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Regular DVD player vs CD player for 2-ch music-Really a difference?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Kevin_Breeze, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    I have a Pioneer DV-333 DVD player that I have been using for music too and I don't really have too much to complain about the sound (although sometimes it sounds a little thin-but the detail is definitely there)when playing music CD's through it but I have just heard many people saying to get a real dedicated CD player to hear much better music. This pioneer, although it was only like $200 ($300 retail)has 96KHz/24-bit Audio DAC so I don't see what the big difference would be?? Also is their a way to bypass the DVD players processing and use my HK AVR7000's I also read somehwere that someone just bougth a cheap CD player to go with this receiver b/c he was going to use the processing of the receiver anyway?? - something to that affect...

    if i were to buy a dedicated CD player my budget would be in the $300 range and these are some I am considering:

    -NAD C541i $299 online (new)
    -Cambridge 300 or 500 SE
    -One of the Sony ES players

    Thanks,
    kevin
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer
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    Kevin, using the digital out into the receiver (assuming the receiver has a digital in of course) will let you hear the player as a transport. It's hard to make generalizations with audio but in most cases a dedicated CD player will be better. Most DVD players use the DVD (48k) video bitstream to transmit CD audio. Yes it is close to 44.1k but one can do better. Lower priced DVD players also usually don't have a good analog output stage as they are typically designed for use in a system using the digital output.

    I've never personally heard any of the players you've noted. My advice would be to get an outboard DAC. Pioneer players from my experience make half decent transports. There are many items that can be had used in your price range such as a used Rotel, Micromega, Channel Island Audio, MSB, etc. - just to name a few. If the Pioneer has more than one digital out it would be easy to use with a DAC (or if not you could swap cables or have another solution). You would just have the analog outs from the DAC go to an analog input on the receiver.

    In some cases, depending on the design, the use of the DACs in the receiver means going thru lots of circuitry in it s DSP which may not give the best results. Hopefully the receiver also has some type of analog direct mode if you end up considering a DAC or another CD player.
     
  3. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I bought the Cambridge Audio 540D DVD-A/V player as a dedicated CD player, it was that good with redbook CDs. I spent several hours one afternoon A/Bing it with the well reviewed 540C CD player and I, along with the salesman at the store, found the 540D to be notably superior (using the analogue outputs of each through the same receiver/speaker set, in two channel mode, all bass management and DSP off, with two commercially bought copies of the same CD. The salesman did not know which player he was listening to when he formed his opinion as I controlled the A/Bing.). It retails at 389$ US and can be had for near your budget.
     
  4. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    My old, but trusty Pioneer DV-414 has a 24/96 Burr-Brown DAC and dual-focus laser (meaning it will focus to the correct frequency for CDs and DVDs). In other words, as far as DVD players go, it's not a bad CD player.

    But the sound quality is noticeably lessor than on all my dedicated CD players, including a HK-FL8-something and a Sony C555ES. This is true when using all as transports only, but especially when I use the analog stages.
     
  5. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Rich, and thats with using the dedicated CD players via analog inputs to use their own DAC's correct?

    So you are saying using the DVD player via analog connects vs using those dedicated CD players via analog connects makes a big difference in sound quality right?

    Phil thanks a lot for the inut and explanations..definitely helped. I'll consider a separate DAC but I think i'd rather just have the dedicated CD player.

    Paul I'm not familiar with the 540C, but in reading many reviews for Cambridge 300 and 500 CD players a lot of people said they sounded poor at first but after burn in sounded amazing. So maybe that one was "burned in" yet??Another thing a lot of people were saying is that it comes with a substandard power cord and when replaced made a big difference? who know...either way, the 300 and 500 are both very highly rated both user and professional reviews and they are well priced so thats why I was looking at them.
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    "Big difference"? Well, some of us (myself included) may tend to overstate the perceived difference between two components, or the perceived improvement of some tweak, but in the audio world it is all about chasing these small, but perceptible differences. That said, a direct A:B test (carefully level-matched) can reveal very small differences between two components. I think the Pioneer 414 performs quite well as a CD player (remember: dual focus lens, burr-brown DAC), but not at the level of the comparably priced HK or the more expensive Sony I referred to above.

    And, yes, to your former question - I was bypassing the DAC in my receiver and only using those on the players. I've compared the Pioneer DV-414 against the Sony C555ES as transports, as well (using my receiver's DAC), and while the difference was minimal, I still preferred the Sony. This might mean nothing, as it wasn't a blinded comparison. But even my wife noticed the difference in the former case, using the Pioneer's DAC against the Sony and HK's. She actually preferred the cheaper HK to the Sony (less detail, seems to emphasize midrange more -- a personal preference on her part, I think).
     

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