CD Transport / Player Thread

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by MoatsArt, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    I have to post some impressions of the Jay's transport. It is as advertised. I've noticed the following, just after two discs:

    • Bass is increased ever so slightly, yet it's more tuneful and focused, over my old player
    • Images on the right recordings seem to hang in space and show actual definition, whereas a direct comparison of the old player to a different (and ostensibly better) input on the Yggdrasil shows it to be more two dimensional. This is interesting because I felt like stage-depth was no issue on the former setup. It's another case of "you'll know it when you hear it"
    • There is a bright-ish section of piano on Jeff Beck - Truth, track #9 Blues De Luxe, that was firighteningly realistic through the Jay's. I had just listened to that same CD two nights ago on the old track and while it was enjoyable and engaging, at no point was I startled by realism like I was tonight
    • I gave serious props to the TASCAM for that "ease" to the sound like I appreciate from vinyl. Lowend digital sounds to me like it's trying too hard to do something. I really don't know a better way to illustrate what I'm thinking via text, so there it is. The Jay's just "sounds" effortless. It puts forth dynamic, engaging music when the mastering is up to the task.
    • For a CD Transport, this thing is built like a tank. Everything is substantial, yet the tolerances for the case work and the CD drawer are absolutely precise. A lot of effort goes into these, and it shows when you lift or interact with it, at all.
    It wasn't cheap, and as recently as two nights ago I was seriously thinking, how big a difference could this make? The actual answer has surprised me. Now I silently weep for my turntable, sitting over there in the corner and probably not going to get a whole lot of action real soon.
     
  2. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    I read about people pulling power to the analog outs of CD players and just leaving digital out functional. Does this have a significant or noticeable affect on SQ? And how would I go about this?
     
  3. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I'd be curious about this as well. While I eagerly wait for Schiit's upcoming transport to be released, I still can't understand why a transport has a significant effect on SQ. From my understanding, there should be three reasons this would be the case;

    1) Jitter. Obviously less is better, but with a DAC that has a sophisticated reclocking section I would think this should not be a big issue. Or does reclocking still do a better job with a really stable stream than it does for one that is less so? Obviously at some point it can't correct well enough, but isn't the reclocker the actual limiting factor once the stream reaches a certain quality level?

    2) Error correction. I can see the techniques and algorithms for this varying a lot between manufacturers, and if you are doing it on the fly it surely has a significant effect. That said, I can rip a CD on my PC and it comes out as bitperfect even at a read speed that is many multiples of the 1x that you would listen at. That makes me wonder if error correction really gets used much except in the case of CDs of less than good quality.

    3) Electrical noise. One would think galvanic isolation should take care of this. I would not expect noise to add or remove spurious bits from the digital bitstream, but of course I could be wrong.

    Anyone have any good resources that explain any of this in depth? Inquiring minds need to know.......
     
  4. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    I wish I knew @Kernel Kurtz but so far, I'm a believer (even if I maybe don't want to be.) I can only say that so far, in this order, my "digital transports" would be:

    New Jay's transport (CD)
    TASCAM as a transport (CD)
    Sonore MicroRendu (USB)
    Direct from PC coax S/PDIF (Roon)
    Direct from PC USB (Roon)

    Each step up that chain gives me increased clarity, less digital hash (which I'm sorry I can't define further, it's apparently something I'm sensitive to?), more weight and texture to instruments, better dynamics (the Jay's vs the TASCAM is the most surprising scenario for this, the Jay's has a rather startling realism on this front), and while I don't think it's fair to say each step up gets a bit "blacker" background, I do feel like the Jay's is in a different league in terms of sound emanating from seemingly nothing but darkness. Beyond that, and I think this is where jitter and timing come in, but the Jay's with a decent BNC cable into Yggdrasil has a demonstrably deeper soundstage. I was listening to Clapton Unplugged last night through the Jay's and even from vinyl, I haven't felt like I could reach out and touch performers before, nor did I have such a profound sense of depth to the performance.

    It's all a bit discombobulating, but I'm enjoying the trip so far.

    Disclaimer - the above is all anecdotal and in no way scientific, outside of controlling variables for each transport the best I can (same DAC, same forward chain, cabling, etc...)
     
  5. kukur9

    kukur9 Acquaintance

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    @toddrhodes Thank you for posting your "discovery" of transports!

