Source units affect sound?

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I've noticed a thread here where there seems to be some argument over how a
source unit, such as a CD player, can affect the output quality of your system.
I've sold audio equipment and tend to have my own opinions, but I'd like to
hear some from those here on the board. Do you fellows (or ladies, as the case
may be) believe in the idea that spending $5,000 on a CD player, as opposed to
spending $500 on a player, will actually make any audible difference in sound
quality? I'll chime in with my own thoughts at some point but I want to hear
yours first. Is there really anything that an "audiophile" grade player can do
that a "normal" one cannot? And how about tape decks and turntables? Do your
feelings reagrding CD players carry over to those sources as well? Let's
refrain from arguing over the varying levels of video quality that DVD players
can produce. I only want to discuss audio here.
Steve Grauman
131 answers Last reply
More about source units affect sound
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Steve Grauman wrote:
    > I've noticed a thread here where there seems to be some argument over
    how a
    > source unit, such as a CD player, can affect the output quality of
    your system.
    > I've sold audio equipment and tend to have my own opinions, but I'd
    like to
    > hear some from those here on the board. Do you fellows (or ladies, as
    the case
    > may be) believe in the idea that spending $5,000 on a CD player, as
    opposed to
    > spending $500 on a player, will actually make any audible difference
    in sound
    > quality?

    I can't prove this, but I suspect that you can buy a CD player for less
    than $100 that can deliver ruler-flat frequency response and inaudible
    levels of distortion (including jitter) to a preamp. If that's true, no
    one will be able to distinguish that player from any more expensive
    player in a blind comparison--unless the more expensive player is
    defective in some way.

    > I'll chime in with my own thoughts at some point but I want to hear
    > yours first. Is there really anything that an "audiophile" grade
    player can do
    > that a "normal" one cannot?

    Last longer? Decode HDCD disks, perhaps, which may or may not be a good
    thing. But I think the real difference is that "audiophile" CD players
    can inspire the imagination in ways that Technics just can't.

    > And how about tape decks and turntables? Do your
    > feelings reagrding CD players carry over to those sources as well?

    Analog's a different ballgame. No turntable or tape deck, at any price,
    can deliver ruler-flat frequency response and inaudible levels of
    distortion to a preamp. So naturally it's possible (make that likely)
    that any two will sound different.

    bob
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:crrsbf01trr@news2.newsguy.com...
    > Steve Grauman wrote:
    > > I've noticed a thread here where there seems to be some argument over
    > how a
    > > source unit, such as a CD player, can affect the output quality of
    > your system.
    > > I've sold audio equipment and tend to have my own opinions, but I'd
    > like to
    > > hear some from those here on the board. Do you fellows (or ladies, as
    > the case
    > > may be) believe in the idea that spending $5,000 on a CD player, as
    > opposed to
    > > spending $500 on a player, will actually make any audible difference
    > in sound
    > > quality?
    >
    > I can't prove this, but I suspect that you can buy a CD player for less
    > than $100 that can deliver ruler-flat frequency response and inaudible
    > levels of distortion (including jitter) to a preamp. If that's true, no
    > one will be able to distinguish that player from any more expensive
    > player in a blind comparison--unless the more expensive player is
    > defective in some way.
    >

    This assumes, of course, that the analog electronics contribute nothing to
    the final quality. IME, this is where the biggest difference will be beyond
    build quality...analog design as well as quality and expense of the parts.

    > > I'll chime in with my own thoughts at some point but I want to hear
    > > yours first. Is there really anything that an "audiophile" grade
    > player can do
    > > that a "normal" one cannot?
    >
    > Last longer? Decode HDCD disks, perhaps, which may or may not be a good
    > thing. But I think the real difference is that "audiophile" CD players
    > can inspire the imagination in ways that Technics just can't.
    >
    > > And how about tape decks and turntables? Do your
    > > feelings reagrding CD players carry over to those sources as well?
    >
    > Analog's a different ballgame. No turntable or tape deck, at any price,
    > can deliver ruler-flat frequency response and inaudible levels of
    > distortion to a preamp. So naturally it's possible (make that likely)
    > that any two will sound different.

    Yeah, many more variables here requiring top-flight mechanical and materials
    engineering as well as electrical performance. But once again, analog
    design and build quality has much to do with final results...phono headamps
    and preamps, tape recorder output stages, etc.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    I agree with Bob on CD players. If a high end player sounds different
    it is because it is adding something such as a peak in the response
    somewhere. For tape decks there are many differences. If you really
    want quality, Nakamichi is the only way to go. I can make a tape of a
    CD and be hard pressed to tell the difference (Nak ZX-7). With
    turntables, most cartridges sound different, arms less so and the TT
    itself (unless it is really cheap) has minimal effect on the sound. A
    lot of high enders will argue on this (trying to justify all the money
    they spent!).


    ---MIKE---
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Steve Grauman wrote:
    > I've noticed a thread here where there seems to be some argument over how a
    > source unit, such as a CD player, can affect the output quality of your system.
    > I've sold audio equipment and tend to have my own opinions, but I'd like to
    > hear some from those here on the board. Do you fellows (or ladies, as the case
    > may be) believe in the idea that spending $5,000 on a CD player, as opposed to
    > spending $500 on a player, will actually make any audible difference in sound
    > quality?

    It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500 one.
    However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being intentionally
    (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like using
    tubes, for instance.

    > I'll chime in with my own thoughts at some point but I want to hear
    > yours first. Is there really anything that an "audiophile" grade player can do
    > that a "normal" one cannot? And how about tape decks and turntables? Do your
    > feelings reagrding CD players carry over to those sources as well? Let's
    > refrain from arguing over the varying levels of video quality that DVD players
    > can produce. I only want to discuss audio here.
    > Steve Grauman

    If you want an accurate CD player, one that measures flat in frequency
    response and with excellent signal-to-noise ratio, you should be able to
    get that for significantly less than $500.

