Denon DCD-2560 CD player Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

There was little or nothing to fault in the Denon's measured response. Its frequency response (fig.1) showed nothing worth commenting on except for a dip and rise above 6kHz (no more than ±0.2dB in any case). The channels are also well matched. The de-emphasis response (fig.2) is nearly ideal, indicating consistent playback of both pre-emphasized and non–pre-emphasized discs (the latter being in the great majority). The squarewave response (fig.3) is typical of the linear-phase digital filters common in Japanese-sourced equipment, with a very slight emphasis to its leading edge correlating with the slight peakiness at 20kHz noticeable in fig.1. The crosstalk (fig.4), while differing slightly between channels, is, in any event, so low as to be insignificant. (The top curve, referenced at 200Hz, indicates the crosstalk from right to left, the bottom curve the opposite.)


Fig.1 Denon DCD-2560, frequency response at 0dBFS (right channel dashed, 0.5dB/vertical div.).


Fig.2 Denon DCD-2560, de-emphasis error (right channel dashed, 0.5dB/vertical div.).


Fig.3 Denon DCD-2560, waveform of 1kHz squarewave at 0dBFS (2ms time window).


Fig.4 Denon DCD-2560, channel separation (10dB/vertical div.).

Fig.5 shows the spectral content of the Denon's output when decoding a dithered 1kHz sinewave at –90.31dB. Power-supply–related noise is absent, or at least buried in other low-level noise; there are no significant distortion artifacts; and linearity is excellent. The last is more completely shown in fig.6 (only the right channel is shown; the left was practically identical). Linearity stays within 1dB down to below –110dB, averaging out the low-level noise; some of this noise is from the player, some from low-level dither noise on the disc.


Fig.5 Denon DCD-2560, spectrum of dithered 1kHz tone at –90.31dBFS, with noise and spuriae (right channel dashed).


Fig.6 Denon DCD-2560, left-channel departure from linearity (2dB/vertical div.).

Listening to the fade-to-noise with dither track from the CBS CD-1 test CD through headphones revealed a single birdie or whistle riding below the level of the signal shortly after the sweep began (estimated at between –60 and –70dB). The whistle disappeared after a couple of seconds and the signal continued cleanly down to the noise floor. Fig.7 shows the noise spectrum of the player when reading a silent band on a test disc (or infinity-zero without emphasis, as it's commonly called on CD test discs). A minor amount of 60Hz noise is evident on the left channel, if hardly a problem at under –110dB, and the noise at high frequencies remains consistently low.


Fig.7 Denon DCD-2560, spectrum of digital black with noise and spuriae (1/3-octave analysis, right channel dashed).

In fig.8, a –90.31dBFS undithered 1kHz sinewave gives a reasonably clear picture of the expected stairstep response from this signal, overlaid with the noise found in most players. And fig.9 indicates the player's output spectrum from an equal mix of 19+20kHz sinewaves with the combined waveform peaking at 0dB. While there is an excellent freedom from intermodulation products at 1kHz, 18kHz, and 21kHz, the aliasing products at 24.1kHz and 25.1kHz are a little higher than usual, indicating the particular filter chosen by Denon to have slightly less ultrasonic rejection than normal. This is probably inconsequential—the cursor position shows the 25.1kHz product to be almost 60dB down from the 19kHz tone or 0.1% of its level.


Fig.8 Denon DCD-2560, waveform of undithered 1kHz sinewave at -90.31dBFS.


Fig.9 Denon DCD-2560, HF intermodulation spectrum, DC-30kHz, 19+20kHz at 0dBFS, 100k ohm load (linear frequency scale, 10dB/vertical div.).

I measured zero DC offset from the outputs of both channels. The output was polarity-inverting, and the output voltage when decoding a 0dB sinewave measured 2.27V (left channel) and 2.24V (right), both around 1dB above the standard CD playback level. The output impedance from the fixed outputs was within 1 ohm of 147 ohms on both channels. The variable output had an output impedance of 146.5 ohms with the volume full-up, but increased to 2422 ohms at a setting of 12:00 (measured on the left channel), which will give some HF rolloff with very long or very capacitive leads between the player and preamplifier.—Thomas J. Norton

Denon America Inc.
Parsippanny, NJ 07054 (1992)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Well, DCD-2560 is no longer available but, DCD-1600NE CD/SACD player is available ($1,200) :-) ........'s picture

is something more important going on than a 28yo cd player? why is no one talking about this gem?!?! did i miss something?

Whatever happened to Corey Greenberg, anyway?

Poor Audiophile's picture
I don't recall why he left Stereophile.

tonykaz's picture

He left Audio writing for TV.

I left for Automotive a little earlier.

Now, those 1990s seems like a lifetime ago.

This Denon review is just a sad memory of a wonderful life.

Tony in Venice

jimtavegia's picture

Tomorrow some tests on my old 3 head cassette deck with adjustable bias. I had my old high school give me about 80 TDK and Maxell new tapes that they were going to disgard. Whoa! Not so fast their, Cowboy. I have a use for those.

I will do some recording at -20db ; -10db and at 0db and we'll see how the frequency response comes out. I pretty much know as I was a big fan of Julian Hirsch/Stereo Review fame and his tape deck measurements.

