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Is upgrading a cd player (still) worthwile, in the streaming era?

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1 hour ago, codewritinfool said:

 


Agreed.

 

Me too.....The Wall and DSOTM by Pink Floyd.

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3 hours ago, robert_kc said:

It cannot be disputed that CDs can’t deliver [several listed criteria]...

 

And I'm not disputing any of that.  What I specifically addressed was the audio which is available on a compact disc.  Nothing more.

 

You always make a large production out of the superiority of newer formats with the initial emphasis on the "high res" aspect.  If program material were available with all the extra channels, video, etc. but in the bit depth and sample rate of CD Audio (note my specificity), it would work entirely as well in terms of sonic quality.  No need for you to hotly contest it here and now.

 

All that extra stuff is moot at this juncture since the OP already has a CD collection which he wishes to utilize now and in the future.  "Rip 'em, encode 'em to flac, and serve 'em up" is my recommendation.

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2 hours ago, glens said:

 

And I'm not disputing any of that.  What I specifically addressed was the audio which is available on a compact disc.  Nothing more.

 

You always make a large production out of the superiority of newer formats with the initial emphasis on the "high res" aspect.  If program material were available with all the extra channels, video, etc. but in the bit depth and sample rate of CD Audio (note my specificity), it would work entirely as well in terms of sonic quality.  No need for you to hotly contest it here and now.

 

All that extra stuff is moot at this juncture since the OP already has a CD collection which he wishes to utilize now and in the future.  "Rip 'em, encode 'em to flac, and serve 'em up" is my recommendation.

 

This past Spring, I asked Khatia when the Blu-ray of the following performance will be available, and she said “soon”.  If you’d rather just listen to audio of this composition (i.e., not see the video), then … OK.   Have fun ripping your CDs …  

 

 

 

If you’d rather just listen to the audio of “La bohème” vs. seeing the acting in stunning Blu-ray quality, then … OK.  Have fun with your CDs.

 

 

 

To me, “all that extra stuff” (i.e., video, surround-sound) is NOT irrelevant.

 

And, for anyone who’d rather listen to DSOTM, then … OK ...

 

To each their own.

 

P.S.  For everyone who is satisfied with what CDs have to offer (i.e., CD level audio quality, no surround-sound, no video), and want convenient access to individual “songs”, why not just subscribe to a streaming service and have access to millions of recordings, vs. investing time and money in ripping CDs?
 

My advice:  Enjoy the hobby as you choose to enjoy it.  And more important, enjoy your music.

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Short answer is YES at least for me. However just remember that your ear is different than mine. I enjoy physical media over streaming media all day everyday. 

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12 hours ago, robert_kc said:

 


$64k question:  Do you want to try newer “hi-res” audio (and audio/video) formats, or just play the 30+ year-old Redbook CD format?  Or, will you be satisfied with streaming?    


 

 

Your input definitely has me hesitating even more: a good blu-ray player would be more futureproof than a cd player. So I looked for a Marantz blu-ray player and discovered something weird: (at least in Europe), Marantz no longer has blu-ray players in their product line. I can't imagine a reason that would make sense here. They did have many of them in the past, but not anymore.

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13 hours ago, ILI said:

 

Your input definitely has me hesitating even more: a good blu-ray player would be more futureproof than a cd player. So I looked for a Marantz blu-ray player and discovered something weird: (at least in Europe), Marantz no longer has blu-ray players in their product line. I can't imagine a reason that would make sense here. They did have many of them in the past, but not anymore.

 

Unfortunately, John Q. Public apparently is more interested in the convenience of video streaming vs. the superior video quality that is often available via Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.  And John Q. Public is more interested in the convenience of audio streaming vs. the superior audio quality often available via high-resolution audio discs such as SACD and Blu-ray, or hi-res downloads.   My guess is that’s why Oppo ceased manufacturing.   This is unfortunate for audiophiles, because Oppo’s UDP-205 is a fantastic product IMO.  The UDP-205 will play all discs, plus I can connect a Chromecast Audio via TOSLINK (i.e., using the Oppo’s DAC) for streaming services such as internet radio (e.g., kusc.org) and Spotify Premium, and it has analog audio connections for 5.1 (and 7.1) including configurable bass crossover, and variable output (which adds convenience to my vintage tube amps).  The UDP-205 sold in the USA for $1299, which I think was a great value, considering what it does.  (When Oppo announced that they were ceasing manufacturing, I bought a second UDP-205.)   Sellers are now asking inflated prices for used UDP-205 players.   I also own an Oppo BDP-105 and BDP-95, which play all discs except Ultra HD Blu-ray.   

 

Are any used Oppo universal players available in Belgium for a reasonable price?

