music - typical CD player vs. typcial DVD ?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 423 Old 03-14-2009, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings -

At the risk of inciting religious wars -- does an average (say, sub $250) CD player do any better job, fidelity-wise, of playing music than a DVD player -- or does it really depend on the specific player, with no accurate generalization possible?

I ask because our DVD player (a Sony DVP-NS715P) has just died; it has been the sole source of DVD & CD playback, so I'm interested in a single unit that'll fulfill both roles reasonably well, or economical separate machines. But I'd really like to find just one unit so that I don't incite the wrath of SWMBO.

Thanks kindly.

- Richard
oldWithoutMoney.com
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post #2 of 423 Old 03-14-2009, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatCanuck View Post

Greetings -

At the risk of inciting religious wars -- does an average (say, sub $250) CD player do any better job, fidelity-wise, of playing music than a DVD player -- or does it really depend on the specific player, with no accurate generalization possible?

I ask because our DVD player (a Sony DVP-NS715P) has just died; it has been the sole source of DVD & CD playback, so I'm interested in a single unit that'll fulfill both roles reasonably well, or economical separate machines. But I'd really like to find just one unit so that I don't incite the wrath of SWMBO.

Thanks kindly.

- Richard

oldWithoutMoney.com


If you need the DVD capability, buy a DVD player that suits your video playback needs. The audio will follow including CD sound quality, especially if you use the digital audio out for CD.
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post #3 of 423 Old 03-14-2009, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatCanuck View Post

Greetings -

At the risk of inciting religious wars -- does an average (say, sub $250) CD player do any better job, fidelity-wise, of playing music than a DVD player -- or does it really depend on the specific player, with no accurate generalization possible?

I ask because our DVD player (a Sony DVP-NS715P) has just died; it has been the sole source of DVD & CD playback, so I'm interested in a single unit that'll fulfill both roles reasonably well, or economical separate machines. But I'd really like to find just one unit so that I don't incite the wrath of SWMBO.

Thanks kindly.

- Richard
oldWithoutMoney.com

At the equal risk of stirring the pot, I'll toss out some of my own observations.

I've got a Sony DVP-NS300 player still in my rig for playing CDs and SD DVDs, but have had the opportunity to try out a 'higher end' CD player to see if I could eek out some more sonic quality to when I listen to CDs.

And one must be careful to understand how your equipment is setup up and in what modes you are in when doing any listening comparisons.

I have my Sony CD/DVD player hooked up via digital/fiber optic to my AVR -which means, sonically, the avr is contributing the most because the final digital to analog conversion is with the AVRs native DACs.

I have the 'higher end' CD hooked up via RCA analog connections, but...depending on what mode I have the avr in - I could be listening to the avr's DACs or, if I set the avr to a direct mode, I could be listening to the CDs DACs.

In my own listening tests, I have set my avr to a direct mode where I'm comparing the sound of the DVD's digital output and the avr's DAC to the CD's DACs.

And, to me, I can hear a detectable difference in the audio signature between the two.

Is it a HUGE difference? Eh.

But I can hear it. The 'higher end' CD player paints a slightly bigger sound stage, has a bit more clarity, more accurate sound.

I would compare it to say two wines of the same variety - one is rated at say 88 points and the other at 93.

The 93 being better structured, a tad more complex, a bit more enjoyable.

I guess it depends on how 'refined' your audio 'palate' is

Is a $100 93 point wine really better than a $30 88 point wine?

Some may say the 88 point wine is the better value.

Maybe the extra money is not worth it - it really depends on what you are looking for in your CD listening.
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post #4 of 423 Old 03-14-2009, 05:55 PM
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Put a cloth over them so you can't see them, make sure their output levels are identical so you aren't fooled by a little extra volume, and neither you nor anyone else will be able to tell them apart.

IOW, a DVD player will serve you just fine.

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

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post #5 of 423 Old 03-14-2009, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Put a cloth over them so you can't see them, make sure their output levels are identical so you aren't fooled by a little extra volume, and neither you nor anyone else will be able to tell them apart.

IOW, a DVD player will serve you just fine.

I did equalize the levels and I did the comparison for myself.

Please do not presume to tell me what I hear or do not hear.
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post #6 of 423 Old 03-14-2009, 06:23 PM
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I did equalize the levels and I did the comparison for myself.

Please do not presume to tell me what I hear or do not hear.

Who's talking to you? I was talking to the OP.

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

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post #7 of 423 Old 03-14-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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If you use digital out of the DVD player, you're using the receiver's DACs in which case I say no difference.

