"Good CDP w/ Good DAC" vs. "OK CDP w/ Better DAC?"


Bronze Member
Username: Halfempty


Post Number: 17
Registered: Oct-08
Hi all,

Currently have the following setup:

Arcam A38 integrated
Arcam CD17 CDP
Simaudio Moon 100D (hooked up to PC only, not CDP)
NAD C542 CDP (for occasional HDCD playback and use in other rooms)

I'm moving towards ripping my CDs to my PC and playing back from there. Will still use a CDP because I'm sure it will take a while to move everything over. I've started thinking about whether I will upgrade the 100D as I get more serious about PC playback (nice program with SimAudio to get 100% of 100D price back to apply to 300D).

Then it hit me....
Why don't I sell the CD17 (the better of the two CDPs) and the 100D, and put the money toward a better DAC (Moon 300D, Rega DAC, Wyred 4 Sound). I could use the digital out of the C542 and use the new DAC for both CDs and PC playback.

Are there any flaws in my logic? Is the DAC in the Arcam CD17 that good that I could sacrifice quality? Is the transport that important?

Sorry for the long post. Curious on what people think as this is something that will come up often as we move towards computer audio.


Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10


Post Number: 3517
Registered: Jun-07
Try both the A17 and NAD as transports. See how they both fair. If the NAD is just as good, sell everything. lol just kidding.

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4781
Registered: Feb-07
Hey, what do you think of the A38? I took home an A18 a couple of weeks ago for a demo, and was pretty impressed with it. It actually played clearer and much louder than my Rega Elicit.

Bronze Member
Username: Halfempty


Post Number: 18
Registered: Oct-08
I really like the A38, and it surprised me. I initially purchased the A28, which is good in it's own right, but had to send it in for repair. A new A38 was sent in return!! (don't ask why ;) )

My first thought was that the extra power wouldn't hurt, but that it would be the same as the A28 sonically. I was wrong. Everything seemed to open up. The highs were smoother. Reached a bit lower, but the mid's were the big difference. For the price, I haven't heard anything that betters it.


(btw, sorry it took so long to reply. I used to come here quite often, but found this forum to be kind of dead the last few months. Anyone know why?)

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4810
Registered: Feb-07
Dunno. It is pretty dead.

But thanks for your input.
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