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Isn't this a step backwards for AVSForum?  

post #1 of 145
Thread Starter 
Will there be an "exotic speaker wire" forum coming up soon? I thought the point of avsforum was to discuss the science behind audio reproduction.

While you can say that "digital is digital, it getse there or it doesn't" and as a blanket statement that isn't entirely true, if the discussion is strictly on the transports themselves then in fact, digital IS digital. When you add the dac to the mix, the quality of the signal matters, but a proper dac is going to be buffering and reclocking the signal anyway, which means that a transport with imperfect timing won't degrade the sound quality of the signal.

The question is, why does this section exist? If it is to debate the sound quality of a CD transport, then we might as well rename this place to Audio-Video-Pseudoscience forum. If there are reliability and error-handling capabilities that vary immensely between say, a $100 5 disc dvd player using its digital output and a $3,000 boutique product, then I can understand that. But, in my opinion, producing reliable equipment is just a matter of proper engineering, and that can happen at any price point, really.

So I ask... if you believe that one transport can sound different from another, what is the mechanism that causes the signal to be degraded? If you don't know why, how can you be so sure that it wasn't a psychological difference?

If you don't believe that transports sound different, then that doesn't leave much purpose to this section.

I don't intend for this post to be a troll, but since the section is new and there aren't many posts on it anyway, I figure it can not hurt to express my sincere belief that discussing signal quality of a PCM system is irrational at best.

Please do not waste my time with circumstantial evidence. I've heard "but it sounds better to me" so many times, it makes me want to cry. I can't take somebody's word for a change in quality if they don't AT LEAST have a rational explanation for it. And even then, a logical explanation might be formed by incorrect premises. I'm not against learning something new, but I am against hearing the same old tired "me too" answers with no added factual information.
post #2 of 145
Hello...

Sorry, but the area if for people to talk about different players. It is not a step backwards, it is a place to chat about hardware being used. Simple as that. Someone may be looking to add in a dedicated CD Player and would like to ask some questions.

Thus the name of the area...CD Players & Dedicated Music Transports

We have DVD Hardware, why not CD and other music items?

I for one am now all about 5.1 for music. (Sorry two CH. guys. To each their own.)

Thanks
post #3 of 145
I don't think this is a step backwards at all. In fact I think it's a great idea. There are lot's of 2 channel fans here.
post #4 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutgar
I don't think this is a step backwards at all. In fact I think it's a great idea. There are lot's of 2 channel fans here.
YES what Rutgar said!!!
post #5 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
Will there be an "exotic speaker wire" forum coming up soon? I thought the point of avsforum was to discuss the science behind audio reproduction.

While you can say that "digital is digital, it getse there or it doesn't" and as a blanket statement that isn't entirely true, if the discussion is strictly on the transports themselves then in fact, digital IS digital. When you add the dac to the mix, the quality of the signal matters, but a proper dac is going to be buffering and reclocking the signal anyway, which means that a transport with imperfect timing won't degrade the sound quality of the signal.

The question is, why does this section exist? If it is to debate the sound quality of a CD transport, then we might as well rename this place to Audio-Video-Pseudoscience forum. If there are reliability and error-handling capabilities that vary immensely between say, a $100 5 disc dvd player using its digital output and a $3,000 boutique product, then I can understand that. But, in my opinion, producing reliable equipment is just a matter of proper engineering, and that can happen at any price point, really.

So I ask... if you believe that one transport can sound different from another, what is the mechanism that causes the signal to be degraded? If you don't know why, how can you be so sure that it wasn't a psychological difference?

If you don't believe that transports sound different, then that doesn't leave much purpose to this section.

I don't intend for this post to be a troll, but since the section is new and there aren't many posts on it anyway, I figure it can not hurt to express my sincere belief that discussing signal quality of a PCM system is irrational at best.

