J Larsen

RIP my NAD 542 CD Player

15 posts in this topic

After about 3.5 years of heavy use (if memory serves), my NAD has crapped out on me. For the last week it has been freezing up in the middle of tracks with increasing frequency.

I love the sound of the NAD, but given that I've read and heard a lot of complaints about longevity and quality control on their CD players, I'm inclined to switch. My budget is $1,000 (-ish).

Obvious candidates are the Rotel 1072 and the Rega Apollo, which I plan to audition on Saturday.

Are there any others I should check out?

I'm intrigued by the idea of getting a very basic CD transport and pairing it with a very good DAC like the Benchmark DAC1, but don't know the ins-and-outs of such setups, so any advice on that would be greatly appreciated as well. I could double the budget for that type of setup, since I have other uses for the DAC.

Thanks!

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Never had a separate combo transport/dac, but out there you can find single units that have separate digital inputs, actually most of the good players have it, so you can feed another digital source into cd players, though I never did it.

BTW 3.5 years is a pretty short life for a cd player, not good IMO.

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BTW 3.5 years is a pretty short life for a cd player, not good IMO.

Damn right! I've had my Philips for seven or eight years and I make the bugger work! About 4,000 hours a year, so that's around 30,000 hours of use. And it was only about a hundred quid.

MG

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Obvious candidates are the Rotel 1072 and the Rega Apollo, which I plan to audition on Saturday.

I've had my Rega Apollo for about 1.5 years. It's very hard to beat for the money.

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Well, I keep referring people to Decware, and for a reason: hand built amps and speakers, lifetime warranty to buyer, excellent sound for fewer dollars than the high-end.

I bought their most recent modified cd player, a TEAC with a powerful tubed output stage, and admit that at first I was not happy with it. But working with the builder and moving speakers around etc. I got fantastic sounds out of it. Turns out the high output was overloading my preamplifier. The builder has made standard an adjustable output that would solve the problems I have and I'm going to have mine updated. I haven't heard any other player costing this much or three times as much (I've heard about six cd players in the 2-3 thousand dollar range) that comes close to this in vividness and depth of sound. Recommended!

decware-zen-cd-player--zcd-tube-transport-2.jpg

decware-zen-cd-player--zcd-tube-transport-1.jpg

http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZCD.htm

http://decware.com/audio-blogs/2008/10/30/...the-zcd-player/

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Thanks.

It occurred to me that I have a cheap Sony DVD player that is not in use (replaced by Blu Ray). It has an optical digital output. If I paired that up with a good external DAC, there's no reason it wouldn't sound great, right?

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I've been very happy with my Jolida 100 cd player. The seller upgraded the tubes to Sovteks (I think). I replaced the power cord and the feet. Very open and natural sound through my Klipsch Heresys.

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Thanks.

It occurred to me that I have a cheap Sony DVD player that is not in use (replaced by Blu Ray). It has an optical digital output. If I paired that up with a good external DAC, there's no reason it wouldn't sound great, right?

I've suggested that solution in another old thread. I've used cheap old CD and DVD players as transports for a long time. Coaxial digital output seems to be regarded more highly than optical, but both have worked fine for me. Currently am using a Panasonic DVD changer w. optical digital output as a transport.

Edited by T.D.

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'ang ' ang on....what about getting it sorted...is it ( no disrespect to the orginal poster) dirty inside, does it need a dust down, lube etc...can you get it serviced where you are. NAD are nice machines

Might be worth a little investigation perhaps here:

http://nadelectronics.com/parts-service

or getting your local dealer to replace the lens

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'ang ' ang on....what about getting it sorted...is it ( no disrespect to the orginal poster) dirty inside, does it need a dust down, lube etc...can you get it serviced where you are. NAD are nice machines

Might be worth a little investigation perhaps here:

http://nadelectronics.com/parts-service

or getting your local dealer to replace the lens

I thought about that, but I'm so busy with work I really don't have time to deal with it. I was thinking of giving the NAD to a friend for xmas and letting him try to get it fixed. Also, getting it fixed means not having a cdp for an indefinite period of time, which I'm not into.

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I'm intrigued by the idea of getting a very basic CD transport and pairing it with a very good DAC like the Benchmark DAC1, but don't know the ins-and-outs of such setups, so any advice on that would be greatly appreciated as well. I could double the budget for that type of setup, since I have other uses for the DAC...

I think this is absolutely the way to go. DAC capability is evolving at a rapid pace and is by far the most important influence in CD playback quality.

Some people believe that running a very cheap CDP as a transport compromises sonics even with an external DAC. So it might be worth it to get a decent quality older unit for a transport. For example, used Sony DVP-S9000 ES DVD players go for around ~$3-400 on audiogon giving you a high quality CD transport and SACD capability as well. The DVD circuits in this player are good but now obsolete, but you can completely bypass all of that and run it straight audio. This player is solid as a rock with bunch of copper shielding, weighs 27 pounds. Very high build quality, was TOL around 2001 or so, $1500 new. Redbook CD playback is pretty good stock too.

Then put the rest of your budget into a DAC. There's a thriving used market for DACs, you could try a few different ones out. I plan to get one with USB, but also coax and digital so I can run a couple of CD players and also a music server. Benchmark is out of my price range, but the Paradisea 3 non-oversampling DAC with USB and tubed output is looking good. I'm also considering the Citypulse DA2.03e...

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Note that you won't get SACD out digitally with that Sony as a transport.

There are also interesting new alternatives now such as the Peachtree Audio "Decco" and "Nova". . . integrated DAC/amplifiers with a tubed preamp system, nice DAC sections and digital chip amp section. Many "mainstream" receivers now have DACs incorporated as well.

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Not to hi-jack your thread Jan, but I may be dipping my toe into this realm in the next few years.

I own a Squeezebox, which comes stock with a modest Burr-Brown 24-bit DAC.

The Kenwood six disc changer that I bought used from my cousin ten years ago finally crapped out on me this past year, though I hadn't been using it much in the past three years anyway.

I recently purchased a Pioneer Elite DV59avi for $100 on Craigs List with the intentions of using this in my audio set-up, though I have been using it solely to upconvert DVDs ever since I brought it home!

I've read that the Pioneer can be upgrade through some high dollar mods, and I noticed that Lon's very own Decware has a less expensive Pioneer mod, though on a lesser model.

If I understand correctly, down the road, I could invest in a higher-end DAC, by-pass the DAC in the Squeezebox and The Pioneer, and hear improved results?

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Yes you could, and you could find that better DAC housed in an amplifier or receiver too if you were in the market for a new one of those. Quite interesting audio times to live in!

The new Wadia iTransport is an intriguing product too that makes an iPod a much more high fidelity device than ever before because they worked with Apple to get a digital, not audio, signal out of the device to send to a better DAC than the tiny internal one. The first and only such device so far.

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Searching for more information on my Pioneer, I came across this:

The audio industry lost one of it's true digital audio pioneers over the weekend. Don Wadia Moses founder of Wadia Digital was not only a brilliant engineer and scientist, but an incredible man. Anyone lucky enough to know Don personally will miss his warm and down to earth personality. He was a true gentleman and caring person. He will be missed.

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