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DBT of CD Players

post #1 of 143
Thread Starter 
The purpose of audio equipment is to reproduce the original sound accurately so therefore all equipment should sound the same. However, in the real world, all equipment does not sound the same.

I have a $1000 cd player on order and I am very concerned that it will not sound different than what is being replaced based on numerous postings that I've read here.

Could some one please point me to the result of a DBT of cd players at different price points that indicates no descernable difference was detected.

Thanks in advance for saving a bunch of dough. I apologize if this was already done and I just missed it when reading through other threads.
post #2 of 143
Drecar,

Here you can find some info about DBTs related to CD players and DACs: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=966697&page=2

This locked thread shows some more interesting information: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=965890&page=4
post #3 of 143
Quote:


I have a $1000 cd player on order and I am very concerned that it will not sound different than what is being replaced based on numerous postings that I've read here.

This is a reasonable concern. In the great majority of cases, careful DBTs have not found differences between CD players. The exceptions tend to involve players or DACs of, shall we say, exotic design, where the differences in output explain the differences in audible sound.

However, that doesn't mean that when you plug in your new CD player, you'll be disappointed. Lots of factors affect how we hear things besides the actual sound. Our hearing can be affected by appearance, price, brand reputation, reviews we've read, salesmen's pitches, etc. Then there's the little matter of levels--a CD player with a higher output level will usually sound better, unless you compensate for that by tweaking your volume control.

So even if you accept the DBT results, you still might find yourself believing that the new deck is better. And there's nothing wrong with that. If it makes you happy...
post #4 of 143
Let me get this straight.......you have a 1k CDP on order but are not sure that it will better whatever you already have ????? did you not listen to it ??

So you want results from DBT on various price point CDP's to make you "feel better" about your purchase ???

You have the 'cart far in front of the horse' , take a deep breath, don't panic and lets hope that you have return provisions just in case YOUR ears don't like what they hear once it's up and running in your system.
post #5 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by twitch54 View Post

Let me get this straight.......you have a 1k CDP on order but are not sure that it will better whatever you already have ????? did you not listen to it ??

So you want results from DBT on various price point CDP's to make you "feel better" about your purchase ???

You have the 'cart far in front of the horse' , take a deep breath, don't panic and lets hope that you have return provisions just in case YOUR ears don't like what they hear once it's up and running in your system.

I'm not the orginal poster but what I got was:

He just ordered a new player that cost a grand. (And was probably excited and happy) After he ordered it, he read the highly contentious post on this site, started second guessing himself, and now he believes he may have wasted money. So, he wants to read some DBT's to see if, in fact, there really is a difference or not. IMO
post #6 of 143
Yeah, I don't think Drecar's the first guy to ever place an order for something and then think, "Gee, maybe I could find a better way to spend that grand." Surely we have all been there. A little empathy might be in order.
post #7 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Yeah, I don't think Drecar's the first guy to ever place an order for something and then think, "Gee, maybe I could find a better way to spend that grand." Surely we have all been there. A little empathy might be in order.

On this, we agree. This year it was do I get the Trek or the Serotta? Went with the Serotta but haven't stopped second guessing myself since. (brands of road bikes)
post #8 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by drecar View Post

The purpose of audio equipment is to reproduce the original sound accurately so therefore all equipment should sound the same. However, in the real world, all equipment does not sound the same.

I have a $1000 cd player on order and I am very concerned that it will not sound different than what is being replaced based on numerous postings that I've read here.

Could some one please point me to the result of a DBT of cd players at different price points that indicates no descernable difference was detected.

Thanks in advance for saving a bunch of dough. I apologize if this was already done and I just missed it when reading through other threads.

If I could offer something for your consideration, I would suggest you trust your own ears rather than the opinions of folks you don't know, or DBT's conducted by people who don't know using equipment you aren't familiar with and musical selections you may not have, under conditions that probably don't mirror how you listen to music.

Not that your concerns about wasting money on a more expensive player are not valid (assuming the $1000 player is more expensive). No one wants to waste money. But if you can, you might give yourself the opportunity to listen to the new player for awhile (I would recommend a minimum of two weeks), listening to musical selections you are familiar with, and then go back and listen to the player you are replacing. You might find the difference in sound quite noticeable. If not, then you will have made a judgment based on what YOU hear, not on what others say you should or should not hear.

If possible, and if you have some help, you might even try some blind tests, although I think switching back and forth between sources every 30 seconds or so is not the best way to discern differences between players. But I would trust your own ears with a blind test or other method of comparison that you conduct, even if it s not a "double" blind test or conducted under rigorous scientific conditions, before I would put too much stock in tests conducted by strangers with strange equipment.

