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CD player vs computer sourced music: which has better sound quality?


esldude
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Is computer or CD the better quality music source?  

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Just what the title says.

 

Is a CD player better sound quality than your computer sourced music? Or is the computer sourced music better quality? Or is it about the same?

 

I realizes some use computer based audio for reasons other than just pure sound quality. Whole house music, or network distributed music or simply prefer the convenience of all your music at once with album info, graphics etc at your fingertips.

 

I just wondered what the estimation of most CA regulars is regarding sound quality. And yes, CD players differ, but I am asking in regard to whatever you have owned or used. Is your computer rig better than your CD rig?

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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How do you define better sound quality? Forget comparing CD to PC for a moment. I have 4 different CD players and they all sound different from one another. And I'm not talking small differences here either.

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How do you define better sound quality? Forget comparing CD to PC for a moment. I have 4 different CD players and they all sound different from one another. And I'm not talking small differences here either.

I leave it to you to decide. What else makes sense. If you decide to buy sell or keep something you must have an opinion of it. It sounds like maybe the last choice fits your situation.

 

Asked another way, of your CD players is one best in your opinion? Does your computer source sound better or worse than your best CD unit?

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I leave it to you to decide. What else makes sense. If you decide to buy sell or keep something you must have an opinion of it. It sounds like maybe the last choice fits your situation.

 

Asked another way, of your CD players is one best in your opinion? Does your computer source sound better or worse than your best CD unit?

 

I like my Wadia 861SE the best on good recordings and my Arcam 33 if I need something more forgiving.

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I leave it to you to decide. What else makes sense. If you decide to buy sell or keep something you must have an opinion of it. It sounds like maybe the last choice fits your situation.

 

Asked another way, of your CD players is one best in your opinion? Does your computer source sound better or worse than your best CD unit?

 

Judging by the recent number of polls started, I am beginning to wonder if you are "beer and music" in disguise !

My PC source is way better than direct CD play from my Oppo 103, previous players or a friend's Oppo95 or Marantz SA11, and a little better again than the friend's modified P.W.T. which also plays music directly from internal memory. This is when exported via Coax SPDIF to a higher quality DAC.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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How do you define better sound quality? Forget comparing CD to PC for a moment. I have 4 different CD players and they all sound different from one another. And I'm not talking small differences here either.

 

Is this via Digital Out or Analogue Out ?

I find that CD players can sound quite different even when exporting their output digitally.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Using the digital output of my CD transport To an outboard DAC; sounds no better or worse than playing the same (disc) ripped to flac and played back through FOOBAR2000.

 

I am notoriously bad at hearing minute differences of there are any.

 

The analog output of the CD player is not very good.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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It's been about 8 years since I've had a dedicated CD player on my main system.

 

I do still have a universal disc player for playing SACDs, but I never use it to play CDs. Definitely prefer to rip and play from the computer source.

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Another poll with no bites, how unusual.

 

How do you compare a $99 CD player vs a tweaked playback, or conversely, a $10,000 CD player and a DAP. It's like comparing a Goggomobile or a Ferrari Testarossa. Both get you from A to B, so a CD player or CA music system can play music. There are far too many variables to even contemplate, or are you becoming subjective, OP???

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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It's like comparing a Goggomobile or a Ferrari Testarossa.

 

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Well pretty simple. Is your computer better than your CD? Not is your computer better than any CD made. Apparently these polls even when just a question are far too difficult for far too many.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Well pretty simple. Is your computer better than your CD? Not is your computer better than any CD made. Apparently these polls even when just a question are far too difficult for far too many.

 

In truth you'd be comparing the CD player with the file playback system which consists of computer+player+DAC.

 

My old CD player performs better than my DAC.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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When I decided to put my CDs on a hard drive, it was mainly a matter of convenience. Two small active speakers attached to it.

 

Then I started reading about external dacs and was curious to add one and connect it on my main system.

 

It was the start of a new journey but I never really tried to compare my old CD player (Harman Kardon, bought in 1990) with the PC.

 

For me this journey has been about better SQ but I never really compared.

 

Maybe add a "None of these answers" next time :)

Alain

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Put it this way ... I don't find a difference between files streamed to my UnitiQute and a CD played on a Cambridge Audio player attached via SPDIF. Or if there is a difference its too small to worry about!

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Is this via Digital Out or Analogue Out ?