 

A universal player with analog audio outputs affords the flexibility to use any traditional hi-fi amp(s) you want – which to many hi-fi enthusiasts is a significant advantage.   (In other words, you are not forced to buy an AVR, or stereo HDMI receiver, or HDMI DAC.)  

 

An important question is whether you have interest in surround-sound (e.g., 5.1).

 

How large is your listening room?  How far apart are your stereo speakers?  IME, surround sound is useful in large rooms, and/or when the main speakers must be far apart.   I have 5 hi-fi systems, and only one has surround-sound (the system in my basement).   The surround-sound system in my basement sounds awesome playing classical Blu-ray and SACD via tube amps and large Klipsch speakers.  I have several other stereo systems (2.1 and 2.0) that also sound great.  My stereo systems are in smaller listening rooms, and the stereo speakers are only approximately 5 feet apart, and there simply isn’t much need for a center channel.  IME/IMO stereo is adequate for smaller rooms; surround-sound excels in larger rooms.

 

If you have no need for surround-sound, then there is currently one option that I know of for a new “universal player” with analog audio outputs.  Have you investigated the new Sony UBP-X1100ES 4K UHD Blu-ray Player?  I have no experience with this unit, but I’ve read positive reports about its predecessor, the UBP-X1000ES.  My understanding is that these machines will play almost any disc:  Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray (presumably including Pure Audio Blu-ray), SACD, DVD, DVD-Audio, and CD.  It has analog stereo connections (no analog connections for 5.1 or 7.1, and no subwoofer connection).   Based on a brief look at the Owner’s manual, the UBP-X1100ES appears to play most audio file types including FLAC, and can play audio files via its USB connection, and via networking (presumably DLNA).

 

If the Sony UBP-X1100ES 4K UHD Blu-ray Player exceeds your budget, is the predecessor UBP-X1000ES available in Belgium for a discounted price?   (In the USA, eBay item # 312383606733 offers a “manufacturer refurbished” Sony UBP-X1000ES for $280US including shipping in the USA.  On another hi-fi discussion forum, a member bought one of these “manufacturer refurbished” Sony UBP-X1000ES and is very happy with the unit – he thinks it sounds better than his Oppo in a 2-channel installation.)   

 

The Panasonic DP-UB9000 has 7.1 multi-channel analogue outputs.  However, the DP-UB9000 doesn’t play SACD, which IMO is a disadvantage for classical music lovers.  (It also doesn’t play DVD-Audio, which to me isn’t as important.)  There are many classical SACDs available.  Most (but not all) SACDs are “hybrid SACDs” that have an SACD layer and a CD layer.  The biggest benefit IMO to the SACD track is 5.1 surround-sound.  Assuming a high-quality recording, the CD layer of an SACD would undoubtedly offer good stereo audio quality, and presumably the CD layer of an SACD would play on the Panasonic DP-UB9000.

 

OTOH, if you get a universal player such as the Sony UBP-X700 which has only an HDMI connection (no analog audio output), then you must buy an AVR that has an HDMI input, or buy an HDMI DAC.    It appears that this external DAC might work, but I have no experience with it: https://www.essenceelectrostatic.com/product/evolve-ii-4k-hdmi-v2-0-7-1-channel-dac/   FWIW, this configuration doesn’t appeal to me, vs. buying a universal player with DACs built in – but it might appeal to you.

 

Of course, there are countless AVRs available, and there are a few “stereo HDMI receivers” (i.e., 2 channel AVR) such as the Onkyo TX-8270, Pioneer SX-S30, and Denon DRA-800H. However, I’m a tube guy, so these aren’t my cup of tea.  Again, this might appeal to you.

 

There are probably other options for playing Blu-ray and SACD – these are the ones that I know about off the top of my head.  (Ripping Blu-ray and SACD discs is reportedly possible, but not straightforward.)

 

Bottom line, I strongly suggest that you consider a universal player, in light of the wealth of classical recordings available on Blu-ray and SACD, as well as CD and DVD.  

 

As I said earlier, I’m reluctant to get into the contentious debate about whether hi-res recordings sound better than CDs.  IME modern best-in-class CDs can sound good.  IME modern best-in-class hi-res recordings generally sound excellent – and I particularly like surround-sound, and I like hi-def video.  

 

I recently conducted very brief, informal listening assessments of the digital recordings that I own of Beethoven Symphony 9:

  • CD (Archipel) of a 1942 performance by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berliner Philharmoniker
  • SACD (tahra) of a 1954 performance by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Philharmonia Orchestra London
  • CD (Testament | EMI) of a 1957 performance by Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra
  • CD (Chesky) of a 1961 performance by Rene Leibowitz and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • SACD (DG) of a 1962 performance by Herbert Von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker
  • CD (Penguin Classics) of a 1972 performance by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • CD (Seraphim Classics) of a 1988 performance by Riccardo Muti and The Philadelphia Orchestra

With my hi-fi systems and my ears, the difference in audio quality between these older recordings is immediately apparent.

