Anyone ever upgraded an Arcam CD player? (Arcam upgrade, not a mod.)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by KeithH, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    I am thinking of getting a quality, no-nonsense, single-disc CD player for my second system. By no-nonsense, I mean no DVD, no DVD-Audio, and no SACD. My use of the term "no-nonsense" is meant as sarcasm because I do enjoy those other formats, and I have them in the system already. I would like to see if a single-disc CD player at or below $1000 would provide better CD playback than the Sony SCD-C555ES that I consider to be the best CD player in the system.

    A local dealer has the Rotel RCD-1072 for $700, and it looks to be a strong candidate. However, a dealer about an hour from me has the Rotel and also the Arcam CD73 for around the same price. So I plan to compare the two players. One thing that intrigues me about the CD73 is that it can be upgraded to the Arcam CD192 by swapping out one DAC board for another. This upgrade gets you upsampling, and that might be nice down the road.

    I know that Arcam has been offering CD player options for awhile. Has anyone performed one of these upgrades? Are they easy to do? (I should note that I owned an Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 tube player for awhile, so I have played around under the hood, so to speak, before.) Also, are these Arcam upgrades expensive? Is the cost of the upgrade from the CD73 to the CD192 simply the price difference between the two players or does Arcam give you a price break? I don't know what the CD192 goes for, so I don't know how big a jump we're talking about here.

    Any experiences you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Grego

    Grego Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I haven't done an upgrade but I've looked into it (I have a CD82). The price is high, a nice way to find out is to search for some of the UK prices. There are a few online stores that offer the upgrades. The prices are in pounds but give you a ball park idea.

    When I got mine about 6 months ago I listened to 3 Arcam CD players. They recently changed their DACs. I was really impressed by the new DACs. The CD82 was the first one to utilize them. I would suggest that the upgrades you look at use the parts.
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Thanks for the info. I'll look into the price of the upgrade from the CD73 to CD192 online. Also, I plan to compare the CD73 and Rotel RCD-1072 at a local dealer, and I'll ask the dealer the cost of the Arcam upgrade.

    I know that Arcam is using Wolfson DACs in the CD73 and CD192. As I recall, they used a Burr-Brown DAC in the CD72.
  4. teaser5

    teaser5 Cool Rockin' Daddy

    Location:
    The DMV
    Never done an upgrade but I love my Arcam FMJ
    Good luck
    :righton:
    Peace-
    Norm
  5. ets

    ets New Member

    Location:
    Ontario
    I had my CD72T upgraded to a CD93.
    As far as I know it's only done through the dealer. The dealer sends it to the distributor and they do the upgrade there and send it back to the dealer.
    No "do-it-yourself" on this upgrade.
    The price was the difference between what a CD72T costs and a CD93 costs.
    The CD72T was a great player -- really good bass and overall a neutral analog sound. Also the overall sound was very coherent. By that I mean you could pick out individual intruments and follow along in orchestral music for instance.
    The CD93 is even better -- very deep soundstage and even better detail and coherence, however the bass is just a tad lighter [or more correct if you regard the CD72T as a bit bass-heavy]
    I love the CD93 and have absolutely no regrets. It is one of the best players out there as far as I'm concerned.
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Thanks, ets. I didn't realize that you had to do the upgrade through a dealer. Not surprising, though. Is the CD93 still made? I only recall seeing the CD73 and the CD192 on www.arcam.co.uk. So I assume that the CD93 is no longer made. Ditto for the CD82. That reminds me of another question. I wonder if Arcam still offers upgrades to models that are no longer in production. If I were to buy the CD73, would I be able to do the upgrade to the CD192 after the CD192 were discontinued (at least within some reasonable timeframe)?

    By the way, now that you've done an upgrade, does the front panel on your player say CD72T or did Arcam replace the front panel? Just curious.
  7. ets

    ets New Member

    Location:
    Ontario
    I had this done last summer so it must have been just before they discontinued the CD93. My dealer told me that the CD192 was basically the same as the CD93 but the CD72T/CD93 had an older Sony transport that was a tad better than the one they are using in the CD192. [Whether that's true or not I can't say.]
    I don't think you can upgrade the older CD72T to a CD192 but you'ld have to check with Arcam to be sure.
    Yes they did change the tray -- it now has the CD93 info on the tray faceplate. Otherwise the rest of the faceplate was identical between a CD72T and a CD93. They also left the old CD72T outputs on the back which confused me when I first went to hook it up. They are of course not connected to anything.
    Basically this upgrade gives you a CD93 player lock stock and barrel.
    Regards, Ed
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Thanks, Ed. I appreciate the info.
  9. Grego

    Grego Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I read somewhere (think it may have been on the Arcam site... I shouldn't be that lazy... http://www.arcam.co.uk/downloads/upgrades.pdf) that I can upgrade the CD82. Page 3 highlights what can/can't be done and where with various models including the CD73 - You can upgrade the CD73 to a CD82 or a CD192. Even if the pdf is a little out of date it still shows that Arcam has an upgrade path for discontinued hardware.
  10. Grego

    Grego Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    For what it's worth, I'm quite happy with the CD82. It's by far the best piece of gear in the system it's in (connected to an Arcam A80 integrated amp going through Energy Veritas Speakers in a living room I'm not allowed to properly place everything - but it's close :) ).
  11. Blair G.

    Blair G. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    I recently upgraded my CD72 to the CD82. Nothing wrong with the CD72 but had the CD82 home for a demo and was impressed with the increased definition and solidity of the bass.
    So I bought the upgrade and installed it myself. If you are even slightly mechanically inclined you'll have no problems. A little harsh and fatiguing initially (typical of Arcam in that a break in period is needed) but it's now much smoother and more open than the 72 ever was without being too detailed.

    Could have upgraded to the 92 (not many of those kits left) or the 93 but the price was more than I can handle right now. Have heard you can't upgrade to the 192.
    I suspect it's because of the new transport or maybe they have eliminated the upgrade path (the 192 is $300 less than the 93 was).

    Cost is supposed to be equal to the difference in price between the two models but I paid less than that, plus I got my 72 just before the big price jump a couple of years back so I did OK.

    Let me know if you have any questions.
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Blair, thanks for sharing your experiences as well. I'm very curious to hear the CD73 along side my Sony SCD-C555ES. Then upgrading the CD73 to the CD192 to get upsampling would be a nice option at some point. It's nice to know that you can do the upgrade yourself. So that doesn't void the warranty?
  13. Blair G.

    Blair G. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Keith,
    The warranty issue is a good question. Must confess it didn't even cross my mind. My 72 just passed the 3 year mark so I believe it's out of warranty. Not sure what the warranty on the upgrade board is, if any.
    Plus, I bought my player here in Canada but got the upgrade in Washington State (30 minutes away), mainly for price considerations. List in Canada is $700CDN. The price I paid was significantly less.
    The 93 upgrade was more than I could justify right now. Plus I'd heard the 92 (admittedly with a different DAC than the 93/192) and found it fatiguing in my system.
    I'm holding money back for new speakers (probably Spendors).

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