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s2000db

Any weekday skivers fancy a cdp showdown in S Bucks

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AdamK wrote:

s2000db wrote:
Hi Adam, it'll have to be Mon 29th Jan, oh, and you'll need to bring a cdp to gain entry ;-)

Pls confirm if that's ok...

Cheers

Mon 29th is fine by me - as long as I get some curry I can listen better.

You want me to wreck the evening with a Naim CDP ?

Yes why not :cool:- pm sent with details

Look forward to seeing you...

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I'll be driving over straight from work, hope to be there for around 6.45pm.

Paul and Adam, are you still coming along?

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Have a good one chaps- I'd ummed and ahhed about popping out of work to come along but the issue was rather decided for me by the fact the I've been throwing up with enthusiasm and regularity since 5.30 and as such I'm sticking close to a bog:sick:.

I'll just have to get by listening to my own 840C :stereo:

Ed

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Papa Lazarou wrote:

I'll be driving over straight from work, hope to be there for around 6.45pm.

Paul and Adam, are you still coming along?

See you there.

6.45/7 pm is also my arrival target

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Tons of Fun wrote:

Have a good one chaps- I'd ummed and ahhed about popping out of work to come along but the issue was rather decided for me by the fact the I've been throwing up with enthusiasm and regularity since 5.30 and as such I'm sticking close to a bog:sick:.

I'll just have to get by listening to my own 840C :stereo:

Ed

Nothing a curry won't cure :mmmm:- hope you feel better soon....

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Papa Lazarou wrote:

I'll be driving over straight from work, hope to be there for around 6.45pm.

Paul and Adam, are you still coming along?

I'll be there around an hour or so later :upgrade::close:

looking forward to it :^

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A most enjoyable evening, many thanks to Dana for his hospitality and the recommendation of a superb indian restaurant. The food was exquisite.

Dana's system was well-balanced, synergistic and enjoyable (i wish i had a listening room that size). The Opera Callas speakers gel nicely with the Roksan Kandy amp, which has a reputation for being a little fierce and brash. Clearly not in this case.

The objective was to compare Cambridge Audio's new 840C cd player (circa £750) to some other players at various price points and see whether thingsreally do improve noticeably as yougo higher up the ladder. The competition was:

Marantz CD75 (late 80s early 90s vintage)

Roksan Kandy cd player (with upgraded Kaspian output stage and DAC)

Stello CDA320

Esoteric X-03se

So how was the Cambridge Audio 840C?

Quite good actually, it certainly didn't show any major shortcomings. I would describe it as polite, smooth and relaxing. It was a little lacking in focus and attack for me, the bass was certainly a lot woolier than the other players (bar the Marantz). No digital nasties thatI could detect and certainly a playerI could listen to for hours without signs of fatigue. It was just a little too polite overall for my tastes, butI should imagine itsvery competitive at it's price point.

The Marantz CD75 was obviously outgunned by everything else, it had plenty of top and bottom end (wooly bass)but very little in between. The midband was sorely lacking in presence and detail in this company. Hardly fair to expect any more really, in a low budget setup it could make for a nice listen.

The Kandy cd player (not a stock model remember) had the attributes of the 840C but with the added pace and bite the Cambridge player was missing. Tauter bass and considerably more drive, but still managing to sound refined and together. I was pretty impressed actually, it surprised me, having heard Roksan models in the past (earlier Kandys) thatI didn't get on with.

The Earl's Stello CDA320was a most interesting piece of kit. I'd never seen or heard one before, they have a fine reputation on the net and it didn't disappoint. A most organic presentation, with more airiness and detail than the Roksan, Marantz and Cambridge players. Please bear in mind we'd now stepped up to the £2k price point.It had many of the attributes of MIB's Victor to my ears, a quite analogue portrayal imo. A very nice piece of kitand quite sympathetic of poorly-recorded material.

Last up was my own player (Esoteric),I hope it didn't disgrace itself and feel it showed where there was room for improvement in the other models. This of course comes at a price,Itry to think of it as an investment for my cd collection (the only wayI can justify the cost :D).

Once again a big thanks to Dana and it was great to see the others (Paul and Adam) again too.

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Firstly, many thanks to Dana for his hospitality.

In terms of what I heard........what Papa said really.

