Audiolab 8200CD or M-DAC with Sony BDP-S370 (for SACD & CD) - diyAudio
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Old 7th March 2012, 07:29 AM   #1
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Default Audiolab 8200CD or M-DAC with Sony BDP-S370 (for SACD & CD)

Hi All,

I wonder whether someone can help me decide what to buy to play my digital media (CDs and SACDs mainly).

In the process of building my system, I have just received my Ming Da MC34AB Tube amp from China (which drives the B & W 602 S2) and now I am bit confused on which digital source. I was above to buy the Audiolab 8200CD, but was exploring this other option, because 8200CD is not supporting the SACD. As of now I am using Sony BDP-S370 Bluray player as the the CD player and that seems to have the SACD support. But obviously a better DAC has to do the D to A conversion (which is obvious when listening) and I was wondering whether Audiolab M-DAC and with my Sony BDP (as CD transport, connected to M-DAC via Coaxial output) will do a better job, compared to 8200CD. Given the spec and theoretically it should as via Coaxial input, M-DAC can process 192kHz / 24bit which 8200CD cannot.

Sony BDP spec says it has a DAC which is 192kHz / 24bit. Even though I am using it now, I am not going to use that DAC in future. But with 8200CD has only 92kHz and I am worried, whether my upgrade will result in some loss of sound quality, when I listen to SACD.

I have some SACDs and planning get more in future as I am impressed with them already, playing via my BDP (As I am new to this whole thing, I assume those high quality Audiophile CDs are the SACDs). For me, just like for many of you in this forum, sound quality is the most important and that cannot be compromised. So I do not mind taking trouble to wait the slow loading process of Sony BDP, if sound quality has a considerable improvement when used with M-DAC.

Moreover, initially I was under the impression that CD transport just spins the CDs, but in a forum, I read that for SACD, we got to use SACD transport (like my Sony BDP).

It will be a great help, if you guys can throw some light on my queries and advice me what to do. Specially your opinion.
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Old 7th March 2012, 04:34 PM   #2
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A dac unit will not process an SACD signal, DSD, unless it is specifically designed to do so, and has DSD capable input, which SPDIF is not, without the transport first converting it to lower res pcm. In SACD, the DSD datastream is all but finally converted to audio within the main signal processor, and the traditional dac chips act merely as lowpass filters. There are very few DSD dac units on the market, and I can't think of any under $6k retail. So, if you love SACD, then you should focus on an SACD capable player that is also great at normal PCM. My personal pick for best is when I ugrade the heck out of a Sony DVP-S9000ES(don't know if it had a different model # outside usa), which does, unfortunately, have a less than totally reliable laser(but not NEARLY as unreliable as the Denon line that gets so much attention), but a beautifully bult unit otherwise, and gotten very cheap on used market. My second choice is the Pioneer Elite DV-79avi, which also does DVD-A and has a bulletproof reliable laser/mech, and is quite superb in stock form(again, don't know the model # of it outside USA), and these are dipping down into $200 range on the used market, which is a fabulous bargain. It can also play cd-r burned discs, which the 9000 can't, and has hdmi out for video. Plus, if you ever do get a dsd dac that sounds better than the 79's onboard audio, it has i-link dual firewire output for proper dsd transport output, which the Sony, including yours, does not.
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Old 8th March 2012, 03:04 AM   #3
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Thank you so much stephensank, really appreciate time taken trying to explain the above. It is now clear to me to a certain extend how these things work and that my Sony BDP and M-DAC is not going to take me anywhere compared to CD player, in fact they cannot play SACD together due to connectivity. Never knew about i-link, thanks.

I think a used Pioneer Elite DV-79avi you suggested is a good option and now I am trying to find a used one (as per what I found it is same model even outside US). This is make it very healthy for pocket as well. But looks like it is quite a tough to find one.

In the mean time, it will be great if have any idea whether for normal CDs or XRCDs (I have few XRCD as well), 79avi will be as good as Audiolab 8200CD ?. Specially considering the quality of the DAC. If you or anyone who has an idea can help me, I'll be very grateful. I am unable to find any good comparisons, as they are from 2 different eras. But the flexibility in 79AVi seems to be really good.
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Old 16th August 2012, 01:44 PM   #4
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My friend has an Audiolab 8200CD, so we did a comparison a few months ago of that against my Rotel RCD-06SE into an Audiolab MDAC using familiar, well recorded CD's and in a familiar system context. We tried 5 tracks on different genres of music, and we both preferred the Rotel/ MDAC combination, it just let more music through.
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