Have you ever heard a CD player or DAC that just blew away all others?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Warren Jarrett, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    Agree. It feels like there was this movement recently to declare that we've only recently began to crawl out of our caves in regards to digital audio. "We can do so much with digital now!" "This used to only be possible for $20K!" I never really bought it.
    Helom likes this.
  2. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA

    The California Audio Labs Icon MK II - the first non-big-box audio product I ever owned, bought used as a college graduation present to myself.
    DPM, winston1156, jfeldt and 2 others like this.
  3. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    What happened to that company?
  4. timind

    timind Don't blame me

    Westfield, IN USA
    jfeldt likes this.
  5. Billion$Baby

    Billion$Baby RIAA AWARD COLLECTORS on Facebook

    There's actually MANY of them. Esoteric/Luxman/T+A/DCS/Burmester/Audio Note/Playback Design/Meridian....that's just off the top of my head.
    GoldprintAudio likes this.
  6. Time Is On My Side

    Time Is On My Side Forum Resident

    Madison, WI
    I got this feeling when I listened to my Fiio X3 1st Gen for the first few times on a good stereo system.
  7. Minty_fresh

    Minty_fresh Forum Resident

    Not surprised but in my head I’m picturing playing some smashed, brick walled cd on a player that cost more than my car. Maybe cd’s have moved away from that these days I don’t know.
  8. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    That seems a bit reductive and dismissive in a thread about digital sound that is supposed to be a dramatic cut above. It’s hard to imagine a self-respecting hi-fi engineer embracing such a shrugging-off of any technical standard beyond it’s all in your head, or any history of audio innovation over the past several decades accepting that perspective particularly in the digital realm.
  9. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Seattle, WA
    I purchased a CAL Alpha -Delta combination back in '96, and for the first time in my life, I started feeling like I wasn't missing very much when I listened to CDs. The Alpha was displace from my main system a number of years ago by a modified Sony SACD player, but it now occupies a happy spot in our living room system. I will probably never sell this DAC.

    I now run a slightly modified (by me) PS Audio Direct Stream DAC in my main system which provides me with some of the best digital playback that I have ever heard.
    sturgus likes this.
  10. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    I was actually in agreement with your post regarding the contradictions of digital audio.

    I'm not sure what "hi-fi engineers" have to do with it, but I do know that DACs were claimed to have surpassed the point of audible improvements decades ago.

    I was referring more to the debate of accuracy and measurements vs. pleasant sound. There will always be those who read measurements as gospel, and there will always be those who prefer vintage gear. Some even believe audio hasn't really progressed since the 30s.
    Stone Turntable likes this.
  11. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    Thanks for expanding/clarifying what you meant.
  12. jfeldt

    jfeldt Forum Resident

    SF, CA, USA
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  13. William Kucharski

    William Kucharski Well-Known Member

    When I heard my first Wadia DAC at CES in 1988, it was the first time I heard CD sound musical.

    Since then my favorite DACs have always been Wadias. I just had a chance to compare a couple new highly rated DACs to the Wadia S7i.

    The new DACs went back, the S7i remains in place.
    jfeldt likes this.
  14. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int why...it just is"

    united kingdom
    Marantz SA-10 review
    This Marantz offering is garnering rave reviews....but I guess it should at 6000 of our UK quids.....
  15. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    The current range of Cyrus players are amazing and no need to pay silly money. I am biased though; i love the Cyrus sound.
  16. Blank Frank

    Blank Frank King of Carrot Flowers

    For those of us with hefty "classical" habits this was never an issue, let alone buying "folky" stuff from small independents and the like.
    Minty_fresh and Ham Sandwich like this.
  17. Mark broadhead

    Mark broadhead Forum Resident

    Newcastle England
    I struggled with digital replay for years despite trying various players - Wadia 302, Linn Ikemi, Marantz SA11, Meridian, Dax etc. I took a chance on an early Lampizator and for the first time there was flesh on the bones of the music. I still have it but recently built an ANK 4.1 and that is more of the same.
  18. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Flesh one the bones... Yes.
  19. Newton John

    Newton John Going for the one

    Tynedale, UK
    Can’t comment on whether the CD12 has been overtaken by other CD players but it has been bettered by Linn’s DS/DSMs playing Flac ripped from CD
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  20. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Yes, the Linn was a very good CD player... miles ahead of anything at that time? Are you kidding?

    This one was definitely better as the Linn CD player...... I had one unit and compared the Linn to the Krell.

    BigGame likes this.
  21. Linto

    Linto Mayor of Simpleton

    We are talking about 1999 yes? Sorry never heard a Krell box I liked, but met many people, listeners, buyers and journalists who were floored by the CD12s performance, and just compare the design! the Krell looks like a music centre from the 80s. I have seen Quad electrostatics fry Krell power amps, that was fun.

    Linn Sondek CD12 CD Player Page 4
  22. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    I think the Krell was introduced in 1997. I agree... the Linn looks like a piece of art, but I was not impressed about the sound.

    P.S. Soundwise I have a very short list about the best players since the beginning of digital playback: Krell - Mark Levinson - dCS - emmLabs
  23. Higlander

    Higlander Well-Known Member

    Florida, Central

    I have owned several phono carts and some of my favorites were not flat measuring nor truly accurate, but I am at the same time able to always know the sound is being altered in key aspect, same as using the Bass/treble controls.

    Perhaps paying a premium for colorations versus more accurate simply does not appeal to some.
  24. tommylion

    tommylion Active Member

    Burlington, VT
    The Romulus uses a Teac dedicated CD mechanism. From what I understand, Teac made some pretty good ones. I also found it interesting that they enclose the transport in a Faraday cage.

    I'm getting the kind of sound Warren is talking about from my CEC TL-5 belt drive CD transport and old Audio Note DAC Kit 1.1. Both are tweaked out with upgraded power cords, fuses, and a few other things.
  25. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    And that's perfectly fine if that's what they want. Doesn't bother me, I was just pointing out that progress as it applies to sound quality, is subjective. If it weren't, there'd be no audiophiles using field coil speakers.
    Flyquail56 likes this.

Share This Page