CD player sound

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Just Old, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Just Old

    Just Old
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dumfriesshire
    Ratings:
    +550
    I have been reading about the early CD players and found that the 1985 ish players from Philips gave a near analoge sounding reproduction.
    When japan started to compete in building CD players, it was noted by Philips that these players had the top end sounds tailed off, making this, so called, smoother sound.
    Reviewers of these machines built in Japan praised the performance and sound quality.
    One of the articles makes a note that when a technical insider at Philips was asked why they had changed the sound on the next range, to emulate,this Japanese smooth sound, he was told that because the competition were being rated very highly by the reviews, that a decission was made to follow them down that road.
    I for one think this was a very bad judgement by Philips, as today vintage CD players are sought after because of the analoge sounding reproduction, and the fact that it is nearer to the actual musicians recording.

    One intersting reason the reviewers gave for liking the Japanese sound was the fact that the Philips players gave too much information to the listener!
    This is backed up by references to Violin playing being harsh, and musicians used on some recordings having flaws in performance, which were highlighted on the Philips players.
    So, not only do reviewers have the power to increase sales of hifi equipment, it appears they also have the power to override how the CD was mixed and laid down by the recording engineers.
    On Rubber Soul, by the Beatles the track 'Nowhere man', has a cock up in the studio recording where one channel stops for a second or two, and the drummer..who may not have been Ringo, cocks up the beat for a few seconds.
    But, this was a single session, as it was recording, pressed and release..warts and all.
    Authentic, the real thing, and for me a better listen.
    IMO that's how it should be.

    It makes you wonder if we would be still listening to the original Philips crisp,clear analogue sound had reviewers not made their subjective preferences known?
     
  2. cosmicma

    cosmicma
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    603
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    greater manchester
    Ratings:
    +147
    i still have one of the marantz cd94 cd players tucked away somewhere and one of it's major strengths was that it sounded analogue
    if i had any reservations about the player it would be it was a little too forward if you understand what i mean
    to rectify this i added a DPA little bit 2 dac which used the same 16 bit dac as the cd 94 but was much more refined
    for me the combination worked well
     
  3. Just Old

    Just Old
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dumfriesshire
    Ratings:
    +550
    That is interesting as you listen to a Meridian CD player.
    I haven't got round to auditioning one. How do they sound compared to the marantz 94?

    The nearest I have got to the old philips and Marantz is the Cyrus 6 se - 2.
    I can understand why they have a big following, although the price can be a little prohibitive.
    As you say you either like that sound or you don't, but I guess many of the age group today have never had the opportunity to compare the sound of the 80's gear.
    I have found a renewed interest in my CD collection because it is displaying information I couldn't hear on my three year old cd player,and I love the detail, and for me it sounds better, which is subjective anyway.
    Upgrading speakers has also had a huge effect, and depending which ones you match up to gives a less harsh sound IMO.
    let us know about the meridian.
     
  4. cosmicma

    cosmicma
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    603
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    greater manchester
    Ratings:
    +147
    i have owned the cd 94 since 1987 ( ish ) and have always liked the sound it produced but always had a sense of urgency to the music the dpa dac tamed it to a degree
    the meridian just plays the music effortlessly making long listening sessions more enjoyable
    the sound i would say is more refined nothing sounds to complicated which could happen with the cd 94

    i havn't really done much A / B comparisons to give a really detailed encounter of each player but with owning the cd 94 for so long the players i had compared to it to on my system over the years none of them really got my attention the meridian on the other hand did

    another point that makes comparisons a little more difficult is not long before i purchased the meridian cd player i had a change of speakers from the KEF Reference 107's to the KEF Reference model 4's although i did spend a few months listening to the cd 94 on the model 4's it was a new experience and when the meridian came along i wasn't fully familiar with the model 4's although the difference between the two cd players was pretty noticeable
    i like the meridian and havn't really found anything i don't like about it i remember when i first started to listen to familiar tracks of music the difference could be quite alarming but when you listened to the music again you realized that the meridian was getting it just right where the cd 94 could sometimes be overbearing

