CD Players or Digital devices, why the biggest sufferer of Emperor's new clothing ?

cjr

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 8, 2005
8,561
45
0
UK
Always amazed me but why are CD players & DACs et al, always hyped up as being the next best thing ?

Why are amps & speakers not hyped in the same fashion ?

Is it just the idea of "technology" that appeals to audiophiles or are these new kids on the block really better than the competition, for a feel of the kit I am referring too :

Think : Nos DACs, Chord 64s, Nuvista CDPs, Minimax CDPs etc etc the list is endless ... it never seems to end, I see there is a thread here where the Minimax is being lauded and laid into in equal measure.

Anyway your views why CD replay is hyped so much month after month comapred to previous kit is welcome, are these big differences dreamt up ?
71_71.gif.3e6d891ee0cc25b2acfe143a79a91cc1.gif
.

 
A

abnorm

Guest
I suspect it is human nature to try to improve / add to our possesions, hence the desire for the better CD player. Unfortunately I do not think anymore can be wrung out of (IMHO a fundamentally flawed) system in real terms. This I think has been the situation for a long time and that manufacturers, reviewers and purchasers are involved in a massive game of 'let's pretend'.

One thing that amuses me about the situation is the number of times I've read sniffy comments about the use of computer or DVD drives in cheaper CD players and how a specially made CD only mechanism is used in the latest wonder box. In the same publication and probably by the same journalist you can read about how good a Sonos or Squeezebox3 sounds. Almost invariably a cheap plastic drive in an electronically noisly computer has been used to rip the CD to the hard drive system that is being lauded. I don't think you can have it both ways; either you must have a dedicated, precision made, all metal transport system and the Sonos / Squeezebox sounds crap or transports (and possibly DACs) make no difference and lossless files played from a hard drive sound good. Personally I believe the later is more likely.

 

boseman

Wammer
Wammer
Nov 23, 2005
886
0
0
Here., ,
An interesting observation, cjr.

Many would say that CDis still todeliver the promised sound quality when it was launched. The hype you speak of may be because the application of cd player / DAC technology is steadily improving.

I think cdps sell in larger quantities than TTs. So I don't buy this argument that cd technologydevelopments aredeliberately hyped more than other equipment to encourage sales.

I believe that if I took a 1992 cdp from a certain manufacturer and compared it to a 2002 cdp from the same manufacturer, the newer cdp would sound better.

Also, with the failure of SACD & DVD-A to penetrate the mass market, many manufacturers are refocusing their energies on wringing out more from the CD format. So perhaps there are some newtechniques being implemented by manufacturers and cdps are improving, slowly but steadily.

By the way, I saw the same hype with B&W's diamond tweeter and Focal's Be tweeter - which are developments that may add a slight improvement to one spectrum of the frequency band. The tweeters have not revolutionised speaker design.

I don't think you can hype TTs because the technolgy is ancient and static. So you don't hear much hype about the latest development, because there is nothing to develop.

The same could be said for amplifiers - the only real development lately has been the digital amplifier, I think.

 

meninblack

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Jul 20, 2005
24,223
1,358
208
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
abnorm wrote:

One thing that amuses me about the situation is the number of times I've read sniffy comments about the use of computer or DVD drives in cheaper CD players and how a specially made CD only mechanism is used in the latest wonder box. In the same publication and probably by the same journalist you can read about how good a Sonos or Squeezebox3 sounds. Almost invariably a cheap plastic drive in an electronically noisly computer has been used to rip the CD to the hard drive system that is being lauded. I don't think you can have it both ways; either you must have a dedicated, precision made, all metal transport system and the Sonos / Squeezebox sounds crap or transports (and possibly DACs) make no difference and lossless files played from a hard drive sound good. Personally I believe the later is more likely.
There is some truth in this, but remember that most CD-ripping software reads the disc many times at high speed and uses repeated cross-checking and verification to ensure that what is copied to the hard drive is exactly the digital info from the disc. Some recent CDP's (eg Meridian) work this way too. A traditional redbook mech OTOH has one go at reading it at single speed and that's it.

I use a hard-drive transport feeding a DAC and it does sound very good. However, I'm sure the CD player's own traditional high-precision transport sounds better - even playing CD's burned from exactly the same data files! I can't really explain this, so it might all be in my head ...
wink.png


 

JANDL100

Wammer
Wammer Plus
Dec 5, 2006
18,749
4,750
208
Forest of Dean, Glos
AKA
Jerry
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
boseman wrote:

Many would say that CDis still todeliver the promised sound quality when it was launched. The hype you speak of may be because the application of cd player / DAC technology is steadily improving.

