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In Reply to: Suggestions for digital player upgrade? posted by Steve W. on November 19, 2006 at 18:49:00:
I have had 2 dedicated SACD players, neither of them cheap, and a number of different Redbook players, both one and two-box. From this experience I think it is true that SACD really has little over conventional CD when the Redbook playback is top-notch. I would say put your money into better CD playback as well.
The DAC idea is an interesting one, and will teach you more than if you just replace your Planet with a new one-box player. If you go that route, make sure your digital interconnect is 1.5m long. The Apogee Wyde Eye is a very good entry-level choice.
I havn't kept up with advancements in redbook players. I'm really wondering at what price point (or what players) would I begin to see improvements over the Rega Planet. In other words, the Rega cost near $700 in 1998--is the technology in the Rega now available at lower price points so that real improvements can be has say in the $1000 price range? The last time I had any discussion about redbook technology was with a dealer a few years ago who suggested that an expenditure of $2000 on a something like a Meridian redbook player would be necessary to get playback approximating my NAD 533/Grado turntable. Some Linn products were also mentioned.
The same dealer didn't encourage the outbourd DAC option suggesting that simply inserting a different DAC wouldn't necessarily mean improvemnent in that component matching would be an issue--at the time I think they had a used MSB DAC I wanted to try.
I guess the bottom line here is that I'm assuming technology has improved and an upgrade of some kind is in order. My budget is in the $1000 range. The DAC option sounds like an intersting solution to me also.
If you were considering either players of DAC's what would you look at in the $1000 range--or would forgo that price point and start at the $1500 - $2000 price point?
My other equipment consists of an Audio Refinement Complete integrated amp, Paradigm Studio 20 speakers, Kimber cables.
If youíve not been out shopping in a while, my suggestions is to start low. Iím not sure what the current hot models are, but cheap (~200) consumer products (Panasonic S47, Toshiba SD-3950, Denon 3910) have surpassed many of yesterdays darlings. Each generation seems to be getting better, less expensive, but less durable.
If your old player still works, the transport maybe more reliable than the newer stuff esp anything using a computer cd-drive...go for a DAC.
I have a JAS Audio Musik 1.2 tubed CDP and it is turning out very well, with lots of detail and depth, nice timbres, plenty of rhythm and minimal digital artifacts. It's right around the price range you mention, but I don't know about availability in the States (I'm in Montreal).
As for DACs... a pal of mine has changed his Ack! DAC for a Taiwan-made Constantine unit and this Monday he demoed it for me. Paired with my TEAC VRDS T1 transport it was very sweet. It was not so sweet with a Sony DVD player as digital source, so transport quality makes an appreciable difference.
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