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What happened to the dedicated CD transport ? - Page 2

post #16 of 95
Thread Starter 

I've read a few DiY articles from guys who have hotrodded classic Marantz CDPs and claim that the resulting sound quality is spectacular, and I've seen the usual raves about the Rega Planet, but its well out of my comfort zone in electronics terms. They also seem to be able to rustle up key parts where necessary - that doesn't come overnight. When its all said and done, you end up with a 20-30 year old CDP with a resale value that depends on the willingness of others to believe that its better than the other 20-30 year old electronics on ebay or wherever. I'm a fan of Steve Deckert's upfront marketing style, but I have to wonder how many of these he sells each year:

 

http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZCD.htm

 

Yep - a factory built 'hot rod'   biggrin.gif

post #17 of 95

There are still quite a few CDTs around. Besides those mentioned Cyrus have an AUD1400 transport, Musical Fidelity a AUD 1K, Woo a AUD1.5k etc, the Audio Note CDT-Zero is also around AUD 1.5-2K. All available to demo in our fair land (yeah, I'm a Sydneysider too).If you want something sort of a DAC/Cd player combo there is the Audiolab 8200 for AUD1.5K or you are feeling particularly well heeled try one of Naim's options - the Uniti will set you back $4.5k but you get a dac, cd player, tuner, amp and streamer. Not cheap but most of these will have a two to five year warranty.

 

Part of the issues with CDTs is the ethos of the manufacturer, Naim for instance didn't produce a DAC for a while, given that they believed that the shorter the signal path, the better the reproduction (their high end stuff goes further and has the power supply seperate from the replay device). For these guys a CDT is not an option, they have however in the last year conceded the point by having a digital out on their midrange players - by midrange they mean AUD 3.2k to 7k...).

 

Frankly for my work setup I just use an old Cyrus CDP digital out to a Dacmagic (also with a Wadia Itransport - our computer system is secure so no extraneous software is allowed) into a headphone amp.(At home, everything modern is ripped and stored on a Naim setup - which is why I know about them -, but I will probably get a transport depending on how iTunes handles my classical collection...)

 

regards,

 

Giles

post #18 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

(as I have said previously, pls dont read too much into my rants - I am mostly venting. I want it all and I want it yesterday - and I dont want to pay for it. How very 21st century of me ......  rolleyes.gif )

 

Well, supposedly a custom computer and a USB DAC like the Overdrive can take on the likes of Esoteric or Vitus at 3X the price and win, so that's progress. Digital audio is only arbitrarily tied to the CD, and the transport necessary to spin it. I keep waiting for the CD to just go away already, take a hint from Laser Disc and retire.

post #19 of 95
Thread Starter 

Thats up there with people pronouncing vinyl dead in 1990.  rolleyes.gif

post #20 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Thats up there with people pronouncing vinyl dead in 1990.  rolleyes.gif

 

How so? The compact disc is just a plastic container and a read surface for a 16-bit, 44.1Khz PCM digital audio file. It's absolutely no different if it's in WAV or AIFF format on a computer. It's a relic, left over from the days when people used to drive to places called music stores. An album worth of completely uncompressed WAV files is about 700MB, which you can download via most broadband connections in 5-10 minutes.

 

The CD makes as much sense today as Blockbuster stores in the age of Netflix. It's horribly inefficient when a BR disc can fit 25GB in the same space, or more with multiple layers, and its limitations are left over from 30 years ago's "good enough" engineering, when little was understood about digital playback.

 

I wish everybody would just agree to let the thing die already, and start releasing all music in 24/88 or 24/96. No silly surround stuff, just high-res PCM stereo.

post #21 of 95

Yeah I'm okay with this plan.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

 

How so? The compact disc is just a plastic container and a read surface for a 16-bit, 44.1Khz PCM digital audio file. It's absolutely no different if it's in WAV or AIFF format on a computer. It's a relic, left over from the days when people used to drive to places called music stores. An album worth of completely uncompressed WAV files is about 700MB, which you can download via most broadband connections in 5-10 minutes.

 

The CD makes as much sense today as Blockbuster stores in the age of Netflix. It's horribly inefficient when a BR disc can fit 25GB in the same space, or more with multiple layers, and its limitations are left over from 30 years ago's "good enough" engineering, when little was understood about digital playback.

