Nice surprise: Denon DVD-5000 as a DAC.

Discussion in 'DACs' started by JohnVF, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    I just wanted to put a word out for this old universal player. I bought it because it weighs a TON (seems to be about 35-40lbs?), I could see a copper lined chassis inside, and it has a heat sink--what kind of DVD player has a heat sink? And I was just going to use it as a transport. Well, its a bit too-finnicky of any marks on CDs for me to love it in that regard, so I was going to take it back but before I did I remembered that it could be used as a stand-alone DAC, with its digital inputs. So I plugged my Cambridge Audio 640 into it, as a transport, using Coax and wow- it really sounds fantastic. Bass is better- MUCH better- than the 640p, and spatial cues/soundstaging is extremely well done. Detail is there in abundance without calling attention to how much detail its playing (I really dislike players that emphasize detail to the point it stands out above the flow of music). This was a $2500 player about 10 years ago so I'm not surprised that its decent. But its a DVD/CD player, and it IS 10 years old. I was not prepared for how nice it sounds. It has become the main source (with the 640) for my second system.

    I should take it out of that system and play it in the main one to do a fair comparison with something more modern in its then-price-range. But it sounds so good that I think I'll just leave it be.

    Makes me want to get a decent transport for it--the irony being, that is what I bought it to be.
  2. trhee

    trhee ㅇtㅈyㅅr

    I took a peek at some nudies of the DVD-5000 and it looks very well built.

    Knowing that it uses Burr-Brown PCM-1704 DAC's which were and still used even in flagship designs by companies like Wadia and many others including Naim's $21,000+ CD555 CD player, it's not very surprising you liked it so much.

    The part that surprised me was the fact that it had digital inputs which you don't find very often.
  3. guiller

    guiller Toscaninichus Australis

    Thanks for sharing your positive impressions on it.
  4. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    Anybody have any opinion of the Teac VRDS-10 as a transport for it? There's one local and it looks promising and heavy.
  5. cdfac

    cdfac AK Subscriber Subscriber

    i always wondered about the DVD-5000. here is my thread on the DVD-9000, and i posted some pictures. sounds like they have some things in common. the 9000 also uses PCM-1704's (4 of them). i have to say, the 9000 is probably the smoothest and warmest digital player i've ever heard, but not so much that you lose a lot of detail. the Cambridge 840C is more detailed and transparent, sure, but for sheer musicality (to speak in audiophile terms) the 9000 might be even better. my 9000 is also having some transport issues, and it's getting looked at by a local tech. i don't know what the result will be, but i will have the option of sending it back to the seller for a full refund if i'm not happy. but as you say, even with transport issues these are formidable pieces of machinery.
  6. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    I didn't pay a whole lot for this thing so I'm not too sad if it only gets used as a DAC, but I wish it had a transport less picky about disc condition. I didn't take very good care of my CDs in my youth. When it encounters an error/damage, some sort of relay clicks, the sound shuts off completely, and then comes is VERY jarring, and not good for relaxing to music. So external transport here I come. I may put it into the main system tonight using the big Marantz as a transport just to compare, as the Marantz has about the best transport I could ever hope to afford.
  7. trhee

    trhee ㅇtㅈyㅅr

    If your CD's aren't in the best of shape, I'd probably avoid the Teac you mentioned above as it is somewhat finicky with less than perfect CD's. Also of note is that it won't play CD-R/CD-RW's if that's of any importance to you.

    Not sure how much you want to spend but if I was looking for a used older unit to use as a transport, I'd be looking at various pieces from:

    - Theta
    - Wadia
    - Krell
    - Naim
    - Musical Fidelity
    - Sony

  8. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    Thank you, Trhee. Those are some of the names I've been landing on and I had also been worried about the same thing from the Teac (though it looks really cool and big and I'm a sucker for that). It even has a window in top so you can see the disc spinning. A window! Ok, that adds nothing to the sound but who doesn't like a window?

    I think the Cambridge might be staying around for a bit as it works fine and I have some feelers out for a transport. There's a Sony player local that has been modified for transport duty. I'm not looking for anything extensive- if I ever need a transport for the main system I'll just use the Marantz SA-11 that's in there.
  9. trhee

    trhee ㅇtㅈyㅅr

    I'm with you on the looks of the Teac. It's beastly and cool looking at the same time.

    If you're into windows, check out some of the older top loading Krell's. Physically smaller in size than the Teac although still hefty and built like a tank, I love the industrial/modern look of the older top load Krell players.

