Need HELP with my CD player

Hi all -

I currently have a pair of B&W 802d (first generation) powered by Classe CAM-200 monoblocks with a Bryston BP26 preamp.

Currently my CD player is an Arcam CD-72.

I’ve been complaining that my speakers sound congested in the midrange, not as open, dynamic and airy as some of the newer speakers i’ve listened to (Sopra 3).

Yesterday, I had a friend connect his streaming box (Blue Sound Node 2i) with his Tidal streaming service.

Doing an A/B comparison of songs (stream/CD) of old and new material, I found the streaming box was much more uncongested, open, dynamic and airy sounding.

All of a sudden my speakers came alive.

Is this a function of streaming services in general or does my CD player need to be upgraded.

I have many CD’s, rare ones, that I would like to still have a CD player.

What exactly am I hearing, and what CD player would you suggest to open up my current components.

Thanks in advance…

1 Like

I had a Rega Saturn R which I really liked. It was much better, much more analog sounding than my Cambridge Audio 840. Then, in January, I fell into a really good deal on a Mark Levinson 390S, which i bought. Completely different sound from either the Rega or the Cambridge player. They always say you can’t recover down system. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain buy auditioning new players. It sounds like we’re a lot alike. I have too many CDs in the house to give up on the format. I also found out when I got the Levinson that HDCD will make your system open up. I have a lot of CDs that, while not marked HDCD, apparently are because the light comes on and I’m hearing all sorts of wonderful things I’ve not heard on very familiar discs.

1 Like

You definitely have as system that will let you hear the improved performance a better CD player offers. It would help to know what your budget is (and are you open to purchasing a used unit?)

I’m looking for a new unit.

Not sure how much i would need to spend to get a CD player that would really make my speakers come alive.

I just got a Jay’s Audio transport and it is blowing me away. I thought my Cambridge CXC was a decent transport but now I’m hearing details I’ve never heard before on albums I’ve listened to over a hundred times. So much more clarity and bass definition.


I believe it’s the DAC in the Blue Sound Node 2i is better than the built in DAC in your Arcam. If you use a better external DAC with your Arcam, the table should turn, and your cd’s should sound much better than the streamer.


Look into a separate DAC, like the PS Audio Directstream.


My system frequently gets congested. I play the degaussing tracks (tracks 7 and 8) on the XLO Test and Burn In CD once at low volume and the congestion is gone. Sometimes I need to do this daily, sometimes weekly, but it always works and will cost you only $20;

I agree. It’d be good to know what kind of budget we’re working with here. Something like the Directstream DAC will make for a huge improvement!


Help me out here. I never had a separate DAC and Transport unit before. Always just a CD player.

What is a suggested match for the Directstream DAC?

Since you said the Node is only borrowed, I’ll assume you don’t have a DAC of your own. If you think you’d like a DAC at some point, I’d get one now, and replace your CD player with a transport only. There are three great budget candidates out there, IMO: the Cambridge CXC V2, the Audiolab 6000CDT, and the NuPrime CDT-8 Pro.

As an intermediate step, if you get a decent DAC, your Arcam probably has a digital output that allows it to be used only as a transport, with your new DAC doing the conversion work.

1 Like

Something like our new PerfectWave SACD Transport is the mate DSD. However, almost any transport will do. With the numerous options of inputs in the DSD, you’d be hard pressed to find a transport out there that didn’t work.

The reason our new transport makes for a great option is you’re able to take advantage of the I2S connection. This is the native protocol that is used in CD players (from the drive unit to the eternal DAC). Connecting a transport to a DAC via COAX, optical, etc. requires a conversion. By connecting via I2S, you eliminate the necessity of that conversion.

The biggest issues I had with the external dac & cd player upgrade route was the need to buy even more cables and the additional rack space that yet another box required. Having gone that route myself in the past, if I were committed to cd’s as my primary music source, I’d just purchase a cd player that had dac capability. If additional cables and rack space aren’t an issue, the separate dac route certainly is a viable option. Another thing to consider is whether you’re the kind of audiophile that always has to have the latest iteration of digital decoding. If not, there are ten year old dacs (and cd players) that still sound excellent decoding the cd format. My personal choice for upper tier cd playback is equipment that has an excellent record for durability and build quality. Brands like Esoteric or Luxman who make their own drives and can stand behind them if service is ever needed. I was pretty bummed when I bought a top of the line Marantz SACD player many years ago that died right after the warranty expired and no service parts were available to repair it because the third party optical drive was no longer available. (The audio conglomerate that owns Marantz now makes their own proprietary optical drive so that hopefully wouldn’t be an issue with current Marantz products.) If going the external dac route it is true that about any old cd player or transport “will” work, but there are definitely audible differences between an inexpensive cd player or transport and something like the Jay’s Audio transport.

If you really want just one box, Jay’s Audio makes a cd player.
If it’s as good as his transport that everyone seems to love, you should be good to go.

1 Like

Or maybe a Luxman D-10X…

1 Like

FWIW, I’ve owned a couple Rega players over the years. Always thought they were great. Streaming into the DSD is way better than any Rega I’ve owned but did enjoy them very much.

The people in this forum is very knowledgeable and experienced. Don’t mess around. Save your money and get a PS Audio DS first. Then you can upgrade your Arcam and get the PST SACD transport or a server of your choice maybe the PS Octave upcoming server and you will hear music like you never heard before!!

1 Like

I have a Philips CD-880. After 33 years, it started skipping last week. I took off the cover and lightly cleaned the laser housing lens with Ronson lighter fluid on a q-tip! Have about 30 hrs of listening since without a single tracking error…seems to sound even better than when new (and that was a great sounding CD player back then)!

1 Like

In my case, after my ARCAM CD7SE stopped working, I was looking for an upgrade with budget about $5k. There are many good CD players to pick at this price range. On the other hand, I learned that there is a new kind of hifi component for digital signal called “DAC” which can work as CD player if I use my old SONY DVD player as “spinner” (or Transport, as officially called). I thought a $5k DAC should be better than the DAC inside a $5k CD player. I also thought, “spinner” is just “spinner” it should not make difference - an old and cheap DVD player with digital output should be good enough.
So, I get DSDAC and use SONY DVD player as transport. Sonic performance is much better than my old ARCAM CD7SE. (Of course, I believe any of the $5k CD players will sound better than the entry level ARCAM CD7SE.). While happy with DSDAC+SONY DVD player, I was beta testing the PST. To my surprise, DSDAC+PST sound even better (a perfect match!). Never thought, the transport will improve the sound so much. All my CDs come to live with DSDAC+PST. So, my SONY DVD player now back to storage and PST stays.


The Marantz SA-10 is a great SACD/CD player and DAC which upsamples all inputs to DSD.