My DVD player recently died so I had to replace it with a new one. I picked up a Philips DVP-5960 at Circuit City for 100 bucks. It's got some improvements over my old DVD player and cost a lot less. One is the HDMI interface and video upsacling for output at 720 or 1080. As for Audio playback, what peaked my interest is that it features upsampling to 88.2 or 192 khz.
Now, I have a theory that it just might be possible that a DVD player might work better as a CD player than a traditional CD player. My thinking is that a DVD player has to have a playback system far more exacting than a CD players playback system. That may not be true for all players, some of the high end gear may actually be using DVD technology in their playback systems.
So I picked up a 30 dollar set of Monster interconnects and hooked it up straight to my NAD C372. Then I tried comparing it to my California Audio Labs DX-2 which is connected using a set of 18" Viperwire interconnects. Then I loaded each player with Simon and Garfunkels Bookends. Copy 1 was the standard issue Columbia CK66003 and went into the cheap Philips DVD player. Copy 2 was the original master recording Ultradisk UDCD 732 and went into the CAL CD player. Basically, I stacked the deck in favor of hte CD player by playing a premium disk and using better interconnects in the CD player. Keep in mind, the CAL player was a highly rated player about 10 years ago. Being 10 year old technology I thought is was only fair to give it a bit of an advantage.
Now for the listening tests. First, I couldn't hear any difference at all using either upsampling scheme. However, using either upsampling method resulted in a volume reduction so I didn't use it for the A/B comparison. Played straight, both players played at what sounded like identical volume levels. As for the results, I could not hear one discernable difference. Granted, it's a very limited and brief test but it is interesting.
So, what's it all mean. For me, it means that my next purchase will be a new turntable and I'll hold off on getting a Rega Apollo for now. For sure, I'll be doing a lot more listening to see if I can find any weaknesses. I also think it would be very interesting if Stereophile did some testing to see what they think. It just might be possible that a good "hi fi" CD player also happens to play movies. May not stack up to a 5000 dollar player but, come on, it's only a 100 bucks.