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Mar 13, 2002 at 3:14 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

Mic

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Well, after much decision making, I ended up getting the Max. It sounds AWESOME, even though I'm using a decade-old cheapy $450 (then) Kenwood player that's starting to die on me. I'm thus in a market for a new CD player, preferably under $1K ($2K at MOST) that will match my Max and HD600. Any suggestions? I don't really care for SACD or DVD-A at this point.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 3:19 AM Post #2 of 13

DanG

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I would look at the Arcam FMJ-CD23 or the newer CD23T. I don't have either model but it seems that many consider this top-of-the-line Arcam to be a good value CD player with an accurate and exciting sound. I think these go for under $2000...

Then again, you may prefer a sound that's more laid-back... could you tell us your sonic preferences?
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 3:34 AM Post #3 of 13

Mic

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My sonic preferences are well, both laid back and in-your-face (or rather, ear), depending on my mood. Since I'm still a bit poor by audiophile standards, I'm only going to build a system around my HD600 for now. I guess that would mean that I'll be looking for a laid back sound? But then again, it wouldn't be bad to have a source that what somewhat compensate for HD600's laid back-ness.

What is the general concensus in terms of the point of EXTREME diminishing returns for a CD player? For example, the feel I have for a headphone amp is about $1K. I went quite a bit more and went for the Max 'cause I feel that a really good amp will do my ears more good than a really good source. If I'm wrong, let me know so I can return this guy and get a MOH instead
eek.gif
.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 3:43 AM Post #4 of 13

dngl

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only time you'll be happy is with a good amp and a good source. Feed the amp crap, you get crap... feed a bad amp good sound, you get bad sound...

However, with your budget of 1k, you can certainly get yourself a nice source. Even though you are not interested in SACD performance, the Sony ES line of SACD players offer great redbook performance as well and fit into your 1k budget easily. Lots of us use a sony ES with our senns (Mac, judge, me, etc...).
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 3:52 AM Post #5 of 13

Audio-Me

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I saw a Cary CD-303 going for $1700 @ audiogon. This is well worth the money.
wink.gif

http://www.caryaudio.com/cd303_200.html
I never knew CDs could sound so freaking good.

Also, invest in good audio cables, but don't go crazy unless you feel the need to. If you want super expensive but super good sounding interconnects (1:1 ratio wise), Audioquest Anaconda will eat you alive.
biggrin.gif
I've seen them anywhere from $500-$1000 @ audiogon.com.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 3:55 AM Post #6 of 13

DanG

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While Sony ES SACD players are considered to be as good in redbook among people here, it seems unlikely to me and the opinion is not usually shared among other people, especially at Audiogon. The Sony ES sound is often described as being a little bit "sterile" (similar to the older Sony ES sound).

I've heard a number of CD players, but only the Marantz CD6000OSE and Sony SCD-C333ES in my system. This makes it difficult for me to make any sort of strong recommendation, especially when it's factored in that you just have to decide yourself.

My suggestion would be to take your gear with you to a high-end audio store and try out the CD players they have there. If they have Sony ES SACD players, listen to them and see if it's what you like. Again, I'd recommend that you also listen to the Arcam FMJ-CD23 and Diva CD92 (less expensive, similar sound), then perhaps the Cary CD-303 (a little over your limit, but if you want laid-back sound, this is where to look), Rega Jupiter 2000, and the Meridian 588.24.

Keep in mind that you may see high price tags -- don't let this discourage you. Many brick-and-mortar audio dealers are just as, if not more, willing to negotiate prices as online dealers such as J&R and Oade (who both have B+M incarnations as well). If they still don't go down to an acceptable price, try some online dealers.

If you decide to go with a Sony ES, look to www.oade.com -- they'll likely have the best prices if you call them on the phone and ask. Another one to try is www.jandr.com.

For the other CD players, try searching www.audiogon.com. If used equipment isn't your bag, some dealers sell their demo equipment there so it should be in fine condition and sold by a dealer who has a reputation at stake.

Whatever you choose, good luck! And make sure not to overlook the lower-priced CD players as well. If they sound as good to you, they are as good for you.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 4:23 AM Post #7 of 13

Mic

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Thanks for the input all.

Put it another way though, about what price range CD player would make it such that my equipment will match with each other? BTW, I do plan on getting some good interconnects and post-market HD600 cables, but those will come last.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 8:40 AM Post #8 of 13

Vertigo-1

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I personally believe that the max that one seriously needs to shoot up to for sources is $1000, give or take $100-200. You can easily take that $1000 and get sources that cost well above that by buying second hand on Audiogon, or you can get some pretty darn nice CDPs that retail for around that much as well.

