Originally Posted by groovyfa
THD = Total Harmonic Distortion?
If so you're saying that the CD player gives a cleaner sound?
Like I said I'm a newbie at this so forgive my lack of knowledge...
I'm not really a fan of wearing headphones tbh.
There's some good-natured banter going on in this thread, but I am sure you will realise which posters on AVS know what they are talking about and which have no real clue, other than a very strong belief (faith) in their own ability to be right. The general principle with all AV electronics is that the measured spec is only relevant where the measurements produce audible differences. IOW, if you can't hear 0.01% distortion, then a component or unit with 0.00001% distortion is only 'better' in terms of the marketing needs of the manufacturer.
The biggest gain in sound quality always comes from taking care of the room and the speakers. The room is the most important component in your system and the one where changes have huge potential impacts on the SQ you hear. Acoustic treatments are one way to improve the room but for various reasons (WAF) not everyone can manage to treat their room. Failing that, careful attention to speaker placement can bring very rewarding improvements by ensuring the speakers interaction with the room is optimised. I’d also recommend you use a good subwoofer as this can not only give you better bass, but also takes the strain off your amps and speakers because they don't have to do the very heavy lifting which deep bass requires. A sub also has the virtue of being able to be placed in the best location in the room for SQ, whereas the main speakers have to be at the front, for good imaging. (Google 'sub crawl'). Another good way to compensate for the room's failings is to use one of the built-in auto-equalisation systems such as Audyssey MultEQ, MCACC, YPAO, ARC etc. Of all of those, my view is that Audyssey XT32 is the top of the line, but it is only found in higher end AVRs, with, IIRC, the cheapest option being the (soon to be replaced) Onkyo 818.
So ... room and speakers... don't worry about electronics so much - they have the least impact on your SQ these days.
EDIT: Incidentally, you don't really need a separate CD player these days because a decent Bluray player will play CDs just as well. Getting the 1s and 0s off the disc these days isn't any sort of problem, and once that is done, keeping the signal in the digital domain (HDMI, SPIDF, Toslink etc) as far as possible through to the speakers gives a level playing field.
Edited by kbarnes701 - 9/5/13 at 9:17am