Guidance please . . .

CJSF

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Hi all . . . I'm looking to do the deed soon . . . Swap the venerable Rotel 820 for a new intigrated amp . . . quite what that will be is still a little bit of a ???? . . . although it looks like the new Rega Brio and Crofts Valve/Fet hybrid will be front runners? . . . denoting my price bracket. Aranged a listening session at the end of September, long way off, however I have things to do to my music room/study befor and my friendly dealer is on holiday, so its the best time for both, I'm in no hurry, waited 15+ years so a few more weeks is nothing. The question is regards DAC . . . curently I use the computer as my source, CD's, Spotify etc. The plan is to keep the computer for down loads, I have a DCA between computer and amp. The plan is to go direct to the Amp with a CD player, yet to choose which one? The idea is best quality sound . . . old fashon thinking :? I presume CD players have on board DCA?? or do they need/benefit from an in line DCA? Or is it better to go through the computer with the CD player via a USB??? I have to admit I'm listening at the moment to a CD on the computer transport, compared to what I get from Spotify, its priety dam good, IMHO. As I dont yet have a dedicated CD, I cant make any comparisons? Sorry for my simplicity on the matter, I dont understand new fangled computer stuff . . . I fear a loss of ultimate sound quality by going that rout? 'ultimate' in term of getting the best from what I 'will' have. Unfortunatly my dealer is also lives in the year dot, specialising in 'how it used to be type sound' like me, he is an old type audiofile, even older than I am :D We have known each other since 1980, one of my early hi fi mentors. CJSF
 
First question you need to ask yourself is: Do I like the Rotel sound? if the answer is 'yes' then look at RA-05SE (or 04SE if you don't need a remote). If 'no' and you want to move away totally from the Rotel presentation, then look at, depending on speakers, consider Marantz, Cambridge 650. If you can move up the price bracket look at Creek Evo2, Audio Analogue Crescendo, Arcam A18 (last three are around £600-£650 mark). For that money, however, the Leema Pulse is being sold for £599 @ Sevenoaks, Brighton.

As far as DACs are concerned I have very limited (to one) experience. To my ears budget DACs, compared to budget CDPs, are slightly crisper, but whether you feel it's worth the extra investment or not is something only you can answer.

Go and audition a few different combos and see where that takes you. Sorry can't be more help but it's so subjective.
 

chebby

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CJSF said:
... although it looks like the new Rega Brio and Crofts Valve/Fet hybrid will be front runners? . . . denoting my price bracket.

Ok let me just stand on your left shoulder and throw in a pure class A valve amp of the 'old school' (no hybrid or FETS, just valves) to tempt you...

http://www.whathifi.com/news/icon-audio-revives-the-spirit-of-leak

http://www.iconaudio.com/portfolio-item/stereo-20-pp/

It costs about the same as the Rega Brio-R at £500 and is based on a 1955 Leak design.

Going by this and previous posts and comments you have made, you are - frankly - all over the place regarding DACs and computers/streaming/wireless etc. etc... and I foresee you having a thoroughly miserable time with it all!

Get what you know you are going to be happy using - a dedicated CD player - that will not require virtually 'living' on this forum to sort out conflicting advice on DACs and optical vs USB connections and which format to rip stuff in, and settings on your computer, and... and ... and...

Again. Get a CD player. If it has the facility to use it as a DAC too, then great, you can still do all that computer stuff later when you are ready.

I hear the latest Marantz CD6004 CD player will have the facility to use it as a DAC too.
 

CJSF

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chebby said:
CJSF said:
... although it looks like the new Rega Brio and Crofts Valve/Fet hybrid will be front runners? . . . denoting my price bracket.

Ok let me just stand on your left shoulder and throw in a pure class A valve amp of the 'old school' (no hybrid or FETS, just valves) to tempt you...

http://www.whathifi.com/news/icon-audio-revives-the-spirit-of-leak

http://www.iconaudio.com/portfolio-item/stereo-20-pp/

It costs about the same as the Rega Brio-R at £500 and is based on a 1955 Leak design.

