cheap cd player as transport
May 18, 2021 at 3:00 PM Post #2 of 24

jonathan c

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Hi i am searching for a cheap cd player/trnsport to use the coax to my dac - i want reliability and bit perfect output - any ideas

d
What is your budget? What I have used for 2 —> 3 years is the Audiolab CDT-6000 transport. It reads CDs perfectly and without fuss and retrieves immense sound detail from CDs. It is as reliable as all get, too. I hope that the Audiolab is within your budget...
 
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May 20, 2021 at 2:58 PM Post #4 of 24

hodgjy

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Hi i am searching for a cheap cd player/trnsport to use the coax to my dac - i want reliability and bit perfect output - any ideas

d
First, let me say that I'm not an amp and DAC athiest as I can hear differences between them.

However, unless humans have someone evolved the ability to hear low-level jitter from a digital source, any CD player, DVD player, or Blu-ray player with a coax out will work just fine and will sound exactly the same to human ears. Will they have different jitter measurements? Maybe, but, once again, humans can't hear it. Also, any DAC worth more than $5 will re-time the incoming digital signal and jitter is a moot point anyway.

The same people who tell you there are audible differences between transports also believe that two cables with exactly the same impedence can sound different. Or, that CDs burned at 2x are better quality and sound better than those burned at 52x. It's all placebo.

Your search should focus on which player has the quiestest spinner because that's what is actually audibly different between units and you will hear, which can affect your music enjoyment.
 
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May 20, 2021 at 3:07 PM Post #5 of 24

ssmith3046

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I was using a Marantz CD5003 for a transport before I bought the Audiolab 6000cdt. Using the same DAC there is a discernible improvement in the sound quality with the Audiolab 6000cdt. I'm just reporting my experience. Take or leave it, makes no difference to me.
 
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May 20, 2021 at 3:37 PM Post #6 of 24

The Jester

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You’ll rarely get bit perfect from a spinning disc, a pristine CD and a good laser pickup with a purpose built servo system might just get you there now and then, but once the error correction has to add a missing bit it’s not bit perfect … is it audible … most likely not, a CD transport does indeed just outputs a digital signal but the quality of the components in the rest of the system determines how much noise is transferred along with it, why some swear by Toslink vs coax,
But noise can’t affect a digital signal ? …. No it can’t but if transferred to the DAC it can get to the analogue section and there it will … having just a disc transport and minimal digital electronics at the player end goes some way to minimising noise transfer, as does the quality or existence of galvanic isolation at the DAC end, you may see specs for DAC’s stating “galvanic isolation” as a feature but that’s usually confined to the USB input.
 
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May 20, 2021 at 3:50 PM Post #7 of 24

hodgjy

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The OP said "cheap," so that guided most of my talking points. You can pay more and mor money for measureable differences, but those differences aren't usually audible.
 
May 20, 2021 at 5:03 PM Post #9 of 24

ssmith3046

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I love it when someone tells me that I'm not hearing what I'm hearing. I'm not making anything up. Using the same DAC with the same coax cable there is an improvement in the sound quality when using the Audiolab 6000CDT than when I was using the Marantz CD5003 as a transport. But the world is in need of more know it all experts.
 
May 20, 2021 at 5:35 PM Post #10 of 24

hodgjy

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I love it when someone tells me that I'm not hearing what I'm hearing. I'm not making anything up. Using the same DAC with the same coax cable there is an improvement in the sound quality when using the Audiolab 6000CDT than when I was using the Marantz CD5003 as a transport. But the world is in need of more know it all experts.
Explain this, then. A $10 dvd drive found in any computer is bit perfect. It uses the cheapest components known to society. If it wasn’t bit perfect, you couldn’t install your programs to your computer or burn backups of your family photos. If there were data errors, the programs won’t work or the photos won’t display. There is no in between because the OS will tell you the transfers failed verification and it ceases loading of the corrupted files. Also, audiophiles use that same $10 dvd drive to rip bit perfect copies of their cds in FLAC so they can feed them to their $2000 external DAC. They don’t buy a $600 outboard CD ripper because the $10 one does the job.

So, how can a $10 dvd drive be bit perfect, but a $50 Sony Blu-ray player isn’t? If the Blu-ray player wasn’t bit perfect, the video and audio in the movies would be all kinds of corrupted.

And thanks for going ad hominen by calling someone a know it all.
 
