I currently own three cd players, a Denon, Rotel, and a Myryad. Today, for the first time, I compared them head to head in a A / B on the fly test. After a couple of brews to put myself in the right frame of mind (and only two mind you), I settled down and took some notes on what I discovered.
First up was my nine year old Denon DCD-690. I paid $450 for this unit back in 1994. Still plays great and I have never had a problem with it. THD 0.003%, seperation 103 db, S/N ratio 105 db, dynamic range 98 db, DACs ??? all I could find was "double super linear converter w/ 20 bit 8X oversampling digital filter.
The Denon would go up first against the Rotel RCD 961 which was a dealer demo unit I purchsed for $400 earlier this year. The Rotel, THD 0.0045%, seperation > 98 db, S/N ratio > 100 db, dynamic range > 96 db, DACs 18 bit eq. multi-level Delta Sigma w/ 8X oversampling and HDCD. This 961 sounds exactly and I mean exactly like the RCD 1070 which I did a head to head against a few months back. Thanks to Tony for letting me borrow his 1070 back then.
I unplugged my Rotel RB 1070 amp and used my Rotel RSX 1055 solely for the demo because I have only two pair of Transparent Musiclinks and wanted the ICs to be identical to the receiver from the CDPs. Speakers used were LSi 15 with Transparent Music Wave bi-wire.
Music was Sarah McLachlan's newest album "Afterglow." If you like Sarah's music you will definitely want to pick this one up. One of her best in my opinion. I burned an extra copy for the demo and I was ready......
Cranked up the Rotel to 58 / 90 on the volume. That was 90 - 95 db in my relatively large living room with 10 foot ceilings. The first thing that came to mind was "why the heck did I buy a seperate amp for this system?" The RSX 1055's internal amps are very powerful.
I sync'd the two cd players and hit play. I then swapped back and forth between the Rotel and the Denon. It was immediately clear that the Rotel was superior. The level of clarity and detail was a notch ahead of the Denon. I made sure that it was not a volume difference due to different gains. Actually, turned up the volume on the Denon but it just sounded a bit dry compared to the Rotel. The Rotel revealed much more inner detail and the midrange was a plenty. Bass also dug deeper on the PSW 350 with the Rotel.
Next up was the Rotel vs. the Myryad Z110. Myryad specs, THD 0.0025%, S/N 105 db, dynamic range n/a, DACs 24 bit, 96 kHz Delta sigma. I paid $425 for this player (original retail was $800). Got a clearance sale deal from Audio Advisor.
Okay, now the new vs. the new. Wow, very close call at first but as I listened I could hear some differences. The Myryad had tigher and deeper bass than the Rotel but not by much. Also the detail and clarity was also present on the Myryad as well. I did notice that the midrange was not as much "in your face" with the Myryad like the Rotel and that the midrange was just slightly warmer and more palatable. Also, there was just a hint of graininess on the highs that was portrayed by the Rotel which the Myryad seemed to handle better.
After listening to the entire album, I liked the Myryad better than the Rotel by the ever so slightest margin. If the Rotel were a "7/10" then the Myryad was a "8/10".
So, if this test is any indication, to me at least, the sound of cd players / DACs have improved tremendously in the past ten years because this Denon I own was one of the better units I tested back then.
Thanks for reading my review. I hope I didn't bore you too much