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High End CD Players vs. Low End

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by jonwes, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. jonwes

    jonwes
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    I'm glad I came across this forum, because I'm sure someone will have a good answer to the following question. As we're all aware, there are $99 5 Disc Sony CD players out in the market place that are dirt cheap and there are units from high end manufacturers that run well over a $1,000. My question is this. . . If you are using the player strictly for data extraction, meaning that you're running an optical out to your receiver, then what possible difference is there between players??? For example, I'm using a Sony 5 Disc with an optical out running to my H/K 525, so I'm clearly utilizing my H/K DAC's, not the Sony's. The Sony is simply pulling data from the disc and communicating that info to the receiver so it can do all of the processing and digital to analog converting. I've thought about this for some time now and can't come up with a benefit that a high end player would provide in this scenario.
     
  2. ditton15

    ditton15
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    search on 'jitter'. and have a look at the DAC sticker.

    You are posing the question: does the transport matter? You are right to suppose that its just data - digital 0s & 1s - but consider the possible effect of varying the speed of retrieval and transfer to your dac. That would happen with a cheapy transport. I'm not a techhie in these matters but my ears have been happier since I moved to high end.

    Seasons greetings
     
  3. overkill

    overkill
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    The construction of the transport can be crucial. Well made, expensive, transports have quality vibration proof disk clamping systems, well isolated power supplies, and lasers pickups built to last!!! May not seem like much, but when you feel the weight of an expensive transport you know where the moneys been spent!!
     
  4. jonwes

    jonwes
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    I guess my next question would be. . . "Do heavy, high quality transports really equate to better sound quality?" I know the obvious answer would be yes, but what actual audible differences would there be between a low cost transport and a high cost? Plus, isn't there a buffer set up in most players so that a vibration or a bad read doesn't impact the flow of data to the DAC's in the receiver?
     
  5. karkus30

    karkus30
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    I think thats the point of using a quality transport system, the DAC has to interpret the bad read through a set of algorithmns, in other words it guesses at the imformation it has received. The DAC is working on an approximation of the received signal.

    Your probably thinking along the lines of a downloaded computer program, but from what I can understand a program contains checks and balances which the computer keeps checking against the received data, it doesnt need to download this imformation within a given time frame, it can take as long as it likes.

    That is where the two types of data differ, music and video streams do not have the checksums etc the raw data is decoded almost instantly any errors from misreading are approximated and sent to the preamp stage, add to this the errors in the DAC circuitry from bad power supplies etc and there is room for quite a lot of error.

    Thats how I read it anyway, electronic experts can correct my over simplification and put any corrections on my laymans viewpoint .
     
  6. ditton15

    ditton15
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    digital objects do differ.

    In general, there are many ways of recovering from dirty data that result in outcomes that us humans (and even some computers) can't tell from the original. what we are talking about here are time-based data that are trying to represent live performance of music in all its vibrancy and high fidelity. If you like live music - not just well performed music but someone communicating something - and you want something approaching that from recorded music then, as they say, timing is everything - well, it could be argued that there is much more to it than that!

    A good transport keeps good time. A good dac can do wonders with that well-timed signal, especially one that is designed specifically for making the best form stereo CD signal. A good digital interconnect will minimise loss between transport and dac, etc.

    I've just read: "H/K has packed the AVR 525 with enough brains and brawn to deliver riveting 7.1-channel excitement. Dolby® Digital EX, DTS-ES™, and Dolby Pro Logic™ II decoding supply endless home theater thrills. You also get H/K's exclusive Logic 7® modes, which let you transform any stereo or surround source into cinematic 7.1 sound. And thanks to the AVR 525's high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth amp design, 70 watts x 7 channels (85 x 2 stereo) of clean H/K power, and high-resolution 192kHz/24-bit DACs, you'll always enjoy powerful, precise sound. "

    That suggests to me that if you do succumb to the music, then you will need a better dac as well as a better CD transport. There is a lot going on in that AVR 525 - it may help generate the excitement we crave on the AV front, but it will also iinterefere with hifi music reproduction. I started to learn that 18 months ago, when I had a Yamaha AVamp, and began listening to music again.

    Recommendation: buy a good CDplayer (integrated or, better still, a good transport + good dac) + a dedicated stereo amp. Fortunately, there are good value buys second hand [dare I suggest you search for 'Meridian' in the classifieds ;-) ]. And as luck would have it, your h/K aAVamp boasts preamp output connections - so you can put the stereo amp between the AVamp and your L/R speakers.

    Go try listening to some good kit in a good hifi shop. If that doesn't impress over sound you get from your Sony 5CD & H/K Avamp, then continue in your happiness. But if you begin to suspect that there is more to be heard and enjoyed ...
     
  7. overkill

    overkill
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    Agree with Ditton15. The more that an amp is doing the more it costs to isolate unwanted "noise". Having had more than few amps, both stereo and AV, apart, the AV amps really need to be separated to keep RF interference down to a point where it won't cause a) blandness due to compensation circuitry or b) rough sound in stereo. Ie don't expect quality sound in stereo unless you spend BIG bucks on AV amps.

    As a footnote I'm quite happy with my integrated Denon AV amp for AV purposes, but for quality stereo I use my dedicated hi-fi system.

    I would suggest, as Ditton does, that listening to a quality CD player or Transport/DAC, and a stereo amp would be the next move.

    On your comments about the value of a stable transport, the DAC cannot do much with a poor signal from a laser that's reading a disc subject to - vibration, and or an unstable pickup. Sound quality can not only be compromised, discs can jump etc.
     

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