Is there something wrong with my Leema Antila CDP?

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Hi everyone, A few months ago I purchased a second hand Leema Antila (older version, version 1) CD player. I am using it with my Naim XS and Neat Motive 2s. I am using the RCA analogue out of the Antila straight to my Naim, using Chord Cobra Plus interconnect. I have replaced the stock power cord of the Antila with the Chord Superscreen, which improved it a bit. It is connected direct to the wall socket. Of course when I bought the CDP, I was quite happy with the SQ. About a week ago, I started comparing the SQ of the Antila with that of my very recently acquired Audiolab MDAC. I prefer the SQ from the MDAC to the Antila CDP (the MDAC is connected also by RCA to the Naim XS, using the same interconnect) I am starting to suspect something is wrong with my CD player. For this class of CDP (original price GBP 2,500 and 5 star rated) , I think I am entitled to expect a better show versus the MDAC. Can a CDP degrade over time? Is there anything I can to improve the Antila's performance? Peter
 
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Anonymous

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Sorry about the bunched text, I am trying again below:

Hi everyone,

A few months ago I purchased a second hand Leema Antila (older version, version 1) CD player. I am using it with my Naim XS and Neat Motive 2s. I am using the RCA analogue out of the Antila straight to my Naim, using Chord Cobra Plus interconnect. I have replaced the stock power cord of the Antila with the Chord Superscreen, which improved it a bit. It is connected direct to the wall socket.

Of course when I bought the CDP, I was quite happy with the SQ.

About a week ago, I started comparing the SQ of the Antila with that of my very recently acquired Audiolab MDAC.

I prefer the SQ from the MDAC to the Antila CDP (the MDAC is connected also by RCA to the Naim XS, using the same interconnect)

I am starting to suspect something is wrong with my CD player. For this class of CDP (original price GBP 2,500 and 5 star rated) , I think I am entitled to expect a better show versus the MDAC.

Can a CDP degrade over time? Is there anything I can to improve the Antila's performance?

Peter
 
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Anonymous

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There is one big draw back when it comes to high-end audio. When you want to make an upgrade, it costs you a lot of money, to get anything better. But the difference is just small. Mostly, after some weeks you start to notice more little differences. So then you start to appreciate it more and more.

So, in this I think it the problem lies in the fact what you expected from your cd player. Probably, It didn't meet up with your expectations.
 
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Anonymous

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Ocean37 said:
There is one big draw back when it comes to high-end audio. When you want to make an upgrade, it costs you a lot of money, to get anything better. But the difference is just small. Mostly, after some weeks you start to notice more little differences. So then you start to appreciate it more and more.

So, in this I think it the problem lies in the fact what you expected from your cd player. Probably, It didn't meet up with your expectations.
What I really like to know, do high end CD players degrade in SQ over time, like old amplifiers?
 

CnoEvil

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This may be a stupid question, but what is feeding the MDac.....is it the CDP or something else?

If the Leema is acting as transport, then you prefer the presentation of the MDac, which bats well above its price point. The Leema is well designed and put together so would make an excellent transport (imo. The transport makes a noticeable difference).

If you are feeding the Dac with something like a SBT, then you have cut out all the problems associated with an electric motor and reading a CD in real time.

Things are moving so fast in the digital domain, that a well designed Streamer can out perform a much more expensive CDP. When it comes to a digital source, Audiolab are doing a lot of things right atm.

I think I'm right in saying that a CDPs performance can deteriorate over time....which is why a solution with no lasers or moving parts is the way to go (especially as it can often sound better, and cost less).
 

paradiziac

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What are the differences exactly? Is the MDac better in every department, or could it be more a case of it offering a presentation you prefer or which better suits the partnering gear.

Personally I'd try to borrow a better interconnect (from the Chord range the Chorus 2 or higher would match the level of your components--though I haven't heard that particular cable), this would reduce the possibility that you're not hearing the source components at their best.

Failing that, yes there's the possibility that the CD SQ has degraded, or that the MDac plus transport is indeed better than the Antilla 1!
 
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Anonymous

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CnoEvil said:
This may be a stupid question, but what is feeding the MDac.....is it the CDP or something else?

If the Leema is acting as transport, then you prefer the presentation of the MDac, which bats well above its price point. The Leema is well designed and put together so would make an excellent transport (imo. The transport makes a noticeable difference).

If you are feeding the Dac with something like a SBT, then you have cut out all the problems associated with an electric motor and reading a CD in real time.

Things are moving so fast in the digital domain, that a well designed Streamer can out perform a much more expensive CDP. When it comes to a digital source, Audiolab are doing a lot of things right atm.

