Digital Source Question.

whitehart

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I have approximately 500 CDs ripped using DB poweramp to a DS114 Synology NAS connected via USB to a Teddy DAC. The assumption being that there should be no difference in sound quality between playing CDs using a transport to that of the ripped files on the NAS using DS audio media player. I would be interested to hear of anyone's experiences with CD transports particularly in view of the wide variations in CD transport costs, Cyrus for example produce several transports, the CDT at £900, CDT XT at £1900 and Audiolab 6000 CDT at a little under £400 (all with very positive reviews).I'm just curious to understand the impact of a transport when logically (to me anyway ) there should be no difference. 

[SIZE=14.66px]I would greatly appreciate any advice and experiences of such transports including alternatives such as servers (e.g. Innuos Zenith MK3) or any other means of improving my digital front end. I hope to be able to shortlist a number of options for audition[/SIZE]

[SIZE=14.66px]Many thanks in advance.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=14.66px] [/SIZE]
************

Highly recommend the Innuous Zenith MKII... it compares very favourably to my expensive CDP.

Mac

 
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meninblack

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We can agree to differ. I'm buying home ENTERTAINMENT not high-FIDELITY.  If you can achieve more entertainment with less fidelity then I'm in.

 
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BillShatnersToupee

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LOL, I have both expensive (~£15k) and cheap (~£250) vinyl rigs.  The DAC difference is comparable, although you don't have to spend as much to get a decent DAC.
lol point proven. Come talk to me when you've auditioned a £50 Crosley with a plastic platter and shite-o-matic ceramic cartridge, then maybe we'll talk again about how the difference between cheap digital sources and expensive digital sources doesn't come close to the chasm between cheap and expensive analog sources  :D

 
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Fourlegs

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An old ex alter ego of mine called MajorFubar would once have wasted countless keyboard presses arguing the toss with people who think transports have the capacity to sound different, because if two transports truly do sound different, then one of them is broken. Maybe even both. But what MajorFubar learned, and passed on to me, is that virtually no one comes here to have their cast-in-stone opinion changed, so it's a futile exercise.

If you (or anyone else) are someone who hears 'analog style' differences in SQ between different digital transports, or even between cheap and expensive digital cables, or 'audiophile' LAN cables (!), no problem, enjoy. It's your money and your hobby.

My contribution ends here I think, I believe I've made my point, and further contributions would only be labouring/repeating it.
Agreed. There is little point in discussing this with you. 

There. That was easy wasn’t it?

 

yoda900

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Non-believers need  not read further.

Delusional or not my old Squeeze box into a DAX sounds like the Squeeze box into the pre via cheap cables. However my  AS Transcend Transport via twin ST connection to the same  AS DAX Discrete gets much closer to my  vinyl front end. Go figure.

 
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greybeard

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Non-believers need  not read further.

Delusional or not my old Squeeze box into a DAX sounds like the Squeeze box into the pre via cheap cables. However my  AS Transcend Transport via twin ST connection to the same  AS DAX Discrete gets much closer to my  vinyl front end. Go figure.
So it sounds worse then  :D

 

arturo

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Did you rip your CDs to flac?  If so there’ll be no difference.  If you ripped to any compressed format you’ll have to do them all again.

 

Paul T

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Did you rip your CDs to flac?  If so there’ll be no difference.  If you ripped to any compressed format you’ll have to do them all again.
Yes I ripped them all to FLAC. I Had always considered them to be an uncompressed copy of the original CD though when ripping used the encoding lossless level 5 with there being 8 other options including lossless uncompressed so maybe I was wrong, Would I have produced better results using this option instead?

Would WAV or alternatives to FLAC make any difference?

Many thanks

Paul

 
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MartinC

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My opinion: if a transport is making a difference, then it's not doing it's job properly. A mass produced USB drive costing £15 from China can rip a CD bit perfectly. I expect a dedicated transport to be no less competent.

Remember the days when we installed computer apps from CDs and DVDs? If the CD/DVD drive couldn't read them perfectly, then the apps would generally neither install nor run. There is no middle ground. Even though data discs are recorded differently to audio discs, fundamentally the same rules apply, because he Reed-Solomon error correction either fixes a read error perfectly or there is an audible artefact (skip). There is no in-between, where one CD transport has e.g. better bass and a more open sound stage than another. That couldn't happen, and would require some element of real-time digital signal processing. 
For balance: playing music CDs is different to simply transferring data since it is read and played real-time, with timing variations (jitter) having the potential to affect the sound. There is also the possibility for electrical noise from the transport to affect the DAC. My personal inclination is to believe that a well-designed DAC shouldn't be significantly affected by either of these but I don't know enough to totally discount it, and there is obviously scope for poor DAC design to make a particular model more sensitive to these factors.

Many years ago I was at a bake-off* where we switched between transports at one point and all definitely thought we heard a clear improvement. This was however a sighted test and I'd now want to hear such a comparison un-sighted to be convinced this was real. 

Where I'm at with transports personally is that I suspect it's unlikely they make any significant difference but I don't feel I can categorically discount it. For myself though I'm currently focusing on much more significant changes to sound at the speaker and room-acoustics level. Last night for example playing about with a sub and miniDSP to go from a ±15 dB variation to ±3 dB from 20 to 100 Hz. I mention this purely for perspective when considering possible differences between transports.

