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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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CD Player for Super HL5 - suggestions?

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  • #16
    The background story - my visit to dCS Ltd.

    Originally posted by Maccar View Post
    Hi all,

    Had my Supers for a few months now and absolutely delighted with them.

    My next mission is to find the best disc spinner to compliment these wonderful speakers. ...
    OK I've read Alan's post about the real story of owning expensive electronics and have this advice for Mac.

    dCS Ltd. based in Cambridgshire UK certainly make very expensive CD players/DACs. Certainly way more expensive than the SHL5. So maybe me mentioning them is still inapropriate. But let me tell you my experience of owning dCS gear.

    I travelled to their factory last year for a tour and bought - factory direct - their lowest price SACD player/DAC. It had been completely refurbished like new. They had recently changed the transport to a different manufacturers model (TEAC) because the original one had been discontinued by Philips. This was to ensure that they could provide customers with spare parts in the future. TEAC have stated that they want to be the "last man standing" in the disc transport manufacturing world. So this is a good thing for dCS' customers.

    I also notice that you're in England (as am I), this would make it easier for any future repairs to be carried out. It's certainly something I found reassuring when I bought my dCS player. No more posting expensive audio equipment back to Switzerland for me!

    dCS' customer relations and all their dealings with me have been first class. I can phone/email the company and speak to their Export Sales Manger whenever I need to, their trade-in upgrade scheme is excellent too.

    Their products can also be upgraded by simple software upgrades on a CD. They are about as future-proof as you can get.

    If you must buy a high-priced player dCS offer much more for the customer than many others.

    BTW I don't have anything to do with dCS other than being a happy owner who's been very pleased with their products and customer service.

    {Moderator's comment: In our view, that quality of service gives lasting memories far more vivid than mere audio quality perceptions ....}

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    • #17
      Does 'blown away' = 'made in heaven'?

      This is kind of funny

      I have another example taken from here: "made in heaven".

      The "blow away" seems to be unorthodox expression for more orthodox, catholic ...etc expression "made in heaven"?

      Cheers

      Comment


      • #18
        Future proofing ... at a price?

        Originally posted by GregD View Post

        dCS Ltd. based in Cambridgshire UK certainly make very expensive CD players/DACs. Certainly way more expensive than the SHL5. So maybe me mentioning them is still inapropriate.
        Sounds like they do offer a fantastic service, and obviously the fact it's future proof is a very good thing. Just one question though... Is this Puccini model, with a retail of about $18,000?

        Comment


        • #19
          You're paying for the 6* treatment ....

          It would have been a downright scandal if a manufacturer of such a luxurious area would act any different.

          Comment


          • #20
            dCS P81 rebuild

            Originally posted by Andy View Post
            Sounds like they do offer a fantastic service, and obviously the fact it's future proof is a very good thing. Just one question though... Is this Puccini model, with a retail of about $18,000?
            No. It's the original one-box player, the dCS P8i which retailed at 6500 in the UK. The one I bought is called a P8i MkII because they've changed the transport and upgraded the software as much as possible to bring it in line with their current range. Overall it's a 70% rebuild and is a very different machine internally from the original player. dCS occasionally has these MkII models available as they are converted traded-in P8i MkI players. They are effectively a brand new dCS SACD player/DAC with warranty for around 3500. I think it's a superb player.

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            • #21
              The (unreliable?) world of high end audio

              Originally posted by thurston View Post
              It would have been a downright scandal if a manufacturer of such a luxurious area would act any different.
              ...And yet many do. There's no point going around getting all irate about the way things should be, you need to be realistic and find the best options in the real world. The world of high-end audio is full of expensive gear that has terrible reliability and poor after-sales service. I champion dCS (and Harbeth for that matter) because they offer a proper way to treat the customer and don't leave you dangling with a lemon after the warranty has run out. And they're Made in England which appeals to me too.

              Comment


              • #22
                Some people (actually) believe hyperbole

                Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                Comments like 'blown away' are not meant to be taken seriously or literally.
                Sure, it's a form of hyperbole. Imagine if a review accurately reflected a reviewer's perceptions: "We found that New Player A, while not essentially different in sound from every other player we have reviewed in the past several years, was perhaps just slightly smoother in its reproduction of high frequencies than other players of a similar price point we have reviewed recently. And it looks nice too."

                Wouldn't make you rush out and buy, would it? Also, perhaps more importantly from the magazine's perspective, it might make you wonder if reading reviews was really all that important an activity.

                The problem is that some people see the hyperbole for what it is, while others do actually take it seriously. For myself, I think there probably are differences between CD players, but above a certain base level of quality, I just don't think the differences are hugely significant in a musical sense. Others may feel differently, and can vote with their wallets accordingly.

                Comment


                • #23
                  What are you *really* paying for?

                  Originally posted by GregD View Post
                  OK I've read Alan's post about the real story of owning expensive electronics and have this advice for Mac.

                  dCS Ltd. based in Cambridgshire UK certainly make very expensive CD players/DACs. Certainly way more expensive than the SHL5. So maybe me mentioning them is still inappropriate. But let me tell you my experience of owning dCS gear.

                  I travelled to their factory last year for a tour and bought - factory direct - their lowest price SACD player/DAC. It had been completely refurbished like new. They had recently changed the transport to a different manufacturers model (TEAC) because the original one had been discontinued by Philips. This was to ensure that they could provide customers with spare parts in the future. TEAC have stated that they want to be the "last man standing" in the disc transport manufacturing world. So this is a good thing for dCS' customers......

