CD player for my system

Asit

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Hi everybody,

I am considering buying a CD player for my system which is:

Nad C325BEE integrated amplifier
Harman Kardon HK6300 integrated amplifier
Denon DCD 920 CD player
Kenwood GE-5020 graphic equalizer
Dual CS5000 turntable
Onkyo K-505 TX cassette player
Canton Karat 60 pair of speakers

Other than the Nad and the Onkyo, everything else was bought in 1989 abroad. (also had a very good cassette player which died long ago.)

Last year HK6300 gave some trouble which since then has been fixed, however that gave me the oppertunity to get a new amp, the NAD 325.

The Canton speakers are 3-way bassreflex speakers (woofer 260mm, mid 120mm, tweeter 25mm Aluminium-Manganese dome), quite heavy (about 16 Kg each). They cost me 2000 German Marks for the pair in 1989. They are still working absolutely wonderfully and I am yet to find anything close to them within around Rs50,000 in India.

I have read here and in elsewhere that the NAD C325BEE has bad reviews, despite that I bought it because in that price range (and actually quite a bit above that) I have not found anything quite so musical, so tuneful with beautiful separation and soundstage for the kind of music I mostly listen to (which is Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental). I auditioned it in comparison to other amplifiers and especially to the older C320BEE (from Nad) and I liked it.

Actually after purchasing the Nad amplifier, I have now two choices for an amplifier and sometimes I wonder how I could stand the Harman Kardon HK6300 for so many years because it sounds so much harsher and more imprecise.

Recently my other old instruments are starting to fail. For example, the turntable Dual CS500 I think is gone and perhaps beyond repair. The CD player Denon DCD920 has gone thru two repairs and about to quit. The drive is more or less gone, but if it decides to work, it still produces wonderful sound.

Obviously I want to buy a CD player. I have not auditioned any, but from reading here and other places I think the choices are:
NAD 525, Marantz 6002, CA 640c v2.

I actually wanted a bit better than these because my old Denon DCD920 was not an entry level player and still sounds better than the ones mentioned above.

But the alternatives are very expensive in Kolkata. SKS traders told me that Marantz SA7001 (not the KI) is Rs 49000/- , CA 740c is Rs 44000/-, Arcam Diva73 is Rs 43000/-.

Are these proper prices or hiked up in Kolkata because here there are not many places which sell these items?

By reading I have some liking for the 740c because I have recently purchased a linear PCM recorder from USA (Sony PCM-D50, USD 465) which can record at much better quality than ordinary CD and the 740c which has upscaling can take digital inputs
from other digital sources. But this cannot be the only reason to buy the CA 740c.

Please suggest.
 

dinyaar

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Hi,
The prices u mention seem to be high.Here in bbay Arcam was being offered at about 35K and so was the marantz 7001. The KI is not available for ages.

Since u are happy with the Nad amp why not look at the old Nad C542 which is a decent cdp or even the Marantz 6002. Nad was about 27K and the marantz about 20K a while ago.( A friend bought the marantz for the price just last month)

Dont spend too much on the cdp as in my opinion any more than the two mentioned above will be overkill for the amp. Please do not be offended as this is only a personal opinion.
Rgds
 
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Asit

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Hi dinyaar,
no question of getting offended. I have been following several threads and you seem to have assembled a very decent system for yourself, and must be knowing quite a lot. Will definitely value your opinion. The reason I was looking for something better, is that when I bought my amp (NAD) I actually tested it with different CD players including the NAD 521 and CA azur 640c. But for the same CD's, I got much better overall experience with my alraedy owned Denon DCD920. In my experience the NAD 325 amplifier can take more than the above two. Actually my room is not small, it's about 25' by 16' and my apartment is about 2000 sq feet. With the setup I have, at about less than half volume, the whole apartment gets filled with music, probably because as most reviews say the 50Watt per channel is a very conservative estimate. For the kind of music I hear, the details and the sweetness are also not lost.
Somehow I rate this amplifier much higher than perhaps you do. For my kind of music, during my auditioning, as I said before, I found this better than more expensive amps. Please continue giving me your suggestions.
 
