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Is a high end CDP even worth it any more? - Page 2

post #16 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
There's gotta be something to the merit of CDPs with all these companies putting large amounts of dollars and research into them, unless someone can make a valid argument against that.
Some people equate price with value. Quite simply there if there is a market for $10K CD Players, Turntables, Amps, Headphones, etc. someone will find some way to try to justify a product at that price point.
post #17 of 196
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post #18 of 196
Shrug, have you tried listening to a 500 dollar transport based player vs bit perfect into a comparably priced dac? I have and I hear an immediately noticeable difference on all points. Why is this? I can't tell you. Most people attribute it to jitter and shrug makes sense to me. If you don't hear then difference then good for you, less money to spend But yeah one hears the difference then I think its worth upgrading to a point you feel comfortable with.

Bit perfect does NOT magically get rid of jitter.
post #19 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post
Do I detect a comparo hatching in someone's brain? Let's say a good cheap CDP against a $1000-plus CDP? Or even a computer-as-source against the high-end CDP? Ideally the test would be blind, but that may not be practical. In all fairness, the lineup should probably include a decent DAC to even the playing field a bit. I'm guessing that differences in SQ would be close to insignificant. But I'm open and ready to be surprised. In the end, though, regardless of the results, we may find ourselves back at square one, asking the same old questions.
Heh, well I wasn't implying I'd do a comparison, not sure where you got that from. But it would be interesting regardless if someone took one of the budget CDPs like the Marantz CD5001 or NAD C521BEE and another CDP like the Meridian G08 for example, keeping all other components identical, and putting both of them to a group test, to see how many can accurately identify the higher-end CDP. IMO the improvements in increasingly higher-end CDPs are clear and definite, it's merely a question of how fat your wallet is and how much you're willing to spend on incremental improvements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu View Post
I just can't understand why some people will drop $2000 on a CDP when a Plextor, EAC, FLAC, and a bit-perfect soundcard are a fourth of the price.
Well I don't know why other people use high-end CDPs but I've heard the marginal differences between six CD-based sources now, and I can understand why such expensive CDPs exist. In my experience the differences are real and significant.

Also, personally I vastly prefer a CDP as source over a computer. I have better things to do with my time than ripping my CDs, and despite the reliability of Windows XP, computers can still crash or lock up. And there's only so much multi-tasking that I'd willingly put my computers through (I often use my sound card for an alternate purpose too, and sound cards obviously can't process more than one stream at a time). And there's something to be said about being able to listen to music without a computer (the light, or fan noise, etc).
post #20 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarium View Post
Shrug, have you tried listening to a 500 dollar transport based player vs bit perfect into a comparably priced dac? I have and I hear an immediately noticeable difference on all points. Why is this? I can't tell you. Most people attribute it to jitter and shrug makes sense to me. If you don't hear then difference then good for you, less money to spend But yeah one hears the difference then I think its worth upgrading to a point you feel comfortable with.

Bit perfect does NOT magically get rid of jitter.
No, but computers are much better suited to detecting and eliminating jitter then most CDPs ever could. Jitter is just repeated samples due to the Redbook standard lacking a block addressing scheme. Traditional CDPs have to compensate by doing super-accurate reads. Proper ripping software compensates by doing multiple reads and looking for overlap. Far superior.
post #21 of 196
I haven't really looked that hardcore into jitter but I have read several threads about it specifically threads like:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=214325
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=214234
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=198428

But what I've read + what I've talked to people who are really hardcore into dealing with jitter leads me to believe that the source of jitter isn't as simple as what you are attributing it to though that may be a major contributor. But I also haven't heard a single good explanation as to where it does come from. I basically have decided that its a non trivial problem though based on what I hear between flac vs cd. Meh.
post #22 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redo View Post
I say go for a used workhorse that can be modded into near perfection. Something like a 9100ES or CE595 can be found, modded, and become reference class for around $1000 or less.


And to answer your question, coming from somebody that has used PC as Source exclusively for quite awhile, there's nothing like a good stand alone CDP.
The 9100ES is not that great on its own. It is no match to a midrange-highend CDP such as the X-03SE. Modded may be another story.
post #23 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarium View Post
But I also haven't heard a single good explanation as to where it does come from. I basically have decided that its a non trivial problem though based on what I hear between flac vs cd. Meh.
Ok, first, Jitter is a general term, and I think two different definitions of jitter might be mixed up in this thread.

First, the Red Book "definition" of jitter:

Link

To make things even more complicated, blocks in the red book standard are not indexed. In other words, if you want to read the 540th audio sample , you essentially need to read 1-539 first or guess where the sample should be on the physical disk -- there is nothing in the block itself that says "I am the 539th block."

Jitter correction in real time is a devilish hard problem. Jitter correction outside of real time is a lot easier -- you can read the offending sample multiple times in slightly different condition and use a voting scheme to pick which is the most likely or some algorithm to produce what it considers most likely with the given data, etc. This is why ripping software in general will outperform a dedicated CDP in extracting the digital stream -- even though it is reading from the same CD it has a lot more information to work with when trying to figure out what the bit stream should actually be.

