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LongtimeListener

Music sounds warmer from CD than computer

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6 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

I'm at a loss how too different systems is expected to sound the same....

It's a PCM stream coming via coaxial cable from a CD player playing a disc and a PCM stream coming via USB cable from a pc playing a file ripped from the disc. The actual conversion to analogue is being performed by the same DAC. 

 

It would not be surprising if these sounded the same.  In both cases all that is being attempted is to extract the 44.1kHz stereo PCM signal encoded to the disc.

 

Assuming a CD in good physical condition, it should not be difficult to extract the PCM data accurately.

 

6 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

Then the OPs suggestions on changing a USB cable????

I presumed the OP was referring to a possibility that the use of a USB interface was somehow introducing a difference, not necessarily any deficiency in the actual physical USB cable. 

 

 

On 9/29/2017 at 7:10 PM, bzr said:

& the CD17 is a very good cd player that has a "honey" tainted presentation.

I had assumed the role of a CD transport is simply to extract the PCM signal encoded to the CD, faithfully.

 

But theoretically there'd be nothing stopping a manufacturer from introducing digital signal processing to differentiate their product from the competition. For example such DSP could subtly change the frequency response. 

Is there evidence that particular transports do "enhance" the PCM signal extracted from the disc, rather than simply supplying a pristine [error corrected] version of it?  

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4 minutes ago, MLXXX said:

It's a PCM stream coming via coaxial cable from a CD player playing a disc and a PCM stream coming via USB cable from a pc playing a file ripped from the disc. The actual conversion to analogue is being performed by the same DAC. 

 

It would not be surprising if these sounded the same.  In both cases all that is being attempted is to extract the 44.1kHz stereo PCM signal encoded to the disc.

 

Assuming a CD in good physical condition, it should not be difficult to extract the PCM data accurately.

 

I presumed the OP was referring to a possibility that the use of a USB interface was somehow introducing a difference, not necessarily any deficiency in the actual physical USB cable. 

 

 

I had assumed the role of a CD transport is simply to extract the PCM signal encoded to the CD, faithfully.

 

But theoretically there'd be nothing stopping a manufacturer from introducing digital signal processing to differentiate their product from the competition. For example such DSP could subtly change the frequency response. 

Is there evidence that particular transports do "enhance" the PCM signal extracted from the disc, rather than simply supplying a pristine [error corrected] version of it?  

Let me rephrase this to you.  

 

You have 2 different digital systems to perform the same task.

 

Even at Zeros and ones processing they are supposed to arrive at the same dac,  I'm still at a lost as to why everyone expect the results to be the same!   

 

The processing of zeros and ones ones are treated and processed differently between the 2 digital systems and are also transferred to the dac differently, how can anyone expect the same result audibly?  

 

The PC whatever hardware and software is used will never sound the same as the same file directly of the CD coming from a CD.  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

The PC whatever hardware and software is used will never sound the same as the same file directly of the CD coming from a CD.

I was not aware of that.

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1 minute ago, MLXXX said:

I was not aware of that.

And also different software will sound different too even on the same PC.  

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2 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

And also different software will sound different too even on the same PC.  

Can two CD players ever sound the same? Even the same model player?

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Guest Eggcup The Daft

LOTS of assertions here. Anyone care to back them up with explanations, or are these assertions just that?

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I don't think there is any mystery here. My pc can output to dac via USB or coax. Even when using a decrapifier, I find the USB to be little brighter (and slightly more resolving) than the coax. I choose to use the coax connection. I plan on trying the new Schiit eitr soon though as they reckon they've sorted the USB implementation.

Sent from my SM-G900I using StereoNET mobile app

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46 minutes ago, MLXXX said:

Can two CD players ever sound the same? Even the same model player?

We do assume that but it may not be the case.

 

Manufacturers reserve the right to change without notification, this either to implementing higher spec parts or the other common  reality is  that they have run out of stock of parts from one supplier and must resort to another supplier on the assembly line.   

