Was a $1000 CD Player Better than a $150 one? My view. - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 07:53 PM
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We will be waiting on pins and needles for your results. In the meatime perhaps you can use this time to reflect on your attitude. I think its perfectly acceptable for the very knowledgable and respected posters to have a gripe with your flawed comparison test. You taking swipes at them after the fact with your snide remarks only makes you look worse.

Dont come on here, make a mistake, and then make it everyone elses fault rookie.
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post #92 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Bruins,

Sorry I offended you. I've taken out some undue harshness from the post. That said, there are people who repeat certain mantras, and those who've provided useful information and perspectives. Again, I thank the latter.

And for the record, I would rather sell the Marantz and keep the Oppo, if I reached the conclusion that the difference was either nonexistant or not worth the price (seperate but related judgments). Even now I'll be able to sell it for about what I bought it for, and I certainly could do other things with the money.
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post #93 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 08:18 PM
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I thought you not only offended many of the posters in this thread but really the whole forum and what its all about. I think you know what this site is looking for. You seem intelligent enough to know that.

We want YOU to provide useful info. Some of the mantras however that have been repeated are pretty important too. Dont sell them short because they dont go along with your agenda.
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post #94 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 08:58 PM
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Speak for yourself.
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post #95 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 08:59 PM
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I think its pretty obvious what the point of this form is. Most people come here to learn and discuss more about the hobby. I would say that the main goal of the majority of the posters is to wring as much performance out of their system as possbile. Many have budgets, some do not.

No, you do not need any type of qualification to post here. And yes, most of this is "opinion". However I dont know why you think "vast majority here dont know what they are talking about" On the contrary I think many here are extremly helpful and knowledgable and I would say that there are posters here who are truly experts.

I think that might be your first problem. You dont realize the amount of knowledge available to you here. The posters in this thread were interested in learning something and perhaps teaching you something too.

You are almost trying to justify your behavior now after your flawed test and clear insult of many here by degrading the site. If you think this is just a site where its all about opinions (and from what you think - opinions from people who dont know what they are talking about) then you may not get much from this forum.

Again, sorry if nobody liked the way you did your comparison but I think I speak for everyone when I say that they were just as interested in learning as much as you were.
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post #96 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoltenLava View Post

Speak for yourself.

Molton, was that to me because there was a Markos post right before yours that he deleted. It was what I was responding to but now its gone. It looked like what you were responding to as well.
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post #97 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 09:16 PM
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I think he double posted the same thing by mistake, because when i checked last there was an identical post at the end of page 3 and the beginning of page 4. He did since edit it the first post and delete the dupe, but most of it is there.
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post #98 of 413 Old 12-15-2008, 09:19 PM
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No he deleted a post right above Moltons Speak for Yourself post.

MArkos was telling me how the vast majortiy of the posters here do not know what they are talking about and what is the point of the forum etc. I should have quoted it in my response. I did not.
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post #99 of 413 Old 12-16-2008, 08:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

MArkos was telling me how the vast majortiy of the posters here do not know what they are talking about and what is the point of the forum etc.

Perhaps he realized something and deleted it.
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post #100 of 413 Old 12-16-2008, 02:05 PM
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Wow.

So much information. I have not owned a standalone CD player since DVD players became available. My first and only home CD player was a Sony, purchased in 1986. It worked faithfully until 2002.

Since purchasing a pair of B&W 704, my interest in music has been renewed. I've been using my trusty Panasonic S-97 DVD player for CDs for the last 4 years. So from what I've read, all things being equal, the sound quality from my S-97, will be audibly indistinguishable from a PS3 or a $3500 Linn Majik CD??
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post #101 of 413 Old 12-16-2008, 02:35 PM
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That would be likely. The limitation with players like the S-97 is the randomizing functionality and stuff like that. I think my dad bought an S-97 to use as a CD player and it wouldn't play the next disc after it was done playing the one it was one, you had to manually tell it to play the next disc and that was a deal breaker. He ended up getting a ~$150 JVC 5 disc CD player that worked just like the old one he had since like 1988.
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post #102 of 413 Old 12-16-2008, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Bruins,

You mischaracertize the post; but it was not a good post (11:00 at night) and so I deleted it about 10 minutes afterward.

