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Why God, Why?

Luxman Amplifiers India

unleash_me

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Just when I thought I'm done with CD players for good, comes another tempting deal!

OK, so this is how it goes. I'm a big sucker for Marantz products. Its been a while since I've been searching for a well maintained CD7. Because I couldn't find one good enough, I decided to put that quest to rest and move on with PC source. Have ripped most of my CD/SACDs to WAV/FLAC and life has been peaceful for the last one year or so. But now, I got pretty awesome deals for not just by beloved CD7 but also the excellent Sony DVP-NS999ES with Signature Truth Mods by ModWright - both used.

It's not the price I'm concerned right now (although I'll be at a later stage), but should I really be investing in a CDP again?!
 

dinyaar

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Hey Unleash,
Should u be investing in a cdp again?? IMO ABSOLUTELY.

I cant do without a CDP for sure.
Rgds
 

Kamal

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Hi Unleash,
Hold firm!
Go the Flac>Dac way!
(Hows' that for help to resolve your dilemma?)
Kamal
 

rikhav

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I also agree with Dinyaar but then it boils down to personal preferences.
For me a CDP would be the choice if given to choose between a CDP and PC+DAC setup
And more lucrative thing is that you are getting a CDP which you wanted since long
All the best in making the choice :)
 

psychotropic

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thanks cranky, that articulated my preference better than i could have put it. I hate mix-tape type listening. So even if i am playing stuff on my computer, i select one album/record in foobar and listen to it. Which is why I am not considering shifting to a CD transport.
 

venkatcr

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I will give you some arguments:

1. A modern CDP such as the Marantz 6003 or the CA 740 would have far better electronics than a old CD Player. In addition their DAC would be more advanced and would have better specifications. The new 650C, for example, uses a dual differential WM8740 24bit/ 192kHzcapable DACs that very few CD players can claim to have. In my mind it does not make much sense to buy an old CD player.

2. R&D and progress, in the future, will be on DAC and computer based sources. With a dwindling market, even esoteric manufacturers will find it difficult to justify more investment on CD players. I believe we will start to see less of 'entry' level players such as the 650C with that level of sophistication.

3. A Rs.1500 LiteOn CD player/writer with EAC and a good sound card, will give you a source that is exceptionally close to what a good CD player can deliver. And this source is permanent and can be used 1000s of times with the same clarity.

4. Leading companies such as even Decca have started making available high quality files for downloading. The recording of 31se December 2009 Vienna Philamoniker was available on 1st morning on Apple iTunes.

5. Many artists are waking up to multi channel music and are insisting that their new music be recorded and made available as 5.1 audio.

6. There is stiff competition in DACs and companies have started bringing down the prices and introducing superb DACs at the 500 to 1000$ range.

Cheers
 
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rikhav

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Hi benkatji
Just carrying on the healthy debate
I think instead of electronics one would look for musicality in any audio equipment. If the CDP does upsampling or not would not matter if the sound is what you are looking for
With PC's atleast i feel there are more hassles. Like having to find a better PS, quieter system and CPU fans. This all costs quiet a lot and also hard to find everywhere.
So i feel for hassle free listening CDP would be a much better choice.
 

iaudio

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Hi Unleash,
Hold firm!
Go the Flac>Dac way!
(Hows' that for help to resolve your dilemma?)
Kamal

I think he already has a notebook running flac with digital out to a DAC.
But a CDp is a Cdp! (I have vested interests! Which cdp do you have currently?Wouldnt you like a good home for it:D)
 

psychotropic

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While I agree with everything Venkat says I don't really hold such a pessimistic outlook for the redbook CD format. I have a feeling it'll survive, but mostly among audiophiles, especially the types who prefer to dump a disc into a player and play it, rather than to rip it, tag it, and run it off a computer (and i know a lot of people like this!). While I completely appreciate the arguments in favour of a computer transport, there are undeniably convenient and attractive aspects of using a disc player and there'll always be camps that prefer both. As a matter of fact, I don't see computer transports eclipsing CD players in volumes, even among audiophiles, for a few years at least, by which time there would be flawless portable music players with the convenience of an ipod, top notch DACs and clocks, 5 TB of solid state storage, and so on, and then having a PC might become even more redundant, as these would offer the clean-ness of battery power, isolation from RFI, EMI and so on.

