thoughts on a pioneer DV-79, DV-09, BDP-09 as a cd player?

hi all,

does anyone have an opinion on the following universal players as a stand alone CD player?

- DV-09
- DV-79avi
- BDP-09FD

wondering how they would stack up against my current ancient digital front end. Theta DSPro GEN III DAC, Pioneer Elite CLD-79 laserdisc player (as a transport).

the reason for all this is i've noticed my system started to sound more fatiguing. almost to the point of thinking "is there something wrong with the tweeters in my Yamaha NS-1000M?"

out of curiosity, i hooked up the CLD-79 direct to the preamp, no theta DAC (never tried this before). sounded MUCH more relaxing! who knows, maybe it's time for the theta to be recapped. not sure if i wanna go down that road.

the CLD-79 uses 1-bit DACs and legato link DSP... so that's gonna take the edge off anyway.

anywho, wondering if the above choices would wax the floor with the theta, even if it was in tip top condition.

i REALLY want a PD-93 or PD-91, but those things go for mucho dinero.

thoughts?

Regards,
Robby
 

peteleoni

Member
2011-04-27 8:10 am
No one wants to hear the real answer to questions about hi end high priced gear and the march of time and technology, but the complete answer to your question involves simply the thd + n spec and nothing more. That and Ebay. The best Pioneer unit you mentioned is if I recall 114 snr. I do have one actually. Not too bad. The improved "Theta" designs are at Schiit Audio have 32 bit converters and they are inexpensive. I feel the number that is pretty much "as good as you can get" is 116. There are some 127db and better out there now!
 
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thanks for the insight Pete! yeah, i've been tempted with the Schiit DACs. heck, almost interested if i could mail them my Theta and have them gut it and make a hot rod ;-)

my interest in the pioneers is that they are built like brick shithouses and are kinda worthless. would be fun to try. if i don't like them, i could at least get my money back out of it.
 
The NS1000M tweeter & mid are ruthlessly revealing of ANY inadequacies in the signal chain, which is what I love about them. So, really critical to first know that your power amp & preamp are good enough. If you're running any Yamaha amp or preamp(save for *maybe* the B-2 amp), then THAT'S your biggest problem. You need gain that is clean, spacious & detailed, but with NO tendency toward being etched, grainy or clinical. The least expensive, and extremely enjoyable, amp for the job, IMO, is a first generation McIntosh ss amp, i.e., MC250/2505/2100/2105/2300(and very much not the successor models, MC2205, etc.). An MC250 can still be had for $500-700, and is more than enough power for the 1000M. May have to spend more than that for a good enough preamp, though, starting point there, IMO, for best value per sound, would be conrad-johnson PV9 or PV11(avoid PV10 series!).
But, assuming your analog is good enough, I will offer this on the players you mention:
DV09- Lovely sounding unit, with PCM1702 ladder dacs. Kind of closed in unless upgraded quite a bit, but lovely.
DV79avi- Similar comments as DV09, but less dynamic/ballsy, due to PCM1738 bitstream dacs.
BDP09FD- Aside from surprisingly horrible reliability issues with the drive unit, I personally think this is the worst sounding of the three by far, due to what I consider horribly awful sounding Wolfson dacs, which are only made acceptable sounding by use of cheap, untransparent parts in analog path after them. Upgrading reveals just how bad those dac chips really are.

I consider the DV09 the best of the three, by a healthy margin.
 
Thanks Stephen! i was hoping you'd chime in :)

yeah, i've been eyeing a DV-09 for a few weeks (pretty much since i started thinking about trying a different digital front end).

been keeping an eye on local craigslist... and for the first time in a decade... ebay. i really don't like buying on ebay, but the prices are reasonable for the pioneer units as well. so far, most of the reasonable DV-09's don't have a remote... kind of a deal breaker. both for convenience and resale.

there is a DV-79avi about 50 miles from me for $150. i could probably get it cheaper. but a schlep. i might consider it if it's still around this weekend.

i only discovered the BDP-09 a few days ago.

what are your thoughts on the PD-65 or PDR-99. almost had a deal on a PDR-99, but the guy started changing his story on price... i was like "forget it".

lastly, you ever try a pioneer laserdisc player as a stand alone cd player? i've been trying my Pioneer Elite CLD-79 for the first time, using it's own DACs. pretty kick back sound. much less grating than the theta DAC. it uses 1 bit burr brown DACs and legato link DSP processing?

here's my system for reference:
McIntosh MC-60 tube monoblocks
Classe Audio DR-4 preamp.
Yamaha YST-SW320 sub (not bad for a little POS)
Theta DPRO GEN III DAC
Pioneer Elite CLD-79 LD player
Technics SL-1600MK2 TT with Denon DL-110
Adcom GFA-515 line conditioner (is this a POS, should i just plug my gear directly into the wall?

what i think part of the issue is, is the theta has 6v of gain.. .and the DR-4 has a lot of gain too. might be overloading the inputs on the preamp? the LD player is the usual 2v, i believe.