I will NEVER deny that a lot of people here know what they're talking about (otherwise there's no point in posting). A good number of the posters on this thread have provided excellent information and have given me things to think about.

Again, apologies for offending you and anyone else. And from the get-go I'm well aware that the comparison was flawed.

You go on to say:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

You dont realize the amount of knowledge available to you here. The posters in this thread were interested in learning something and perhaps teaching you something too. [selective snip]

[selective snip] I speak for everyone when I say that they were just as interested in learning as much as you were.

Anyway, it seems based on your post you and I (and I'm sure other forum members) do have the same objectives. Let's reboot.

I did give a preliminary listen to the Oppo and the Marantz from the digital coax out. Maybe there was a difference, but if there was it's pretty subtle.

Question: Is there much further point pursuing that particular issue (i.e. the degree of difference)?

Second Q: was there any reason to believe that there would be any difference between the two when used in this manner? My impression is that in the end both were taking the contents of the CD, translating it into LPCM and sending it to the Cary.
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post #103 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 06:43 AM
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Man, I can relate to this ...

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Originally Posted by CouchTater1 View Post

I have not owned a standalone CD player since DVD players became available. My first and only home CD player was a Sony, purchased in 1986. It worked faithfully until 2002.

My first CD player was a Sony from 1985-86 (a CDP-302, I think), but it began to skip around and generally screw up by 1991. I replaced it with a big Denon DCD-1560, which was the best player I've ever owned (subsequently replaced in 2004 with a "universal" Denon DVD player ... mistake). I'll always have a soft spot for that original that Sony, though.

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Originally Posted by CouchTater1 View Post

Since purchasing a pair of B&W 704, my interest in music has been renewed.

I'm with you there too. I've had B&W 703s for almost five years. How can you not wanna listen to two-channel music through these?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CouchTater1 View Post

I've been using my trusty Panasonic S-97 DVD player for CDs for the last 4 years. So from what I've read, all things being equal, the sound quality from my S-97, will be audibly indistinguishable from a PS3 or a $3500 Linn Majik CD??

The answer is ... I dunno for sure. Despite the bluster (and this thread has plenty of it), I doubt many people here have actually listened to many reference-quality uber-players (I've only heard a couple), so it's hard to say with confidence, let alone with smug certainty.

I just know I don't like flimsy plastic stuff (anymore than I like the vinyl-covered speakers from my past), even if it does in fact sound pretty good and represent excellent value. Whether it's cars or cameras or audio components, I'll pay more for beefy and sturdy every time. That's just me, though.
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post #104 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Brownstone View Post


The answer is ... I dunno for sure. Despite the bluster (and this thread has plenty of it), I doubt many people here have actually listened to many reference-quality uber-players (I've only heard a couple), so it's hard to say with confidence, let alone with smug certainty.

I'm a recordist, so my standard (which is readily availble to me), are the 24 bit audio files that a CD might be burned from. It seems hard to imagine how any "uber-player' can beat those.

But of course I do have some associates who have "uber players" as well. They are great audio jewelry, but weren't we talking about sound quality? ;-)


Quote:


I just know I don't like flimsy plastic stuff (anymore than I like the vinyl-covered speakers from my past), even if it does in fact sound pretty good and represent excellent value.

If you like physically robust digital players, please visit web sites specializing in audio production grade products. Tascam would be a good starting point. Sweetwater and Full Compass and B&H are examples of retailers that deal in this kind of product.

Quote:


Whether it's cars or cameras or audio components, I'll pay more for beefy and sturdy every time. That's just me, though.

Yes, there's a part of me that despises equipment that is so light and trashy that I have to either Velcro it down, or put something heavy on top of it so it doesn't skitter around when I press the buttons.

BTW when it comes to cameras, I still love my classic old Canon FT which I've kept up so it takes great pictures.