    the difference in the speakers was another story the 107's could produce very detailed and rich lower bass and it's something i don't hear very often
    the higher end of the frequency spectrum was open , detailed with a sweetness only soft domed tweeters can produce
    the 107's weakness was within the midrange voices could sound a little thin and to be honest was quite noticeable
    the model 4's still retain the detail in the bass but is no where near as rich or deep what i mean by that is true bass not the usual room shaking stuff that just thumps along with no clue with whats going on within
    the voices are now as forward as i want them to be with a very detailed open top end
    i miss that true deep detail the 107's gave me but over all i have gained a tighter bass with a good level of depth and detail and the mid and top end is definitely improved
    over all the model 4's are a better speaker

    i suppose the difference between the cd 94 and the meridian is the cd 94 would run to the shop shouting words of encouragement returning a little out of breath where the meridian would stroll casually taking in all the sights and return without incident or any sign of breathlessness
     
  5. Just Old

    Just Old
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dumfriesshire
    Ratings:
    +550
    Thank's for that info
    when you write it down like that I suppose the 104 is about the same as the marantz.
    Having said that I enjoy it's detailed sound, although it is very brash, but with monitor speakers they seem to take some of the edge off.
    I was put off the smooth sound after listening to the newer marantz range and felt they had gone too far down the smooth route.
    I'm still looking and listening, and MR P, has been very helpful, especially down the second hand route,,,although I haven't taken the plunge yet.

    I'll find a supplier and check out the meridian...thanks again
     
  6. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,753
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +255
    Interesting subject. What I've always found is that most CD players fall into one of two undesirable extremes. They either sound exiting but harsh and nasty with poor recordings or at high volume or they sound boring and flat but offensive.

    Importantly, I've found that it's often possible to tame harsh players but the dull ones are unrecoverable. Generalisations I know, there are some nice machines out there and everyone's got different taste.
     
  7. cosmicma

    cosmicma
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    603
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    greater manchester
    Ratings:
    +147
    funny you mention the philips 104
    in 1985 i bought a mission dad 7000 which in reality was a philips 104 re badge with a couple of modifications done to it's analogue stages by mission i replaced it with the marantz cd94 around 1987 and there a world apart in sound and build quality although the dad 7000 / 104 and the cd 94 share the same swing laser transport the similarity ends there
     
  8. Just Old

    Just Old
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dumfriesshire
    Ratings:
    +550
    I think you hit the nail on the head MR P.
    I found it difficult to make the sound brighter on my smooth sounding Marantz 6002 but can tone down the harshness on the 104.
    Many of the high priced CD players I have auditioned haven't convinced me that, 'The price increase, is worth the increase in sound quality....
     
  9. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    9,894
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Zurich, CH
    Ratings:
    +1,503
    I had a Philips CD960 for many years, kept until it could no longer be repaired (drawer loading switch cable). The player was considered Philips entry into "higher-end" players. Two things are interesting in this context though; how and why I got it and how I felt about its performance.

    I had actually purchased a Denon DCD-1500 to replace the Hitachi DA-1000 I had bought at the CD launch in 1983. I really liked the sound of the Denon, a major improvement over the Hitachi. Unfortunately, it was also a disaster. Went in because of massive distortion (mistracking) after only a few months, came back, went straight back - they hadn't touched it. A bit later went in (odd sound after being used for a while), came back to dealer who sent it straight back in without even returning it to me. When it needed yet a fifth go (still under guarantee), the dealer said he'd replace it with a Philips CD960. The problem of course was Denon, who didn't know how to repair their player, or didn't care, and who didn't replace it. Interesting though was that the DCD-1500 was actually replaced fairly quickly by a DCD-1500 MkII, in addition to adding a digital out, it apparently replaced the 1500's tracking mechanism (meaning Denon knew of the reliability problems) with one of more solid and reliable construction, yet Denon didn't offer to replace my 1500 with the 1500 MkII.

    OK, that's the background, but what's interesting is that I actually preferred the sound of the Denon 1500 to that of the Philips CD960. The Philips was just a bit "too smooth", or perhaps a llittle "muddy". Yet I kept it for a long time, its replacement being my current Arcam CD82.

