I've been looking all over for reviews of mid-level CDP's and found it very hard to fnd a good comparison. So I thought, why not do it myself? So I am. I will be reviewing 6 popular players that seem to get great reviews on their own. I want to see what the "real" difference is between them. So many claim to have features that people think mae a superior player. I wat to put them to the test.
I have 2 tubed players and 4 SS. one is nonupsampling. 3 have internal volume attenuatoin. one is a CDP and preamp all in one.
Let's meet the contenders:
Eastern Electric Minimax CD Player - tube
from SoundStage!: features Burr-Brown 1732 DACs and accepts two 6922 or 6DJ8 tubes, with a pair of the 6922s included and pre-installed. A custom toroidal power transformer was designed specifically for the MiniMax. The player supports both conventional and HDCD-encoded compact discs, and includes a small LED to tell you when the latter is spinning. The unit also supports homebrew CD-Rs.
Jolida JD-100: tube
from Jolida website:
Gain stage utilizing two 12AX7A vacuum tubes. Unit does not utilize op-amps.
24/96 Burr Brown D/A converter
Phillips CDM 12.1 Transport System
Programmable for up to twenty-four tracks.
Full - function random access metal remote control with search function.
Track repeat and index of track search function.
Variable Headphone output.
Opera Consonace CD-120 Linear: SS - non-upsampling
"Sampling frequency: 44.1kHz/88.2kHz (selected manually using remote control unit)
To Experience the True Possibility of 16bit/44.1kHz Format"
DAC resolution: 16bit TDA1543
Clock Jitter Less than 14ps directly distributed to DAC
0dBFS signal output: 2.35V RMS
Frequency response: Less than +/- 0.5 dB deviation 20Hz-20kHz
Phase response: Less than 5 degrees deviation 20Hz-20kHz, or less than 2 degrees deviation 20Hz-20kHz, depending which Consonance/Opera website you visit
Signal-to-noise ratio: More than 100dB
Crosstalk: Less than -100dB
Distortion (RCA): Less than 0.12%
Remote Control: Philips RC-5 compatible IR system 36kHz modulation frequency
Dimensions / Weight : 8.5cm x 43cm x 32cm (HxWxD) / 10kg
Musical Fidelity CD-Pre24 SS - with built-in preamplifier
Description: Combination CD player/digital and analog preamplifier. CD Section: DAC: 24-bit delta-sigma, 8x oversampling (CD or DVD-Audio conversion only). Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz, ?0.02dB. Channel balance: <0.02dB. Stereo separation, 20Hz-20kHz: >98dB. THD 1kHz: 0dB digital level 0.002%, -10dB digital level 0.004%, -70dB digital level 0.050%. S/N Ratio: 110dB unweighted (20Hz-20kHz), 114dB A-weighted. Audio output at digital 0dB level, 1kHz: 2.14V RMS nominal, sourced from 47 ohms impedance. Jitter: 189ps. Preamplifier Section: Direct Analog connection: Maximum output for 2.2V RMS in: 8.4V RMS (11.6dB voltage gain). Distortion: <0.002%, 20Hz-20kHz. Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz +0/-0.02dB. Crosstalk (typical): 85dB. Channel Balance: 20Hz-20kHz <0.01dB. S/N Ratio: 106dB unweighted (20Hz-20kHz), 109dB A-weighted. Preamplifier Section: ADC/DAC (measurements made by linking coax digital output to digital monitor and using digital monitor function). Maximum output for 2.2V RMS in: 8.2V RMS. Distortion: !x0.004%, 20Hz-20kHz. Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz +0/-0.37dB. Crosstalk (typical): 90dB. Channel Balance: 20Hz-20kHz <0.02dB. S/N Ratio: 101dB unweighted (20Hz-20kHz), 104dB A-weighted.
Dimensions: 17.2" (440mm) W by 5.5" (140mm) H by 14.8" (380mm) D. Weight: 30 lbs
Denon DVD-2910 SS CD/DVD/SACD/DVD-A
Faroudja's FLI-2310 DCDi chipset, Burr Brown DSD1791 24-bit/192kHz audio D/A converters for all channels, and two 12-bit, 216MHz video DACs, complete with NSV circuitry.
2008 Mac Mini computer
used as transport into Musical Fidelity DAC through toslink
using only AIFF or FLAC files played through VLC with flat equalization
HOPEFULLY TO BE IN THE SHOOTOUT
Rega Planet 2000: SS
from enjoy the music:
Digital Outputs: coax digital, optical digital
Analog Outputs: single-ended via RCA
Power: toroidal mains transformer, detachable AC cord
DAC: Rega 24-bit Sigma Delta IC40 DAC,
24-bit converter with 64 level sigma delta DAC design,
three stage linear phase FIR filter
followed by a 16x over-sampled linear interpolator
Enclosure: extruded aluminum,
Rega VCS case isolation system
CD Mechanism: Sony
RADS conversion stage
CD Text Display
Solar Wind remote control
A formidable group, those.
All in all, the majority of them can be had second hand for around $400 - $700 with the exception of the Denon, which can be had for ~$150 and the Musical Fidelity which will run you a little over $1k. But considering that you get a reference grade preamp built in, is quite incredible.
Now, the associated equipment:
speakers: Emerald Physics CS2's with moderate modifications
amp: Sunfire Cinema Grand in bi-amp configuration
interconnects: MIT EXP Proline Balanced XLR, and MIT EXP1 RCA
speaker cable: MIT EXP2
preamp: for the sake of convenience and consistency, all CDP's were played through the CD-pre24. I ran this up against my audible Illusions, and honestly, the MF is an EXCELLENT preamp, and certainly reference grade. The MF uses the same architectures as their legendary Nu-Vista and A3.2CR.
Preliminary tests are being done today.
If you have any particular requests or questions regarding any of these units, let me know!