CD player Fidelity Differences?

VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Full Audioholic
I have a 20 year old Kodak Photo CD PCD-5850 player that holds 5 discs. It plays CD's fine but I thought a new Denon DCD-600NE CD Player with AL32 Processing might sound better with the Hegel H90 integrated amp and the Vento 9.2 Reference DC speakers in my office. When the Denon player arrived I set up an AB test.

Here's the test configuration:
1. Kodak PCD-5850 on analog1 on Hegel H90
2. DCD-600NE CD Player on analog2 on Hegel H90
3. DCD-600NE CD Player on Optical1 of Hegel H90

Next, I put a copy of Nils Lofgren Acoustic Live CD in each player and started both players so each was playing at the same counter number on the same song. I switched between analog1 and 2 on the H90 expecting the Denon to sound better. To my surprise, the difference was non-existent to super minimal. Is it possible CD players don't offer much difference in sound? Is this similar to me not being able to detect an audible difference between my Adcom amp or the Denon 4500 powering my VMPS SuperTower III mains?

Next, I tested between the analog1 and optical1 on the DCD-600NE CD Player. I actually, heard a little more clarity using the analog outs than the optical out on the same DCD-600NE. If I use PURE DIRECT mode 2 it turns off the optical port. PURE DIRECT Mode 1 leaves it on.

What I'm coming away from this is a good CD transport hooked up to the the H90 sounds good with either source. If this holds true - why would someone spend $1,000 on a CD player vs a $300 unit?

Has anyone else AB'ed their new CD player to see if they can tell an audible difference? Thank you!
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I wonder why people expect there to be any significant difference in the first place.

ps I have a couple Sony S5100s, an S6700, Sony PS3, Oppo 203, plus some older optical disc players, including a cd changer (no digital out) and a couple dvd players. I generally use the digital out to an avr, altho on my old 2ch gear I'll use the analog as no choice.
 
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KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I use a Sony BDP-S5100 BluRay player that I picked up at Goodwill for $14.
Sony's are good because their mid-level up models (I'm guessing $100 or more when new) play SACD's!
If you are in Goodwill or similar, look for Sony, Remote (is included), HDMI (if you want), and if those are good, look it up online for SACD compatibility!

I don't like that they did not provide any display (other than a pilot light) on the unit, but the OSD works well enough.


I do have an Oppo because I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about and I got a good deal from a guy here who was upgrading, but as for sound, I have never heard a difference. Same can be said of my old portable Panasonic CD player from the '90s - sounds great with a good pair of headphones!
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
I'll have to find it, but there is a double blind shootout between high end amp and cd player vs low end, and the golden ears couldn't tell the difference.
 
Gmoney

Gmoney

Audioholic Samurai
I have a Onkyo CD 390 6 disk player and a Sony 4K- UBP-X700. Can't tell the difference between the two.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Full Audioholic
I use a Sony BDP-S5100 BluRay player that I picked up at Goodwill for $14.
Sony's are good because their mid-level up models (I'm guessing $100 or more when new) play SACD's!

I do have an Oppo because I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about and I got a good deal from a guy here who was upgrading, but as for sound, I have never heard a difference. Same can be said of my old portable Panasonic CD player from the '90s - sounds great with a good pair of headphones!
I tested the Sony UBP-X700 with the Hegel H90 but the Sony only had a coax out available, as Hegel does not support HDMI. I found the X700 audio output was a little louder than the Denon player and offered less detail using the coax input on the H90. The analog input sounded best with any configuration I tested so far - with the H90.

Results may be different with an AVR that supports HDMI?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I tested the Sony UBP-X700 with the Hegel H90 but the Sony only had a coax out available, as Hegel does not support HDMI. I found the X700 audio output was a little louder than the Denon player and offered less detail using the coax input on the H90. The analog input sounded best with any configuration I tested so far - with the H90.

Results may be different with an AVR that supports HDMI?
Or the different levels are simply making it....different?
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Full Audioholic
Or the different levels are simply making it....different?
The CD player by it's nature is an analog device. Conversion to a digital output signal such as optical or Coax can slightly alter the signal. The Denon CD players offer PURE DIRECT mode that shuts off the display circuit in MODE 1 and the digital outs in MODE 2. This design reinforces the expectation the analog outputs should provide the cleanest signal.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Field Marshall
The CD player by it's nature is an analog device. Conversion to a digital output signal such as optical or Coax can slightly alter the signal. The Denon CD players offer PURE DIRECT mode that shuts off the display circuit in MODE 1 and the digital outs in MODE 2. This design reinforces the expectation the analog outputs should provide the cleanest signal.
A CD player by it's nature is a digital device that plays back digital music files which may then be converted to an analog signal before being sent to your amp/processor.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Full Audioholic
A CD player by it's nature is a digital device that plays back digital music files which may then be converted to an analog signal before being sent to your amp/processor.
If the Denon CD player electronics are primarily digital then why would it turn OFF the digital outs when in PURE DIRECT mode2? And why would it sound slightly cleaner using the analog outs?
 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
You're asking too many questions and will have to come with us...
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NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Field Marshall
If the Denon CD player electronics are primarily digital then why would it turn OFF the digital outs when in PURE DIRECT mode2? And why would it sound slightly cleaner using the analog outs?
As for your first question, it's giving you options based on how you connect it to your downstream devices. As for why it sounds cleaner to you using the analog outs I have no idea.

I was merely pointing out that a CD player is not "by it's nature an analog device." It is quite literally reading digital media. It can then either pass that digital signal onto your next device through a digital signal path (digital coax, toslink, HDMI, etc.) or convert it through use of a DAC and send it out through an analog output. The output you choose does not change the fact that CD players are digital.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
The CD player by it's nature is an analog device. Conversion to a digital output signal such as optical or Coax can slightly alter the signal. The Denon CD players offer PURE DIRECT mode that shuts off the display circuit in MODE 1 and the digital outs in MODE 2. This design reinforces the expectation the analog outputs should provide the cleanest signal.
As NIN said about it being primarily digital. If you think you're hearing "cleaner" audio from using the built in dac of your cd player, hard to explain why there'd be such a difference in dac implementation but it could be from slightly different levels involved. It could be a preference for some other reason, hard to know. Pure direct in an avr is simply to allow someone to use analog without further processing....why pure direct wouldn't be digital in a digital playback device is beyond me....probably catering to the idea that analog is somehow "pure".
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I want to agree and laugh at the same time at this! I decided to rate my laughter and type my agreement. :p

This is a stone's throw away from the which amp sounds better debate and audiophool cables.
True enough.....but without quantifying the differences, can you really know what the differences actually are?
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
That was the same test that first came to mind....but couldn't find (easily at least, it used to pop up easier in a search IIRC). Good general idea of the role of electronics, tho....
I still cant find it, but was uber highland...
 

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