Jitter in general however is errors produced by clock skew. It can refer to either synchronized clocks for some reason being off, or a single clock not producing a constant "tick." Digital data being sent over cables would be subject to this sort of jitter.

When people say "the DAC1 is immune to jitter," are they referring to the second or first definition? Does the DAC1 actually have some dedicated hardware to compensate for CD-jitter, or are they referring to the actual transfer of digital bits?
post #24 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder View Post
The 9100ES is not that great on its own. It is no match to a midrange-highend CDP such as the X-03SE. Modded may be another story.
No, it isn't anything too special on it's own. It has great features and can be modded into one of the best SACD players around.
post #25 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu View Post
Another problem is when you get into the $500+ CDP range, you are starting to complete against audiophile-geared HDPC systems with lossless codecs and large amounts of storage space and can output bit-perfect to a DAC.

I just can't understand why some people will drop $2000 on a CDP when a Plextor, EAC, FLAC, and a bit-perfect soundcard are a fourth of the price.
Don't forget the spoils of SACD and DVD-A! Being able to listen to music without depending on the OS's stability, whatever noises pop up while web browsing or playing games, and avoiding the whole KMixer thing is priceless.
post #26 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu View Post
I just can't understand why some people will drop $2000 on a CDP when a Plextor, EAC, FLAC, and a bit-perfect soundcard are a fourth of the price.
Don't forget that people going for a computer-based rig have to purchase a quality DAC too, which can easily run in the same price range as the CDP alone.
post #27 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Also, personally I vastly prefer a CDP as source over a computer. I have better things to do with my time than ripping my CDs, and despite the reliability of Windows XP, computers can still crash or lock up. And there's only so much multi-tasking that I'd willingly put my computers through (I often use my sound card for an alternate purpose too, and sound cards obviously can't process more than one stream at a time). And there's something to be said about being able to listen to music without a computer (the light, or fan noise, etc).
I completely agree. I don't do the majority of my listening at a desk where it's convenient to multi-use a PC.

Quote:
Some people equate price with value. Quite simply there if there is a market for $10K CD Players, Turntables, Amps, Headphones, etc. someone will find some way to try to justify a product at that price point.
The fact that a component costs more than a kilobuck (or some other price point) doesn't always mean that some 'marketing machine' has to come up with reasons to justify the price tag either. I do find a lot of value in speakers, cd players, amplifiers, et al that command more than a modest sum of money. However, it is part of a personal judgment we all make when we shop around for the "next great thing" to add to our systems.
post #28 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarium View Post
I haven't really looked that hardcore into jitter but I have read several threads about it specifically threads like:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=214325
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=214234
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=198428

But what I've read + what I've talked to people who are really hardcore into dealing with jitter leads me to believe that the source of jitter isn't as simple as what you are attributing it to though that may be a major contributor. But I also haven't heard a single good explanation as to where it does come from. I basically have decided that its a non trivial problem though based on what I hear between flac vs cd. Meh.
If you read the paper from the thread I started on jitter audibiity the authors conclude very definitely that jitter really isnt a problem below 100s of ns, even the highly flawed Bejamin and Gannon paper couldnt find worst case jitter audible below 20ns - the stereophile test CD uses a jitter signal of 20ns to illustrate jitter, jitter of say 687ps will generate sidebands of -130db on digital outs, masking takes care of this, Arny Kruger's web site hosts jitter-free and jittered samples - I can guarantee that you would have extreme difficulty telling the difference (in blind testing) between the -80db jitter sample and the jitter-free sample, and this is a good 20db worse than any commercial CD playing device on the market (apart, perhaps from the Oppo, which has 4ns jitter) . To realistically regard jitter as a problem it is utterly crucial to measure it accurately, some of the jitter-is-a-problem camp dont do this, they talk about clocks and tweaks but never assess the before and after jitter. Nor do they attempt to assess the effect in controlled conditions, allowing normal human bias and expectations to bias the results. Also in at least one white paper the authors who were developing a new lower jitter clock were bemused to discover that several listeners preferred the higher jitter players.
post #29 of 196
I'm not much of a techie, but does this mean that digital sources' analog outputs generally measure well? From what I can recall, most discussions about digital sound involve stuff like error-correction, aliasing, sampling, filtering, jitter, etc.... I guess that digital outputs are being measured, in these cases. But for somebody buying a one-box source (e.g. CD/DVD-A/SACD/Squeezebox), shouldn't the quality of the analog signal also be measured? I get the feeling that questions of noise levels, dynamic range, etc. have been definitively answered except in the cases of severely flawed designs... that's the impression that Stereophile tends to give, in my opinion.

Sorry, that was a rambling paragraph... I guess the conclusion is still: trust your ears(?)
post #30 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiWire View Post
I'm not much of a techie, but does this mean that digital sources' analog outputs generally measure well?
Yes, generally one-box CD players have flat Frequency Responses and noise and distortion that is way below audible.
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