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I've been reading alot about cd quality vs mp3 and want to begin a build up with the addition of a cd player on top of the reciever (love the oldschool look and feel about it). I was wondering if its worth it or to just stick with my simple mp3 files on my computer playing through a stereo headphone jack splitter cable. another thing is i really want to get an old cd player (talkin like 1983) because I just think their cool as hell. would that not be a smart idea if im looking for sound quality or just go through with it? thanks guys. :D
 

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I have a large CD collection and have ripped much of it to MP3 or Ogg files. I can tell you there's no comparison. The CD provides much better sound. MP3s are fine for casual listening, but to properly listen to the music, you need a CD.
 

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Personally, I think a lossless CD rip sounds just as good as the original. Frankly, I can't understand why it wouldn't

Having said that, if you listen through headphones on your PC, I suspect your not interested in audiophile sound so I wouldn't be too concerned

Regarding a CD player, if its what you want then knock your socks off and get it. I would be concerned about older equipment though simply for its durability.
 

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I've been reading alot about cd quality vs mp3 and want to begin a build up with the addition of a cd player ... I was wondering if its worth it or to just stick with my simple mp3 files on my computer playing through a stereo headphone jack splitter cable.
From my understanding, the main issue - aside from an appropriately high bitrate on your MP3 files (say, greater than 192kbps) - is the digital-to-analogue (DAC) that will convert your digital music (either CD or MP3) to analogue.

If your PC's sound card has a good-quality DAC, you may be hard-pressed to find a reasonably priced new or vintage CD player that will match it. Otherwise, a new or vintage CD player (or even a multi-channel Blu-ray player) with a good-quality DAC should provide better-sounding music off CDs than what you'd get off your PC.

This all assumes you're using your current receiver, as described in this thread. If you were to buy a newer receiver with a digital audio connection and a good-quality DAC in it, you could stream your digital files to the receiver and have the receiver convert the files. In that case, you may find that playing MP3s off your PC will sound better than playing CDs.
 

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There are excellent 'vintage' CD players with amplified headphone output (e.g. Adcom GCD-575), which is a compromise if you don't want to invest in speakers or amplifiers. If you attach high end Sennheiser or Bayer headsets; you will easily distinguish the greater musical detail in a CD with respect to a reversely-encoded MP3 (MP3 to WAV) on this Adcom.
The CD/MP3 differences become apparent only with high quality amps and speakers. OTOH, the latest Lame encoders with variable bit rate sampling are a vast improvement over the early fixed bit rate encoding mp3 encoders.
 

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In a nutshell, yes.

Eljay hit the nail on the head with the DAC comment. I would go further by stating that even two high quality DACs will sound different.

I like old school gear in my setup, and currently have a Yamaha 5 disc carousel. this was the fifth CD player I tried, and something about the Yammy's DAC just sounded "right" for CDs.

For added fun, you can also hook a CD player via analog into an outboard EQ, then into the analog inputs on your AVR. This gives you the room correction capability that is so sadly missing from today's AVRs (Audyssey, although good, is not perfect).

Since sound is so subjective, flat does not always equal "good" based on your application. There is no universal "best" sound - it is what is "best" to your ears.

Best part is, at today's prices, it's easy to experiment with CD players. I went through a Sony, Teac, Denon, JVC, and Yamaha - most expensive was $12.99. It runs through a $9.99 Pioneer 7 band EQ.

Have fun, and as always, YMMV.
 

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If your PC's sound card has a good-quality DAC
Only if driving analog equipment. Otherwise, just enable digital pass through and use the DAC in the A/V receiver. OTOH, I've heard some motherboard sound chips that sound as good, or better than, many sound cards. The choice is not always obvious.

Dedicated disc players can provide superior sound. That is due to sound improvements obtained with enhanced disc reading and decoding techniques. Not all disc players provide that though. The best, reasonably priced disc players I have heard date from around 1990-2005. High priced audiophile players are still available but can cost as much as a new car. Another reason to purchase a dedicated disc player these days is to play DVD Audio and SACD discs (multi-disc players.)

i really want to get an old cd player (talkin like 1983
Disc players from the early 1980s sound terrible due to the primitive DACs they use. I had an early Sony player (2nd gen from 1983-1984.) It's what gave CDs a bad name. That was replaced with a Denon DCD-1500 and then a Denon DCD-1520, both of which sounded much better. The DCD-1520 was one of the best sounding CD players available and was eventually replaced with a good multi-disc player.