    TL;DR
    I coincidentally discovered that CD playback via my circa 2004 Rotel CD player acting as transport into my Schiit Yggdrasil A2 has more dynamic range and transient attack than my network digital upstream. It's subtle, but at this level of playback, it's definitely a difference of musical engagement and enjoyment. These days, I don't "yearn" for better because the existing system is so good. BUT, this discovery just threw a wrench into the works... CD is not dead, not by a long shot!

    Fuller Narrative
    Reading too much over at Computer Audiophile, I have been getting a feeling over the last year or so that USB DAC input is more trouble than it's worth given the spaghetti of power, cables, and decrapifiers "needed" to make USB sound better. So I have been angling in on what step my system, which I'm very happy with and have compared with some uber-expensive rigs, needs next. Long story short: it depends on the DAC input. If USB is "out" then it's either S/PDIF coax or AES/EBU.

    So that said, I found myself with two coax cables, one BNC and one RCA. Since the Yggdrasil A2 has both BNC and RCA coax, I hooked up the RCA to my old Rotel CD player and the BNC to my digital chain (last link before DAC being the W4S Remedy Reclocker powered by Uptone LPS-1). On a whim, I realized I could do easy A/B listening so I threw on a CD that was handy to make sure it was working (for my family) and gave it a listen. It was fabulous and I thought dang the guys at Schiit really hit this one out of the park and wow no wonder CDs never pulled me in before. Then I cued up the same track on my network playback and switched the coax input on the YA2. I figured, heck this'll be cool to hear how it trounces the CD!

    Uh-oh... Network audio is...worse! Dynamics flatter from the get go, space around the instruments less distinct, and general emotional musicality less than a few moments ago. Not by much, mind you, but enough that I am now trying to close the gap. Thinking of trying a Jensen transformer on the balanced outs, getting a better coax cable (Transparent Audio Premium) and upgrading the power to an LPS-1.2. Or, changing up the DAC input from coax to AES/EBU and thus needing something more like the Metrum Ambre and Roon. (But you rank Roon below CD!) i.e., Needing to spend even more money to beat...a CD?!?

    The point here is that at least for me (and you it seems), the high bar for emotional audio involvement has been right here all along whilst we collectively got our noses deep in computer/network audio complexity. Maybe this wasn't so clearly audible before Yggdrasil A2, so maybe this is progress of a sort. Like you, I find it an enjoyable trip! And dang, now I have to raise my network to the same level or above CD/transport...I thought I was ahead of CDs!
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  6. kukur9

    kukur9 Acquaintance

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    John Swenson of Uptone Audio and Sonore has posted extensively at Computer Audiophile on the subject of noise and "leakages." Anytime you have digital to analog conversion, you have some kind of previously ill-defined, non-traditional noise being introduced into the signal which smears or suppresses (my words, not his) the resultant analog audio that reaches our ears/brains.

    Very controversial I suppose given that this is uncharted territory, electrically speaking. Swenson is apparently working on measuring this stuff.

    But again, to me it begs the question: How can we achieve high SQ without putting a linear power supply and femto clock and blah blah blah on every part of the network chain? I applaud the efforts of the pioneers researching this stuff at CA. I also can wait for the turnkey products that get me SQ without the hassle. And yes, I'll pay for that.

    Anyway, hope you find Swenson's posts about power and digital noise helpful.
     
  7. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Can you provide a link to John Swenson's description of this in his own words? Hopefully it's in engineering terms and not as vague.
     
  8. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I did a quick search. Found some interesting articles.

    https://www.audiostream.com/content/qa-john-swenson-part-2-are-bits-just-bits

    https://uptoneaudio.com/pages/j-swenson-tech-corner

    He seems to mostly talk about USB, which we already know has various issues for audio use. I suspect these are many of the same issues Schiit has been working to address with their new proprietary USB implementation.

    I had been assuming that when I buy a new transport that I would be sticking with SPDIF, but if the new USB really is better, as some of the folks here doing beta testing allude, I'd certainly be open to changing. Mike says the new USB will be part of their upcoming transport. Assuming there is an upgrade card for my Gungnir maybe that will be the way to go. If you had told me that a year ago I probably would have laughed though.
     
  9. kukur9

    kukur9 Acquaintance

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    USB is clearly a market necessity if you're going to sell anything. I think it interesting that Sonore is USB output only. One would think that the fewer DDC steps involved would be better, and perhaps that's one reason I found my CD/transport so surprising. It's not leagues better, but it's enough of the "last 5%" of sound that I care about.