Please do not waste my time with circumstantial evidence. I've heard "but it sounds better to me" so many times, it makes me want to cry. I can't take somebody's word for a change in quality if they don't AT LEAST have a rational explanation for it. And even then, a logical explanation might be formed by incorrect premises. I'm not against learning something new, but I am against hearing the same old tired "me too" answers with no added factual information.

Given all the discussion about speaker wire, power cords, and interconnects, wouldn't you say that the other forums have already hit the psuedo science point.

With CDs at least, not all people use the digital out. Lots of folks (not saying I'm w/this group) think that DACs make a difference. As you can see by some of the other threads, there is a significant crowd that still believes that tubes are "it".

So it seems that this forum makes as much sense as the dedicated HT room people discussing which popcorn machine is the best.
post #6 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastbike
Given all the discussion about speaker wire, power cords, and interconnects, wouldn't you say that the other forums have already hit the psuedo science point.

With CDs at least, not all people use the digital out. Lots of folks (not saying I'm w/this group) think that DACs make a difference. As you can see by some of the other threads, there is a significant crowd that still believes that tubes are "it".

So it seems that this forum makes as much sense as the dedicated HT room people discussing which popcorn machine is the best.
People that don't think that CD players sound different, obviously don't remember the original Sony CD players. Absolutely awful sounding! These player's are the one's that sparked the term, "Aluminum Violins".
post #7 of 145
well said rutgar
post #8 of 145
It is a step forward for the forum as it allows a topic associated with high end audio. If avsforum can upgrade its audio talk in general as opposed to the usual speaker fare it will serve a greater array of audio focused folks than currently.
post #9 of 145
Thread Starter 
People have responded regarding what I already agreed with, but seem to have no opinion on the main purpose of the post... the fact that if you're going to discuss the quality of the cd player, you're really discussing the quality of the dac and nothing else. A cd player that sounds different is a dac that sounds different, and has little to nothing to do with the transport itself. If this is agreed, then I guess I have no problem. If there are people that seriously think 101001010101 sounds different whether it comes out of the laser assembly (in digital form) from a $100 dvd player or whether it comes out of an expensive novelty player, that can't be possible.

Even a cheapie built for the mass market connected to a dac that will buffer and reclock the signal has, in my obsessively calculated opinion, no inherent disadvantage compared to a "built for audiophiles" unit.

I do agree that it is worth discussing the merits of DVD players though, as they usually vary in features greatly. And while you won't ever find me participating in a debate discussing the merits of specific outboard DACs, I agree that they "could" provide an audible difference in sound quality.

The people who come to these conclusions are usually using a logical thought process to determine whether something "may" audibly affect sound quality. It usually starts with the premise that human hearing is pretty crappy, and then you ask yourself... by what electrical/mechanical means may a certain element degrade a signal? In digital-world, the only way a signal could be degraded is if it was a poorly timed signal fed to an unbuffered dac, which probably was the case with those early Sony cd players that sounded awful. However, consider this.

When CDs were new, the epitome of home computing was an 8 bit computer running at 1mhz. This is less than the bandwidth a CD has to handle, so there weren't huge segments of the electronics industry dedicated to building high speed components like that. Merely being able to output a well-timed 44.1khz 16 bit 2 channel signal was not trivial. These days, however, even basic home PCs are running at clock speeds in excess of 2ghz. Yet, CDs still only have to process their paltry ~1.4 mbits of data. If dealing with this small amount of data per second was not trivial, then that would contradict the fact that you can easily build a CPU that has to deal with thousands of times more data per second. The bottom line is, if building a super high speed computer is trivial these days, then building a basic low speed CD transport can not be less trivial.

Scientists routinely use the same mental processes to create a hypothesis. I will add that it IS possible to disprove such a hypothesis (if it wasn't, it wouldn't be a very good one). However, anecdotal evidence isn't gonna do the trick. There was an extremely long thread in the amplifier section of the forum comparing "pro" amps to "hifi" amps, whereby the end result was that people who thought they could hear the difference between two components ended up that they couldn't. They set up a very good scientific test, one that could really be applied to any component. Now if someone were to take the same test and hook up two cd transports tothe same dac and be able to reliably choose which one is which under the same conditions, then surely I've been mistaken. However, the people who wouldn't agree in the first place probably wouldn't want to try such an experiment, so it seems like the pseudoscience camp doesn't find any value whatsoever in proving their own cases.

