Jump to content
IGNORED

CD players/transports - what’s most important?


Recommended Posts

My interest in physical cd playback is returning, to the extent of thinking about putting a dedicated CD player or transport (ie RBCD only, not SACD or DVD) back into my system.

 

Doing my research, the first thing of note is just how many manufacturers (I count 40) still offer a pure CDP/T  broadly aimed at an audiophile market.  The second thing I note though is lack of clarity about what matters in term of spec, with even some quite expensive and well reviewed units using very cheap transports and DAC chips, with manufacturers and reviewers alike not being that convincing (to me at least) as to  the technical differences that underpin claimed SQ difference.  Where factors are highlighted: cd-only transports, dedicated 44 kHz clocks, no digital inputs for example, this seems to now make a hi-end fetish out of what basic CD players have offered from the start.


So, what really matters in a CDP or CDT?  Is it the transport, using a low speed cd-specific  item for example?  Or is the transport’s clock the most important factor and by extension is an integrated player likely better than a mix and match transport and DAC combo? Also good to hear from like-minded individuals who have heard a modern “hi end”  CDP/T in their system.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Norton said:

So, what really matters in a CDP or CDT?  Is it the transport, using a low speed cd-specific  item for example?  Or is the transport’s clock the most important factor and by extension is an integrated player likely better than a mix and match transport and DAC Combo?

 

I think it is both.

But at least with the upcoming Schiit transport with USB output the transports clock does not matter in comparison to the DACs clock.

 

Matt

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, matthias said:

 

I think it is both.

But at least with the upcoming Schiit transport with USB output the transports clock does not matter in comparison to the DACs clock.

 

Matt

A very good point.  I guess the significance of the Schiit will not just be the convenience of USB out, but the fact that (I presume) unlike other CDTs, the clock will come from the DAC, not the transport.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Norton said:

I guess the significance of the Schiit will not just be the convenience of USB out, but the fact that (I presume) unlike other CDTs, the clock will come from the DAC, not the transport.

 

Indeed,

when you look at at the combo Denafrips Terminator Plus and Denafrips Avatar you need for best SQ an additional clock interconnect between the DAC and the CD transport. The Schiit solution with USB out will be much more convenient, but the engineering of the USB host section seems to be more difficult.

 

Matt

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Norton said:

So, what really matters in a CDP or CDT?  Is it the transport, using a low speed cd-specific  item for example?  Or is the transport’s clock the most important factor and by extension is an integrated player likely better than a mix and match transport and DAC combo? Also good to hear from like-minded individuals who have heard a modern “hi end”  CDP/T in their system.
 

 

 

 

Overall integrity of the implementation ... this is currently almost impossible to measure, so experience of others is probably the best guide. An integrated unit that has been carefully thought through in every area will deliver the best bang for the buck - as soon as the parts are put into separate boxes, all sorts of gremlins will emerge to make the theoretical benefits much harder to realise. Just singling out one factor, like the clock, as being terribly important is missing the point - it's the little bits that are not done quite right, the devil's in the details things, which can undermine the potential of a very ambitious unit.

 

At an audio show, a very expensive CDP which was beautifully engineered, and used a very cheap, single DAC chip delivered top notch sound; and in another room a transport from a recognised brand wrecked the SQ of an otherwise good sounding rig - there are no simple answers.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's have an example:

 

image.png.0951eea8341dcfc37c9baee2de8c47c2.png

 

Try to envision what could be told more about this Transport. Also try to envision that the jitter rejection seems a bit BS to me, without further explanation. 50% of the remainder is non-nonsensical anyway (Digital only output for a clean signal - wow).

 

What my initial thought was, was to tell about my ideas that a Transport should be heavy and robust. Possibly this springs from my last (and maybe only) CDT which was a TEAC P1, weighing more than 10Kg IIRC.

 

image.png.379c7ef779f5b0de54948f4e70b0413d.png

 

The one and only (IMO) reason to have a transport as good as possible, is about vibrations (translate it to jitter if you want). Later, TEAC came with the VRDS CD players, which as far as I can recall were the best in those days. They contained the same anti-vibration means as my P1 carried.

This may interest you.

Oh, you can also buy my P1, but it will need service.

 

Error correction is important, but not that important. It will be in there anyway.

Robustness is -thus- crucial IMO. Fact is that the P1 the most clearly showed a "better" sound compared to normal CD Players used as transport (always into an Audionote DAC).

Today I would (try to) dedicate that to lacking "D/A" electronics in the transport (implying noise of some sorts). It would just be a lean machine, the D/A process also not influencing the laser or motor (of course back in those days I did not consider these aspects, but today I surely would).

 

Here are the specs of the Cambridge:

 

 

image.png.31fec1852fbac66e04bc3cce758d7dab.png

 

Well, at least it has gapless playback (huh ?).

Apart from the output impedance on S/PDIF being less than 75 Ohms (huh ?), there just is nothing more to say indeed.

 

But then of course 15 years ago we started working on eliminating this part in the chain all  together. We started to use software players instead.

Would that be worse ? could it anyway ?

 

These days, Yes. I think since 5 years or so, it has become clear that the computer required to play back via software means is actually evil. No wait, maybe it is not evil, but what's done in there appears totally crucial.

 

I simply can not imagine that I'd go back to a CD Player or Transport with separate DAC. It can only be for the worse. But don't ask me about the project to have everything right, so that the software player + DAC outperforms the CDP/T by infinity.

