Inquiry about sub-$1000 CD sources -or- Change my rig!
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ProtoCat

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I've been considering switching CD sources from a Sony SCD-C222ES (which replaced a Nakamichi CD Player4), which is is a damn fine SACD/CD player in its own right for its price. I'm curious as to what everyone is using for CD sources, especially any SACD capable sources. Honestly, I'm not looking to spend more than a grand if I do at all, and I'd certainly am not looking for a Linn Sondek or anything that astonomical. I have a slightly unusual rig right now consisting of:

Sony SCD-C222ES SACD Deck -> Outlaw Audio Cables -> Carver CM-1090 Sonic Holography Intergrated Amp -> Sennheiser HD-600

Yes, that's not a headphone amp at all, but it's suprisingly well suited at driving them. It's a nice, solid black tank and it's actually has a headphone output worthy of being put to task. It's 'Hologram' DSP switch occassionally sounds real good on the 'phones (and at other times, complete garbage), but usually I leave it off and keep it set to just pump out directly from the CD player without any EQ fussing.

I'm not entirely sure what it is I'm looking for to improve on this set-up, as it's *almost* comparable to my roommate's SCD-XA777ES -> AudioQuest Diamondback -> MG Head -> Sennheiser HD-600s. I honestly don't really like tubes, although I do recognize there are many albums (the Rolling Stones SACD remasters come to mind) out there they are well suited for, so I'm not looking to change my own amp. Not to mention we're building a few odd META42-based amps and some other projects in our spare time that might get me to stop using the Carver.

That really leaves the CD source, perhaps an upgrade cable for the Senns. I've considered switching to W100s for 'phones, but I've never been able to demo those. I *almost* bought a pair of W2002s blindly, but that chance is long gone, especially at the sub $750 price.

As far as the sorts of music I listen to, well that's a rather large range. I could name off a mishmash of acts, but it's usually either something very soft and accoustic to harsh experimental electronic noise, which is yet another reason tubes aren't really what I'm going for.

If there's one particular word I'm looking for it's perhaps 'detailed', prefrably with a rather open soundstage. One particular track comes to mind in what I want to hear, although most here probably wouldn't know it. In the remix of 'Sidewinder' by Download off of the Sidewinder EP, there's a sequence where they're shattering glass bottles and the pieces of glass are clattering against each other and swept around while a very loud crunchy beat is being phased around both channels. It sounds really unnerving on my current rig, because you get a real sense of where all these tiny pieces of glass are. That's what I'm looking to enhance.

That might be a bit alien, as I realize most audiophiles listen to things far different than my own tastes. Then again my roommate has commented 'You know that part of the brain that makes people appreciate music? There's something wrong with your's. You can groove to road construction.'

I appologize for how disjointed this post sorta is and I hope someone here might have some suggestions as I'm curious about how far I can really go before diminishing returns begins to seriously kick in.
 
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markl

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OK, I'll take a crack--

Quote:

If there's one particular word I'm looking for it's perhaps 'detailed', prefrably with a rather open soundstage.


You should upgrade to the Sony CD3000. Sounds like you'd love it. They're way more detailed than the Senns and have a much better and bigger soundstage. I'd go the permanent reviews section in the Headphone forum to check them out.

That's where I'd start...

Mark
 
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botchki

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I have a Musical Fidelity A3 CD player that sounds like something of what you may be looking for. Like you I like detail and soundstage and this gives you that in spades. It's a great player that can be had for around your price point of $1000 new, cheaper used and since they just came out with a new model, maybe cheaper. It's well worth checking out and blows away Arcam and others in its price range.
 
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ProtoCat

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I appologize for misposting this as I forgot I wasn't in the Source forum anymore. I should probably restrict myself from posting when I'm that sleep deprived.

Anyway, I've been looking at both the MF A3 CD player as well as the Arcam Diva 72. I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of Jude's comments, but I had also wanted everyone else's opinions in addition to his own, despite him being the Grand Poombah of Headphones around here which I respect.

To Markl, I've been considering the MDR-CD3000, even moreso since you've pointed that out to me. It sounds like it has some really neat qualities to them, although I'm almost afraid to try them based on some of their descriptions with stuff that relies on rather harsh highs as I have some stuff I can only play at about 5% volume as-is without damaging equipment or myself. Not that this is something I can listen to all the time or very often at that. It requires a certain cathartic mood to even attempt it. I wouldn't even call it 'music' so much as 'sound'.
 
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