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  1. #1
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    Again Explain What Causes Difference in CD & DVD Sound if DAC's are the same?

    I wish there was an indexed archive file on this board because I think this was discussed before. Anyway, if both a CD player and DVD player have the same identical DAC's by brand & number, will CD's always sound identical if played through the same receiver and cables?
    IE, the Harmon Kardon 31 DVD player and Cambridge Audio Azur C 640 CD player sounded virtually identical playing CD's and both have Wolfson 24-bit/192kHz DAC's. If anything, and this might be psychological on my part as I didn't want to spend another $500 if I didn't have too, I actually preferred the sound of the $350 retail Harmon Kardon with an optic cable receiver link to the $549 retailCambridge Audio Cd player attached by $125 Diamondback cables, as it sounded slightly more natural and less forced. I also sit about 10 feet away from my speakers if that makes a difference. The Bottom line is I thought I'[d be better off recouping most of the money I spent for the Cambridge CD player on my limited budget.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    If you're using the optical cable you're bypassing the DAC's in the player so no matter what player you have they will sound identical.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    If you're using the optical cable you're bypassing the DAC's in the player so no matter what player you have they will sound identical.
    Actually to clarify, I played the Harmon Kardon through Fiber Optic and the Cambridge Audio CD Player through $125 diamonback rca cables and there was little difference in the sound.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    Actually to clarify, I played the Harmon Kardon through Fiber Optic and the Cambridge Audio CD Player through $125 diamonback rca cables and there was little difference in the sound.
    It's true, I was there. There was some difference, but very minor, and definitely not a $500 difference. I know Hershon won't probably want to hear this, but I alos wonder if the lack of substantive difference was in a limitation of the range of sound his Orbs can produce. But to be fair, he let me borrow the unit briefly to play on my system (Yamaha/B&W 601s). The difference that I noticed between the Cambridge (analog) and my 300 disc Song (optical) was the the Cambridge produced a cleaner sound, but the soundstage sounded leaner, if that makes sense. On the Sony, the soundstage was fuller and more forward. I did like a Cambrige and it was enjoyable to listen to, but still not a $500 difference. I can imagine some instrumental songs being better on the Cambridge and some rock songs being better on the Sony.

  5. #5
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    The Cambridge analog was using its dac's and the Sony dig was using the Yamaha's dac's,is that right? Should have run the Cambridge analog and dig,that would have been interesting to see any diff. I use to do that stuff until the wee hours of the morning,way fun.

    PCI,you should take your 601's and center to Hershons place and i'd bring my 601's and hook them up and see how he likes it with his new stuff.
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    If you are using RCA cables on one and optical on the other you are mudding the waters enough so no meaningful conclusion can be made. Also I am in complete agreement with Abstentia's comments below.

    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    If you're using the optical cable you're bypassing the DAC's in the player so no matter what player you have they will sound identical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nick250
    If you are using RCA cables on one and optical on the other you are mudding the waters enough so no meaningful conclusion can be made. Also I am in complete agreement with Abstentia's comments below.
    Nooo Because the sound of RCA cables on my Harmon Kardon suck. I get the best sound at least from the Harmon Kardon connecting it by Optical Cable. Why then shouldn't I compare that to the best sound I get on the Cambridge Audio when I use RCA cables and get analogue sound for it (where it sounds its best). What's your point?

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    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    If you are using the optical connection on the HK. You are not using the HK's DAC's. You are using the Denon's DAC's.

    On another note just because the DAC's are 24bit/192khz and made by Wolfson does not mean they are the same DAC as the Cambridge Audio.

    If you do not compare the units the sameway you can not draw any conclusions as to the sound quality. You have to use the same connection to compare. PERIOD.

    If you use ANY type of optical connection YOU ARE THEN USING THE DENON DAC'S and the DVD player is just a transport. Nothing else.

    Why dont you make a copy of a cd and plug both units in with analogue connections and listen in stereo. This will let you know which unit is superior. Plus you can switch quickly which will help in hearing the difference between the two.

