Let's Talk Digital

Music as represented in 1's and 0's. Discuss anything pertaining to D hardware - CD, DVD, SACD, DAC, etc.

Let's Talk Digital

Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Tue May 18, 2004 10:19 pm

Hello Digital Lovers and critics as well! We have a new thread to enjoy and read the latest trends in the DIGITAL world today.

So many developments and technology has placed DIGITAL above the rest of past formats of yesteryears. Many have found the modern pace of life to be so demanding of not only the best available technolgy today in sound reproduction but also the cleanest and most musical sounding format in the quest for listening pleasure.

This forum intends to cater to all enthusiasts of the digital medium with an open invitation to the newbies as well and even those who have managed to stay relevant on their analog preferences up to this point in time.

Here CD/SACD/DVD/DVD-A and all the rest of digitally related topics will be open for discussion with the hope of acheiving a better understanding of the DIGITAL WAY. With that said may I welcome you all to the WORLD OF DIGITAL!

For starters allow me to introduce this performer:

Image

THE SHANLING SCD-T200 STEREO TUBE SACD/CD PLAYER! For $2695 is another good and sound reason to go DIGITAL. Yes folks similar to my reference TRIVISTA SACD/CD Stereo player this has TUBE components to go! Here's what the review say:

Basic Description

Tube stereo SACD/CD player: Using 4 x 6N3 tubes, 2 for the tube output and 2 for the headphone output. Sony KHM-2334AAA drive and Sony CXD2752R SACD decoding chip, the DAC is a Burr Brown PCM 1738 24 bit/192kHz, stereo headphone output, digital level control, coaxial digital output, tube/solid state output, detachable power cord, includes SACD Demonstration Disc GRV1013, cleaning cloth, spikes (with footers) or rubber feet, remote control, warranty: 1 year labor, 1 year parts, 6 months laser, 90 days tubes; 25 pounds, 20.9” W x 15” D x 8.25” H.


Associated Equipment

B&W CDM-9NT loudspeakers, Krell KAV-300iL Integrated Amplifier, Krell KAV-280cd (for comparison), Audioquest cabling.


Setup

Setup was very basic. Included with the SACD player are spiked feet and footers that I attached to the back two feet. The front foot is adjustable and the Music Hall representative told me that moving it forward and back would change the sound of the player. I put it directly underneath the transport and left it there throughout the audition. I did not use the solid state output as my experience with these outputs is that they do not sound as good as the tube outputs—and I really don’t see why you’d get this player without taking advantage of the tube capability. There did not seem to be a long warm-up time, so you can start enjoying music immediately. There is a small magnetic clamp that fits right over the CD and then the main housing clamp comes down over the disc and reads its content.


Listening--SACDs

After both players had warmed up overnight, I began listening with track 9, the “Debussy Piano Trio-Finale” by The Florestan Trio from Hyperion SACD-67114. Dynamic range seems to be a consistent advantage with the SACDs I’ve listened to and this track is no exception. The sound was sweet and pleasant. Overall, my impression was that the player produced a very mellow and inoffensive sound without edge. I’m not sure if the player was toning down the sound a bit or if this were due to the recording. Later comparisons with the Krell showed that the Shanling did tend to smooth some of the very extreme top end, but not enough to complain about given the design.

Track 8 by Jacintha, “Autumn Leaves,” from Groove Note GRV1006 (also from the sampler disc) produced a wonderful sound via the SCD-T200. I was reminded more of a good LP rather than a CD. There was a puffy, pleasant quality to the voice that I usually associate with tube equipment. Just for the heck of it, I listened to the CD layer on this track with the Krell. Sure enough, the SACD was far better. On the CD, there was a slight loss of 3D space. The voice with SACD on the Shanling was much more palpable and there was less in between the music and the listener. There is no doubt that I preferred the sound of the SACD with the SCD-T200. After listening to this cut I didn’t do any more SACD vs. CD listening.

I listened to track 6, “Thousand Year Prayer,” from Cowboy Junkies Open. Shrek says that ogres have layers…well, so does the Shanling SACD player. The bass was deep and powerful like it was in the room with me—it was as if there was a big heart beating. The voice was present and dimensional. There was a great air and depth, and images were well defined and existed in their own space in the soundstage.

I followed up with another SACD, track 1, “Random Act Of Love” from Al Jarreau’s All I Got. The sound was very spatial, but not as present as the other recordings I auditioned. Like all the good SACD recordings, noise level was non-existent with the music playing over a superbly quiet black background. One of the operational issues I had with the Shanling was the length of time it took to get the disc playing—up to 20 seconds! First, the unit reads the information on the disc and then stops. Then, you have to push play to get the SCD-T200 going. The player remembers whether you selected the SACD/CD layer previously on a SACD. It is unlikely you’d want to listen to the CD layer, but I had to select SACD occasionally after inserting a new disc.