Anyway, its not like people can't talk about whatever they want, but if the first thing I'm going to see is a whole forum dedicated to a part of the audio chain that potentially has no influence on the final output, I can't help but express my annoyance in thorough, logical detail.

<EDIT>

And since I posted this, I looked up the specific logical fallacy that people who I disagree with seem to resort to. You can find it at:

http://www.cuyamaca.net/bruce.thomps...acies/bias.asp

If your data is tainted by bad experimentation practices, like the fact that human psychology is a MASSIVE source of error and unless you take meticulous steps to avoid it, any conclusion you come to would have to be fallacious.
post #10 of 145
Er... in most cases, isn't the DAC part of the CD player? ;)
post #11 of 145
I have a DVD player and a CD player both connected to the same receiver via optical cables. Obviously, it is the same DAC for both, but CDs sound better on the CD player. Don't know why, they just do.
post #12 of 145
The title of this forum is "AUDIO/Video Science Forum" Please allow those of us with an interest in audio hardware to have a forum. Like many on this forum, I am interested in building a decent combination HT/2-channel audio system. If you're not interested, you don't have to read it.

In answer to some of the comments that "a transport is a transport is a transport," in the audiophile community there is a school of thought that attributes some of the performance of a CD playback system to the transport.

The ability to read less-than-perfect discs can vary widely from one transport to the next. Since reading errors from the CD's laser (in the transport) will trigger the DAC's error correction circuitry to kick in, the ability of a transport to read a disc with a low error rate may well affect the end result, since error correction ability varies from DAC to DAC. Then there is the whole issue of "clocking." I don't understand it well, but I believe that this issue is also transport-dependent.
post #13 of 145
[quote=Cowclops]Will there be an "exotic speaker wire" forum coming up soon? QUOTE]

Discussing different CD players, including DACs but also the merits BEYOND the 1000100 only psychology, is in an entirely different ballpark than an "exotoc speaker wire" forum.

Really an incredibly false analogy.
post #14 of 145
Cowclops:

For one so enamored with science and fact, your use of the word "potentially" amuses, yet gratifies. Thanks for demonstrating the rationale for creating this sub forum.

"Anyway, its not like people can't talk about whatever they want, but if the first thing I'm going to see is a whole forum dedicated to a part of the audio chain that potentially has no influence on the final output, I can't help but express my annoyance in thorough, logical detail."
post #15 of 145
Quote:
Please do not waste my time with circumstantial evidence. I've heard "but it sounds better to me" so many times, it makes me want to cry. I can't take somebody's word for a change in quality if they don't AT LEAST have a rational explanation for it. And even then, a logical explanation might be formed by incorrect premises. I'm not against learning something new, but I am against hearing the same old tired "me too" answers with no added factual information.
Don't freaking read the post? Just because someone is preaching on the side of the road doesn't mean I stop and give him crap about it. The same analogy works here. You don't have to visit this section.
post #16 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capfacsurf
Cowclops:

For one so enamored with science and fact, your use of the word "potentially" amuses, yet gratifies. Thanks for demonstrating the rationale for creating this sub forum.
Why does this "amuse, yet gratify"? Read his post, while he holds serious doubts bordering on disbelief, he does leave the door open enough for someone to give an explaination. With that in mind the use of "potential" doesn't seem that ironic.

Cowclops:
"So I ask... if you believe that one transport can sound different from another, what is the mechanism that causes the signal to be degraded? If you don't know why, how can you be so sure that it wasn't a psychological difference?"
post #17 of 145
My question is, why is this section here?
We have DVD players, DVD-audio players, CD players and SACD players. (now HD players both BR and HDD). So why isn't it just a 'transport' area and you have the list above including possibly both VCR's and turntables.

