Better CD Sound: The Search

Went Big into Vinyl last 2 years, then re-discovered my many CD’s, mixing it up plenty now.

I continue to try and find a CD Player with better sound than my existing cheapo Sony Changer that surprisingly keeps on keeping on.

I am hoping recent upgrades to the system will more readily reveal differences:

99.9999 copper speaker wires and interconnects, locking rca connectors, mx110z tube tuner/preamp overhaul by Audio Classics; cayin a88t bias by VAS; 16 ohm L-Pads replacing 8 ohm pots; and finally a I bought a sound meter to balance/refine the speaker’s L-Pads (it ain’t easy) for the best sound ever.

CD Quest So Far:

I want dual processors, go used to keep cost down, even consider older vintage.

1. my Onkyo Grand Integra (DX-7500 I think), fixed the damn drawer opening problem several times.

2. This cheapo Sony Changer given to me, eh, use if for parties, why not.
surprisingly sounded as good as the Onkyo to me and friends, gave the annoying Onkyo away.

3. tried used Oppo 83 Video Player for it’s audio

Laser was weak, ’no disc’, found it is a common problem with heavily used lasers. Back it went

4. lightly used Oppo 105. Everything worked, but didn’t sound better than the Sony. Oppo is big, single, expensive, not sellers fault, so I sold it myself rather than return it, lost $205. on that attempt.

5. ’new original stock’ KLH (made by?). played a few discs, then the discs started mis-tracking on discs I know are ok.

found small black bits clinging to the surface in the area of the problems (cds play from the inside out, just guess how far out). Turned out, the belt(s) were dried out, thus when put into motion after years of storage (where?), they shed bits of rubber. Back it went, full refund including return shipping. never compared it to the Sony’s sound

6. Resolved: if vintage, make sure belts are available, get a low price, open it up when it arrives, watch it move ... use, replace belts, return as last choice.

7. Just Bought Two, in transit, One Single; One 6 Disc Changer. (both with oem remotes and power cords, most for sale are missing).

a. Denon DVD-2910 Single Player (big dent on the top. $52. del’d, eBay) (crutchfield keeps old info on their site)

b. Onkyo Integra CDC-3.4 six disc changer (open box/demo) ($51. delivered) (

c. a bag of belts. because I will be keeping something, and I have other old stuff with belts

d. spare rare OEM remote for Integra 3.4, eBay

Keeping My Ears Crossed!

Consider a Rega CD player....they can be purchased for a decent price and should be reliable.
Project rs2 transport top loader wired i2s (hdmi) into project rs2 dac 
Made me list my arcam cds50.... Chord qutest 

ghdprentice, +1
Oh, yeah, NAK deck. Still have my CR-1A, which was down the line, but WOW did that deck destroy the other purportedly great competitors! At times I think I should pull it out and experiment with recording CDs on cassette again. I find it hard to justify the time involved to do so. I already know that I can’t get superior sound from it. Years of mix tapes making couldn’t outperform the straight CD sound. Close, but not quite.

You keep going cheap, so you are not close to higher end sound. You’re not getting close to what is attainable from CD. On the spectrum of performance you keep wasting your money playing on the low end. If that’s your goal, fine. But don’t think you’re really getting somewhere. At least in regard to your source, you’re not doing HiFi, but MidFi.

You shared this:99.9999 copper speaker wires and interconnects, locking rca connectors, mx110z tube tuner/preamp overhaul by Audio Classics; cayin a88t bias by VAS; 16 ohm L-Pads replacing 8 ohm pots; and finally a I bought a sound meter to balance/refine the speaker’s L-Pads (it ain’t easy) for the best sound ever. 

Ok, fine. Won't get you supreme CD sound when your source is so compromised. All those changes may be efficacious, but don't fool yourself that you're close to what can be done with digital. 

Are you trying to be cheap about this because you have no money for it, or are you thinking you’re smarter than everyone else and will get supreme sound for a dime? If it’s the first, no issues and have fun flipping gear! You realize you have limited resources and are having fun with it. If I were constrained thus I would do the same. However, if it’s the second, you are fooling yourself and would be an example of my principle; the greatest impediment to advancing an audio system is the audiophile.

Do you have any idea of what it takes to get into better digital sound? I owned that Denon 2910 at some point in my history of digital. Several people politely have tried to tell you that you should add a DAC. Translated that means you are using MidFi gear and need to completely change your approach, i.e. PUT MORE MONEY INTO IT! Those old players and changers would be awful transports relatively, but at least getting an outboard DAC with them would help. My transport is a Musical Fidelity that I got for $700 and it gets paired with DACs costing thousands. I ran comparisons to CDPs up to $10K. I suspect that if you are using sub-$100 components, you are using stock cables. Oh, man, you are slaughtering the sound, just ruining it with your methods. If you have the means to do better and are being "thrifty", I will be blunt. Keep it up and you will have excluded yourself from the upper end of the spectrum permanently. :(

You are a long away from excellent CD sound. Unless someone tells you candidly, I suspect you won’t believe it. You likely won’t believe me, even though I have been an audiophile using the discs for 30+ years and reviewing, comparing first CDPs and then transports and DACs for 14 years, building systems from about $10K to $100K. Perhaps someone brainwashed you into thinking you’re getting all that with cheap gear and digital. Not even close; you’re pretty far down the performance spectrum. Make no serious move and you will spend the rest of your life hearing mediocre digital sound.

Perhaps I missed it somewhere in discussion; if you are budgetarily constrained, no problem. Work in your zone of system building capability. But, if you could do better, stop wasting your life and money on bargain bin components! I used to be like that, thinking I could cobble together an awesome result that way. It was ridiculous, and shop owners from whom I scavenged bargains knew it. But, it’s almost impossible to convince someone who thinks they’re genius by being thrifty.

As for our hard core objectivists who may wish to argue with me. Don’t bother; I do not care about your opinion on this matter. :)

+ 10! An excellent and honest/bluntly put assessment. You rarely if ever see forum threads where people try to take a very cheap route assembling an analogue turntable system. They know it’s a futile effort and poor quality sound is the outcome.

For some unfounded (Misguided?) reason there’s a belief amongst some that digital is simply abouts ’bits, 0 and 1', as though  nothing else impacts what is heard. Any old CD player will get the job done mindset. . This superficial and shallow attitude overlooks the numerous factors that distinguish genuine high quality digital components from junk.

The competency of manufacturing, engineering, design, part quality and implementation of transports/streamers/DAC are critical aspects to address if one truly wants to obtain high levels of digital sound quality. Same approach and commitment as analogue requires, otherwise you are just aimlessly wandering with no pathway toward success.
That Douglas_Schroeder guy is correct. I(very) recently upgraded my Bryston cdp-3 to a T+A Tubed player. The difference is quite amazing. Although the Bryston is a fine player, it simply is not in the same league. I was looking at the Project transport with a seperate DAC or the Ayon CD-10, when I saw the T+A on the TMR site.By far, this is the best of the players I have owned.