Another change that now happens a lot is modifying firmware revision.  In the NAD M51 dac there was a huge change in SQ going from FW 1.39 to 4.13.  What they did was reduced the loudness by 1db.  Enough to make or break a decision when doing a A\B listening test between it and another dac.  If you google NAD M51 the stereophile has this listed in its review and it discussed this very change in firmware.

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46 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

In the NAD M51 dac there was a huge change in SQ going from FW 1.39 to 4.13.  What they did was reduced the loudness by 1db.

If all they did was make it 1dB softer, I'd argue that the SQ hasn't changed at all. 

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2 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

We do assume that but it may not be the case.

 

Manufacturers reserve the right to change without notification, this either to implementing higher spec parts or the other common  reality is  that they have run out of stock of parts from one supplier and must resort to another supplier on the assembly line.   

Another change that now happens a lot is modifying firmware revision.  In the NAD M51 dac there was a huge change in SQ going from FW 1.39 to 4.13.  What they did was reduced the loudness by 1db.  Enough to make or break a decision when doing a A\B listening test between it and another dac.  If you google NAD M51 the stereophile has this listed in its review and it discussed this very change in firmware.

I am aware that DACs can differ slightly in their sonic signature at the top end because with the 44.1kHz sample rate used for CDs there are audibly different choices available for anti-aliasing filtering.   And as for absolute analogue output level, that can certainly vary from one DAC model to another, or as you've indicated could even be changed for a given model by release of new firmware.

I am more focused now on the suggestion that different transports might impart different sonic signatures for their digital outputs prior to any conversion to analogue by a built-in DAC or external DAC.

I had assumed that we can normally expect a CD transport to perform a direct conversion of the corrected data read from the CD to PCM for coaxial or optical out, without any DSP to modify or "enhance" the PCM data.  However given that some transports are extremely expensive, and that audiophiles are often looking for an "edge",  it is possible that some manufacturers intentionally modify the PCM data so that their product will stand out from the competition.

 

I have raised the question whether there is evidence of that being the case with any model of CD transport.

So on the one hand there would be plain CD transports that deliver pristine [corrected] PCM data without modification, which should sound the same playing a CD in good condition; but on the other other hand there might exist some exotic transports that are intentionally engineered to sound a little different through manipulating the pristine [corrected] PCM data.

 

Edited by MLXXX
Additional detail in first paragraph.

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On ‎29‎.‎09‎.‎2017 at 3:34 AM, LongtimeListener said:

Hi All,

 

I know, this subject is discussed a lot, however, I would like your thoughts about my specific setup:

 

I connected my CD digital out to my DAC and  my laptop is connected to that same DAC via USB.

 

My testing setup:

1. Original CD in Marantz CD 17 plays as a transport via coaxial to the Marantz HD-DAC1, eg track 1

2. Ripped files from that CD above coming from the laptop (Daphile 17.09 playing from RAM)  to the Marantz HD-DAC1, eg track 1

3. Both tracks running so I can switch between original CD coax and computer file USB

 

Outcome: The file via CD coax sounds warmer than the file from the computer.

 

Don't get me wrong the computer file sounds terrific already and even a bit better in resolution. The CD however is warmer, eg the strings are a more like silk...

 

Any ideas eg USB cable etc?

 

Cheers

 

 

USB cable (if) will introduce very little improvement unless your current one is faulty 

 

different sound presentation of the coax (spdif) connection is due to different processing of the PCM signal within DAC's digital part, the overall path is shorter without further processing (not by length but by less processing), that doesn't mean spdif is perfect connection, far from it and sometimes worse than USB or any other connection

USB connection on the other hand has to go through several stages of conversion, clocking and processing and may introduce artifacts such as jitter and noise, this is heavily depended on implementation of the digital front end of the DAC and quality of the source, Sabre chip used in your DAC is very sensitive to the front end implementation so if not done properly it might sound worse than spdif signal...

