Turk 182

cd transport or dac ?

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Super Dealer
1 hour ago, Nopiano said:

Thanks for the links - certainly a huge number of glowing reviews.  A bit like DCS then, except for the belts?  (Do you think the bits look any different when replayed on a belt drive?)

You are quite right, I’ve never heard one.  I wonder if a rip on a £25 drive stored on a nice hard disk sounds any different when replayed via a CEC DAC? 

I am glad to see diversity, however, and that means it’s a bit like is the top Technics turntable better than a Tech Das, doesn’t it?  

More like a turntable with another counter rotating platter, in terms of engineering a really bad idea, but sprinkle it with marketing fairy dust and hey presto ...

Keith

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Super Wammer
2 hours ago, notevenclose said:

I've only heard DCS equipment once, around a decade ago. On that basis, my gut response would be 'Jesus, I hope not...' but that was a long time ago and in a system which for my tastes no front-end could have redeemed (and which at high volume emptied a large room as effectively as machine gun fire), so probably unfair to judge solely on that. 

But as far as I know, until very recently DCS had abandoned physical media, so no, probably not very much in common at all.

Compared to what? A CD on a CEC transport? To me the file invariably sounds inferior regardless of the DAC used. In my system at the moment that's more clearly demonstrated by the DAC in my amp than my CEC DAC.

As I said, the belt-drive thing is just one factor. Doesn't mean it's the 'one true path' any more than it is for turntables. Generally speaking though I do have a clear preference for top-loading CD mechanisms with high quality mechanical engineering and invariably some type of puck/clamp/brick in the process. Apart from CEC, I really rate top-loaders from Pro-Ject, Reimyo and Zanden. 

Inconveniently for any tentatively coalescing dogma, there are exceptions, one of my all-time favourite CDPs remains the Resolution Audio Opus21, which uses a cheap DVD drive, and one of these days I'd like to hear the Origine player.

Personally I'd probably rather have the Technics, primarily because looking at the latest TechDas it seems highly improbable I'd be able to heave the bugger up the stairs.

I think the two best systems I have ever heard both had DCS ‘stack’ front ends, so we’ve had different experiences there. One was mainly used with CD and SACD, and they are rare in still offering SACD replay.   

Yes, I was thinking file replay versus CD. That’s where it gets puzzling to my mind, because I fail the see how even perfect CD replay can improve the file. My head says it must be the same!  So CEC must be performing some magic that I don’t understand.  

Re top loaders, I was thinking I had little experience of them.  Then I realised my first CD player, a Marantz CD 63b, was just such a beast, bought a couple of years after the format was launched.  I replaced it after some years with a Meridian 208 - the Bitstream one with the preamp - and that was drawer, top loading!  When that was stolen in 1997 I replaced it with a Krell KAV-300cd, with a Teac front drawer loading mechanism. I only sold it a few months ago.  Maybe the physical thing of popping a disc in and fastening it with a puck makes a psychological impact, akin to playing an LP?  I’d love a ‘final’ CD player purchase that didn’t break the bank, and have been idly looking at older models.

I was only looking at the Opus 21 last night, after finding that @rabski gave it a namecheck.  Elsewhere, some rave about it and others think it’s overrated. I gather it was meant to be slot loading but they couldn’t source the parts?

I would also choose the Technics TT as I’d not be worried it needed too much tweaking.  Good point about the stairs though!

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On 23/05/2019 at 12:18, Turk 182 said:

after typing into google "cd transport" an interesting article from sound on sound magazine appeared titled :-

"how much impact can a cd transport have on sound quality ?".

interesting to read what a pro audio magazine thinks - what are your views ?

any further views on the sound on sound article :-

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-how-much-impact-can-cd-transport-have-sound-quality

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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

I think the two best systems I have ever heard both had DCS ‘stack’ front ends, so we’ve had different experiences there. One was mainly used with CD and SACD, and they are rare in still offering SACD replay.

The system I heard used the then top-end Moon (Reference?) amplification and an enormous pair of Focals, complete system hooked up with enough Nordost Valhalla to run to the (real) moon and back. It was f***ing horrendous.

Quote

Yes, I was thinking file replay versus CD. That’s where it gets puzzling to my mind, because I fail the see how even perfect CD replay can improve the file. My head says it must be the same!  So CEC must be performing some magic that I don’t understand.  

The CEC and other top quality transports aren't 'improving' anything. They're just screwing it up less.

It's not a difficult concept. What you get with playback of a vinyl record improves when attention is paid to a number of factors, including careful set-up, accurate alignment and suppression of unwanted vibration. Since reading a CD is also a mechanical process, why should these factors be any less relevant?

