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Compare: Direct CD listening v. Apple lossless listening - Page 5

post #61 of 255
Jitter is not an issue with most home electronics. The level of jitter in the average home stereo component is 100 times below the threshold of audibility.

It doesn't take rocket science to construct a clean line out. The fact that the iPod runs on batteries makes it even easier.

The reason people amp the line out of the iPod is because the headphone output is designed for portable headphones. If you use big home cans with the headphone jack on an iPod, you can run into impedance problems.

An iPod, a line out dock and a headphone amp is all you would ever need to match the quality of most home CD players.

See ya
Steve
post #62 of 255
My $0.02:

Reading audio data from a CD is an inherently unreliable process. That's why hi-end CD players are so expensive -- it's damn hard to get it right.

Also, hi-end CDPS have sophisticated D/A and analog stages. IMHO, they're very important for good SQ. And that's where iPods are no match of hi-end CDP.

It'd be interesting to see a manufacturer creates a high-end transport that replace the CD reading mechanism with solid state memory chips, for storing EAC ripped uncompress audio data. If the power supply and analog stages are done right this hypothetical device can potentially sounds better than the best CDPs.
post #63 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by ephrank View Post
My $0.02:

Reading audio data from a CD is an inherently unreliable process. That's why hi-end CD players are so expensive -- it's damn hard to get it right.
Error correction on even modest CD players is very robust these days, the way that the data is interleaved on the CD allows for consecutive errors to be very numerous before they cannot be corrected. The general rate of error on a CD player is about 1 (uncorrected but inaudible) error per CD, audible errors are very rare except for badly gouged CDs. It is no longer hard, it is actually very trivial. PC CD-ROM drives and associated software do allow you to re-read data and get a better "guess" for damaged discs but the error rate on CD players is no longer (in most cases) a problem at all.

Quote:
Also, hi-end CDPS have sophisticated D/A and analog stages. IMHO, they're very important for good SQ. And that's where iPods are no match of hi-end CDP.
In 2004 Wilson were demonstrating their speakers at CES. They set up a high end source and amp system and the listeners were suitably impressed. Then they removed the shell of the CD player to reveal that an early generation iPod had been the source. None of the listeners complained about the quality of the source.
post #64 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
The general rate of error on a CD player is about 1 (uncorrected but inaudible) error per CD
The figure I've seen quoted is one type 1 correctible error per clean CD and one type 2 (uncorrectable/inaudible) per 20-30 CDs. I think it depends on the drive and the condition of the CD. But the general concept that just about any CD player can play a CD just as well is true.

See ya
Steve
post #65 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
...
In 2004 Wilson were demonstrating their speakers at CES. They set up a high end source and amp system and the listeners were suitably impressed. Then they removed the shell of the CD player to reveal that an early generation iPod had been the source. None of the listeners complained about the quality of the source.
Sure. More convincing, though, would have been a blind test where the audiophile audience would've been not able to distinguish, from the same Wilson speakers, between an iPod and Rega Apollo (a "budget audiophile" CDP).
post #66 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wazowski View Post
Sure. More convincing, though, would have been a blind test where the audiophile audience would've been not able to distinguish, from the same Wilson speakers, between an iPod and Rega Apollo (a "budget audiophile" CDP).
Agreed, blind tests are great levellers.

The interesting thing here though is that the listeners expected to hear a $25,000 CD source (this price tag is from an Interview with David Wilson) and primed with that expectation did not demur when hearing the ipod.

Wilson has also done similar tests where he demonstrates speakers both sighted and unsighted and when folks can see the speakers and know the price and see how impressive they look they give them higher ratings.
post #67 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sceptre View Post
I can honestly say that I prefer the sound of a CD from my Cyrus DVD7+ straight to the Slee Solo better than from ALAC to Duet and then to Slee.

The sound is simply fuller.

Guys, in most cases, you do get what you pay for. Straight from iPod is fantastic for the price and mobility. An Amp with LOD helps but nothing comes close to the CD home unit I run.

I'm keen to get either the Q7 Dac or PSX unit to improve the sound even more.