Listening--CDs

All my CD listening included direct comparisons with the Krell KAV-280cd CD player. I began the testing with track 6, “Hospital Food,” from the Eels Electro-Shock Blues. The Shanling did a nice job conveying the strange and somewhat offbeat music on this disc. There was a definite feeling of being immersed in the performance. Transient attack was good and bass was deep and tight. The soundstage was wide and extended well beyond the front listening room walls. Images were confined to their own separate space and voice was positioned up front and set out form the rest of the music. Images in the soundstage had a nice, warm, round quality to them with good presence although not nearly as lifelike as with the SACDs. The Krell was more diffuse in its presentation of instrumentation and cymbals and other high frequency sounds were more obvious. The midrange didn’t have the same “plumpness” and the sound was more even from top to bottom although it didn’t have the same “in the room” feel.

Keeping with the alternative rock genre, I put on track 5, “Clocks,” from Coldplay’s A Rush Of Blood To The Head. The Krell player was flatter and had more noticeable reverberation in the early part of the track. Cymbal crashes and overall sound is little metallic and hard, but that is my experience on other equipment with this recording. The Shanling provided a warmer, smoother presentation; so generally, it will sound much more forgiving with less than perfect discs.

To continue the investigation with another less-than-perfect recording, I put on track 15, the theme from Angie by Maureen McGovern, off Television’s Greatest Hits, Volume 6. The Shanling made the voice slightly warmer and more present. The sound was richer and had more swing. There was a slight “scrunchiness” to the sound that I usually associate with too much midrange. The Krell had a lighter balance, but was not nearly as involving.

From The Best of Paul Desmond disc I put on track 2, “Take Ten.” The blat of the horn on the SCD-T200 was mellow, warm, sweet, and smooth. There was a pleasant, warm character in the midrange (presence region)—one of the reasons my first high-end piece of equipment was a Conrad-Johnson PV5 preamplifier. The sound was lush and relaxing. The Krell provided more sizzle on cymbals and was polite and reserved—qualities to which most listeners are accustomed. The sound was not forward or too laid back, but was not as involving as I’d wished. I wanted to turn the volume up, but it did not entirely solve the problem.

I ran into another isolated problem with the Shanling while I was skipping through Sex-O-Rama II: Classic Adult Film Music. The player skipped ahead normally track by track until I got to track 6. Instead of starting to play track 6 the player went to 7, then 8, then all the way to the end. I punched in track 8 directly and the player jumped to track 10, but when I went to 9 there was no trouble. I opened the lid and let the player read the contents of the disc again, but still couldn’t get it to play properly—I guess this music just wasn’t to its taste! I did manage to do some comparison playing on track 1, and noted a more immediate sound on the Shanling. The Krell sounded neutral and under-emphasized, but the SCD-T200 had “more groove and funk” according to my notes. Sound quality of players in this range comes down to personal preference, and my preference for casual listening was for the SCD-T200.


Conclusion

The fluidity and ease, lack of grain, and impressive dynamics are what attract me to the SACD format. The Shanling SCD-T200 was more than able to demonstrate all of these qualities. The breath, warmth, and smoothness are there, but not in the style of older tube components that often trade off dynamic capability, frequency response, or bass control. The Shanling can function as a fine CD player until your SACD collection grows--at which point the quality of sound delivered will surpass anything available from the CD format. And don’t forget how cool it looks! Purchase Here

- Brian Bloom big_brian_b@hotmail.com

Wow I love those adjectives fluidity,lack of grain,impressive dynamics properties I enjoy with my TRIVISTA comparing it to the HORRORS of analog gear I used to live with in the past. Hehe am I glad that's all over for me now. But then again of course these are my personal experiences and views. Best is for one to make the initial step of personally listening to
the merits the DIGITAL way can offer and come to a personal conclusion.

Thus the gates are now open! And They're OFF!! Out in front is DIGITAL..oops somebody was LEFT behind! :lol:
SoFtCliPpEr
 

Postby mozilla » Wed May 19, 2004 7:22 am

Jueteng & Basurero.

There's no need for comments like this here. SC is posting his experiences in the digital format. I suggest you limit your responses to the topic and not comments such as the ones you just did.
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Postby ichabod » Wed May 19, 2004 8:53 am

Maybe some of us reading this thread are quite discerning.