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    I don't agree. On my DVD player and I think most DVD players there is an option to let the DVD player take over from the receiver even if its an optical connection. In my system the function is labeled bypass or Adjust On. Bypass means the receiver is in charge. Adjust On means the receiver is taking orders from the DVD player.

    If both systems have a Wolfson 192/24 DAC, how can they be different DAC's?

  10. #10
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    I don't agree. On my DVD player and I think most DVD players there is an option to let the DVD player take over from the receiver even if its an optical connection. In my system the function is labeled bypass or Adjust On. Bypass means the receiver is in charge. Adjust On means the receiver is taking orders from the DVD player.

    If both systems have a Wolfson 192/24 DAC, how can they be different DAC's?
    To bad your DVD player doesnt have that option for DVD-A so the reciever would do the bass management. That would be cool.
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  11. #11
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    One could be built to a higher standard using better materials.

    Are you sure this has to do with the DAC or just output levels. Can you be more specific. Does the HK already have DD decoder built in.

    Even if you dont agree it is the only ACCURATE and fair way to judge the two. Ask the others here. They will tell you the same.

    Another thing to keep in mind is DAC's are not everything. You have to consider the power supply section, circuit layout, opamps and various other things. Pop the lid on that Cambridge and you will probably see a much higher build quality than the HK.

  12. #12
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anamorphic96
    One could be built to a higher standard using better materials.

    Are you sure this has to do with the DAC or just output levels. Can you be more specific. Does the HK already have DD decoder built in.

    Even if you dont agree it is the only ACCURATE and fair way to judge the two. Ask the others here. They will tell you the same.

    Another thing to keep in mind is DAC's are not everything. You have to consider the power supply section, circuit layout, opamps and various other things. Pop the lid on that Cambridge and you will probably see a much higher build quality than the HK.
    Maybe better but not much better,imo. HK pretty dam good.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    Im not doubting the HK. More describing the other things involved when you step up in players.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=hershon]I don't agree. On my DVD player and I think most DVD players there is an option to let the DVD player take over from the receiver even if its an optical connection.
    QUOTE]

    That's just simply impossible and totally wrong. If you use optical, YOU USE THE DAC IN YOUR RECEIVER. There's no way to let the DVD player 'take over' because there would be no way to adjust channel levels, delay, and crossover points. It don't work that way. Optical bypasses everything in the DVD player and sends a raw digital signal for the reciever to process.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hershon

    If both systems have a Wolfson 192/24 DAC, how can they be different DAC's?
    The DAC is just one part of the equation. You can get 2 computers, both with a nice processor like an AMD 64 3200+. One might cost $299 from Walmart, a nice custom job with the same processor might be $3000. Guess which one has better parts and will perform better?

  16. #16
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    The Cambridge analog was using its dac's and the Sony dig was using the Yamaha's dac's,is that right? Should have run the Cambridge analog and dig,that would have been interesting to see any diff. I use to do that stuff until the wee hours of the morning,way fun.

    PCI,you should take your 601's and center to Hershons place and i'd bring my 601's and hook them up and see how he likes it with his new stuff.
    Call me lazy on both points. I thought about doing both analog and digital, but, since I only had it for a couple of hours, I figured I wanted to get a good feel for the analog connection, which to me seems the whole rationale for spending something like $500 for a CD player.

    Thought about bringing my 601s over, but we'd need stands and I'm a bit lazy, although it wouldn't be that big of a pain.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anamorphic96
    One could be built to a higher standard using better materials.

    Are you sure this has to do with the DAC or just output levels. Can you be more specific. Does the HK already have DD decoder built in.

    Even if you dont agree it is the only ACCURATE and fair way to judge the two. Ask the others here. They will tell you the same.

    Another thing to keep in mind is DAC's are not everything. You have to consider the power supply section, circuit layout, opamps and various other things. Pop the lid on that Cambridge and you will probably see a much higher build quality than the HK.
    I think this is exactly the type of information that Hershon is seeking here, and I will admit that I'm a bit curious myself as to what makes the player, so to speak.

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