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Asit

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Hi SuhasG,
would you kindly enlighten me more on these Oppo universal players? Can they play 2 channel music at a satisfactory level? I have heard that the CA azur 540D v2 and the Denon 1940 are two decent universal players which apparently play many formats of audio and video discs. Perhaps soundwise, the CA is better and I have even read that some people do use it as a standalone CD player.

I actually have a 37" Sony Bravia LCD TV which we just bought last week. The universal player may come to use there for movies and stuff (although we watch roughly 1 DVD per month or 2 months). Mostly news and sports are followed with BigTV and their reception is simply superb right now, better than any TV reception I have seen in India.

However, I am still not convinced that a non-dedicated player would do the job for CD playing. Of course, I do not know a lot of things. I have not kept myself abreast with the developments of the av equipments.

I would definitely also like to consider your line of thoughts. Any opinion, others? Please do not forget to let me know where in India are these available with B&W? Do they ship to Kolkata?
 
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SuhasG

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Oppo universal players? Can they play 2 channel music at a satisfactory level? Please do not forget to let me know where in India are these available with B&W? Do they ship to Kolkata?

Oppo players are exceptional for Video but are equally good for Audio. There are several threads on this forum about Oppo. Just search. Also on NET, you find tons of good reviews , opinions and discussions on Oppo. Many of our forum members own Oppo players, Kamal, VenkatCR , SKR just to name a few, you can always check with them.

Oppo is recently made available by a Delhi based importer and now available all across the country through dealers / distributors / sub dealers. Don't know about who deals in Kolkota but our forum member Prithvi (Absolute Phase- Bangalore) can help you in getting one.

Opp compares well with NAD, CA dedicated CDPS and also offers you SACD playing capabilities. And when you build HT Oppo is the only choice!

Hope this helps.
 
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Asit

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Hi SuhasG,
Thanks again for more info on Oppo. Let me explore. However, you must have noticed that I do NOT own an AV receiver. I only have 2-channel amps, actually two of them. Do the Oppo players have 2-way RCA outs? How is their 2-channel sound as opposed to good surround sound? You must have realized that I am not interested in surround when it comes to music. Actually if I go on to own one of these, I think I will connect thru HDMI to my LCD, mute the sound of the TV and still connect 2-way RCA audio out from the player to my integrated amp. How does that sound?
 
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SuhasG

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Hi SuhasG,
Thanks again for more info on Oppo. Let me explore. However, you must have noticed that I do NOT own an AV receiver. I only have 2-channel amps, actually two of them. Do the Oppo players have 2-way RCA outs? How is their 2-channel sound as opposed to good surround sound? You must have realized that I am not interested in surround when it comes to music. Actually if I go on to own one of these, I think I will connect thru HDMI to my LCD, mute the sound of the TV and still connect 2-way RCA audio out from the player to my integrated amp. How does that sound?


OPPO DV-970HD 720p/1080i Up-Converting Universal DVD Player with HDMI

Optimized Audio Features:

  1. Optimized analog audio circuitry for great audio quality
  2. Built-in Dolby Digital decoder with individual 5.1ch and down-mixed stereo outputs
  3. Optical and coaxial digital audio outputs for Dolby Digital, DTS and Linear PCM
  4. Unique "Audio Only" mode with video processing turned off for perfect acoustic fidelity
  5. 3D Surround (Virtual Surround): Concert, Live, Dance, Techno, Classic, Soft
  6. Built-in equalizer, channel trim and channel delay functions



Connectors:

  • HDMI - High Definition Multimedia Interface: 1
  • Component Video (YPbPr/YCbCr): 1 group (3 connectors)
  • Analog Stereo Audio (Mixed 2-Channel Left/Right): 1 group (2 connectors)
  • Analog 5.1 Channel Audio: 1 group (6 connectors)
  • S/PDIF (IEC-958) Coaxial Digital Audio: 1
  • S/PDIF (IEC-958) Optical Digital Audio: 1
  • Composite Video: 1
  • S-Video: 1



Compatibility Features:

  • PAL/NTSC disc and TV compatible with automatic or manual system conversion
  • Enhanced dual-layer disc support with fast layer change
  • Wide range universal power supply (~100V-240V, 50/60Hz AC)