But I guess that's the thing with crystal ball gazing.....anyone can say anything.....who knows how things will turn out :)


I will give you some arguments:

1. A modern CDP such as the Marantz 6003 or the CA 740 would have far better electronics than a old CD Player. In addition their DAC would be more advanced and would have better specifications. The new 650C, for example, uses a dual differential WM8740 24bit/ 192kHzcapable DACs that very few CD players can claim to have. In my mind it does not make much sense to buy an old CD player.

2. R&D and progress, in the future, will be on DAC and computer based sources. With a dwindling market, even esoteric manufacturers will find it difficult to justify more investment on CD players. I believe we will start less of 'entry' level players such as the 650C with that level of sophistication.

3. A Rs.1500 LiteOn CD player/writer with EAC and a good sound card, will give you a source that is exceptionally close to what a good CD player can deliver. And this source is permanent and can be used 1000s of times with the same clarity.

4. Leading companies such as even Decca have started making available high quality files for downloading. The recording of 31se December 2009 Vienna Philamoniker was available on 1st morning on Apple iTunes.

5. Many artists are waking up to multi channel music and are insisting that their new music be recorded and made available as 5.1 audio.

6. There is stiff competition in DACs and companies have started bringing down the prices and introducing superb DACs at the 500 to 1000$ range.

Cheers
 

venkatcr

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I think instead of electronics one would look for musicality in any audio equipment. If the CDP does upsampling or not would not matter if the sound is what you are looking for.

I agree, but unless you use top notch electronics parts and circuitry, a CDP is not going to be musical. That is the game many CDP manufacturers are playing today - high end capacitors, transistors, better transports etc. A PC based system makes all that redundant.

With PC's atleast i feel there are more hassles. Like having to find a better PS, quieter system and CPU fans. This all costs quiet a lot and also hard to find everywhere. So i feel for hassle free listening CDP would be a much better choice.

I am not too sure about this. In the Jan issue of Stereophile, John Atkinson actually uses a Asus Xonar XT on an ordinary PC, and gets nearly perfect sine waves. I agree on environmental noise, but modern cabinets do take care of this. My HTPC case has fans that generate less than 18dB sound. If you sit 5 feet away you may not even hear it.

A high quality HTPC that can deliver quality audio, in my mind, will cost between 100,000 to 150,000. But look at the number of songs that an unit like that can deliver. With even one TB of HD space, you are talking about 100s of thousands of songs. The cost per song will be actually negligible. And most PCs have a life time of at least 10 years before you start looking to change the MOBO, OS, or something.

With a bit of intelligent wiring or the use of a wireless system, an HTOC based system can play music across the house for you. The advantages are enormous.

Cheers
 
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venkatcr

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While I agree with everything Venkat says I don't really hold such a pessimistic outlook for the redbook CD format. I have a feeling it'll survive, but mostly among audiophiles, especially the types who prefer to dump a disc into a player and play it, rather than to rip it, tag it, and run it off a computer (and i know a lot of people like this!).

And because of this very reason, the number of manufacturers producing CDPs will dwindle and the prices will skyrocket. Look at what Ayre and Lexicon are doing in the Blu-Ray area. Picking up Oppo players and re-badging them. In CDPs, transports were in any case made by just a few - Philips, Teac etc. If the number of units sold by, let use say Cyrus, dwindled, what would he do? Sign a contract with again, let us say, CA and ask him to make a few additional units for them specifically. Either this, or just exit from the CDP market.

by which time there would be flawless portable music players with the convenience of an ipod, top notch DACs and clocks, 5 TB of solid state storage, and so on, and then having a PC might become even more redundant, as these would offer the clean-ness of battery power, isolation from RFI, EMI and so on.

All the symptoms for this are already there. New laptops do not have disk drives. Transfer speeds of a few GBPS have already been demonstrated in Wireless and USB. I am clearly seeing USB as the most prevalent transport mechanism for both audio and video. Solid state drives of 100GB have been tested in labs and are not far away from reaching the market.

While I completely appreciate the arguments in favour of a computer transport, there are undeniably convenient and attractive aspects of using a disc player and there'll always be camps that prefer both. As a matter of fact, I don't see computer transports eclipsing CD players in volumes, even among audiophiles, for a few years at least,

But I guess that's the thing with crystal ball gazing.....anyone can say anything.....who knows how things will turn out :)

Well people said the same for TTs, tape drives and the Sony Walkman. And the trends are clearly visible. A 20% drop in sale of CDs year after year. CDPs
moving away from mass marker electronic shops to speciality shops. A company like Ayre manufacturing a universal player !!!

Cheers
 
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ajinkya

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I second all that Venkat says. PC based music will be prevalent in the future, all claims of "fan noise, electrical disturbance, lower quality power supply" notwithstanding.

