Where should I spend my money?
May 24, 2005 at 7:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

Sam

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Hi,

I currently have the following, inherited from my sister when she moved out:
  1. Rotel RCD-955AX CD player
  1. Ion Systems - Obelisk 1 Amp
  1. A pair of Mission 760 speakers

Now, I'll be getting a pair of nice headphones at some point, maybe Sennheiser HD595 or 600. Anyway, with not a lot of knowledge of the current system due to not really knowing much about it's technical specifications and not having another system to compare it to, I was wondering where it would be best to invest money.

Seeing as I'll be going down the headphones route I was considering purchasing a headphone amp (or building one myself), however I'm unsure as to how good the source is and whether or not I would be better off getting a new source, or maybe an EMU 0404 instead?

Thanks in advance,
 
May 24, 2005 at 7:35 PM Post #2 of 12

Aman

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First, welcome to head fi! And sorry about your wallet
biggrin.gif


Second, I'd go with a source upgrade, since it looks like your model CD player is a bit old and was discontinued 10 years ago. Maybe there's better electronic choices out there now. Maybe invest in a high-res CD player or a turntable.

Hope this helps!
 
May 24, 2005 at 7:56 PM Post #3 of 12

Sam

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Quote:

First, welcome to head fi!


Thank you
smily_headphones1.gif


Quote:

Second, I'd go with a source upgrade, since it looks like your model CD player is a bit old and was discontinued 10 years ago.


Okay then, it probably sounds like it's about time to replace everything. I know this is the dedicated source forum, but do you reckon it would be better to try and look for an approx. £200 CD player (maybe secondhand) or go for a soundcard, something like the EMU 0404 (I'd rather not get a soundcard, but if it's the best bang for buck then I'd rather go this way until I can save up for a better CD player). Also, if I went down the soundcard route it would give me money left over to spend on a proper headphone amp, I was looking at building a white noise amp, but I'm open for suggestions (bearing in mind that I live in the UK and don't want to be hit by a massive amount of import tax).

Quote:

...or a turntable.


Please, please don't say that, I love the sound of vinyl, you'll make me want to replace my CD collection!
lambda.gif
wink.gif


Thanks for the reply!
 
May 24, 2005 at 8:09 PM Post #4 of 12

Jahn

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Personally, I thought my modded 0404 held its own against my modded 3960. If you want the convenience of a soundcard, don't be afraid!
 
May 24, 2005 at 8:48 PM Post #5 of 12

morphsci

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I actually had the previous Rotel model the 855AX. This was a great player, one of the first true overachiever CD players. It was finally replaced when I got my Sony SCD-C333es SACD player, I wish I still had that player.

My suggestion is to keep the 955 and experiment with some outboard DAC's to see if they are an improvement on the sound of the 955. Listen to other players in your system if you can by borrowing from friends, etc. Just because something is old does not mean it is no longer any good.
 
May 25, 2005 at 1:45 AM Post #6 of 12

chesebert

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jahn
Personally, I thought my modded 0404 held its own against my modded 3960. If you want the convenience of a soundcard, don't be afraid!


Just a question: how do you tolerate the fan noise from your PC? I find I would rather listen at a completely quiet room with lesser equipment vs sitting in front of my PC with great sound but marred by the noise of the PC. any thoughts?
 
May 25, 2005 at 6:59 AM Post #7 of 12

PsychoZX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chesebert
Just a question: how do you tolerate the fan noise from your PC? I find I would rather listen at a completely quiet room with lesser equipment vs sitting in front of my PC with great sound but marred by the noise of the PC. any thoughts?


What noise.
icon10.gif
http://www.silentpcreview.com/
 
May 25, 2005 at 7:42 AM Post #8 of 12

lini

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Sam: Although I don't really know the amp, that sounds like a nice little system to me - no pressing reason to upgrade anything there, I'd think. So, if your Obelisk has got a headphone out, why not just buy your new headphone: If it performs to your liking, you're basically done. And when the upgrade bug or plain curiosity bite you, you could always add a headphone amp later on...

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
May 25, 2005 at 9:15 AM Post #9 of 12

Sam

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lini
Sam: Although I don't really know the amp, that sounds like a nice little system to me - no pressing reason to upgrade anything there, I'd think. So, if your Obelisk has got a headphone out, why not just buy your new headphone: If it performs to your liking, you're basically done. And when the upgrade bug or plain curiosity bite you, you could always add a headphone amp later on...

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini



This seems like the most logical route to take, I'll be getting the headphones regardless of anything else and it'll give me time to work out what the best thing to replace next would be. Also I really would prefer not to go down the route of soundcards and seeing that my current souce seems to be reasonable then I'll probably stick to it.

For me, part of the reason of getting a headphone amp would be in the satisfaction and enjoyment of building it myself, so it'll probably happen...at some point.

Anyway, thanks very much guys, all your help and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
May 25, 2005 at 2:25 PM Post #10 of 12

bludragon

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Seems like you have your solution, just thought I'd add that superfi were doing the HD600's for £150 - I recently went to try some out, but ended up getting the HD650 for £210. I'll never learn to NOT listen to the more expensive model...

I also have the WNA mkII, and it is very impressive - even more so after a few tweaks. The complete kit is not that cheap, but you could just get the pcb, and save a bit of money by ordering some less highly priced components (the resistors dropping the input caps seem like the prime candidates for making some savings). Not sure if that will actually work out though as then you'll be hit my minimum order costs.

Getting it as a kit does make building it a breeze though.

As for PC noise - I recently spend £32 on a tagen psu and it is the single best PC upgrade I've ever got (I already had my cpu fan on a pot, and added a 50 Ohm resistor in series with the case fan). The worst thing about PC noise is that it makes you unwittingly dial up the volume, which isn't that good for the eardrums...
 
May 28, 2005 at 6:18 PM Post #11 of 12

hciman77

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Quote:

Originally Posted by morphsci
I actually had the previous Rotel model the 855AX. This was a great player, one of the first true overachiever CD players. It was finally replaced when I got my Sony SCD-C333es SACD player, I wish I still had that player.

My suggestion is to keep the 955 and experiment with some outboard DAC's to see if they are an improvement on the sound of the 955. Listen to other players in your system if you can by borrowing from friends, etc. Just because something is old does not mean it is no longer any good.



Seconded - I had the 855 as well - made a big mistake in selling it, lacks detail by modern standards but a very listenable player and a superbly quiet transport.
 
May 28, 2005 at 9:03 PM Post #12 of 12

Patrick82

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Get a EMU0404 and AKG K501 + Graham Slee Solo amplifier. Later you can upgrade to Benchmark DAC-1. This is my favorite rig because it has a good balance between mid-bass and low-bass, and it is fast and detailed, it is good for all kinds of music, classical to rock. I even prefer this combo to higher end gear because it is so balanced.

This is about $1200 without the DAC-1 which is a bargain for the sound you will get. Upgrading to $975 Benchmark DAC-1 will give you very noticeable deep bass and fast sound.
 

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