To read about facts is one thing. But to color it with some laconic style is quite another.
Being quite brazen about one's belief can have its downturns.

I think this is where the problem lies with some in these pages.

I agree. No need to aggravate the matter or dignify anything.
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Postby qguy » Wed May 19, 2004 9:26 am

Hey SC,

Can you post reviewa or provide info on more affordable CD players... yung "bang for the buck", players that are under the 500 USD range...

Thanks
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Wed May 19, 2004 9:56 am

qguy wrote:Hey SC,

Can you post reviewa or provide info on more affordable CD players... yung "bang for the buck", players that are under the 500 USD range...

Thanks


qguy,

There is a universal player by DENON which has been getting nice reviews and raves it's the model 2200 here's how it looks:

Image

For under $500 this performer promises you to enjoy your DVD movies, High Resolution sound via it's SACD and DVD-A playback capabilities plus upsampled CD playback and even MP3! I used to be hesitant on "UNI" players till I heard this one. Here's the review I posted at ECOUSTICS.COM under the member name Lorenzo for your perusal.

Thread: Denon DVD-2200


lorenzo w. lopez
Silver Member
Username: Lockaudio801

Post Number: 107
Registered: Apr-04
Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 12:23 pm:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The story of the famous knife which comes with different blades for different purposes yet lacking in the abilty to cut through thick material because of it's pocketsize is surely not the case for the Denon DVD 2200 universal player.

The Denon guys came by the store together with demo units for both the DVD2200 and the DVD2900.
My first question was why they sent me the DVD2900 when I only asked for the DVD2200. "You'll soon find out and save us the trip Lorenzo" was the reply they gave as they left.

Whatever that meant we started to hook up the 2200 on my reference Pioneer AX-10i receiver. We used the Mission Volare series speakers to cover the front,center and rear channels. For LFE we used our old reliable Velodyne CHT15 subwoofer. Everything was wired by Monster Cables. Monitor by Samsung. After the Pioneer's auto setup MCACC was done we all sat down for a watch and hear session.

Let's talk picture quality:

Initial battle scenes of the Gladiator had plenty of dark portions on the backdrop, we noticed that in some instances we thought the quality of the detail suffered. Colour palette was cool and accurate. The picture was also steady and never flinched more so during the chaotic portion of the battle when the cavalry met up with the barbarians from behind(Admittedly, my Pioneer DV-S755Ai flickered during this scene).Consistent is the description we can apply to the images on the screen as an overall character. On a scale of 1 to 10 the panel rated it 8.

Let's talk about the sound quality:

Surprise surprise we felt the usual harshness at high volumes was significantly subdued much to our satisfaction. There was no need to make the occasional adjustment on the subwoofer to compensate for the metallic effects, the background music was always there. Everything was tight yet warm and coherent. For DVD-V the panel rated the performance a resounding 10!

On DVD-A :

We played The Band The Last Waltz and Faith Hill Cry to check on both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 surround sound and high resolution stereo performance. Multichannel sound was top rate however the high resolution stereo playback fell short of audiophile standards. The panel rated it 9.

On SACD:

We played the Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon. We found the multichannel sound more involving than in stereo playback. Perhaps the Denon design of incorporating dedicated multichannel decoders for DVD-A and SACD plus separated bass management for maximum effects would explain this. However no matter how good the sound may be and with due recognition of the design to merge the difference between two formats the sound was simply less convincing than the DVD-V or DVD-A options. The overall quality of the SACD playback sound fell well below expectations more so when compared to a separate stand alone SACD unit. To sum up our impressions the SACD sound was enough..but just not enough to meet the grade. The panel rated it at 7.

For CD:

There is nothing much to be said in praise. The panel rated it 4.


CONCLUSIONS:

Overall if value for money is the issue the DENON 2200 would be a NOBEL Prize winner. It's inherent strenghts far outweight it's shortcomings. The significance I feel for this product is the fact that not a single stone is left unturned by DENON in their efforts to meet the needs of all consumers. Already we see the light in the horizon. And sooner than we think all these minor flaws will be a thing of the past.

I can't wait to open the DVD2900 and find out what's in the box!

BTW : Comments or suggestions made are all personal opinions everyone is welcome to share their own comments,corrections,and contributions on the subject.


Hope this helps! :)

SoFtCliPpEr
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Postby zetroce » Wed May 19, 2004 10:43 am

SC,

How about the Pioneer Multi-Player that they are selling for 14K at Park Square, is it worth a try? Although it is an old model, It is still the cheapest SACD player.

Thanks. :)
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Postby Killer Mike » Wed May 19, 2004 11:03 am

SC,

Do you have a comparative analysis about the Burr-Brown and the Wolfson? NAD 542 uses BB and HK DVD31 uses Wolfson.