 

Following are more modern recordings of Beethoven Symphony 9 that I own.   With my hi-fi systems and my ears, the difference in audio quality is significant between the older recordings listed above, and the modern recordings listed below:

  • DVD (Euroarts) of a 2000 performance by Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker (PCM stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks)
  • 24bit/96kHz FLAC download (DG) from HDTracks.com of a 2002 performance by Claudio Abbado (stereo only)
  • SACD (BIS) of a 2006 performance by Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra  (stereo and 5.1 tracks)
  • Blu-ray (DRS | Dacapo Records) of a 2013 performance by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DTS-HD MA 5.0 and PCM Stereo).   IMO, of the recordings listed above, this is the overall most enjoyable recording, with the best audio quality, and best quality video. 

I have ordered two more Blu-ray box sets of all Beethoven symphonies:  a Blu-ray box set by Christian Thielemann and the Wiener Philharmoniker recorded at the Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, plus a Blu-ray box set by Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded in Tokyo Suntory Hall.   I’m anxious to see/hear these recordings.

 

I have a thread on talkclassical.com about Blu-ray classical recordings, if you’re interested in joining that discussion.

 

Please keep us posted.

 

P.S.  Obviously, if you invest in a universal player, your hi-fi system can also serve as a home theater system for playing Blu-ray and DVD movies.

 

P.P.S.  I also want to mention the following DVD box set of 25 concerts by the Berliner Philharmoniker.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks sound very good.  (These DVDs also have a stereo track.)  While not Blu-ray quality, when upscaled by my Oppo UDP-205 the video quality varies from good to very good.   (These concerts span 25 years:  1991-2015, so the audio and video quality vary.)  IMO this DVD audio/video box set of 25 live concerts on 25 DVDs is a good value, and it provides the chance to see 25 European concert halls, which I enjoy.   (Again, this provides a fundamentally different experience (IMO more enjoyable) compared with CDs or streaming audio.)
https://www.berliner-philharmoniker-recordings.com/25-years-europakonzert.html

51MqkkGbu0L.jpg

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there was an Amazon warehouse deal so I bought the Marantz CD5005, a perfect fit for my pm5005 amp.

@robert_kc 

you have me convinced of the value of modern files and universal players. For the moment, I  have no need of surround audio, though.

My CD collection is mostly recordings from the 80s and 90s, or earlier. So now you have sparked my interest in recent, modern recordings. I'm checking Spotify's new releases all the time. Qobuz is better for that but I no longer have an account. Oppo is not a familiar brand in Europe, to my knowledge.

 

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36 minutes ago, robert_kc said:

 

Unfortunately, John Q. Public apparently is more interested in the convenience of video streaming vs. the superior video quality that is often available via Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.  And John Q. Public is more interested in the convenience of audio streaming vs. the superior audio quality often available via high-resolution audio discs such as SACD and Blu-ray, or hi-res downloads.   My guess is that’s why Oppo ceased manufacturing.   This is unfortunate for audiophiles, because Oppo’s UDP-205 is a fantastic product IMO.  The UDP-205 will play all discs, plus I can connect a Chromecast Audio via TOSLINK (i.e., using the Oppo’s DAC) for streaming services such as internet radio (e.g., kusc.org) and Spotify Premium, and it has analog audio connections for 5.1 (and 7.1) including configurable bass crossover, and variable output (which adds convenience to my vintage tube amps).  The UDP-205 sold in the USA for $1299, which I think was a great value, considering what it does.  (When Oppo announced that they were ceasing manufacturing, I bought a second UDP-205.)   Sellers are now asking inflated prices for used UDP-205 players.   I also own an Oppo BDP-105 and BDP-95, which play all discs except Ultra HD Blu-ray.   

 

Are any used Oppo universal players available in Belgium for a reasonable price?

 

A universal player with analog audio outputs affords the flexibility to use any traditional hi-fi amp(s) you want – which to many hi-fi enthusiasts is a significant advantage.   (In other words, you are not forced to buy an AVR, or stereo HDMI receiver, or HDMI DAC.)  

 

An important question is whether you have interest in surround-sound (e.g., 5.1).

 

How large is your listening room?  How far apart are your stereo speakers?  IME, surround sound is useful in large rooms, and/or when the main speakers must be far apart.   I have 5 hi-fi systems, and only one has surround-sound (the system in my basement).   The surround-sound system in my basement sounds awesome playing classical Blu-ray and SACD via tube amps and large Klipsch speakers.  I have several other stereo systems (2.1 and 2.0) that also sound great.  My stereo systems are in smaller listening rooms, and the stereo speakers are only approximately 5 feet apart, and there simply isn’t much need for a center channel.  IME/IMO stereo is adequate for smaller rooms; surround-sound excels in larger rooms.

