't partially correct the problem, it partially *masks* it. And in doing so it also masks some of the 'sparkle' in the process...

What I'm hearing isn't because of something that *isn't* there but rather something that *IS*. The only thing something outside the digital domain can do is simply mask the problem away but in doing so other things are masked as well.

I suspect what I'm hearing is just artifacts from poor representation of high frequencies from 44.1k sampling. I also suspect that a properly designed high-resolution DAC with some DSP action could undo this nastiness. This is why I'm so intrested in hearing the Wadia.

While I recognize the fact that what wasn't recorded can't be gotten back I think that some serious high-resolution interpolation could do wonders.

I will, later today or tomorrow, take a sample of that Ed Vedder tune and post the original snip along with the same snip with a high-pass filter to help show what I'm talking about. Although I'm going to post an MP3 rest assured that the effect is the same on the uncompressed WAV. Hopefully this will give everyone an idea of what I'm talking about.
 
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CRESCENDOPOWER

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I hate to say this my friend, but I think you are going to be quit disappointed. Especially, if your thinking about the Wadia. Maybe check into Meridian. But, I still think your a tube man in disguise. You at least should consider that the Corda HA-1 is bright as hell even with your slow, sloppy, and rolled off interconnects. By the way, are you even using a componet CD player?
 
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Nezer

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Quote:

Originally posted by CRESCENDOPOWER
I hate to say this my friend, but I think you are going to be quit disappointed. Especially, if your thinking about the Wadia. Maybe check into Meridian. But, I still think your a tube man in disguise. You at least should consider that the Corda HA-1 is bright as hell even with your slow, sloppy, and rolled off interconnects. By the way, are you even using a componet CD player?


Well, the ICs are awful and if I knew I had income coming in (I'm losing my job within the next few weeks) I would upgrade them.

As far as a component CDP, yes and no... I've been using my Toshiba 2109 DVD player for the CD player here recently. I am actually suprised at how well it does. A newer-model Sony (DVP-S360) sounds dull and lifeless in comparison.

Now, I started this thread because I *want* a good quality CDP in the near future and one that will last me a while.

I may be a tube man in disguise but I have a really awful taste in my mouth from dealing with tubed guitar amps. I'd rather not go there with hi-fi gear.

I did like the HP4 but that was because of the insane detail and blackness between everything not because of sweet sounding highs. I actually didn't really get a chance to audition it long enough to make my mind up totally about it.

I have and am considering Merdian CDPs but again, my local hi-fi shop doesn't carry them.
Who here is willing to loan me some of this high-end gear? :wink:
 
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KShaft

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perhaps if you get the equinox cable that will help out a bit.

it refines the highs.
many think the clou puts a bit of an edge on them.

also, if you want a really analogue sounding digital source, you should look at the cary's or an emc-1.

an inexpensive cd player that sounds great, are the older sony x--7 series. they sound very close to the xa7es(one with puck), and can typically be had for around $400-$500. Built like a tank too.

http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...394&class&3&4&

theres a link to one.
if you are ready to go all out(you said you were getting laid off though...) id get the emc-1 or cary 306 myself.

k.s.
 
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Nezer

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I am getting laid off (for the second time this year) but I shall work again...

There's been some great suggestions here and I have researched all the options so far (about to check into this Sony).

I have the Clou Red up for sale and when it goes I'll buy the Cardas cable as I prefered it to the Equinox when I did some A/B tests between the two at the headroom show here in Denver.

It's hard to explain but I prefered the Cardas over the Equinox but I found both of them to be quite close to each other. Honestly, I couldn't describe the difference except that I liked the Cardas better.

Honestly, I expect to be dissappointed in the Wadia. I was *really* dissappointed in the Orpheous. Sure it sounded good but I think the HP4 w/ Cardas and HD600s blew it to hell and back three times. Replace the HP4 with a Max and it blew it to hell and back 2.25 times. :wink:
 
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