different sound quality on digital output?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Yoon Lee, Oct 10, 2001.

  1. Yoon Lee

    Yoon Lee Stunt Coordinator

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    Different CD/DVD players have differnt sound quality because of their different DAC. So, if I use digital output (coax or optical cable), would all the CD/DVD players sound same regardless of their price range or brand names?
     
  2. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    This subject has been touched upon many times here. A search should yield previous posts.
    In my experience, the difference in sound quality between transports (i.e., using a player's coaxial digital output) is difficult to discern in a typical mid-fi system. On the other hand, the difference can be quite noticeable in a high-end system.
    I've auditioned numerous DVD and CD transports in our two primary (high-end) systems. Every player had an easily identifiable sonic signature. For instance, I vividly recall a first-generation Toshiba DVD player that was so bright that it drove me from the room, even after being broken in for over 30-40 hours. A Pioneer DVD/LD player was annoyingly grainy. A Panasonic DVD player was edgy and harsh in the upper midrange and treble; a budget Sony player was similar but to a lesser degree. On the other hand, a Sony 7000, which we still use in our theater room, is wonderfully smooth, clean, and neutral.
    In our modest bedroom system, practically any DVD player sounds fine, as that system's sonics are limited by the performance of the budget receiver, speakers, and cabling.
     
  3. Rob Dawn

    Rob Dawn Stunt Coordinator

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    Alex, I'm a little perplexed?
    Wouldn't a DVD player simply pass the digital bits from the DVD soundtrack on through the digital (coax or optical) cable as-is? And then the DAC on the receiver would actually dictate whether the sound was too bright, just right, etc. (Or were you talking about DVD players with built in decoding, so you're using that DAC - that would make sense.)
    Or maybe I'm completely wrong - wouldn't be the first time!
    Rob
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    My Equipment
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    And there can also be a difference in "jitter" between different CD/DVD players used as transports.
    Although whether "jitter" matters or not, or what the level of it that must be present to be audible is, are also topics for debate.
    And then you also must consider whether you have better or worse DACs in the CD/DVD player vs the receiver or pre/pro that you have it hooked up to.
    Or whether you might want to use an external DAC. But that's not very practical for Dolby Digital or DTS.
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  5. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    Rob:
    As stated, my discussion focused on the coax digital output of the various DVD players. All the units were auditioned as transports only (i.e., the DACs in the players were bypassed; I utilized the DACs in my Denon AVP-8000 preamp).
    DVD transports do not "simply pass the digital bits"--it is far more complicated than that. Hence the difference in sonic signatures that I related between brands and models. I wish all DVD and CD transports sounded neutral, clean, smooth--well, perfect--as it certainly would save me and other audiophiles quite a bit of audition time and a significant amount of money.
    Again, this subject has been covered in enormous depth at HTF and a search will provide previous posts.
    Happy listening!
     

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