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Are CD transports obsolete these days? - Page 10

post #136 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb
I'm not arguing CDP as transport sounds better for everyone, I'm merely wondering why it does not sound better for me, or the others who are maintaining the same thing.
It seems to me like it sounds better to everybody who have the chance to own a relatively highend CDP. I've seen a few mag reviews who were describing the sound quality of a high end CDP transport as being better then a Squeeze box or some of the "bit perfect" USB or soundcard. I've also read the same from several people that do own a good CDP and use it as a transport versus a computer solution. All admit computer is more convenient but most say the CDP as transport sounds better. I really hope I find the solution soon because I definitely want to use the computer as my main source but for now I stick with my Arcam CDP.
post #137 of 144
I don't understand how you guys can judge it only by how it sounds. What if you just don't hear everything (well, nobody does)? What if it sounds better to you because of loss details or noise injected in particular frequency range?

"who have the chance to own a relatively high end CDP"... Well, I don't claim to own real high end stuff, but I hope my $3500 Nova is at list on the way to there. And I can tell you - if I feed them (Nova and SB) into the same good DAC, the differences are terribly subtle. Mainly because it's DAC, it's jitter reduction mechanism and analog stage make all the difference, not the digital source. Which means I don't really need to invest $3500 to have the same fidelity level. And having the music streamed from computer saves me all the CD read and error correction artifacts, which no CD player in the world can do, unless it's a computer in CD player case.

If you ask me what are my priorities for importance of components, I'm to list them in the order of how difficult to control what they are responsible for.

First - mechanical part, most difficult part to make it clean, interacts with environment in too many ways - speakers. It just much more difficult to build decent speakers then anything in digital domain.
Second - analog electronics. Not as difficult to control as mechanics, and better studied, but still too many external factors can affect analog signal. So, again, to build really good amp requires substantial effort.
Third - digital. The most controllable part, it has been designed to make analog signal more controllable. It still has a lot of dark spots to handle, and the design must be correct, but it interacts with the environment much less then anything of the above, and thus easier to design and to build.

My point is that unlike mechanical and analog parts of your reproduction system, digital doesn't have to be expensive to be very good.
post #138 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by 325xi
I don't understand how you guys can judge it only by how it sounds. What if you just don't hear everything (well, nobody does)? What if it sounds better to you because of loss details or noise injected in particular frequency range?

"who have the chance to own a relatively high end CDP"... Well, I don't claim to own real high end stuff, but I hope my $3500 Nova is at list on the way to there. And I can tell you - if I feed them (Nova and SB) into the same good DAC, the differences are terribly subtle. Mainly because it's DAC, it's jitter reduction mechanism and analog stage make all the difference, not the digital source. Which means I don't really need to invest $3500 to have the same fidelity level. And having the music streamed from computer saves me all the CD read and error correction artifacts, which no CD player in the world can do, unless it's a computer in CD player case.

If you ask me what are my priorities for importance of components, I'm to list them in the order of how difficult to control what they are responsible for.

First - mechanical part, most difficult part to make it clean, interacts with environment in too many ways - speakers. It just much more difficult to build decent speakers then anything in digital domain.
Second - analog electronics. Not as difficult to control as mechanics, and better studied, but still too many external factors can affect analog signal. So, again, to build really good amp requires substantial effort.
Third - digital. The most controllable part, it has been designed to make analog signal more controllable. It still has a lot of dark spots to handle, and the design must be correct, but it interacts with the environment much less then anything of the above, and thus easier to design and to build.

My point is that unlike mechanical and analog parts of your reproduction system, digital doesn't have to be expensive to be very good.
The only reason I am interested in this topic is for the sake of making my system sound as good to me as I can...so that really is the only point for me. Telling me something should sound better is not any help.

You seem to be arguing something completely different from my original point, which was simply stating that a cheap CD transport sounds better to me than a good computer-based transport. And again, I'm not arguing whether the digital stage is easier to control or whether CDP's are better than PC's, etc...

