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jgossman
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Diving into Digital - maybe

Most of this forum know's I'm no huge fan of the Compact Disk. That said, some opinions are warranted.

 

After over a year of contending with the "convenience" of streaming my CD's to the stereo via apple gear, and by convenience I mean drop out's, anemic bass, shitty DAC's, and crappy Apple preamp sections, I'm considering buying a nice used CD player.  My personal experience has been with Denon, Arcam, Cambridge and some Vincent, but I'm also considering Rega or saving for a while and getting a Naim or Krell.

 

Any audio/music lovers with any experience with digital?  I realize I'm talking to a very small audience here.  I haven't bought a digital device in close to 8 years and it should be mentioned that since I compared CD's in my new at the time Arcam and the same LP on my Rega Planar, I've never been inclined to.  CD's suck.  I'd just like to have them suck less.

 

For reference, my analog rig is a Rega 3 with upgraded power supply and a Grado Reference Platinum, which may, depending on finances, be upgraded to a billet sub-platter and an Ortofon Black or Grado Reference Sonata. Something in the 500-800 range.

 

Thanks.

Bill B
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Cdp

Consider getting a basic CD player from NAD or marantz or almost anyone, as long as it has a digital output. Then get a nice DAC. The dacs are what have seen the most development over the years so I think a midrange current one might beat an older used krell or naim. Check out the Schiit line of DAC's. 

commsysman
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CD player

For years I had the Ayre C5xe player, which cost me $6000 in 2006 and sounded really special compared to the rest of the players then.

It is still rated A+ in Recommended Components.

However...lol... when I bought the OPPO BDP-95, for only $995, it sounded better!

I couldn't believe it at first, but there was no doubt. (it is also rated A+ now). The sound quality is now on the same level with my MMF-7 turntable and Benz Micro Ace cartridge with the ViNL phono preamp.. Sound to die for either way with my Vandersteen Treo speakers.

I will guarantee you that ANY CD player you can find used will NOT sound as good as a BDP-95 or 105 (the 105 is essentially identical, but with a few added features; the SOTA SABRE DACS and other circuits are unchanged from the 95 to the 105).

The SABRE chips in the OPPO are just better than anything Audio Research or Ayre or Naim or Krell etc. etc, use in their $3000-$8000 players. The SABRE chips are awesome. The DAC chips that were used in any used player you can buy are obsolete, no matter how fancy the faceplate.

Those players have all been superseded and made completely obsolete by the 95 amd 105, so don't even consider them if sound quality is your standard.

I am quite sure that those companies ae trying to keep a brave face but are well aware that they have been done in big-time by OPPO! Compared to your Arcam player, an OPPO BDP-105 will make those CDs sound 300% better!

CDs absolutely do not suck, if well recorded and mastered, but 98% of the players do a shitty job of recovering what is on the CD. I have a CD that was the first one issued by Delos 30 years ago (Our Man, Papa Jo Jones), and it sounds like a live performance on my OPPO; wonderful. It sounded like SHIT on the Phillips CD player I bought in 1982, and I mistakenly blamed the CD...WRONG!!! It just took 30 years for the players to become equal to the task of retrieving the information on the CD properly.

Sony defined a wonderful system for information storage with the Red Book CD standard, but they woefully underestimated how long it would take the industry to get the playback right at a reasonable price!

The BDP-105, for only $1295, is the bargain of the decade! You will love it! It and the 95 really mark the first time an affordable player has been able to play CDs properly. The CD is finally out of its dark ages, after 30 years.

 

P.S.- I have found that the sound quality of the 320K MP3 files on a PC is good; no significant loss in sound quality that I can readily hear. Technical articles I have read claim to prove that 300k+ is lossless, and that seems to agree with what i hear. That is all I use for my computer music files now. You can connect any storage device or computer to a 105 via USB and use your video display (TV) connected to the OPPO via HDMI to view music flies and select and play them via USB through the OPPOs DAC. You just use the OPPO remote to control everything. Very nice.

You can also put the eqivalent of 50 CDs onto a 16Gb USB memory stick with 320K files and plug it into the front USB slot on an OPPO for play (or in my Prius, or whatever).

 

P.P.S.- I recently upgraded from the an Audio Research PH-5 phono preamp (which was pretty good) to a Musical Fidelity M1-ViNL  phono preamp. It's a little bit pricy, but man does it make that vinyl sound wonderful.

John Atkinson
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Lossy vs Lossless Data Compression

commsysman wrote:
I have found that the sound quality of the 320K MP3 files on a PC is very very good; no significant loss in sound quality that I can hear. Technical articles I have read claim to prove that 300k+ is lossless...

I have no argument with your opinion on the sound quality of 320kbps MP3 files, though the AAC lossy codec is better than MP3 at preserving musical information at the same bitrate - see my article on this subject at www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html.

But you have been misinformed when you read that "300k+ is lossless." The stereo audio datastream from a CD requires a bitrate of 1,411.2kbps. Lossless compression can reduce that to typically 600-800kbps but not less.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

commsysman
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Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
320K?

Hi John;

Thanks for correcting me. Most of my listening is direct from CDs and vinyl, so I guess I need to listen to those files again...lol.

Mainly, I just put the files on the computer for transfer to USB sticks for use in my Prius.

A lot of music on one stick is nice for a long trip.

Thanks Again;

Floyd M. (alias commsysman)

 

Oh- I am still really happy with the Musical Fidelity M6PRX driving my Treo speakers and the Musical Fidelity M1ViNL phono preamp; impressive upgrades to my system. Since you and Stereophile guided me to all those choices, I owe you guys a big thank you for the great improvement in my sound system over the past 6 months. It's really getting good...lol.

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