However, its hard to beat the light weight, tiny size and great pictures that my SD-1000 takes. I know which one went to my daughter's wedding and our big hike/canoe camping trip this year.
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post #105 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 08:38 AM
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This is an interesting thread to me, but surely old news to most of you. I'll start by stating that I believe that I have heard differences between players but will acknowledge that there may have been other reasons for this than the "quality" of the players. I am sincerely interested in learning from the much more expereinced listeners who have been active in this thread. If I may start with a simple basic question to those who think there is no audible difference "Do you believe that all standard CD players made today will sound the same when connected the same way to a receiver or amp?"
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post #106 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rto View Post

If these products offered performance advantages of any significance, it would make perfect sense for manufacturers to invest in empirical SQ evaluation procedures and include results in marketing efforts, as such information would have great value in being highly persuasive. Dedicated enthusiasts would undoubtedly be swayed by any level of statistical significance, and happily invest disproportionate sums for incremental advantages verified by scientific means. The fact that there isn't a single CE which employs objective comparative perceptual testing as a prominent element of their marketing efforts, speaks volumes.

Sorry if this is obvious to all of you but I am trying to understand what so may of you take as a given. What do you mean that since noone has conducted such a study and made the results known to persuade people to buy their product that this "speaks volumes"?
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post #107 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Sorry if this is obvious to all of you but I am trying to understand what so may of you take as a given. What do you mean that since noone has conducted such a study and made the results known to persuade people to buy their product that this "speaks volumes"?

Some self-described "objectivists" believe ad hominem that all "high-end" audio CE's who claim superior performance are lying, greedy charlatans, and that published data, whether by physical measurement or properly conducted ABX testing of their product, would expose them as such.

Me? I'm waiting for data showing that Tide detergent really does produce whiter whites and that BMW's truly are "The Ultimate Driving Machine".
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post #108 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

This is an interesting thread to me, but surely old news to most of you. I'll start by stating that I believe that I have heard differences between players but will acknowledge that there may have been other reasons for this than the "quality" of the players. I am sincerely interested in learning from the much more expereinced listeners who have been active in this thread. If I may start with a simple basic question to those who think there is no audible difference "Do you believe that all standard CD players made today will sound the same when connected the same way to a receiver or amp?"

All? No. Especially if you're using digital outs into the device's DACs. IOW, the device functions as a transport. You may, or may not give up flexibility in other areas like bass management, etc. If analog, there'll tend to be variations if only for the simple reason that the CD standard, which is 2 Volts out, allows for great flexibility and variability by manufacturers. There can be large variations, which many will perceive as one simply being louder than the other. There can also be lesser variations which a person doesn't perceive as louder but different. How people look to verbalize and explain that difference varies from person to person. The reason it's not simply stated as louder is that the ear does not have the same sensitivity to level changes across the frequency spectrum.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #109 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 09:32 AM
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One more quick post - I'll explain what I did in my listening test and you can explain why I heard differences. I compared an older NAD CD player with a new blu-ray player. My hope was that the blu-ray player would sound at least as good as the old CD player so I could eliminate one piece from an equipment rack that is getting too crowded.

Units were connected as follows: blu-ray via analog out to AVR, CD via analog out to AVR, CD via coax to AVR. I burned two each copies of a five CDs that I enjoy and am familiar with. For each trial I placed an identical CD in each player. I started the players and with a little bit of trial and error with the starting times I was able to get the two players to where they were almost at the same point in each CD, but not absolutely spot on. With a radio shack SPL meter I tried to find the volume setting on teh AVR that resulted in the same reading. For a listening test I when switching between sources I would quickly adjust the volume settting to the one that resulted in the same SPL reading. I know that many of you could perform better comparison tests but this is what I had to work with. I heard differences, with the bluray player sounding more detailed or precise or a bit brighter. But it had an edgey quality that I didn't really like and my wife was in agrrement. We both preferred the sound of the CD player via coax to the AVR, which sounded more integrated, more liek what I think I am used to hearing with live music. I listened and came to a conclusion and then ran through the same procedure with her. while it is possible I influenced her decision, I tried hard to be neutral for her benfit when conducting her tests. I changed the sequence of which player I tried first with the different CDs and she never new which was being used. I know that this was not a true double blind test and the sample size was very small, but why do I think that I heard a difference? Thanks
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post #110 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I'm a recordist, so my standard (which is readily availble to me), are the 24 bit audio files that a CD might be burned from. It seems hard to imagine how any "uber-player' can beat those.