That's my $.02.
post #9 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Yeah, I don't think Drecar's the first guy to ever place an order for something and then think, "Gee, maybe I could find a better way to spend that grand." Surely we have all been there. A little empathy might be in order.


You're right, but if he's not happy it will be an exspensive lesson !

Drecar......... I hope it puts a smile as broad as the Mississippi across your face !!!!
post #10 of 143
I'd like to add I myself own a CD player that cost me one thousand dollars (modification included) and I have never regret it.

Regardless of the sound, IMO when you spend 1,000 dollars on a CD player, you have a reasonable certainty it will last good 5-10 years.

I concluded this after various cheap CD players and changers I owned in the past. None of them survived more than 5 years.
post #11 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by JorgeLopez11 View Post

I'd like to add I myself own a CD player that cost me one thousand dollars (modification included) and I have never regret it.

Regardless of the sound, IMO when you spend 1,000 dollars on a CD player, you have a reasonable certainty it will last good 5-10 years.

I concluded this after various cheap CD players and changers I owned in the past. None of them survived more than 5 years.

You know that you were going to get some posts on this right

I have a Technics 5 platter CDP that I have had for 9 years and it plays as good as the day I got it. And I got it for well under $100 via an internet special as that was when companies were paying us to buy their stuff. Also I have a Marantz 5 platter CDP that is easily 10 years old that I bought refurbished for less than $100 and it looks and plays as well as the day I bought it. So there, at least, are two examples of CDP players, under $100 that all work fine. Futher, I actually still have an old Yamaha DVD player that is close to 13 years old ($450) and another Panasonic player that is a little older ($99). Both bought within a few years of when DVD first came out and both work flawlessly. I also have a few other cheapies around going strong. So, at least in my case, one does not need to spend a lot of money to get a quality player that will last for quite a while. I will say that I have no children and take care of my toys.
post #12 of 143
By the same token, I've had some of those cheap Toshiba DVD players. Toshiba has replaced a couple of them in warranty. The real sad part is, these players were in my bedroom system and hardly ever get used.
post #13 of 143
Quote:


Regardless of the sound, IMO when you spend 1,000 dollars on a CD player, you have a reasonable certainty it will last good 5-10 years.

I concluded this after various cheap CD players and changers I owned in the past. None of them survived more than 5 years.

So if a $1000 player will last 10 years, and a $200 player will last 3 years, which is the better long-term bet?

Let's not see all the same hands, now.
post #14 of 143
The better long term bet depends on how frequently you use your gear. My last 75 dollars Sony-Discman died after a one year period of daily use in my car.

Is it a good bet to buy a discman per year during 10 years?

Sorry for the off topic!
post #15 of 143
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the above, fellas.

The unit that I am replacing in a 16 yrs old Yam CDC615. I have a CA azur 640c v1 on loan while waitng for the 740c to come.

I think 640c was an improvement in sound. I am not expecting much more improvement when the 740c arrives. The specs sell a good story and makes sense to me. Digital input is also a beneficial feature.

Sorry, no DBT just plugged it in and set the volume and thought it sounded better.

I have concluded that in the last 16 yrs, cd players now sound more similar than dis-similar from each other. Horay for technology.

I expect/hope this new player to last another 15yrs. By then hopefully all components will sound the same; reproducing the original sound accurately.
post #16 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

So if a $1000 player will last 10 years, and a $200 player will last 3 years, which is the better long-term bet?

Let's not see all the same hands, now.

Well, let me see. I can buy 5 $200 players, right? And, if they last 3 years, they will last 15 years total. You are correct, it is a no brainer, 10 years or 15 years.
post #17 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by drecar View Post

.

I expect/hope this new player to last another 15yrs. By then hopefully all components will sound the same; reproducing the original sound accurately.

Or, these two will sound the same today already without waiting another 15 years.
post #18 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

... Lots of factors affect how we hear things besides the actual sound. Our hearing can be affected by appearance, price, brand reputation, reviews we've read, salesmen's pitches, etc. ...

How true this is. Just recently wine tasters' brains were scanned in the pleasure area. The price of the wine did alter that zones reaction to price increases, even when the brain was tricked to think that a bottle was more expensive when in reality it was a very cheap wine.
When I get in the wine business, I will have nothing but expensive wine, no matter what.
post #19 of 143
Thread Starter 
Did I spell that right?