 

If you have no need for surround-sound, then there is currently one option that I know of for a new “universal player” with analog audio outputs.  Have you investigated the new Sony UBP-X1100ES 4K UHD Blu-ray Player?  I have no experience with this unit, but I’ve read positive reports about its predecessor, the UBP-X1000ES.  My understanding is that these machines will play almost any disc:  Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray (presumably including Pure Audio Blu-ray), SACD, DVD, DVD-Audio, and CD.  It has analog stereo connections (no analog connections for 5.1 or 7.1, and no subwoofer connection).   Based on a brief look at the Owner’s manual, the UBP-X1100ES appears to play most audio file types including FLAC, and can play audio files via its USB connection, and via networking (presumably DLNA).

 

If the Sony UBP-X1100ES 4K UHD Blu-ray Player exceeds your budget, is the predecessor UBP-X1000ES available in Belgium for a discounted price?   (In the USA, eBay item # 312383606733 offers a “manufacturer refurbished” Sony UBP-X1000ES for $280US including shipping in the USA.  On another hi-fi discussion forum, a member bought one of these “manufacturer refurbished” Sony UBP-X1000ES and is very happy with the unit – he thinks it sounds better than his Oppo in a 2-channel installation.)   

 

The Panasonic DP-UB9000 has 7.1 multi-channel analogue outputs.  However, the DP-UB9000 doesn’t play SACD, which IMO is a disadvantage for classical music lovers.  (It also doesn’t play DVD-Audio, which to me isn’t as important.)  There are many classical SACDs available.  Most (but not all) SACDs are “hybrid SACDs” that have an SACD layer and a CD layer.  The biggest benefit IMO to the SACD track is 5.1 surround-sound.  Assuming a high-quality recording, the CD layer of an SACD would undoubtedly offer good stereo audio quality, and presumably the CD layer of an SACD would play on the Panasonic DP-UB9000.

 

OTOH, if you get a universal player such as the Sony UBP-X700 which has only an HDMI connection (no analog audio output), then you must buy an AVR that has an HDMI input, or buy an HDMI DAC.    It appears that this external DAC might work, but I have no experience with it: https://www.essenceelectrostatic.com/product/evolve-ii-4k-hdmi-v2-0-7-1-channel-dac/   FWIW, this configuration doesn’t appeal to me, vs. buying a universal player with DACs built in – but it might appeal to you.

 

Of course, there are countless AVRs available, and there are a few “stereo HDMI receivers” (i.e., 2 channel AVR) such as the Onkyo TX-8270, Pioneer SX-S30, and Denon DRA-800H. However, I’m a tube guy, so these aren’t my cup of tea.  Again, this might appeal to you.

 

There are probably other options for playing Blu-ray and SACD – these are the ones that I know about off the top of my head.  (Ripping Blu-ray and SACD discs is reportedly possible, but not straightforward.)

 

Bottom line, I strongly suggest that you consider a universal player, in light of the wealth of classical recordings available on Blu-ray and SACD, as well as CD and DVD.  

 

As I said earlier, I’m reluctant to get into the contentious debate about whether hi-res recordings sound better than CDs.  IME modern best-in-class CDs can sound good.  IME modern best-in-class hi-res recordings generally sound excellent – and I particularly like surround-sound, and I like hi-def video.  

 

I recently conducted very brief, informal listening assessments of the digital recordings that I own of Beethoven Symphony 9:

  • CD (Archipel) of a 1942 performance by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berliner Philharmoniker
  • SACD (tahra) of a 1954 performance by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Philharmonia Orchestra London
  • CD (Testament | EMI) of a 1957 performance by Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra
  • CD (Chesky) of a 1961 performance by Rene Leibowitz and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • SACD (DG) of a 1962 performance by Herbert Von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker
  • CD (Penguin Classics) of a 1972 performance by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • CD (Seraphim Classics) of a 1988 performance by Riccardo Muti and The Philadelphia Orchestra

With my hi-fi systems and my ears, the difference in audio quality between these older recordings is immediately apparent.

 

Following are more modern recordings of Beethoven Symphony 9 that I own.   With my hi-fi systems and my ears, the difference in audio quality is significant between the older recordings listed above, and the modern recordings listed below:

  • DVD (Euroarts) of a 2000 performance by Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker (PCM stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks)
  • 24bit/96kHz FLAC download (DG) from HDTracks.com of a 2002 performance by Claudio Abbado (stereo only)
  • SACD (BIS) of a 2006 performance by Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra  (stereo and 5.1 tracks)
  • Blu-ray (DRS | Dacapo Records) of a 2013 performance by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DTS-HD MA 5.0 and PCM Stereo).   IMO, of the recordings listed above, this is the overall most enjoyable recording, with the best audio quality, and best quality video. 