My intent is to learn how I can make a computer based setup that sounds as good to me as my CDP. My original question was, if both are bit-perfect and have relatively the same jitter characteristics, but the CDP still sounds better to me, what else could be the variable(s)?

mjb
post #139 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb
The only reason I am interested in this topic is for the sake of making my system sound as good to me as I can...so that really is the only point for me. Telling me something should sound better is not any help.
Have you considered that the difference is entirely psycological? I know it's hard to accept, but since we can rule out everything else through logical deduction I think it has to be considered. Unfortunately, only an ABX test can prove things one way or the other.
post #140 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
Have you considered that the difference is entirely psycological? I know it's hard to accept, but since we can rule out everything else through logical deduction I think it has to be considered. Unfortunately, only an ABX test can prove things one way or the other.
Nope haven't ruled it out...in fact, I'm assuming that's exactly what it is

Given that all the engineering principals say that it should sound the same (or even better via HDD), that's really the only explanation. Which leads me back to my original question, which is whether there is another non-psychological principal which is not being looked at...I assume there isn't, but I don't like it when I have to admit I'm deceiving myself

mjb
post #141 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb
I assume there isn't, but I don't like it when I have to admit I'm deceiving myself
Well, some people do like distorted sound, so it might not be deception exactly. Some people prefer vinyl, despite the obvious advantages of CDs. Some people like tubes and 'phones with a warm sound. Actually, I have to admit to prefering a touch of warmth myself. It's all distortion but not necessarily bad.

One thing I would suggest is trying out some of the options for dithering and upsampling in Foobar to see if you like them. 16->24 bit with dithering can be nice.
post #142 of 144
I think I'll just stick with my CDP and wait for the Olive players to get a bit cheaper

I like having an "appliance" for my transport.

mjb
post #143 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
Well, some people do like distorted sound, so it might not be deception exactly. Some people prefer vinyl, despite the obvious advantages of CDs. Some people like tubes and 'phones with a warm sound. Actually, I have to admit to prefering a touch of warmth myself. It's all distortion but not necessarily bad.
Very good post! It's perfectly fine when someone prefers his rig's sound even though it's full of (hopefully) euphoric distortion. I just think that he'd better to know what's going on inside of his system - that this or that component is actually technically flawed, but in this particular rig that flaw works very well.

All this discussion about good CD transport vs. HDD based source is purely theoretical. Ideal HDD based source has clear technical advantage over ideal CD based one, period. Which doesn't mean real world examples follow this rule. In most cases CDs have too few read errors to make audible difference. If you hear difference between low jitter sources feeding the same DAC via the same cables, assuming good testing conditions (good new CD, no microwaves nearby, etc), the difference most likely to come from elsewhere. For example one of the two boxed may happen to emit more EMI then the other one, thus increasing jitter level, or even affecting the analog components.
Yes, transport related jitter, current spikes when motor has to change the rotation speed sharply, etc. - those are real CD transport issues, but in high end transports they are as smoothed out as it gets, it's all about available budget. HDD based transport just doesn't have those problems, for free.

When we're talking about not-so-good CD transports, few more factors come to play. First, transport quality. If it's cheaper it doesn't have to perform bad, but the chances all yours. Second, EMI/RF, again doesn't have to be bad, but chances it is are higher then in EMM Labs stuff. Overall design is not nearly as refined as for more high-end devices, which shows itself when conditions are not ideal, which isn't necessarily your case. Shortly, yes, in some particular applications or environments cheap CD transport can be virtually indistinguishable from high end thing. Rarely enough though.

And ask why someone would prefer his simple CD transport sound to other options? Pick any reason. He may just like this kind of coloration. Jitter applied to a particular frequency range may happen to smooth sound where he is particularly sensitive. Or vice versa, on the higher end device, even though having lower jitter, it may fall on the frequency range, again on a particular frequency range where he is particularly sensitive, making it barely listenable. Et cetera. Pick yours.
post #144 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
Well, some people do like distorted sound, so it might not be deception exactly. Some people prefer vinyl, despite the obvious advantages of CDs. Some people like tubes and 'phones with a warm sound. Actually, I have to admit to prefering a touch of warmth myself. It's all distortion but not necessarily bad. SNIP -------8< .
I absolutely agree with this, and I believe I have read several articles about IMD even in the human ear canal. The one thing I know is that music is the one thing in life that will never fail you. How you get it to your ears is important, because it is the subtleties that can sometimes turn a good piece into a great one, and I don't want to miss a damned note!

One interesting article I should point oout is here, it discusses audio engineering and hearing. Note a few areas that indicate our innate sensitivity to specific frequency ranges, as well as the discussion on perception.

http://www.ee.washington.edu/consele...audio/95x3.htm
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