 

I wish everybody would just agree to let the thing die already, and start releasing all music in 24/88 or 24/96. No silly surround stuff, just high-res PCM stereo.

post #22 of 95

I was intrigued by the Cambridge Audio 350 CD player.  Sounds like it has a proprietary transport mechanism-

 

It features Cambridge Audio's dedicated audio-only CD transport. This is then coupled to Cambridge Audio's third generation proprietary S3 servo solution, which dynamically adjusts the focusing, tracking, and output level of the laser in real time. This in turn enables maximum retrieval of disc data, guarantees extremely low jitter, and delivers amazingly dynamic sound.

 

Could be fun to use as a transport for $300.

post #23 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by MohawkUS View Post


I've got my audio rig in my computer room and it picks up quite a bit of EMI if the back if facing any other way. You can hear it if anything touches it, it's a small price to pay for such good sound. It's only the back panel of the CD player that's sensitive as my tape deck with ventilation on the bottom picks up EMI from the vents on top of my amp. It could just be my CD player or it could be the fact that I've got an acrylic window on my computer's side panel. Can't really be sure as I inherited this player from my grandparents and it was in the attic for quite a while.

 

OK

I can see the logic in that now!

I suppose the newer designs have either less susceptibility to EMI/RFI or better EMI/RFI shielding.

post #24 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penarin View Post

I was intrigued by the Cambridge Audio 350 CD player.  Sounds like it has a proprietary transport mechanism-

 

It features Cambridge Audio's dedicated audio-only CD transport. This is then coupled to Cambridge Audio's third generation proprietary S3 servo solution, which dynamically adjusts the focusing, tracking, and output level of the laser in real time. This in turn enables maximum retrieval of disc data, guarantees extremely low jitter, and delivers amazingly dynamic sound.

 

Could be fun to use as a transport for $300.


Nobody builds anything in house for $300, certainly not transports. The VAST majority of CD players and transports, even the mega buck stuff, use a transport made either by Philips or one of the huge Japanese electronics companies. Linn created their own for the Unidisk, but that's really unusual for a fairly small company to do.

post #25 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

 

How so? The compact disc is just a plastic container and a read surface for a 16-bit, 44.1Khz PCM digital audio file. It's absolutely no different if it's in WAV or AIFF format on a computer. It's a relic, left over from the days when people used to drive to places called music stores. An album worth of completely uncompressed WAV files is about 700MB, which you can download via most broadband connections in 5-10 minutes.

 

The CD makes as much sense today as Blockbuster stores in the age of Netflix. It's horribly inefficient when a BR disc can fit 25GB in the same space, or more with multiple layers, and its limitations are left over from 30 years ago's "good enough" engineering, when little was understood about digital playback.

 

I wish everybody would just agree to let the thing die already, and start releasing all music in 24/88 or 24/96. No silly surround stuff, just high-res PCM stereo.

Now, now...........did someone forget to take their meds today?

post #26 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

How so? The compact disc is just a plastic container and a read surface for a 16-bit, 44.1Khz PCM digital audio file. It's absolutely no different if it's in WAV or AIFF format on a computer. It's a relic, left over from the days when people used to drive to places called music stores. An album worth of completely uncompressed WAV files is about 700MB, which you can download via most broadband connections in 5-10 minutes.

The CD makes as much sense today as Blockbuster stores in the age of Netflix. It's horribly inefficient when a BR disc can fit 25GB in the same space, or more with multiple layers, and its limitations are left over from 30 years ago's "good enough" engineering, when little was understood about digital playback.

I wish everybody would just agree to let the thing die already, and start releasing all music in 24/88 or 24/96. No silly surround stuff, just high-res PCM stereo.

This hobby has never been about efficiency. Besides, don't you like actually having a physical copy of something from an artist you like? As much as it is about the music, it's about the artists themselves too and it's interesting to see what they put into the booklets and stuff. Plus, not everyone has an internet like that. Most people don't, downloading a 700mb album on my connection would take 4 hours and while my connection is slow, I don't know many people with much better.
And I think you should listen to some stuff from the 'good enough' era, you'd be surprised how many things today are about maximizing profit instead of quality. Excluding the high end, the quality of amps, speaker and headphone, has been going downhill, and I'm sure we all know about the loudness war. I've found that the most transparent CDs I have are from the early 80s to the mid 90s. Blockbuster failed because people don't want to pay for packaging for something that they are only renting, physical media still has a long life ahead of it, no one is forcing you to use it, so what's the problem?
post #27 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

How so? The compact disc is just a plastic container and a read surface for a 16-bit, 44.1Khz PCM digital audio file. It's absolutely no different if it's in WAV or AIFF format on a computer. It's a relic, left over from the days when people used to drive to places called music stores. An album worth of completely uncompressed WAV files is about 700MB, which you can download via most broadband connections in 5-10 minutes.