Standard Video Features:
  • Progressive scan component outputs (YPbPr)
  • Composite video and S-Video outputs for standard TVs
  • Supports screen aspect ratio 4:3 (standard) and 16:9 (wide-screen)
  • User adjustable video controls: Sharpness, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue and Gamma
  • Multi-angle view

Convenience Features:

  • Special disc tray - thin, flexible and strong. Can tolerate some bending without breaking.
  • 4-in-1 flash memory card reader compatible with Memory Stick, Secure Digital, Multi-Media Card, and SmartMedia (MS/SD/MMC/SM)
  • USB interface for expanded connectivity
  • Smooth and easy navigation of photo albums and music collections on DVD, CD, flash memory cards and USB disks.
  • Selectable subtitle and audio tracks
  • Discrete ON/OFF remote control IR code for programmable universal remote controls




Accessories Included:

  • High-quality certified HDMI cable with ferrite core and gold-plated HDMI connectors
  • Remote control with "glow in the dark" keypad (batteries included)
  • Stereo audio cable
  • Composite video cable
  • User manual and warranty information



Now how about its Audio performace? Good , at par or better with many entry level CD players . Google it. Check with other audiophiles (I mentioned some of them in my earlier post) who are using it(and also seen / heard many other player in this budget) . Visit a dealer and have an audition. You and only you can decide.


Hope this helps.
 
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SuhasG

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Hey Suhas, which budget CD players have you compared the Oppos to? How would it fare in comparison to say the CA 340C, or the Marantz 5001?

Google it. Check with other audiophiles (I mentioned some of them in my earlier post) who are using it(and also seen / heard many other player in this budget) . Visit a dealer and have an audition.
 
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venkatcr

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Asit, Psychotropic:

I would agree with most of what Suhas say's. The Oppo is an excellent player for both video and audio. The Oppo 980 and 983 have special circuitry designed by a audio specialist company (unnamed by Oppo), and because of this are as good as most CDPs for Redbook CD.

In terms of direct comparison, I have heard the 340C and the 540C, and the Oppo 983 that I have beats them straight away. I am sure the 980 that has the same circuitry would also fare with equal gusto. There is no special mention in Oppo site about the audio capabilities of the 981, excepting the VP saying 'it performs equally well'.

640C? I have listened to the 640C (with the 640A and Quads 12L) for a few hours as part of a audition at home. Keeping all else the same, the Oppo could put up a valiant fight but may lose out in complicated tracks, and may not be able to create the soundstage, for say a Beethoven number. It certainly cannot compare with the 740C and 840C that have advanced DACs and up-sampling technologies.

Asit, if you are looking for a CDP with the capabilities of a 740C or above, no universal player will work for you. Though you can see a movie in a 2.1 setting, I do not see any value in a DVD Player unless that is the first step in your building a complete HT system within a specified time. If music is more important to you, and you watch just 1 movie in 2 months, a simple DVD player such as a Samsung, Pioneer, or a Philips should suffice for that.

Psychotropic, I believe I have answered your question.

Cheers
 
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dinyaar

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Hi dinyaar,
no question of getting offended. I have been following several threads and you seem to have assembled a very decent system for yourself, and must be knowing quite a lot. Will definitely value your opinion. The reason I was looking for something better, is that when I bought my amp (NAD) I actually tested it with different CD players including the NAD 521 and CA azur 640c. But for the same CD's, I got much better overall experience with my alraedy owned Denon DCD920. In my experience the NAD 325 amplifier can take more than the above two. Actually my room is not small, it's about 25' by 16' and my apartment is about 2000 sq feet. With the setup I have, at about less than half volume, the whole apartment gets filled with music, probably because as most reviews say the 50Watt per channel is a very conservative estimate. For the kind of music I hear, the details and the sweetness are also not lost.
Somehow I rate this amplifier much higher than perhaps you do. For my kind of music, during my auditioning, as I said before, I found this better than more expensive amps. Please continue giving me your suggestions.