Poor Audiophile's picture

Hey Jim. I started reading S.R. around 1977 when I found a copy in the public library near my H.S. I used to stop in sometimes as I was walking home from school. Do you remember those cards that they inserted in the mag that you would fill out for more info from the advertisers? After filling out a few of those & getting more info in the mail, S.R. sent me a letter asking me if I wanted to subscribe. I did & I continued for several years. I still have my collection in my parents basement! I know they had their problems(like all equipment sounds the same),but I learned a lot about audio from them. Julian, Craig Stark, Larry Klein, Ralph Hodges. Amazing I can remember all those names! I sent a question to Larry once & he sent it back with hand written answers on it. Considering how busy he must have been, it was very kind of him! Also,he & I share the same first name!

jimtavegia's picture

I loved how they tested everything, especially turntables with rumble measurements and then cartridges with their frequency responses. Old school stuff, but still great reading. It was sad when Ziff-Davis closed it down. They had great writers who started many of us down the path to hifi and then Stereophile took it to a new level.

What I liked about their tape deck reviews was that they were not afraid to let us know that to get extended HF response on the tapes that were available you had to record at levels at -10db and -20db and 1 7/8 ips and small tape just couldn't hold enough. Of course we all havd to get away from that darn high tape hiss noise floor, Ray Dolby really helped us out. Dobly B, C, and S were a great help, but Dolby A was just too pricey to put in a Cassette Deck, unless you bought a outboard unit, and they were not cheap.

I miss that magazine.

Poor Audiophile's picture

Mix magazine! Wow! I first heard about them at "The Recording Workshop" a school I attended for a 6 week course in 1989. I was young! I got a "B" average, but then I wanted to stay near my family here in Roch,NY & never followed through. Well, I tried, but I really should have tried NYC. I won't bore you with the details of my life. What should have been. Larry

jimtavegia's picture

Even in 1954 playing 78's for my sick father on an old RCA flip-top record player got me hooked. High Fidelity...NOT, but it sure was fun.

I think back to how nice I thought my first real stereo was: a Fisher 500TX, Dynaco A-25's, Dual 1209 with a Pickering XV-750; and then added a Teac 350 cassette deck. Later owned a Pioneer 707 R2R, then later a Sony DAT, Sony MiniDisc recorder and had a portable player (still do), The last Sony Walkman with Dolby B; played around with the Denon DRS-810 today and only at recording level of -20db could I get close to 15khz and the bias setting had to be right to get that on a new out of the box TDK-SA tape. The darn noise floor reared its ugly head. So hifi, yet I still love it.

I think back to all that grear that I loved and now arguments about whether redbook is enough, but I am in the 2496 camp for the long haul and about to do a recording project with an excellent soprano saxophone player/friend in formats from 128kbps MP3 to redbook, 16/96, 24/96. and 24/192 and will do no processing to any of the files, just listen to the 1st generation copies and not lie to myself about which is the best.

I have watched the YouTube view interview with esteemed engineer Tony Faulkner and he talked about the extended HF energy possibly causing problems with some amplifiers on playback. In all of my files most of this energy is -100db down, but with 24/192 and SACD the noise rises at the highest frequencies over 70KHZ. I don't know enough about amp design to know of the danger of this, but I have never heard any artifacts in the playback of my amps. That doesn't mean there isn't any.

Much to learn and I look forward to looking at all of the FFT of my recordings soon. I am hoping that the COVID-19 will not put the skids on it. My wife and I are not working for the next two weeks most likely. At 69 and 72 we are trying to be careful as we have been doing background acting here in ATL for the past year and most are shutting down. I have a movie to do over the next two weekends, 5 cameras so a fast shoot, with only a small cast, all in one house location and we are still on...for now. Just old folks trying to have fun. We just did a music video with Jordan Hawkins that was a Sat am shoot and great fun. "Thankful"|.

Poor Audiophile's picture

Glad to hear your recording still. You sent me a CD of your work a few yrs ago that I was grateful for! Glad to hear your being careful.Caution is a good idea, but I think folks shouldn't panic. Here in Roch stores are out of toilet paper along with other items. Good grief!
I've yet to hear HI-Rez. I will sometime soon I hope. I don't have a player yet & I just lost my job Friday so... Larry

jimtavegia's picture

I burn many of my 2496 files to DVD-Rs to give to friends, some of the players can also do DVD-As which I can also do. The DACs may not be the best, but I have yet not to hear a difference from normal CDs. Friend request me on FB and we can work it out.

There is no glamour in our end of the movie business, except you occasionally get to meet some great people. My wife was Kathy Bates body double in Jewel and she got to talk to clint Eastwood for a long time. Quite a gentleman. We have others we can't talk about yet, but most of the days are long 12 hours many, and last week we did days of 16, 14, 11, and 12 hours in a row. This can be tough at times and at our age it is. We choose the jobs we want. Take care.

jon_s's picture

So, the DCD-2560 is a bit of a black sheep, as it does not use the Burr-Brown DACs that Denon (and their listeners) generally preferred. If a DCD-3560 review is sitting around in the archives, I'd love to see that. Or, DCD-S1... Or, DP/DA-S1.

davemill's picture

Being the fraternity DJ, I used my Technics SL-1200 Mk. 2 with a Stanton 680EL cartridge which was designed for back queuing. Still have them!