By the way, I saw the same hype with B&W's diamond tweeter and Focal's Be tweeter - which are developments that may add a slight improvement to one spectrum of the frequency band. The tweeters have not revolutionised speaker design.
I agree with boseman. IME the sound of digital replay was poor initially and has improved steadily ever since. When you start out from as low a point as CD/digital replay (& recording)did, improvements can easily be substantial and worth hyping!

Also, for a medium that is just ones & zeros at heart, there can be a big difference in sound (not necessarily good/bad, just different). If a new digital technology's sound (or its implementation) particularly appeals to someone, it may well seem a larger sound quality improvement than is really the case, and hence gets hyped.

I'm not convinced that the fuss about Be tweeters -in particular Focal's as used in their top of the line gear - is as unduly hyped as it appears at first glance. I was simply astonished (I suspect my mouth was agape!) at the purity of the sound when I heard these speakers at a hifi show. Note that all Be tweeters are not born equal. Focal Be units I've heard in their lower price ranges are NOT the same as the top models - and can sound quite poor.

 

Hawk

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 25, 2005
6,883
9
0
Herts, United Kingdo
cjr wrote:

Always amazed me but why are CD players & DACs et al, always hyped up as being the next best thing ? Why are amps & speakers not hyped in the same fashion ?

Is it just the idea of "technology" that appeals to audiophiles or are these new kids on the block really better than the competition, for a feel of the kit I am referring too :

Think : Nos DACs, Chord 64s, Nuvista CDPs, Minimax CDPs etc etc the list is endless ... it never seems to end, I see there is a thread here where the Minimax is being lauded and laid into in equal measure.

Anyway your views why CD replay is hyped so much month after month comapred to previous kit is welcome, are these big differences dreamt up ?
71_71.gif.3e6d891ee0cc25b2acfe143a79a91cc1.gif
.
I couldn't agree more cj. The DAC 64 being a case in point for me. I fell for all the hype when they came out and bought one. I was very pleased with it at first, but over time once the novelty had worn off I realised that it wasnt that special at all. It was good, but not the ultimate answer it was made out to be at the time. TBH I think its a case of the press needing something to shout about to sell copy. I think CD Technology advances are an easier option in that regard. I also agree that CD replay has improved steadily over time, but not at the rate we would have thought if we believed all the hype!

Hawk

 

JANDL100

Wammer
Wammer Plus
Dec 5, 2006
18,749
4,750
208
Forest of Dean, Glos
AKA
Jerry
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
boseman wrote:

I don't think you can hype TTs because the technolgy is ancient and static. So you don't hear much hype about the latest development, because there is nothing to develop.
.... Have you not seen the hype around the $100k (!!!) TT from the Australian company, Continuum?

 

boseman

Wammer
Wammer
Nov 23, 2005
886
0
0
Here., ,
The 100K Contnuum TT? I never paid attention to it.

Was there any development of significance or was it the usual 'bigger, heavier, shinier & even more expensive than the last one' type of development that turntable design has become?

 

Chumpy

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 3, 2005
14,084
108
0
Bristol UK
AKA
Charlie
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
If you are not out of yours you might find that it largely is all in the mind.

Many things work well/many things are poor value.

In the end after 23 years of CD it is possible to enjoy some CDs.

Many people believe that many CDPs/CDs are better now than in 1980s, whereas probably amps/speakers are not.

 

griffo104

Wammer
Wammer
Sep 30, 2005
6,818
1,472
158
Newport
AKA
Griffo
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The hype surrounds cd because 20+ years ago we were promised perfect sound forever, it wasn't then and it still isn't. this is why we still get the hype surrounding cd. We still get reviews and comments from people - even on this forum - where a cd is 'the most analogue' sounding cd player yet.

This just proves where cd has gone wrong. If you can't get something to sound analogue, which is how those things on the side of our heads work, then there's something fundamentally wrong with the format.

As for the Continuum turntable - this is one mans attempt to design the perfect turntable - including the deck, support and arm. It's a statement, cost no object design, and persoanlly I prefer the looks to Clearaudios just as expensive statement turntable.