CD (or DVD Audio) is still my preference for chosen albums, but iPod wins for portability.

Thoughts?

Sceptre
I think you're hearing the coloration from the opamps in the output stage of your cd player, ie: "warmth." I think "you get what you pay for" went out the window with the rapid advancement of digital technology, which got to its point of diminishing returns about 10 years ago. I think that window fell right off the house, taking the whole wall down with it, with the development of global markets.

I think all bets are off, and you have to spend a whole lot of money to get a DAC that sounds audibly better on 16-bit files (all Redbook cds and rips of them) than a basic modern 16-bit chip built into the average audio component, whether that's a cdp or an iPod or a stand alone DAC. I think a DAC converts bits to volts that were converted from volts to bits in the studio and that its job is to do that accurately, and they do, well within the limits of our ability to hear it. That's not to say there is no difference between the sound of various digital devices, it's just to say that it is probably not the DAC.

I think audiophiles spend a tremendous amount of money to subjectively adjust the tone of their systems with their choice of components, not that there's anything wrong with that. What's wrong, or at least inaccurate, is believing that their choices are objectively superior because they spent more money.

Last but not least, I think your mileage may vary.

I'm listening to lossless files right now, through a Trends UD-10, a reasonably well designed and built digital transport that's core purpose is converting USB to optical, digital coax and digital balanced output. It has a basic 16-bit Burr Brown DAC in it, pretty much as an afterthought, to feed a headphone out. It doesn't even have RCAs - I have to use a cable that goes from a mini headphone jack to RCAs to feed my amp with it, which feeds my HD580s. It sounds really good. As good as the Toshiba DVD player I have with a 24/196 upsampling DAC in it. As good as the portable iRiver cdp I have that was widely reported to be comparable in quality to entry-level high end home CDPs when I bought it a few years ago.

Someone will, no doubt, come along soon to say that my equipment is the problem, that something in the chain is compromised enough to render the differences inaudible. In absolute terms, they are right, but very few of them have equipment resolving enough to hear the difference either. They hear little differences color. They hear little differences in volume. I think they imagine much.

Put your money where your ears are - in the cans.

Tim
post #68 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
Agreed, blind tests are great levellers.

The interesting thing here though is that the listeners expected to hear a $25,000 CD source (this price tag is from an Interview with David Wilson) and primed with that expectation did not demur when hearing the ipod.

Wilson has also done similar tests where he demonstrates speakers both sighted and unsighted and when folks can see the speakers and know the price and see how impressive they look they give them higher ratings.
Agreed, too It seems to be a little like those wine tastings... I would guess the crowd effect must be playing part here, too. Whatever the reasons, few people will be completely unaffected when they are trying to judge something while seeing their peers' reactions.

Interesting discussion. Made me firmer in my intent to go with a SACD player...
post #69 of 255
I've done extensive sound comparisons between redbook and SACD, and the differences I could detect were all a result of remastering and remixing. When I finally found a DSD SACD hybrid that had a redbook layer with the same mix as the SACD, there was no difference whatsoever.

Regular old CD sounds great. So do iPods if the file on it sounds good. High resolution formats are just a trick to get you to buy yet another copy of Dark Side of the Moon.

See ya
Steve
post #70 of 255
Good post, tfarney!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
I think you're hearing the coloration from the opamps in the output stage of your cd player, ie: "warmth."
I don't really understand much what you mean by this. Could you explain it further? If the difference in sound quality is in the output stage of the cd player, it's still part of the cd player, and hence that would make it anyway better than an ipod. That's why I get confused and I don't understand you point much here.
post #71 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wazowski View Post

Interesting discussion. Made me firmer in my intent to go with a SACD player...
Well, I've never heard a sacd disc, although I'd love to. But if the difference between a stereo sacd and a cd is like the difference between a 128 mp3 and a cd, then I don't see it worth at all. There are really very few albums on sacd, and even those which were released in this format are difficult to find. Just try finding the albums you already enjoy and listen to on sacd, I couldn't find any! Except for the Beatles Love in DVD-audio.