My own experience with Roksan kit has always been a bit on the harsh side so I was surprised to hear not a trace from the Kandy CD & Amp combo - really nice synergy with the Opera speakers. I thought Opera were for the valve loving Classical crowd - not a bit of it.

The 20 year old Marantz cd sounded exactly as I thought - definately in last place.

I was a bit underwhelmed by the Cambridge Audio CD - pleasant enough but nothing sensational.

The Earl's Stello sounded pretty decent and a worthy contender at the £2k price point.

I think we all know that Papa's Esoteric is a class act and was of course streets ahead of the other contenders.

I didn't take my Naim CDS3 as I didn't want to embarass the Esoteric.:D

What did I learn:

1) IMF Transmission Line speakers from 30 years ago have some phat bass - with some proper isolation (slab / granite / spikes ?) it might make an interesting sound.

2) The Earl can produce an interesting version of a mains cable

3) Diana Krall should sound good on any system.

Again many thanks to Dana - good Indian restaurant - nice to know we were following in the footsteps of the Gerrards X glitterratti.

Regards

Adam

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Well I can't add much to the above - spot-on gents.

What we definitely did discover is how much difference there is between CDPs, perhaps because we had auseful range of prices and technical approaches to work with: differences were clear and obvious to all present.

The poor old Marantz was good for its age and price band...

The Cambridge showed itself an opinion divider, but if you like what it does it's the best £750 you can spend I reckon.

The Roksan Kandy combo demonstrated a) that system synergy can give you the biggest bang for your bucks, and b) that having gone through about 7 revisions to the range, Roksan have finally got it right. Sounded very nice through the Operas - clearly a great, surprising and unpredictable foil for one-another's characters - an inspired choice.

The Stello behaved quite well off its home turf... :green:

The Esoteric was as much better than everything else as its price tag suggests - leading you into the music and making you a willing prisoner of its seductive grace. Not cheap, but in every sense you are getting what you pay for!

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Dana - top bloke, top hospitality - and a man who knows a Bloody Good Curry when he devours one - though my appetite was slightly retarded by the large portion ofHumble Pie I'd eaten after hearing Roksan Kandy electronics sounding good!

Good to see Adam and Phil again, too.

Damn fine way to start the week say I :^

churz, eofs

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Well first of all, many thanks to all who attended, and made the journey on a Monday eve. It was great to meet you all - Adam, Earl and Papa, my overriding impression of the evening was of great company, interesting conversation, a great curry, a cohesive set of opinions with regard to the cdps, and some great music ( it's ok I've put Diana Krall back in its box now!).

I must say that I had great trepidation with regard to holding this, as a newbie I've not attended a bake off before, my system probably doesn't tick any of the established boxes that are held by many of the senior members here and was wary that the meet could have been diverted from its original agenda. This proved not to be the case on all counts, and can strongly recommend those considering to have a meet to dive in, give it a bash and discover that you can only learn from the proceeds...

Thanks to Earl and Papa for bringing their pride and joys, and for allowing them to be used to establish the relevant performance indicators that my personal experience was lacking. ( I hadn't dared to listen to v.expensive kit when I was upgrading as it would have been financially disastrous).

Anyway back to the kit, further to Papa's post I think we were broadly in agreement with his viewpoint and here's my take of the proceedings;

Marantz CD75se, this was my original cdp from the late 80's ,and was probably equivalent in performance at that time to what sub £1k players are now. It showed it's age in this company with a somewhat uninspiring mid range, but a sweet treble and extended (but not that tight) bass - would still work well in a starter system though (and did at recent dealer dems!).

Cambridge 840C - Initially couldn't tell the difference between this and the Roksan on a duplicate cd a-b switch test, but hear it separately with a couple of tracks to its own and a clearer picture emerges. Has a very smooth mid - treble with bags of detail, a machine you could listen to for hours without any fatigue whatsoever, but for me, the bass was a little indecisive and lacked punch. (Ed - I'll do a more in depth review later)

Roksan, mysteriously this is a Kandy with a caspian output/dac board (no wonder I thought it sounded good on demo!). The biggest difference between this and the Cambridge is the drive and dynamic range it offers, the bass is much tighter and punchier and that seems to endow the machine with a more engaging manner and involvement. However there's no more detail on offer than the 840c so it's 'horses for courses'.