Quote:

While Sony ES SACD players are considered to be as good in redbook among people here, it seems unlikely to me and the opinion is not usually shared among other people, especially at Audiogon. The Sony ES sound is often described as being a little bit "sterile" (similar to the older Sony ES sound).


I won't argue that Sony's SACD players may not be the best there is in terms of strict redbook playback. It seems that for every SACD player Sony has at a pricepoint, there's always something better out there for that exact same price, as far as redbook is concerned.

However I do have to argue that "sterile" point. In my humble opinion, both with extensive research on Audioasylum and with my own ears, the Sony 333ES and the SCD-1 did sound sterile and dry, but the 9000ES certainly doesn't sound that way. The 9000ES actually sounds pretty warm I'd say, and I'd characterize it as a warm player. I'll leave it at that for now, but if anybody wants to debate the point further, I'll be happy to go balls out on my thoughts and experiences on this.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 3:48 PM Post #9 of 13

tambrose

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Quote:

Originally posted by Jon Beilin
only time you'll be happy is with a good amp and a good source. Feed the amp crap, you get crap... feed a bad amp good sound, you get bad sound...


I totally agree. I used to believe that CD players were all about the same (its digital, how can you get it wrong?) and a good amp would make the difference. While I feel that both play an important role, the source is exactly that...the source.

My 12 year old, $120 at the time, Sony is losing its laser, so I too was looking for a new player. I wanted to go the used/demo route because of the bang for the buck. Here's what I listened to and what I thought:

Sony SCD-1: amazing SACD, very good CD, but $2700 used.
Sony SCD777ES (the older top-loader): 99.9% of the SCD-1, $1800 used.
Sony 9000ES: once broken in, just about all of the 777 for CDs. $875-675 used.
Sony 222ES: SACD were good, CDs were dry and uninvolving, transport was loud.
Adcom GC750: good reviews, I thought the soundstage had no depth, and the sound was uninvolving (I wasn't tapping my foot and kept skipping to the next track).
Creek CD43 (not mkII)- loved it, smooth, great sound stage. $1000 new.
CAL Icon MkII HDCD: amazing resolution and unforgiving; bright CDs (so many of today are) were quite fatiguing with my DT250s, which aren't bright. $600-400 used.
Arcam Alpha7 (not SE): smooth, musical, involving, great for the money. An SE (better PS) $350 used.
Arcam Alpha8 (not SE): smooth, more space between the instruments, better sound stage, not as musical as the 7. $450 for an SE (adds HDCD).
Linn Mimik II: smooth, musical, good (not great) resolution, a little forgiving (more than the CAL), good soundstage, and space between instruments. $600-500 used.
Musical Fidelity A3CD- similar to the Linn with a little better resolution. $700 used.

I went with the Linn. Just to be fair...I have a Mimik II at home already (3 years old). I just bought a second one for work.

-tom
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 6:27 PM Post #12 of 13

Mic

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Argh! So many choices
wink.gif


*looks in the phone book for a hi-fi shop*
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 6:42 PM Post #13 of 13

tambrose

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Quote:

Originally posted by DanG
Thanks for the comparison, Tom. Did you, by any chance, get to listen to the Mimik next to the Genki and/or the Ikemi?


Dan,

I didn't on this recent listen, but in the past I had a Genki at home vs. my Mimik. I have also listened to a Genki, Ikemi, and CD12 side-by-side at my dealer. Note: none of these comparisons were with headphones; they were listened to in all Linn systems.

As I remember:
Mimik vs. Genki at home (Kairn/LK85s/aktiv Keilidhs)- The Genki had better resolution, sound stage, and bass, while still keeping the rythym and general "Linn" sound. I didn't upgrade at the time because I was saving for an Ikemi.

Genki vs. Ikemi vs. CD12 at dealer (5103/Klimax/5140/5150)- The easiest way to measure it that it followed the price. They all have a similar sound. The Genki is very good. The Ikemi is a big step up in resolution/clairity, sound stage, "air" or space between intruments. It also had a little better bass. The CD12 was another big step up in every way. Its AMAZING. The speed, rythym, resolution, sound stage...everything was better. Is it worth the price increase? It depends on how much money you've got. If I had the money, I'd buy it.

I also heard the CD12 at CES 2001 with a 5103 and 10 Klimax driving fully aktiv Komris. It brought tears to my eyes. If I win the lottery, I'll tell you how that sounds in my house.
biggrin.gif


Right now, I'm wait for the rumoured new player with SACD.

-tom
 

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