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Compare: Direct CD listening v. Apple lossless listening

post #1 of 255
Thread Starter 
As a relative newbie sinking deeper into this seemingly endless morass, I have a question.

I'm presently using a Little Dot amp and Senn 595 headphones. The source is an Ipod with Apple lossless files taken from cd downloads.

Would I gain significantly if I purchased a dedicated CD player, hooked it up to my Little Dot amp, and listened to the CD's directly. If there were a material increase in sound quality (assuming I purchased a good CD player), I would consider doing that. But, I don't want to go to the expense if the sound quality would remain roughly the same.

Thanks in advance for any insights you might give.
post #2 of 255
Roughly the same.

See ya
Steve
post #3 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spunky8 View Post
Would I gain significantly if I purchased a dedicated CD player, hooked it up to my Little Dot amp, and listened to the CD's directly.
Well I think you would but - full disclosure - that is what camp I'm in. It's really more about me liking the media perse than any inherent significant gain in SQ. Looking at some of the rigs on head-fi (a thread I was reading yesterday about a modded SB transporter into a EMM Labs DAC comes to mind) and one realizes some people have amazing comptuer rigs! They never complain about a digital haze or thin sound. And probably if I was to do it over again I would rip to flac. You have started down that road and I suggest you stay on in. (You can check out the FLAC vs. Apple lossless debate in the computer source forum.) You'll find the direct CD camp still has its followers, like me, and in my own meger system I liked the CD sound rather than my modest external 3rd party DAC. Have you looked at some of the nice docking options??
post #4 of 255
Thread Starter 

Docking options

Thanks for your input. I have not looked at docking options. I'd appreciate learning more as I venture down this seemingly perilous path.
post #5 of 255
There will be great improvement in performance. Firstly, the DAC and AMP in a dedicated CD player is significantly better than the ones in your Ipod. Therefore the signal will be (i think) greater and clearer. Moreover, lossless VS. CDs, IMO, CDs win hands down. Don't ask me why, it just is. Just look at it this way, a copy is never better than the original, when you rip, there will be a loss in quality no matter which lossless format you use.

I upgraded from a Zen Vision:M playing .WAV to a Sony PCDP to the Oppo DV980-H. Worth every penny I spent on it.
post #6 of 255
The DAC in an iPod is as good as the DAC in most standalone CD players. To get better, you would have to spend considerably more. Lossless and CD audio is identical. There's no loss in copying digital. If you're hearing a difference it's the result of the way you are listening, not the track itself.

See ya
Steve
post #7 of 255
BigShot

Yes, lossless is the same as CD and yes the DAC in the iPod is quite good, BUT the analog section in the iPod is quite poor (good for a tiny audio player, but poor by full-size component standards), also the implementation of the DAC in the iPod also suffers from the packaging limitations. I runs on very low voltages, has a fairly poor clock, so higher jitter, and the passive components (mostly the capacitors) must be picked for size not utmost performance.

The iPod is great for what it is, but it won't beat a decent and reasonably priced CD player. The new digital docs for the iPod (I don't know if the Wadia is the only one at the moment) will allow you to get those perfect lossless bits of the little wonder and into a really good DAC - then you have the best of both worlds.
post #8 of 255
Bigshot I'd also contend what you said on the files being identical. In theory if the cds are ripped well (with something like EAC or max) then the pc could deliver a bitstream with less jitter to the DAC because it is not dependant on a motor and any jitter recorded on the cd would be negated. I've also read that playing cds from a computer cd drive sounds worse than playing well ripped files because the ripping software negates the errors of the drive.
post #9 of 255
Thread Starter 

When ripping a CD to Lossless file, is the computer's disc drive adequate?

I rip on an Apple computer, using the computer's disc drive. Given that almost everything discussed on this forum is subject to some type of upgrade, I assume, but don't know, if there are high end drives to be used for maximum quality in ripping, or does the computer drive work just fine?

thanks.
post #10 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spunky8 View Post
I rip on an Apple computer, using the computer's disc drive. Given that almost everything discussed on this forum is subject to some type of upgrade, I assume, but don't know, if there are high end drives to be used for maximum quality in ripping, or does the computer drive work just fine?

thanks.
If you're using iTunes to rip, be sure to go into preferences and enable error correction (apologize if I'm telling you something you already know). The ability to read the disc over and over until every bit is extracted is a crucial advantage of computers over CD players.
post #11 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spunky8 View Post
I rip on an Apple computer, using the computer's disc drive. Given that almost everything discussed on this forum is subject to some type of upgrade, I assume, but don't know, if there are high end drives to be used for maximum quality in ripping, or does the computer drive work just fine?

thanks.
If you're using iTunes to rip, be sure to go into preferences and enable error correction (apologize if I'm telling you something you already know). The ability to read the disc over and over until every bit is extracted is a crucial advantage of computers over CD players.
post #12 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by burnspbesq View Post
If you're using iTunes to rip, be sure to go into preferences and enable error correction (apologize if I'm telling you something you already know). The ability to read the disc over and over until every bit is extracted is a crucial advantage of computers over CD players.
If you're on OS X, I'd suggest using Max; great app for ripping/encoding/converting.
post #13 of 255
Quote:
The DAC in an iPod is as good as the DAC in most standalone CD players.
stoneface
post #14 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post
stoneface
What does stoneface mean?

BTW, bigshot is correct. The DAC chip in the iPod is as good or better than that in most "normal" cd-players. BTW, most of us do not qualify as "normal".

I have an iModded 4th Gen iPod Photo and when used as a source to my ears it is indistinguishable from a cd-player.
post #15 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkovsky View Post
Bigshot I'd also contend what you said on the files being identical. In theory if the cds are ripped well (with something like EAC or max) then the pc could deliver a bitstream with less jitter to the DAC because it is not dependant on a motor and any jitter recorded on the cd would be negated.
The level of jitter you are talking about is likely 100 time below the threshold of audibility. Jitter is only an issue for high end stereo salesmen who want to sell you more equipment.

Through lineout, I did a direct, line level matched A/B comparison with my home CD player and an aiff rip playing through the lineout of the iPod. There was no difference. They sounded exactly the same.

See ya
Steve
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