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  1. #1
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    What makes one CD player perform better then the other?

    Why does a $2000 player sound better than a $200 player? I do not doubt that the expensive one sounds better, but I want to know why. I find it hard to believe that one CD player will read 1's and 0's better than the other. A 1 is a 1 and a 0 is a 0. How can the cheaper player screw that up? So I am guessing that the following determine the performance: the Digital to Analog converter, connectors, and the way it amps the signal to line level. But there must be something else involved to jump a players price to $2000. Can any of you audiphilles out there elucidate this topic. Thanks.

    One final note: why spend $2000 on a CD player if there is a cheaper SACD player.

    GH

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    Why does a $2000 player sound better than a $200 player?

    "I do not doubt that the expensive one sounds better..."

    One of the biggest myths in audio is that the expensive stuff sounds better...if I'm not mistaken, most CD players use one of a few readily available transports(possibly the whole shootin' match)...other hardware, D/A converters and output devices, discrete components as opposed to ICs, design and packaging, power supplies...marketing, advertising, the lure of the exotic and expensive and the potential for bragging rights...would you want to say you own a Kobe or a Krell? Incremental sonic improvements(if there actually are any) usually have a very big price tag..

    There are some basics to digital all the players must adhere to...it's the bells and whistles after the fact that increase the costs...

    And I'm not sayin' all the stuff sounds the same, I don't have any frame of reference to claim that they do, as I'm really into analog. My exposure to digital is limited and what I have heard( starting with the original $1000USD Hitachi consumer unit way back when) seems to be quite similar...the software transfer has "improved"; mixing and mastering techniques have changed with the media...I think I prefer analog...except the absolute background silence of digital is cool...

    jimHJJ(...but that's just my opinion...)

  3. #3
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    Why does a $2000 player sound better than a $200 player?

    Human psychology is one factor causing human bias and gullibility a very common human trait. Not to mention the ease with which the mind can be confused.


    I do not doubt that the expensive one sounds better, but I want to know why.


    That is unfortunate. You need to be skeptical in the consumer marketplace. Audio is no exception.

    I find it hard to believe that one CD player will read 1's and 0's better than the other.

    Me too

    A 1 is a 1 and a 0 is a 0. How can the cheaper player screw that up?

    Not easilly, that is for sure.

    So I am guessing that the following determine the performance: the Digital to Analog converter, connectors, and the way it amps the signal to line level.

    Yep, guessing.

    But there must be something else involved to jump a players price to $2000.

    How about the name on the front? You think that is free? Marketing? Marketeers are expert at balooning the price to the stratosphere.



    One final note: why spend $2000 on a CD player if there is a cheaper SACD player.

    GH


    Good question. One is looking to impress friends? Braggin rights? One is trying to improve the economy?
    mtrycrafts

  4. #4
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrycraft
    One final note: why spend $2000 on a CD player if there is a cheaper SACD player.

    GH


    Good question. One is looking to impress friends? Braggin rights? One is trying to improve the economy?
    Which $2k+ CDPs have you heard?

    rw

  5. #5
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    the eternal question

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsyhick
    Why does a $2000 player sound better than a $200 player? I do not doubt that the expensive one sounds better, but I want to know why. I find it hard to believe that one CD player will read 1's and 0's better than the other. A 1 is a 1 and a 0 is a 0.
    Reading the zeroes and ones is hardly a problem. Any cheap CD drive unit can do this rather well. The better units have better reliabillity that's all.

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsyhick
    How can the cheaper player screw that up? So I am guessing that the following determine the performance: the Digital to Analog converter, connectors, and the way it amps the signal to line level.
    It appears you know why so why are you asking? It may seem weird nowadays but good engineering tends to cost good money. It's funny how you ask this question about a CD player but it would not cross your mind to ask the same about an Audi A6 vs a Toyota Corolla. It's the same thing you know?

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsyhick
    But there must be something else involved to jump a players price to $2000. Can any of you audiphilles out there elucidate this topic.Thanks.
    There isn't. That's if you discount some of the high end manufacturers greed.

    None of the resident "audiophiles" will ever convince you otherwise, and after this thread's count will reach 250 messages (some of which will be pure junk, some actually trying to explain it nicely with facts and topped by the charge of the ABX brigade) everyone who participates will be left with a bitter taste and will be back to square one.

    If you're serious enough, nothing is more valuable than a little personal experimentation but If you search for validation this is not the right way of doing it and this ain't the place you'll get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsyhick
    One final note: why spend $2000 on a CD player if there is a cheaper SACD player.

    GH
    How many CDs do you own? Would you scramble to purchase them all again in SACD format? I'm merely asking because decent SACD players that also provide good CD replay are a quite a bit more expensive than $200 (at least to the best of my knowledge).