I just helped my friend set up a Viao handheld, Win Vista, solid state OS storage, and external music HDD based computer music system, connected to his stereo through an EMU 0404 USB using custom ASIO drivers. The sound quality is as good as his Marantz CD player could give, with the added benefits of a huge music collection at the click of his wireless mouse, via his TV screen. I do not see the reason to have a dedicated HTPC cabinet et all, if your music is mostly going to be non-critical listening sessions. Which is at least what most of my friends do, due to lack of more time, rather than lack of enjoyment for music.

-Jinx.
 

raj

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But now, I got pretty awesome deals for not just by beloved CD7 but also the excellent Sony DVP-NS999ES with Signature Truth Mods by ModWright - both used.

It's not the price I'm concerned right now (although I'll be at a later stage), but should I really be investing in a CDP again?!

Not sure where you are based out of. If you are in the US, then it may be worth while to buy either of these and see the difference yourself. If you don't think it is worth it, you can always sell it on audiogon. The ones with modwright mod should not be difficult to sell.
However, if you are in India, then it may be more difficult to get rid of if you change your mind. Of course, if the price is not something that really pinches your pocket, then why not give it a try?
 

raj

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I will give you some arguments:

1. A modern CDP such as the Marantz 6003 or the CA 740 would have far better electronics than a old CD Player. In addition their DAC would be more advanced and would have better specifications. The new 650C, for example, uses a dual differential WM8740 24bit/ 192kHzcapable DACs that very few CD players can claim to have. In my mind it does not make much sense to buy an old CD player.
I assume that you are comparing modern cdp's with similar priced older models. Otherwise, it is a questionable argument as a used Sony SCD-1 (or any other reference product) supposedly sounds better than many of the newer players (at around the same price point of the used player).

2. R&D and progress, in the future, will be on DAC and computer based sources. With a dwindling market, even esoteric manufacturers will find it difficult to justify more investment on CD players. I believe we will start to see less of 'entry' level players such as the 650C with that level of sophistication.

3. A Rs.1500 LiteOn CD player/writer with EAC and a good sound card, will give you a source that is exceptionally close to what a good CD player can deliver. And this source is permanent and can be used 1000s of times with the same clarity.

4. Leading companies such as even Decca have started making available high quality files for downloading. The recording of 31se December 2009 Vienna Philamoniker was available on 1st morning on Apple iTunes.
I think you are mixing up different market segments while making your argument. If you are saying that the future of CD players are bleak, then I tend to agree with you. But that is because of iTunes and mp3 players. Not because of people using computers as transports with dedicated DAC's. The mass market is driven by ease of use, cost and availability of music. Computer+DAC is way more complicated than a dedicated player for mass market to adopt. So, the dedicated players (in the form of BD players or whatever the latest format) would survive for a long time primarily due to movie playing. I would bet the Best buy sells more units of a single brand of DVD/BD player than Oppo's or Beresford's of the world. The music format would drift towards mp3 cutting the sale of CDs.

If you are talking about the niche market (like the members of HFV or audio asylum or audiogon), then who knows. Even vinyl may be a viable format.
5. Many artists are waking up to multi channel music and are insisting that their new music be recorded and made available as 5.1 audio.
I am not convinced about raising popularity of multi-channel music though. If it were true, then there should be a lot more SACD's/DVD-A released in the market. Other than classical music, I don't see a lot of new releases in this format.

6. There is stiff competition in DACs and companies have started bringing down the prices and introducing superb DACs at the 500 to 1000$ range.

Cheers
I see that a used Museatex Bidat DAC (may be 7-8 years old?) selling upwards of $1500-2000 in audiogon (if and when available which is very rare). Not saying that the current day DAC's in $500-1000 are not superb. But the layman in me does not understand why a used DAC from a defunct company commands a much higher price than a brand new product with warranty if newer, shinier products have better technology and thus are superior. My point is that this niche market is not so easy to predict.

The lifetime of the players that the OP was asking about is probably between 5-6 years. I don't think that CD's are going to be out of the shelves so fast. Given that the OP has already setup a PC+DAC set up, the question is if his curiosity about a product he wanted for a long time is worth the hassle of putting up with multiple formats. My guess is that only he can answer that.
 

cha_indian

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In this whole debate about PC as transport and CDP, we must not forget the standalone media players. A media player (like a Popcorn hour, EhP or WDTV) with a high end DAC might be equal to a CDP in SQ, provide usability of a computer and also consume lot less power.
 

soundsgreat

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Hi,

I will not say anything in this much said thread :D !!