I have ordered two more Blu-ray box sets of all Beethoven symphonies:  a Blu-ray box set by Christian Thielemann and the Wiener Philharmoniker recorded at the Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, plus a Blu-ray box set by Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded in Tokyo Suntory Hall.   I’m anxious to see/hear these recordings.

 

I have a thread on talkclassical.com about Blu-ray classical recordings, if you’re interested in joining that discussion.

 

Please keep us posted.

 

P.S.  Obviously, if you invest in a universal player, your hi-fi system can also serve as a home theater system for playing Blu-ray and DVD movies.

 

P.P.S.  I also want to mention the following DVD box set of 25 concerts by the Berliner Philharmoniker.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks sound very good.  (These DVDs also have a stereo track.)  While not Blu-ray quality, when upscaled by my Oppo UDP-205 the video quality varies from good to very good.   (These concerts span 25 years:  1991-2015, so the audio and video quality vary.)  IMO this DVD audio/video box set of 25 live concerts on 25 DVDs is a good value, and it provides the chance to see 25 European concert halls, which I enjoy.   (Again, this provides a fundamentally different experience (IMO more enjoyable) compared with CDs or streaming audio.)
https://www.berliner-philharmoniker-recordings.com/25-years-europakonzert.html

51MqkkGbu0L.jpg

 

Have you heard about this:

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/home

Here is a free concert to test it.

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/22386

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I got an interesting Amazon Warehouse deal for the Marantz CD5005, which was welcome after my failed attempt to repair my Pioneer cd player. So I got the Marantz CD5005, which is Marantz's entry level cd player. I can confirm what has been said here a couple of times: the Marantz combo (CD+PM5005) sounds really well with the RP160M speakers and it comes with a pretty decent phono stage as well!

 

 

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2 hours ago, ILI said:

I got an interesting Amazon Warehouse deal for the Marantz CD5005, which was welcome after my failed attempt to repair my Pioneer cd player. So I got the Marantz CD5005, which is Marantz's entry level cd player. I can confirm what has been said here a couple of times: the Marantz combo (CD+PM5005) sounds really well with the RP160M speakers and it comes with a pretty decent phono stage as well!

 

 

 

Congratulations – I’m glad you are happy with your purchase.

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For any classical music fans in the USA who want to try Blu-ray audio/video classical recordings, and want to acquire a “universal player” for a modest amount of money, and who only need stereo analog audio connections to a traditional hi-fi amp (i.e., no 5.1 analog connections), then I suggest that you investigate eBay item # 312383606733, which offers a “manufacturer refurbished” Sony UBP-X1000ES for $280 including shipping.  I have no experience with this unit, but I’ve read good reviews on another hi-fi forum.   I have no affiliation with the seller.

 

If you want the latest Sony universal player that is equipped with stereo analog audio output, I suggest that you investigate the newer Sony UBP-X1100ES.

 

My understanding is that in addition to Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray, the Sony UBP-X1000ES and UBP-X1100ES also play SACD, DVD, DVD-Audio, and CD.

 

(I use Oppo UDP-205 universal players, but they’re discontinued.)

 

Then, I suggest that you consider this Blu-ray box set, which I think has excellent quality, and is a great value:
https://www.amazon.com/Ludwig-van-Beethoven-Symphonies-2110433-35BD/dp/B071JBXWC6/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=beethoven+Rafael+Frühbeck+de+Burgos+and+the+Danish+National+Symphony+Orchestra&qid=1566575825&s=movies-tv&sr=1-1

 

IMO, this would provide a reasonably priced way to try classical Blu-ray recordings, and decide if they’re “your cup of tea”.   

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I'll be buying a new Onkyo C-7000R CD player in the next few weeks, along with the M-5000R amplifier, to match the P-7000R preamp I have already.  I've not used a CD player in the last few years as all are ripped as FLAC files to my NAS.  But, I thought what the heck since I can get this $1,600 CD player for under $300 brand new.  I was an Onkyo/NAD rep some years back and am still good friends with the Nat'l Sales Manager so that's about my only reason.  

 

Other than that, I could care less about Hi Res discs, players, surround, etc...I'm just 2-channel only these days.  I did my 25 years (1985 till 2010) in the CE A/V industry and am glad to be out of it all now.  Plus, I can't really hear the differences in the upper eschelon gear as my tinnitus and 12k HF limit take the fun out of it.  Probably better on my pocket book, too.

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2 hours ago, robert_kc said:

 

Congratulations – I’m glad you are happy with your purchase.

 

Your posts have triggered my interest in recent high quality recordings. I do have an extensive CD collection of classical music, but most of them date back to the 90s, 80s or even 70s and still earlier - the recordings, I mean.

