Want more analogue-like sound from red book

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jenkovix, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. jenkovix

    jenkovix Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Europe, Hungary
    hi folks,

    besides my vinyl setup I also have a redbook chain consist of 2 units:
    -Meridian CD200 stock transport
    -fed into a AN Kit 3.1 DAC (ANK Audiokits - L3.1 DAC Kit ) this is little bit improved over stock (NOS 5687 tubes, AN caps)

    the digital interconnect between the transport and the DAC is an Audioquest Diamond (I think). The units placed on Townshend audio rack.
    here comes the big question: how can I get more analogue sound from my redbook? the sound is decent already but when I put on an LP then I realise: this is the real thing. LP is more liquid and lush. don't get me wrong cd sound is also very good (IMHO) in my system it just different (digital) then vinyl. especially modern DDD discs can be a little bit harsh on higher volumes.
    what can I do to move to the analogue sound? change the transport? change the DAC? anybody went down on a similar route please share experiences and thoughts.
    all replys are welcome!

    P.s.: this is not a cd vs vinyl or digital vs analogue debate... thanks!
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  2. enfield

    enfield Forum Resident

    Essex UK
    A lot of recordings do sound slighty harsh.I suspect your system is simply playing back accurately what is on the source disc.

    If you want a more analogue sound from your CD front end,i would recommend the Philips TDA1543 dac.This can be had for little money in some older late 80's players..Or in new DAC's from the like of Audio Note.

    Even with a nice analogue sounding player some recordings will still naturally sound harsher than others.

    (Even though it is a non-audiophile route to go down i found that adding a graphic equalizer really transformed my enjoyment of my music collection.I was able to fine tune the sound to exactly how i like it..Ie..A nice warm turntable type sound ,but without the shortcomings of that format.)
    luckybaer and SandAndGlass like this.
  3. jenkovix

    jenkovix Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Europe, Hungary

    thanks for the fast response. so you think that the AD chip in the AN DAC could be the culprit?
    (the equalizer also sounds interesting but I wouldn't go on that route...)
  4. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Yes it is a digital versus analogue debate, You made it one.
    kg4big, AidanB, quicksrt and 6 others like this.
  5. Shak Cohen

    Shak Cohen Forum Resident

    United Kingdom
    Really, there is only so far that you can go with redbook replicating that ye olde analogue sound. I would enjoy both formats for what they offer, and maybe seek out the best masterings (often older ones), to get the CD sound you want.:righton:
    Alan2, sheffandy, doak and 3 others like this.
  6. jenkovix

    jenkovix Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Europe, Hungary
    Yes, older AAD red books sound better (in some way) and I enjoy them but still though if the move would be possible...
  7. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    AN DACs are the most analog like you are going to find. The AD 1865 chip is used in AN's higher end DACS which sound better than the 1543 ised in their lower end decks - as much as the 1541 and 1543 are heralded - the 1865 is the top dog of these classic chips and was so rarely heard and used because I believe they came out much later and for a shorter period of time - and then Audio Note bought em all up. Wadia's top machines also used the 1865.

    A dedicated transport from Audio Note and using Audio Note cables would be the best place to start. BUT having said that - Peter Qvortrup (AN's boss) will be the first to tell you that vinyl sounds better on a great vinyl rig. All that can be done is the best that can be done. Although one interesting note he made not long back was that he felt that AAD discs sound vastly better as well as original recordings as opposed to a lot (though not all) remasters.

  8. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    I think you make a very good point. Well put
    Shak Cohen likes this.
  9. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    AN DACs - like most other DACs - respond well to improvements of the input signal. I don't know your transport but maybe you could borrow another transport? Or a high-end streamer? Or go down the computer route, but that requires work and time.

    I have finally arrived at a digital system that I could live with and almost not miss vinyl. But it hasn't been cheap, and notice the word 'almost' - I won't be quitting vinyl. Also, our host has explained that it is futile to try to make some of the recordings that sound great on vinyl sound equally good on a digital rig since they are not always mastered as well as the original vinyl records. Mahler's 5th w Barbirolli is an example.
    Dave likes this.
  10. jenkovix

    jenkovix Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Europe, Hungary
    Transport is a Meridian CD200 as in the starting post :) Computer route has been tried, it is not for me. Don't want to bother with that makes life more complicated. All I want is eject, put in the disc and hit play.
    G E, samurai and DigMyGroove like this.
  11. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    I probably meant to say that I'm not familiar with your transport ;)

    Understandable. Well, in that case, it's pretty easy - you need to upgrade your digital chain :laugh: Probably all of it (assuming that your transport is in the same league as your DAC).
  12. wgb113

    wgb113 Forum Resident

    Chester County, PA
    An EQ? It's basically what you're trying to via an equipment change.
  13. ayrehead

    ayrehead It was like that when I found it...