However, I think listening to 5.1 sacd must be amazing, hence that's a great thing to get even for those few albums I was talking about above. So, I'd recommend you to check that the sacd player has 5.1 outputs. Maybe it just needs a digital out, I'm not sure. And then connect it to a 5.1 speaker system. Also, I'd get a sacd player which also plays dvd-audio. Given all the discussion in this thread, I think it's becoming obvious that the difference between digital sources, even if it exists, is not worth the effort or the money. Cambridge audio, and also denon, do dvd sacd dvd-audio players which look quite interesting.
post #72 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
I've done extensive sound comparisons between redbook and SACD, and the differences I could detect were all a result of remastering and remixing. When I finally found a DSD SACD hybrid that had a redbook layer with the same mix as the SACD, there was no difference whatsoever.

Regular old CD sounds great. So do iPods if the file on it sounds good. High resolution formats are just a trick to get you to buy yet another copy of Dark Side of the Moon.

See ya
Steve
well, maybe you're right in what you're saying, but as I said above I think the biggest (or the only) improvement of sacd and dvd-audio is the fact that they are in 5.1, which is a huge difference.
post #73 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
I've done extensive sound comparisons between redbook and SACD, and the differences I could detect were all a result of remastering and remixing. When I finally found a DSD SACD hybrid that had a redbook layer with the same mix as the SACD, there was no difference whatsoever.

Regular old CD sounds great. So do iPods if the file on it sounds good. High resolution formats are just a trick to get you to buy yet another copy of Dark Side of the Moon.

See ya
Steve
Actually, I've got that hybrid DSOTM disc. Everyone seems to be saying SACD layer is so much better, so now I need a player to hear it
post #74 of 255

Signatures - they are everywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
I think you're hearing the coloration from the opamps in the output stage of your cd player, ie: "warmth." I think "you get what you pay for" went out the window with the rapid advancement of digital technology, which got to its point of diminishing returns about 10 years ago. I think that window fell right off the house, taking the whole wall down with it, with the development of global markets.



Put your money where your ears are - in the cans.

Tim
Hi Tim.

I'm sure there is an element of my CD player that has more responsibility than others for the sound, but it is within the box. I'm getting the upgrade Q7 Dac in a day or so and will give you my subjective view on that. I don't do ABing - it wasn't how I chose my wife, house, car etc, so why should I switch ad nausea to say that there is a difference. Of course there will be. Can I live with it and am I happy with it are the questions.

I still believe that price is an indicator to expected output. There are of course examples that are way of this curve (KSC75's to be one). I totally agree that the money should be spent on the sound/human interface (headphones) but feel that all stages in sound transmission have a key part to play. I find that open back phones requires a quiet surrounding to really enjoy. Noise in the room can ruin the experience in my opinion.

The key point to our hobby is to enjoy the music which you are listening to and not be so critical to passages played through a variety of components to argue which is right. If something is spoiling the experience then find out the cause and change it. I often find my portable and mac based system to be left wanting a little compared to the CD sourced system. I guess I could say the same of the CD system if I were to start investing in a vinyl source.

Happy listening.

Sceptre
post #75 of 255
Quote:
Originally Posted by bf2008 View Post
Good post, tfarney!



I don't really understand much what you mean by this. Could you explain it further? If the difference in sound quality is in the output stage of the cd player, it's still part of the cd player, and hence that would make it anyway better than an ipod. That's why I get confused and I don't understand you point much here.
As I understand it, a DAC or cdp pre-amplifies the signal coming out of it, to boost it up to line level, typically with op amps or, at the most expensive extreme, with expensive discrete tube output stages. These little amps, like any preamplifier or amplifier, can endeavor to be as transparent as possible, or change the tone of the music as they amplify it. CDs are brutally revealing and a lot of recordings that would sound fine on analog equipment sound harsh and bright in digital, so a lot of the output stages of DACs and cdps have been designed to soften those edges. There's nothing wrong wtih doing this if it sounds good to you. I just don't happen to think the source is the place to do it. And I certainly don't want to pay a huge premium for adding tone in a way that it cannot be removed, in a place where it colors every other component in the system. A lot of folks feel very differently about it, though, and that's ok.

Tim
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