    Peace! (if possible)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Which $2k+ CDPs have you heard?

    rw
    Irrelevant what I can hear or not hear, but you know this so why pee on your foot?

    You have any evidence that they make an audible difference? That is th eissue at hand, evidence to support audible difference. And no, your fairy tales don't count beans. Of course, if you have evidence, your post it. You have nothing.
    mtrycrafts

  7. #7
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrycraft
    Irrelevant what I can hear or not hear, but you know this so why pee on your foot?
    I just love hearing such useful information from the authoritative voice of non-experience. I'm sure others value it just as much as do I.

    rw

  8. #8
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poss
    Reading the zeroes and ones is hardly a problem. Any cheap CD drive unit can do this rather well. The better units have better reliabillity that's all.


    It appears you know why so why are you asking? It may seem weird nowadays but good engineering tends to cost good money. It's funny how you ask this question about a CD player but it would not cross your mind to ask the same about an Audi A6 vs a Toyota Corolla. It's the same thing you know?


    There isn't. That's if you discount some of the high end manufacturers greed.

    None of the resident "audiophiles" will ever convince you otherwise, and after this thread's count will reach 250 messages (some of which will be pure junk, some actually trying to explain it nicely with facts and topped by the charge of the ABX brigade) everyone who participates will be left with a bitter taste and will be back to square one.

    If you're serious enough, nothing is more valuable than a little personal experimentation but If you search for validation this is not the right way of doing it and this ain't the place you'll get it.


    How many CDs do you own? Would you scramble to purchase them all again in SACD format? I'm merely asking because decent SACD players that also provide good CD replay are a quite a bit more expensive than $200 (at least to the best of my knowledge).

    Peace! (if possible)
    I must say, that I love this post. Couldn't have said it better myself.
    Sir Terrence

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  9. #9
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    We go through this at least once a month or more on this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsyhick
    Why does a $2000 player sound better than a $200 player? I do not doubt that the expensive one sounds better, but I want to know why. I find it hard to believe that one CD player will read 1's and 0's better than the other. A 1 is a 1 and a 0 is a 0. How can the cheaper player screw that up? So I am guessing that the following determine the performance: the Digital to Analog converter, connectors, and the way it amps the signal to line level. But there must be something else involved to jump a players price to $2000. Can any of you audiphilles out there elucidate this topic. Thanks.

    One final note: why spend $2000 on a CD player if there is a cheaper SACD player.

    GH
    Audiophile grade players are made to higher quality specs, and with lower total production. This leads to higher prices, some would say exponentially higher compared to quality. You don't have to spend 2k to get good sound, but there IS a difference. The people who buy this type of equipment are no fools, and are VERY decerning when it comes to quality.

    Bottom line; If it didn't sound better, then it wouldnt sell.

    Is it worth the extra cost? That is a question only you can answer.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Audiophile grade players are made to higher quality specs, and with lower total production. This leads to higher prices, some would say exponentially higher compared to quality. You don't have to spend 2k to get good sound, but there IS a difference. The people who buy this type of equipment are no fools, and are VERY decerning when it comes to quality.

    Bottom line; If it didn't sound better, then it wouldnt sell.

    Is it worth the extra cost? That is a question only you can answer.

    Your post contains some granules of truth, but some complete fallacies as well .... the main one being this one:

    ... If it didn't sound better, then it wouldnt sell.

    That is pure, unadulterated HOGWASH, and anyone that actually knows anything about the industry knows that to be so. There are a multitude of audio products being sold every day that don't sound any better than competing products that only cost a fraction as much. How something actually sounds seldom comes into play at all in this scenario ... it's the perception that since it costs waaaaaay more, then it must sound better as well that drives the sale.
    woodman

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  11. #11
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrycraft
    You have any evidence that they make an audible difference?
    Just curious, how do you determine which tires to buy for your car?

    rw

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Just curious, how do you determine which tires to buy for your car?

    rw

    Certainly not by trying them, nor go to friends for brand names. CR has been testing them very well for a few days now, or is it decades?
    mtrycrafts

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I just love hearing such useful information from the authoritative voice of non-experience. I'm sure others value it just as much as do I.

    rw

    Naw, you value audio stories imagined by others, and yourself
    mtrycrafts

  14. #14
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    Audiophile grade players are made to higher quality specs,

    Well, they certainly can look museum quality on the outside or in, but that doesn;'t add anything to sound, just a myth.

    You don't have to spend 2k to get good sound, but there IS a difference. The people who buy this type of equipment are no fools, and are VERY decerning when it comes to quality.

    I am sure the evidence must be out there someplace to support this? Must have eluded me and others all this time. Can you help us out where? Please?

