Originally Posted by UndersAVS
Thanks for replies. Comments concerning features make good sense. Having the desired connectivity options is a must.
Sound quality though?
It has been known and shown for decades that all good CD players sound the same. All but some cheap portables and sleazy home models are sonically transparent - fully deliver the sound that was encoded on the CD. Ditto for good portable digital players such as the various models of the iPod and Sansa Clip/Fuze.
How about those expensive, high quality DAC's and their filters?
And multiple DAC's, one for each channel?
And a big power supply to provide plenty of power?
This is a CD player not a power amp!
Don't I need to upsample the resolution to 384kHz to get the best sound, a sound comparable to vinyl?
Vinyl is far from being the gold standard for sound quality. Upsampling is numerical double/triple/qaudruple talk.
I've read that vinyl has a warmer sound because of its continuous, analog signal, where digital is harsh due to the choppy nature of bit signals.
That is an audiophile myth. Vinyl was replaced by digital because it had gone as far as it could, being a fairly crude mechanical process based on dragging a stone through a fragile plastic trench.
The alleged choppy nature of digital doesn't exist in the real world. The signals that come out of the analog outputs of good digital players are smooth and free from steps or missing data. They are actually smoother than the same music coming off LP playback because the background noise is so much lower and there are no tics and snaps due to dust in the grooves. CD players generally offer precise, accurate frequency response over the audible range, while every phono cartridge has its own frequency response curve and other audible peculiarities. The noise and nonlinear distortion is orders of magnitude less, which is the difference between audible distortion that besets every second of LP playback. and a total freedom from audible distortion with the CD.
I've read that the Oppo SE with the upgraded Sabre 32 bit DAC is much superior to the vanilla DAC;
The ESS 32 bit Sabre DAC does have very high performance, but it is all about big numbers to show visiting firemen and bragging rights. It does not stand head and shoulders above its competition, even in the race for just numbers. It is far more than good enough to play CDs excellently, but so is the DAC in your $100 Blu Ray player.
One problem with trying to obtain improved sound out of CDs with fancy electronics is that the basic CD format is 16 bits and limited to 22 KHz frequency response and about 93 dB dynamic range. Audio is definitely about the weakest link in the system (which actually lies elsewhere) but the most immediate point is that playing around with 192 KHz DACs, 24 bits, 32 bits, and converters with 120 dB+ dynamic range won't change those basic facts about the CD format.
audio veils have been lifted and distortion a thing of the past; unheard details become apparent. Its been said that the superior audio quality of some disc players is so obvious that only a short-coming in other components could render any other experience.
That all did happen, but it was back in the mid-early 1980s when most of us left vinyl behind.
What justifies the difference in price between a $2,500 Yamaha SACD player and a $200 Yamaha disc changer?
These are the quandries that many purchasers experience when choosing disc players, and I marvel at the confusion and lack of understandable information.
I see no quandry. Common sense rules. There is such a thing as a law of diminishing returns, and good modern digital players of a wide variety sound just great.
If the people who sell these highly expensive audio components could set up a good clean DBT that would demonstrate their claims for improved sound quality, they would. I've tried, others have tried, and modern digital players are just that good. My $35 Sansa Clip playing an uncompressed music file delivers an audibly clean signal that is indistinguishable or maybe even a little cleaner than my ca. 1983 $900 home CD player or a $2,500 player you might buy today.