    Tape decks and turntables are highly mechanical devices, and it is easy
    to find significant differences between units.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Well I have to say that I'm both surprised and delighted at the
    responses I got. I had to deal with a customer several months ago, nice
    enough guy otherwise, but he swore to god that he could hear an audible
    difference between the $2,000 CD player he bought, and the $900 dollar
    one he had owned before. In my experience, at least when they're
    connected digitally via toslink, there's absolutely no audible
    difference between players costing around $150 and players costing 10
    or 15 times that much. I've got a Denon DVD-1600 (DVD player) on our
    primary system that was purchased for $329, in my room is a slightly
    newer Pioneer player purchased for $199, I use both of them for CD
    playback as well as for DVDs and did A/B testing with them on our
    primary system, cinnected via toslink. The Denon is without a doubt a
    superior DVD player, but the Pioneer offers (as far as I can tell)
    identicle sound from CDs. I've also noticed that when running the same
    cartridge, I'm hard pressed to hear any differences between the $500
    turntable in my room and the one on our main system that retailed for
    almost $2,000.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Harry Lavo wrote:
    > <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:crrsbf01trr@news2.newsguy.com...
    > > Steve Grauman wrote:
    > > > I've noticed a thread here where there seems to be some argument
    over
    > > how a
    > > > source unit, such as a CD player, can affect the output quality
    of
    > > your system.
    > > > I've sold audio equipment and tend to have my own opinions, but
    I'd
    > > like to
    > > > hear some from those here on the board. Do you fellows (or
    ladies, as
    > > the case
    > > > may be) believe in the idea that spending $5,000 on a CD player,
    as
    > > opposed to
    > > > spending $500 on a player, will actually make any audible
    difference
    > > in sound
    > > > quality?
    > >
    > > I can't prove this, but I suspect that you can buy a CD player for
    less
    > > than $100 that can deliver ruler-flat frequency response and
    inaudible
    > > levels of distortion (including jitter) to a preamp. If that's
    true, no
    > > one will be able to distinguish that player from any more expensive
    > > player in a blind comparison--unless the more expensive player is
    > > defective in some way.
    > >
    >
    > This assumes, of course, that the analog electronics contribute
    nothing to
    > the final quality.

    Well, no it doesn't. I said, "deliver[ed]...to a preamp," which means
    that the signal's already been through the analog circuitry of the CDP.
    I'm suggesting that there are $100 disk players out there with both
    subjectively transparent analog stages AND subjectively perfect DACs.

    I'm not arguing that every $100 player would meet this test, although I
    suspect that the major, established manufacturers, who can amortize
    their research budget over millions of units, would have no trouble
    doing so.

    bob
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs5060282@news1.newsguy.com, "chung"
    <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:

    > It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500 one.
    > However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being intentionally
    > (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like using
    > tubes, for instance

    Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully, the
    transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall design
    was made to prevent digital timing errors. Also use of digital techniques
    to extract more information, lower the effective noise floor, a DAC that is
    state of the art, as well as a well thought out analog stage with the
    compromises made to be minor.

    IN this case, while *sometimes* you might be correct, in the majority of
    cases, it isn't true.

    Distortion to make it "sound good" is more prevalent in the low end than the
    high end - look at Bose as an example!
  8. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs4ut027c@news1.newsguy.com, "---MIKE---"
    <twinmountain@webtv.net> wrote:

    > I agree with Bob on CD players. If a high end player sounds different
    > it is because it is adding something such as a peak in the response
    > somewhere.

    You may agree, but I don't think that would always be correct.

    Take a $500 NAD C542 against a Arcam CD192 ($1700) - you will hear a
    definite improvement more detail, better high end and low end. Will be
    about 20% or so better, but better overall none the less.


    >For tape decks there are many differences. If you really
    > want quality, Nakamichi is the only way to go. I can make a tape of a
    > CD and be hard pressed to tell the difference (Nak ZX-7). With
    > turntables, most cartridges sound different, arms less so and the TT
    > itself (unless it is really cheap) has minimal effect on the sound. A
    > lot of high enders will argue on this (trying to justify all the money
    > they spent!).

    I don't think this is the case with those others, but if you can't hear a
    difference, by all means don't buy the stuff.
  9. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/9/05 3:41 PM, in article crs4tb0268@news1.newsguy.com, "Harry Lavo"
    <harry.lavo@rcn.com> wrote:

    >> Analog's a different ballgame. No turntable or tape deck, at any price,
    >> can deliver ruler-flat frequency response and inaudible levels of
    >> distortion to a preamp. So naturally it's possible (make that likely)
    >> that any two will sound different.
    >
    > Yeah, many more variables here requiring top-flight mechanical and materials
    > engineering as well as electrical performance. But once again, analog
    > design and build quality has much to do with final results...phono headamps
    > and preamps, tape recorder output stages, etc.

    Also keep in mind the power supply and digital transport are big adders to
    the final product.

    If a $20 CDP were truly SOTA, then there would be no need for outboard DAC's
    like the Benchmark DAC-1 which being a piece of pro gear for mastering
    music, has to be more accurate than an Apex $20 portable in order to justify
    its $900 price tag to the professionals!
  10. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/9/05 11:23 AM, in article crrlq801mup@news2.newsguy.com, "Steve
    Grauman" <oneactor1@aol.com> wrote:

    > Do you fellows (or ladies, as the case
    > may be) believe in the idea that spending $5,000 on a CD player, as opposed to
    > spending $500 on a player, will actually make any audible difference in sound
    > quality?

    It really depends upon *which* CDP's you are talking about rather than exact
    proce tag. I will say that given the differences I have heard between $20,
    200, 500, 1000, 2000 players (law of diminishing returns kicks in hard at
    about $1k, I have found) - I certainly would think it is possible.

    For some perpective, if you look at the gear they use to master music -
    given the competition they face with all the other studios, you will find
    their CDP's and other playback devices are a might more expensive than the
    plain old mass market consumer gear - and it must be justified in terms of
    delivering the value.

    If you look at a Benchmark DAC1 and put it up against an $20 Apex player, or
    even an iPod, you will find that it is leaps an bounds better at extracting
    detail and presenting it in a manner that is accurate and revealing of flaws
    in the recording. That is, in essence, what most Audiophiles are after -
    though many get caught up in gear that may not live up to that standard for
    a lot of money.
  11. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:
    > On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs5060282@news1.newsguy.com, "chung"
    > <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
    >
    > > It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500
    one.
    > > However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being
    intentionally
    > > (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like
    using
    > > tubes, for instance
    >
    > Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully,
    the
    > transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall
    design
    > was made to prevent digital timing errors. Also use of digital
    techniques
    > to extract more information, lower the effective noise floor, a DAC
    that is
    > state of the art, as well as a well thought out analog stage with the
    > compromises made to be minor.
    >
    > IN this case, while *sometimes* you might be correct, in the majority
    of
    > cases, it isn't true.

    In that case you should have no trouble coming up with a specific
    example of a measurably accurate $5K CD player that is audibly
    distinguishable from a $500 Rotel in a blind comparison.
    We're waiting.

    bob
  12. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    OneActor1@aol.com wrote:
    > Well I have to say that I'm both surprised and delighted at the
    > responses I got. I had to deal with a customer several months ago,
    nice
    > enough guy otherwise, but he swore to god that he could hear an
    audible
    > difference between the $2,000 CD player he bought, and the $900
    dollar
    > one he had owned before.

    There are two plausible explanations for your customer's experience:

    1) One player's output is slightly higher than the other; when he
    switches between the two, they will sound different simply because of
    the level difference (even if one doesn't sound louder than the other).

    2) Expectation bias: Humans have a tendency to hear differences even
    between things that are demonstrably the same, simply because they
    *think* the two are different.

    In other words, your customer isn't crazy; he's only human.

    > I've also noticed that when running the same
    > cartridge, I'm hard pressed to hear any differences between the $500
    > turntable in my room and the one on our main system that retailed for
    > almost $2,000.