If you can direct me to reviews of recent recordings on CD, I would greatly appreciate that. I found out already that new releases often are old recordings...

 

Edit

 Checking https://www.prestomusic.com/classical right now.

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If you are like me and have an investment in a cd collection (I have 900+) and aren't interested in ripping all of them, I'd say sure! I listen to vinyl when in the right mood and do enjoy it but the majority of my listening is still cd. I figure now that I have them why not try and get the best from them? I don't mind getting off the couch and popping in a silver disk and reading the liner notes. Ok, at 59 call me an audio dinosaur (2 channel guy) and I'm not into reinventing my audio wheel. I will say that even modest "entry level" type cd players can sound great with improved dacs and the like. It's akin to playing a vinyl collection on a Kenners' Close and Play if you don't have a quality cd playback device. The suggestion was made to try an external doc upgrade, I'd say that's a great start ! Enjoy the journey.

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6 hours ago, ILI said:

 

Your posts have triggered my interest in recent high quality recordings. I do have an extensive CD collection of classical music, but most of them date back to the 90s, 80s or even 70s and still earlier - the rcordings, I mean.

If you can direct me to reviews of recent recordings on CD, I would greatly appreciated that. I found out already that new releases often are old recordings...

 

Most modern SACDs are “hybrid SACDs”, meaning they contain an SACD layer, and a CD layer that will play on a CD player.  IMO these discs potentially can be a good investment, because you can play them today as a CD, and then if in the future you acquire a player that will play SACDs (whether stereo or multi-channel), then you can play the SACD layer.

 

I suggest that on amazon.com you select the category “CDs & Vinyl” (upper left), then search for “SACD”, then in the upper right select “Sort by Release Date”.   If you see an SACD you’re interested in, you can click on the back cover, then enlarge it to see if the disc will play on a CD player in addition to an SACD player, what SACD tracks are included (e.g., stereo and 5.0), and the recording date.   (If the recording date is not known, an obvious clue is provided by the principal performers – i.e., the conductor and named musicians.   When was their heyday – i.e., when did they record?  Setting aside performance quality, and focusing instead on audio quality, if a classical recording was conducted by a conductor whose discography is mostly from the 1950s, how do you think the audio quality of the recording will compare with a modern state-of-the-art recording?)

 

As I suggested earlier, you can also look for SACDs on these sites:

 

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/formats/sacd

https://www.hraudio.net/

 

I searched my amazon orders for “SACD”.  In random order (i.e., not prioritized), here’s some SACDs in my collection that are hybrid SACDs:

 

51drfA9snbL._SX425_.jpg

61TuxqX8mNL._SX522_.jpg

51Z97gWq-oL.jpg

51xHPyfcDZL._SX425_.jpg

61Z8V7RMWTL._SX425_.jpg

51RYb92SfnL._SX425_.jpg

71FgoJWB1EL._SX425_.jpg

61Ea+VWcl6L._SX425_.jpg

718OlFAMqHL._SX522_.jpg

71fJndkxLHL._SX425_.jpg

81Z+JEOw5jL._SX425_.jpg

51a41UyzXGL._SX425_.jpg

91cfqXW2SwL._SX425_.jpg

51C5l28bDTL._SX425_.jpg

41xlVrFh-lL._SX425_.jpg

5191r7tBQ2L._SX425_.jpg

41B8DNcjRNL._SX425_.jpg

51lRMS+ZQSL.jpg

 

I’ll stop flooding this thread with examples.  I own many more SACDs, and there are countless other modern hybrid SACDs available.

 

I hope this helps.

 

P.S.  Just to be clear, my favorite formats are currently Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray audio/video.  My next choices are Pure Audio Blu-ray and SACD that include a 5.0 or 5.1 track.  Provenance of the recording is extremely important.

 

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My slightly modded Jolida jd100 sounds great. I recently rolled in some Voice of Music branded 12ax7a's, I think they're sylvanias after using some ge 5751's for some time. The slight gain increase made a big difference.

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On 8/18/2019 at 3:45 PM, Tony Whitlow said:


That’s a silly analogy. I’ve still got the first CD I bought in 1983.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Well , he's right , philosophical thinking , ownership is temporary as is all things , learned that back in my days of self exploration via drugs , maybe he's on something good , or on to something 

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On 8/19/2019 at 7:49 PM, robert_kc said:

 

