All Cd Players sound the same?

A

anaitiologikos

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Ok, my ongoing love (sound quality)-hate (technical reliability) relationship with the Rega Saturn drove me to a little test tonight. Rega connected to a Sugden Headmaster headphone amp, feeding a Sennheiser HD650. Also connected to the Sugden: a Sony DVP-N9000S which I bought for 13€.

Identical cd in both players (the Zap Mama debut cd). Identical interconnects. I hit play, and ... they sound pretty much identical.

Help me - what am I overlooking here?

 

cjr

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Yes sell me the DVP-N9000ES for 14E please. I find very small if any difference with CDP/DACs or DVD players, so little as not to concern myself with them.

 
A

anaitiologikos

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:) A little disconcerting, to me. Just briefly repeated the test through the speaker set-up (LFD amp driving Spendor SP1 while the Proacs are boxed). Ditto.

 

JamPal

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Ok, my ongoing love (sound quality)-hate (technical reliability) relationship with the Rega Saturn drove me to a little test tonight. Rega connected to a Sugden Headmaster headphone amp, feeding a Sennheiser HD650. Also connected to the Sugden: a Sony DVP-N9000S which I bought for 13€.Identical cd in both players (the Zap Mama debut cd). Identical interconnects. I hit play, and ... they sound pretty much identical.

Help me - what am I overlooking here?
Well, many competently designed CD players will sound VERY similar, so I am not surprised you found two that seem identical.

I am not a fan of the Saturn, so am really not surprised your cheapo DVD player was equal to it to be honest, but many here rate them highly.

 

Bazzer

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Your brain hasn't been trained to tell the difference, ie all wine tastes the same , palette not trained in this case.

- - - Updated - - -

But really you are right digital music 0's and 1's no soul bin them both and get a T/T.

 
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anaitiologikos

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Your brain hasn't been trained to tell the difference, ie all wine tastes the same , palette not trained in this case.
Huh - so it wasn't supposed to be a means to an end?

 

Bazzer

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Oh I see you have a T/T, then WTF are listening to CD's

 

rabski

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Welcome to reality.

IME, until you're willing to chuck more than a small mortgage into the pot, all digital stuff sounds almost identical. Slight differences in the analogue section, but nothing serious.

Some (hi Serge) would say that applies right the way to infinity. I disagree, but I do say that until you're willing to spend a shed-load of money, you might as well stick.

My Audiosector NOS DAC cost me originally under £100. I've thrown some Queens coinage at it, but it's still a cheapo crapper. My transport cost me £12 off eBay. I'd put it up against any combo up to £2K and I wouldn't be worried about the results.

It's the way the format works.

Get into Audio Note silver-wired DAC territory and be prepared to have your mind changed. Under that, just spend the money on something else.

 

Blurboy

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Maybe I've missed something here but for me, cd players do not sound the same and far far from it. I've had cd players from the first Marantz CD73 to my current Naim player and they're anything but the same, even from the same company. But I guess these are my ears and not yours but I'll stick to my judgements thank you.

 
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anaitiologikos

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Long time since the 'Wam made me laugh this hard. Barney, you were actually reading my mind - why the fuck didn't I spend this money on a better TT? Or concert tickets?

Welcome to reality.IME, until you're willing to chuck more than a small mortgage into the pot, all digital stuff sounds almost identical. Slight differences in the analogue section, but nothing serious.

Some (hi Serge) would say that applies right the way to infinity. I disagree, but I do say that until you're willing to spend a shed-load of money, you might as well stick.

My Audiosector NOS DAC cost me originally under £100. I've thrown some Queens coinage at it, but it's still a cheapo crapper. My transport cost me £12 off eBay. I'd put it up against any combo up to £2K and I wouldn't be worried about the results.

It's the way the format works.

Get into Audio Note silver-wired DAC territory and be prepared to have your mind changed. Under that, just spend the money on something else.
 

RobHolt

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Identical cd in both players (the Zap Mama debut cd). Identical interconnects. I hit play, and ... they sound pretty much identical.

Help me - what am I overlooking here?
Not overlooking anything.

If two machines have the same frequency response, all distortions well below 0.1% and both can drive the pre amp, ask yourself why they should sound different.

No two machines are of course exactly the same, but nearly all manufacturers are aiming for the same thing - flat response lines and no distortion. Most get extremely close and this has been the case for many years. Some manufacturers don't do this, either by accident, incompetence or design and in these instances you might well hear differences. Some companies for example find CD sounds too hard and bright, so shape the output by very subtly shelving down the high end and boosting the bass. What's important to remember is that the vast majority of CD players and dacs manufacturers don't do this, which is why their products sound so alike.