The CD makes as much sense today as Blockbuster stores in the age of Netflix. It's horribly inefficient when a BR disc can fit 25GB in the same space, or more with multiple layers, and its limitations are left over from 30 years ago's "good enough" engineering, when little was understood about digital playback.

I wish everybody would just agree to let the thing die already, and start releasing all music in 24/88 or 24/96. No silly surround stuff, just high-res PCM stereo.

You say a fully uncompressed album is about 700MB, then praise the BD. How much data can the average CD hold? 700MB? Wow, that's about perfect!

Why are we looking into BD-A and DVD-A when we could just rework the CD format to be a higher bitrate? We would make all current CD players that run 16/44.1 obsolete on these new discs, but SACD and DVD-A had the same issue and SACD has survived.

Personally I want a physical copy of my media. How may times have you pulled out a CD to find that it crashed and the data is gone? How about those hard drives? You can say you need to back up your data, but did I ever need to back up my CDs?

The age of downloading music has made it rare to find quality releases. I'm not even talking about the quality of the masters, I mean the content itself. I find it harder and harder to find an entire album of quality releases where if you go back before the iPod and downloading single songs the way a majority of people do, I can find plenty of albums where I consider most if not all of the content to be good music. Attempt to do away with a reason to actually make an album and not just singles, and this will not likely get any better.

Vinyl hasn't gone anywhere, and CDs aren't going to leave either.
post #28 of 95
Thread Starter 

Dave, I hope you arent going to get me into another argument over the value of 16/44.1 vs so-called hi-rez for folk with average hearing.  For me, 16/44,1 is just fine as long as EAC tells me there were no problems with the rip - I still like to be able to store the CDs. Whether I can actually hear the difference between redbook and LAME VBR for a lot of modern pop is less important to me than knowing I have the WAV files - you cant recreate all of that PCM goodness from a download. 

 

As for your assertion re. downloading 700MB in 5 minutes, you really need to spend some time in a developing country like AUSTRALIA.  We still have dinosaur politicians objecting to the long-overdue rollout of our fiber-optic backbone:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Broadband_Network

 

Dont even get me started on pricing.....  and we are back at 99 US cents to the dollar. Big country, small population and it sucks to be us. 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

post #29 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by MohawkUS View Post

This hobby has never been about efficiency. Besides, don't you like actually having a physical copy of something from an artist you like? As much as it is about the music, it's about the artists themselves too and it's interesting to see what they put into the booklets and stuff. Plus, not everyone has an internet like that. Most people don't, downloading a 700mb album on my connection would take 4 hours and while my connection is slow, I don't know many people with much better.
And I think you should listen to some stuff from the 'good enough' era, you'd be surprised how many things today are about maximizing profit instead of quality. Excluding the high end, the quality of amps, speaker and headphone, has been going downhill, and I'm sure we all know about the loudness war. I've found that the most transparent CDs I have are from the early 80s to the mid 90s. Blockbuster failed because people don't want to pay for packaging for something that they are only renting, physical media still has a long life ahead of it, no one is forcing you to use it, so what's the problem?

 

The "physical copy" argument just doesn't work for me. Booklets can be scanned and appreciated without having to actually hold them (do you print out every picture you ever take so you can hold it in your hands?) and ultimately physical copies just take up space. A basic 1TB hard drive can hold some 1500 completely uncompressed albums within the space of a few inches. How much space does 1500 CDs take up? Most people have some type of broadband. My phone can download 700mb in less than 4 hours. Further, even if it does take 4 hours, so what? Most people buying CDs will be ordering them online, and while have to wait at least 24 hours, or maybe days if they don't want to pay more for shipping than the price of the CD itself.

 

What does the supposed declining quality of entry level and mid-price electronics have to do with the CD? Portable CD players started out as precision machines and became plastic commodity junk, yes. Nobody uses portable CD players anymore. They are inconvenient for the exact same reason that CDs are inconvenient at home, just more so. Otherwise I don't buy that argument. $1K or $2K buys you a lot more today than it did 15 years ago.

 

The loudness war and crappy pop music production has nothing to do with the CD being alive or dead. As I said, the CD is just a 700mb delivery mechanism for PCM digital audio files. It's no different than a USB thumb drive, or 350 floppy disks.

