New dac for older cd player?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by gibby299, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. gibby299

    gibby299 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I have an Alchemist Nexus APD32a mki. I bought it new in late 1990s. It was always a good sounding cd player and still works fine, but I'm wondering if a new DAC would improve the sound? I know the answer is it depends at what price point. I am looking at $1K give/take for a DAC and can be used.

    Also I would like option for headphones but not for only CD but also turntable. Is that possible to have a DAC with headphones for all inputs?
     
  2. gibby299

    gibby299 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I think this model has TDA1549 DAC chip if that helps?
     
  3. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    It's probably a pretty nice player, but it is getting up there in age. There are DAC / Headphone Amp combos which have multiple line level inputs. You could feed into that with your phono preamp, either directly, or perhaps via a tape out on your line preamp.
    -Bill
     
  4. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    DACs have improved since the late 90s (at least some of them have). Whether you can actually hear the improvement is another story. I assume your CD player has an optical output or coax output? If so, you can use it as a transport with a newer DAC.

    RE: "headphones for all inputs" - I assume you are talking about some kind of DAC/stereo preamp/headphone amp combo. I'm sure that exists, but you'll have to hunt for it. Most people aren't trying to plug a TT into a DAC unless that DAC is also an ADC and they are making needledrops, e.g. something like one of the RME units.
     
  5. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    You might want to investigate how good the timing clock in your CD player is relative to modern standards.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  6. gibby299

    gibby299 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    to clarify headphone want. to use headphones for turntable and cd player as i have no headphone in preamp. I do have a phonestage too. so I would like headphones for listening, not processing and DAC for cd player only. ,,,,, if that clarified at all


     
  7. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I understand, but what you want is not necessarily conventional and more complicated than buying a simple DAC. Personally I would buy a standalone DAC and a standalone headphone amp to avoid compromises. You can run the headphone amp by hooking into the rec outs of your stereo preamp, assuming it has a set of rec out jacks.
     
    Mike-48 and wolfyboy3 like this.
  8. gibby299

    gibby299 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    OK, thanks. that is probably the better route although more gear but i do not have to do both at once.


     
  9. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    I'd look at a Chord mojo. It's portable if that is something you want. Buy it used, try it out and if you don't love it you can sell it on for about what you paid. This will give you a chance to hear a different DAC. For a DAC look at the Schiit Bifrost 2. For a headphone amp I'd look at the HeadAmp Gilmore Lite2. The combo is little more than your budget.
     
  10. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    You definitely don't. And DACs are cheap enough nowadays for something that performs well that you could buy both units with your $1K budget and still have some money left over.

    For example, a JDS EL DAC II is $300. The matching headphone amp is $249. Plug the DAC into your CDP and the headphone amp into your rec outs.

    Lots of other options too.
     
  11. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    In my experience, you can't pick a DAC by chipset. You have to listen (though I'd advise skipping those that don't measure well). For about US$425, you could try a Topping D70. I have not heard it, but it measures well and has gotten very good reviews. I've seen at least one site offering a 30-day return if you don't like it.
     
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  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I would never pick a DAC by chipset since there are some very expensive DACs with good chips that perform like crap. Likewise, some shoddy brands that can't engineer their way out of a paper bag. I also wouldn't buy any DAC where I couldn't look at a full bench test, preferably done by a third party.

    The Topping stuff measures well and I am using one of their DACs right now. Some of their DACs have a lot of extra features that can be convenient or just extra stuff that other folks might not need. The only major downside I see to the D70 is that the D90 is coming soon and will probably fit OP's budget, and it will likely measure even better than the D70. For folks that have to have the latest and greatest the D90 could be the ticket.

    Apos Audio is a good place to buy the Chinese brands from, e.g. SMSL, Topping, and Gustard. They have a good return policy, ship fast, and offer a free extended warranty.
     

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