 

boseman

Wammer
Wammer
Nov 23, 2005
886
0
0
Here., ,
Sure griffo, that's your take on it. And that's fine.

My take on it is that cd is far from wrong nowadays & is pretty 'right' regarding the ommision of pops, crackle, wow, flutter and not having to make 1000 micro adjustments every 5 mins (as I imagine people have to when listening to vinyl after a vindaloo).

As for the Continuum and ClearAudio Turntables, I imagine they are over-complicated, underperforming for the $, high-endb*****ks - just whatmost vinyl lovers claim about high-end cdps.

Most kit is hyped to the same extent in hifi mags, be it cdps, speakers, cables, TTs or shakti stones.

 
M

Mr Coherent

Guest
JANDL100 wrote

I'm not convinced that the fuss about Be tweeters -in particular Focal's as used in their top of the line gear - is as unduly hyped as it appears at first glance. I was simply astonished (I suspect my mouth was agape!) at the purity of the sound when I heard these speakers at a hifi show. Note that all Be tweeters are not born equal. Focal Be units I've heard in their lower price ranges are NOT the same as the top models - and can sound quite poor.
Interesting Comments Jerry, would you care to expand on that sir?

 
M

Mr Coherent

Guest
boseman wrote:

Sure griffo, that's your take on it. And that's fine.My take on it is that cd is far from wrong nowadays & is pretty 'right' regarding the ommision of pops, crackle, wow, flutter and not having to make 1000 micro adjustments every 5 mins (as I imagine people have to when listening to vinyl after a vindaloo).

As for the Continuum and ClearAudio Turntables, I imagine they are over-complicated, underperforming for the $, high-endb*****ks - just whatmost vinyl lovers claim about high-end cdps.

Most kit is hyped to the same extent in hifi mags, be it cdps, speakers, cables, TTs or shakti stones.
Bosy,

some astute observations there
biggrin.png


Have you got your 581 yet by chance?

 

griffo104

Wammer
Wammer
Sep 30, 2005
6,818
1,472
158
Newport
AKA
Griffo
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
boseman wrote:

Sure griffo, that's your take on it. And that's fine.My take on it is that cd is far from wrong nowadays & is pretty 'right' regarding the ommision of pops, crackle, wow, flutter and not having to make 1000 micro adjustments every 5 mins (as I imagine people have to when listening to vinyl after a vindaloo).

As for the Continuum and ClearAudio Turntables, I imagine they are over-complicated, underperforming for the $, high-endb*****ks - just whatmost vinyl lovers claim about high-end cdps.

Most kit is hyped to the same extent in hifi mags, be it cdps, speakers, cables, TTs or shakti stones.
Boseman,

Same back at ya
biggrin.png
. Cd is good, yep for £10k. there are still too many problems with the average cd player, and if anything there are more tweaks, magic potions, mats and pens for trying to make cd sound better than ever was (or are) for turntables.

I never need to make adjustments to my turntable every 5 mins, don't get any wow or flutter and I can put up with the odd pop and crackle to enjoy the music as it should be - nice and natural and not processed by a computer chip.

The reason the decks mentioned cost so much as they are mechanical devices that need labour intensive components made for them, some skill and thought has gone in to them.

with the exception of a handful of cd players, most simply have the same bought in parts clumped together from the same manufacturers. No skill, no art, no thought.

Yes there are some good cd players out there, but, imo, they cost more for musical enjoyment than a turntable.

 
E

earl of sodbury

Guest
I think a big part of the problem is that people's reference points are all over the place to start with - most judgements of new kit are made relative to the journalists' current kit - mostly up to date, and often highly esoteric, this can lead to damning with faint praise for really excellent budget kit - or even overhyping it when it's very nearly as good in a particular but perhaps broadly unrepresentative system. But real long-term, incremental improvements in technology pass largely unnoticed unless you have significantly older kit to check back against from time-to-time.

Having serendipitously acquired secondary kit from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s it's always interesting to slot-in olde-worlde kit into my current system: usually at first the sheer novelty of the bouncy forwardness of 80s NAD 3225 or velvety smooooveness of 70s Sakai 5030 makes me wonder why I don't sell the newer kit and spend the money on crack and rent-boys...