    As you noted, Swenson posts mainly about USB but also power, and if you read their recent posts about their upcoming Ethernet filter you can see how their thinking and research seems to extend to all manner of network components. Combine that with what's going on with the NUC people and, well, hmmm, CD/transports... Eventually the dust will settle. Here's the Ether-thingy:

    https://www.computeraudiophile.com/...tails-please-dont-ask-too-many-questions-yet/
     
  10. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    ...rambling about Swenson’s nonsense that promotes the nervosa that sells his gadgets.
    The reason why your CDP sounds better than all the uptone-regen-Wyrd-for-nonsense is all of that is overpriced stuff that puts lipstick on the pig. If you read through the USB nervosa thread you will see that USB Gen 5 and Eitr put most of this stuff to rest. I think the guys at Schiit seem to be the only people researching how to fix USB issues at the source rather than sell patches and fixes.
    You are better off using your CDP and selling off the toys until the Schiit guys finish developing their transport and in-house USB; that’s what I’m doing.
     
  11. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    The Regen was as far down the USB nervosa rabbit hole I went before I realized I was obsessing about gizmos more than enjoying music. My cheap, crappy Sony DVD player via spdif slayed all and focus went back to enjoying music, where it belongs. The Onkyo C7030 was even better. Schiits new USB implementation is the only thing temping me away at this point.
     
  12. kukur9

    kukur9 Acquaintance

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    Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not here to advance any agendas. I use my ears and I report what they tell me after listening to stuff for a long time. No problem here if you don't buy into Swenson's story because that's your right and I'm certainly not pushing any products.

    The Uptone products are what makes my office system sing and sound more like Naim than any cheapo system has a right to. As for my CD/transport, we're talking about feeding an Yggdrasil A2, something people here (rightly I think) are a bit "enthusiastic" about. Interesting that I'm getting the results I'm getting, and I'm curious what will change the balance of power, as it were.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  13. Changeling

    Changeling Tube Slut

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    Yes you are.

    Here:
    Here:
    Here:
    And here:
     
  14. kukur9

    kukur9 Acquaintance

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    Okay, fine then! And at least I know you certainly aren't buying! ;)
    Anyway as you say in your sig, "it just happens!"
     
  15. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    To be fair, I have no experience with USB decrapifiers, but people here do seem to really like the Eitr and the like. Back when I had my Modi MB I noticed right away there was a significant SQ difference between different CD players used as transports over SPDIF. I assumed this would be mostly down to jitter (though I now suspect that while that was the primary thing there are others as well). I started looking for budget external reclockers, knowing that in the near future I would be upgrading to a DAC with a better internal reclocking section. I looked at the W4S Remedy, but it just seemed too pricey in relation to the cost of the Modi. I ended up purchasing an iFi iPurifier, and indeed it did narrow down the difference in SQ between various players significantly. I won't say it eliminated them completely, but for the price I thought it was a worthwhile addition. Of course as with everything in the hobby YMMV
     
  16. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    Eitr definitely improved things for me in terms of USB playback but at no point would I put it, or Gen 5 USB from my PC into the Yggdrasil, on the same level as my current transport into Yggdrasil via BNC (working on building a better AES cable than the one I have, but that won't happen for awhile).

    I'm not sure why it matters though, we are all free to like what we like in our own systems and to communicate, as opinions, what we feel we are hearing. I feel like I am hearing digital at its best from my current transport + Yggdrasil and that Redbook, which I have spent years admonishing, has much more potential than I ever gave it credit for.

    And if there's any sort of agenda at play, one would think I'd be employing every bias I can toward PC-based audio. In physical media, I have about 750 albums. On my hard drive, in FLAC format, with at worst Redbook fidelity, I have 6500 albums. So in terms of that, one would think I'd be spending all of my effort and time maximizing that experience, but that's how far away I feel things are right now and I am at a complete loss to explain why, mostly because I don't know the technical minutiae nearly well enough.

    At some point I'd love to try a best of breed network bridge but at the moment, I'm having way too much fun with the stuff I already have.
     
  17. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    1. wait for the day when USB will surpass BNC.
    2. skip the network bridge experiments in time and costs. (see 1)
     
  18. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    I've been waiting for 5 years, lol. But I know what you're saying, and I am hopeful it will happen at some point. That said, at the moment, I can't even use USB the way everything is laid out in my room. Would require a really long cable run and that's just not going to work for USB.

    Edit - do you think it will even surpass AES/EBU? I am currently using BNC just because that's the best cable I have. I'm going to build a better AES cable eventually, but for now I'm pretty satisfied.
     
  19. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    This has been good advice in the past.
     
  20. Metro

    Metro Friend

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