cd with digital out?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Luke_Khuc, Apr 6, 2002.

  1. Luke_Khuc

    Luke_Khuc Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 12, 2002
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    I'm sure that somebody has asked this in the past but I couldn't find anything using the search fuction [​IMG]
    Can I use a cheap CD player with digital out with a good pre/pro (Outlaw 950) and expect the sound to be good? Or do I need a really good (read expensive) CD player to get the good sound? Thank you.
  2. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

    Jul 15, 2000
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    Using digital out from a CDP to a pre/pro would mean that the DACs in the pre/pro would be used to generate the analog sound form, vs. having the D-to-A conversion performed in your CDP and then passing (or trying to pass) the resulting analog signal through your pre/pro to your amps without it being altered/degraded.

    For most people, the simple solution is an inexpensive CDP using the digital out to their pre/pro. Good sound, inexpensive, and not much to mess with.

    If you were to purchase a "good" CDP then it's likely (but not guaranteed) you would get better D-to-A conversion. However the pre/pro being used could potentially degrade the quality of the analog signal from your CDP and thus mitigate the benefits. For instance, I did purchase a "good" CDP--the Granite Audio 657 (has a tube output section--neat stuff). Running the analog output from the 657 straight to my amps (there is essentially a gain switch or volume control on the back of the CDP to allow for such) the sound was stunning. Absolutely fantastic. Yet when I ran the same analog signal into my Lexicon DC-1 preamp and then out to my amps I lost a great deal of the sound fidelity. The Lex DC-1, it turns out, digitizes EVERYTHING that comes in--it doesn't have a true analog bypass. This is sort of an extreme example of how passing the analog signal through a pre/pro (well, or trying to) could potentially degrade the sound. Even pre/pro's that do include an analog bypass may degrade the sound somewhat though (in the same way that even pure analog preamps sound different and/or degrade the sound vs. the source).

    This is not taking into account the potential for jitter, etc., on your digital path.

    A mid-tier solution to the situation is to initially purchase a cheap CDP and use the digital out to your pre-pro. Then when you have the cash, try purchasing a good DAC (such as the Perpetual Technologies P-3A) and add it between your CDP and your pre/pro. This would give you much of the benefit of the better DACs found in the fancier players (though they also tend to have better build quality, etc.) and allow you to buy incrementally.

    Just my $.02.



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