These days, I have my CDs ripped to FLAC files. They are much larger than MP3 files but retain the original sound quality. They can be transcoded to MP3 or other formats for portable players.
 

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Only if driving analog equipment. Otherwise, just enable digital pass through and use the DAC in the A/V receiver.
The OP's current receiver doesn't have digital inputs, which is why I mentioned the DAC on the PC's sound card. I did suggest that if he were to purchase a newer receiver, he could use a digital pass through and let the receiver handle the conversion.
 

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t
I have a large CD collection and have ripped much of it to MP3 or Ogg files. I can tell you there's no comparison. The CD provides much better sound. MP3s are fine for casual listening, but to properly listen to the music, you need a CD.
I am kinda surprised no one has said it yet...but you will have to go vinyl to get the most out of your music listening experience.
 

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^^^^
Perhaps that's because it's flat out wrong. Vinyl has neither the frequency response nor dynamic range* (Vinyl about 70 dB max vs CD 96 dB.) It also had mechanically induced noise, such as rumble and picked up noise from the room that simply don't exist with any digital format. The dynamic range of CDs is essentially determined by the number of bits used, with the bottom end dictated by the quantizing error of the A/D conversions, which is much less than the surface noise of even the best vinyl. However, I agree there are some people who may prefer the sound for whatever reason. There are also those who think McDonald's serves good food. You may have some claim vs MP3 though. A very unfortunate reality in this world is that there are masses of people who've been brought up on McDonald's and MP3s, who simply don't know there's much better available.

*The 26 dB difference between CD and best quality vinyl is a ratio of about 400:1. Of course, poor quality equipment and recordings will impair both formats.
 

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The vast majority of cd's are compressed (sacd's are even compressed somewhat) and this would contribute to where your difference of volume occurs. Proper equipment can eliminate many (if not all) of the issues you are referring to.

The analog wave form is more pure on a vinyl rig than relying on conversion rates from a DAC. Analog to analog. Not analog to digital to analog conversion, or if recorded in digital, digital to analog conversion. You are eliminating a step and getting an even more true source. If you can spare the expense for a decent digital to digital rig (or maybe not, as explained below), then it may rival the same priced vinyl rig.

My brothers VPI turntable/McIntosh set-up presents a resounding increase in fidelity vs his Ayre C5 sacd/dvd-a/cd player on the same recordings, vinyl vs. digital, and that is just switching to one other piece of equipment.

When attending any shows and hi-fi events, money for money, the best vinyl rigs always eclipse the digital rigs to my ears anyway.

Not too long ago I went to a Meridian listening session which was an all digital set-up through Meridian speakers (DSP 8000's) and player (cd/pre-amp 808), and the Sonus Faber Cremona's with the Bryston amp and vinyl upstairs blew it away at a third of the cost. Now if that is McDonalds, I will take that over a Nick's steak any day (people in Calgary know what I'm talking about).

I have yet to hear a digital violin, digital piano or digital guitar sound as good and pure as their analog brethren.

I would also like to invite you to come over and listen to the difference between the vinyl and digital if you do not believe me, and if my brother is accommodating since it is his gear. We have done this with a few individuals who did not believe us and all of them went away with a new perspective.
 

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you will have to go vinyl to get the most out of your music listening experience.
delusion
Pronunciation:/dɪˈl(j)uːʒ(ə)n/
noun
an idiosyncratic belief or impression maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.​

I'm not sure about the mental disorder bit, but the first part of the definition captures your statement perfectly.
 

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The vast majority of cd's are compressed (sacd's are even compressed somewhat) and this would contribute to where your difference of volume occurs. Proper equipment can eliminate many (if not all) of the issues you are referring to.
If you go back to my post, you'll see where I mentioned poor recording affects both. Also, given the difference in dynamic range, vinyl recording will have to either be compressed or some parts lost in the noise.