Going by this and previous posts and comments you have made, you are - frankly - all over the place regarding DACs and computers/streaming/wireless etc. etc... and I foresee you having a thoroughly miserable time with it all!

Get what you know you are going to be happy using - a dedicated CD player - that will not require virtually 'living' on this forum to sort out conflicting advice on DACs and optical vs USB connections and which format to rip stuff in, and settings on your computer, and... and ... and...

Again. Get a CD player. If it has the facility to use it as a DAC too, then great, you can still do all that computer stuff later when you are ready.

I hear the latest Marantz CD6004 CD player will have the facility to use it as a DAC too.

Hi Chebby . . . 'all over the place re computer streaming, wireless, etc'? . . . you are not wrong mate . . . I aint got a clue . . . I want it like it was please:? Give me a Linn turntable, tone arm and moving coil cartridge, I'll have them singing as sweet as a nut in an hour or so, if I still had the 2000 LP record collection to go with it:cry: . . . I think I've just about got hold of DAC from computer to amp, but where the rest fits . . . double duch to me :wall: All we want, is to sit and listen to a few CD's, indulge in some 'quality' downloads, with a cup of tea, no telly, afraid modern programs, especialy 'reality' are not to our liking. Pehaps have a scan through the weeks iPlayer, pick out a few things to our liking when we do fancy a bit of TV, a film, costume drama, David Attenbrough, motor racing, boring and predictable I'm afraid . . .?

One gets the idea CD players do not need a seperate DAC???

So, one is happy to do it the old fashoned way, thanks for the link, I'll follow them up. Afraid us old'uns are left behind, but we do enjoy our music with a bit of knob twidling. One feels like the new stuff is like the old VHF player used to be, give it to the grand children, they got them up and running . . . :D

I'm feeling like a 'Vintage car enthusiast' . . . do it the old way, with spaners and a screwdriver, dare not even lift the bonet of a modern car . . . :O

CJSF
 

Mr Morph

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Oh hell CJ, I don't even use a PC in my system, so you look bang up to date compared to me!

If I was in your position, I'd be looking to base a system around a DAC, because of one primary reason, consistancy. Are you going to be happy listening to the varying sound quality of different sources? A DAC will allow you to connect up your PC, CD, etc... and get a consistant sound from each. It makes sense to find a DAC you really like, and then plug all of your sources into it. If you don't have a dedicated transport, then you could get something like the Audiolab 8200CD and hook your other sources into it.

And I agree with you, the 'telly' is awful nowadays!
 

CJSF

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Mr Morph said:
Oh hell CJ, I don't even use a PC in my system, so you look bang up to date compared to me!

If I was in your position, I'd be looking to base a system around a DAC, because of one primary reason, consistancy. Are you going to be happy listening to the varying sound quality of different sources? A DAC will allow you to connect up your PC, CD, etc... and get a consistant sound from each. It makes sense to find a DAC you really like, and then plug all of your sources into it. If you don't have a dedicated transport, then you could get something like the Audiolab 8200CD and hook your other sources into it.

And I agree with you, the 'telly' is awful nowadays!

Hi Mr Morph . . . Sadly, I get very confused these days?? I know it but cant seem to do much to change it . . . dont have a circle of friends like I used to. We used to chew the fat for hours in-between listening to music and drinking tea. I go into a 'hi fi shop', talk to some spotty youth, he dont have a clue about proper 'music' . . . all he knows is numbers, speeds, loud, base . . . I did a listening test in such a emporium a few weeks ago, I ended up doing the the test, the sales man was 'chin on floor' . . . "I did not know music could sound like that" he said. Seems to me the, criteria these days; knobs and whistles, wifi, streaming and down loads . . . very rare does one see a recommendation of 'trust your ears, enjoy'.

I cant even rely on my friendly, old style Hi Fi dealer as he is many miles away, we are from the same generation, its like the blind leading the blind when we get to computer based equipment?

