Has CD player technology progressed so much in 30 years?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by CMT, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. The Pinhead


    Welcome my new (NOS) universal digital player :

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  2. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    @CMT , there's a lot of great info and advice in this thread - in particular, the point many have made that modern disc players often have improved DACs in them but also cheaper build quality and less-robust transports.

    That Pioneer CD player you have is a beauty. Its built-in DAC is no slouch, and while I personally prefer the sound of the best current-day DACs, the progress in DAC sound from the 1990s to today is by no means linear - different DACs each have their fans and detractors, and it is by no means guaranteed that you will prefer a modern DAC to the one in your Pioneer unit.

    Second, since you have your Pioneer feeding its digital output to your receiver, as you noted yourself, you're not even using the Pioneer's DAC. You are just it just as a transport - a disc spinner and digital-data reader. In that capacity your Pioneer will eventually fail as its laser assembly will die. But in the meantime it's an extremely well-built machine and therefore is ideal for your specific use of it as a disc transport.

    Third, I don't know what DAC is built in to your receiver, but Outlaw is a very good brand and unless I'm mistaken your receiver is a current or recent model and therefore its built-in DAC, while perhaps not top of the line or the most current generation, probably is a very decent DAC. So if you are happy with the sound, I wouldn't be in a big rush to upgrade it unless you have the spare cash and you would find trying out a new DAC to be a fun experience.

    If you want to do that, there are plenty of wonderful external DACs out there, which you could put between your Pioneer and your Outlaw in your playback chain, and might very well give you a somewhat better result than just using the Outlaw's DAC. Just bear in mind that DAC swapping can produce a major change in the sound... or a minor change in the sound... or no discernible change in the sound.

    Finally, I would echo (no pun intended) the comment earlier in the thread that often one's upgrade funds are better spent on room treatments to improve the frequency response and imaging of your speakers by reducing unwanted sonic reflections and resonances. My only caution there would be that usually the most important frequencies to treat are bass frequencies - and these are also the most difficult to treat, requiring the largest, thickest and (if you are not DIYing them) most expensive panels and treatments.

    I guess overall I would say have fun and experiment - but don't underestimate the fun and joy of a system you already like the sound of, and don't underestimate the fantastic build quality of your Pioneer CD player!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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    ALAN SICHERMAN Van Cortlandt Park

    Cleveland, OH
    I had a Pioneer DV-414 DVD player I used for CD's only and it ran like a top until my wife's walked into the drawer while I was changing the music! My Rega Apollo died twice in four years.
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  4. The Pinhead


    Big YES to that !:agree:
  5. markc2

    markc2 Forum Resident

    I guess cult status was the wrong word, but it's renowned enough that people would make counterfeit chips, due to it's popularity.

    This list is amazing. There's a nice graph on a good amount of CD players that have used this chip. It's amazing how many excellent CD players this chip have found it's way into.

    Overview of Philips TDA1541 based cdplayers and D/A converters

    This forum has quite a talk on this as well.

    In praise of the Philips TDA1541/A/S1/S2 chips.

    An audiogon discussion on this chip as well.

    Why all the love for the TDA1541? | Audiogon Discussion Forum

    This guy has a bit of history of the chip as well. He has a business as well that I am not related to, just liked his writing


    Is this the only chip to make good music, no, but it seems one good way to go.

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  6. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Probably the consequence of its cult status.
  7. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Santa Rosa, CA
    Thanks very much for this. A lot of good advice here. :)
    tmtomh likes this.

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