Earl's Stello was an interesting beast, again first time I've seen/heard any thing from this stable, and unusually it turned up with it's own life support system;) (mains conditioner with thicker cables than my domestic supply!) which apparently gives it the right sort of electrons. However the Stello was definitely a good step up, its presentation was clean and crisp while maintaining an air of musicality that had previously not been revealed by the previous contestants. I found that it performed well across all the areas that one would look for, with good drive punch and clarity, nothing was overdone and a well balanced and highly capable performer for the money.

Papa's Esoteric X-03se, was a different kettle of fish completely, fiercely detailed and controlled, extracting the last bit of music from the disc and portraying it straight at you warts and all. I suspect that my system was struggling to keep up with theinformation and textures that were presented to it, and was therefore not doing it the justice that it deserved. However the sound-stage was immense and the musicality and control unsurpassed - definitely one for my lottery wish list!

Once again thanks all for the insight and experience - we must do it again soon...

Cheers Dana

ps you know you want to borrow those IMF's, don't you Adam....;)

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s2000db wrote:

Well first of all, many thanks to all who attended, and made the journey on a Monday eve. It was great to meet you all - Adam, Earl and Papa, my overriding impression of the evening was of great company, interesting conversation, a great curry, a cohesive set of opinions with regard to the cdps, and some great music ( it's ok I've put Diana Krall back in its box now!).

I must say that I had great trepidation with regard to holding this, as a newbie I've not attended a bake off before, my system probably doesn't tick any of the established boxes that are held by many of the senior members here and was wary that the meet could have been diverted from its original agenda. This proved not to be the case on all counts, and can strongly recommend those considering to have a meet to dive in, give it a bash and discover that you can only learn from the proceeds...

Thanks to Earl and Papa for bringing their pride and joys, and for allowing them to be used to establish the relevant performance indicators that my personal experience was lacking. ( I hadn't dared to listen to v.expensive kit when I was upgrading as it would have been financially disastrous).

Anyway back to the kit, further to Papa's post I think we were broadly in agreement with his viewpoint and here's my take of the proceedings;

Marantz CD75se, this was my original cdp from the late 80's ,and was probably equivalent in performance at that time to what sub £1k players are now. It showed it's age in this company with a somewhat uninspiring mid range, but a sweet treble and extended (but not that tight) bass - would still work well in a starter system though (and did at recent dealer dems!).

Cambridge 840C - Initially couldn't tell the difference between this and the Roksan on a duplicate cd a-b switch test, but hear it separately with a couple of tracks to its own and a clearer picture emerges. Has a very smooth mid - treble with bags of detail, a machine you could listen to for hours without any fatigue whatsoever, but for me, the bass was a little indecisive and lacked punch. (Ed - I'll do a more in depth review later)

Roksan, mysteriously this is a Kandy with a caspian output/dac board (no wonder I thought it sounded good on demo!). The biggest difference between this and the Cambridge is the drive and dynamic range it offers, the bass is much tighter and punchier and that seems to endow the machine with a more engaging manner and involvement. However there's no more detail on offer than the 840c so it's 'horses for courses'.

Earl's Stello was an interesting beast, again first time I've seen/heard any thing from this stable, and unusually it turned up with it's own life support system;) (mains conditioner with thicker cables than my domestic supply!) which apparently gives it the right sort of electrons. However the Stello was definitely a good step up, its presentation was clean and crisp while maintaining an air of musicality that had previously not been revealed by the previous contestants. I found that it performed well across all the areas that one would look for, with good drive punch and clarity, nothing was overdone and a well balanced and highly capable performer for the money.

Papa's Esoteric X-03se, was a different kettle of fish completely, fiercely detailed and controlled, extracting the last bit of music from the disc and portraying it straight at you warts and all. I suspect that my system was struggling to keep up with theinformation and textures that were presented to it, and was therefore not doing it the justice that it deserved. However the sound-stage was immense and the musicality and control unsurpassed - definitely one for my lottery wish list!

Once again thanks all for the insight and experience - we must do it again soon...

Cheers Dana

ps you know you want to borrow those IMF's, don't you Adam....;)

£4,000 on a cd player doesn't compute to me - but there again I guess £16k on a pair of speakers didn't when I shelled out for the Impressions and I have no regrets on that (mind you that kept the wife happy as well now she can pin herself against the wall with Robert Plant)

I guess I will have to audition one of these sometime or if someone wants to come over to mine with one we will see how it holds up against the old Meridian.