There is something going here. Especially when the result is completely unexpected.

I have been listening to my new player for a few hours now, expecting it to sound exatcly the same as the loaner that I was using. Well, it doesnt sound the same. It sounds better. I delibrately set the volume lower than my usual listening level because in most cases louder sounds better.

I apologize in advance for the passionate arguments that will be coming. I also have been giving thought to how what appears to be two opposing truths could exist. My hypothesis is the following and hopeful some else out there knows more about the subject matter than me and will offer something useful and of value.

In ABX tests, the brain is unable to differentiate between similar sounds and registers them as the same. Just like if you view an alternating field of white and black fast enough our brain will see them as the same, being grey. Yet if you listen to a sound on audio equipment and change it, the brain will register that as being different in the usual home setting that most of us experience.

It would be great if some one out there could devise a scientific test to prove or disprove my theory, (or find the real truth) however I am sure that there would not be enough concern to do so.

Anyways, I am very happy with my new purchase and thank all the posters that have entertained my questions and ideas.
post #20 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by drecar View Post

Did I spell that right?

No - "afoot" is one word.
post #21 of 143
Quote:


It would be great if some one out there could devise a scientific test to prove or disprove my theory, (or find the real truth) however I am sure that there would not be enough concern to do so.

Why? Would you do it?
post #22 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Why? Would you do it?

Why not? If I had the resources to prove or disprove that ABX sound tests trick the brain into thinking similar level sounds sound the same much like we can be tricked into seeing a third colour when we are shown two alternating colours at sufficient speed, I'd do it. I'd sure like to discover where the disception is at.

I would want to know: Does wire and cd players sound exactly the same? Do they sound different? Can our brains be tricked into thinking different sounds sound the same under certain conditions?
post #23 of 143
Turn off any processing from the players. Download something like a 1 kHz test tone off the web, burn it to a CD, get out your multimeter and measure the output voltages at the speaker terminals. Adjust the CDP's so that they measure identically. You do have the ability to switch between CDP's right? Then we'll take it from there.
post #24 of 143
Drecar, that is certainly a nice cdp and hopefully you will take advantage of the digital input that comes with it and use its dac for other digital devices you may have!

The mere knowledge of which player is playing is enough to cause you to think you hear differences. If there are drastic differences, once you hear them they won't magically disappear just because of level-matched a/b/x testing. If you cannot hear them during a level-matched a/b/x double blind test, they didn't exist before.

Getting a level match on analog equipment may not be easy as it depends on the gradations of your preamp's volume knob so that you can have the switcher change the volume and source simultaneously. If there is a digital readout on the preamp for volume, then this would be made easier. Another task is if the volume knob isnt fine enough, you wont be able to adjust to match within 0.1mV.


But in the end, do realize that just because the player cost more doesnt mean it HAS to have an improvement in sound quality. I repeat myself so many times, but THIS IS A HOBBY! There are many reasons why anyone would want to spend a couple extra hundred/thousand dollars here and there.

Maybe they like the visual look of the player -- this is worth something because it will be placed into a normal living area! If it is to be shoved into a cabinet never to be seen, this wouldn't be a consideration.

Maybe they like the features of the player -- this is worth something because maybe these features are not offered on ANY player less than the cost of this player.

Maybe they want to brand match -- this is worth something to some people who are 'anal' about details like this. Perhaps there is some synergy within the line, perhaps people just like the uniform detailing across their electronics, perhaps they like to use their preamp's remote for the cdp as well without going out and buying a learning remote.

Have fun with your new cdp. It is a very good one and should provide years of great service.
...
post #25 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

Drecar, that is certainly a nice cdp and hopefully you will take advantage of the digital input that comes with it and use its dac for other digital devices you may have!

The mere knowledge of which player is playing is enough to cause you to think you hear differences. If there are drastic differences, once you hear them they won't magically disappear just because of level-matched a/b/x testing. If you cannot hear them during a level-matched a/b/x double blind test, they didn't exist before.

Getting a level match on analog equipment may not be easy as it depends on the gradations of your preamp's volume knob so that you can have the switcher change the volume and source simultaneously. If there is a digital readout on the preamp for volume, then this would be made easier. Another task is if the volume knob isnt fine enough, you wont be able to adjust to match within 0.1mV.


But in the end, do realize that just because the player cost more doesnt mean it HAS to have an improvement in sound quality. I repeat myself so many times, but THIS IS A HOBBY! There are many reasons why anyone would want to spend a couple extra hundred/thousand dollars here and there.

