Difference between 2 CD Players with an external DAC
Mar 20, 2006 at 8:11 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

Alu

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Hello,

I've been using a ROTEL RCD-02 for quite some time now, in combination with the bel canto DAC 2 that is, and I wondered whether changing this player with a Denon DVD-2910, for redbook playback among other things, would make a difference in quality one way or another.
I'm quite aware that it is in fact the dac that is the most crucial in this equation, nonetheless with 2 different players I can't help but think that a difference is to be heard.

I would prefer selling the ROTEL for other insane audio and HT expenses.

Thanks in advance
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 7:31 PM Post #3 of 7

Beauregard

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Alu
... I'm quite aware that it is in fact the dac that is the most crucial in this equation, nonetheless with 2 different players I can't help but think that a difference is to be heard. ...


As none of the real experts have chimed in... The differences in sound quality of a transport are due to the amount and nature of jitter (timing errors) introduced into the datastream before it's fed into the DAC. These errors cause increased low-level noise when the analog signal is reconstructed which can cause a "muddying" of the sound. This can have a negative impact on soundstage and spatial characterisitics if one transport is "jittery" compared to another.

However, your DAC2 uses a sophisticated asynchronous resampling circuit to reclock the digital stream which makes it very resistant to the negative effects of upstream jitter. Therefore it's much less likely that there will be detectable differences between the players used to provide the digital signal providing that they're bit-transparent (don't modify the 0s and 1s of the digital stream in any way). My Benchmark DAC1 uses the same resampling chip as the DAC2 and, with CDs, I can't hear any difference between my $1K SACD/CD player and the sub-$100 DVD player I use with the DAC.

So I'd say it's not likely that you'd find any difference between the Rotel and the Denon driving your DAC2 with CDs. One thing to keep in mind with a DVD player is to make sure all the various and sundry "audio enhancements" are turned off to make sure that it's sending an unadulterated datastream to the DAC.

Good luck!
Beau
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 9:17 PM Post #4 of 7

Alu

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Thank you for your reply.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beauregard
My Benchmark DAC1 uses the same resampling chip as the DAC2 and, with CDs, I can't hear any difference between my $1K SACD/CD player and the sub-$100 DVD player I use with the DAC.


I actually find that to be quite amazing. That would render the whole point of having a better transport (up to around 1000USD) quite useless with a DAC similar to ours then. I never thought the DACs' jitter-reduction would work to such an extent.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 3:14 AM Post #5 of 7

roy_jones

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I'm interested in the information sought in this thread as well, and my natural follow-up question is with regards to the lower-priced, non-oversampling DAC's that are all the rage for budget consumers.

Because it starts to make me question, if I'm buying a non-oversampling DAC, whether I'm actually further ahead in the long run, if I simply end up having to put more money into the transport as a means of compensating for the inability in the DAC to deal with jitter. If I spend $300 on a NOS DAC, but I have to spend $250 to get a half-decent transport, then why not spend $500 on an OS DAC and be able to get away with using a cheaper transport?

I know there's said to be a difference in the sound characteristics of the two types of DACs, as well, but that being granted, wouldn't the overall sound quality of the oversampling DAC be better- if you're taking preferences out of the picture?
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 3:56 AM Post #6 of 7

Garbz

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This is a bit of a grey area. Yes you'll hear a difference. But wheter that difference is good or bad is quite a difficult question. I've compared a Pioneer DV-676 with synchronous reclocking and a Tentlabs clock to a dedicated Arcam transport and like the sub $150 pioneer much more.

The difference between Non-OS clocks and oversampled clocks doesn't make it more or less resistant to jitter really. It's more to do with the nature of the jitter if it's in-band or wide band. Some S/PDIF receivers like the CS8416 have the option to configure the clocks accordingly for this reason.

So to answer your question Alu I can't say that any one cdplayer will sound better then any other because of the wide ranges and different effects of jitter. Some fantastic audiophile cdplayers have horrible digital outs and visa versa. This is really a case of try before you buy.

One thing that I will add because I can't help myself is that IMHO asynchronous reclocking sucks and often can do more damage then good. Just as well the rest of the DAC2 is so good
evil_smiley.gif
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 3:56 AM Post #7 of 7
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From my (limited) experience, a source can make a big difference with a non-OS DAC. I have a (non-OS) ack Dack 2.0, and recently switched from a CD transport to computer based audio (through a Red Wine Audio USB Transit). The difference is very noticeable. Everything just snapped into focus with the USB source. Extremely clear and smooth. With the CD by comparison, sound was muddy and was also hurting my ears a bit (too harsh).
 

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