I've lost count of the number of times I've inserted a relatively inexpensive digital 16 bit loop into the signal path of a pre amp and asked listeners to identify it's presence against the direct feed. Nobody has to date, using various systems which tells me there is no progress worth making down that particular road. What £200 does perfectly, £2000 cannot do better ;)

 

rabski

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Maybe I've missed something here but for me, cd players do not sound the same and far far from it. I've had cd players from the first Marantz CD73 to my current Naim player and they're anything but the same, even from the same company. But I guess these are my ears and not yours but I'll stick to my judgements thank you.
Do a proper blind test and then come back to us.

Until you get to the mega-money level, I defy you to discern any difference in a proper blind test.

Been there, done it.

 

Bazzer

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Huh - so it wasn't supposed to be a means to an end?
Well yes if your brain can pick the differences up, but I'm sure I wouldn't be able to tell the difference doing the same test.

I've played about with various digital sources using CD, FLAC etc and I can't tell any difference, same speakers (in your case Headphones) same sound, IMO of course :D

 

dudywoxer

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There are minor differences between cd players, as there are minor differences in amps etc. I would also agree that the more expensive, as in silly money, sound different, but would seldom say better. Valves add a bigger difference in to the mix, but equally seldom better, just different. The biggest difference to me comes from carts, speakers, and to a lesser extent phono stages.

 
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anaitiologikos

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Mind you, I did say "pretty much identical" - I suppose the Rega does offer stuff like "that hi-hat is just a little more etched in space and the tiniest bit more prominent" or "those blacks are ever so slightly blacker" etc. But seriously, is that what the price difference is about? What makes this even stranger, is that I do remember hearing an upgrade when I went from Apollo to Saturn.

So either the Sony is the proverbial giant killer, or my psychological relation to audio equipment is becoming more relaxed. I'm opting for the latter.

 

68rednose

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Welcome to reality.IME, until you're willing to chuck more than a small mortgage into the pot, all digital stuff sounds almost identical. Slight differences in the analogue section, but nothing serious.

Some (hi Serge) would say that applies right the way to infinity. I disagree, but I do say that until you're willing to spend a shed-load of money, you might as well stick.

My Audiosector NOS DAC cost me originally under £100. I've thrown some Queens coinage at it, but it's still a cheapo crapper. My transport cost me £12 off eBay. I'd put it up against any combo up to £2K and I wouldn't be worried about the results.

It's the way the format works.

Get into Audio Note silver-wired DAC territory and be prepared to have your mind changed. Under that, just spend the money on something else.
Agree only partly with rabski. In my case a humble and modest shed-load did the trick. And no Audio Note, but a whiff of one Siltech cable.

In any case, differences are possible.

Long time since the 'Wam made me laugh this hard. Barney, you were actually reading my mind - why the fuck didn't I spend this money on a better TT? Or concert tickets?
Or those beautiful hand made chocolate creations you see on every street corner...

 

Blurboy

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Do a proper blind test and then come back to us.
Well I went from a very good Karik/Numerik DAC to an even better CD12 and there was a big difference. Unfortunately the CD12 needed some attention and brought a Naim CD5i and that was shitte! I've heard cheaper players make better music than that which surprised me totally. Oh yes I have gone sort of "big buck" buy actually buying cheap and my CDS3/555 is superb. And if I plug any of my other players in can I notice the difference? Er yes.

 

RobHolt

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Mind you, I did say "pretty much identical" - I suppose the Rega does offer stuff like "that hi-hat is just a little more etched in space and the tiniest bit more prominent" or "those blacks are ever so slightly blacker" etc. But seriously, is that what the price difference is about? What makes this even stranger, is that I do remember hearing an upgrade when I went from Apollo to Saturn. So either the Sony is the proverbial giant killer, or my psychological relation to audio equipment is becoming more relaxed. I'm opting for the latter.
The base line for good quality in digital costs amazingly little. Sub £100 digital equipment sound surprisingly good because the technology is now mature and there are no expensive components in a good digital player/recorder, plus they can be produced in quantity for peanuts. A very different proposition to say a good phono cartridge, turntable or loudspeaker where good and complex engineering costs.

 

tomart

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I have compared various CD players side by side. Some have sounded similar others have revealed significant differences. I would say it also depends how revealing the rest of the system is.

It is possibly to be expected that machines at a similar price point would sound similar.

 

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