POLL: Do You Think That Different CD Players Have Their Own Sonic Signature?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by audiomixer, Apr 28, 2018.

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  1. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    There were comments made on another thread & I was amazed that some people feel that digital is digital & that they cannot hear a difference between CD players. I has owned many various players throughout the decades and each one sounded differently to me.

    All opinions welcome!
    George P, Tim 2 and Gramps Tom like this.
  2. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    Definitely a difference. PS may want to edit the thread title
  3. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

  4. bruce2

    bruce2 Forum Resident

    Connecticut, USA
    I have owned quite a few players in the $500-$1200 price range and can easily hear differences. Each player seems to have its own strengths and sound signature.
  5. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    All set then... A good way to hear differences is go to a hi fi store and audition CD players, making sure they're hooked up thru the same chain.
    nosliw, Dave and audiomixer like this.
  6. Rodney Toady

    Rodney Toady Waste of cyberspace

    Yes, I believe they have... Even if digital was just 0's and 1's, perhaps a good player will make those 0's a bit rounder and get those 1's stand more straight, and in the process creating audible differences between different players.
  7. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident

    I voted yes, but I think you will get 0 No votes. I don't think anybody is saying all CD players sound the same, just like nobody says every amp, speaker or headphone sounds the same. I think the argument (if there is one) is that, everything being equal in the playback chain (computer, DAC, CD player, amp, headphones, speakers, whatever it is you are using at any given time), that when playing equivalent digital files of the same resolution you should get identical results. That is, a CD and its FLAC rip and its ALAC rip and its Lossless WMA rip should all sound the same. That may be argued one way or the other.
    shaboo likes this.
  8. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    I started this poll due to a "discussion" (:whistle:) about this very subject on another thread.
    And, yes, so far 1 no vote. Probably the same individual.
  9. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile

    CD players like any amplifier have their own audio out amplifiers. Just like an audio amplifier if all CD players sound the same, then all audio amplifiers sound the same. Sound the same? Not even close........
    nosliw, F1nut, Dave and 2 others like this.
  10. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    I probably owned over 2 dozen players over the years.
    Each one handled different music differently. I always had 3-4 players in-line.
    Moon42 likes this.
  11. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Karlskrona- Sweden
    I think there is a difference.
    Whats behind the theory that CD-players sound alike. Please enlighten me :)
  12. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    Ask the 4 people who voted "No" on this poll. The 8.9%.
  13. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    Of course they have.
    bluesky and audiomixer like this.
  14. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    Do cd players have different output levels? We all know how hard it was to a/b speakers with different efficiencies at stereo shops.
  15. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    I think DAC's do...players?
    I didn't vote as I'm not sure the spinners do. Unless you get into the upper echelon's maybe.
  16. delmonaco

    delmonaco Forum Resident

    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Of course they sound different, as any other component.

    In some imaginary perfect world all CD players should sound the same – in order to extract precisely what’s on the CD, without omitting or adding anything. But the same is valid for all other sources – turntable/arm/cart configurations, tape players etc. I’m not sure if the notion that the CD players sound the same is a compliment or criticism (as opposed to the turntables, for example, that presumably all sound different, hence – you never know what’s exactly on the record).
  17. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Senior Member

    I would consider the DAC portion to be the turntable equivalent of the cartridge. I think there's a difference based on my ltd. experience.
    SandAndGlass and TimB like this.
  18. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    Do different digital players "color" the sound in varying ways? By distorting? Or are some just more accurate and precise?
    TimB likes this.
  19. TimB

    TimB Pop, Rock and Blues for me!

    Funny how views change. Back in the 80's, many people thought that the cd players were not all that good. There is a bit of a Renaissance of them. The multi bit dac and NOS dac seems to be returning to favor with some. Even the pre 1990 cd players are being viewed as good, with the multi bit dac's.
    nosliw, tommy-thewho and DRM like this.
  20. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member

    Los Angeles CA USA
    Good, my opinion is "MAYONNAISE!!!" :p
    Are you referring to the analog outs, or the digital outs? We did a demo once between an ancient Phase Linear and a Magnavox CDB-650 (which when tested had a very good "staircase" reproduction). Playing Don Dorsey's "Ascent" on Telarc, the reverb tail after a big boom in the track was markedly different. The Phase Linear kind of warbled as it got quiet. The Magnavox did not, and the reverb lasted longer before dissolving.

    On the other hand, these kind of questions and polls often tend to turn stupid, with people insulting each other. The problem is that each side wants the other to agree to their point of view, which is dumb. Look around a room full of people and think about their eyesight-are they all the same? Of course not. Some have glasses, some have contacts, some have perfect vision, some have poor sight, and there are various different vision problems that can crop up. Yet in audio, folks somehow assume everyone's hearing is identical, and attitudes boil down to "Can't you hear that you idiot?!?!"* But-why SHOULD everyone "hear it" if their hearing is not all the same?

    I should think it unremarkable if (in the past, since disc players are a pretty dead category) above the lowest price tiers you didn't hear a difference. The CD starts as a good spec, so if you have a good power supply and good analog stages, the sound should be good and not markedly different to most people on most typical systems. Now, if you take a wildly hyper-built player and compare to something more average, and do so in a very expensive, very revealing system, you'd have more chance to hear a difference.

    If the DATA outputs sounded different, that would be remarkable, since "bits are bits" from an engineering standpoint. Then again, this thing called "jitter" was discovered, so we should be VERY careful about saying "no difference" about things that we have not compared for ourselves. As an electrical engineer, I cannot imagine how power cords would make any audible difference at all, but I've never heard a demo of that so I refrain from saying it can't, just that a) it seems unlikely b) this is therefore not the place to spend your money for the most overall gain.

    *EDIT: this said m-o-r-o-n but that turned into ***** (really?!?!) which looked obscene...
    Litejazz53, MackKnife and audiomixer like this.
  21. shaboo

    shaboo Forum Resident

    Bonn, Germany
    "Digital is digital." and "All CD players sound the same." are two completely different statements.

    Of course a 0/1 will always stay a 0/1. It doesn't matter if it's transmitted via internet, CD or USB stick. There's also no magical sound ingredient between the single bits, so, of course two completely identical digital sources should sound the same. That's the whole point of digital audio!

    Sound differences between different players do not come from the fact that digital isn't digital, but simply from different DAC's, different amps, different speakers etc.
  22. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    "...some people feel that..." ;)
  23. PJC68

    PJC68 Forum Resident

    Liverpool UK
    All internal components have their own sonic signature, capacitors made with different material will sound different etc
    Also the circuits design has a major influence on sound
  24. SquishySounds

    SquishySounds Yo mama so fat Thanos had to snap twice.

    New York
    I did the CD player test 20 years ago! At the time my conclusion was ‘differences were there, but so minute it didn’t really matter’. So I bought the CD player that visually matched the amp I was using (a NAD). Of course my sample size was limited to players in my price range. No $5000 exotics.

    I ripped all my CDs in the aughts, gave the player to my brother-in-law, lost my digital music collection twice.

    I’ve since bought a handful of CDs simply because they were cheaper than the same album on iTunes. (Thanks WalMart $5 bin!) and re-ripped then. This time I’m keeping them in a box for the next hard drive crash.
  25. TimB

    TimB Pop, Rock and Blues for me!

    Early cd players to me were always a bit flat in dimension, ie the musicians in space between the speakers sounded like cardboard cut outs. I started experimenting with external DAC's, and found improvements. I still have and really like my 25 year old Adcom DAC, as well my 8 year old PSAUDIO Link Dac III both sound different to each other.
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