 

none of above might be the case in your situation with your DAC and your feeling of warmer vs. analytic is just matter or preferences rather than better/worse from technical perspective

 

it also doesn't mean you're stuck and there's no room for improvement, I would forget about USB cleaners and external converters, these might help in certain cases but on the other hand might introduce different flaws and with "let's try and see" you might spend extra money for nothing

 

if you already proven to yourself that improvement of the source brought better audio quality I would continue this path and invest into better player, be it dedicated streamer such as SOTM, uRendu or auralic aries mini with low noise PSU or mini PC with Atom/Celeron based system

 

it all starts with quality of the source...

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4 hours ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

If all they did was make it 1dB softer, I'd argue that the SQ hasn't changed at all. 

That auguement will never hold for M51 owners.   Most M51 owners like myself will  either never move to FW higher than 1.39 and if  so will always revert back to this version.   In every M51 forum I have seen has discussed this issue.   Very similar as to why I'd rather XLR than RCA.    To me NADs engineers involved in this process is in my books fraudulent.   They took advantage in the digital domain on a product release knowing very well that it will put this product in a deceitful advantage.  Would I have purchased the M51 if I set that fixed output to 0db on its display while I compare similar products having set there fixed output to 0db?  Unless you have had something to measure the output to equalised I can bet money that the decision to purchase would be very different.

and on the discussion of XLR; off topic this is one reason I don't agree with some of the Sanders white papers, this link on the measurement of the OPPO 105 says it all:

 

http://archimago.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/measurements-oppo-bdp-105-rca-xlr-hdmi.html

 

Edited by Addicted to music

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4 hours ago, kukynas said:

USB cable (if) will introduce very little improvement unless your current one is faulty 

 

different sound presentation of the coax (spdif) connection is due to different processing of the PCM signal within DAC's digital part, the overall path is shorter without further processing (not by length but by less processing), that doesn't mean spdif is perfect connection, far from it and sometimes worse than USB or any other connection

USB connection on the other hand has to go through several stages of conversion, clocking and processing and may introduce artifacts such as jitter and noise, this is heavily depended on implementation of the digital front end of the DAC and quality of the source, Sabre chip used in your DAC is very sensitive to the front end implementation so if not done properly it might sound worse than spdif signal...

 

none of above might be the case in your situation with your DAC and your feeling of warmer vs. analytic is just matter or preferences rather than better/worse from technical perspective

 

it also doesn't mean you're stuck and there's no room for improvement, I would forget about USB cleaners and external converters, these might help in certain cases but on the other hand might introduce different flaws and with "let's try and see" you might spend extra money for nothing

 

if you already proven to yourself that improvement of the source brought better audio quality I would continue this path and invest into better player, be it dedicated streamer such as SOTM, uRendu or auralic aries mini with low noise PSU or mini PC with Atom/Celeron based system

 

it all starts with quality of the source...

Agree with comment on the sensitivity of Sabre Dac chip especially 9018, and clocking devices it's a simple wasted spending.  However the Marantz dac HD-1 isn't Sabre implemented it has CS4398 implementation.  If I'm right it's one of these:

http://www.qualifi.com.au/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=vmj_genx_SR.tpl&product_id=57687&category_id=150&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1049

 

i don't think I've ever seen a Marantz product with ESS Sabre implementation but I could be wrong.

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You are of course completely right, not sure why did I thought about Marantz and wrote about Teac DAC chip ?

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5 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

That auguement will never hold for M51 owners.   Most M51 owners like myself will  either never move to FW higher than 1.39 and if  so will always revert back to this version.

I honestly don't get it. Surely volume-differences are the first thing you try to eliminate when testing (because they aren't a "real" difference)

If that's the only difference then adjusting your amp by 1dB will make the firmware versions sound identical. Why the angst ?

Edited by Sir Sanders Zingmore

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7 minutes ago, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

I honestly don't get it. Surely volume-differences are the first thing you try to eliminate when testing (because they aren't a "real" difference)

If that's the only difference then adjusting your amp by 1dB will make the firmware versions sound identical. Why the angst ?