    Germantown, Tn
    You can’t get digital to sound like vinyl. It’s built in to the format. You can put a dress on a pig but you still have a pig. Just enjoy your 0’s and 1’s for what it is.
  14. dogilv

    dogilv Forum Resident

    I have an Audio Note Dac and believe it sounds very analogue. In fact, it sounding better than my analog rig as things stand right now. My suspicion for a more analogue sound for you is to change your transport... although I've never heard it.

    I know the transport and everything in that chain (in my case cabling and USB/spdif convertor) makes a huge difference.

    What coupling caps do you have? Do you know what model of the I/V Transformers? Anyway... I realized a nice bump in smoothness, clarity and presentation in modifying these components in this DAC... and at relativity modest costs. Those AN copper caps that most of these come with are like a wet blanket.
    Encore likes this.
  15. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Seattle, WA
    The most non-digital sounding DAC I have ever heard is the PS-Audio Direct Stream DAC. However I have never had the opportunity to hear an Audio Note DAC.

    As a general rule of thumb though, I have found that many DACs with a tube output stage can romanticize the sound in very pleasant ways. And by your description, this seems to be exactly what you are looking for: That liquid and lush 3D sound. In my experience, the right tube output DAC can take you a long way in that direction (at the expense of some detail). Plus, just like with your TT, where you can swap-in different sounding cartridges, in a tube-output DAC you can roll-in different tubes in your attempt to achieve sonic nirvana.
    SandAndGlass and F1nut like this.
  16. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I have no clue what 'digital' sounds like. Now crappy compressed to hell mastering, well.... :laugh:
  17. Bruce Burgess

    Bruce Burgess Forum Resident

    Hamilton, Canada
    I agree that tubes can take you a long way in that direction. I don't have a DAC but I have a Jolida JD100 tube output CDP and it is much more analogue sounding than my much more expensive digital playback systems (Cambridge Audio 840CDP and Oppo 105D). It still doesn't sound quite as good as quality vinyl on my turntable but it has a very pleasing analogue like sound to it.
  18. jenkovix

    jenkovix Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Europe, Hungary
    I am aware of that that I'll never achieve the same sound from cd like from vinyl. this is not the aim here.
    thxphotog and SandAndGlass like this.
  19. jenkovix

    jenkovix Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Europe, Hungary
    Coupling caps are AN copper. I/V transformers are the stock from AN Kit. The c-core output transformers are on the way...
    What is your transport? Which AN DAC model do you have?
  20. jenkovix

    jenkovix Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Europe, Hungary
    Stock analogue output tubes has been swapped out already to NOS military 5687 Sylvania. The rectifier tube is still the stock Russian NOS.
  21. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Other possibilities to potentially explore ; a tube buffer used only with the CD player or a tube CD player.
    4_everyman likes this.
  22. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    You might want to experiment with this also. The tubes in the SPU can also play a huge role. I haven't experimented with the 6X5 and ECL82 tubes in my AN DAC but I have tried several OB2 tubes, and my current Tfk gives much smoother highs than NOS Sylvania and NOS Cifte.

    I assume you have a 6X5 and an ECL82 in your DAC? A cheap way to try something different is this Brimar 6X5, which I have currently have this in my DAC: 6X5GT/CV574 KB/FE STC BRIMAR UK NOS VALVE/TUBE - Langrex
  23. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Analogue is known to have increased noise, reduced separation, variations in frequency response and a roll off at the frequency extremes. I suspect the increased noise level is very audible and may account for the popularity of certain DAC's (Schiit) with a low measured S/N ratio.
  24. Rt66indierock

    Rt66indierock Active Member

    Scottsdale Arizona
    Personally I've gotten very good results with a Sony PlayStation as a CD/SACD player. But there is a reason why Meridian has struggled financially and one them is their house sound.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  25. mds

    mds Forum Resident

    The very first move I would take would be to replace the Audioquest cable with a equal high quality or better cable that has NO silver. I just experienced the effects of silver with my new DAC which I felt when I auditioned it was very analogue sounding. I auditioned with a moderately priced all copper coaxial. When I purchased my own DAC I thought of Audiquest and bought a silver coated copper coaxial well above the price point of the cable I audioned with. Not good, switched to solid copper and it went back to what I had originially loved about the sound, close to analogue, no digital glare which the silver gave me on many recordings, not all. There are so many different tuned DACs out there I am sure once you have gone to pure copper you will find either what you currently own is fine or one of the recommended DACs will give you the sound you want. As people have pointed out digital has its sound as analog has its own. They are who they are and you can't change that but you can bring out the best in both formats by matching components correctly including the interconnect.
    Fred Hansen, Whoopycat and morinix like this.

Share This Page