    Please identify these two turntables for us.

    bob
  13. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <<Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully,
    the transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall
    design was made to prevent digital timing errors. Also use of digital
    techniques to extract more information, lower the effective noise
    floor, a DAC that is state of the art, as well as a well thought out
    analog stage with the compromises made to be minor.>>

    I was waiting to see if someone would make these claims. In my testing
    of several CD players at various price points and built by various
    manufacturers, where all players were connected via toslink to the same
    a/v reciever powering the same speakers for every test, the was no
    audible difference between any of the players, ranging in price from
    around $150 to several thousand dollars. As far as I'm concerned, this
    is an indication that there is nothing that ultra expensive power
    supply and clocking devices can do that the human ear is capable of
    hearing. I've found that this is true of amplifiers too, that in
    comparing stand-alone amps, there wasn't anything the most expensive
    units could do to differentiate themselves audbilly form the least
    expensive units. This is also true, in my experience of "high end"
    wiring, where manufacturers and consumers alike are constantly assuring
    one another that a $1,000 toslink cable actually provides some audible
    level of difference over the $18 Acoustic Research cable sold at Best
    Buy. While it;s certainly important that your sources, amps and wiring
    be quality units, rarely, in today;s advanced world, could any of them
    be bad enough to truly be making your sound *audiblly* worse. It's the
    speakers being used and how well their being driven (powered) that in
    my experience makes the biggest difference, of course, it's also
    neccesary to have decent source material (a well mastered CD) and this
    is only constant when talking about digital sources.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/9/05 7:25 PM, in article crsi230hh6@news3.newsguy.com,
    "nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:

    > I'm not arguing that every $100 player would meet this test, although I
    > suspect that the major, established manufacturers, who can amortize
    > their research budget over millions of units, would have no trouble
    > doing so.

    Actually, the major manufacturers know how to make a SOTA player - but
    choose not to, rather competing on cost and cost reduction.

    A CDP from Sony - if they decided to make a SOTA player (such as the SCD-1
    or the SACD players they carried recently) it would be able to give you more
    for your money - especially due to the scale as you said, but also the use
    of factories in the developing world, such as China.

    Could they produce a $5000 player by a small fry for $100? Probably not -
    but they may be able to do it for $1-2k....
  15. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:
    > On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs5060282@news1.newsguy.com, "chung"
    > <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
    >
    >> It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500 one.
    >> However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being intentionally
    >> (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like using
    >> tubes, for instance
    >
    > Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully, the
    > transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall design
    > was made to prevent digital timing errors.

    You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?

    The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those used
    in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases grossly
    inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC chips
    used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    differences resulting from different DAC's used.


    > Also use of digital techniques
    > to extract more information, lower the effective noise floor, a DAC that is
    > state of the art, as well as a well thought out analog stage with the
    > compromises made to be minor.

    Do you seriously believe that the boutique makers can do a better job?

    We are talking about a CD player, and companies like Sony have been
    making CD players for 20 years. Don't you think they understand how to
    design CD players so that the errors are inaudible? I read that some
    high-end CD players even eliminate the anti-alias filters. That should
    tell you a lot about the design talent you find in some high-end labels.

    You are simply repeating the myths perpetuated by high-end marketing.

    >
    > IN this case, while *sometimes* you might be correct, in the majority of
    > cases, it isn't true.

    In the majority of cases, CD players at $500 sound just as accurate, if
    not more accurate, than those at $5K.

    Please show me any measurement result that prove that $5K players
    outperform the $500 ones.

    >
    > Distortion to make it "sound good" is more prevalent in the low end than the
    > high end - look at Bose as an example!

    Does Bose make a CD player? Have you listened to it? Does it sound bad?
  16. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 10 Jan 2005 01:05:20 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

    >On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs5060282@news1.newsguy.com, "chung"
    ><chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
    >
    >> It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500 one.
    >> However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being intentionally
    >> (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like using
    >> tubes, for instance
    >
    >Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully, the
    >transport selected was capable of resisting jitter

    The lowest jitter transport assembly available *at any price* is the
    basic Sony model. That's why Arcam and others use it.

    > and the overall design
    >was made to prevent digital timing errors.

    The lowest jitter standalone players are mostly made by Sony.

    > Also use of digital techniques
    >to extract more information,

    Fundamentally impossible - don't believe everything the adverts tell
    you about upsampling!

    > lower the effective noise floor, a DAC that is
    >state of the art, as well as a well thought out analog stage with the
    >compromises made to be minor.

    State of the art DACs are less than $5 each, and the cheapest players
    can produce ruler-flat FR with negligible distortion, proving that
    their analogue stages introduce no compromises whatever.

    >IN this case, while *sometimes* you might be correct, in the majority of
    >cases, it isn't true.

    Actually, it *is* true, and as has been pointed out by several other
    posters, the only way so-called 'high end' players sound different is
    when they *degrade* the sound. While I admire the thorough
    engineering, state-of-the-art design, and immaculate construction of
    the latest Meridian 588 player, it is sonically indistinguishable from
    my 10-year old Sony CDP-715E.

    >Distortion to make it "sound good" is more prevalent in the low end than the
    >high end - look at Bose as an example!

    Nope, tubed output stages and non-flat frequency response are the
    exclusive preserve of the high end.
    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  17. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    I have never quite understood the philosophy behind $5K players. They
    usually are very heavy, shock absorption everywhere, heavy heavy transport,
    solid mechanisms, exotic materials and what have you. A lot of money is
    being spent on a superior design with, as far as I can tell, the goal to
    read the CD without any bit errors. And that's fine. But, wouldn't it be
    cheaper and better to take a 48x CD rom drive, read the material a few times
    as soon as the CD is inserted, compare the digital data, error check and
    what have you, store the data in memory which is not prone to errors due to
    vibrations and play it back from a memory buffer? Especially when taking a
    fast CD Rom, the data can be read many times and compared and checked and
    errors can be eliminated while the CD is playing. No need to have a real
    time stream that can have errors directly from the optical pick-up element
    in the CD player to the output of the DAC. The player could even let you
    know exactly when there is a read-out error on the CD that can't be
    corrected. I would say a design like that is superior to an on-the-fly
    processing type CD player, and can achieve lower bit error rates, most
    likely completely eliminating errors while under $1K, even with enough RAM
    to store the entire CD content.


    "B&D" <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
    news:crskcg0kef@news3.newsguy.com...
    > On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs5060282@news1.newsguy.com, "chung"
    > <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
    >
    > > It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500 one.
    > > However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being intentionally
    > > (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like using
    > > tubes, for instance
    >
    > Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully, the
    > transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall design
    > was made to prevent digital timing errors. Also use of digital techniques
    > to extract more information, lower the effective noise floor, a DAC that
    is
    > state of the art, as well as a well thought out analog stage with the
    > compromises made to be minor.
    >
    > IN this case, while *sometimes* you might be correct, in the majority of
    > cases, it isn't true.
    >
    > Distortion to make it "sound good" is more prevalent in the low end than
    the
    > high end - look at Bose as an example!
  18. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:


    >
    > If you look at a Benchmark DAC1 and put it up against an $20 Apex player, or
    > even an iPod, you will find that it is leaps an bounds better at extracting
    > detail and presenting it in a manner that is accurate and revealing of flaws
    > in the recording. That is, in essence, what most Audiophiles are after -
    > though many get caught up in gear that may not live up to that standard for
    > a lot of money.