Still working on it - still improving on it. And just to have it clear: with the "old setup" I was also always tweaking, but that really came down to ground wires everywhere, different footers and better mains control. You can do that too in modern days (but I never do that any more, as it is really not about that).

 

Not sure whether this made sense, but is seemed a nice subject to me, so I started typing ...

Peter

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a somewhat amusing counterpoint, I'm currently using an old, bog standard Samsung DVD unit to spin the CDs - what you would pick up now at a garage sale for $10, 🙂. Even the read laser is not brilliant, you can hear subtle glitches, or worse, on some CDs, as it struggles to pick up the data cleanly.

 

Yet the fact that Toslink optical is being used to feed the DAC is keeping most SQ gremlins at bay - biggest issue at the moment is that mains noise isolation is critical; and the needs of the Samsung are apparently as great as those of the digital speakers - would an ultra up market CD spinner do a better job, in this regard? ... I have absolutely no idea!! 🤪

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, PeterSt said:

[....]

What my initial thought was, was to tell about my ideas that a Transport should be heavy and robust. Possibly this springs from my last (and maybe only) CDT which was a TEAC P1, weighing more than 10Kg IIRC.

 

image.png.379c7ef779f5b0de54948f4e70b0413d.png

 

That looks like layout and color scheme of the old Esoteric P-1 (as oppose to current P-01...)

 

6 hours ago, PeterSt said:

The one and only (IMO) reason to have a transport as good as possible, is about vibrations (translate it to jitter if you want). Later, TEAC came with the VRDS CD players, which as far as I can recall were the best in those days. They contained the same anti-vibration means as my P1 carried.

This may interest you.

 

According to Łukasz Fikus, there are 3 levels of VRDS. I have never seen the inside of a P-1 but It's a little hard to imagine any TEAC player would have Esoteric level VRDS mechanism inside...

 

2 hours ago, fas42 said:

As a somewhat amusing counterpoint, I'm currently using an old, bog standard Samsung DVD unit to spin the CDs - what you would pick up now at a garage sale for $10, 🙂. Even the read laser is not brilliant, you can hear subtle glitches, or worse, on some CDs, as it struggles to pick up the data cleanly.

 

Yet the fact that Toslink optical is being used to feed the DAC is keeping most SQ gremlins at bay - biggest issue at the moment is that mains noise isolation is critical; and the needs of the Samsung are apparently as great as those of the digital speakers - would an ultra up market CD spinner do a better job, in this regard? ... I have absolutely no idea!! 🤪

 

Don't know about ultra up market CD spinner, but I understand Oppo 95 going through glass Toslink isn't even close under head to head comparison against an antique Esoteric P-2s going through AES/EBU into the same backend system. I'm no expert so real experts here on AS will certainly correct me. The nice thing about Toslink though is that it allows the blu-ray player and TV to be on a completely separate AC feed and still send sound to the audio system. Best of both worlds...

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/16/2020 at 3:30 AM, Norton said:

My interest in physical cd playback is returning, to the extent of thinking about putting a dedicated CD player or transport (ie RBCD only, not SACD or DVD) back into my system.

 

Doing my research, the first thing of note is just how many manufacturers (I count 40) still offer a pure CDP/T  broadly aimed at an audiophile market.  The second thing I note though is lack of clarity about what matters in term of spec, with even some quite expensive and well reviewed units using very cheap transports and DAC chips, with manufacturers and reviewers alike not being that convincing (to me at least) as to  the technical differences that underpin claimed SQ difference.  Where factors are highlighted: cd-only transports, dedicated 44 kHz clocks, no digital inputs for example, this seems to now make a hi-end fetish out of what basic CD players have offered from the start.


So, what really matters in a CDP or CDT?  Is it the transport, using a low speed cd-specific  item for example?  Or is the transport’s clock the most important factor and by extension is an integrated player likely better than a mix and match transport and DAC combo? Also good to hear from like-minded individuals who have heard a modern “hi end”  CDP/T in their system.

 

 

I have a 2001 Linn Genki. Its transport(drive section) is excellent, the power supply is excellent and the circuitry is top notch. But because of its era the clock crystal

is its limiting factor and the DAC section has obsolesced .  Bass out of it goes lower/clearer than using my computer audio source solution using coax to same DAC.

HDCD resolution is excellent but because of the dated clock crystal digital irritants creep in and CD's are only enjoyable if well recorded.

 

I'd look at these three factors 1)transport stability, 2) power supply engineering, 3) digital I/O clocking integrity) if I were to entertain a newer CD transport,

would avoid an internal DAC thats bound to obsolesce. Pity Linn dropped out of the market, I don't know of another player manufacturer with like

transport design expertise

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

Link to post
Share on other sites

I use my old Bryston BCD-1 as a transport.  The transport drive is well built, the unit measures pretty well and my connection to my dacs via the AES/EBU or S/pdif seems to preform well. I follow davide256 criteria "1)transport stability, 2) power supply engineering)".

The Truth Is Out There

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like the Krell MD-2 has just been mentioned in Meet The Audiophile Style Community | Volume 11:

 

Quote

 

8. Is there one component that you no longer have that you wish you wouldn’t have sold or that you wish you still had? 

 

My Krell MD-2 CD turntable. An incredibly sexy (and overbuilt) top-loading player with a hinged Lucite cover that descended slowly after you uploaded the disc.

 

 

So how would something like the Krell be doing in terms of the critical crieria of transport stability, power supply engineering and digital I/O clocking integrity? Would it be possible for Krell to be anywhere near Linn in transport design expertise, or is it just for looks?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...