I'll accept that from an analog perspective where you reduce it on the volume control.    The performance is not the same in the M51 case.   Why the angst you ask, it's like I've outlined in the previous post.  During product release these engineers decided to increase by 1db.  The general public didn't know what was done and like myself and everyone else, we assumed 0db is 0db!   It wasn't till a French audio magazine did some measurements and found out that it was at a constant 1db higher on 1khz tone.  A few months later a following FW version was introduced.  Loading the FW you would think there wouldn't  make a difference sonically and initial listening you couldn't tell.  It isn't until you put it up against another dac you realised the M51 doesn't performed the same sonically.  So you ask yourself what happen?   You then realised that the last thing you did was changed firmware. So you scrambled to find a previous version of FW.  Once found and loaded you realised the change in sonics is due to a change in FW.  It isn't until Sterophile did there review and confirmed the measurements.  To me that's deceptive marketing, they knew going louder gave this dac the sonic advantage.

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Are all external standalone stereo DACs these days actually designed to produce an agreed reference 0dB analogue output at 1kHz, as distinct from simply providing the same level for both channels?  Do reviews of such DACs attempt to verify this has been achieved and report on it?  What departure from the agreed reference 0dB would be considered acceptable?

(I'm afraid I'm a babe in the woods where external DACs are concerned.) 

Edited by MLXXX

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22 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

I'm at a loss how too different systems is expected to sound the same....

Two different systems? Don't you mean two different digital transports?

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Guest Eggcup The Daft
4 hours ago, MLXXX said:

Are all external standalone stereo DACs these days actually designed to produce an agreed reference 0dB analogue output at 1kHz, as distinct from simply providing the same level for both channels?  Do reviews of such DACs attempt to verify this has been achieved and report on it?  What departure from the agreed reference 0dB would be considered acceptable?

(I'm afraid I'm a babe in the woods where external DACs are concerned.) 

This has been going on for a long time, and for reasons other than just being "louder". Take this from 1995 on output levels:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/quality-lies-details-page-2

Quote

The standard CD-player output voltage is 2V RMS, with units varying between 1.74V on the low side (the Audio Research DAC1) and a whopping 7.2V on the high side (the Theta DS Pro Basic). Most CD players and processors put out between 2.2V and 3.5V. Note that this value is the highest RMS output voltage possible from the player—there's no digital signal greater in amplitude than 0dBFS (see the "Decibels" sidebar).

From what I remember, traditional line level (and the German DIN standard, for what that was worth) was 1V RMS and that was already creeping up. It's why some digital players overload vintage preamp inputs, and why on some 1980s amps the CD input was different to other line level inputs.

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Hi all,

 

After a couple of days testing with the Jitterbug my verdict:

1. The COAX connection sounds still a bit warmer, the USB connection slightly brighter more analytical

2. Using Jitterbug between computer and DAC was unpleasant, a kind of dull sound.

3. Now using it between my external USB harddrive and the laptop and quite like the sound of the system with it.

 

All of this is very subtle, indeed. Besides the statement made in  point 1. those subtle differences could also be caused by my mood of the day...

Why the external USB disk should interfere soundwise with the data send to the DAC on another port, I do not know, since Daphile loads from the external disk, unpacks the FLAC data to WAV, and then into the laptop RAM, then plays from RAM sending the unused external harddisk to sleep.

 

Daphile has a maximum workload of 0.3, mostly 0.1 or less (1.0 would be max meaning the hardware struggles)

 

Anyway, thanks for the good comments here on the topic.

 

Cheers

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Do you know which source is playing or is someone else switching for you.

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9 minutes ago, KeithL said:

Do you know which source is playing or is someone else switching for you.

Of course I do the switching :lol:, so it is extremely biased...

I will get some friends together and I let them listen without knowing which source is playing...

 

Cheers

Chris

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