    "Accurate and revealing of flaws in the recording". I am afraid that
    only true believers in high-fidelity would like that kind of sound.


    (subjective stereotypes coming up!)

    You will find "audiophiles" who prefer a "warm sounding, lifelike" DAC
    as opposed to the "sterile, clinical, lifeless" sound of an accurate DAC.

    (i.e. not all audiophiles are after high-fidelity!)
  19. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/10/05 8:21 PM, in article crv9n101mgo@news1.newsguy.com,
    "nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:

    > In that case you should have no trouble coming up with a specific
    > example of a measurably accurate $5K CD player that is audibly
    > distinguishable from a $500 Rotel in a blind comparison.
    > We're waiting.

    NAD C541i vs. Arcam CD192 is what I can offer as an example. You can throw
    in an iPod for comparison as well.

    Music - Elvis Costello, early recordings - even the Rhino released "Best Of"
    as long as you stick to the first few tracks.
  20. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Chung wrote:
    > B&D wrote:
    > >
    > > Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully,
    the
    > > transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall
    design
    > > was made to prevent digital timing errors.
    >
    > You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    >
    > The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those
    used
    > in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases
    grossly
    > inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC
    chips
    > used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    > mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    > differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    >
    Then there's the power supply. I can understand why a robust power
    supply is essential to a good amp, but I have a CD player that runs on
    two AA batteries. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect, but if you can run
    a player *at all* on that kind of juice, it's highly unlikely that you
    need your own generating station to get distortion-free sound out of a
    CD player.

    bob
  21. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/10/05 8:24 PM, in article crv9t601mmf@news1.newsguy.com, "Chung"
    <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:

    > B&D wrote:
    >> On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs5060282@news1.newsguy.com, "chung"
    >> <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
    >>
    >>> It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500 one.
    >>> However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being intentionally
    >>> (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like using
    >>> tubes, for instance
    >>
    >> Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully, the
    >> transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall design
    >> was made to prevent digital timing errors.
    >
    > You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    >
    > The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those used
    > in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases grossly
    > inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC chips
    > used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    > mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    > differences resulting from different DAC's used.

    Instead of talking in theory - can you give me a concrete example of a $5k
    player that sounds "as good" as a $500 one?

    My detailed experience has been with less lofty CDP's - my personal
    experience between the NAD C541i, Arcam CD192, Bel Canto DAC-2, Sony SCD-2
    and Ayre CX-7 showed good differences and gradations in price.

    Again, to *which* $5k player are you referring?
    >
    >
    >> Also use of digital techniques
    >> to extract more information, lower the effective noise floor, a DAC that is
    >> state of the art, as well as a well thought out analog stage with the
    >> compromises made to be minor.
    >
    > Do you seriously believe that the boutique makers can do a better job?

    A good engineer who is aiming for good sound reproduction will do a better
    job than an engineer who is engineering for minimal performance for less
    than $10.

    > We are talking about a CD player, and companies like Sony have been
    > making CD players for 20 years. Don't you think they understand how to
    > design CD players so that the errors are inaudible?

    Sure they do - but you have to ask if they choose to do that if it will mean
    something costs $0.01 more than their price target. Sony and the other big
    guys know perfectly well how to design SOTA stuff - they don't always, and
    usually because of cost.

    >I read that some
    > high-end CD players even eliminate the anti-alias filters. That should
    > tell you a lot about the design talent you find in some high-end labels.

    That particular (misguided) technique was developed in Japan with full
    knowledge of what they were doing. It does not indicate anything but the
    desire to expeiment and see what will happen.

    > You are simply repeating the myths perpetuated by high-end marketing.

    Actually if the big guys were interested in building truly high end gear
    (performance high end) they would do so, and the price tags would reflect,
    though be a relative bargain. Sony does this every so often, and their $500
    SE SACD/CD players will blow just about anything out of the water until you
    get to about $1500-2000. Their high end SACD player (first the SCD-1, and
    now the 3000ES) for $3k just about kills anything else out there, especially
    on SACD. The Intergra, Marantz and others are showing the value the
    dedicated R&D departments and manufacturing prowess of these organizations
    have to bring to the table.

    What the "high end marketing press" has got right is that much of the mass
    market is more interested in presenting something for "cheap" and less
    because it performs well. I have found this to be true, and hate spending a
    lot of money, but will spend it if there is value. When the mass marketers
    put their mind to it, they do really well and can offer things much cheaper
    than the boutiques. *If* they do this is another story.

    I hear a lot of mass marketing saying that MP3's are "CD Quality" - but
    listening the the CDP's by some of them, it might just be true.
  22. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:
    > On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs4ut027c@news1.newsguy.com,
    "---MIKE---"
    > <twinmountain@webtv.net> wrote:
    >
    > > I agree with Bob on CD players. If a high end player sounds
    different
    > > it is because it is adding something such as a peak in the response
    > > somewhere.
    >
    > You may agree, but I don't think that would always be correct.

    Well, at least now you're expressing an opinion, rather than stating
    "facts." By the way, I don't think it's always correct, either.
    Sometimes it'll be the cheaper one that's adding something. (Though the
    only specific cases I can think of were pretty expensive.)

    > Take a $500 NAD C542 against a Arcam CD192 ($1700) - you will hear a
    > definite improvement more detail, better high end and low end. Will
    be
    > about 20% or so better, but better overall none the less.

    Sure, if you know which one cost 240% more. But can you even tell them
    apart without looking?

    bob
  23. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/10/05 8:52 PM, in article crvbgj01o6b@news1.newsguy.com, "Tat Chan"
    <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote:

    > B&D wrote:
    >
    >
    >>
    >> If you look at a Benchmark DAC1 and put it up against an $20 Apex player, or
    >> even an iPod, you will find that it is leaps an bounds better at extracting
    >> detail and presenting it in a manner that is accurate and revealing of flaws
    >> in the recording. That is, in essence, what most Audiophiles are after -
    >> though many get caught up in gear that may not live up to that standard for
    >> a lot of money.
    >
    > "Accurate and revealing of flaws in the recording". I am afraid that
    > only true believers in high-fidelity would like that kind of sound.

    If you can't hear the flaws in a recording, you can't hear how good it
    sounds when they get the recording right. And iPod does a great deal to
    whitewash the details - and it sounds great with bad recordings. Good to
    have one around if you have some CD's rendered unlistenable due to the awful
    mastering.

