recommendation needed for an "audiophile" SACD Changer
Aug 20, 2008 at 5:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

moredes

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Hello All,

I have an OPPO DV-970HD and a Sony SCD-CE595 5-disc changer. The Sony's pretty good for the price, but the OPPO flat kills it in regular audio CD scanning--the comparison is akin to Bambi vs. Godzilla. The OPPO's mids are clearer, the stage is broader and the sound is cleaner--each instrument is cleanly separate from the others.

I'm looking for an SACD changer that can match the sound quality of the OPPO.

Any suggestions? My budget is probably ~$450.

Thank you.
 
Aug 20, 2008 at 5:45 PM Post #2 of 20

soundboy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moredes /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hello All,

I have an OPPO DV-970HD and a Sony SCD-CE595 5-disc changer. The Sony's pretty good for the price, but the OPPO flat kills it in regular audio CD scanning--the comparison is akin to Bambi vs. Godzilla. The OPPO's mids are clearer, the stage is broader and the sound is cleaner--each instrument is cleanly separate from the others.

I'm looking for an SACD changer that can match the sound quality of the OPPO.

Any suggestions? My budget is probably ~$450.

Thank you.



Hmmm....my ears tell me it's the other way around. Oh well....

As for recommendation, go Marantz.
 
Aug 20, 2008 at 6:22 PM Post #3 of 20

monolith

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Are you using them as transports, or are you using the analogue outs on the players?

If you're using the analogue outs, consider getting a good DAC and using the CE595 as a transport.
 
Aug 20, 2008 at 10:42 PM Post #4 of 20

moredes

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Soundboy,

Which Marantz are you suggesting?

Monolith,
Quote:

Are you using them as transports, or are you using the analogue outs on the players?

If you're using the analogue outs, consider getting a good DAC and using the CE595 as a transport.


I don't understand the nomenclature. I'm using the analog outs. I understand your recommendation is to get a DAC, but what does it mean to 'use the CE595 as a transport'?

Thank you both.
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 2:03 AM Post #5 of 20

monolith

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moredes /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Monolith,

I don't understand the nomenclature. I'm using the analog outs. I understand your recommendation is to get a DAC, but what does it mean to 'use the CE595 as a transport'?



A transport is something reads the digital data off of a CD and then outputs digital signal, usually though coax or optical cable, which you can then send to a DAC of your choice. Most CD and DVD players can be used as digital transports, including the CD595. Most (some would say all) of the differences you hear in CD players come from their digital to analogue conversion and their analogue output stages. There are those that say transports can sound different, but I'm sticking with the reasonble camp that says if two transports sound different, one of them isn't doing its job right.

Anyway, the point of what I said is that you can use the optical output of your CE595 and run that to a separate DAC. If you buy a high quality DAC, it should be as much of an upgrade as buying a higher end SACD player.

The specific reason I say this is that I don't believe there are many "audiophile" SACD or even CD changers out there, plus using a seperate DAC gives you easier upgrade paths, plus you can hook up a computer to the system, etc.
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 4:39 AM Post #6 of 20

grenert

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Quote:

Originally Posted by monolith /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Anyway, the point of what I said is that you can use the optical output of your CE595 and run that to a separate DAC.


My understanding is that SACD players (possibly except for rare exceptions) do not send SACD data out through the digital out, only redbook. Do you know that the CD595 will send out SACD data?
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 4:50 AM Post #7 of 20

SiriuslyCold

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Quote:

Originally Posted by monolith /img/forum/go_quote.gif
A transport is something reads the digital data off of a CD and then outputs digital signal, usually though coax or optical cable, which you can then send to a DAC of your choice. Most CD and DVD players can be used as digital transports, including the CD595. Most (some would say all) of the differences you hear in CD players come from their digital to analogue conversion and their analogue output stages. There are those that say transports can sound different, but I'm sticking with the reasonble camp that says if two transports sound different, one of them isn't doing its job right.

Anyway, the point of what I said is that you can use the optical output of your CE595 and run that to a separate DAC. If you buy a high quality DAC, it should be as much of an upgrade as buying a higher end SACD player.

The specific reason I say this is that I don't believe there are many "audiophile" SACD or even CD changers out there, plus using a seperate DAC gives you easier upgrade paths, plus you can hook up a computer to the system, etc.



you can't get SACD output through the SPDI/F
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 4:59 AM Post #8 of 20

wavoman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by grenert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
My understanding is that SACD players (possibly except for rare exceptions) do not send SACD data out through the digital out, only redbook. Do you know that the CD595 will send out SACD data?


x2! SACD uses DSD bitstream, while redbook CD uses PCM. They are very different. No outboard DAC for home use will handle a DSD bitstream even if you could get such a stream out of your player (Sony won't allow it) except some pro gear meant for DSD processing. You have to be a real SACD player to de-code DSD (meaning you have paid Sony a license), and then Sony only allows analog output.

Now PCM can be used for signals higher than 16/44.1 (CDs). This higher rate PCM stream is sometimes called LPCM. It is legal to take DSD and down-convert it to an LPCM stream ... and then a good DAC can handle it. You lose something, but it might well be better than a lower-end SACD with a poor DAC and analog stage.

The Wadia 781i CDP, for example, is uber expensive, but it will put out a 24/88.2 LPCM stream from an SACD to an external DAC. But why bother? ... if you own the Wadia it already has a superb DAC so just plug in to the analog output and listen.