I think I'm right in saying that a CDPs performance can deteriorate over time....which is why a solution with no lasers or moving parts is the way to go (especially as it can often sound better, and cost less).

The CDP is connectly DIRECTLY to the Naim. RCA, cobra plus.

The Mdac is connected like this:

Apple Mac Pro (Itunes)>Ethernet Cable>SB touch> Digital out> Mdac> (Via Chord Cobra PLus)> Naim XS

I can't believe the Mdac goes through all this and still sounds better.
 
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Anonymous

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paradiziac said:
What are the differences exactly? Is the MDac better in every department, or could it be more a case of it offering a presentation you prefer or which better suits the partnering gear.

Personally I'd try to borrow a better interconnect (from the Chord range the Chorus 2 or higher would match the level of your components--though I haven't heard that particular cable), this would reduce the possibility that you're not hearing the source components at their best.

Failing that, yes there's the possibility that the CD SQ has degraded, or that the MDac plus transport is indeed better than the Antilla 1!

Better Soundstage, tighter base, less harsh (Naim XS can get harsh with some recordings).
 
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Anonymous

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I've now written to Leema, I will update when they reply.

I have (or used to have) a lot of respect for specialized, expensive CDPs, I am still hopeful I can finetune my CDP to beat this cheap(ish) Dac.
 

CnoEvil

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PeterDs said:
CnoEvil said:
The CDP is connectly DIRECTLY to the Naim. RCA, cobra plus.

The Mdac is connected like this:

Apple Mac Pro (Itunes)>Ethernet Cable>SB touch> Digital out> Mdac> (Via Chord Cobra PLus)> Naim XS

I can't believe the Mdac goes through all this and still sounds better.

The reverse side of the argument, is looking at the problems associated with reading / error correcting a spinning disc in real time (as opposed to taking your time getting a perfect rip) and then isolating the sensitive components from the motor.

IMO. This is why CDPs are on the way out....especially when you build in the extra convenience of playlists etc.

Linn dropped their CDPs, as their cheaper DSs wiped the floor with their most expensive ones.
 
PeterDs said:
I've now written to Leema, I will update when they reply.

I have (or used to have) a lot of respect for specialized, expensive CDPs, I am still hopeful I can finetune my CDP to beat this cheap(ish) Dac.

Leema = £3,500. The XS = £1300. M-Dac = £600-£700.

Currently own the Pulse which is sooo different in tonal quality to Naim. This could be a case of very poor matching. Naim is, IMHO, a tricky customer when it comes to mix 'n match.
 

richardw42

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If you're happy with the performance of your MDAC why not just sell the Leema, buy a second hand Phillips CD850 (or similar) as a transport and put it through the DAC. Then buy music.

When you've got a SB how much do really listen to the CDP ?
Also, when different sources sound so different, I fear one gets caught up with trying to improve one to match the other and then vice versa

Perhaps all digital sources should share a common DAC ?
 
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plastic penguin said:
PeterDs said:
I've now written to Leema, I will update when they reply.

I have (or used to have) a lot of respect for specialized, expensive CDPs, I am still hopeful I can finetune my CDP to beat this cheap(ish) Dac.

Leema = £3,500. The XS = £1300. M-Dac = £600-£700.

Currently own the Pulse which is sooo different in tonal quality to Naim. This could be a case of very poor matching. Naim is, IMHO, a tricky customer when it comes to mix 'n match.

Good point. I will do the A/B with my old Conrad Johnson Pre/Power instead of the Naim XS.
 

paradiziac

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PeterDs said:
paradiziac said:
What are the differences exactly? Is the MDac better in every department, or could it be more a case of it offering a presentation you prefer or which better suits the partnering gear.

Better Soundstage, tighter base, less harsh (Naim XS can get harsh with some recordings).

With this level of kit, both soundstage and harshness can be influenced quite a bit by the interconnect used. Though if the bass is better, maybe the MDAC really is better, at least in that department.

Actual market prices suggest they're closer than you think: Antila = 1K-ish, MDAC = 600 + SBT+ NAS/PC --> 1K-ish.

I'd be surprized if the Antila was faulty unless the difference is really big, but you never know.
 

CnoEvil

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PeterDs said:
Good point. I will do the A/B with my old Conrad Johnson Pre/Power instead of the Naim XS.

You've got a Conrad Johnson! :O .......loverly.

If its possible, you might want to try the MDac with the Leema (as a transport).
 

busb

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Can you not connect the Leema to the M-DAC? DACs seem t improving at a momentous pace - I would not be surprised if the M-DAC out-classed the older Antilla by quite some margin & the M-DAC by the Creek when it launches later this year/next spring.
 

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