Depending which DAC I've used recently I've changed between either an OPPO blu-ray player or Pioneer Stable Platter CD player as transports, with the choice dictated by whether I want to use an optical or RCA SPDIF connection. I prefer using the Pioneer because it is faster to operate. I have no plans to rip all of my CDs to a networked hard drive, primarily for reasons of time and cost for no significant up-side.

Its about time to get beyond frequency response, isn't it?
FWIW the measurement-based DAC reviews from the likes of ASR do test significantly more than simple frequency response. They do though still have to pick a subset of all possibilities to test of course.

*Hosted by the founder of this forum IIRC.

 

greybeard

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For myself though I'm currently focusing on much more significant changes to sound at the speaker and room-acoustics level. Last night for example playing about with a sub and miniDSP to go from a ±15 dB variation to ±3 dB from 20 to 100 Hz.
Since going to an active crossover, I have been amazed at the improvements to be gained by using dsp.

 
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arturo

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Yes I ripped them all to FLAC. I Had always considered them to be an uncompressed copy of the original CD though when ripping used the encoding lossless level 5 with there being 8 other options including lossless uncompressed so maybe I was wrong, Would I have produced better results using this option instead?

Would WAV or alternatives to FLAC make any difference?

Many thanks

Paul
Flac lossless is lossless, no matter which compression option.  You are compressing the data storage, not the dynamic range.  Think zip process.  Flac is simple to tag, wav not so.  Streaming is, for me, about convenience, massive availability of music if you subscribe to Tidal, Qobuz etc., and a great user experience.  Control software varies much more than the sound coming from your speakers. 

 

PuritéAudio

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For balance: playing music CDs is different to simply transferring data since it is read and played real-time, with timing variations (jitter) having the potential to affect the sound. There is also the possibility for electrical noise from the transport to affect the DAC. My personal inclination is to believe that a well-designed DAC shouldn't be significantly affected by either of these but I don't know enough to totally discount it, and there is obviously scope for poor DAC design to make a particular model more sensitive to these factors.

Many years ago I was at a bake-off* where we switched between transports at one point and all definitely thought we heard a clear improvement. This was however a sighted test and I'd now want to hear such a comparison un-sighted to be convinced this was real. 

Where I'm at with transports personally is that I suspect it's unlikely they make any significant difference but I don't feel I can categorically discount it. For myself though I'm currently focusing on much more significant changes to sound at the speaker and room-acoustics level. Last night for example playing about with a sub and miniDSP to go from a ±15 dB variation to ±3 dB from 20 to 100 Hz. I mention this purely for perspective when considering possible differences between transports.

Depending which DAC I've used recently I've changed between either an OPPO blu-ray player or Pioneer Stable Platter CD player as transports, with the choice dictated by whether I want to use an optical or RCA SPDIF connection. I prefer using the Pioneer because it is faster to operate. I have no plans to rip all of my CDs to a networked hard drive, primarily for reasons of time and cost for no significant up-side.

FWIW the measurement-based DAC reviews from the likes of ASR do test significantly more than simple frequency response. They do though still have to pick a subset of all possibilities to test of course.

*Hosted by the founder of this forum IIRC.
Speakers and their interaction with the room is where the largest gains in SQ are to be found, also it is trivially easy to compare ‘transports’ but it must be unsighted .

Keith

 

Rockchild

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Speakers and their interaction with the room is where the largest gains in SQ are to be found, also it is trivially easy to compare ‘transports’ but it must be unsighted .

Keith
As we say, speakers have the last say in the audio chain so will be the most subjective part and no doubt give the most immediate noticeable difference when changing components. I’ve always found that speakers are not always the most immediate and obvious ‘like’ but given time, they can be the most rewarding or unrewarding. Naim Allae truly awful.

Regarding CD transports, I’m using a Teac VRDS 7 into my CXNV2 which uses 2 Wolfsen Dacs and sounds lovely. The VRDS on its own sounds more laid back. 

A transport being bit perfect should be all you need but it’s not the be all and end all. 

One of my favourites is the Meridian 500 CDT just something about it that pulls things all together.. when I find one cheap enough, I’ll probably get one again.

 

Warszawa

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:yeah:  Is it time for the monthly 20 page "bits is bits" argument already? I won't waste my time linking to any articles or videos explaining why that isn't the case but instead reply to the OP with some relevant personal experience.

I once owned a Cyrus CDXT Signature and Stream X Signature. Both were connected to a Chord Hugo TT, the CD transport by optical and the Streamer by SPDIF. I once spent some time A/B testing Bowie's Aladdin Sane RCA CD Vs an ALAC rip of said CD on my NAS.  Guess what? They sounded different!

Now follows a post from Keith asking if I was wearing a blindfold or blaming poor design for adding "distortion". You could read that, or you could get in touch with a Hi-fi dealer who spends more time listening to music than measuring it and arrange a home demo to decide for yourself. 

 
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Home demo is always a good idea, when you compare, I am assuming it will be level matched ( if necessary) and unsighted also switch between inputs in case the performs better vis optical/s/pdif.

Then you will be posting with some authority rather than regurgitating anecdote.

Keith

 
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bigfool1956

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Home demo is always a good idea, when you compare, I am assuming it will be level matched ( if necessary) and unsighted also switch between inputs in case the performs better vis optical/s/pdif.

Then you will be posting with some authority rather than regurgitating anecdote.

Keith
It would be a very strange DAC that required level matching between Coax and Toslink.