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Tubed CD players

 

Bronze Member
Username: Brijesh

Post Number: 25
Registered: Jul-04
Any suggestions regarding the best Tubed CD players in the range of 1500 USD? I just acquired the equisite Cadence Amaya hybrid elctrostatic speakers. They work wonderfully well with my Audio Analogue Puccini amplifier and siltech cables. My current CD player is the Marantz CD 5001, which is clearly too hard and bright sounding for the electrostats.

Suggestions / experiences welcome .. thx.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Brijesh

Post Number: 26
Registered: Jul-04
bump
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4002
Registered: May-05
A Marantz CDP is too hard and bright sounding? Every Marantz product I've heard has been overly warm and soft to my ears.

Are you sure it's the CDP? Have you looked into room issues and speaker placement? Was the system harsh sounding before the new speakers? Are you sure its not them or that they're making the amp work too hard?

I have no experience with tubed CD players.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13183
Registered: Feb-05
I'm not fond of tubed CD players. They seem to just add a layer of distortion to the sound and call it warm. Stu is right, I've never heard a Marantz CD player that was bright and harsh, quite the contrary.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1588
Registered: Oct-07
do you have another source to run a test with?
What other source do your new 'stats 'work wonderfully well with'?

Aren't most 'stats tough on amps?
 

Silver Member
Username: Edison

Glendale, CA US

Post Number: 933
Registered: Dec-03
You already got good suggestions, but if you want to try tubes, you might want to consider these:

http://cgi.ebay.com/AH-Tjoeb-99-Vacuum-Tube-CD-Player-Dutch-Mod-Marantz-/3304720 77124

The above one is well received one in the hifi community, and it is far below your budget.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Shanling-CD1-1-Vacuum-Tube-CD-Player-/110576045284

This is Chinese one - the company makes some good procucts - but I am not familiar with this model.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edison

Glendale, CA US

Post Number: 934
Registered: Dec-03
On ebay, there are upper models of Shanling CD players, including SACD player. They sounded rich and hefty to my ears.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1020
Registered: Jul-07
"I'm not fond of tubed CD players. They seem to just add a layer of distortion to the sound and call it warm."

If you say so Art. Beauty in the ear of the beholder I suppose. If you hear "distortion" and can intuitively isolate that to the output stage, good for you. I don't think that argument would apply any more appropriately to cdp's than amps. Tubes aren't there to add warmth. I'm sure you've heard some modern tube designs that you wouldn't characterize as "warm"......which is really a stereotype that rarely applies these days.....so I'm not at all sure where you coming from with that remark.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13193
Registered: Feb-05
You are right, tubes aren't there to add warmth. In fact the best tube amps I've heard aren't warm at all. They are neutral and detailed with great timbre, timing and microdynamic shading. I am not saying that a well executed tube cd player can't be good, I'm simply saying that the inexpensive ones I've heard such as the Jolida, simply don't sound as good as many comparably priced non tube players. I'm guessing, and remember I said "seem to just add a layer of distortion" that the poor implementation of the tube stage is the reason. I honestly don't know.

The balance of the comment as related to "warm" is one of the reasons so many folks online give for liking the sound of the Jolida. I don't think it sounds warm, I just think it sounds bad.

I'd guess that you value a neutral sound as do I. Just looking pull as many veils from that sound as we can so we can hear deeper into the music and better understand the complex language spoken by the artists and that's where it's at for me.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4279
Registered: Feb-07
I've experimented with my Jolida tube CDP between using the tube output stage, and bypassing that with an external DAC. I found that I much preferred the sound of the CDP with the tube output stage over the DAC (it was a DACMagic). I even noticed changing the tubes in the Jolida over the stock ones made an appreciable difference.
 

Gold Member
Username: Gavdawg

Albany, New York

Post Number: 1588
Registered: Nov-06
"You are right, tubes aren't there to add warmth. In fact the best tube amps I've heard aren't warm at all. They are neutral and detailed with great timbre, timing and microdynamic shading"

Exactly the reason why I am in love with my APPJ. It is full and rich, but uncovers details that my Marantz left buried.