I find that CD players can sound quite different even when exporting their output digitally.

 

 

Its really not a matter of CD players sounding different when using digital outputs. Its not a CD player anymore. Going digital out means that it would be considered a transport. But to answer your question, my comment was made using each CD player as a stand alone unit. Analog output. The only other thing worth noting is that my 861 does have digital inputs, so it can be used as a dac. I have ripped Redbook CD's and played them from my computer using the dac in the Wadia, and while the sound was OK, I still prefer CD's played the old fashion way.

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Its really not a matter of CD players sounding different when using digital outputs. Its not a CD player anymore. Going digital out means that it would be considered a transport. But to answer your question, my comment was made using each CD player as a stand alone unit. Analog output. The only other thing worth noting is that my 861 does have digital inputs, so it can be used as a dac. I have ripped Redbook CD's and played them from my computer using the dac in the Wadia, and while the sound was OK, I still prefer CD's played the old fashion way.

Well the question was about CD sources vs computer sources. Digital out from a CD to an external DAC means you still have a CD source during playback.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to this, but taking the dac out of the equation I think the question is whether playing from a hard drive sounds better than playing a spinning disc from a transport. My tech claims that playing from a hdd is much better because unlike a transport it is not using a laser reading pits from a spinning disc and with a hdd you are reading ones and zeros making that purely digital while with the transport it begins like analog. I did A/B comparisons using the optical drive of my computer and the hdd - using the same dac of course and there was a big difference - the hdd appeared more seamless. My tech claims in years past he modified transports for big $ and not one can hold a candle to playing from any hdd. I know somewhere on this forum Barry Diament agreed and explained why the hdd is better in technical terms.

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Well the question was about CD sources vs computer sources. Digital out from a CD to an external DAC means you still have a CD source during playback.

 

Dennis

You appear to have your answer despite the limited member participation.

PC Audio can at least equal the SQ from an affordable CD player, and if properly implemented can shit all over the typical affordable CD player. Something like a P.W.T. which plays from internal memory,can also give the best of both worlds, but is not inexpensive. However, bringing your typical PC up to those standards is not inexpensive either.

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I think that much of the SQ is dependent on the DAC. Typical affordable CD players (in consumer terms) are sub $1k. CA only outperforms a run of the mill CD player when there is a high quality DAC in the playback chain.

 

I bought my ECD1 because I didn't want to spend $3k+ on the Electrocompaniet CD player. That gives me the flexibility to use the ECD1 with numerous sources, including the run of the mill Rotel transport.

 

If you have a really fine CD player, you won't hear much difference in SQ between it and a CA application that uses an audiophile DAC.

 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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I think that much of the SQ is dependent on the DAC. Typical affordable CD players (in consumer terms) are sub $1k. CA only outperforms a run of the mill CD player when there is a high quality DAC in the playback chain.

 

I bought my ECD1 because I didn't want to spend $3k+ on the Electrocompaniet CD player. That gives me the flexibility to use the ECD1 with numerous sources, including the run of the mill Rotel transport.

 

If you have a really fine CD player, you won't hear much difference in SQ between it and a CA application that uses an audiophile DAC.

 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

My own DIY DAC recently easily outperformed an Au$11,800 Bricasti M1 DAC, but even when used with an Oppo 95, or Oppo 103 as a Transport via Coax SPDIF, it can't equal my PC when exporting via Coax SPDIF from an Asus Xonar D2X soundcard to the same DAC, or even a heavily modified Musical Fidelity X-DAC V3.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I would really like to hear your system. I like what I have but I'm sure there are delights I haven't heard yet.

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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My own DIY DAC recently easily outperformed an Au$11,800 Bricasti M1 DAC, but even when used with an Oppo 95, or Oppo 103 as a Transport via Coax SPDIF, it can't equal my PC when exporting via Coax SPDIF from an Asus Xonar D2X soundcard to the same DAC, or even a heavily modified Musical Fidelity X-DAC V3.

 

The Bricasti is considered top level. What is your fit Dac that outperforms it?

I know there have been multiple updates available for the Bricasti. Each reported as better sounding than a previous update.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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Well the question was about CD sources vs computer sources. Digital out from a CD to an external DAC means you still have a CD source during playback.

 

 

The question was stated as CD player, not CD source. A CD player is a transport and a dac in one box.

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