 

The best sounding album I have is the Bill Evans Trio - Waltz For Debby on the Analogue Productions Limited Edition 24K Gold CD. This was released in 2002. It's WAY better than the 1992 Original Jazz Classics 20-bit remaster CD release (OJC releases with rare exceptions tend to be lazily produced and sound mediocre). It also beats the Riverside 20-bit K2 and JVC XRCD from 2000. Further, it beats Analogue Production's own SACD from the same year. How is that possible? Isn't SACD supposed to sound better? It's possible because both the CD and SACD are just delivery mechanisms. There's nothing inherently good or bad about them, they are just containers. It's production and mastering that wins out, and the Doug Sax "mastered on tube equipment" master on the AP Limited Edition disc is incredible. The other discs don't have that master on them, therefore they don't sound as good.

 

Doug Sax also did a vinyl release for AP in 2008, which I haven't heard. It could be better than the LE gold CD, or not. The problem with vinyl is that the sound is as interpreted by your cartridge and table. You're not really hearing what the engineers heard in the studio, you're hearing what your cartridge is telling you. That being said, there are plenty of cases where the vinyl master stomps all over anything that was ever released digitally, so the vinyl wins out pretty much no matter what, even on tables that cost a couple hundred bucks.

 

Waltz was recently released again, this time for HDTracks. The quality of HDTracks releases is all over the map, but that has nothing to do with them not being physical objects. The only thing that matters is where'd the tape or digital recording come from, and whether the engineers did their jobs properly or not. I haven't heard the HDTracks version yet, but I am curious if Paul Stubblebine's transfer from the original tapes and his mastering job beats Doug's.

post #30 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by sml1226 View Post

You say a fully uncompressed album is about 700MB, then praise the BD. How much data can the average CD hold? 700MB? Wow, that's about perfect!
Why are we looking into BD-A and DVD-A when we could just rework the CD format to be a higher bitrate? We would make all current CD players that run 16/44.1 obsolete on these new discs, but SACD and DVD-A had the same issue and SACD has survived.
Personally I want a physical copy of my media. How may times have you pulled out a CD to find that it crashed and the data is gone? How about those hard drives? You can say you need to back up your data, but did I ever need to back up my CDs?
The age of downloading music has made it rare to find quality releases. I'm not even talking about the quality of the masters, I mean the content itself. I find it harder and harder to find an entire album of quality releases where if you go back before the iPod and downloading single songs the way a majority of people do, I can find plenty of albums where I consider most if not all of the content to be good music. Attempt to do away with a reason to actually make an album and not just singles, and this will not likely get any better.
Vinyl hasn't gone anywhere, and CDs aren't going to leave either.

 

Perfect unless you want to release a piece of music that's 800mb. Then you can either cut it to fit on a single CD, or release it as an annoying double CD with the second disc containing 2 tracks.

 

I wasn't making the argument for BD-A or DVD-A, I was just saying that the CD is a waste of space. Re-working the CD for a higher bit-rate was already tried. It was called HDCD, and it didn't work. DualDiscs didn't work either. The market is already accustomed to the convenience of MP3, and they just are not going to be convinced to buy new types of 5" discs with music on them. For those that care about sound quality, what will convince them is lossless digital downloads. They get all the same convenience as MP3, with the same tags, lyrics, and cover art if desired, but they can listen to identical to CD files either in ALAC for the Apple folk, or FLAC for everybody else. 

 

How many times have you pulled out a CD to find that it's scratched, and it skips right in the middle of your favorite song? I'd certainly hope you're backing up your CDs. CDs scratch, and their lifespan is not infinite. You might get 30 years out of them, you might even get 40, but factory pressed CDs will eventually stop playing.

 

Vinyl hasn't gone away. Neither have vacuum tubes. Pure analog has its own appeal, and as long as there are still people around to buy tube amps and vinyl, the pressing plants will keep running, and vinyl will continue to be released. The CD doesn't have that advantage, it only has disadvantages. Nobody listens to portable CD players anymore. I predict that within the next 10 years, you'll start to see the CD disappear from cars the same way casette decks did. Why do I need a stack of CDs in the car when I have streaming Pandora or Spotify, and I can just pop in an SD card in a slot in the dash, or a USB drive in the glove box? So CDs will disappear from cars, and eventually they will disappear entirely. The writing is already on the wall.

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