    If you don't want the unvarnished truth of the recording - I can't say you
    are very much interested in high end. Even if you were to ask 'phile and
    TAS editors (minor demons on this NG) their opinion - would they rather have
    accurate and revealing or warm and mushy and inaccurate - they would
    probably say that accuracy was first.
  24. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/10/05 8:25 PM, in article crv9us01mov@news1.newsguy.com, "Stewart
    Pinkerton" <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote:

    >> Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully, the
    >> transport selected was capable of resisting jitter
    >
    > The lowest jitter transport assembly available *at any price* is the
    > basic Sony model. That's why Arcam and others use it.

    Sure - and does Sony offer more than 1 transport to the OEM's?
  25. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:
    > On 1/10/05 8:21 PM, in article crv9n101mgo@news1.newsguy.com,
    > "nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    > > In that case you should have no trouble coming up with a specific
    > > example of a measurably accurate $5K CD player that is audibly
    > > distinguishable from a $500 Rotel in a blind comparison.
    > > We're waiting.
    >
    > NAD C541i vs. Arcam CD192 is what I can offer as an example. You can
    throw
    > in an iPod for comparison as well.

    iPod's not a CD player. As for the other two, you caught the phrase
    "blind comparison" in my post, didn't you? Please provide details:
    Level-matched, time-synched, statistically significant number of
    correct identifications? Or maybe you hadn't gotten that far.

    Too bad. See, if you had, then your opinion would be worth more than
    mine. And my opinion is that both those players are probably good
    enough, barring defects, that they would be audibly indistinguishable,
    whatever you think you may have heard.

    bob
  26. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/10/05 9:23 PM, in article crvdbg01qt6@news1.newsguy.com,
    "nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >> You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    >>
    >> The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those
    > used
    >> in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases
    > grossly
    >> inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC
    > chips
    >> used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    >> mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    >> differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    >>
    > Then there's the power supply. I can understand why a robust power
    > supply is essential to a good amp, but I have a CD player that runs on
    > two AA batteries. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect, but if you can run
    > a player *at all* on that kind of juice, it's highly unlikely that you
    > need your own generating station to get distortion-free sound out of a
    > CD player.

    In general, low source impedance under load is important to avoid voltage
    droop under the audio waveform [this would cause audible distortion if bad
    enough], and in a really cost reduced power supply, you can get some noise
    and harmonics form the line to the power for the electronics [generally a
    60Hz harmonic hum + other noise from switching power supplies with bad input
    filters]. Most modest gear is good enough, but in some the power supply is
    cost reduced. If you want to avoid any of this, a battery bank offers
    reasonable impedance, great voltage stability under varying load and *no*
    line noise.

    Proper filtering and regulation if using AC, as well as "enough juice" to
    support your load without appreciable droop [causing audible distortion]
    will generally give excellent results. It is not really difficult and
    terribly expensive to do a decent job, but this is one section that is
    usually shorted in mass market and over designed in high end stuff.

    Like I said before, batteries are *excellent* power supplies - just kind of
    a pain to work with in a non portable setup.

    Some preamps and other high end gear uses batteries (a company called "Edge"
    does, I believe) - and at least 1 kit I know of.
  27. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    In article <crv9ps01mjo@news1.newsguy.com>,
    "OneActor1@aol.com" <OneActor1@aol.com> wrote:

    > In my testing
    > of several CD players at various price points and built by various
    > manufacturers, where all players were connected via toslink to the same
    > a/v reciever powering the same speakers for every test, the was no
    > audible difference between any of the players, ranging in price from
    > around $150 to several thousand dollars.

    That's because you're comparing the DAC in your receiver with the DAC in
    your receiver. Indeed, those different players could conceivably have
    the same transport mechanism.

    Stephen
  28. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <<Take a $500 NAD C542 against a Arcam CD192 ($1700) - you will hear a
    definite improvement more detail, better high end and low end. Will be
    about 20% or so better, but better overall none the less.>>

    I'm sorry, but my own tests have proven this notion to be false. I
    compared CD players from a broad spectrum of price points and by
    various manufacturers. All of them were connected to a Denon A/V
    reciever via optical connection and the Denon was powering Klipsch
    Reference Series speakers. I was unable to detect ANY difference in
    sonic quality between the units. Similar tests have been done elsewhere
    to the same effect.
  29. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <<Please identify these two turntables for us.>>

    The less expensive turntable is a Denon DP-500M, the more expensive is
    a Music Hall MMF-9. I tested them aganist each other using the same
    Stanton cartridge.
  30. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Chung wrote:
    >> B&D wrote:
    >> >
    >> > Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully,
    > the
    >> > transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall
    > design
    >> > was made to prevent digital timing errors.
    >>
    >> You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    >>
    >> The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those
    > used
    >> in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases
    > grossly
    >> inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC
    > chips
    >> used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    >> mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    >> differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    >>
    > Then there's the power supply. I can understand why a robust power
    > supply is essential to a good amp, but I have a CD player that runs on
    > two AA batteries. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect, but if you can run
    > a player *at all* on that kind of juice, it's highly unlikely that you
    > need your own generating station to get distortion-free sound out of a
    > CD player.
    >
    > bob

    It's relatively easy to design a power supply for the CD player because
    the current demands are quite small. Of course, high-end marketing wants
    you to believe that it is a difficult task and requires expensive
    components (those analog parts!) and tremendous skills, but just
    consider the fact that you can buy a very competent receiver, with 7
    power amps and several 24 bit DAC's and ADC's in it for less than $1K
    (Denon 3805 and HK-AVR635 to name a couple of examples), and you should
    see the untenability of the high-end position.

    The Wavac tubed amp has some of the worst supply regulations I have
    seen, as reported by Stereophile, and yet it was highly reviewed. That
    leaves one to wonder whether the high-end audiophile really can tell a
    clean supply from a noisy one.
  31. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 11 Jan 2005 01:23:50 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

    >On 1/9/05 7:25 PM, in article crsi230hh6@news3.newsguy.com,
    >"nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >> I'm not arguing that every $100 player would meet this test, although I
    >> suspect that the major, established manufacturers, who can amortize
    >> their research budget over millions of units, would have no trouble
    >> doing so.
    >
    >Actually, the major manufacturers know how to make a SOTA player - but
    >choose not to, rather competing on cost and cost reduction.

    Actually, the major manufacturers do make SOTA players, all the time.
    The major manufacturers *are* the state of the art - they have the big
    R&D labs and the chip fabrication plants. Back street bodgers like
    Wadia and Naim have to trail along behind, using off-the-shelf parts
    from the big boys wrapped up in fancy casework.

    >A CDP from Sony - if they decided to make a SOTA player (such as the SCD-1
    >or the SACD players they carried recently)

    Oh, so Sony *did* make a SOTA player? Make your mind up!

    > it would be able to give you more
    >for your money - especially due to the scale as you said, but also the use
    >of factories in the developing world, such as China.
    >
    >Could they produce a $5000 player by a small fry for $100? Probably not -
    >but they may be able to do it for $1-2k....

