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Review on Denon DCD-800NE CD Player

9 min read

I bought a Denon DCD-800NE CD player from an online store.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 1

They say that CD players are an outdated class of audio equipment . The bulk of ordinary music lovers go to listening to it through streaming services and audio files, and “audiophiles” – to vinyl records. CD players remained for music lovers who amassed large collections of CDs at the height of their popularity.

Well, CD is okay, but MP3, so “this is generally – what is ???”.

But in those days when fast Internet was fantastic, and through a dial-up modem with its maximum speed of 56 kilobits per second and one song could not be downloaded from the Internet, such CDs were our Internet. Especially MP3: it had everything that was impossible to get on CDs , and the prices of these types of discs were completely incomparable.

For a number of everyday reasons (business trips, moving) for quite a long time the home mountain of accumulated CD and MP3 discs was simply gathering dust, and when, finally, free time appeared, this mountain began to raise certain doubts about its need. I had to formulate reasons of self-persuasion in order not to part with the CDs.Sound:

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– CD – about the quality of the sound on it (especially the “proprietary”) there is no particular controversy on the forums of music lovers: it sounds quite comfortable, but buying new discs is nonsense, because you can still download everything …

– MP3 – it all depends on the complexity of the piece of music and the quality of the material processing. Complex instrumental (symphonic, jazz) compositions on mass MP3s (with a bitrate of 192 kbps) sound just somehow flat even on good audio equipment – there is clearly not enough frequency range breadth. But on a professionally competently compressed MP3 (256 – 320 kbps) and at a low pleasant volume for my (everyone has different!) Hearing, the sound is difficult to distinguish from the same material on CD, and did not compare “head to head” – why? And, nevertheless, believing the opinion of professionals, and not my own perception, I listen to MP3 only in those cases if there is no such recording in another format.

Convenience of CDs:

  • inserted, pressed the button and listen;
  • quick accessibility everywhere: easy to carry – carry;
  • long-term storage is guaranteed, external drives or an online service can “glitch”, and “everything that is acquired by back-breaking labor” will go into oblivion;
  • almost like vinyl (book) – tangible, cover, inlays, and if it’s also a collector’s edition of the disc, then … !!!

Having substantiated everything theoretically, it was still not possible to go to practice: it suddenly turned out that the corresponding devices – disc players completely refuse to fulfill their direct duties after some old experiments of small households with their filling.

Well, then it was known that: hand – to the computer, foot to the sofa – and fly through the Internet in search of sound-reproducing devices suitable for the family budget. Typing in the search: “CD – player, excellent sound at an affordable price” – got the full answer to “what” and “where”: Denon on online store!

The DENON company, one of the most famous manufacturers of Hi-Fi equipment, was founded in Japan in 1910 and is now part of the Denon / Marantz concern. The company was the first audio equipment manufacturer in Japan and the first in the world to release a commercial batch of CDs. Who else but she understands better in CD players!

In 2018, the company released a new series of high-quality Hi-Fi devices: 800NE (New Era).

So, instead of the previous 720 series CD-player, the DCD-800NE was released.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 4

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player.

Although DENON itself positions all of its NE series devices as a mid-range Hi-Fi line, the appearance, the quality of the materials used and the well-thought-out slender layout of the internal boards and parts of the device evoke a feeling of owning premium equipment.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 6

It is a well-known fact that playback is significantly impaired if there is vibration in the player itself, caused by the rotation of the disc or the operation of the transformer. To protect against such harmful vibrations, this turntable provides a patented scheme for their suppression – Direct Mechanical Grounding (direct mechanical grounding / decoupling): a power transformer (vibration source) located at the very bottom of the case, directly above the support legs of the device, thus all unwanted vibration is directed directly to the ground and does not affect the operation of the rest of the machine. In addition, the drive mechanism is designed with a low center of gravity and is located in the center, thereby reducing the shoulder of the vibration moment and equalizing the distribution of loads on the support legs of the turntable.

To improve sound quality, the player is equipped with patented analog waveform reproduction technology based on Denon’s proprietary Advanced AL32 Processing Plus digital processor. In a nutshell: The processor enhances the reproducibility of weak signals by upsampling and converting 16-bit audio signals to high bit rate signals to 32-bit. The sound becomes closer to the original analog sound.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 7

On the front panel of the player there is the most necessary minimum of push-button controls.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 8

Access to all functions of the device is possible from the universal remote control.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 9

In the center of the panel there is a display – a very convenient visual addition to the control system, it clearly shows all the modes of operation of the device.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 10

If desired, the brightness of the display can be reduced. Each time you press the DIMMER button on the remote control, the display brightness changes – 4 brightness levels.

Turning off the display completely removes one of the sources of distortion (“noise”) that can affect sound clarity.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 11

So, using the remote control, you can set the Pure Direct mode , in which the sound is fed directly to the amplifier, bypassing any sound processing by the player’s processor, which could change the signal. In this mode, the display and digital audio output are turned off. Thus, the player works only as a transport, and the amplifier is directly involved in processing the music .

