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. Mitsuman

    Mitsuman Forum Resident

    I know in my experience, the MASH and PEM sound different than the Phillips bitstream chips.
    Grant likes this.
  2. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Follower of Hi-Fi

    New Mexico USA
    My vote is that the poll would have been a more interesting horse race if the comparison was CD transports rather than players. I suspect many of the “no” voters are confused about the distinction.
    LuciferSam341 and Shawn like this.
  3. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Boston MA
    Yes, this and if all wires sounded the same.:laugh:
  4. izgoblin

    izgoblin Forum Resident

    No question for me. I always assumed every player would sound the same but clearly the digital->analog converters make a big difference. I remember the first time I put a CD in my DVD player and then threw it into my 6-CD changer for whatever reason and accidentally A-B'd the two players while connected to the same receiver. I thought I was crazy. The difference in sound was not in the least bit subtle.
    Grant, Old Rusty and audiomixer like this.
  5. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    I miss the old days when we could see who voted for what.
  6. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    You still can. Just cursor over the number of votes and "click".
  7. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    What is a CD player? Usually it’s four components in one box:

    1. Disc Drive - the mechanical device that spins the disc and (using a laser) reads the 0 and 1’s
    2. DAC - Digital to Analog Converter, converts the 0 and 1’s to low level Analog Audio
    3. Audio Amp - brings the Analog output of the DAC up to line level
    4. Power Supply - can’t work without electricity!

    IMHO, most of the sound differences comes from #2 (DAC) and #3 (Audio Amp), and to a lesser extent #4 (Power Supply) if the PS is of decent quality. Not convinced #1 (Disc Drive) makes a noticeable difference.
    SandAndGlass and LuciferSam341 like this.
  8. Cereal Killer

    Cereal Killer Forum Resident

    I think how much difference we can hear from different sources depends on how transparent our setup are. When I first started in the hobby, I can only hear a subtle difference between players. My first amp was the Audiolab 8000A. It wasn't a very transparent amp although it was very musical.
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  9. Bert Oz

    Bert Oz Forum Resident

    Different yes. Went from Audiolab 8200CD to Simaudio Moon 260D with no other changes to the system. Massive difference but how much of this is down to the different DACs I don't know.
  10. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Sherwood, OR, USA
    Different DACs have their own sonic signature. Different AD converters also have their own sonic signatures. What gets deeper into the weeds is that some DAC and ADC pairings can have certain sonic synergies that can make the special sonic signatures of each more apparent.
  11. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    Aha....nice. :thumbsup:
  12. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    I have heard many CD players/DACs in the last 25 years. Wadia had the most sound signature I‘ve ever heard. Very warm analogue sound.

    Today... the differences are subtle. I listened to DACs by dCS, emmLabs, MBL and Nagra recently.
  13. Hendertuckie

    Hendertuckie Forum Resident

    Belmont, Nevada
    After the digitally processed data is sent to the analog section of a CD Player this where the difference happens. This is my opinion and not based on scientific proof.
    SandAndGlass and klockwerk like this.
  14. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    Yes, but I agree that the majority of the difference lies in the analog output section.
    klockwerk, Hendertuckie and Rolltide like this.
  15. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Boston MA
    Yes, do this for the "no I don't" category, and see the list of trolls. hehehehe:laugh:;):p
    Grant, audiomixer and F1nut like this.
  16. LeeS

    LeeS Music Fan

    They absolutely do. All day long.
  17. Ecki

    Ecki Forum Resident

    At home my cdp degraded into a "mere" transport. I guess, this will never change again...
  18. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Senior Member

    Scottish Borders
    Great amp. A bona fide classic.
    jusbe and Cereal Killer like this.
  19. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    So, do CD/digital players converting 16/44.1 sound the same/different? The real question I suspect is "how different"!

    When I came across this post and the ~90%:1% result, it got me thinking about doing a blind test to see if I can gather some real-world data using my hi-res ADC.

    Come and try this test out:
    INTERNET BLIND TEST: Do digital audio players sound different? (Playing 16/44.1 music.)

    4 "blinded" devices to listen to from different classes, 4 sample excerpts to try. Which ones sound best? Is there a big difference? Lemme know!

    Test closes on April 30, 2019. Plenty of time to listen and let me know!
    jeffsab likes this.
  20. Solarophile

    Solarophile Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the test Arch! Nice work on the recordings and controlling volume. Just gave it a try and submitted my response. "Ear opening" experience!
    Looking forward to what devices you used.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  21. LuciferSam341

    LuciferSam341 Well-Known Member

    Ontario, Canada
  22. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    My experience may be too old to be relevant now. I bought mine in 2003 auditioned all 5 star review players in £1000- £1500 range, same retailer, amp & speakers.

    Audition, Cyrus, Quad, Arcam and around 4 other CDPs and apart from the Meridian 507 they were all horrendous, one of the worst hi-fi experiences I've ever had.
  23. manxman

    manxman Forum Resident

    Isle of Man
    Yes, CD players do produce different results playing the same CD. So can CD transports. I always believed the opposite about the latter until I tried it in my own system.
  24. RingoStarr39

    RingoStarr39 Forum Resident

    Baden, PA
    Wouldn't it be worthwhile to record the analog outputs of several CD players and do the invert phase trick to see if there's any difference? Or would that not work for some reason?
    jeffsab likes this.
  25. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Thanks for the submission Solarophile. I believe that so long as folks have the requisite high resolution DAC and good enough equipment (speakers and headphones), one should be able to assess the "sound" of these different devices should the differences be significant enough to hear.

    When it comes time to unblind the devices, I'll make sure to show both the objective differences as well as people's subjective responses/preferences.
    Kyhl and jeffsab like this.
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