Just dusted off my old Sony MZ-R70 minidisc player and began using it as a DAC. It's kind've a funky setup, since I can only hear something from it if it's either playing a minidisc or recording to a minidisc - meaning, I have to record whatever I'm listening to on my computer in order to use it as an external DAC.
With that said, the soundstage alone sounds better than either my Cowon or iPod classic. I thought it might just be some sort of nostalgia creeping in and influencing my hearing, but after playing music on minidisc, playing games, music from itunes through Audirvana, etc., it just flat out sounds better. It has more of an analog sound which reminds me of a good turntable or a clear radio station. Lots of depth to the soundstage.
Anyone know why this is? Were the DACs used in these little minidisc players just superior to those used in PMPs nowadays? Seems like it would be the other way around, but my hearing tends to be more influenced by soundstage than actual detail retrieval. I have very sensitive ears anyway. I'm also well aware that minidisc uses ATRAC compression, but FLACs on the Cowon don't have the soundstage of the minidisc, even with the various BBE settings enabled.
It also sounds clearer than the Cowon, which tends to be more laid back and smooth sounding, but whether that aspect of the MZ-R70's sound is superior or not, I have no idea.
Edited by whereas - 1/9/13 at 2:56pm