Unfortunately, John Q. Public apparently is more interested in the convenience of video streaming vs. the superior video quality that is often available via Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.  And John Q. Public is more interested in the convenience of audio streaming vs. the superior audio quality often available via high-resolution audio discs such as SACD and Blu-ray, or hi-res downloads.   My guess is that’s why Oppo ceased manufacturing.   This is unfortunate for audiophiles, because Oppo’s UDP-205 is a fantastic product IMO.  The UDP-205 will play all discs, plus I can connect a Chromecast Audio via TOSLINK (i.e., using the Oppo’s DAC) for streaming services such as internet radio (e.g., kusc.org) and Spotify Premium, and it has analog audio connections for 5.1 (and 7.1) including configurable bass crossover, and variable output (which adds convenience to my vintage tube amps).  The UDP-205 sold in the USA for $1299, which I think was a great value, considering what it does.  (When Oppo announced that they were ceasing manufacturing, I bought a second UDP-205.)   Sellers are now asking inflated prices for used UDP-205 players.   I also own an Oppo BDP-105 and BDP-95, which play all discs except Ultra HD Blu-ray.   

 

Are any used Oppo universal players available in Belgium for a reasonable price?

 

A universal player with analog audio outputs affords the flexibility to use any traditional hi-fi amp(s) you want – which to many hi-fi enthusiasts is a significant advantage.   (In other words, you are not forced to buy an AVR, or stereo HDMI receiver, or HDMI DAC.)  

 

An important question is whether you have interest in surround-sound (e.g., 5.1).

 

How large is your listening room?  How far apart are your stereo speakers?  IME, surround sound is useful in large rooms, and/or when the main speakers must be far apart.   I have 5 hi-fi systems, and only one has surround-sound (the system in my basement).   The surround-sound system in my basement sounds awesome playing classical Blu-ray and SACD via tube amps and large Klipsch speakers.  I have several other stereo systems (2.1 and 2.0) that also sound great.  My stereo systems are in smaller listening rooms, and the stereo speakers are only approximately 5 feet apart, and there simply isn’t much need for a center channel.  IME/IMO stereo is adequate for smaller rooms; surround-sound excels in larger rooms.

 

If you have no need for surround-sound, then there is currently one option that I know of for a new “universal player” with analog audio outputs.  Have you investigated the new Sony UBP-X1100ES 4K UHD Blu-ray Player?  I have no experience with this unit, but I’ve read positive reports about its predecessor, the UBP-X1000ES.  My understanding is that these machines will play almost any disc:  Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray (presumably including Pure Audio Blu-ray), SACD, DVD, DVD-Audio, and CD.  It has analog stereo connections (no analog connections for 5.1 or 7.1, and no subwoofer connection).   Based on a brief look at the Owner’s manual, the UBP-X1100ES appears to play most audio file types including FLAC, and can play audio files via its USB connection, and via networking (presumably DLNA).

 

If the Sony UBP-X1100ES 4K UHD Blu-ray Player exceeds your budget, is the predecessor UBP-X1000ES available in Belgium for a discounted price?   (In the USA, eBay item # 312383606733 offers a “manufacturer refurbished” Sony UBP-X1000ES for $280US including shipping in the USA.  On another hi-fi discussion forum, a member bought one of these “manufacturer refurbished” Sony UBP-X1000ES and is very happy with the unit – he thinks it sounds better than his Oppo in a 2-channel installation.)   

 

The Panasonic DP-UB9000 has 7.1 multi-channel analogue outputs.  However, the DP-UB9000 doesn’t play SACD, which IMO is a disadvantage for classical music lovers.  (It also doesn’t play DVD-Audio, which to me isn’t as important.)  There are many classical SACDs available.  Most (but not all) SACDs are “hybrid SACDs” that have an SACD layer and a CD layer.  The biggest benefit IMO to the SACD track is 5.1 surround-sound.  Assuming a high-quality recording, the CD layer of an SACD would undoubtedly offer good stereo audio quality, and presumably the CD layer of an SACD would play on the Panasonic DP-UB9000.

 

OTOH, if you get a universal player such as the Sony UBP-X700 which has only an HDMI connection (no analog audio output), then you must buy an AVR that has an HDMI input, or buy an HDMI DAC.    It appears that this external DAC might work, but I have no experience with it: https://www.essenceelectrostatic.com/product/evolve-ii-4k-hdmi-v2-0-7-1-channel-dac/   FWIW, this configuration doesn’t appeal to me, vs. buying a universal player with DACs built in – but it might appeal to you.

 

Of course, there are countless AVRs available, and there are a few “stereo HDMI receivers” (i.e., 2 channel AVR) such as the Onkyo TX-8270, Pioneer SX-S30, and Denon DRA-800H. However, I’m a tube guy, so these aren’t my cup of tea.  Again, this might appeal to you.

 

There are probably other options for playing Blu-ray and SACD – these are the ones that I know about off the top of my head.  (Ripping Blu-ray and SACD discs is reportedly possible, but not straightforward.)

 

Bottom line, I strongly suggest that you consider a universal player, in light of the wealth of classical recordings available on Blu-ray and SACD, as well as CD and DVD.  