    Bottom line; If it didn't sound better, then it wouldnt sell.

    Hard to compete with woodman on this, so I won't

    Is it worth the extra cost? That is a question only you can answer.


    We agree
    mtrycrafts

  15. #15
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodman
    Your post contains some granules of truth, but some complete fallacies as well .... the main one being this one:

    ... If it didn't sound better, then it wouldnt sell.

    That is pure, unadulterated HOGWASH, and anyone that actually knows anything about the industry knows that to be so. There are a multitude of audio products being sold every day that don't sound any better than competing products that only cost a fraction as much. How something actually sounds seldom comes into play at all in this scenario ... it's the perception that since it costs waaaaaay more, then it must sound better as well that drives the sale.
    I assure you I know a bit about this industry, and the people who but these players. On top of that I've actually HEARD quite a few of them in a varity of systems. the only HOGWASH that's getting thrown into the fan is that the people who but these players are buying it because they cost more.
    Audio;
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  16. #16
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    Where is the Champion?

    Ok...While there has been some interesting bantering going on, the answer I'm looking for has yet to be posted. It appears I need to better explain myself. I don't seek validation. I can't buy one. I'm just curious and don't - at the moment - have time to listen to these expensive CD players. What I am looking for, in essence, is the champion of the 2k CD player. That lucky soul who has no hesitation dropping an impressive load of cash on equipment. I don't want sarcasm. I want a pendantic reply to the kin of wine snobbery.

    Cheers,

    GH

  17. #17
    Forum Regular FLZapped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Which $2k+ CDPs have you heard?

    rw
    Heard how? -Bruce

  18. #18
    Forum Regular FLZapped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I just love hearing such useful information from the authoritative voice of non-experience. I'm sure others value it just as much as do I.

    rw
    And your experience amounts to what? How does it establish scientific fact or validate claims made?

    Or do you think that having a piano in your living room qualifies?

    -Bruce

  19. #19
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLZapped
    Heard how? -Bruce
    I guess that only pertains to those who use them for musical reproduction.

    rw

  20. #20
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLZapped
    And your experience amounts to what? How does it establish scientific fact or validate claims made?
    I'm not a labcoat and couldn't care less what is statistically proven. Nor does anyone else who buys any number of expensive consumer goods that defy simplistic measurements. Do you remember our conversation about tires? Remember your thinking that the UTQG rating actually meant something? Do the engineers at Ferrari and Honda (or for that matter, their customeres) really care that the Bridgestone S-02 tires they specify on their products "rate" no better than ones costing a fourth as much?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLZapped
    Or do you think that having a piano in your living room qualifies?
    That is merely a piece of the puzzle. One does develop a musical memory of how live unamplified music should sound. My garage Advent-Threshold-Pioneer system never sounds like my wife playing the piano. The downstairs system, on the other hand, does to these ears. What does qualify is extended exposure to a wide range of high performance components. I have experienced what is possible. And my new $70 Toshiba 3960 is not even in the same ballpark as my GamuT. If you limit your driving experience to a Saturn, you will have absolutely no perspective as to what high performance cars can do. Pick up a Car & Driver sometime and read one of their full reviews. You will find some simplistic and largely useless performance metrics. Which are wholely inadequate by themselves. Far more importantly, you will read "opinions" on how the vehicle feels under various conditions. They do not share your insecurity in the ability to characterize the driving characteristics of that which they test.

    rw

  21. #21
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    Here's my take

    Quote Originally Posted by gypsyhick
    Ok... I don't want sarcasm. I want a pendantic reply to the kin of wine snobbery.

    Cheers,

    GH
    It's a bit (a little pun intended) late and I'm too tired for an absolute "pedantic" reply. The cold reality is there are $2k players out there which are probably worth less than half of that sonically. One example : Linn Genki. I was so thoroughly unimpressed by its performance it was not funny. It is certainly better than my 700Can$ Rotel RCD950 however not $1800 better by any stretch of imagination. But just because it is Linn the press loves it (as it also inexplicably loves the LP12) therefore those Scots see fit to charge a hefty premium for the privilege of owning one. One of my friends took the 2500Can$ plunge and he absolutely loves the thing. He probably has to...

    Rotel used to have a better engineered product (actually two the 990 and 991) who had textbook benchmark performance and superior sound for significantly less cash. Unfortunatelly they were too expensive for a Rotel, they caught some so-so reviews (Sam Tellig even called the 991 an overcooked 971; I wonder if he ever gave it a serious listen) sold poorly and subsequently got cancelled. That's bussiness... (Anyone there willing to sell me one of those puppies second hand? No? I thought so...).

