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Scooter123
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Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

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.

mrlowry
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

Scooter123

Digital technology has most certainly moved in leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. While I would agree that your average DVD transport mechanism would have to be build to tighter tolerances than a CD transport mechanism the problem is that many if not most DVD players really skimp on the parts quality that go into the analog output stage of these units. Particularly the affordable ones. The manufacturers thought process goes something like this.

Scooter123
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

I plan on doing a lot more investigation. What is interesting is the a cheap 100 dollar new DVD player is a dead match, so far, for a 10 year old, well rated CD player even when the comparison was skewed in favor of the CD player. I plan on doing a lot more listening with a variety of music and see if I can spot any weaknesses.

It's going to be a while before I can do any comparisons to a new CD player. Right now I am getting a satisfory sound quality from either player and it's my turntable that needs replacing. That old Dual is OLD and I suspect that it's due for a new cartridge. So my new acquisition will be either a Rega Planar 5, Sota Moonbeam, or Thorens TD 295.

One regret is that DBX pulled out of consumer electronics. My first CD player was a DBX DX-5 and the compander and DAIR could work wonders for CD's that were transcribed from the master tapes used for LP's. Some day I'll get a DBX 3BX to remedy that.

Scooter123
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

I have done some additional A/B comparisons of the Philips DVP5960, this time comparing it to my Dual 522 turntable with an Audio Technica 112 cartridge. The result is very interesting and this may be the least expensive "audiophile grade" CD player on the planet.

First, the setup and source material. The LP was Bruce Springsteen

CECE
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

Open up the mega priced players, there are just a few major suppliers of the internals, Philips being the major creator of most of it. An obsolete CD player optical pickup for my 2 older CDC939 changers, with nice SOLID metal cases etc and flawless functions, used to be around $150 for the optical pickup, now MCM has CDM 12.1 assys for like $30. !! I recently replaced the one that was skipping ocassionally, no more ship. Good for another 15 years. And picked up 2 spare laser assys for teh other 2 Philips recorder/players using the next gen pickups...they might have also $30 CDM2202 or something, it just gets cheaper and cheaper, better and better. Changing out the laser pickup is slick, having the service manuals for them makes it easy, so it shows where the secret clips and snaps are, no alignment needed, pop in a new optical assys and play. Cool. Actually Philips sold off it's laser optical div, since they are so cheap now, and patents have run their corse, they are moving onto the next big thang they will invent. I think the ocasional skip was due to the grease on the 2 gears off the tiny motor was getting old, and not so fluid, like on teh new ones, lube it baby. for the tracking motor so it moves freely as it tracks the pits. Speaking of players...what about an EMMLABS CDSA www.emmlabs.com Upsamples CD to 2X SACD over 5mghz...Can it be possible, to have standard CD sound like SACD, when it ain't in the disc to begin with? EMMLABS was in on the development of SACD with Philips/Sony...do they know something?

commsysman
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

Unfortunately, there do not seem to be many DVD players that really are engineered to optimize the audio playback path.

The REGA Apollo is probably good value, but if you are going to spend $1000 on a CD player, you might consider getting a used SONY SCD-777ES or SCD-1. The 777 is still used by some of the Stereophile staff as a reference for reviews, and I think they go for roughly that much. I have been hanging on to both of my 777's (used to have two houses), but now that I have the AYRE C5, I will probably put one of them on EBAY myself; guess I will have to check around to see exactly how much to ask for it. The 777 does have a lot going for it, including 4 selectable filters for CD playback (check the SCD-1/777 reviews; still on this website).

Did you see the article in The Absolute Sound on this new $150 DVD player that they say is pretty good for audio?? It was mentioned in the last issue. You might want to check that out.

CECE
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

A $300 REFURBISHED Onkyo directly from ONKYO on line is a bargain and more. 6 disc changer...Plays everything DVD-A SACD, CD DVD and on and on. You wouldn't know it's a refurb if teh box didn't tell you. Best deal in a long long time, it is SUPERB. Well made solid METAL all around, sounds GREAT, and on and on.And it looks great with a neat blue light over teh tray when open to see whatca doing.... Onkyo U.S.A. never considered them before, but some research let me find some great stuff and deals. Wonder whose drive and stuff they use?

CECE
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

Looks like all the Onkyo DV-CP802 universals are gone at the Onkyo shop on line site. It was a bargain, guess that's why they are all sold out. For $299. It's price was a deal and then some.

CECE
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio
Elk
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

The SCD-777ES is still excellent and a used one is an excellent choice.

I have a DVD player that plays DVD-A and has an option to turn off the video circuits. It is a Panasonic DVD-S97, less than $200. While not a superb player on CD it does an excellent job for the price.

Your comparison is interesting and a good read.

I'd love it if you took a careful listen to the new Rega and told us what you think. I haven't heard one and you are certainly giving this some serious thought. Thus your opinion would be a great data point.

CECE
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Re: Interesting comparo, cheap DVD vs rated CD player for Audio

I can't hear any difference between video ckt off or on with any DVD/SACD players I use. Zip, nada, zilch. It's a nice button though, must help it sell, makes it seem very special. Worthless, i can't hear no difference. Oh, my system ain't revealing enough. I need better wires on my players. OK Will do

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