Thanks :)
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Wed May 19, 2004 11:04 am

zetroce wrote:SC,

How about the Pioneer Multi-Player that they are selling for 14K at Park Square, is it worth a try? Although it is an old model, It is still the cheapest SACD player.

Thanks. :)


zetroce,

14K maybe even lower is a good buy in any language. Going around Parksquare to see the various options available is just fun eh?

I'm sure although pre-owned the chaps dealing there will provide you with excellent in-house warranties good luck!

SoFtCliPpEr
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Postby zetroce » Wed May 19, 2004 11:20 am

SoFtCliPpEr wrote:
zetroce,

14K maybe even lower is a good buy in any language. Going around Parksquare to see the various options available is just fun eh?

I'm sure although pre-owned the chaps dealing there will provide you with excellent in-house warranties good luck!

SoFtCliPpEr


SC,

Are they pre-owned? I never got a chance to check them out really close. I normally see them just through the display window whenever there's a sale going on. I'm afraid to test them out since i don't have the budget yet for a new player.

So basically your recommendation is the Denon 2200 for the $500 budget. How about Sony and Pioneer, do they have budget players as well?

Cheers! :)
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Wed May 19, 2004 11:28 am

Mike wrote:SC,

Do you have a comparative analysis about the Burr-Brown and the Wolfson? NAD 542 uses BB and HK DVD31 uses Wolfson.


Thanks :)


Hello Mike,

Interesting to note what WES PHILLIPS of onhi-fi.com has this to say about BB:

Shopping for an inexpensive CD player

May 4, 2004

Hi Wes,

Could you please advise me which CD player I could get with my limited budget ($350)? Recently, I've done some research for the common factor present in the "best buy" CD players in this price range and a little above (NAD 542i, Arcam), and it would seem that it's the Delta-Sigma Burr-Brown D/A converter. Is this true? Is there a better product for my NAD C370 amp than the 542i? Thanks and keep up the good work.

Christian

You're asking two separate questions. Answering your query concerning the "secret ingredient" of the best-sounding affordable CD players, the presence of the Burr-Brown D/A probably has more too do with parts cost and availability issues (both crucial when designing to a price point) than to it being the true path to enlightenment.

That said, however, some of my favorite, far more expensive players also use Delta-Sigma chipsets from Burr-Brown, so obviously, in the hands of the right designer, they can produce superb sound. I happen to like the NAD 542i, but I also really dig the Rotel RCD-1072, which costs a bit more, but has the HDCD filter.
http://www.onhifi.com/askwes.shtml

On the Wolfson which is the new chips being employed for the NEXT GENERATION of DIGITAL AUDIO products, CD players the likes of the ARCAM 73T employs it can be browsed on this site check it out.

http://www.electronicstalk.com/news/wol/wol150.html

Hope this helps!

SoFtCliPpEr :)
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Postby rsm2a3 » Wed May 19, 2004 11:30 am

go for pioneer dv655A - plays dvd/dvd-a/sacd/cd/vcd for less than S$400 brand new.
and its pioneer so its pirate firendly....

http://www.pioneer.com.sg/products/hv_d ... dv655a.asp
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Postby tnt » Wed May 19, 2004 11:33 am

I have a Sony NS500v SACD/DVD player and I'm quite satisfied with it and costs much lesser than the Denon. There were lost of tweaks done to this player (www.sacdmods.com).

Just a thought (off topic) for the admin. We do not have a digital folder yet and this could be a good start for a digital forum.
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Postby Killer Mike » Wed May 19, 2004 11:45 am

SC,

Thanks! that was very informative. :)
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Wed May 19, 2004 11:49 am

zetroce,

Sorry to have given you that impression, I believe although they are display units brand new one's are available. And if ever the sale are on pre-owned units the chaps there would be able to provide excellent service and warranties as well.

Pioneer and Sony have entry level DVD universal players for a budget of around 12k.

However you must be keen on which will be your main software of choice. As I have experienced the entry levels tend to sacrifice some sonic gratifications to accomodate convenience. However you may have better ears than me so have fun choosing.

That's a common feeling to look at display windows yet hesitate to go in and ask the reluctant salesman for a demo huh? Well don't be your the guy buyiong so as a consumer you have the right to hear their products even if you don't buy!

