an ancient cd player vs a modern day dac....the surprising conclusion
I just want to share my experience comparing my Marantz CD 63 MK 2 KI vs my DacMagic connected to the cd player.
Let me first say that the differences were far more subtle when I burned a cd from itunes from 320kbps mp3s. However it was when I played a Dire Straits CD that the differences became clear. The Marantz appears more weighty, the soundstage is more focused and backward and forward soundstaging is far more clearer. It seemed like I was sitting in center stage.
The Dac Magic sounded thinner, the bass weight just wasn't there. The detail levels are about the same and is too close to call. Interestingly, I could hear more differences between the DacMagic's individual filters than I had heard before with any other source. I chose the min filter if anyone is interested. The soundstage was wider though not as hollowgraphic.
There are pros and cons to both and I think individual tastes would be the deciding factor. The Dac Magic sounds more modern I suppose for people growing up with mp3s, the Marantz sounds more analogue.
The conclusion, you can't always improve on a cdp just by adding a dac, in many cases like this I suppose you can make matters worse. Interestingly, I felt connecting a DacMagic to a Marantz 5004 (a much newer cdp), improved the 5004's sound by a huge margin. We are all learning about hi-fi everyday and today I have learned that I would rather get a new cd player than add a dac to it if I want a truly big upgrade.
Just thought I'd share my honest view, hope someone else gets to gain from it. Your views may differ and I welcome your comments/criticism and please share your experience here.
Keep on listening,Shafin