    And there's the CD player that DESERVED every one of those no less than 840000 pennies the today defunct Sonic Frontiers asked for, the SF1. Flooring, drop dead gorgeous sonic performance, ear candy at its best. Took one home to see how it will fit along all my other junk and the day I realised I couldn't possibly afford it is one that remains forever marked as a the "$%ck my puny salary day" in my calendar. Well now I could maybe get a second mortgage on my house and afford it but (as with the Rotel 990 or 991) all the owners that were insane enough to plunk the cash for one are seemingly not insane enough to part with it.

    Anyway... If you agree that better engineering gives you better results, you're halfway there. Price however DOES NOT always reflect that. In Rotel's case they were probably not making enough profit on it to break even and that's because this company refuses (or at least refused) to gouge their customers and pretty much like most "middle end" manufacturers out there (the likes of Cambridge, Arcam and so on) they engineer a product and then set a price, contrary to other companies that first set a price, then a profit and the rest is left for engineering/ manufacturing.

    The cost of tooling alone for a specialty product that will sell in small numbers is VERY significant and it is adding up to the one you pay for better parts (ever checked the price on high quality, beefy capacitors lately? or the price on NOS tubes?). Manually pairing a set of op-amps within 0.5dB isn't particulary cheap either. Some of those will reap sonic benefits, some will not but all of them contribute to the higher price a better engineered product usually commends. It is a little difficult to sepparate which companies are charging for just air from the ones that don't. Actually scrap that. It is actually easy if you own a decent headphone amp and a pair of good headphones. A short but thorough listening session will quickly sepparate the wheat from the chaff and if it is not, you can SAFELY save yourself quite a bit of dough. Make no mistake though: there IS a difference in sonic character even between $200 players and if you cannot hear it, you should deffinitely be happy.

    I'm not sarcastic or "golden eared" or arrogant and if it appears so I sincerely apologize as it is completely unintentional. Hearing those differences is a curse really. It makes one lust over stuff that one could hardly afford. It makes one bring a small amp, a nice CD player and a pair of Grados to the office because that one cannot bear the sound of his CAD workstation's DVD unit. You know... it makes one do weird stuff...

    I'm not quite sure how all this will help you. It is however my personal first hand experience, take it for what is worth.

    Peace!
    Last edited by Poss; 04-28-2004 at 09:57 PM.

  22. #22
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    This is my first post on this website. There have been many good points made about this topic. I do know that there are valid sonic differences between CD players. In all audio gear, the higher the price, the more one pays for smaller improvements in sound. As someone said above, you have to decide if paying much more for a small improvement is worth it to you.

    Only an engineer (or someone very learned about electronics) can explain WHY one sounds better than another. Some of the factors may include power supply, digital to analog converters, internal preamp quality. All of these affect the sound. Just using higher quality capacitors, diodes, etc. can also make a difference.

    I have two components that will play CD's: a Sony DVP-NS315 (DVD player)and a TEAC RW-D200 (double deck CD recorder). The TEAC is the CD player in my bedroom system because it is more convenient to record there than in the living room. But I did once compare them on the main system in the living room. The TEAC had better bass and more overall richness. There is a difference, but I cannot explain why. Peace.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    And your experience amounts to what?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLZapped
    How does it establish scientific fact or validate claims made?
    -Bruce
    MY experience amounts to plenty as does that of many others here and elsewhere. scientific facts are many times established by observation. my experience is that of observation and i observe that CDPs sound different from one another.

    The reasons for that are multitude, just look inside several CDPs and see how differently they are laid out and the different levels of quality of parts and construction there are. Now and again, an inexpensive player will sound exemplary such as my sony ns500v.

    the $2k players are made quite well, and will very likely sound better than the veritable $80 RCA so loved by some on this board. personally, if i were planning a $2k expenditure on a player it would be for vinyl. in the meantime, what i have will do.

    http://cgi.audioasylum.com/systems/588.html
    ...regards...tr

  24. #24
    Forum Regular FLZapped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I guess that only pertains to those who use them for musical reproduction.

    rw
    And that establishes what then, beyond the ability to play a disc? -Bruce

  25. #25
    Forum Regular FLZapped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I'm not a labcoat and couldn't care less what is statistically proven.
    Yet you make claims of superior sound that cannot be verified, so what good are they, then?

    Nor does anyone else who buys any number of expensive consumer goods that defy simplistic measurements.
    How do you know? You just got done saying you don't care. And if they don't, how can you explain the sucess of Consumer Reports?

    You make so many claims and that's the problem, until validated are useless to be used to establish fact. Yet, like Jon Risch, you keep making them, thinking that they will suddenly become truesimply because they are repeated over and over again.

    -Bruce.

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