Uzzy:dunno:

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uzzy wrote:

s2000db wrote:
Well first of all, many thanks to all who attended, and made the journey on a Monday eve. It was great to meet you all - Adam, Earl and Papa, my overriding impression of the evening was of great company, interesting conversation, a great curry, a cohesive set of opinions with regard to the cdps, and some great music ( it's ok I've put Diana Krall back in its box now!).

I must say that I had great trepidation with regard to holding this, as a newbie I've not attended a bake off before, my system probably doesn't tick any of the established boxes that are held by many of the senior members here and was wary that the meet could have been diverted from its original agenda. This proved not to be the case on all counts, and can strongly recommend those considering to have a meet to dive in, give it a bash and discover that you can only learn from the proceeds...

Thanks to Earl and Papa for bringing their pride and joys, and for allowing them to be used to establish the relevant performance indicators that my personal experience was lacking. ( I hadn't dared to listen to v.expensive kit when I was upgrading as it would have been financially disastrous).

Anyway back to the kit, further to Papa's post I think we were broadly in agreement with his viewpoint and here's my take of the proceedings;

Marantz CD75se, this was my original cdp from the late 80's ,and was probably equivalent in performance at that time to what sub £1k players are now. It showed it's age in this company with a somewhat uninspiring mid range, but a sweet treble and extended (but not that tight) bass - would still work well in a starter system though (and did at recent dealer dems!).

Cambridge 840C - Initially couldn't tell the difference between this and the Roksan on a duplicate cd a-b switch test, but hear it separately with a couple of tracks to its own and a clearer picture emerges. Has a very smooth mid - treble with bags of detail, a machine you could listen to for hours without any fatigue whatsoever, but for me, the bass was a little indecisive and lacked punch. (Ed - I'll do a more in depth review later)

Roksan, mysteriously this is a Kandy with a caspian output/dac board (no wonder I thought it sounded good on demo!). The biggest difference between this and the Cambridge is the drive and dynamic range it offers, the bass is much tighter and punchier and that seems to endow the machine with a more engaging manner and involvement. However there's no more detail on offer than the 840c so it's 'horses for courses'.

Earl's Stello was an interesting beast, again first time I've seen/heard any thing from this stable, and unusually it turned up with it's own life support system;) (mains conditioner with thicker cables than my domestic supply!) which apparently gives it the right sort of electrons. However the Stello was definitely a good step up, its presentation was clean and crisp while maintaining an air of musicality that had previously not been revealed by the previous contestants. I found that it performed well across all the areas that one would look for, with good drive punch and clarity, nothing was overdone and a well balanced and highly capable performer for the money.

Papa's Esoteric X-03se, was a different kettle of fish completely, fiercely detailed and controlled, extracting the last bit of music from the disc and portraying it straight at you warts and all. I suspect that my system was struggling to keep up with theinformation and textures that were presented to it, and was therefore not doing it the justice that it deserved. However the sound-stage was immense and the musicality and control unsurpassed - definitely one for my lottery wish list!

Once again thanks all for the insight and experience - we must do it again soon...

Cheers Dana

ps you know you want to borrow those IMF's, don't you Adam....;)

£4,000 on a cd player doesn't compute to me - but there again I guess £16k on a pair of speakers didn't when I shelled out for the Impressions and I have no regrets on that (mind you that kept the wife happy as well now she can pin herself against the wall with Robert Plant)

I guess I will have to audition one of these sometime or if someone wants to come over to mine with one we will see how it holds up against the old Meridian.

Uzzy:dunno:

Do you mean the X-03se Uzzy?

If so i can pop it over sometime if you like, i live nearby (Bletchley). It's quite different to the Meridian, which i know very well. FYI the X-03's RRP is £5k.

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Both fine machines Uzzy. My feeling was the XO3 is a more HiFi machine, more information, but still nice and musical. The meridian seems fruitier, but less resolution maybe.

Caveat: never back to backed them. And never heard them in the same system.

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I'll pop it over to Uzzy's abode in the next week or two so he can hear for himself.

Themain differences are imo - bass, detail and particularly dynamics. It still has that hint of warmth that i love about the 506.

IMO the X-03 isn't hi-fi at all - it gets on with the music instead of trying to overcomplicate things(a trait i feel the X-01 is possibly guilty of).

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