Yes it sounds warm... but it has "something" that the Marantz doesn't
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4312
Registered: Feb-07
"You are right, tubes aren't there to add warmth. In fact the best tube amps I've heard aren't warm at all. They are neutral and detailed with great timbre, timing and microdynamic shading."

I agree with this statement too. My Stingray sound not at all like most of the tube amps I've heard. In fact, it sounds to me like a really, really good solid state amp. Lots of power, punch and clarity.
 

New member
Username: Gerbilaudio

San diego, Ca U.s.

Post Number: 2
Registered: Oct-10
too much arrogance by some of the people here. the truth is, every music lover hears thing differently and have different of views of what sounds good to them. I happen to have both solid state and tube cd players. some modified some stock. you can manipulate any system with the use of tweaks such as sound processors, tube buffers, enhancers, feedback stabilzers etc. As for me I like the sound of tube players and as far as solid state as long as it is modified or tweaked. I tweak both designs. TO EACH HIS OWN is my motto. I am really sick of the arrogant audiophile world. Just because something is expensive or a name brand doesn't mean anything, plenty of crappy high end stuff in the market. For most of us, we can't really here the difference between a 500 dollar CDP and a 5000 one, a lot of opinions are just that mumbo jumbo just because they say so and have the money to waste. some of us are practical, we go by what we here not name brand, design and definitely not price. Many things in the audiphile world is SNAKE OIL sort of like what OBAMA uses to have idiots drink his cool aid, no substance all mumbo jumbo.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4361
Registered: Feb-07
Audio is subjective.

Not an Obama fan?
 

New member
Username: Gerbilaudio

San diego, Ca U.s.

Post Number: 3
Registered: Oct-10
shanling, grant fidelity, consonance, jolida if it's modified. I tell you what really puts a lot of detail to whatever cdp you decide to use, if it's just a tube, dakiom feedback stablizers, if it's a solid state, a combination of yaqin or grant fidelity tube buffers with dakiom feedback stabilizers, the sound is awesome, you can really hear lots of detail you won't hear from those very expensive wadia or the like cdp's without these processors and stablizers. The use of well made headphones like AKG, SENNHEISSER etc is a good reference from hearing the difference between designs be a tube or solid state before you use it on regular loudspeakers. In regards to tubes, the type of tubes you use on a cdp or amplifier is what makes that system sound mediocre, good to excellent, that is why tube people who are knowledgeable interchanges various types of tube manufacturers. The people who mock a certain design is because it's not their taste. YOU SHOULD NEVER GO BY THOSE PEOPLE because that's what makes them happy. YOU do what makes you happy. What sounds good to one may sound crappy to another and what sounds crappy to one may sound good to another. NO ONE HEARS THE SAME THING, it's the same in anything else sort of like the BOSE controversy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Gavdawg

Albany, New York

Post Number: 1609
Registered: Nov-06
B uy
O ther
S tereo
E quipment


B ut
O thers
S ound
E excellent
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15687
Registered: May-04
.

"They seem to just add a layer of distortion to the sound and call it warm."

A lot of tube gear will use fairly cheap tubes as OEM items. Good enough to get by with but not great and given the tube rolling most users will do, adequate to sell the unit. I've not seen a budget tube piece that didn't benefit sonically (possibly not in terms of reliability, OEM tubes are often chosen for their durability over their sonics) from higher quality tubes.




