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Differences between PCDs

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Sorry to sound daft, but are there truly major differences in sound quality between modestly priced PCDs? From what is posted on this site and from manufacturer sites, it doesn't look like there are a lot of current PCDs that have high wattage output from their headphone jack. Almost all current models have some sort of antiskip technology, almost all have some sort of battery saving features. Are there true differences in sound quality between say the low end of the Panasonic (or Sony, or whomever) line vs the high end of the Panasonic line (again, for PCD)?? Or are the differences more related to features (like better battery life, adding FM, rechargable batteries, etc).

Example: From the Panasonic website, it looks like all the the players have the same DAC, the same wattage output from the HP jack, and have a lot of the same basic features. Does the sound quality really improve as move up the line?

If people had to list their favorite SOUNDING PCD player, what would it be?

Info: I've got a low end Panasonic (SL SX285??) plus a JMT Altoids amp. After moving up the headphone line (from modified Koss Plughs to Grado 125, to {soon!!!} Ety ER4P), I'm wondering if udgrading the PCD will help improve sound quality appreciably. Unfortunately, I don't have the cash to go with the SACD player just yet... yet

post #2 of 4
You ask a hard question. The only thing i can say is try them all.

Apparently, the sound quality does get better as you go up the line with the panasonics. However, you definitely want one with a line out with a JMT Altroid amp and many panasonic models in the USA do not have a line out. That narrows your choices considerably.

If you are interested in Sony, then you got a dilemna (can't spell that word). Many of their high ends have mixed reviews in this forum. People like me say that certain mid-range pcdp sound better than certain higher end ones. I actually believe that sony is inconsistent in their designs and their product line really shows that. They got good expensive pcdp and they have really bad expensive pcdp.

Since you were talking about SACD player, you might be better off saving your money because I don't think getting a better pcdp will improve the sound that much better. The newer models are about power saving and little about sound quality.
post #3 of 4
ya i agree, i think sound quality between ALL models, whether low price or high, varies greatly. Most companies design pcdp's around features, so i'm sure that sound quality is hit and miss most of the time.

The ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to tell how well a pcdp sounds is to listen to it yourself. That way, you're evaluating it with YOUR ears, and with YOUR cans and amp. Pcdp's are also different in how they sound with different models of headphones. They can sound terrible with one pair of cans, but be awesome with another.

I have to say though some really inexpensive pcdp's just downright suck. A lot of them have background noise/hum problems or the famous *volume comes from left side at quiet, only centered at loud volumes* deal.
post #4 of 4
I've got that same Panasonic but don't have a (good) amp yet (I'm working on it as time allows, but soldering with kids around ain't easy.)

I also have a Sony D-e556k and D-25s. Of the three, the D25 is the obvious choice from the headphone jack. From the line-out on the Sonys through my home system, either line-out wins over the Panasonics jack through the same system.

I don't know how much a difference the models make as the difference between a headphone jack and line-out to an amp.

Hope this helps.
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