    The Philips however did have one serious problem: some longer CDs just didn't play through (such as this one). Philips' response when sent a pair of "offending" CDs was a report (from Holland) about the CD's being outside of the red book specification. That the same CDs played without problems on a cheap Technics player I'd bought for the office didn't impress them. Apparently this is a known effect of the specific swing-arm mechanism in the CD960 - it has problems handling the end of CDs that are out of tolerance that linear tracking mechanisms handle without issue. For this reason alone, there is no way I would search out a CD960.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  10. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,753
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +255
    I don't think it is the transport that is the problem, more the implementation of it. Those early transports are fantastic quality and much better that the ones used in CD players today. They were used in lots of very good players, like those from Naim for instance.

    I use an old Micromega, which is based on the Philips CD610, and uses a CDM4 transport. In the Micromega the transport plays any CD without issue. The same transport in the Philips CD610 refuses to play past certain track numbers on compilations etc.

    If you look at a CDM1, CDM4 etc you'll see that there aren't any control circuits in the transport itself. It's all on the main CD player board. The transport is just doing what it's told. Philips were just being obstinate I think, they wrote the book so they'll stick to it!
     
  11. Just Old

    Just Old
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dumfriesshire
    Ratings:
    +550
    I have the same issue with CD's of more than about 14 tracks. Sometimes they play othertimes they won't.

    I was in a store HIFI/TV store yesterday looking round and spotted a brand new, Sony CD player and hard drive recorder, which was sitting on a shelf collecting dust. It must have been 5 years old, and had a price tag of £499.!
    When I enquired about the price the chap went away, came back and offered it for £299....!!!!!
    We started discussing it, and both agreed that the hard drive would only store a minimal ammt of CD's, and reflecting on how quickly streaming music from computers and the net had overtaken what could have been the next step forward. Alas it didn't go that route, although Naim have or did have a £2000 player and recorder in their port folio not long ago.

    I often wonder how the music market works right now.
    In the past you bought a record player or CD player then spent money updating your record and cd collection, as new music came out. Sort of a fool proof way for them to make money.

    The internet offers so much free music to download, that it baffles me how the artists make money, and as a side pet hate why do they say, such and such a group, have a new album out....when they aren't albums at all??

    It was interesting to read over christmas which bands, world wide, made the most money touring last year.
    Bonjovi and U2 were up at the top...but at number 10.it was SLADE!!!!!!!

    Nothing could be more baffling than that now could it?

    Sound quality has become a nich market.
    Maybe the oldies were the best?
     
  12. clockworks

    clockworks
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,573
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    West Country
    Ratings:
    +297
    I had a Meridian 207 CDP that used an early Philips 14-bit mech. Had the same problem with the last track on a couple of very long CDs refusing to play.

    It was a very analogue-sounding player, and I was annoyed when it died and couldn't be repaired at a reasonable price.
     
  13. Just Old

    Just Old
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,367
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dumfriesshire
    Ratings:
    +550
    Mr P
    are you saying Philips changed or blocked the board from playing all the tracks, if your micromega CDM4 transport plays long CDs?
     
  14. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,753
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +255
    I don't know. It's a Philips machine and doesn't play high track numbers. The Micromega is the same machine but Micromega replaced the main board, DAC, power supply etc and it does. The transports in the two are identical. It seems to me that Philips could have made the machine play all the tracks but chose not to. Or maybe at that time CDs simply didn't have so much on them so there was no need to tell the player to look for them, I don't know.
     
  15. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,459
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    Ratings:
    +248
    I own a Studer / Revox B225 CD player purchased in 1984. It is based around the early Philips 14 bit over-sampled Digital to Analogue converter integrated circuits (the SAA 70XX series) and the Philips CDM-0 swing arm laser tracking mechanism.

    I have just recently acquired an Oppo BDP 93 universal player.

    Comparing the two players (which are separated by 28 years of technological advancement) objectively, using the same source audio compact disc track and the AudioDiffmaker software, the difference signal is virtually inaudible on its own and would be completely masked when the main signal is present.

