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JamesPart's picture
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CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Hello What Hi-Fi community,

I am looking to purchase a CD player unit to complete my stereo setup.

For the last year or so I have been playing all my music through my computer (Asus Essence ST soundcard) to my Rotel 1520, but I think it's about time I purchased a proper stand alone CD player.

All I am looking for are some suggestions to what you think will go well with my system, just so I know where to start and look.

My system:

Rotel RA-1520

B&W 685's

Partington Super Dreadnought's

QED Silver Anniversary XT

Do you think it will be a huge difference changing from my decent soundcard to a decent stand alone CD player?
My budget is around £800-£1000.

I am looking forward to your suggestions, thanks in advance.

James P

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Would the Audiolab 8200CD be a good match?

Or would perhaps the Marantz CD6004 be better?

 

I wanted to go with a Rotel unit but it seems the Rotel CD units are far inferior according to the reviews.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Depends on your budget, but Arcam go very well with Rotel. Also look at Roksan Kandy, Creek Evo, Rotel's own RCD 1520...

I suggest you get a dem on available brands and decide.

Good luck, PP.

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Depends on how much you want to spend, personally once I started using a computer intoa DAC as a source I found I used a CD player less and less. My suggestion is that you audition a few DACs like the Rega and the Arcam and compare it to something like the Rega Apollo R.

If you think the Rega DAC is as good as the Apollo then for mine, the DAC makes better practical sense.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Hi JamesPart

I'll recommend Rega's Apollo-R. I feel the Apollo-R with its rich, full bodied and flowing sound will help the Apollo-R to balance the RA-1520's upfront and start stop presentation.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Personally I wouldn’t go spending that sort of money on a CDP these days unless it had inputs too to utilise its DAC for other sources. I would be tempted to look at a DAC and a cheap CDP to use as a transport.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

MUSICRAFT wrote:

Hi JamesPart

I'll recommend Rega's Apollo-R. I feel the Apollo-R with its rich, full bodied and flowing sound will help the Apollo-R to balance the RA-1520's upfront and start stop presentation.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft

How does the Apollo-R improve over the original? Loved the Apollo I heard, little more open and detailed than my CD73T. However, it was decided, collectively, the Arcam just had a touch more smoothness to the presentation. 

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Hm you guys have kind of convinced me to go with an external DAC rather than a CD unit, it just seems a shame for all my CD's to go to waste, I love downloading the albums then purchasing the CD's later on just to have that physical piece of music and artwork to go with it.

I currently use the Asus Essence ST soundcard which apparently doesn't have that bad of a DAC built in anyway, but surely it can't be better than a dedicated external DAC unit so I think I'll go down that route now, especially since I've had my Asus Essence ST for years and years now and I fancy an upgrade.

I just have a few questions:

• How do you usually connect your computer to your DAC, I have a optical output on my motherboard, is that an option?

•Would the DAC basically make my soundcard useless and bypass it completely? (I could still use it for my heapdhones as it has a built-in headphone amp

•Any decent DAC matches to go with my Rotel/B&W setup?

 

I really appreciate all the help guys, thanks in advance.

 

Jimmy P

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Hm just been doing some research and have found out that my soundcard has something called 'S/PDIF out'?

I'm not really quite sure if I'm correct here but would this allow me to export my audio from my computer while bypassing the onboard DAC and using an external DAC? Would this be better than using an optical cable/usb from my computer to external DAC.

I'm a little confused!

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

Done quite abit of research this afternoon, my currents thoughts are maybe getting a Rega DAC or Audiolab M-DAC. Not too sure yet.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

If you are considering the Audiolab DAC at £600, then you may as well get the CD version at £850, as that has digital inputs to take a feed straight from your computer. That will give you far better CD replay than using the computer's CD drive.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

I've already booked the Audiolab M-DAC for home demo, does the CD player have the same sound and featuresas the DAC?

Is the only difference that it has the CD built into it too basically?

Thanks in advance.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

From the review at :

http://www.whathifi.com/review/audiolab-8200cd

....''In fact, the product's designer describes the 8200CD as a high-quality DAC with a built-in disc drive, and while that might sound like an odd way of looking at it, the player's performance bears the claim out: a WAV file fed from a laptop sounds very close to the same track played from CD.''

Awards 2012 - Product of the Year in the CD category. I don't have one, nor have I heard one, but they come very highly rated. The important thing is that you listen and do what is best for you. I think you are heading down the right path.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

plastic penguin wrote:

Depends on your budget, but Arcam go very well with Rotel. 

Came in to say this, but then noticed you're now thinking of going the DAC route. Starting again now I'd go for DAC and amp myself. Some DACs have asynchronous USB connections which would be worth using, but I would use the the optical out.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

I was going to suggest that switching from computer playback to a dedicated CD seems to be swimming against the tide. But others have already, and you seem open to the suggestion.

I'll (politely) beg to differ with the previous poster and suggest USB as the easiest way to connect, as long as it's an asynch connection, which essentially reduces jitter. Many (if not most) USB DAC's are now asynch; it's certainly flavour of the month but this does seem to be based on solid engineering rather than fashion.

I myself used an Arcam rDac, which I feel punches well above its weight at around £300. I don't however have experience of the others that have been suggested. So do listen to some alternatives, and don't assume a dearer DAC is necessarily better. The Arcam benefits from an upgraded power supply by the way - £20 from Maplins, let me know if you want the detail.

The other thing to consider is optimising the environment on your PC. This will depend on which music server software you use - iTunes, JRiver etc. But careful attention here can pay real dividends, probably outsripping the differences between £300 and £500 DACs. The good news is it is relatively inexpensive; using ASIO or WASAPI and the like. Even JRiver media player is only around £30, and considered to be of audiophile quality by many (inc Chris Connaker at Computer Audiophile). I myself use Audivarna on my Mac Mini, which is slightly preferable to Pure Music. Bottom line is that it's worth playing around with these aspects; whatever you do it should give better sound than a non-optimised computer.

Finally, keep buying the CD's! I do, rip them to the NAS, then put them in the bookcase where they add a certain ambience to my room. Even better, try them on Spotify first to avoid those impluse purchases that cost you money.

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RE: CD Player Suggestions - Rotel/B&W Setup

philipjohnwright wrote:

I was going to suggest that switching from computer playback to a dedicated CD seems to be swimming against the tide. But others have already, and you seem open to the suggestion.

I'll (politely) beg to differ with the previous poster and suggest USB as the easiest way to connect, as long as it's an asynch connection, which essentially reduces jitter. Many (if not most) USB DAC's are now asynch; it's certainly flavour of the month but this does seem to be based on solid engineering rather than fashion.

Definitely. If it is asynchronous (and engineered to eliminate the electronice noise from the PC environment) it should, in theory, be better than optical. The great thing is that with most DACs, like the rDac, you can try out all connection methods and decide whether there is a difference. 

 

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