Seth
post #18 of 145
There is a whole science about 2-channel audio. DACs and all, I think its a great idea. I even think its harder to find a good 2-ch CD player then a good dvd player.

Excellent idea, I have been looking for a forum like this!
post #19 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutgar
I don't think this is a step backwards at all. In fact I think it's a great idea. There are lot's of 2 channel fans here.
;) ;) ;)
post #20 of 145
Thread Starter 
Science or not, the only person who wants to discuss it/listen to a discussion is apparently me, and probably Virgil. Everyone else is saying in some manner or another that there is no need for my discourse. Yet, nobody is providing any additional academic thoughts on the subject besides exactly what I didn't really want to hear... "me too" answers like "pre-dac digital signal transmission is totally different from exotic speaker cable."with no further explanation. I in fact can agree with the statement that it is a different ballpark. Exotic speaker wires produce a measurable but impossibly audible difference that is many magnitudes smaller than the smallest amount of distortion a human ear could hear. Transports have to do nothing other than spit out the correct bit (1 or 0) at the correct time (hopefully every 1/44100 of a second for parallel transmission). If the bit is correct and the timing is correct within the margin of error allowed for the receiving DAC (which should be quite large for a buffered/reclocked DAC) then the signal can said to be passed 100%. The difference here is, while exotic speaker cables may produce a measurable but insigificant by many orders of magnitude difference in their transmission of the power signal, a functioning transport (i.e. one that isn't known to be malfunctioning) is going to pass the signal correctly,or its not, and my conclusion is that it doesn't take anything more than a $100 5 disc DVD changer to pass the simple redbook audio signal correctly and spit it out its spdif jack.

You see, us engineers don't like to solve issues through trial and error... we like to have a good working guess in any manner of science before we put the theory to the test. Unfortunately, I can not personally test the theory because the matter is whether everyone in here can consistently choose the superior piece of hardware WHEN THEY ARE NOT TOLD WHICH HARDWARE THEY ARE LISTENING TO. I don't really care if I can, but I'd like to see the people who claim they can prove it beyond reasonable doubt.

You see, in physics (the science of measurement), reporting a result with out a value of uncertainty is a meaingless result. Imagine trying to measure the thickness of a sheet of paper with a worn out meter stick... you may come to the conclusion that the thickness is half a millimeter, but the uncertainty is probably going to be +- a millimeter. When the uncertainty exceeds the measurement, the measurement is useless.

While you're not numerically measuring sound quality when you say something has improved, similiar concepts apply. If you're "pretty sure its better" but the likeliness of psychological error (you spent a lot of money, you know you're listening to the more expensive, brand new unit, you're listening more intently than you last did with the previous unit, etc...) exceeds the accuracy of your ears. This is the reason why a simple anecdotal bit like "Well I just bought [x piece of hardware] and wow its amazing" is largely meaningless. If you haven't eliminated the greatest sources of error, you haven't produced a meaningful result.

If anyone can EXPLAIN why not all transports are equal without resorting to anecdotal evidence or psychologically skewed results where the source of error is massive, then of course my hypothesis is false. But if no one wants to, then you're avoiding the "S" in AVSForum. As Virgil said, I use the word "Potentially" because, aside from the fact that my hypothesis seems pretty sound, its still of course open for falsification. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be a hypothesis, it would just be blind faith.

I provide my thoughts so that others may learn a new way of looking at something or so that the same people may show me a new way of looking at something. Personal attacks, no matter how kindly worded, are not helping anyone out.
post #21 of 145
Yo, Clops:

What is your point? That subjective opinion in the realm of the hobbyist and art afficionado is "largely meaningless"? That preference and opinion, without the backing of measurement and analysis is invalid?

Let me ask you: How do you go about buying a beer? Do you whip out a calculator and test tube? Or do you go by....taste?

