Sorry for the length of this. Please bear with me, or skip if it looks like too much. Having recently upgraded to Paradigm Studio 100's (broken in now), and acquiring a NAD C541 CD player, hooked through a Yammie RX-V1000, I've been going through my CD collection, listening to stuff "again for the first time". Anyhow, I've a concern about what I'm hearing. Too often, I can pick out distortions in playback. Some CDs play back flawlessly to my ears, while in others I can pick out distortions, but mostly during "noisy" portions. I own a variety of musical styles, but none are pop/mainstream, and they go back a bit. So is quality on CD's really variable? Am I being too picky? Could there be a problem with my system somehow? Obvious defects, like pops or crackles, can be verified on my computer or cheap minisystem (and I always can reproduce the defects elsewhere in these cases). But some of the distortions are more subtle and difficult to reproduce on other systems, and I don't know if I'm hearing a hardware problem, or just production problems or format limitations. They are higher frequency distortions, often to vocals or guitars. Movies sound fine. But I'm not listening in the same critical fashion. I don't have SACD or DVD-A, so I can't compare there, either. The very few concert DVD's I own sound OK, except for the Roger Waters one which has some obvious crackling (which comes out all speakers, so I'm fairly sure it's a recording problem). I've tried switching the NAD out with my DVD player, and I can still here the distortions, so I think I can rule that out. I could try other speakers, but they aren't nearly as revealing as the 100's, so I don't know how much that'll tell me. How can I tell? Is there a good test CD available for "proving" systems? Can you recommend a CD which will sound "flawless" to me, but is "noisy" at the same time? Put it this way, Marilyn Manson "Holywood" sounds too distorted, while NIN "The Fragile" sounds much better. I could pick out some distortions on Dead Can Dance "Within the Realm Of a Dying Sun" today, too. Again, during more "noisy" parts. I tried Ministry's "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste", and some songs sounded great, but two or three had noticeable distortion. Download's "Effector" CD sounds incredible. Not a blemish (well, actually one, but it's only 3 ticks). Help! Martin.