What is your reference CD player, and how many "uber-players" have you auditioned?
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post #111 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 10:04 AM
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Hating to make more work for you, but...to get the precise level matching you need, you're better off using a test tone and then measuring the voltage at the speaker terminals. Then you need to find a way to get the voltages in your scenarios to be as close as possible. Also, care needs to be exercised that no signal processing, like bass management is being applied. IOW, a straight a path as possible.

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post #112 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 10:51 AM
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Quote:


"Do you believe that all standard CD players made today will sound the same when connected the same way to a receiver or amp?"

Yes, with the proviso that "standard" gives me some wriggle room. Cheapos, defectives, and high-end exotica may differ.

Quote:


I'll explain what I did in my listening test and you can explain why I heard differences....

Could be a lot of things:

1) One player could be defective. (An old NAD? Almost a given!)

2) You really didn't level-match very well, so it could be you're hearing level differences and interpreting them as sound quality differences. (But kudos for making the effort. Many people don't, and still think they deserve a Nobel prize.)

3) Your process, as you note, falls short of double-blind in a number of ways, so "non-sonic" cues could be biasing your perceptions.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #113 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 12:00 PM
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Thanks all for your answers - they are very helpful. I won't argue whether or not the differences we heard were due to a faulty CD player (although this was the one we preferred) or an amateur attempt at level matching, or even a bias that in the end went aginst my original hopes. But your resposnes do raise some more questions for me.

Granting mcnarus the "standard" wiggle room do you believe that:

All DACS sound the same? And I suppose simlarly that the different processing chips have no influence?

Would a CD player outputting by analog to an AVR sound identical to a CD player otuputting by coax or optical or HDMI to an AVR?
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post #114 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

All? No. Especially if you're using digital outs into the device's DACs. IOW, the device functions as a transport. You may, or may not give up flexibility in other areas like bass management, etc. If analog, there'll tend to be variations if only for the simple reason that the CD standard, which is 2 Volts out, allows for great flexibility and variability by manufacturers. There can be large variations, which many will perceive as one simply being louder than the other. There can also be lesser variations which a person doesn't perceive as louder but different. How people look to verbalize and explain that difference varies from person to person. The reason it's not simply stated as louder is that the ear does not have the same sensitivity to level changes across the frequency spectrum.


Chu Gai - When you say "There can also be lesser variations which a person doesn't perceive as louder but different" are you suggesting that you believe that two CD players might sound different to some people? Of course this is aside from different output level / loudness due to "the CD standard, which is 2 Volts out, allows for great flexibility and variability by manufacturers". is it possible that this variable standard could also influence sound in ways other than loudness?
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post #115 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

(But kudos for making the effort. Many people don't, and still think they deserve a Nobel prize.)

That's some of the good responses. Name calling is the other kind of response. I've seen things like "Nazi" and "pea brain" used.
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post #116 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Chu Gai - When you say "There can also be lesser variations which a person doesn't perceive as louder but different" are you suggesting that you believe that two CD players might sound different to some people? Of course this is aside from different output level / loudness due to "the CD standard, which is 2 Volts out, allows for great flexibility and variability by manufacturers". is it possible that this variable standard could also influence sound in ways other than loudness?

I'm a little unclear what you're asking but it's entirely possible that two CD Players, which match perfectly (at one frequency...say 1 kHz) to sound different. A fairly trivial example are those players or DACs that belong to the general group called NonOverSampling (NOS) where the person has mucked with what's called the reconstruction filter. What happens in that case is that 'images', which would normally be filtered out, get folded back into the audible spectrum. Like harmonics if you will.