5days later and all the system is used for is a background burble of6 Music because I can barely stand to live with its shortcomings: the NAD's brutally mechanical and soulless sound, or the rolled-off extremes of the Sakai, or the euphonic uninvolvement of Aiwa tuner, or relentless Mission treble, or suppressed Cambridge Azur's dynamics... or whatever: I want my Sunday Best system back ASAP!!!

All non-empiricalassessment of hifi is implictly subjective - there is ONLY one definitive judgement that can be made that is valid for YOU, and that's Your judgement.

churz, eofs

 

enjoy_the_music

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2006
1,913
1
0
Brittany , France
AKA
Farmer Rich
I think its very true and like many industries worldwide, the desire for new equipment must be kept going...after all its people job's we're talking about...even if it means tedium and glossing over new products by reviewers.

Believe you and me they have each and every part of the audiophile psyche understood in order to market the products so attractive that we can't stop but run foaming at the mouth to the shop.

The accuracy and transparency of the yamaha speakers i've got here and those i've had before serve as a reminder that the old kit can sound world class. They completely destroy the Wilsons i have for sale which retail for £5k...

There are differences between digital sources even through lower end speakers...but then again its all down to preference...

For me speakers have mainly moved to reflect the rising influence of the female in the household...slimmer designs, attractive cabinets and smaller footprints. They remain a compromise on the truly great designs from JBL, Altec and Yamaha.

 

Dynamic Turtle

Wammer
Wammer
Sep 23, 2005
743
0
0
HADOOOOKEN!!!!, ,
I must admit that although I can detect a difference between the various designs of cd player, I often find any difference very small,and generally not worth the extra outlay.I get on quite happily with my cheesy £150 DVD player because:

1) It was a bargain offers a perfectly acceptable sound for the money. It has allowed to invest elsewhere in the chain, i.e. TT/PS/amps/Speakers, with equipment that will yield a greater overall benefit to the sound of the system.

2) It doesn't have any particular strengths, but nor does it have the weaknesses of the more expensive, "tuned" cd players that I like,i.e. theEastsound CD-E5 (too detailed/bright), Consonance Droplet (questionable tonal accuracy) or Lector CDP-7T (bit soft sounding), for example.

As & when my finances improve, I would be willing to buy a more specialised, well builtSACD player like the Teac DV50 or Marantz SA11, but for me, digital replay will always play second fiddle to my TT. This is because I feel pounds spent on analogue gear yield a more defineable improvement inperformance.

One great thing about red-book these days though, is the sheer number of designs on offer. These designs wererelativelyrare ten years ago:

Valve output/buffer sections (Lector, Shanling)

NOS DACs (47 Labs, Derek Shek)

Upsampling Dacs (Esoteric)

Bi-Polar output sections (AMR)

TCXO clocks (Wadia, Eastsound)

WTA Architecture (DAC64)

"Jitter-eliminating" circuits (Benchmark)

Data buffering DACs (DAC64)

So the buyer has more choice and a greater chance of finding something that suits their ears.

Rgds,

DT

 

cjr

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 8, 2005
8,561
45
0
UK
Some very good points chaps, If you use the search facility on any hifi forum and read through CD or DAC threads from a year or 2 ago, you will be amazed by the hype that goes on about kit back then - then consider how the same kit has faired in the intervening period – how can hifi equipment go so bad over time ?, the exact same situation will be occuring with current CDP kit you see today on this board !!, I actually don’t think there are huge differences in CD players IMHO and esp. not the huge hype claims made of them from one month to the next, but the hype that surrounds them propels them on continually as the next big thing in audio, the “difference†like much in audio is a personal subjective opinion and that is a “user variable setting†which to me is highly questionable.

I do feel because of the “smoke n mirrors†marketing that CD manufacturers spout, this leads to this continual changing of clothes in hifi circles or turnover that afflicts digital replay. I just find it funny how perfectly decent kit can be derided due simply to timespan a farcical situation partly down to marketing spin.

When you consider how many current CDPs are using “old†technology or have terrible jitter specs (the age old favourite for putting down CD players of old), or how many cheap devices these days (DVD) wise that have excellent jitter specs. Just takes a bit of hype and we are off on another subjective opinion fuelled wacky race about how/bad good CDPs are.

FWIW excellent point earlier how there have hardly been any breakthroughs in speakers, I don’t think there have been the level suggested in CDPs either.

 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
109,297
Messages
2,317,178
Members
69,450
Latest member
kelirich