Maybe they like the visual look of the player -- this is worth something because it will be placed into a normal living area! If it is to be shoved into a cabinet never to be seen, this wouldn't be a consideration.

Maybe they like the features of the player -- this is worth something because maybe these features are not offered on ANY player less than the cost of this player.

Maybe they want to brand match -- this is worth something to some people who are 'anal' about details like this. Perhaps there is some synergy within the line, perhaps people just like the uniform detailing across their electronics, perhaps they like to use their preamp's remote for the cdp as well without going out and buying a learning remote.

Have fun with your new cdp. It is a very good one and should provide years of great service.
...


I am still wondering if any trickery is going on with dbt/abx sound tests. I understand (my understanding could of course be wrong) that mp3's throw out a significant amount of sound as compared to the original source making them different. However, in abx sound test, subjects can not hear a difference between mp3's and the original source. Would that not support some trickery might be evident?
post #26 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by drecar View Post


In ABX tests, the brain is unable to differentiate between similar sounds and registers them as the same. Just like if you view an alternating field of white and black fast enough our brain will see them as the same, being grey. Yet if you listen to a sound on audio equipment and change it, the brain will register that as being different in the usual home setting that most of us experience.

Yes, I also believe that long term listening in one's home, and particularly a switch to a different player after long term exposure listening to one player, involves a much different evaluation than switching back and forth between two components with listening periods of short duration. I think that is kind of what you are saying. Lots of others have also observed that long terms exposure to the equipment under consideration may reveal an audible difference that wasn't apparent in a typical ABX test.

It would be difficult to design a test, however, that reflects long terms exposure and that would be truly blind, and that would be conducted in such a way that it might be considered as probative of the issue by objective observers (assuming any exist).
post #27 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by drecar View Post

I am still wondering if any trickery is going on with dbt/abx sound tests. I understand (my understanding could of course be wrong) that mp3's throw out a significant amount of sound as compared to the original source making them different. However, in abx sound test, subjects can not hear a difference between mp3's and the original source. Would that not support some trickery might be evident?

"Trickery" is probably not the right word. The notion would be that the typical abx test is somewhat flawed in is methodology, i.e., it does not adequately mirror the circumstances under which people are able to discern differences in the items being compared.
post #28 of 143
Quote:


However, in abx sound test, subjects can not hear a difference between mp3's and the original source. Would that not support some trickery might be evident?

MP3's exist in all sorts of flavors and sampling rates. You can certainly degrade the original enough to where it's painfully obvious. What you said depends upon a lot of factors and if you don't want to create MP3's, then a variety of lossless compression methods are available.
post #29 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

MP3's exist in all sorts of flavors and sampling rates. You can certainly degrade the original enough to where it's painfully obvious. What you said depends upon a lot of factors and if you don't want to create MP3's, then a variety of lossless compression methods are available.

Yet, are there not test subjects out there that could not hear a difference in abx sound test between the original sound and degraded mp3? Is it possible the test fooled their brains into thinking the sounds are the same? Have such test been done?
post #30 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by drecar View Post

Yet, are there not test subjects out there that could not hear a difference in abx sound test between the original sound and degraded mp3? Is it possible the test fooled their brains into thinking the sounds are the same? Have such test been done?

I don't believe that to be the case. I have statistically verified myself that a difference, in fact, and improvement could be 100% heard in a blind A/B test between a 128kbps mp3 (EAC + LAME) and a .wav file (EAC). This test was done in foobar2k, it was level matched, and the sample size was 100 trials broken into 5 groups of 20 trials over the course of the day.

Many people say "there is no difference", if the test could have fooled my brain, it would have esp. with all the preconceived notions that 128kbps = cd quality.

I repeated the test with 256kbps and scored 95 out of 100.

I could not score better than 70/100 on a test with 320kbps, so thats debatable.

Flac/Monkey I could not tell the difference period.

Level matching to 0.1mV takes away most of the bias that would be present during the test. Being blind to what device is operating takes away the rest of the bias.

I'd almost want to say that if you can't score >90/100 on a 320kbps EAC+LAME vs. .wav in a controlled level matched double blind A/B test, you would not have a chance of hearing slight variances between cdp if they do exist. If you can, this 'fact' would not change in controlled environment since it would be inherent in your senses to be able to detect this no matter what other people say, and other preconceived notions. In other words, you would "JUST KNOW" and that's that. If the test is not well-controlled, you cannot make any conclusions about the experiment. This is just the scientific-method at work. Unless all variables are accounted for, the results are not significant.
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