However, after much thought, key punching, head banging and some midnight oil burning . . . I think I have some of it sussed . . . computer for quality down loads to CD, Spotify for selected old titles that are unavailable else where, Radio, especially 4+, all through a dedicated single input DAC, thats as it is now.

Having searched, asked and puzzled, it seems the Rega Apollo CD player, is musically head and shoulders over the opposition, OK, all it does is play CDs, but thats all I want . . . into £500-£1000 worth of new amp, to be decided soon.

What I have not worked out, do some DAC's have multiple wire type inputs, reviews dont seem to stat this, or I'm not technically savvy to work it out . . . and thats where I get all at sea!!! The new generation seem to take so much 'basic understanding for granted' . . . us old'uns dont know, what or how:wall:

CJS
 

Mr Morph

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CJSF said:
What I have not worked out, do some DAC's have multiple wire type inputs, reviews dont seem to stat this, or I'm not technically savvy to work it out . . . and thats where I get all at sea!!! The new generation seem to take so much 'basic understanding for granted' . . . us old'uns dont know, what or how:wall:

CJS

Yes it can be confusing. When I picked up the Denon down at Richer Sounds we got onto the subject of DAC’s. And the sales guy was doing his best to sell me the current DacMagic (no way I’m getting rid of my old one!). Despite the fact that in theory it has no less than five digital inputs (two electrical coaxs, two opticals, and one USB). Which appears at first glance to be able to take five sources… until you realise that the each ‘audio input’ takes an ‘optical’ OR ‘electrical’ connection. So it can only be used with a maximum of 3 sources. So that killed that stone dead before it started, as I’m already using 3 digital sources, CD, MD, DAB. So you really have to do some research to find out what you are getting nowadays.

Anyway, I’m in no real hurry to embrace the download era, as most of my listening these days is done via the tuner, albeit channelled through my DAC. If I hear something I like, I’ll pop out and pick up the CD.

Besides, I like having a CDP that weighs a ton, and sounds like the ‘sliding doors’ from Star Trek every time you load a disc. I like my old dual mono DAC, which puts out a soundstage much wider than my other sources can muster. I like my old amp which ‘snaps and creaks’ as it warms up the copper plate, and my vintage double baffle speakers which still make my jaw drop occasionally. But I’m sure all of this makes me out to be a grade one Dinosaur. If anyone wants me, you’ll find me down in ‘Loch Ness’!
 

CJSF

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Mr Morph said:
CJSF said:
What I have not worked out, do some DAC's have multiple wire type inputs, reviews dont seem to stat this, or I'm not technically savvy to work it out . . . and thats where I get all at sea!!! The new generation seem to take so much 'basic understanding for granted' . . . us old'uns dont know, what or how:wall:

CJS

Yes it can be confusing. When I picked up the Denon down at Richer Sounds we got onto the subject of DAC’s. And the sales guy was doing his best to sell me the current DacMagic (no way I’m getting rid of my old one!). Despite the fact that in theory it has no less than five digital inputs (two electrical coaxs, two opticals, and one USB). Which appears at first glance to be able to take five sources… until you realise that the each ‘audio input’ takes an ‘optical’ OR ‘electrical’ connection. So it can only be used with a maximum of 3 sources. So that killed that stone dead before it started, as I’m already using 3 digital sources, CD, MD, DAB. So you really have to do some research to find out what you are getting nowadays.

Anyway, I’m in no real hurry to embrace the download era, as most of my listening these days is done via the tuner, albeit channelled through my DAC. If I hear something I like, I’ll pop out and pick up the CD.

Besides, I like having a CDP that weighs a ton, and sounds like the ‘sliding doors’ from Star Trek every time you load a disc. I like my old dual mono DAC, which puts out a soundstage much wider than my other sources can muster. I like my old amp which ‘snaps and creaks’ as it warms up the copper plate, and my vintage double baffle speakers which still make my jaw drop occasionally. But I’m sure all of this makes me out to be a grade one Dinosaur. If anyone wants me, you’ll find me down in ‘Loch Ness’!