" ... tubes aren't there to add warmth ... "

A lot of times they are. People expect "tube sound" when they buy tubed equipment and the designer supplies it as expected, rolled off highs and mushy lows. Not better than solid state, just different. The affliction has been quite commonplace in CD players where tubes are installed to make an aggressive midrange and top end less so. Essentially replacing one distortion with another and giving tubes a bad name in the process. Hey, some people like aggressive mids and top end! Then they buy "warm" speakers to compensate for all the hard sounding stuff they've purchased and the "every music lover hears thing differently and have different of views of what sounds good to them" becomes a joke. IMO that really is a concept which translates to "I don't know what I like, I just like to buy new equipment every few weeks" or "I like to modify what I buy because I know better than the high end designer trying to sell me 'snake oil'". To each their own I suppose, this is a strange hobby.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4569
Registered: Feb-07
You got that right Jan.
 

Gold Member
Username: Gavdawg

Albany, New York

Post Number: 1621
Registered: Nov-06
I can not listen to my marantz integrated in my system... PERIOD. My tubes simply pull themselves out of the sonic picture much better than my 7001 ever did (tenor vocals don't sound nasal) and this thing is the definition of budget gear.

And yes, I have tried it on my iQ3. Don't feel like getting egg all over my face quite yet. All I am going to say is that I literally did it for schitts and giggles about 2 weeks ago expecting to not care for what I heard. Remember, I thought my KEF needed a little juice behind them for quality sound.

I wasn't laughing when I sat and listened.

The stigma of "tubes have a certain sound" certainly exists. But, if it warmed up the sound too much and/or made the bass flabby, it would not have been listenable for me. It is cliche, but "electrostatic like" would describe the overall performance of the 4.5.

Am I TOTALLY satisfied with the way the iQ sounds? I can still hear some cabinet resonance, and the sound is not as revealing and refined as the 4.5 (which is why these will both stick around until I move to more upmarket gear). But my iQ3 are now a fantastic and fun listen. That awesome KEF midrange is out in full force. I am wondering how I ever liked the 7001 (and yes, I listened to many others).

And these are far from bright.

My SA8001 is still the star, and I am continually pleased with the performance. I have heard better, and I have heard worse. But for what I was looking for in my price range at the time of purchase, I nailed it. I have no desire to change it until something drastic catches my ear.

so yes, Jan is correct :-P
 

Gold Member
Username: Gavdawg

Albany, New York

Post Number: 1622
Registered: Nov-06
Can't really say I have listened to a ton of tubed CDP, so I am staying out of THAT war...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13862
Registered: Feb-05
Enjoying the the sound you are getting is where it's at, Gav! Put on some music and enjoy.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2059
Registered: Oct-07
Tube choice? Another reason to avoid tubes, for me at least.
Good sound? doubtless.
Tube rolling can cost a bundle. What do you do with your collection if you don't need or want them?
Problem comes when a tube goes south. Well, you had some kind of NOS tube made in the early '60s in Brazil. Good luck finding another. The search for a replacement? Might be tedious. Might be futile. Might be easy. Rewarding? if you can find the right one, you bet.

Lower power tubes tend to last longer, I'm told. That works in your favor for preamps and CD output stages. In power amp? And with stuff like that Boulder Jan linked? It'd make me suicidal, especially if you had to match tubes.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4841
Registered: Dec-03
Cadence Amaya speakers were news to me. Interesting....
http://www.cadenceaudio.com/es.html

Brijesh will probably have made a decision by now. I wonder what it was.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4645
Registered: Feb-07
"Lower power tubes tend to last longer, I'm told"

That was my understanding too Leo, but any of the issues I've had with tubes (only two so far - more on the way, I'm sure) were with tubes other that output tubes. Go figure.

The way I look at it is, that for me, this is a hobby. A hobby implies playing around with stuff, tinkering, changing things. The thought of buying a solid state amp and never getting to tinker around with it takes a bit of the fun out of it for me.