But now, I got pretty awesome deals for not just by beloved CD7 but also the excellent Sony DVP-NS999ES with Signature Truth Mods by ModWright - both used.

Buddy if you decide not to venture into this then can you please let me know the prices and place where you got the offer from,Am seriously looking for a CDP and would love to checkout especially the Sony !!

Regards.
 

prem

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Hi Unleash_Me


I would suggest go with the Marantz CD7. Its extremely musical. Also its very well built and reliable. Write to Marantz and check just in case something goes wrong with the CD7, will they be able to provide spare parts? Some of the older cd players are way way better built then the newer ones and surprisingly they also sound better.
 

venkatcr

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I assume that you are comparing modern cdp's with similar priced older models. Otherwise, it is a questionable argument as a used Sony SCD-1 (or any other reference product) supposedly sounds better than many of the newer players (at around the same price point of the used player).

All comparisons have always to be on the same price point. Yes, if you take a new CDP costing say 25K, a 5 year old CDP costing 100K will obviously sound better. But I also think the gap is becoming smaller. It has already happened in DVD Players and even Blu-Ray players. Something like a BD-83 seems so good that other companies do not know what to do.

I think you are mixing up different market segments while making your argument. If you are saying that the future of CD players are bleak, then I tend to agree with you. But that is because of iTunes and mp3 players. Not because of people using computers as transports with dedicated DAC's. The mass market is driven by ease of use, cost and availability of music. Computer+DAC is way more complicated than a dedicated player for mass market to adopt. So, the dedicated players (in the form of BD players or whatever the latest format) would survive for a long time primarily due to movie playing. I would bet the Best buy sells more units of a single brand of DVD/BD player than Oppo's or Beresford's of the world. The music format would drift towards mp3 cutting the sale of CDs.

If you are talking about the niche market (like the members of HFV or audio asylum or audiogon), then who knows. Even vinyl may be a viable format.

Audiophiles have a habit of sticking to old ideas and resisting change. They are afraid of trying something new, fearing they will lose something they are so comfortable with. Yes, the trend is set my mass market needs, but the trend does continue forward and force even audiophiles to change. How long can you stick to a TT and spend 1000 for each album, when you can get the same quality of music from a FLAC file for 100 Rs.? High end companies have started introducing high end music servers.

You may see the resurgence of LPs but I think this is the owners laughing all the way to the bank. If there is a set of 'audiophiles' who are ready to pay 10 times the price for a CD or FLAC equivalent, why the hell not make some money out of it till such a market lasts.

Availability of music has changed dramatically with the advent of the Net. Today there is not a single album that is not available on the Net in both MP3 and other formats. And, I am not even talking about the illegal avenues.

Music producers have to understand the following:

1. Literally every audiophile will have some sort of hard disk, a CPU and some software. Thus nearly 50 to 60% of what is needed to store and deliver music is already there.

2. One of the greatest advantages of the computer industry is the capacity to deliver a 90% product at 10% of the price. If a Cardeluxe is sold at $800, it does not take long for an Asus to come with a 200$ card that beats the hell out of the Cardeluxe. If companies such as Asus see the market potential, believe me, none of your Lexicon and Ayres can compete. Potentially, a company such as Asus can create a high end music server as they have more knowledge and experience in the computer industry that constitutes 95% of the music server.

I am not convinced about raising popularity of multi-channel music though. If it were true, then there should be a lot more SACD's/DVD-A released in the market. Other than classical music, I don't see a lot of new releases in this format.

I see this, again, as a resistance to change. Today 5.1 recordings of Police, Sting, Diana Krall, Santana, Boyz II Men, Eagles, Steve Miller Band, and Moody Blues have started coming into the market. Even the evergreen Hotel California is being remixed in 5.1. Agreed it is a bit more difficult and expensive to lay your hands on these. Compared to an iPod and simple 2-in-1 stereo system, a 5.1 hardware has a smaller market. But once HTiBs and less expensive receivers take hold, the trend will change. Take a look at HFV itself. There are more threads on HT systems and it's related hardware/software than on stereo music.

I see that a used Museatex Bidat DAC (may be 7-8 years old?) selling upwards of $1500-2000 in audiogon (if and when available which is very rare). Not saying that the current day DAC's in $500-1000 are not superb. But the layman in me does not understand why a used DAC from a defunct company commands a much higher price than a brand new product with warranty if newer, shinier products have better technology and thus are superior. My point is that this niche market is not so easy to predict.