You say in your profile that you own a couple of Bryston amps. Why? Because they measure up? Wait....don't tell me....... 'cause I really don't care. However, there is a 900 page thread in the amps section about Pro Amps vs. High End Amps. 9000 posts and no conclusion to the debate. I think the guys over there would welcome your views on "Audio-Video-Pseudoscience". And they would LOVE to hear about the reams of data you collected which prove Bryston amps to be superior.
post #22 of 145
Thread Starter 
My sincere request was for people to ADD to the discussion, not detract from it with a politely worded verbal attack.

I own two Bryston amps because I got them cheap from a friend. I trust their reliability because Bryston includes 20 year warranties on everything they sell, and usually cheap service for stuff thats out of warranty. My specific amps are older than 20 years, but I trust that anything that can be guarenteed to last 20 years without major malfunction can probably last indefinitely. Its a lot of power, a lot of reliability, and a good price. I don't pretend it to be anything more than that.

I wish there was an option for thread subscriptions like "Only tell me there is a new post that doesn't make extensive use of straw man fallacies or anecdotal evidence."
post #23 of 145
Its well established that CD players do sound very different, whether its the DACs, power supply, transport, laser depth, vibration damping or whatever. I can DBT all day between a Heart 6000 and a Sony 775, or a Cary 308 and an Arcam 62 and do very well. It's easy to compare CD players and I've done it many, many times- the differences are often not subtle. I'm sure you would argue that we're comparing inaccuracies, or flaws in poorly engineered products. But I would disagree and so would the engineers of those products.

I think that audio (HT or 2 channel) comes down, in large part, to personal preference in sound. I've heard the argument that it either works or it doesn't, that its either right or its wrong. The reality is that there are an enormous amount of variables in the transmission of audio. Finding a component that interacts and synergizes with your system and your ears should be the goal.

In some cases, to some people, even certain kinds of distortion sounds more pleasing (tubes). The moisture content in your listening room can, by itself change the sound as you hear it. The barometric air pressure can effect how your ears receive sound, as can blood pressure. Your preferences for loudness will change your volume tendencies, which will affect the frequency response and performance of your speakers. These are some of the reasons hi end components are designed to sound differently.

The sound is never 010011100 as you hear it, it is always affected, filtered, altered, psychoacoustically interpreted, experienced. These things are subjective, which is why some CD players have extensive filtering that may be technically less accurate, but provide a preferable sound effect or exageration. Just toggle between the upsampler on a Phillips 963sa and the sound is very different. Which is more accurate? I could care less. Which sounds better and conveys the program material better to my ears? Ahhhh, thats worth discussing.
post #24 of 145
How is data read off a CD birdwizard?
post #25 of 145
Thread Starter 
Holy Crap.

"Its well established that CD players do sound very different"

Well established by who? Not you, apparently.

This is yet another "I have nothing but anecdotal evidence and nothing academic to add to the discussion" post.

The question was never "Are there audible differences?"

The question all along was "For those who say there are... WHY?"

I know why speakers sound different. Converting electrical energy to mechanical is hard and even the best speakers are extremely poor transducers. I know why amps sound different... tube amps have different distortion characteristics from solid state, and any amp thats being clipped in regular usage is going to sound bad. Its also usually the stereo separation of the channels that will to a tiny extent affect sound stage. The same is true in the preamp, though distortion is pretty much a non issue there, noise is and reducing the noise floor is never a bad idea. That leaves the cd player and its dacs. I will agree with no further explanation that DACs "could possibly" affect the sound quality, though I am extremely doubtful that any reasonably built product (i.e. just about anything except for those $18 DVD players) would have a repeatably audible difference.