  10. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    I've put it in the main system using the Marantz SA-11s2 as a transport (which uses the same transport as their $6k player the SA-7). There's a difference in the sound but it holds up well to the newer, more expensive Marantz. The Marantz,as an integrated transport/DAC, sounds more natural and throws a bigger soundstage. The Denon, as a DAC, has a different staging. Everything is bit farther back/2 dimensional but its not to the point of things sounding flat. The Marantz has a smoother top-end- the Denon can get a tad strident but again, its a matter of degree. The Marantz convinced me to take away a lot of listening time from my turntable- this probably wouldn't do that to the same degree. But its a very nice DAC for what I paid. Excellent, really, for the price. It certainly has passed the "switching confusion" test- as in, I'm switching inputs via the remote, and I've forgotten once or twice with DAC section was being used, as the Marantz is hooked up both ways right now.

    I should note that the Marantz is connected to the preamp via AQ Cheetah silver balanced cables, and the Denon through some cheaper AQ unbalanced copper cables. The silver balanced cable had a positive impact on the Marantz' sound. Nothing drastic but it did make a difference.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  11. trhee

    trhee ㅇtㅈyㅅr

    Just out of curiosity, what other CD players did you compare the Marantz to before purchasing it?
  12. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    A few, but mostly I bought it because it was a demo and I got it for relatively cheap (relative being the key word). I hadn't been looking very hard but some of the players I had heard that I was interested in were the Musical Fidelity (a few, including the A5), Cary CDP-1, a Naim player, NAD M55 (I briefly toyed with getting this universal player as back then I rarely listened to CD), whatever model that McIntosh has out now, and a few others that I'm sure I'm missing. I found it really hard to audition CD players as I found that I liked a lot of them and couldn't tell if what I liked was the system they were in, or the players themselves. I liked this Marantz at a store, it was their store-demo unit and I'd heard it a few times. When I auditioned it at the store it sounded good but I couldn't really tell much about it. When I borrowed it and got it home, I fell in love with its sound in my system so I never took it back. I actually listen to CD more than vinyl now, after buying it.
  13. Mr. Lin

    Mr. Lin Lunatic Member

    I'm not sure about the much older Naim units, but fyi their current versions of CD players (going back about 10 years I think) do not have digital outputs, since they claim to believe it's better to have a DAC and transport in one box, and ideally a separate power supply.

    Yet they now have a standalone DAC in their lineup?!:scratch2:

    If not for that, a Naim would make a great transport-only component IMO.
  14. Mr. Lin

    Mr. Lin Lunatic Member

    One other thought that just occurred to me: You might want to consider trying one of the commercial CD cleaner/enhancer solutions. I use the Mapleshade Optrix for this, it's not too expensive, and at the very least it cleans the CDs perfectly and makes them easier to "read." They claim the Optrix can repair any scratched CD and make it readable again, but I've found a couple so far that it wasn't able to save.

    Still, take a look into that - there's also a myriad of other brands and types of this stuff, I consider it rather essential now that I'm so into CDs. I know you're open-minded about this sort of thing too.
  15. trhee

    trhee ㅇtㅈyㅅr

    Actually, this isn't entirely true. The CDX2 and CD5 XS both have digital out while the CD5i, CDS3 and CD555 don't.

  16. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    I'm looking at a McCormack SST-1 transport for this now. Its not really by anything more than it is local, I can try it out, and I'm not really looking to spend a lot. The Cambridge 640 is working fine as a transport right now but it won't be around much longer.

    And thanks for the info on the disc cleaner. I'll look into it. I wish I could go back in time and take better care of these CDs. If only I'd known how good they'd sound to me 15 years later.
  17. SPL db

    SPL db It's all about the music! Subscriber

    Interesting findings on the 5000 as there is one available locally.

    I liked it for the shear size and weight of the player but didn't like what I
    saw in the reviews about it.

    I was mainly looking at it for a DVD player as I'm CD player rich right now.

    Might have to see if it's still available. :scratch2:

  18. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    If its the one on your CL that's a good deal. I haven't even gotten around to trying it as a DVD player but I should note that it isn't a progressive scan player. The Asian market really liked it for CD sound, for what its worth. I'm not trying to hype it into "its better than a $2k CD player" as so much of that is personal taste and if you like its sound, it is, and if you don't, it isn't. But I like it a lot - very nice sound for the price.
  19. SPL db

    SPL db It's all about the music! Subscriber

    Yeah, as a DVD player the reviews stated that a cheapie player of today should have a better picture.

    I have an Audio Refinement CD Complete, Meridian 508.24, & a Musical Fidelity A3 (bought from our own Urizen) that I would compare it to.

  20. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    Those are some very nice never know. This thing sounded better than my Cambridge 640v2, and worse than my Marantz SA-11s2. But that is with the Marantz as a transport. It simply couldn't match the Marantz' sound's 3 dimensionality and subtlety. But it didn't miss it by miles. If I had those as back-up players, I doubt I'd have bought this for my second system. As it is, the Cambridge wasn't cutting it. Prior to this, I'd bypassed the DACs in the cambridge for that onboard the Pioneer SC-27 that is in use as a pre in this system. Sound improved but not by as much as it did when running this as a DAC. Both the Cambridge and the Pioneer as a DAC had a slightly two dimensional sound.

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