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Zakasia's picture
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Joined: 19/10/2009 - 21:08
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DAC or new CD player?

I have a Cambridge Audio Azure CD player that has decide to die, I was happy with the sound and have had it for around 8 years, it was purchased as a replacement of my Marantz CD52 MII SE and it does or did sound better, just been in my attic and retrieved my old Marantz 20 years old still looks like new and works well, sound ok too but not as detailed as the Cambridge Audio. The big question is do I resurrect the Marants and buy a DAC or do I purchase a new CD player, however after trawling the net I see that people are buying DAC's for new award winning players but surely if an old player has a good transport and is connected to the same DAC the same quality would be archived, if this is the case then money spent on a DAC is the way forward ??? 

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RE: DAC or new CD player?

Zakasia wrote:

I have a Cambridge Audio Azure CD player that has decide to die, I was happy with the sound and have had it for around 8 years, it was purchased as a replacement of my Marantz CD52 MII SE and it does or did sound better, just been in my attic and retrieved my old Marantz 20 years old still looks like new and works well, sound ok too but not as detailed as the Cambridge Audio. The big question is do I resurrect the Marants and buy a DAC or do I purchase a new CD player, however after trawling the net I see that people are buying DAC's for new award winning players but surely if an old player has a good transport and is connected to the same DAC the same quality would be archived, if this is the case then money spent on a DAC is the way forward ??? 

A lot depends on budget and what else you want to use the DAC for. There are a variety of DACs at different prices and with different functionality.

A bit of equipment that is only a DAC is a one trick pony, but if that's all you need, your budget need not be so great as for a multifunction device, such as the DACMagic Plus from Cambridge Audio.

Whatever equipment you plug into the DAC would take on the sound characteristics of that DAC. A twenty year old CD player may well benefit from a more modern and capable DAC, but I wouldn't recommend buying a dedicated CD player when there are several good universal players available.

Zakasia's picture
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RE: DAC or new CD player?

Cheers for your reply Overdose, you have got me thinking if I went down the DAC route I could connect my Pioneer F51 bluray player that I don't use for films anymore as I prefer my Panasonic's picture quality, but the Pioneers so slow to load up maybe not (use as cd drive?) I would though connect my PS3 as I use that to play music from my NAS drive and maybe my old Marantz CD player too unless you think the Pioneer is a better alternative. I have looked at the DAC Magic plus but also seen the Arcam rDac on half price as its due to be replaced, for £199 with coaxial and optical in plus wifi + USB is more than enough connections. If I was to get the Arcam then would my music take on the character of this brand and be better than my possible sources without a DAC?

Overdose's picture
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RE: DAC or new CD player?

Whatever signal that goes into a DAC will be digital and on a like for like basis, will be the same as any other transport of the type, therefore whatever character the DAC has will be imparted to the music.

Keeping this in context though, I don't believe that there are huge differences in the sound from digital sources in the first place, the technology is not so complicated and the components are rather cheap, so to be able to do a competent job in creating a DAC does not take too much time or money.

The Arcam DAC would work, as would the Beresford Bushmaster at a similar price, but the latter also has a headphone amp and could be used as a pre amp if needed.

One interesting product to investigate, might be the Matrix mini-i DAC, it is around £250, but you get a lot for your money.

The CA DACmagic is another possibility at a similar price as the first two mentioned. I'm sure there are others, but don't currently have a need for a DAC so I am perhaps a little out of touch with all that is available.

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