More likely you want to rip the SACDs and put the tracks on your computer. 24/96 or 24/192 will work here if you can get the DSD stream downtranslated. The most well-known solution is the AudioPraise Vanity board:

Audiopraise Vanity :: High Resolution Digital Output for CD/SACD/DVD-Audio

This can be used to mod a number of Marantz, Pioneer, or Denon SACD CDPs.

The Oppo manual says flat out that there is no digital output when playing an SACD.
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 5:23 AM Post #9 of 20

wavoman

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Ah, I'm (slightly) wrong.

Since HDMI has copy protection built in, Sony does allow DSD digital to be sent out from a player over HDMI.

The Oppo does this, using 24/88.2 like the Wadia. But there are no DACs with HDMI input yet, so for right now there is no progress.

Some A/V receivers have HDMI in, so you could use the Oppo to feed one of them with the downconverted SACD signal if that helps.

Here's a quote from Stereophile mag, about the Oppo:

It converts DSD to 24-bit/88.2kHz PCM before outputting it through the HDMI jack, so, assuming you aren't bothered by the thought of that conversion, you can enjoy SACDs through your HDMI DAC of choice. (Should this bother you? I can't say, since I can't do an A/B and tell you, but many DV-970HD owners seem quite happy with the benefits of converted digital. Just as many folks think it's a crime against nature.) (JA notes that no high-end DACs have HDMI inputs, and only a handful of A/V receivers, because of the HDMI standard's requirement for anticopying handshaking.)
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 5:35 AM Post #10 of 20

soundboy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wavoman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Ah, I'm (slightly) wrong.

Since HDMI has copy protection built in, Sony does allow DSD digital to be sent out from a player over HDMI.

The Oppo does this, using 24/88.2 like the Wadia. But there are no DACs with HDMI input yet, so for right now there is no progress.

Some A/V receivers have HDMI in, so you could use the Oppo to feed one of them with the downconverted SACD signal if that helps.
[/i]


You're still slightly wrong
biggrin.gif


The Oppo 980 will allow the native DSD datastream to be output thru its HDMI output, which can then get decoded by a HT receiver with DSD DAC (such as those from Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, etc.)

In fact, Vanns.com currently has the Pioneer Elite DV-48AV single-disc universal player that can output native DSD datastream thru its HDMI output for $100.00 shipped. Brand spanking new!!
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 5:38 AM Post #11 of 20

monolith

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If this is indeed the case, I certainly stand corrected.
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 5:43 AM Post #13 of 20

soundboy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by monolith /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If this is indeed the case, I certainly stand corrected.


The Oppo 980 (and its predecessor, the 970) will downconvert the DSD datastream from DSD to 88.2/24 bit if it's output thru its analog output. Many "purists", including myself, worried about additional processing. However, the word is that the conversion is rather transparent and sound quality doesn't suffer.
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 2:41 PM Post #14 of 20

moredes

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Thank you all.

Some of this is so new to me, I don't understand what's being recommended to upgrade the Sony player. I do think the discussion went off tangentally discussing the merits of the OPPO more than the problems with the Sony. However, that's not a bad thing--there's a lot discussed that I've never even heard of before--DSD or redbook, PCM, etc.; I got some reading to do..

Quote:

The Oppo manual says flat out that there is no digital output when playing an SACD.


I am in agreement that the OPPO doesn't send SACD info through the digital outputs (TOSlink). (Out of curiosity I tried the digital outs before I settled on the analogs when I first connected the OPPO and they are drastically different and it's obvious what an advantage SACD offers.) Is it correct to assume that SACD-through-analog (only) is not just an OPPO standard, but an "electronic convention"?

The Sony is equipped to put out SACD. By the way--is "SPDI/F" another way of saying 'digital outputs'?

Thanks for the Marantz suggestion, Soundboy. Monolith, your advice may have had an error in it, but it stirred up one hell of a discussion and its' result is, I won't "buy stupidly".

Thanks again to All.
 
Aug 21, 2008 at 3:48 PM Post #15 of 20

soundboy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moredes /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I am in agreement that the OPPO doesn't send SACD info through the digital outputs (TOSlink). (Out of curiosity I tried the digital outs before I settled on the analogs when I first connected the OPPO and they are drastically different and it's obvious what an advantage SACD offers.) Is it correct to assume that SACD-through-analog (only) is not just an OPPO standard, but an "electronic convention"?

The Sony is equipped to put out SACD. By the way--is "SPDI/F" another way of saying 'digital outputs'?



Until recently, there're two types of digital outputs: Toslink and coax. Neither has enough bandwidth to handle the amount of data from DSD. Therefore, SACD has to be output though analog outputs, which is perfectly fine. The conversion, in that case, is done by the player's internal DAC.

Then in September 2005, HDMI went v1.2, which can handle the DSD datastream. Unfortunately, players with HDMI v1.2 outputs that output the native DSD didn't appear until the Oppo 980. With a compatible HT receiver that can decode DSD, one can use a single HDMI cable to transmit the native DSD datastream. Which is a lot more convenient than having (up to) 6 analog cables between the player and the receiver. As of right now, there're no stand-alone DSD DAC on the market.

Btw, redbook is just another term for regular CD.
 

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