PCDP Questions
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Rizumu

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Hey all,

I'm new to Head-Fi and trying to find out the best PDCP for the new headphones I'm looking into getting. First though I have some real newbie questions...

What exactly is a "line out", and how is it different from the headphone jack? What difference does it make in connecting a headphone amp to the line out or the jack?

I currently own a Panasonic SL-SW880, and have heard some disparaging things about their sound quality. Hey, they looked cool and had "BrainShaker" phones, right? 180 bucks can't go wrong right?


The Brainshaker phones broke - damn those things were uncomfortable. They were like a vice on your head, and your ears hurt if you listened for very long with the VMSS. I've used run-of-the-mill Sony earbuds since then. The player's served me well and lasted longer than any of my other PCDPs. I broke one of the front latches when I dropped it from a height of ~4 feet though
. Not on a soft carpet mind you, but a hard tile floor...my old Sony would've been dead before it hit the ground


Anyway, here's a quote from amazon.com for the SL-SW895 (same thing, different colors as far as I can tell) that disturbed me: "The main problem with the sound however, comes from the headphone jack itself. Basically, the headphone jack on this model seems to have a somewhat poor power output and it distorts the sound very easily, even at low volumes. Compared to other panasonic portable cd-players, the sound output is really quite poor. Even with the use of a headphone amp the sound still distorts very easily."

I'm looking to get the Ultrasone HFI-650 along with a Porta Corda amp. Can my current PCDP drive these? Or would it be a lot better to get a new one?

If so, I'm willing to sacrifice features for sound quality...hopefully there's one out there that's durable enough though. I tend to be hard on things. My experience with Panasonic has been astronomically better than that with Sony, so are there any older models out there with great SQ? I've heard most newer models, well, leave a lot to be desired. HeadRoom recommends the SL-CT470/570, but I was recommended against them on the Headphones board due to "grainyness".

Whew. I'm done. Sorry for being so damn long-winded. I like to write a lot. If I had a webpage I'd be good at rants. I'll sit back and take in the wisdom of all you experts out there...
 
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post-191529
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kerelybonto

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A line-out is the same thing as a headphone jack except that it puts out an unamplified ("line-level") signal. This requires the use of an external amplifier to bring the signal up to a listenable volume and to resolve some impedance mismatch issues. The benefit of a line-out is simply that it bypasses the cheap, bad-sounding components in the PCDP's internal amp and lets you use a higher quality external amp. There are pretty much no sonic benefits when using an external amplifier out of the headphone jack unless you just need more juice.

The Panasonic SL-CT470/570 that HeadRoom recommends are generally well-regarded here. They both have good line-outs and headphone jacks that sound decent. They also have an uncompressed ten-second antiskip and a durable magnesium (or aluminum, not sure) lid. Also has internally rechargable batteries and an attachable battery pack. Comes with a AC adaptor and crappy headphones.

Bottomline: If you want to use an amp, probably best to get a PCDP with a line-out.

kerely
 
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Rizumu

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Okay...so if the headphone jack on my player is poor, and a line out will bypass that, then an amp would work fine on my current player? Or can you have bad sounding line outs as well? The player has a hole that says "OUT" right next to the DC In...is that it?
 
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Eagle_Driver

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The jack that says "OUT" is your line-out jack. But I've found that most of the Panasonic PCDPs sound somewhat grainy from their line-out. And that's largely because of Panasonic's bass-boost/EQ configuration: The S-XBS mode (and Train and Live modes, if the player has one) will also affect the line-out signal accordingly. Also, the audio signal in most of the Panasonics that have a line-out has to pass through the crappy headphone-out op-amp even before it goes to the line-out jack. Here's a typical Panasonic line-out/headphone-out configuration:

D/A converter (with only one output) --> headphone-out op-amp --> volume-control pot --> headphone jack
The line-out jack is connected somewhere in between the op-amp and the pot; the EQ circuit is connected somewhere in between the D/A converter and the op-amp.

Thus, the Panasonic's line-out does NOT bypass the crappy headphone op-amp (contrary to popular belief).
 
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Rizumu

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Yeah, lini remarked on the SL-CT470 being grainy...

What PCDP (normal CD player, not MP3/CD) would you recommend most then? I thought amps were supposed to compensate for the fact that your CD player's sound sucks.
 
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NotoriousBIG_PJ

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The ct570 gives you good battery life and good sound, something rare in todays pcdp's.


Biggie.
 
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Rizumu

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One more thing before I go to bed...-_-...almost 1 am and I have a test in the morning...

I've been looking through earlier posts and at newer models, and since the Panasonic SL-CT790 doesn't have a line out, I've been considering the newer Sony models. Is there any difference between the Sony D-EJ955 and Sony D-EJ1000? I really like how the D-EJ955 looks and its cheaper than the D-EJ1000...

Or should I wait for reviews on the D-EJ2000? I'm not sure I want to spend $200 though...maybe I'll just go with the Panasonic SL-CT570 like I was planning from the start.

What are gumstick batteries exactly? Are they very expensive? Never heard of/seen them before...still using good old AAs...

What I really want to know about is the D-EJ955 though...anyone have it?

Using too many ellipsis...that means I'm tired...-_-zzzzzzz
 
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Rizumu

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Okay, let's try a simple question to revive this:

As far as using a headphone amp with the line-out, which of these PCDPs is the best: the Panasonic SL-CT570 or the Sony D-EJ955? I half want to hear the D-EJ955 is better (it looks so cool!), but then again, I can get the SL-CT570 for so much cheaper...

Or is the 925 better than the 955?

That's it. Short and simple.


Thanks in advance.
 
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purk

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Hi,
According to my experiences with Sony Discman, the newer model (D-EJ01, 1000, 955, 915, and 925), all have a very good line out quality. To my ears, these newers Sony has no problem leaving the Panasonic behind. The line out on the newer sony discmans add richness to the top and overall clarity to those being offer by Pana. Moreover, low frequencies are slightly better executed on Sony's. Sony wins by a little.

As of the headphone out, a different story. The newer discmans are known (here in the board) for its distorted, dull, and and dark headphone out. Overall clarity is bad, and the bass is just not acceptable. On the other hand, Panasonic (top models) does a better job. The panasonic is not over done in any department. It offers a good natural sound to their line of PCDPs.
The overall clarity, treble, soundstage is good and much better than Sony's. Pana wins by a wide margin.

I would advise you to pick up the Panasonic, if you want just one portable cd player. However, if you want to invest in a headphone amp and some high qulity headphone, and use the line out, Sony is the way to go.

For portable purpose, get contact with Fixup, and order one of his "Super Mini" amp and use it with D-955 and you won't be disappointed. This amp sounds great, and very efficient in driving high impedance headphone (Senn HD-580). Given its cost and sound improvement over the original headphone out, it is a true bargain. Click here for Super Mini Headphone Amplifier.

Finally, there are many older Discmans (We called it "Legendary Discman") that would put the newer Sony, and the Pana CT-570 to shame in any department, accept the battery life, and portability. These models are as follows: Sony D-555, D-303, D-515, D-25S (lots in Ebay), D-35, D-777, and D-E905. There are other brands, but Sony is the top runner on this category. Click here for pics and some info on these legends. Good luck on your purchase.

Purk
 
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Rizumu

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Wow, thanks for all the info. I don't think I'm going to go hunting for one of the bigger, older models, so the D-EJ955 sounds like the one to get. "Sorry about your wallet", eh? LOL


I was planning on getting the Ultrasone HFI-650 with a Porta Pro from Jan Meier. The Super Mini costs about half as much as the Porta Pro - which would work better?

Off to class, thanks.
 
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