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 12

There is a USB port (Type A) in the lower left corner of the front panel for playing audio files from an external USB storage device. Supports playback of MP3, WMA, as well as high definition files such as FLAC, WAV and DSD.

For the convenience of playing files, the player has a Folder Mode function, with which you can listen to music from a pre-selected folder. Alas, the device does not support the Cyrillic alphabet.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 13

In the center above the display, there is a single-disc tray for receiving CDs in two standard diameters: 12 and 8 cm.

The player plays both regular CDs and PCM 192kHz / 24bit and DSD 5.6 audio recorded on DVD-R / RW media.

A big inconvenience is that when playing MP3 discs, it is impossible to select tracks, and you need to scroll through them one by one to get to the desired song. However, MP3 discs are collected mainly not only because of the albums, but because of the complete selection of albums of a particular group or artist, but not for the sake of individual songs: I turned on MP3 and listen until the morning!

On the other hand, the transport mechanism of the player works quickly and practically silently, and the device plays back even slightly damaged discs stably.

Another dislike for the new model of the player – no headphone output !!! You have to connect them, if necessary, through a stereo amplifier.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 14

The rear panel of the Denon DCD-800NE features an analog (line) output (RCA) using audiophile grade components – gold plated terminals! For connecting devices equipped with analog input connectors or an external power amplifier.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 15

This model also provides an optical TosLink connector and a coaxial output for connection to the digital input of a stereo or multichannel amplifier ( AVR – audio-video receiver) or external converters (DAC), which also have digital input connectors.

The player provides separate power supply for analog and digital circuits.

So what is the best way to connect the Denon DCD-800NE CD-player: optical, coaxial or analog cable?

E is perhaps the most contentious issue – how many music lovers, so many opinions: each has its own hearing and taste.

Nevertheless, the quality and nature of the sound largely depends on the model of the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) installed on a particular device according to the “price and taste whims” of its manufacturer. Therefore, the choice is yours – what kind of music to listen to: processed on the player or on subsequent sound amplifying / reproducing devices. It seems to be more logical to adhere to the rule that the digital signal should be stored in digital form as long as possible, that is, the player should be connected to the digital outputs . In this case, the DAC of the player does not work (bypassed) – the player works only as a transport, and the signal is processed / converted by the DAC of the amplifier.

But here the same question arises: which is better from digital connections – coaxial or optics? Moreover, the same digital audio signal transmission standard is used – AES. There is a difference in technical characteristics: the coaxial has a higher bandwidth, but the optics have almost absolute resistance to various kinds of interference. But my ear does not pick up the difference in sound. Even with the selection of a cable you will not “play” for a long time – the figure works almost the same on any cable.

But I use a digital coaxial connection only occasionally – when playing MP3 discs, as I seem to have convinced myself that the Asahi Kasei DAC (on a Denon DRA-800H stereo amplifier) ​​somehow handles highly compressed files musically.

But basically I adhere to another unwritten rule: convert a digit to an analogue on the player if the subsequent amplifiers (devices) do not have an adequate DAC. But this player just has a high-quality PCM1795 from a major analog microcircuit manufacturer, the American company Burr-Brown, and when the player is connected to a stereo amplifier via analog outputs / inputs, the audio signal is processed on this player’s own DAC and then sent directly to the amplifier. and then to the speaker system.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 16

Here, and with the selection / busting of cables, you can play enough: I replaced the complete interconnect “wires” with a high-quality QED QE6100 Performance Audio Graphite cable. By the way, this is another subjective question: do cables affect the sound? They say they do. Am I sure I can hear this influence? Yes, somehow I’m not really sure. But the very process of picking and listening to cables was exciting, and the sound was excellent!

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 17

IR CONTROL connector.

The Denon DCD-800NE is equipped with an input and output for an external control system (external infrared control sensors). Not a bad interface – a regular wired channel for transmitting commands to other components of the home Hi-Fi system. Use these jacks to connect a network audio player or Denon amplifier, or other devices with an IR remote control. This will disable the player’s own IR sensor and can now be controlled by the commands that the IR sensor of the connected device receives.Thus, you can control a whole range of devices, including a TV, from one remote control (or even a smartphone). In other words, there will be free space on the table by the sofa from a bunch of remotes for a beer. In addition, if the player is installed in some cluttered place where signals from the remote control cannot penetrate, then it can be controlled by connecting a wired IR receiver (sold separately) to the above connector and placing it in an area of ​​stable IR signal reception.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 18

Yep … a non-detachable network cable. As soon as you put it down neatly, you hide it, when there is an “urgent need” to pull the player out of the “shelf” once again, snapped off all the connecting cables, and this power cable must be pulled / pulled out.

Denon DCD-800NE CD Player, image 20

The player is compact, fits well with my other audio devices in the “whatnot” format.

Summing up, we can say that this is an inexpensive, but universal CD-player – it not only provides high-quality CD playback, but also has a USB input for connecting flash drives.

The article is written on the basis of materials of this site.

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