Finding tubes isn't really all that hard, nor is it that expensive, at least for me. My current amp doesn't really use anything too esoteric. Granted, the 6414's that Manley likes to use are getting hard to find, but they're still around, and still pretty cheap.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2070
Registered: Oct-07
David, are you planning on acquiring a tube checker and a good DVM?
I remember 'the good old days'. The TV on the fritz? Open that bad boy up and take a shopping bag of tubes up to the drug store and hope they've got the tube you find DOA. Fun for all!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4647
Registered: Feb-07
Haha. No Leo, if I suspect a tube is bad I'll just chuck it and order a new one online ;-)

When did they have tube testers at the drug store? Back in the 50s?

hahaha. Just kidding.
 

New member
Username: Gerbilaudio

San diego, Ca U.s.

Post Number: 4
Registered: Oct-10
I have both solid state and tube cdp's. I have a modified NAD C 542 by R.A.M and a shanling PCD 300A and with dakiom feedback stablizers and a YYA (chinese interconnects with filters) using a yaqin CD 1 and 3 tube buffer, it's sounds GREAT, soft on the ears which so much detail. My grant fidelity 427 straight out tube from canada using telefunken tubes is even more pleasurable with the use of dakiom R263 feedback stablizers. My point is, you can make both solid state and tube very pleasurable with tweaks and upgrades. In regards to electrostats, as long as you use high current, high power well designed amps, and there are plenty with enough dynamic power, your electrostats should work well. You have to match the right amps. Krell, mcintosh, parasound, adcom, ATI, threshold, carver/sunfire, B&K, mark levinson, CLASSE and even the affordable EMOTIVA, relatively new are quality amps that should be well suited for planars and electrostats. Stay away from low quality class A/B amps. For many electrostats, tubes are preferred but it's costly!
 

New member
Username: Gerbilaudio

San diego, Ca U.s.

Post Number: 5
Registered: Oct-10
if you can't afford any of the nice systems the members here have, you can always get a WALMART special or a used BOSE. after all,everybody trashes BOSE! at least you have nothing to waste but your time! Both F.E.T or solid state and tube including hybrids you can't really compare, you will either like one design, not like the other, or be in the middle liking all the designs. If you can afford it, it's nice to have a combination thereof!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1290
Registered: May-05
David,

As Jan and others have pointed out in other threads, you can "play around" with solid state. There are all kinds of tweaks you can use for isolation purposes, softening, etc. that change the sound.

Then, you can "roll" power cords, speaker cables and all kinds of connectors to "modify" the sound. One thing about this hobby, tubes or solid state, there are always ways to play and spend money. Ask me, I'm doing it now. LOL

And, we haven't even scratched the surface of speaker placement, room treatments and the like.

Dave
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1099
Registered: Dec-06
Tubes seem a little bit different though, Dak. Like you are changing the actual component, not just an accessory. But cables and cords are part of the circuit, so I kind of agree with you on those.

I agree with Art about pulling veils from the music - it's why I want to go to as simple an amp and speakers as I can. Not sure I agree with what manny suggests, adding tube buffers and feedback stabilizers (not sure what the latter is, mind you). Just seems to be adding more to the chain which can degrade sound quality. I'm sure they can make certain systems sound great, but I would think it's better to attain the quality of sound you want without adding something new to the chain. Why add a tube buffer for impedance matching or a tube sound, when you can just run a tube amp and ensure that impedance matching is attained by choosing the right gear? The more things you pass a signal through, the more it is changed and the more veils are added. Not sure there is any getting around that.
 

New member
Username: Mjcmt

NC USA

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-11
There are a few tubed cdp's in the 1500 range especially on the used market, like those by Cary, Cayin, Consonace and Grant Fidelity.

I had the NOS Consonace cdp (non-tube) that was smooth and sweet, and their tube version should be even better. And Grant Fidelity gets good reviews too.
http://shop.grantfidelity.com/Tube-CDP/

I also had the Jolida and while it was a good value I thought the Cary cd308 was much better. The CD308t is their tube version. While discontinued it can still be had used at a great price, as well as their cd300/200.
 

New member
Username: Rose123456

Newyork

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-12
a bit expensive

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Platinum Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 16030
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks for your feedback and SPAM, Rose!
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