Quote

Maybe the physical thing of popping a disc in and fastening it with a puck makes a psychological impact, akin to playing an LP?  I’d love a ‘final’ CD player purchase that didn’t break the bank, and have been idly looking at older models.

The physical engagement undoubtedly does have a part to play in terms of user satisfaction (oo-er, Matron) as I've commented upon previously.

But there's more to it than that. John Darko recently discovered that CD players generally sound better than his music servers/streamers and Roon server doodads. Srajan Ebaen made the same observation recently when the first CD player he'd listened to for years outstripped his file-based replay system. And the most recent Stereophile contains a review of the new DCS Rossini disc transport by John Atkinson where he concludes that to his surprise the physical media sounds better than the networked alternatives, even if he's buggered as to knowing why.

There does seem to be a school of thought in some quarters that CD development just somehow stood still while all the streaming stuff has been in the spotlight.

I don't think that's the case, there are plenty of examples to the contrary just in the three items I've mentioned above.

With specific regard to CEC, I've used 3 of their transports, the most recent of which is both the best and cheapest, so what's that if it's not progress? ;-)

Quote

I was only looking at the Opus 21 last night, after finding that @rabski gave it a namecheck.  Elsewhere, some rave about it and others think it’s overrated. I gather it was meant to be slot loading but they couldn’t source the parts?

Hadn't heard that (re the slot) but you might be right. The build quality was a bit agricultural (certainly compared to high-end Japanese manufacturing) and it was a tad 'ergonomically challenged' but a great-sounding player IMO.

Edited by notevenclose
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Super Wammer

@notevenclose Now you’ve mentioned Focals I completely understand!  

With apologies to the OP for the drift. 

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3 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

@notevenclose Now you’ve mentioned Focals I completely understand!  

With apologies to the OP for the drift. 

hi nopiano

no problem - its a good debate !

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Super Wammer
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Turk 182 said:

Re the article, the author suggests that if everything is in good condition, say a clean CD, not pressed off centre, and no vibration, then pretty much anything will do.  And he gives a handy reminder how the whole shebang works, which he explains away as why he thinks you need to spend  £250 to £500 on a transport.  I’m afraid I don’t feel he argues it very convincingly. 

I’d have welcomed some facts about error rates and interpolation, which he implies is the problem.  Most commentators focus on minimising jitter, and the quality of DACs. 

Edited by Nopiano

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Moderator

I had the Victor XL-Z999EX CD player that the original Reimyo player was based on - a top-loader with a heavy puck using a laser disc motor.  When it finally broke down, I replaced it with a dCS P8i MkII, using an Esoteric VOSP mechanism.

Used as transports into my Victor XP-DA999 DAC, I can detect no difference.  The difference between the Victor DAC and the ring DAC in the dCS is much more obvious.

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Super Wammer
4 hours ago, meninblack said:

I had the Victor XL-Z999EX CD player that the original Reimyo player was based on - a top-loader with a heavy puck using a laser disc motor.  When it finally broke down, I replaced it with a dCS P8i MkII, using an Esoteric VOSP mechanism.

Used as transports into my Victor XP-DA999 DAC, I can detect no difference.  The difference between the Victor DAC and the ring DAC in the dCS is much more obvious.

I’d never heard of the Victor, but a quick google and I see what a serious beast it is/was.  As a matter of interest, have you ever tried a more modest transport to see if that is audibly different?

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Yes - Oppo BDP-95 and Squeezebox 3 playing FLAC.  All sounds the same.

But that's what the K2 processor in the Victor DAC does: it completely re-generates the digital signal, removing all noise and jitter, and just passing pure ones and zeroes to the DAC chips.  So goodbye transport effects and goodbye cable effects.

The only thing I've heard better it was a SERIOUSLY expensive Audio Note DAC.  Which interestingly has NO re-sampling, filtering or processing of any kind. Go figure!

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6 hours ago, notevenclose said:

The system I heard used the then top-end Moon (Reference?) amplification and an enormous pair of Focals, complete system hooked up with enough Nordost Valhalla to run to the (real) moon and back. It was f***ing horrendous.

With apologies for the thread drift, I'm pretty certain I remember that system at a well-known audio show. It was by far and away the most expensive setup there. And by far and away the worst sounding. It was frankly laughably poor.

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LOL, it is impossible to make enormous Focals sound other than crap.  Because they are crap.

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Super Wammer
Just now, meninblack said:

LOL, it is impossible to make enormous Focals sound other than crap.  Because they are crap.

I heard some Eutopias powered by a bank of Naim amps a couple of years back ....dreadfull given the >£100k cost 

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I heard Focal mega-giga-Utopias powered by the naim Statement at Munich - the stereo in my Jimny sounds less bad.

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