    Incidentally, the Denon Audio Technical Test CD I used as source material, has 99 tracks which the Revox B225 has no problem with.


    Alan
     
  16. formbypc

    formbypc
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +104
    Yes, but do you think they sound different?

    Do you prefer one over the other?
     
  17. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,459
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    Ratings:
    +248

    No, they sound the same to me.

    But as a nearly 70 year old, my hearing isn’t what it used to be.

    Also, it is probably inevitable that my subjective impression is affected by the knowledge that they measure the same.


    Alan
     
  18. formbypc

    formbypc
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +104
    Do you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to, in terms of genres and styles?
     
  19. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,459
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    Ratings:
    +248
    We (my wife and I) listen to radio station “Classic FM” as background during the day.

    The main audio system (Quad ESL-63s etc) is mainly used for film and TV sound in the evenings, when the projector is in use.

    Listen occasionally to Classical Baroque, pipe organ and jazz music on the main audio system sourced from CDs and SACDs and to popular music concerts on Blu-ray discs (The Shadows, Elton John, ...)


    Alan
     
  20. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,459
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    Ratings:
    +248
    For the record, the difference signal level was 42 dB below the main signal levels from the two players. That’s an impressive accuracy from two consumer electronics items with very different design approaches.

    For practical listening purposes it means these two CD players should be indistinguishable.


    Alan
     
  21. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,753
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +255
    For those who are interested or terminally bored there are threads on Alan's thoughts on everything sounding the same and how Audio Difmaker 'proves' it. Please feel free to use the search function to find and read them. Then, make up your own mind. But for goodness sake, please don't resurrect them!!! :0(
     
  22. simon ess

    simon ess
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,128
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    up 'Castle duck.
    Ratings:
    +596
    Amen.
     
  23. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    9,894
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Zurich, CH
    Ratings:
    +1,503
    As far as my CD960 was concerned, the issue was definitely not related to high track numbers or length-related per se, as it also successfully played CDs with lots of tracks or 80' lengths. The reported issue was of tolerance on specific pressings.
     
  24. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,753
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +255
    Right? To be honest, I wouldn't know anything about that. I only bought the Philips 610 because I wanted to rip the transport out of it to keep as a spare. I used the player, to check it was working ok, and that's when I found the issue with some longer CDs. I swapped the transport into my Micromega and visa-versa which is how I know it's not a problem with the transport itself.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  25. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,459
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    Ratings:
    +248

    Measurements using two of the players I own, the Revox B225 as representative of the early “Philips” designs and the Oppo 93 standing in for the modern era, yielded the following results:

    The left-hand column lists the spot frequencies on the “Denon Audio Technical CD” test disc. The corresponding difference (in dB) between the Revox B225 and the Oppo 93 (Revox minus Oppo) is listed in the right-hand column.

    Frequency.......... Revox B225..........Oppo 93 EU.......Difference
    21.5 Hz.............. +0.05 dB........... +0.08 dB............ -0.03 dB
    40 Hz................. +0.07 dB........... +0.04 dB............ +0.03 dB
    100 Hz............... +0.08 dB........... +0.00 dB............ +0.08 dB
    315 Hz............... +0.08 dB........... +0.00 dB............ +0.08 dB
    1001 Hz............. +0.00 dB........... +0.00 dB............ +0.00 dB
    3149 Hz............. -0.25 dB............ +0.00 dB............ -0.25 dB
    6301 Hz............. -0.17 dB............ -0.04 dB............. -0.13 dB
    9999 Hz............. -0.17 dB............ -0.08 dB............. -0.09 dB
    15999 Hz........... -0.21 dB............ -0.08 dB............. -0.13 dB
    17999 Hz........... -0.52 dB............ -0.08 dB............. -0.44 dB
    19999 Hz........... -0.70 dB............ -0.10 dB............. -0.60 dB


    Comments:

    The Revox shows is a slight drop of 0.25 dB at 3.149 kHz (in the so-called “presence” region). If this is audible, which seems unlikely, it should make the Revox sound very slightly less “bright” (which is the opposite of the claim that the old players sound “brighter”!)


    Alan
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice