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  1. #1
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    Question about high-end cd players.

    I've been wondering about thoes high-end expensive CD players, how are they different from say like a Sony cd player? If CD was developed by Philips and Sony then they would know everything about the technology and make players that play CDs perfectly and the way they were meant to sound, right? So that means when you hear thoes high-end expensive players and notice thoes gigantic differences then that means that they just tweaked and played around with the tech to make it sound different and therefore the final playback is fake and not how it suppose to sound?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsteel
    I've been wondering about thoes high-end expensive CD players, how are they different from say like a Sony cd player? If CD was developed by Philips and Sony then they would know everything about the technology and make players that play CDs perfectly and the way they were meant to sound, right? So that means when you hear thoes high-end expensive players and notice thoes gigantic differences then that means that they just tweaked and played around with the tech to make it sound different and therefore the final playback is fake and not how it suppose to sound?
    The fact that a company designs a technology doesn't necessarily mean that that company is the only one capable of producing products using that technology. And, I believe, Sony themselves make "high-end" CD players costing a great deal. And don't forget that Sony's largest marketing arena is mass-market stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but mass-market doesn't usually translate to "best."

    High-end products are often very expensive, and personally, I think some of those price tags are outrageous. I purchased the Marantz SA-8001 SACD player, which at $900 might be considered "high-end." That which truly makes it a high end product isn't its price, but its performance. It didn't get a "Stereophile Class-A Recommendation" for nothing!

    Listening to CD's on this unit continues to impress the sh!t out of me just about all the time: everything sounds better and better, and certainly not "fake" as a result of "tweaking" and "playing around" with the technology as you would suggest in comparing it to a mid-level Sony player. And, as good as this unit is, I'm sure there are others out there that are noticeably better, but at a much steeper price tag.

    Lastly, "high-end" has been the subject of many posts here and on other audio-based websites, and while high end stuff is often quite expensive, the primary goal of a high end product is to provide a lifelike musicality that can often emotionally involve the listener. Certainly not the goal of "mass market" manufactured products, but rather, for individuals who just want the best sound they can get, within their budgets.

    There are huge differences between high end CD players and mass market units. Are those differences worth the price differential? That, my friend, is a question that hasn't yet been answered, and probably never will!

  3. #3
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    inventing something doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be the best in it...

    there were some high end sony cd players (I don't think there actually were philips high end things...), but now, sony and philips concentrate on the mass market. making cheap plastic stuff, without any care for how it will actually sound.

    a high end product is made with dedication, most engineers building high end products actually know more about the CD technology (and most other audio related tech), than your average sony engie.


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  4. #4
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    There still are high-end Sony CD players I believe.

  5. #5
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    No ...

    Quote Originally Posted by agentsteel
    I've been wondering about thoes high-end expensive CD players, how are they different from say like a Sony cd player? If CD was developed by Philips and Sony then they would know everything about the technology and make players that play CDs perfectly and the way they were meant to sound, right? So that means when you hear thoes high-end expensive players and notice thoes gigantic differences then that means that they just tweaked and played around with the tech to make it sound different and therefore the final playback is fake and not how it suppose to sound?
    The technolgy used in high-end players is more than just "tweaked and played around with the tech to make it sound different". In many cases extreme measures and technologies are use to ensure bit-perfect and jitter-free delivery of the digital data to the decoder, followed by SOTA decoding, then superb analog output.

    For example the emmLabs transport and 6 channel CD and SACD decoder combination that a lot of people regard as the finest available. The price is ... I'm not sure exactly but it is likely above $50,000 for the combo. So it costs maybe 200x more than a basic Sony, Marantz, or NAD. It certainly is better in some degree depending on the associated amps and speakers, etc.; maybe not 200x better but that is a personal judgement.
    ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Question about high-end cd players.-emmlabs_combo.jpg  

  6. #6
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    There still are high-end Sony CD players I believe.

    I dunno actually, their true pride TOTL players (SCD-1 and such) seized production around 2002 or so I think...

    they are still highly demanded though...

    Keep them spinning,
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    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
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    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
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  7. #7
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    All you have to do is go to a high end stereo shop and bring a reference quality CD and compare cheap CD players to expensive ones and you will hear the difference yourself.

    I have owned several CDP's including the Marantz 8001 and my current one the 840c ($1400) and they are worlds better than cheap CDP's. Even my 17yr son, 20yr daughter and my wife can tell a dramatic difference in sound. Now you may not be able to tell much difference if you have poor speakers, and amplifier. Good speakers, cables and amps really bring out the differences in good CDP's.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
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  8. #8
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    check this out:
    http://www.avland.co.uk/sony/scd1/index.htm

    I'd never seen high-end amps and pre's from Sony before Nor had I ever seen those speakers

  9. #9
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    check this out:
    http://www.avland.co.uk/sony/scd1/index.htm

    I'd never seen high-end amps and pre's from Sony before Nor had I ever seen those speakers

    yup, that's what I was talking about

    they're mainly from the SACD's 'heyday', and earlier for the cd, they are still highly demanded, and nearly unobtainium, since very few were ever made, and some weren't even sold outside of Japan...

    more info on www.thevintageknob.org
    this is another one, for example: http://www.thevintageknob.org/SONY/s.../SCD777ES.html
    and this one:
    http://www.thevintageknob.org/SONY/s...10DASR10.html#

    yet I'd rather have an accuphase (stack), or a DSC stack...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  10. #10
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsteel
    I've been wondering about thoes high-end expensive CD players, how are they different from say like a Sony cd player? If CD was developed by Philips and Sony then they would know everything about the technology and make players that play CDs perfectly and the way they were meant to sound, right? So that means when you hear thoes high-end expensive players and notice thoes gigantic differences then that means that they just tweaked and played around with the tech to make it sound different and therefore the final playback is fake and not how it suppose to sound?
    It sounds good in theory but marketing departments and accountants rule those companies - like virtually all big companies - and they have far more interest in moving boxes than creating better sound quality. Even their so called improvements with SACD was more about the lack of record ability to stop downloading than it was about better sound quality - some of the better CD only players still beat SACD's altered effects.

    Those high end CD players still use Philips or Sony products. Most cd players and computers are outsourced to a few makers.

    Many of the top CD players use Philips or Sony or Teac transports. They are expensive uber built products or professional grade set-ups. Philips makes them but of course you won't see a Philips retail cd player using a Philips Pro drive because their target market is Walmart shoppers buying $59 DVD players not the minority audiophile community. Big companies are about volume.

    They sell the Pro drives to companies like Audio Note.

    So the Audio Note CD Two/II drive is a Philips Pro. Audio Note replaces all the internals with their own designs. Pictures here http://www.audionote.co.uk/products/...wo-ii_01.shtml

    And the first CD players were non oversampling no filter approaches. They sounded terrible. Philips and Sony though decided to take the CHEAP fixes to increase profit and so they developed a lot of error correction devices to fix the mistakes the cd players were making - thus enter oversampling, digital filters which would create a hard brick wall filter which truncates the sound above 22khz. People still didn't like it so companies like Sony Pioneer etc would create more error correction devices like noise shaping to try and smooth the sound of the treble (which arguably works but it sucked the life out of it as well). Audio Note went back to the very first CD player designs created by Sony/Philips and instead of adding the error correction they left it all out but put in more expensive tranformers to the DAC chip over OP amps. This is essentially no oversampling - the player reads the disc and it goes through the dac real time - it has to be good because it can't make any errors but essentially it is playing a lot more like a turntable in this way. The laser hits the discs passes the info once and you hear it directly - it doesn;t get read stored re-read 100 + times to be noise shaped and altered.

    There are now several other players using this AN design from companies like 47 Labs, Zanden. There are of course excellent CD players of typical design out there but the point is that a little know Audio Note or 47 Labs is making CD players closer to the initial ideal than any other design - for right or wrong. I think they're right and that's why it will probably an AN Cd player as my next CD player.
    Last edited by RGA; 06-03-2008 at 12:10 PM.

  11. #11
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsteel
    I've been wondering about thoes high-end expensive CD players, how are they different from say like a Sony cd player? If CD was developed by Philips and Sony then they would know everything about the technology and make players that play CDs perfectly and the way they were meant to sound, right?
    You need to remember that what they developed was a digital software medium, not the inherent digital technology nor the required analog output stage found in every CDP. Dr. Thomas Stockham developed a 16/50 digital recorder and was used by Telarc Records before the CD format had even hatched. And was superior. I played a minor role in one of their recordings of the ASO using the new technology back in 1978. Has the industry learned anything over the past three decades? Certainly. Jitter has been identified, quantified, and many different strategies for minimizing its effect are now employed. The required "brick wall" filtering evolved from being handled in the analog domain (fraught with phase errors) to being handled in the digital domain.

    The final *component* that lies within every player is the analog output stage. Such was originally developed back in the depression - and has continued to evolve over time. A $.36 op amp using electrolytic coupling capacitors in the signal path is not even in the same sonic ball park as the best discrete tube and solid state designs.

    rw

  12. #12
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    The price is ... I'm not sure exactly but it is likely above $50,000 for the combo.
    Actually, the combo *only* runs about $20k USD. There's a pair on 'Gon for a mere $7500 here. Those are the units Harry Pearson uses in his Magneplanar based MC system. They drive a Conrad-Johnson MET-6 preamp into Edge amplifiers. Simply superb sounding.

    rw

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