Day: February 1, 2011


When audio equipment dies, it doesn’t mess around. The stuff dies in groups.

I didn’t mention this at the time, but days after my CD burner and printer died, the standalone CD player component of my hi-fi system decided to go to heaven too. Since I finally got around to putting together a good stereo system about two years ago, it’s become an important reference when I’m mixing things. While the sound coming out of the speakers may not be as flat and uncoloured as it is on the studio monitors, it seems to be a pretty good litmus test. If it sounds good on the hi-fi, I can feel pretty confident that it’s going to translate well just about anywhere else. This isn’t the only reference I use by any means. It just happens to be one of the most useful. So losing the ability to listen to CDs on that system is a bit of a problem.

The one good thing about not being able to play CDs is that it’s forced me to start digging into the collection of vinyl records, which has grown a bit over the last little while.

And there are more that aren’t on the shelf, because the wood is already starting to warp from the weight. I think it’s time to get a stronger shelf.

The CD player that stopped working is an NAD C 515BEE, and it turns out I’m not the only one who’s had trouble with it. There are many reviews on the internet that mention the player’s unreliability. I just never bothered to look for them before. I should be more specific, though. The CD player didn’t stop working in any conventional way. It powers up just fine, the tray opens and closes, and everything works as it should electronically. The problem is it won’t read CDs anymore. No matter what you place on the tray, the LCD display reads “no disc”, and it never did that before.

It seems this was a common problem with these NAD players around 2007, due to a defect, and then the issue was resolved. I think in my case some internal internal component wore out. I was told it was a simple thing to repair. Now I’m waiting on NAD to fix it and send it back to me.

And I might be waiting a while, because though my CD player could probably be fixed in an afternoon by someone who knows what they’re doing, I doubt it’s a priority for the company. I think I’ll be lucky if I get it back before the third week of February.

I don’t like mixing music without the benefit of using the hi-fi as a reference, but I didn’t feel like spending another $400 or something to replace the NAD. For all I know, it would just stop working after a year or two like my first one did, if it even lasted that long. Some things seem designed to keep breaking down. I swear I’ve had to replace the cable for my Sennheiser HD 265 headphones at least half a dozen times in the past eight years, because it always starts to crap out on the left stereo channel after a year or two. It keeps getting more difficult to replace the cable, too, because Sennheiser stopped making these headphones a while ago. I guess they were discontinued because, unlike most of the other closed headphones the company makes now, they don’t sound like muffled donkey crap. I could devote an entire post to my adventures with headphones over the years…we’ll save that for some other time.

If the CD burner and printer hadn’t died on me a few weeks back, I would have an extra $800 to throw around and I’d just go out and buy a Marantz CD5004 or something and be done with it. But things die and need to be replaced, and Dawson Leery cries. It’s the way of the world.

I thought it might be worth it to check in at Audio Two and see if those guys had something that was a bit less expensive. Unlike most audio places, they won’t try to sell you something pricey just because they can. At the same time, they won’t sell you crap. I got a great deal on my turntable there, and I still haven’t had a single problem with it. Glen is also the guy who managed to finagle a replacement cable for my headphones last time it went south on me, and he’s in the process of doing it again, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to take a look. Waiting close to a month before I can listen to CDs in the sitting room again isn’t going to work for me.

I ended up leaving with this thing.

In addition to playing CDs, it has a USB port in case I ever crossed over to the dark side and wanted to play MP3s using a memory stick or an iPod, and it doubles as a burner in case my dedicated CD burner ever decides to crap out. While those are potentially useful features, I really just wanted a decent CD player, and it fits the bill.

I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t been able to listen to CDs on my system for a week or two and my brain is messing with me, but it seems like this CD player imparts a slightly different sound from the NAD. Not in a bad way. Just…different. It seems a little more articulate, while the NAD was maybe a little warmer. Then again, maybe I’ll compare when I get the chance and they’ll both sound exactly the same. And that ain’t a bad thing when the TEAC is significantly less expensive.

But yeah. I have a backup now in case I ever need it. Hooray for Huggies.

Also, I put a few microphones up for sale on kijiji HERE and HERE. I offered to sell them for a little less on Facebook and offered to lend them out if anyone wanted to mess around with them, but I didn’t get any serious bites. So I figure I’ll see if I can sell ’em this way. If it works out, maybe I’ll put the Chandler mic preamp up there at some point too. I don’t think I’m ever going to get around to using that gear again, and it’s perfectly good stuff, so someone should get some use out of it. I wouldn’t mind having a little extra money either.