Hope this helps :)

SoFtCliPpEr
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Postby RU9 » Wed May 19, 2004 2:25 pm

http://zerogain.com/forum/showthread.ph ... eadid=4283

Cd better than vinyl at last

Just got a copy of Curved Air's Second Album on CD, and it's the first time my CDP has bettered my turntable on a 1 on 1 comparison. This CD sounds incredible!
Ive not been able to do 1 on 1 comparisons between CD and vinyl very often, and the turntable was always the winner by a great deal. Ive managed it with some Black Sabbath, the latest Radiohead album, and this Curved Air disk. Im susprised that CD can really sound like this, it is by far the best CD I have ever heard, and certainly the only one for which it can actually be said remastering over the original (vinyl) makes a positive difference.
Id rcommend this album a) because the music is brilliant and b) because it has made me think there might be life in my CD player yet!
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Postby ARE » Wed May 19, 2004 6:16 pm

SC, thanks for all these info. The models that were mentioned, do they already support digital out for mulit-channel SACD/DVD-A? The last I heard about some UNI players, they still output the data via mulitple analogue outputs. I think Pioneer has already spearheaded the digital link (via firewire) to support full digital transfer of multi-channel SACD/DVD-A. Its advantage is to be able to use an outboard SACD / DVD-A decoder instead of the one onboard the player. I think Sony has followed suit.

The Pioneer receiver that you have (the one tweaked by Air Studios UK), being an up-market model, does it already support digital transfer?

Thanks
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Postby alanranch » Wed May 19, 2004 9:24 pm

Is the Denon budget uni player available here? Do you know how much. My pioneer uni player plays all types of discs although when I bought a getz sacd it wouldnt play. It says in the cover plays on SACD only? Does this mean there are sacds out there that are for SACD players alone? Ive had sacds b4 but this never happend till I got the that sacd. Thats the only disc that cant be played my my pioneer dvd player. Puzzles me.
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu May 20, 2004 9:57 am

ARE wrote:SC, thanks for all these info. The models that were mentioned, do they already support digital out for mulit-channel SACD/DVD-A? The last I heard about some UNI players, they still output the data via mulitple analogue outputs. I think Pioneer has already spearheaded the digital link (via firewire) to support full digital transfer of multi-channel SACD/DVD-A. Its advantage is to be able to use an outboard SACD / DVD-A decoder instead of the one onboard the player. I think Sony has followed suit.

The Pioneer receiver that you have (the one tweaked by Air Studios UK), being an up-market model, does it already support digital transfer?

Thanks


Hello Art,

The flagship Pioneer AX10ig I use as reference in my home theater setup supports all the latest audio formats for audio and soundtracks, it's i-link interface also allows for high-spec multimedia. The combination and synergy of advanced DSP and Pioneer's expertise delivers awesome performance unmatched with the AIR studio tweak which gives it the audiophile touch when listening to your favorite music.

The good news is that Pioneer has made available the AX-3s and the AX-5ig models to make the technology more affordable to suit one's budget considerations. Nice move really in these hard times we live in.

Here's a review on the AX10ig for your evaluation:

Image

http://www.homecinemachoice.com/testben ... A-AX10.php

Hope this helps!

SoFtCliPpEr :)

Yup the DENON 2200 has digital multi-channel outputs a common feature on most DVD universal players nowadays.
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu May 20, 2004 10:06 am

alanranch wrote:Is the Denon budget uni player available here? Do you know how much. My pioneer uni player plays all types of discs although when I bought a getz sacd it wouldnt play. It says in the cover plays on SACD only? Does this mean there are sacds out there that are for SACD players alone? Ive had sacds b4 but this never happend till I got the that sacd. Thats the only disc that cant be played my my pioneer dvd player. Puzzles me.


Hi Allan,

The GETZ SACD should play on your Pioneer not unless however the software is defective or your multi-player does not support the SACD format. And an even grim possibility the player you have is defective have it checked for better conclusions.

I got a brand new Jennifer Warnes SACD and it was also malfunctioning although on the surface it was pristine as can be factory defects cannot be prevented although this would more the exemption than the general rule.

Yes you can get your DENON 2200 from dealers such as AVDI, DCM.

Hope this helps!

SoFtCliPpEr :)
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Postby SoFtCliPpEr » Thu May 20, 2004 11:30 am

tnt wrote:I have a Sony NS500v SACD/DVD player and I'm quite satisfied with it and costs much lesser than the Denon. There were lost of tweaks done to this player (www.sacdmods.com).

Just a thought (off topic) for the admin. We do not have a digital folder yet and this could be a good start for a digital forum.


tnt,

Wow great data on the tweaks!!

Also I am glad for your smart choice on the SONY NS500v player.
It doesn't happen everyday that one can discern something good and make a go at the opportunity.

Keep us abreast on the latest!

SoFtCliPpEr :)
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