Asit,
Your system must appeal to you and you alone. Yes i have had quite a few Nad amps myself(350/352/162/272) some time ago and felt the power section is always good and the pre section is always average.
Yes i like my current system quite a bit and hope to keep it for a while. If u dont mind spending on a cdp i think the Marantz SA 7001 is very good @ 35K(maybe even cheaper now) See if a cyrus appeals to u as its a very articulate/detailed cdp. Look out for the older cd6s. The new cd6SE costs about 70/75K and a few dealers in bbay are willing to sell the older version for about 40/45K(brand new)
Dont know the scene in calcutta and whether home auditions are possible but i would be weary buying any other way.

Regards
 
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Asit

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Hi SuhasG, venkatcr and dinyaar,

Happy Diwali and thanks to all of you for all the continuing inputs. Today being an off-work day, I have made a few moves.

First, in the morning I made a phone call to Sound of Music, Delhi and found out the price of Oppo's. There is no reseller of Oppo in Kolkata. The guy told me that he could ship to Kolkata and he also offered 10% discount. Somehow, I am not fully open to the idea of buying an audio equipment without auditioning.

Then I called up SKS traders and set up auditioning appo at 3 PM. There I auditioned 3 Cd players, The Marantz 6002, the CA azur 640c v2 and the CA azur 740c. These were coupled with Nad C320 BEE amp and MS floorstands (forgot the model, worth about Rs. 75000).

The 640c v2 was the least impressive, even my son, born a year and a half after my original system was bought, quickly disapproved. The Marantz 6002 was better. It was kind of smooth, but lacked details and punch and showed especially unimpressive treble.

The 740c was BY FAR the best. The bass was very precise and adequate, tremendous separation, sweet but uncompromised treble and apparently a very neutral but accurate midrange. IT goes very well with a slightly warm setup like mine (Nad C325BEE amp and Canton speakers).

By the way, obviously we played items that were recently played many times at home. However, since, my CD player Denon DCD920 is down, my source at home for the moment is a Rs4000 Sony DVD player bought a few years ago. It actually showed that even with such a poor source my current home CD playbacks are better in several aspects than the playbacks with the 640c v2 and the Marantz 6002 units at the auditioning and it highlights the ability of the Canton speakers I have. I now think to match these speakers, we need much much better speakers than used at the auditioning.

We also listened to a Cayin CD player coupled to a Cayin amp (models forgotten but together priced about 1 lakh 10 thousand) and Quad bookshelf speakers. This system sounded quite well, but the detail on the 740c was still better and the overall sound was more pleasing. I have the feeling on my system especially with the Canton speakers the 740c is going to sound something quite exceptional. The 740 c can also be used as DAC to 2 digital sources. I have a lot of linear PCM (LPCM) music at 24 bit and 96 kHz in my Macbook Pro and all these should sound great using the 740c.
 
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Asit

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Hi everybody,
Missed a few things in my report yesterday. I now remember the floorstanding speakers used at the auditioning were not MS, they were actually from Dalli (again forgot the model, worth around Rs. 75000). They were decent, but absolutely no match for the speakers at home. First the person at the store used some MS bookshelf speakers (worth some 25 thousand rupees), they were bad (really do not want to offend anybody, many people love a lot of MS speakers here). Realising that, halfway thru the auditioning of the first CD player (CA azur 640c v2), the speakers were changed to the Dalli floorstanders. The 640c v2 coming out the last in our auditioning may have something to do with the above.

The other thing I forgot to mention was that one big reason we got really excited about the CA azur 740c was that the vocals were superb in that machine. I hear a lot of North Indian classical vocal music, and it is very hard to get a perfect match of all the equipments so that the vocals sound nearly flawless. The 740c achieved that - perfect balance between fullness, precision and volume irrespective of the octaves and male or female voice.

Hi particleman,
yes I was interested in Arcam CD73 and CD17, but the reseller did not have these at the time. Arcam uses the same DAC's as in the 740c.

Hi Raghunath,
I was interested in an audition of Nad 525/521 Cd palyer. However, a few things aparently went against that player. First I have read (possibly here and in other places abroad) that the player has trouble with the drive and then it is sometimes not reading CD's. Then SKS traders told me that Lakozy (distributor in Mumbai) these days are not keen on providing service. In any case the 525 like the 640c v2 and the Marantz 6002 are perhaps a level or two below the 740c in product-positioning and does not invite a fair comparison with the 740c. Don't you think that I should consider the Nad525 only when for some reason, financial or otherwise, I am choosing an equipment from that bracket, which I very well may have to, judging from the increasing opposition of the finance ministry at home.
 