    Why would they bother? They all *sound* the same, it's just that Sony
    knows that some people will pay extra for 'battleship' build quality
    and the very latest technology. This helps pay for the R&D........
    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  32. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 11 Jan 2005 01:18:16 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

    >On 1/9/05 3:41 PM, in article crs4tb0268@news1.newsguy.com, "Harry Lavo"
    ><harry.lavo@rcn.com> wrote:
    >
    >>> Analog's a different ballgame. No turntable or tape deck, at any price,
    >>> can deliver ruler-flat frequency response and inaudible levels of
    >>> distortion to a preamp. So naturally it's possible (make that likely)
    >>> that any two will sound different.
    >>
    >> Yeah, many more variables here requiring top-flight mechanical and materials
    >> engineering as well as electrical performance. But once again, analog
    >> design and build quality has much to do with final results...phono headamps
    >> and preamps, tape recorder output stages, etc.
    >
    >Also keep in mind the power supply and digital transport are big adders to
    >the final product.
    >
    >If a $20 CDP were truly SOTA, then there would be no need for outboard DAC's
    >like the Benchmark DAC-1 which being a piece of pro gear for mastering
    >music, has to be more accurate than an Apex $20 portable in order to justify
    >its $900 price tag to the professionals!

    The Benchmark is a viable product for anyone with multiple digital
    sources, but it's fair to say that having SOTA performance makes it
    more of a 'comfort zone' item than actually producing any *audible*
    improvement over the average CD player. It is of course very simple to
    set up an ABX test with the Benchmark and any player having a digital
    output.

    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  33. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:
    > On 1/10/05 8:24 PM, in article crv9t601mmf@news1.newsguy.com, "Chung"
    > <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
    >
    >> B&D wrote:
    >>> On 1/9/05 3:42 PM, in article crs5060282@news1.newsguy.com, "chung"
    >>> <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> It's possible that a $5K CD player may sound different than a $500 one.
    >>>> However, the difference may be due to the $5K one being intentionally
    >>>> (or sometimes unintentionally, too) made to be less accurate. Like using
    >>>> tubes, for instance
    >>>
    >>> Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully, the
    >>> transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall design
    >>> was made to prevent digital timing errors.
    >>
    >> You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    >>
    >> The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those used
    >> in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases grossly
    >> inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC chips
    >> used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    >> mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    >> differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    >
    > Instead of talking in theory - can you give me a concrete example of a $5k
    > player that sounds "as good" as a $500 one?

    What's wrong with talking in theory? Do you have any objections to the
    theory stated? Besides, saying that boutique companies use the same
    transports or DAC's as mass manufacturers is not stating a theory at
    all. It is fact. Very, very few boutique shops have the technical
    prowess to develop a DAC or a transport.

    What I gave you was an example or two of an expensive CD player that
    most likely does not sound as accurate as the $500 one. We were all
    trying to answer the OP's question, which was whether a $5K player
    sounds different than a $500 one.


    >
    > My detailed experience has been with less lofty CDP's - my personal
    > experience between the NAD C541i, Arcam CD192, Bel Canto DAC-2, Sony SCD-2
    > and Ayre CX-7 showed good differences and gradations in price.
    >
    > Again, to *which* $5k player are you referring?

    I did not refer to any in particular.

    Was your personal experience based on level-matched blind testing?

    >>
    >>
    >>> Also use of digital techniques
    >>> to extract more information, lower the effective noise floor, a DAC that is
    >>> state of the art, as well as a well thought out analog stage with the
    >>> compromises made to be minor.
    >>
    >> Do you seriously believe that the boutique makers can do a better job?
    >
    > A good engineer who is aiming for good sound reproduction will do a better
    > job than an engineer who is engineering for minimal performance for less
    > than $10.

    And you don't think the engineers at Sony or Denon are aiming for good
    sound reproduciton?

    And you think that the engineers at Sony or Denon are working for less
    than $10?

    >
    >> We are talking about a CD player, and companies like Sony have been
    >> making CD players for 20 years. Don't you think they understand how to
    >> design CD players so that the errors are inaudible?
    >
    > Sure they do - but you have to ask if they choose to do that if it will mean
    > something costs $0.01 more than their price target. Sony and the other big
    > guys know perfectly well how to design SOTA stuff - they don't always, and
    > usually because of cost.

    And you still believe that the SOTA CD player designed by Sony will
    necessarily cost $5K, or at least >$500? Do you have any prove that Sony
    will not put in a better part if it costs 1 cent more?

    SOTA simply means the errors are inaudible. There is no actual benefit
    in over designing. For example, there is no sense in designing an output
    stage with 20V swing, or one that has 0.0001% distortion.

    >
    >>I read that some
    >> high-end CD players even eliminate the anti-alias filters. That should
    >> tell you a lot about the design talent you find in some high-end labels.
    >
    > That particular (misguided) technique was developed in Japan with full
    > knowledge of what they were doing. It does not indicate anything but the
    > desire to expeiment and see what will happen.

    But you don't see that kind of "experimenting" from Sony or Denon. Why
    even experiment, since theory can tell you why you need the anti-alias
    filter? And who is paying for the experimenting?

    >
    >> You are simply repeating the myths perpetuated by high-end marketing.
    >
    > Actually if the big guys were interested in building truly high end gear
    > (performance high end) they would do so, and the price tags would reflect,
    > though be a relative bargain. Sony does this every so often, and their $500
    > SE SACD/CD players will blow just about anything out of the water until you
    > get to about $1500-2000.

    So (a) which $5K player is better than the $500 Sony, (b) can the
    measurements prove that, and (c) can you tell them apart in a
    level-matched blind listening test?

    >Their high end SACD player (first the SCD-1, and
    > now the 3000ES) for $3k just about kills anything else out there, especially
    > on SACD. The Intergra, Marantz and others are showing the value the
    > dedicated R&D departments and manufacturing prowess of these organizations
    > have to bring to the table.
    >
    > What the "high end marketing press" has got right is that much of the mass
    > market is more interested in presenting something for "cheap" and less
    > because it performs well.

    As we say in engineering, good enough is perfect! Only the high-end
    marketing press will tell you that a good CD player has to cost $$$!


    > I have found this to be true, and hate spending a
    > lot of money, but will spend it if there is value. When the mass marketers
    > put their mind to it, they do really well and can offer things much cheaper
    > than the boutiques. *If* they do this is another story.
    >
    > I hear a lot of mass marketing saying that MP3's are "CD Quality" - but
    > listening the the CDP's by some of them, it might just be true.
  34. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/11/05 7:47 PM, in article cs1s2d01tfj@news3.newsguy.com,
    "OneActor1@aol.com" <OneActor1@aol.com> wrote:

    > All of them were connected to a Denon A/V
    > reciever via optical connection

    The mistake is not using the CD Player's DAC and Analog stages - if you use
    the optical output, you are only hearing the ability DAC in your receiver --
    it is no wonder you didn't hear any difference.