I think audiophiles are like collectors. They think a Rembrandt can be made only once in a lifetime and they keep lusting after that. They fail to understand that, in electronics, modern artists have better paints and more sophisticated brushes. Rembrandt's hand become meaningless. A magazine such as Stereophile which would look at products costing less than $10,000 with contempt has been forced by the market to give a complete cover page to a 200$ product. And there are reviewers using the DaCMagic as their reference !!

The lifetime of the players that the OP was asking about is probably between 5-6 years. I don't think that CD's are going to be out of the shelves so fast. Given that the OP has already setup a PC+DAC set up, the question is if his curiosity about a product he wanted for a long time is worth the hassle of putting up with multiple formats. My guess is that only he can answer that.

I agree on both points and that, ultimately, only the OP can decide. I am just trying to understand myself and help other see where the future lies. But, my friend, you must understand that CDPs are already out of the shelves. You will not find a CDP unless you go to a speciality audio shop. And many of us have already experienced the the look of utter surprise when we asked for a CDP from shop assistants. 'A CDP, what is that Sir?'

Cheers
 
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unleash_me

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Thank you all for your kind responses.

Hey Unleash,
Should u be investing in a cdp again?? IMO ABSOLUTELY.
I cant do without a CDP for sure.
Rgds

Couldn't expect any less from you my friend. Trust me am tempted!

Hi Unleash,
Hold firm!
Go the Flac>Dac way!
(Hows' that for help to resolve your dilemma?)
Kamal

As iaudio mentioned, I'm already doing it Kamal. I've been using different CDPs for the last 15 years or so and with that experience in hand, I must say I really like the PC/DAC route. If not anything, its simply much more convenient.

what does your heart tell you? ;)
My heart is telling me to re-consider the CDP route.

It depends on what kind of a listener you are and how many CDs you have.
If you like mixtape-style listening, a CDP is really pointless.
If you listen to your music one album at a time, then a CDP (or transport+DAC) is the way to go.
It's all about the music :)

Cranky, I'm a bit of both in a way. I do have countless number of CDs collected over the years. Most of the time only few tracks from a CD appeals to me after the initial excitement has settled. So eventually I end up buying 'Best of' or similar collections that cover my favorite tracks of the artist.

I also agree with Dinyaar but then it boils down to personal preferences.
For me a CDP would be the choice if given to choose between a CDP and PC+DAC setup
And more lucrative thing is that you are getting a CDP which you wanted since long
All the best in making the choice :)

Having been used to both, its a tough call when it comes to which one is better. Both have their merits.

I will give you some arguments:
1. A modern CDP such as the Marantz 6003 or the CA 740 would have far better electronics than a old CD Player. In addition their DAC would be more
advanced and would have better specifications. The new 650C, for example, uses a dual differential WM8740 24bit/ 192kHzcapable DACs that very few CD
players can claim to have. In my mind it does not make much sense to buy an old CD player.

While I'd like to agree with you on that on a generic way, gems like the CD7 or NS999ESModWright are hard to come by.

I think he already has a notebook running flac with digital out to a DAC.
But a CDp is a Cdp! (I have vested interests! Which cdp do you have currently?Wouldnt you like a good home for it:D)

You are right iaudio. I moved to PC source almost completely sometime back. I don't have a CDP now. The one I owned earlier was a 15S1 combo from Marantz.

Not sure where you are based out of. If you are in the US, then it may be worth while to buy either of these and see the difference yourself. If you don't think it is worth it, you can always sell it on audiogon. The ones with modwright mod should not be difficult to sell.
However, if you are in India, then it may be more difficult to get rid of if you change your mind. Of course, if the price is not something that really pinches your pocket, then why not give it a try?

Thanks to my job, I get to travel around a lot so buying is not an issue per say. As much as I would like to embrace it, I'm still skeptical about buying high value used products over the net. But am sure reputed sites like audiogon should be fine. Will definitely explore that option.

In this whole debate about PC as transport and CDP, we must not forget the standalone media players. A media player (like a Popcorn hour, EhP or WDTV) with a high end DAC might be equal to a CDP in SQ, provide usability of a computer and also consume lot less power.

May be you are right, this could be the future of media entertainment where everything converges to a convenient little box. But for the time being, I find it difficult to even compare a dedicated hifi setup to a media player like the ones mentioned. Don't get me wrong here, 'madbulram' here did some excellent comparative tests recently and I believe the outcomes were no different.
 
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