 

As I said earlier, I’m reluctant to get into the contentious debate about whether hi-res recordings sound better than CDs.  IME modern best-in-class CDs can sound good.  IME modern best-in-class hi-res recordings generally sound excellent – and I particularly like surround-sound, and I like hi-def video.  

 

I recently conducted very brief, informal listening assessments of the digital recordings that I own of Beethoven Symphony 9:

  • CD (Archipel) of a 1942 performance by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berliner Philharmoniker
  • SACD (tahra) of a 1954 performance by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Philharmonia Orchestra London
  • CD (Testament | EMI) of a 1957 performance by Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra
  • CD (Chesky) of a 1961 performance by Rene Leibowitz and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • SACD (DG) of a 1962 performance by Herbert Von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker
  • CD (Penguin Classics) of a 1972 performance by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • CD (Seraphim Classics) of a 1988 performance by Riccardo Muti and The Philadelphia Orchestra

With my hi-fi systems and my ears, the difference in audio quality between these older recordings is immediately apparent.

 

Following are more modern recordings of Beethoven Symphony 9 that I own.   With my hi-fi systems and my ears, the difference in audio quality is significant between the older recordings listed above, and the modern recordings listed below:

  • DVD (Euroarts) of a 2000 performance by Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker (PCM stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks)
  • 24bit/96kHz FLAC download (DG) from HDTracks.com of a 2002 performance by Claudio Abbado (stereo only)
  • SACD (BIS) of a 2006 performance by Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra  (stereo and 5.1 tracks)
  • Blu-ray (DRS | Dacapo Records) of a 2013 performance by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DTS-HD MA 5.0 and PCM Stereo).   IMO, of the recordings listed above, this is the overall most

I have ordered two more Blu-ray box sets of all Beethoven symphonies:  a Blu-ray box set by Christian Thielemann and the Wiener Philharmoniker recorded at the Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, plus a Blu-ray box set by Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded in Tokyo Suntory Hall.   I’m anxious to see/hear these recordings.

 

I have a thread on talkclassical.com about Blu-ray classical recordings, if you’re interested in joining that discussion.

 

Please keep us posted.

 

P.S.  Obviously, if you invest in a universal player, your hi-fi system can also serve as a home theater system for playing Blu-ray and DVD movies.

 

P.P.S.  I also want to mention the following DVD box set of 25 concerts by the Berliner Philharmoniker.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks sound very good.  (These DVDs also have a stereo track.)  While not Blu-ray quality, when upscaled by my Oppo UDP-205 the video quality varies from good to very good.   (These concerts span 25 years:  1991-2015, so the audio and video quality vary.)  IMO this DVD audio/video box set of 25 live concerts on 25 DVDs is a good value, and it provides the chance to see 25 European concert halls, which I enjoy.   (Again, this provides a fundamentally different experience (IMO more enjoyable) compared with CDs or streaming audio.)
https://www.berliner-philharmoniker-recordings.com/25-years-europakonzert.html

51MqkkGbu0L.jpg

 

I just discovered this: https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/7955558--beethoven-symphony-no-6-in-f-major-op-68-pastoral#reviews

 ...recorded on a Taperecorder for the conductor 's son. But then the professional mastertapes got damaged so they used the tape instead... I'm pretty sure you know the story.

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On 8/25/2019 at 2:33 AM, ILI said:

 

I just discovered this: https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/7955558--beethoven-symphony-no-6-in-f-major-op-68-pastoral#reviews

 ...recorded on a Taperecorder for the conductor 's son. But then the professional mastertapes got damaged so they used the tape instead... I'm pretty sure you know the story.

 

The recording of Beethoven Symphony No. 6 you are referencing reportedly was recorded in 1983 from a radio broadcast onto a cassette tape.  I listened to this recording for a few minutes via youtube.   Of course, youtube isn’t a good way to assess the audio quality of a recording – nonetheless it is clear that this recording has poor quality audio.   Recordings such as this may be of interest to music scholars because of their interest in the unique nature of the historic performance, however this is not my cup of tea.    I have no tolerance for poor audio quality.   

 

It seems to me that there are plenty of choices for modern recordings of Beethoven symphonies.

  • I know of at least 3 Blu-ray audio/video box sets of modern performances of all Beethoven symphonies that feature excellent audio/video quality.  
  • There are at least 4 SACD box sets of modern performances of all Beethoven symphonies.
  • There are at least two Pure Audio Blu-ray box sets of modern performances of all Beethoven box symphonies.
  • In addition to the box sets that include all Beethoven symphonies, there are many modern recordings of individual Beethoven symphonies in various hi-res formats.  

My point is this:  For the person who wants digital recordings of Beethoven symphonies that have top-quality audio, there are many choices.
 

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