Mmm . . . Two Dinosaurs, the naturalists will be getting excited . . . :twisted: sounds like we are of like minds? have just had a long conversation with my Hazel, boils down to 'we are in no hurry' . . . compared with the curent ancient Rotel 820, the Brio is going to do the business, which puts the Croft out of the picture? . . . the speakers are to stay and for a CD player, I could do worse than the Rega Apollo.

What I am fighting is my 'audio file roots', it would be so easy to throw money at the problem. We want to relax and listen to music for its own sake, 20-25 years ago I was in the thick of valve amps, hifi shows, fancy cables and the constant, 'mine is better than yours' banter between the major manufacturers and small fry that kept coming up and biting their heals.

One has no desire to upgrade, even in the heady days of 'yesteryear' . . . upgrading was not a rout I considered, it was all about tweaking, cables, speaker stands, cartridge and arm height . . . basics stayed unchanged, I had a sound I liked, but could I get a better sound stage, tighter base, more detail, we got it down to fractions . . . no more thank you, I'd rather go and tend my tomatoes!

I understand now that some DAC's have more than one input, with different options, how they work, which one is best, all at sea again??? The on board DAC in the Rega Apollo CDP by all accounts, is pretty good, so I think that is my first option, if I'm happy with the sound quality, why change for the sake of it? I suppose I could try my HRT DAC if I get the right cables? . . . there you go, I'm off into the 'make it better mode' . . . its time for a cuppa.

CJSF
 

Mr Morph

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CJSF said:
What I am fighting is my 'audio file roots', it would be so easy to throw money at the problem. We want to relax and listen to music for its own sake, 20-25 years ago I was in the thick of valve amps, hifi shows, fancy cables and the constant, 'mine is better than yours' banter between the major manufacturers and small fry that kept coming up and biting their heals.

The manufacturers never convinced me with that kind of hype. Mainly because both my neighbours are professional musicians! If I didn’t have the luxury of that ‘reference system’, I probably would have got caught in the same trap of unending upgrade-itis?

And I notice ‘Audiophile’ is a relative term to where you are in history. For instance, back in the 80’s if you didn’t have a CD transport that had a gravitational mass greater than the Moon, and a DAC that wasn’t powered by at least two transformers… you simply weren’t playing ‘the game’.

At the end of the day however, if a system manages to put a smile on your face, that appears to worth a lot more than the never ending hype that this ridiculous hobby generates. Let us know how you get on when you’ve got it up and running.
 

CJSF

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Mr Morph said:
CJSF said:
What I am fighting is my 'audio file roots', it would be so easy to throw money at the problem. We want to relax and listen to music for its own sake, 20-25 years ago I was in the thick of valve amps, hifi shows, fancy cables and the constant, 'mine is better than yours' banter between the major manufacturers and small fry that kept coming up and biting their heals.

The manufacturers never convinced me with that kind of hype. Mainly because both my neighbours are professional musicians! If I didn’t have the luxury of that ‘reference system’, I probably would have got caught in the same trap of unending upgrade-itis?

And I notice ‘Audiophile’ is a relative term to where you are in history. For instance, back in the 80’s if you didn’t have a CD transport that had a gravitational mass greater than the Moon, and a DAC that wasn’t powered by at least two transformers… you simply weren’t playing ‘the game’.

At the end of the day however, if a system manages to put a smile on your face, that appears to worth a lot more than the never ending hype that this ridiculous hobby generates. Let us know how you get on when you’ve got it up and running.

You know what 'Morph' . . . I've been doing a lot of listening recently, you know, sitting taping away at the keys, music playing . . . type listening . . . I'm almost convinced that the 'venerable' Rotel 820 (bought for my Father 1990) + modern PC, CD transport . . . is doing just that job, putting a smile on my face :type: One starts to wonder, I can feel the cringing coming from Forum members . . . but it is working well, although I only have my 20 year old memories to go on . . . :?

Time will tell

CJSF
 

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