The analog wave form is more pure on a vinyl rig than relying on conversion rates from a DAC. Analog to analog. Not analog to digital to analog conversion, or if recorded in digital, digital to analog conversion. Yo
The bottom line of how "pure" the waveform is, depends on linearity and noise level. The noise level of the best vinyl is alread 26 dB higher than CD. There's no getting around that. Also, linearity in analog systems is compromised every step of the way, from source to output. It is physically not possible to make things that are perfectly linear, not electronic, nor mechanical. Vinyl has both electronic and mechanical components in the chain. With digital systems, your linearity problems occur at the source and output only, with everything in between just accurately passing the bits. The exception being when compression is deliberately introduced, as in MP3s.

My brothers VPI turntable/McIntosh set-up presents a resounding increase in fidelity vs his Ayre C5 sacd/dvd-a/cd player on the same recordings, vinyl vs. digital, and that is just switching to one other piece of equipment.
One early complaint was poor transfers to the CD during the recording process, which is not a fault of the medium.

Not too long ago I went to a Meridian listening session which was an all digital set-up through Meridian speakers (DSP 8000's) and player (cd/pre-amp 808), and the Sonus Faber Cremona's with the Bryston amp and vinyl upstairs blew it away at a third of the cost.
Anything other than a double blind A/B test is meaningless, unless one is significantly poorer.

I have yet to hear a digital violin, digital piano or digital guitar sound as good and pure as their analog brethren.
You are comparing a synthesized source with an original. Not the same thing at all.

We have done this with a few individuals who did not believe us and all of them went away with a new perspective.
Did you conduct a double blind test? Was everything identical, other than the source, including adjusting levels to match? Simply having one louder than the other will often make it sound "better", due to the way our hearing works.


What you need to do a proper test is do everything you can to make the two sources sound identical, including running test tones to verify this. Then play identical material at matched levels. Then neither the listener, nor the person conducting the test can know which one is playing. Switching should also be random. Try all that and come back with the results. Also, for many years, there has been a similar debate between solid state* and vacuum tube equipment, with many claiming vacuum tubes were better. An audio engineer, names Bob Carver set up a test to prove otherwise. He set up a solid state amp, with the transfer function similar to a tube amp, and tested it on various listeners. He proved that people couldn't tell the difference, because it was the transfer function and not the technology type that determined the sound.

*The distortion characteristics also vary with the type of solid state device. Bipolar transistors tend to produce odd order harmonics. FET devices produce even order, similar to vacuum tubes. Even order distortion sounds "better" than odd order. Of course, in properly designed equipment of any type, the goal is to minimize *ALL* distortion. Vacuum tubes also have a lot more thermal noise and can also experience microphonics due to physical vibrations.
 

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I figured (except for a few others on this site) this the wrong forum to bring this up on (hence being digitalforum, not a dedicated audio forum)...But I extend the invitation to anyone to have a listen to my brothers set-up. If you can truthfully tell me that the vinyl isn't better on an actual a/b listening session, or if you have a decent set-up that shows digital is better than vinyl for listening enjoyment and wish to prove it to me with actual listening instead of specs and words, then I will concede.

Yes the cost of getting a system to do this can be expensive and beyond what most of us are willing to spend (myself included, but not some people I know of which I get to reap the listening benefits). But until you actually experience it, a/b vinyl vs digital on a purpose built listening rig with proper gear for both experiences, you just don't know.

Edit:
"You are comparing a synthesized source with an original. Not the same thing at all."

This is exactly what I am saying. They are not the same thing. How can something running on 1's and 0's ever represent the wave form that is created by analog music instruments?

Edit 2:
"Did you conduct a double blind test? Was everything identical, other than the source, including adjusting levels to match? Simply having one louder than the other will often make it sound "better", due to the way our hearing works."

I have done double blind tests with various home systems (brothers and friends) that have the gear to bring out the best in the capabilities of both vinyl and digital of the same recording. Almost every time, vinyl is the winner. Sometimes, like others have said, the recording can be the difference, but if the recording on either format is as close as possible to reference, vinyl is the winner on most occasions. I will concede not all, but on the whole, vinyl comes out on top for me.

How can everything be identical when you are going analog vs. digital. Can you get it so the equipment that are processing the signals are exactly the same for vinyl and digital?
 