If you're using analog outs, then yes there may be a difference of minimal significance, depending on just how resolving your system is. People who think there are no differences between CD players (not transports, PLAYERS) have no experience to know what they're talking about.
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post #8 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by expatCanuck View Post

Greetings -

At the risk of inciting religious wars

Yes, that is exactly what the debate is (at least to a certain select few here). LOL.
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post #9 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

If you're using analog outs, then yes there may be a difference of minimal significance, depending on just how resolving your system is. People who think there are no differences between CD players (not transports, PLAYERS) have no experience to know what they're talking about.

OMG, you've done it. Making such a statement is no no around here.
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post #10 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

People who think there are no differences between CD players (not transports, PLAYERS) have no experience to know what they're talking about.


We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
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post #11 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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post #12 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 01:15 PM
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As CharlesJ said in the first reponse, base it on your need. If you only need a CD player, by all means get just a CD player.

If you need a DVD player as well get that. Personally if you go this route I would suggest an Oppo.
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post #13 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Erik Tracy View Post

I did equalize the levels and I did the comparison for myself.

Please do not presume to tell me what I hear or do not hear.


Please tell me how you "did equalize the levels"?
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post #14 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

If you use digital out of the DVD player, you're using the receiver's DACs in which case I say no difference.

If you're using analog outs, then yes there may be a difference of minimal significance, depending on just how resolving your system is. People who think there are no differences between CD players (not transports, PLAYERS) have no experience to know what they're talking about.

You're absolutely right. Different CD players are usually different - different front panels, different buttons, different knobs, different0sized cases, different output voltages, playing different Cds, etc.
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post #15 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Erik Tracy View Post

..
Please do not presume to tell me what I hear or do not hear.

Or, if one is imagining things or not?
And, that too is testable, properly.
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post #16 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post

Yes, that is exactly what the debate is (at least to a certain select few here). LOL.

Truths and reality may not be a reason?
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post #17 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 05:11 PM
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Different manufacturers use different DACs and different analog filters/buffers. There can be a perceptible difference in the quality of these stages. I selected my current DVD player in large part due to the high quality of its analog audio circuits, since I use those analog circuits for the playback of my SACDs.

As others have posted, if you use analog audio connections for your CD player, the quality of your CD player is important. If you use a digital connection, your player is little more than a disc transport and the only really important consideration is its durability.
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post #18 of 423 Old 03-15-2009, 06:23 PM
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There can be a perceptible difference in the quality of these stages.

There could be, but there generally isn't, when you compare them under any meaningful circumstances. Anyone who thinks otherwise is only fooling himself.

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

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post #19 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I know. I won't waste my time arguing about it. If you think players don't make a difference you're a fool. Let the fools argue amongst themselves.

A pretty harsh statement. I wouldn't presume to call anybody a fool simply because they didn't agree with my position. Perhaps they just don't have enough information with which to make a determination. Perhaps in their system, they don't hear any differences due to a variety of conditions specific to them and their room/gear/etc. None of which would make them fools. Frankly there are some pretty intelligent people around here that are scientists, experts that do audio for a living, hobbyists that have been doing this stuff for decades, musicians, and yes, even neophytes, that believe, stongly, that those differences don't exist. So all of them are "Fools?"
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post #20 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I know. I won't waste my time arguing about it. If you think players don't make a difference you're a fool. Let the fools argue amongst themselves.

You know Chris, people who've weighed in on this with an opinion contrary to yours, have in the past carefully explained the types of tests that've been done, the method of level matching used and its importance, the scenarios (player makeup) under how differences can be heard even under controlled conditions and offered sound reasons for it. Some of them like JJ, arnyk, krabbapple, Ethan, etc. have gone into extensive reasons drawing not only upon such evaluations that've been performed but by providing literature references relating to human hearing limits in support. Yet, I cannot recall you ever once contributing anything on this topic that speaks to your above quote with any degree of detail. Rather, you take a dismissive, 'let the fools argue amongst themselves' cult like approach designed to silence rather than spend the time putting forth a thoughtful cogent response. Perhaps one day you'll spend the time.

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post #21 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

You know Chris, people who've weighed in on this with an opinion contrary to yours, have in the past carefully explained the types of tests that've been done, the method of level matching used and its importance, the scenarios (player makeup) under how differences can be heard even under controlled conditions and offered sound reasons for it. Some of them like JJ, arnyk, krabbapple, Ethan, etc. have gone into extensive reasons drawing not only upon such evaluations that've been performed but by providing literature references relating to human hearing limits in support. Yet, I cannot recall you ever once contributing anything on this topic that speaks to your above quote with any degree of detail. Rather, you take a dismissive, 'let the fools argue amongst themselves' cult like approach designed to silence rather than spend the time putting forth a thoughtful cogent response. Perhaps one day you'll spend the time.

As usual, Chu, a spot on post.