That leaves one thing that I didn't do everyone the favor of explaining... the CD transport itself. WHY is it established that one CD transport sounds different from another? Hint: The answer is not "Because I said so" (Which sums up birdbrai... I mean birdwizard's post). If you plan on posting another message whose premises assume the conclusion, please refrain.
post #26 of 145
This thread has reminded me of why I stop coming here.
post #27 of 145
My guess is that the point of the original poster was lost in too much talk. He probably meant to say that "Music Transports" is the unnecessary part in the forum name, not "CD Players".
DAC makes all the difference in the world in terms of music quality coming from a CD. It should have a dedicated discussion forum, which this one is supposed to be. Transport, on the other hand, is a controversial term. Unless I am seriously misled, the concept of a hi-end dedicated "CD Transport" is the same fiction as esoteric cables - it has been proven many times that a non-defective $20 PC CD-ROM and/or a non-defective $50 dedicated CD player deliver the exact same bitstream through their digital output as an expensive "dedicated CD transport".
post #28 of 145
If you can't hear the difference between two hi-end CD players than your system isn't resolving enough, your hearing sucks, you don't have well recorded program material to demo or you haven't tried it. Even my wife can hear the difference, and I don't tell her when I've changed equipment.

You want to create your own rules to debate with and slam everything as anecdotal. I'm unsure what your looking for? Charts and graphs?
Governemnt studies? Hell if I know or care...

Apparently people's experience is not information to you, you need scientific evidence. It must be DBT to deal with experimenter bias. You think people can't hear well enough to say what sounds good. The thousands of subjective reviews of equipment are meaningless to you. All the magazines and audiophile forums and their hordes of followers are only hearing what they want to hear in different CD players. They've all been brainwashed by experimenter bias!

Go sort through these:

http://search.ecoustics.com/Editoria...ews/CD-Player/
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...tl&1&ctg&0&50&
http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/digital/bbs.html
post #29 of 145
heres a good one for you Cowclops:

http://www.stereophile.com/features/368/index1.html
post #30 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
While you can say that "digital is digital, it getse there or it doesn't" and as a blanket statement that isn't entirely true, if the discussion is strictly on the transports themselves then in fact, digital IS digital. When you add the dac to the mix, the quality of the signal matters, but a proper dac is going to be buffering and reclocking the signal anyway, which means that a transport with imperfect timing won't degrade the sound quality of the signal....

If you don't believe that transports sound different, then that doesn't leave much purpose to this section.
"The "bits is bits" camp rejects this thesis, claiming that transport and interface jitter is completely removed by the digital processor's input receiver. They consider the PLL an absolute barrier to jitter. Consequently, they argue, transports, digital interfaces, and CD tweaks can't affect sound quality.

I conducted a little experiment to test this hypothesis. I measured a digital processor's word-clock jitter (with the Meitner LIM Detector described in Vol.16 No.1) when driven by two different digital sources. One source has low jitter (the PS Audio Lambda transport), and one source has high jitter (the Panasonic SV-3700 professional DAT machine). Fig.2 shows the jitter spectrum of the processor's word clock when driven by the Lambda. For contrast, fig.3 is the same processor's jitter spectrum—measured at the DAC with the identical test signal and conditions—but with the high-jitter Panasonic SV-3700 driving the processor. Note the vastly cleaner spectrum and fewer discrete-frequency jitter components when the processor was driven by the Lambda. Moreover, the overall RMS jitter (measured from 400Hz to 22kHz) increased from 145ps with the Lambda transport to a whopping 561ps when driven by the high-jitter SV-3700. Clearly, jitter in the S/PDIF signal driving a digital processor does greatly affect word-clock jitter inside the processor....
There is now no question that jitter in CD transports and digital interfaces affects digital audio sound quality. Not only do different transports and interfaces sound different, they produce varying amounts of jitter and have their own "jitter signatures," seen in the jitter's spectral distribution.

Moreover, we can see that transport jitter goes right through the digital processor's input receiver (even the Crystal CS8412) and affects the amount of jitter at the DAC's word clock—the point where jitter makes an audible difference. If the word-clock timing is different, the sound will be different.

The revelation that digital interconnects and their direction can introduce large differences in measured jitter was quite a shock. The differences heard between digital interconnects—and in their directionality—have now been substantiated by measurement."
—Robert Harley, Stereophile
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