    Klipsch is a great company, but there are speakers that are much better
    transducers out there, though credit to Klipsch, they all cost more $$$.
  35. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/11/05 7:43 PM, in article cs1rs501su0@news3.newsguy.com,
    "nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >> Take a $500 NAD C542 against a Arcam CD192 ($1700) - you will hear a
    >> definite improvement more detail, better high end and low end. Will
    > be
    >> about 20% or so better, but better overall none the less.
    >
    > Sure, if you know which one cost 240% more. But can you even tell them
    > apart without looking?

    I can - pretty easily as I have both in my stack. Both are affordable
    enough to not really worry about "which one costs more" or anything, so I
    tend not to worry about it. The NAD is used for HDCD, though the Arcam is
    good enough that the HDCD discs don't sound bad at all.
  36. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:
    > On 1/10/05 9:23 PM, in article crvdbg01qt6@news1.newsguy.com,
    > "nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    > >> You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    > >>
    > >> The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those
    > > used
    > >> in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases
    > > grossly
    > >> inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC
    > > chips
    > >> used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    > >> mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    > >> differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    > >>
    > > Then there's the power supply. I can understand why a robust power
    > > supply is essential to a good amp, but I have a CD player that runs
    on
    > > two AA batteries. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect, but if you can
    run
    > > a player *at all* on that kind of juice, it's highly unlikely that
    you
    > > need your own generating station to get distortion-free sound out
    of a
    > > CD player.
    >
    > In general, low source impedance under load is important to avoid
    voltage
    > droop under the audio waveform [this would cause audible distortion
    if bad
    > enough], and in a really cost reduced power supply, you can get some
    noise
    > and harmonics form the line to the power for the electronics
    [generally a
    > 60Hz harmonic hum + other noise from switching power supplies with
    bad input
    > filters]. Most modest gear is good enough, but in some the power
    supply is
    > cost reduced.

    I suspect ALL modest gear is cost-reduced. The question is, do the
    compromises affect the sound to an extent that is audible? I've never
    heard a 60Hz hum from a CD player (and I've listened to lots of
    cheapies), nor have I ever seen published measurements that would
    suggest that this (or voltage droop) is even an occasional problem. On
    the other hand, I have seen reviews of >$1k CD players that didn't
    offer flat frequency response.

    bob
  37. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:

    > On 1/10/05 8:52 PM, in article crvbgj01o6b@news1.newsguy.com, "Tat Chan"
    > <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >

    > If you don't want the unvarnished truth of the recording - I can't say you
    > are very much interested in high end.

    How does that explain the reemergence of vinyl, "non wire with gain"
    valve (tube) amps and SETs?

    There is even a high-end CD player (can't remember the name off hand)
    that does not have an anti-aliasing filter in its output stage!


    > Even if you were to ask 'phile and
    > TAS editors (minor demons on this NG) their opinion - would they rather have
    > accurate and revealing or warm and mushy and inaccurate - they would
    > probably say that accuracy was first.

    It would be interesting to hear the response from the editors of those
    magazines.
  38. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <OneActor1@aol.com> wrote in message news:cs1s2d01tfj@news3.newsguy.com...
    > <<Take a $500 NAD C542 against a Arcam CD192 ($1700) - you will hear a
    > definite improvement more detail, better high end and low end. Will be
    > about 20% or so better, but better overall none the less.>>
    >
    > I'm sorry, but my own tests have proven this notion to be false. I
    > compared CD players from a broad spectrum of price points and by
    > various manufacturers. All of them were connected to a Denon A/V
    > reciever via optical connection and the Denon was powering Klipsch
    > Reference Series speakers. I was unable to detect ANY difference in
    > sonic quality between the units. Similar tests have been done elsewhere
    > to the same effect.

    You realize, I hope, that most of use with music foremost (ahead of home
    theatre) still listen to the analog outputs of their CD players, or at least
    of an external DAC. Thus the entire design of the unit(s) come into play,
    not just the digital decoding. The analog sections and power supply design
    often "make or break" the resulting sound.
  39. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "B&D" <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
    news:cs1s0601t9m@news3.newsguy.com...
    > On 1/10/05 9:23 PM, in article crvdbg01qt6@news1.newsguy.com,
    > "nabob33@hotmail.com" <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >snip<

    > Proper filtering and regulation if using AC, as well as "enough juice" to
    > support your load without appreciable droop [causing audible distortion]
    > will generally give excellent results. It is not really difficult and
    > terribly expensive to do a decent job, but this is one section that is
    > usually shorted in mass market and over designed in high end stuff.
    >
    > Like I said before, batteries are *excellent* power supplies - just kind
    of
    > a pain to work with in a non portable setup.
    >
    > Some preamps and other high end gear uses batteries (a company called
    "Edge"
    > does, I believe) - and at least 1 kit I know of.

    My old Marcoff PPA-2 from 1982 uses 9 volt rechargeable or alkaline...and
    does a magnificent job of MC amplification with a dead-quiet "black'
    background. Particularly for this application, batteries make a lot of
    sense.
  40. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    >And my opinion is that both those players are probably good
    >enough, barring defects, that they would be audibly indistinguishable,
    >whatever you think you may have heard.

    I agree, and I HAVE made the comparisons.
    Steve Grauman
  41. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    >That's because you're comparing the DAC in your receiver with the DAC in
    >your receiver. Indeed, those different players could conceivably have
    >the same transport mechanism.

    If you're buying CD players costing thousands of dollars, it's a given you've
    got the high end processor, complete with good DACs, to match. Chances are,
    these players will be connected optically, and the processor's DAC will be
    doing the conversion work. Nonetheless, I've also done some experimenting where
    the players were connected via analog connection, and guess what? There was no
    sonically distinguishable difference. People who "swore" they could hear a
    difference - when they knew which player was being used - suddenly couldn't
    identify one from another or even be positive that we had changed CD players
    when they were forced to look away from the players for listening tests.
    Steve Grauman
  42. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:crvdbg01qt6@news1.newsguy.com...
    > Chung wrote:
    >> B&D wrote:
    >> >
    >> > Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully,
    > the
    >> > transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall
    > design
    >> > was made to prevent digital timing errors.
    >>
    >> You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    >>
    >> The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those
    > used
    >> in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases
    > grossly
    >> inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC
    > chips
    >> used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    >> mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    >> differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    >>
    > Then there's the power supply. I can understand why a robust power
    > supply is essential to a good amp, but I have a CD player that runs on
    > two AA batteries. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect, but if you can run
    > a player *at all* on that kind of juice, it's highly unlikely that you
    > need your own generating station to get distortion-free sound out of a
    > CD player.
    >
    > bob

    It's not the amount of power, it's how clean the power is. Especially noise
    can come from inferior designs and components. Another consideration would
    be crosstalk, especially when it's not linear over frequency. The best
    design would use separate supplies for each audio channel, separate supplies
    for analog and digital stages, high grade components and well designed
    filters for each stage of the audio processing. If it would make an audible
    difference is probably subject for another discussion.
  43. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1/12/05 7:51 PM, in article cs4gm00adp@news1.newsguy.com, "Chung"
    <chunglau@covad.net> wrote:

    >> Instead of talking in theory - can you give me a concrete example of a $5k
    >> player that sounds "as good" as a $500 one?
    >
    > What's wrong with talking in theory? [snip]

    Because there is nothing very concrete to talk about - all the "examples"
    are theoretical constructs, and everyone spends all of their time tiling at
    windmills and knocking down strawmen.