May 21, 2021 at 2:47 AM Post #11 of 24

magicalmouse

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i noticed my dvd player outputs audio and presumably the digital coax feed at 48 not 44.1 - is this an issue or the coax at 44.1 and the setting for 48 audio is purely for the analogue output through the dac which shouldn't come into play with coax out?

very confusing!

d
 
May 21, 2021 at 3:11 AM Post #13 of 24

The Jester

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Explain this, then. A $10 dvd drive found in any computer is bit perfect. It uses the cheapest components known to society. If it wasn’t bit perfect, you couldn’t install your programs to your computer or burn backups of your family photos. If there were data errors, the programs won’t work or the photos won’t display. There is no in between because the OS will tell you the transfers failed verification and it ceases loading of the corrupted files. Also, audiophiles use that same $10 dvd drive to rip bit perfect copies of their cds in FLAC so they can feed them to their $2000 external DAC. They don’t buy a $600 outboard CD ripper because the $10 one does the job.

So, how can a $10 dvd drive be bit perfect, but a $50 Sony Blu-ray player isn’t? If the Blu-ray player wasn’t bit perfect, the video and audio in the movies would be all kinds of corrupted.

And thanks for going ad hominen by calling someone a know it all.
It’s quite simple, a CD player has to output a digital stream in real time and to do so it has on the fly error correction to fill in any missing bits, a computer drive can be put under software control to demand bit perfect ripping and will re read a single bit error over and over until it gets it correct or flag a warning, I’ve resorted to buy second hand CD’s for some out of production titles and all apart from a couple have played fine in the CD transport, with The PC drive it will rip a CD in good condition in a few minutes, with the one that skipped in the CD transport it took 20 minutes …
 
May 21, 2021 at 9:13 AM Post #14 of 24

hodgjy

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It’s quite simple, a CD player has to output a digital stream in real time and to do so it has on the fly error correction to fill in any missing bits, a computer drive can be put under software control to demand bit perfect ripping and will re read a single bit error over and over until it gets it correct or flag a warning, I’ve resorted to buy second hand CD’s for some out of production titles and all apart from a couple have played fine in the CD transport, with The PC drive it will rip a CD in good condition in a few minutes, with the one that skipped in the CD transport it took 20 minutes …
Even the cheapest cd player will have a modest data buffer.

What you’re describing is data error that results in skips and dropouts. When any drive extracts data, errors, should they occur, will result in dropouts or skips, not changes in pitch, timbre, “clarity,” “air,” and “detail” that many claim to be able to hear when they buy a dedicated audio cd transport.

Imagine if you tried to install Windows on a computer using a dvd drive. Any data errors will result in corrupt files, and probably a failed installation, not a Windows that works faster with brighter colors and more vibrant system sounds. Can you imagine the wrath of Microsoft if different brands on dvd drives installed slightly different versions of Windows?

Other points to consider. Imagine if two transports did sound different, then that means one of them was specifically programmed in some fashion to change the digital code in real-time before exporting it. You’d think this would require a bit a legwork and cost, and would be something that the manufacturer would proudly advertise as a desirable feature, probably to add more to the cost. “With our custom filter, you have clearer highs, deeper bass, and a liquidity to the midrange.” Yet, not a single one makes mention of this, although many companies that make DACs proudly advertise their custom filters that they claim do just that. And, if one of them did have custom programming, why would it sound better? Audiophiles spent large amounts of money for accuracy and fidelity. Changing the code means it’s no longer accurate.

Never underestimate the power of expectation bias. Why is it that the more expensive units always sound better in head-to-head pairings? Also, consider fancy power cables. I’ve read countless posts about how some $600 power cable lifted a veil, tightened up the bass, and tamed the treble. Really? So, despite the power traveling 50 miles along the grid in steel cable, then through the house in the mixture of barely code legal aluminum and copper wire that has been partially chewed on by rats, and then your tv dumps dirty DC back into the mains, somehow the last 3 feet of 14 ga silver coated copper cable is going to drastically change the sound?

As I stated earlier, and I’ll elaborate further now, anything that reproduces analog waveforms impacts the sound: transducers, DACs, amps, turntables, etc. Bit perfect data in the digital domain doesn’t. It either works or has dropouts, or doesn’t work at all.

People that listen to expensive gear, like transports and cables, sighted are biased and are hearing what they want to. Do a volume-matched blind test and the differences disappear. I’ll admit that even though I can hear differences between DACs, I sometimes have trouble telling them apart 100% of the time during blind tests, especially when using poorly mastered material.
 

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