Other than that, small fractional dB differences (it varies from person to person...musical selections...but let's say 0.4 dB for argument's sake) are not likely to be perceived as louder or softer, but different. And we, as humans, have a tough time trying to describe just what that difference is. A large part of that reason is that our hearing is most sensitive in the ~1 - 5 kHz region (it also varies with absolute level). In other areas, it takes a greater change to be detected. So, you won't notice the 0.4 dB change that occured at say 200 Hz but you will notice that something happened in the 1 - 5 kHz region (and beyond those areas to some extent). So, yes, the variable standard can certainly influence matters that aren't related to an easily loudness change. Further consider that there's no guarantee that L&R channels are perfectly matched. They could be 0.2 skewed to the L with one unit and 0.2 to the R with the other. It takes a lot of work, don't you think?

This is really a tough thing to wrap one's head around. Mull it over. Try a few drinks.

My best recommendation is to buy a player that suits your budget and focus more on usability issues. We don't all buy the same dishes but we don't con ourselves that sloppy joes taste better on Wedgewood china.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #117 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 12:49 PM
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Another question. As I mentioned my rack is getting crowded and I was originally hoping to get rid of a component by playing CDs with my blu-ray player. However, crowding is not really an issue if I stack my components. But I had heard that this is not a good idea due to vibrations and electrical influences, etc..

Is it possible that placing my CD player on another component could degrade the sound quality?
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post #118 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

That's some of the good responses. Name calling is the other kind of response. I've seen things like "Nazi" and "pea brain" used.

yes - thanks for the civil discussion and again, thanks to all for the answers!
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post #119 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Another question. As I mentioned my rack is getting crowded and I was originally hoping to get rid of a component by playing CDs with my blu-ray player. However, crowding is not really an issue if I stack my components. But I had heard that this is not a good idea due to vibrations and electrical influences, etc..

Is it possible that placing my CD player on another component could degrade the sound quality?

Heat is always an enemy of electrical components. As far as vibrations, they'd have to be mighty severe. Hell people play CD's in cars! Electrical influences...not impossible, but not likely.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #120 of 413 Old 12-17-2008, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

I'm a little unclear what you're asking but it's entirely possible that two CD Players, which match perfectly (at one frequency...say 1 kHz) to sound different. A fairly trivial example are those players or DACs that belong to the general group called NonOverSampling (NOS) where the person has mucked with what's called the reconstruction filter. What happens in that case is that 'images', which would normally be filtered out, get folded back into the audible spectrum. Like harmonics if you will.

Other than that, small fractional dB differences (it varies from person to person...musical selections...but let's say 0.4 dB for argument's sake) are not likely to be perceived as louder or softer, but different. And we, as humans, have a tough time trying to describe just what that difference is. A large part of that reason is that our hearing is most sensitive in the ~1 - 5 kHz region (it also varies with absolute level). In other areas, it takes a greater change to be detected. So, you won't notice the 0.4 dB change that occured at say 200 Hz but you will notice that something happened in the 1 - 5 kHz region (and beyond those areas to some extent). So, yes, the variable standard can certainly influence matters that aren't related to an easily loudness change. Further consider that there's no guarantee that L&R channels are perfectly matched. They could be 0.2 skewed to the L with one unit and 0.2 to the R with the other. It takes a lot of work, don't you think?

This is really a tough thing to wrap one's head around. Mull it over. Try a few drinks.

My best recommendation is to buy a player that suits your budget and focus more on usability issues. We don't all buy the same dishes but we don't con ourselves that sloppy joes taste better on Wedgewood china.


Thanks for your thoughts Chu Gai. I know that my test wasn't perfect and I believe I heard a difference but will say again it may well have been due to reasons other than the players. But it seems as though you beleive that it is possible for some people to hear differences in players. I note that some believe that players can definitely sound different while some believe that properly tested it is not possible for the players to sound different.

Have any members here participated in a properly conducted double blind test? Did any participants notice a difference in sound? Of course it is another matter that if differences were noted which one may have sounded better.
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