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post #22 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

You know Chris, people who've weighed in on this with an opinion contrary to yours, have in the past carefully explained the types of tests that've been done, the method of level matching used and its importance, the scenarios (player makeup) under how differences can be heard even under controlled conditions and offered sound reasons for it. Some of them like JJ, arnyk, krabbapple, Ethan, etc. have gone into extensive reasons drawing not only upon such evaluations that've been performed but by providing literature references relating to human hearing limits in support. Yet, I cannot recall you ever once contributing anything on this topic that speaks to your above quote with any degree of detail. Rather, you take a dismissive, 'let the fools argue amongst themselves' cult like approach designed to silence rather than spend the time putting forth a thoughtful cogent response. Perhaps one day you'll spend the time.

Well said.

Everyone I've ever heard say, "It's all digital it's all the same!" doesn't realize that there is an analog section in CD players that can vary. And, measuring signal to noise ratio and frequency response can't tell the whole picture, can it? Music is incredibly complex, and you can't tell me that you can measure everything that influences how it sounds.

Are you going to tell me that any car with 250 hp and 4 identical BF Goodrich tires is going to offer the same driving experience?

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post #23 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 08:13 AM
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If things continue, those might be a rarity in Michigan.

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post #24 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 09:06 AM
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Music is incredibly complex, and you can't tell me that you can measure everything that influences how it sounds.

I'm sure we can't tell you that, because I don't think we can tell you anything.

But, two points:

1) Why shouldn't it be measurable? The (analog) output of a CD player is nothing more than alternating current, a signal with only two attributesamplitude and frequency. Doesn't matter whether it's music or bird calls or farting noises, it's just a very simple signal.

2) We aren't relying solely on measurements here. We also have listening tests. And the fact that the measurements and the listening tests basically agree gives both greater validity.

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Are you going to tell me that any car with 250 hp and 4 identical BF Goodrich tires is going to offer the same driving experience?

No. But what does that have to do with the price of eggs?

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post #25 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

There could be, but there generally isn't, when you compare them under any meaningful circumstances. Anyone who thinks otherwise is only fooling himself.

I will agree with your post, with the stipulation that differences are minimal if you are comparing products of upper-tier manufacturers. Comparing the analog outputs of top quality equipment with that of budget gear can be just as revealing with disc players as it is with other components.
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post #26 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by lvtdude View Post

Are you going to tell me that any car with 250 hp and 4 identical BF Goodrich tires is going to offer the same driving experience?

When CD players are compared through their analog outputs--in level-matched comparisons--they offer the "same experience." Any differences in performance are slight enough to be inconsequential, and not consistently distinguishable.

Are there good reasons to buy expensive CD players? Absolutely, and I own a few. But superior performance isn't one of them.

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
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post #27 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by milaz001 View Post

When CD players are compared through their analog outputs--in level-matched comparisons--they offer the "same experience." Any differences in performance are slight enough to be inconsequential, and not consistently distinguishable.

I wouldn't agree on this statement. Different DACs, anti-aliasing and reconstruction filters may sound slightly different on specific music material. It all can be recognized with proper measurements. But now analogue output has very little value. It may be useful only when you have very good speakers and well acoustically treated room, since you will lose room correction and equalization in amplification chain. This adjustment is usually done by DSP in digital domain, and you do no want to add more AD and DA conversions, which kills sound quality much more. If you want to use digital processing, then player should supply digital data, and in digital world you usually have exact copy or nothing at all. So the role of player is to read disk and send bits to (pre)processor exactly as they were written on CD. $15 worth computer CD drive does this quite well. So if all connections are digital only, there is no measurable difference between CD, DVD or whatever player, as soon as it is able to read a disk.
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post #28 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 05:37 PM
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Different DAC, anti-imaging and reconstruction filters may sound slightly different on different music material. It all can be recognized with proper measurements.

Not so. Measurable differences between almost all CD players fall well below hearing thresholds. And no one has ever demonstrated the ability to differentiate between them in any kind of objective listening test. So far as we can tell, the differences between CD players, while measurable, are not generally audible.

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post #29 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

So far as we can tell, the differences between CD players, while measurable, are not generally audible.

I try to play safe, when state that if something can be measured, it can be potentially _sensed_ by someone. Nevertheless my point was that if music material stays in digital domain up to the final amplification stage, it does not matter which device was used to read it from CD.
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post #30 of 423 Old 03-16-2009, 06:00 PM
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I try to play safe, when state that if something can be measured, it can be potentially _sensed_ by someone.

30 kHz tones can be measured. Would you say that they can be "potentially _sensed_ by someone"? That would not meet my definition of "potentially." The evidence on CD player outputs is a bit thinner, but no less one-sided.

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Nevertheless my point was that if music material stays in digital domain up to the final amplification stage, it does not matter which device was used to read it from CD.

Agreed.

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

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