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you will have to go vinyl to get the most out of your music listening experience.
That's an urban myth still perpetuated from the early days of CD players. The first two generations of CD players did have a noticeable amount of distortion that was objectionable to many people. Since then, CD players have improved significantly and typically sound much better than vinyl. With better CD players, CD wins hands down. DVD audio and SACD blow vinyl away in every aspect.

While it is true that some CDs use compression, sometimes mistakenly, they generally have less compression, less distortion and wider frequency response than vinyl. I have heard some very well made vinyl pressings are close to CD in quality. OTOH, I've heard some 'audiophile' pressings that didn't come close to the CD equivalent. I've also heard some CDs that were very poorly mastered. That is not indicative of the quality or capabilities of CD or vinyl in general.

If you prefer vinyl, fine. Just don't perpetuate old myths about it's quality compared to digital. IMHO, DVD Audio is the best sound and entertainment audio disc delivery system to date. (That excludes Blu-ray, of course.)
 

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or if you have a decent set-up that shows digital is better than vinyl for listening enjoyment and wish to prove it to me with actual listening instead of specs and words, then I will concede.
I have a decent set up and some identical material on both vinyl & CD. Like I said, there's no comparison. Also, please explain how vinyl can sound better, with at least 26 dB less dynamic range and worse linearity. I am assuming that qualitly recordings are used for both. Also vinyl has neither the low or high end frequency response of CDs and this is due entirely to mechanical limitations in the cutting* and play back processes.

*Years ago, half and quarter speed masters were often used to enhance high end response. However, this requires some means to store the audio, such as analog tape or some digital method. Also, you cannot boost the low end response of a turntable, without also running into problems with rumble and other low frequency noise from the turntable and environment. Those problems simply don't exist with CDs.

This is exactly what I am saying. They are not the same thing. How can something running on 1's and 0's ever represent the wave form that is created by analog music instruments?
I suggest you read up on how the process works, including work by Nyquist & Shannon. This stuff is fundamental to how digital audio (and other analog material) is processed on digital systems. As for ones and zeros, that data is fed to a digital to analog converter, which produces an analog output that is very close to the original signal presented to the analog/digital converter. The difference between them is due entirely to the quantizing error (assuming perfect converters). This error is determined entirely by the number of bits used. The more bits, the lower the error and the greater the dynamic range. With the 16 bits used in CDs, you have 16 x 6 dB = 96 dB. This is the number that determines the best performance of the system. Analog source and output will degrade it, but everything in between is completely transparent and has no effect on audio quality.

How can everything be identical when you are going analog vs. digital. Can you get it so the equipment that are processing the signals are exactly the same for vinyl and digital?
You set up your tests so that the two sources are handled as identically as possible. That is why I mentioned test tones, to establish common operating points. There will be stages in the vinyl chain that affect audio quality that do not exist in the CD. These stages can do nothing but degrade* the signal. That is a physical reality in that every stage in an analog system will *ALWAYS*, without exception, contribute to degrading the quality of the analog signal. With CDs, the only analog stages are the input and output.

*As an example, an amplifier may boost the strength of the signal, but in the process adds noise, causing the signal to noise ratio to decrease (even a piece of wire adds noise). This problem does not occur in digital systems because the signal is not amplified, it is regenerated.
 

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This conversation reminds me of a old PDF of an audio publication that I stumbled upon years ago... and I just dug it up again for everyone's enjoyment.

http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf

"The Antidigital Lie" is the one of particular interest here, and eimaj should review it.

Even so, the number of Tree-Worshiping Analog Druids is rapidly dwindling in the professional recording world. The digital way is simply the better way
 

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JamesK,

But do you have an equal quality turntable/phono stage with a quality cartridge (not just price wise, but quality wise as price does not always denote quality) as your cd player? If you are running some 20 year old sony turntable vs. a modern cd player, that would not be a fair comparison.
 

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This conversation reminds me of a old PDF of an audio publication that I stumbled upon years ago... and I just dug it up again for everyone's enjoyment.

http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf

"The Antidigital Lie" is the one of particular interest here, and eimaj should review it.
Read it before and I can find literature of someone else's opinion that goes the other way just as easily as you found that. You should really listen to some top flight gear where the only difference is between them is the quality turntable and the quality cd player, then form your own opinion instead of linking what others have written.
 
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