                  {Moderator's comment: In our view, that quality of service gives lasting memories far more vivid than mere audio quality perceptions ....}
                  Just two questions please Greg, which machine did you buy and how does it sound? I have had and heard various CDP's from Denon being the cheapest, Marantz, Arcam, Naim, Sugden, Krell and Wadia... and the Denon was truly awful. Krell and Wadia the most expensive, both machines built like tanks and definitely superior SQ than Sugden, but were they better than Naim, Marantz or Arcam, hand on heart, I really couldn't say.

                  Of course we all want something reliable, but this doesn't have to be at the cost of putting up with an inferior sounding player. Being visually impaired, for me looks do not matter particularly, but I do want something with great build quality as well as great Sound Quality and if it's affordable, I don't mind paying for it.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Sorry to interrupt and bring our feet firmly back to planet earth .... I've said this before and I'll keep on saying it because it is the uncomfortable truth ....

                    If you do not take precautions to equalise the loudness of two pieces of audio equipment (which will require some simple measuring equipment) any opinions you reach about the sound quality of A v B, C, D or E are neither worth the paper they are written on nor the oxygen of publicity. They are completely worthless as scientific observations. They are emotional expressions that nobody should pay any attention to masquerading as solid facts. But they are completely useless as facts because they fall at the first hurdle of all rational observation: they did not remove the observer from the observation. They are in the same class of opinion that allows the heart-strings to be tugged by a pretty girl (or boy): delicious personal sentimentality but not a rational observation that other human should take seriously.

                    I just know that I'll be saying this in five, ten, twenty years. It's a sad observation of the ludicrous self-belief in the human senses that must make the job of judge and jury getting to the truth near impossible.

                    You may have to turn down the volume of B, C and G equipment to match the loudness of A; conversely you may have to turn-up D, E and F, but H is already a close match. But you cannot comment in a meaningful way about equipment A - H unless you equalise level. There are no standards. Manufacturers manipulate the output level range to give their equipment a certain sound, but re-set the loudness and guess what? The sonic differences diminish to almost nothing or actually nothing. It's a mugs game and if you don't take the steps I've mentioned you are a marketeers plaything.

                    I have to conclude that audiophiles, as a group, are either staggeringly naive about how the business of high-end audio actually ticks or they are quite happy to swim along with the marketing game in which they are submerged. Do we have to start a thread 'How do marketing people control us in audio?'? Obviously I am a marketing person: I know exactly how this game works.

                    It is so easy to prove that managing loudness is by far the most important - yet completely ignored - aspect of comparative listening that it depresses me to mention it again.
                    Alan A. Shaw
                    Designer, owner
                    Harbeth Audio UK

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      My organic Rega

                      It's expensive, but my Rega Saturn is fantastic- the most listenable player I've had. VERY organic and "analog" sounding, but also with high resolution (sort of like Harbeths...)

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Audio is a BUSINESS!

                        Originally posted by A.S. View Post

                        Do we have to start a thread 'How do marketing people control us in audio?'? .
                        Well, yes, that would be extremely interesting, and certainly gets my vote.

                        "Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

                        I think some audiophiles forget that audio is, amongst other things, a business.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          My CD players suggestions for long term satisfaction

                          In reply to A.S.'s request, here's my list of quality CD-players offering both excellent performance and good reliability. These players are made by experienced, honest companies with a good to great after-purchase support;

                          Two affordable players:
                          -NAD C565BEE (my personal favorite in this priceclass with an excellent DAC-section; very musical).
                          -Marantz CD6004 (same good Sanyo drive as the C565BEE, good component quality for the price, smooth sound)

                          Three higher priced but still relatively affordable players:
                          -Rega ApolloR
                          -Simaudio Moon 230D
                          -Exposure 1010 player
                          All three offer a solid performance, the Rega giving a lovely midrange & rhythmic propulsion, the Canadian Simaudio generally sounding surprisingly energetic & spacious and the Exposure being bold but addictive with rock.

                          Rega equipment is generally a good match for Harbeth speakers as both companies offer British built no-nonsense, musical stuff.

                          These five should offer a good number of years of reliable and enjoyable service.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            "Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up"

                            It is a little funny, if not tiring to see that posts that do not fit the usual highend-talk are being ignored, mostly.

                            There has just been some serious evidences (or more of a proof?) that the differences are minor if not non-existant, and the the next post is simply mentioning a player that sounds "analog" whatever that really is.

                            {Moderator's talk: Tiring? No it is exhausting to watch men walk towards the marketing machine guns day after day after day after day with the same predictable results .....}

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                            • #29
                              Done. Link here

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                "If it isn't expensive it isn't any good"

                                Originally posted by thurston View Post
                                It is a little funny, if not tiring to see that posts that do not fit the usual highend-talk are being ignored, mostly.


                                {Moderator's talk: Tiring? No it is exhausting to watch men walk towards the marketing machine guns day after day after day after day with the same predictable results .....}
                                You just can't help some people. If it isn't expensive, it can't be any good is the frame of mind of many hi-fi enthusiasts.

                                In the past I have stocked and sold many of the 'high-end' brands such as Levinson, Wadia, Krell, ARC, Proceed, Luxman and many others but these weren't the ones we, as stockists, would plug in when we wanted to enjoy our music.

                                Plenty of customers did want to pay the big money but for us, the Rega Saturn at 898 or a mid-price Naim gave us more music and satisfaction.

                                You need to use your ears not your eyes when choosing hi-fi equipment and that also applies to speakers. Apart from the wonderful M40.1, you couldn't accuse Harbeth of making high priced speakers. They are all very good value and capable of showing up many of the highly touted, very expensive high-end designs.

                                At the end of the day, it's the sound which counts not how much you've paid for it.

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