BUT, the theta is starting to sound more grainy over the last year or so...

Regards,
Robby

The NS1000M tweeter & mid are ruthlessly revealing of ANY inadequacies in the signal chain, which is what I love about them. So, really critical to first know that your power amp & preamp are good enough. If you're running any Yamaha amp or preamp(save for *maybe* the B-2 amp), then THAT'S your biggest problem. You need gain that is clean, spacious & detailed, but with NO tendency toward being etched, grainy or clinical. The least expensive, and extremely enjoyable, amp for the job, IMO, is a first generation McIntosh ss amp, i.e., MC250/2505/2100/2105/2300(and very much not the successor models, MC2205, etc.). An MC250 can still be had for $500-700, and is more than enough power for the 1000M. May have to spend more than that for a good enough preamp, though, starting point there, IMO, for best value per sound, would be conrad-johnson PV9 or PV11(avoid PV10 series!).
But, assuming your analog is good enough, I will offer this on the players you mention:
DV09- Lovely sounding unit, with PCM1702 ladder dacs. Kind of closed in unless upgraded quite a bit, but lovely.
DV79avi- Similar comments as DV09, but less dynamic/ballsy, due to PCM1738 bitstream dacs.
BDP09FD- Aside from surprisingly horrible reliability issues with the drive unit, I personally think this is the worst sounding of the three by far, due to what I consider horribly awful sounding Wolfson dacs, which are only made acceptable sounding by use of cheap, untransparent parts in analog path after them. Upgrading reveals just how bad those dac chips really are.

I consider the DV09 the best of the three, by a healthy margin.
 
A critical factor is what tubes you have in the MC60's. With the stock variety of W. German & USA small tubes & rectifiers, and USA RCA/TungSol 6550s, the MC60 is only just smooth enough for the 1000m, and, IMO, less smooth than, e.g., MC250. Unfortunately, the only way the MC60 can really do justice for the 1000's is with real UK Genalex KT88's(you may have to sell a kidney to afford two pairs, I know). This assumes the amps are unmodified, of course. If they have been retubed with anything not USA or western european or newer than late 70's, they don't have a prayer of sounding good enough.
The Classe has the volume control ahead of any active linestage bits, so no way the Theta is overloading it. Although the DR4 is a discrete fet/bjt design, it's design is pretty compromised by too many dc blocking caps in the signal path, most of which are just electrolytics. So, it's certainly above average, but is not, in stock form, smooth/musical enough for the 1000's, IMO. Certainly less of a negative in the path than wrong tube choices in the MC60, though. Wouldn't be a huge job to upgrade this preamp into being a positive.
The Theta has no business not sounding better than the CLD79. It's PCM63K dacs are flat out superior to the I-forget-which old bitstream dac in the CLD. The problem lies in the poor design of the Theta's analog stages, but this can be dealt with, albeit with fairly major upgrade/redesign. It's frankly kinda sad for the Theta that the CLD79 even competes with it. A stock PD93 or 91 would not be much better, if any better at all. Could even be worse, due to use of the horrible GIC lowpass filter configuration. But either would be a significantly better transport than the CLD79.
Seems likely from your comments that the Theta has decaying caps in the power supply, I suspect. But it certainly lacked smoothness at it's best.
The PD65/PDR99 can only be mentioned in context as transport-only use, as they have the very limited, sonically, "pulseflow" bitstream dacs. As such, the PDR99/PDR05(identical inside to each other), are far more long term reliable than the PD65 or any other stable platter player-only unit. Still, as transport, performance is only well above average(but better a little than PD91/93), and very hard to improve. The best stable platter transport ever is the rare PDR09 recorder, better by far than the PD-S95, especially for reliability. But it still needs substantial clock upgrading for top shelf performance, and, again, not great as a player. Nonetheless, I really love the PDR09.
As for CLD units, the best one as both player & transport was, by far, the CLD95(w/rca coax out added), with CLD3080 a close second. Hard as hell to ship safely, though.

I could make further recommendations, but probably should pm or email me if you want them.
 
Got the dv-79. Screwing around. Settled for legato link standard and hi bit conversion for now. Mofo sounds super groovy! I'll try no legato or hi bit... Then I'll try it as a transport to my theta dspro gen iii DAC.

I will say that the dv-79 is a lot of bang for the buck. I paid $100 with the remote and manual.

Robby
 
The 79avi is truly a really nice sounding player. I have two and over the past year I have tried various things to improve the sound on the second unit. If you are handy with a soldering iron these units are easy to work on. The cheapest and most effective improvements, that improve on the original sound signature, were found by changing out capacitors in specific positions. A lot of trial and error using wires with alligator clips running from capacitor positions off board testing anywhere from 3 to 21 different capacitors depending on the position requirements. Some capacitor changes made it sound worse so originals were retained and some changes improved it amazingly. Its surprising how much better than stock this unit can be made to sound, live and natural, without sounding "hi fi" or "altered".