Laptop + $200 DAC vs $200 CD player
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billy5000

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I was wondering which would be a better option for getting the best sound of my audioengine a2+. My current CD player that I bought years ago finally stopped working, and I somehow ended up with laptop that I never use.
 
What would you suggest?
 
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ProtegeManiac

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It depends a lot on which $200 DAC vs which $200 CDP specifically, but here are a few things to consider that generally makes it safer to bet on the DAC:

1. You don't pay for the CD transport.
 
2. CDP manufacturers are likely very large companies who might have higher profit margins (although I'd make an exception for Shanling's midi-size CDP if I needed a tiny CDP, or the Project CD Box for a $100 more).
 
3. You can use a DAC with a bunch of digital sources, provided the digital audio output and input are compatible (eg USB audio in PCs/Macs, Androids/iOS)
 
4. I've tried a few $350 CDPs and didn't like them - eg the Cambridge puts the bass drums in front of the other instruments (ie there's a boost in the upper bass) - although I won't be averse to ordering hte Shanling I mentioned above online if I really needed a CDP. As it happened, I had an Android which when propped up on a dock has all the advantages of a computer in terms of storage and a CDP in terms of focus and boot-up time, or lack thereof.
 
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billy5000

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I was thinking something like a USB DAC (eg D1) and an Onkyo TX-8020. Which one would be preferred? Playing CD's isn't much of a concern since I can just rip them in the hdd.
 
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ProtegeManiac

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  I was thinking something like a USB DAC (eg D1) and an Onkyo TX-8020. Which one would be preferred? Playing CD's isn't much of a concern since I can just rip them in the hdd.
 
You do realize you can't really use the TX-8020 with the Audioengine A2's, right? The A2 already has an amp built into the speaker cabinets, and the TX8020 (I'm looking at it right now) only has a tape loop output, no preamp output. Even if it did, you have a huge amp with its main feature - a speaker amp - not being utilized at all, and that would be a waste on your desk. Best to save that for a full-size speaker set-up where you have an equipment rack.
 
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  Oops I meant the onkyo c-7030
 
I hear that's a good CDP, although I have listened to a few $350 CDPs and didn't like them, I wouldn't dismiss the SQ immediately. One concern though: CD transports do have a tendency to break a lot sooner than any DAC parts. That's how some people went from using a CDP to using a computer that's technically free (since you probably bought it for some other reason, like work or games).
 
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