    If you cannot give an example of a $5k player that sounds "as good" as a
    $500 one, then it would be good to just say so.
  44. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Hasenpfeffer wrote:
    > <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:crvdbg01qt6@news1.newsguy.com...
    >> Chung wrote:
    >>> B&D wrote:
    >>> >
    >>> > Or, perhaps, that the power supply design was done more carefully,
    >> the
    >>> > transport selected was capable of resisting jitter and the overall
    >> design
    >>> > was made to prevent digital timing errors.
    >>>
    >>> You believe doing those things right cost $4.5K more?
    >>>
    >>> The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those
    >> used
    >>> in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases
    >> grossly
    >>> inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC
    >> chips
    >>> used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    >>> mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    >>> differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    >>>
    >> Then there's the power supply. I can understand why a robust power
    >> supply is essential to a good amp, but I have a CD player that runs on
    >> two AA batteries. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect, but if you can run
    >> a player *at all* on that kind of juice, it's highly unlikely that you
    >> need your own generating station to get distortion-free sound out of a
    >> CD player.
    >>
    >> bob
    >
    > It's not the amount of power, it's how clean the power is.

    But it is the amount of power. It is much easier filtering power supply
    noise if the current requirements are low. It is much harder providing a
    clean power supply that delivers a large amount of current.

    It is actually quite straightforward to design a clean supply for the CD
    player, since the power requirements are so modest.

    > Especially noise
    > can come from inferior designs and components. Another consideration would
    > be crosstalk, especially when it's not linear over frequency. The best
    > design would use separate supplies for each audio channel, separate supplies
    > for analog and digital stages, high grade components and well designed
    > filters for each stage of the audio processing. If it would make an audible
    > difference is probably subject for another discussion.

    In the modern players, more and more is done in the digital domain. The
    analog tasks left are easily implemented, at low cost.

    Now, looking at the infamous Wavac tubed amp's measurements, one has to
    wonder whether the audiophile really can discriminate excellent supply
    regulation from a very poor one.
  45. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <<The mistake is not using the CD Player's DAC and Analog stages>>

    As I mentioned, a second bacth of comparisons used analog connection to
    verify that the different DACs used in different CD players would not
    make a difference. In those tests, no audible differences occured from
    player to player. On four or five occasions, we would tell the "blind"
    person doing the listening tests that we were switching from player A
    to player B, while in fact we would simply wait for 35-40 seconds and
    then re-start player A. On 2 or 3 occasions, the listener claimed to
    hear a solid difference between the cheaper player A and more expensive
    player B, however WE HAD NEVER SWITCHED PLAYERS. This tells me that my
    assumptions are correct.
  46. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    I like Klipsch's top-spec RF-7 towers quite a bit, enough to have
    bought a pair, however I also love the much more expensive equipment
    from Dynaudio and I'm even a bit partial to a few other speakers. Using
    the Klipsch RF-7s should not have effected our sound tests.
  47. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <<The analog sections and power supply design
    often "make or break" the resulting sound.>>

    I did secondary comparisons with analog outputs, which I have posted
    about here. The power supply claims are silly, IMO, because none of the
    units I've listened to, starting at $125 or so, had power supplies
    introducing enough distortion to be audible. People will sit back and
    claim that having more "robust" power supplies in isolated mounting
    points, etc... will make cleaner sound. I'm sorry to break it to those
    people that none of this units produce distortion that the human ear
    could detect. Secondly, I found the same with DACs. The Denon AVR-5803
    is a better reciver than my 2803 is, but any differences in sound
    quality between mine and the 5803 are because of the 5803s more
    powerful amps. The DACs in these units cannot make any audible
    difference. Period.
  48. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Hasenpfeffer wrote:
    >>>
    >>> The transports used in the $$$ players are just the same as those
    >> used
    >>> in players that cost an order of magnitude less. (In some cases
    >> grossly
    >>> inferior transports were used, like the belt-driven ones.) The DAC
    >> chips
    >>> used are often the same or even older than the ones used in the
    >>> mass-manufactured players. Not that you are likely to hear the
    >>> differences resulting from different DAC's used.
    >>>
    >> Then there's the power supply. I can understand why a robust power
    >> supply is essential to a good amp, but I have a CD player that runs
    >> on two AA batteries. Now, I'm not saying it's perfect, but if you
    >> can run a player *at all* on that kind of juice, it's highly
    >> unlikely that you need your own generating station to get
    >> distortion-free sound out of a CD player.
    >>
    >> bob
    >
    > It's not the amount of power, it's how clean the power is. Especially
    > noise can come from inferior designs and components. Another
    > consideration would be crosstalk, especially when it's not linear
    > over frequency. The best design would use separate supplies for each
    > audio channel, separate supplies for analog and digital stages, high
    > grade components and well designed filters for each stage of the
    > audio processing. If it would make an audible difference is probably
    > subject for another discussion.

    If you analyze a "high-end" player for 5000$, you will find exactly the same
    transport, ICs and even PCBs inside of a 500$ or 100$ player. The money is
    spend on the enclosure with thick machined front plates, knobs etc. All
    those components do not have any impact on the sound, but please the eye
    only. It looks like a Ferrari with a regular Taurus engine inside, not worth
    the investment, exept if you need the gear to impress the friends. And it
    won't even do that if your friends are engineers. :-((
    Often the regular Sony sounds even better, because the guys know their
    subject unlike some high-end "designers", that are not even engineers. I
    have seen more design flaws in expensive gear than in cheap one.
    --
    ciao Ban
    Bordighera, Italy
  49. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    B&D wrote:
    > On 1/11/05 7:47 PM, in article cs1s2d01tfj@news3.newsguy.com,
    > "OneActor1@aol.com" <OneActor1@aol.com> wrote:
    >
    >> All of them were connected to a Denon A/V
    >> reciever via optical connection
    >
    > The mistake is not using the CD Player's DAC and Analog stages - if you use
    > the optical output, you are only hearing the ability DAC in your receiver --
    > it is no wonder you didn't hear any difference.

    So at least we all agree that as transports, those players probably
    sound the same, regardless of price differences? In other words, your
    contention that the "digital transports are big adders to the final
    product" really does not hold true in the context of the very expensive
    CD players.

    It seems like what the designers of expensive CD players should have
    done is simply put an inexpensive mass-produced CD player inside as a
    transport. That should save them a bundle of money and design effort, no? :)

    >
    > Klipsch is a great company, but there are speakers that are much better
    > transducers out there, though credit to Klipsch, they all cost more $$$.
    >

    There is always that claim: if you don't hear the difference, your
    equipment is not resolving enough...
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