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myriad

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Hello Asit,
I have an Arcam cd73. If you want to listen, contact me on 9830085043 and we will fix an appointment
Regards
Vasu
 
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SuhasG

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CA740C is a nice player, I heard it at my friend's place. It has an advantage of Digital In which enables you to use only the DAC part of the CDP. So if you decide to go Discless music (I myself already in it) then you have a very good DAC in hand while retaining the basic CD Playing capability intact! For Rs 45K , CA740C is very good. CA840C is even better with upgraded DAC (60-65K).

I once auditioned ARCAM CD73 at my place, good player, I found it better than NAD and CA640C .

Also have a look at CYRUS 6S, check with Jay (SNV) all India distributor of CYRUS products, you may find some old stock at a discounted price (because CYRUS has intorduced slot loading version of the 6S) , CYRUS 6S is even better than ARCAM.

If you like vocals and soft music like Indian Classical music, Jazz , then you must audition JOLIDA CD-100 , tube CDP (55-60K), very detailed, sweet and balanced, this can bring you a lot more emotions than any other CDPs mentioned so far. For stringed Instruments like Sitar, Santoor, Violin, Sarod, Sarangi there is no match for Jolida at this side of 60K.

Hope this helps
 
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Shuvc

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Hi everybody,
I now remember the floorstanding speakers used at the auditioning were not MS, they were actually from Dalli (again forgot the model, worth around Rs. 75000).
Possibly the Dali Ikon 6.

First the person at the store used some MS bookshelf speakers (worth some 25 thousand rupees)
Might be the M-S Mezzo 1

... which I very well may have to, judging from the increasing opposition of the finance ministry at home.
:) How much is he quoting for the 740C?



OT: If I'm not wrong, I believe we met once, during a T-BHP meet at Sher-e-Punjab. You had come with Abir? My apologies, if it's a case of mistaken identity.
 
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Asit

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Hi everybody,
Sorry for replying late, was caught up in several things.

Especially sorry to myriad, you have been so nice offering a demo of your Arcam cd73. I was just tied up the whole day. I am going to give you a call as soon as I find a bit more peace.

Thanks raghunath, for your suggestion of CD73.

Hi Shuvc, you are right. We met in a team-BHP gathering. SKS Traders is asking Rs.44,000/= for CA azur 740c. Sri Chatterjee, the salesman there said they can consider slashing the price by upto couple of thousands, but nothing is in print so far. Also as far as I can remember your guesses on the speaker boxes are correct. The Quad was 11L something (newer version) at Rs 29,000/=.

SuhasG, I am glad you also liked the 740c. Based on user comments on the net, 840c seems more analytical than 740c which is warmer. For the price, it seems really good. It does upscaling of the music upto 384KHz while the audio CD format is at 44.1KHz. The upscaling is not necessarily a good thing, but if done right can improve the details.The Cyrus6s, also suggested by dinyaar, seems very tempting, if the pricing is right, but the Jolida tube CD seems way out of my finances at the moment. Moreover, none of these are available in Kolkata for auditioning, I believe.

ShuvC and myriad, since both of you are from Kolkata, let me know if you know more dealers, resellers from Kolkata.

Hi dinyaar,
seems like your pricing on the Marantz SA7001 is a bit off, because another member of the forum (I think sethunr) bought it a few months ago from Chennai at around Rs 43,000/=. In Kolkata, I may not get it at that price; but judging from my discussion with SKS yesterday, it seems they may come down a bit from their 49,000/=.

Thanks a lot to all of you for all the suggestions. Keep them coming.
 
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Asit

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Hi dinyaar,
I called SoundNvision, Pune last evening to find out if they had any Cyrus CD6s left, but unfortunately they didn'y have any.

Could you please let me know how to get in touch with a reseller in Mumbai who may have a Cyrus CD6S at 40/45K as you said in your post before ?
 
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