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Thread: Naim Listing One CD Player - Sign Of The Times ?

  1. #21
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    Experience tells me there are definitely sonic advantages to be gained in digital replay, by removing the mechanical interface of a CD transport mechanism, and streaming the stored musical data instead via network devices.

    Remember that all a CD is, is a carrier for data embedded onto it, and all we want is to retrieve that data and reproduce the music contained therein as accurately as possible. Due to advances now in technology, a plastic disc, or a CD player and its associated mechanics, is no longer needed to facilitate that process; in fact it's simply an unnecessary (and often detrimental) added complication.

    However, as ever in audio, there is never a 'free lunch', and so introducing computers into the audio reproduction chain, such as is necessary in order to process said musical data, causes its own problems, and which need to be addressed, for genuine high-fidelity sound to be obtained.

    Therefore, in order to hear the improvements a good streaming set up can provide over a CD player, as with anything else, the set up of such has to be right, otherwise it will be no better, or perhaps worse, than a CD player - and of course there are CD players and CD players.

    In that respect, I've heard streaming systems, playing an identical album to a CD player sound worse than the CD player used, and vice versa, so nothing here is 'set in stone'.

    However, all else being equal, including the DAC used (and I've heard this numerous times with my own ears), the best network devices/streaming systems *will* outperform even the best CDPs, simply because any CD player is ultimately governed by the limitations of its transport mechanism/mechancial interface and error-correction circuitry.

    You will only discover that, however, if you have all the necessary 'bits' at your disposal, in order to make some meaningful comparisons, in your own system, so until then disbelieve/pooh-pooh it if you wish, but the reality will be obvious when, or if, you hear what I've described for yourself

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  2. #22
    Join Date: Aug 2009

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    Not a question of disbelieving, if you understand how digital audio works you realise it makes absolutely no difference what storage system you are reading the file off.

    That's why I'm asking for someone to clarify this in technical terms, not 'If you listen you'll hear it' since that is a completely unreliable test for a whole host of reasons.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  3. #23
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    Not a question of disbelieving, if you understand how digital audio works you realise it makes absolutely no difference what storage system you are reading the file off.
    Yet, that completely contradicts what (probably many 1000s) of others and I have heard, who've carried out some proper comparisons, so perhaps this is another area in audio where we still don't fully understand what's going on, and where measurements/'technical facts' don't appear to tell the full story?

    You might *think* you know how digital audio works, or any other aspect of audio, but like me, you're no expert, simply an enthusiast amateur/hi-fi enthusiast on a continual learning curve!

    That's why I'm asking for someone to clarify this in technical terms, not 'If you listen you'll hear it' since that is a completely unreliable test for a whole host of reasons.
    You can 'clarify in technical terms' until the cows come home, but it won't disprove what others and I can clearly hear, simply because I don't believe that the subject is yet fully understood [and by that I mean the intricacies applied to audio in the digital domain when reproducing music], certainly at least by anyone here.

    Technical terms appear to disprove the notion that cables make a difference, yet most of us with a decent pair of ears, not blinkered by some scientific agenda, can clearly hear otherwise, therefore such terms don't definitively prove anything. They simply act as a guide as to what we've learned so far on a specific subject.

    In that respect, I've never understood why some folk need to use them as a set of hard and fast rules 'always to be obeyed'.

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  4. #24
    Join Date: Aug 2009

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Yet, that completely contradicts what (probably many 1000s) of others and I have heard, who've carried out some proper comparisons, .
    Exactly what comparison have you carried out? the only valid comparison would be to take a cd, copy it onto hard drive, then play it back from there and compare with the same cd played on a cd player/transport. But you need the whole digital to analogue process to be the same otherwise you are introducing uncontrolled variables.

    The only difference in a valid comparison can be the way in which the file is stored and read. if you've done such a comparison I'd like to read about it. If you haven't done such a comparison then you haven't done anything.

    Even if such a comparison were done it would still only be a subjective 'I liked this better' result. Again, meaningless as I might prefer the sound from the other source.

    So you would also need to measure the signal at some point in the chain to see if there are any real differences between the two and if there are any degradations in the CD player source compared to the hard drive source.

    If you can find some then there might be some justification for claiming that the reading a file from a hard drive is superior to reading it from an optical disc. I'd be happy to put money on it that no such difference would be found, since there is no reason for there to be any difference.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    Exactly what comparison have you carried out?
    When I had the RPi upstairs in my main system, supplied with music from my hard-drives, and connected to my Sony DAC, I compared the sound of CDs ripped to those drives, versus the sound of the physical CDs themselves, played via my Sony CD transport, which was also connected to the same Sony DAC, and on almost every occasion, the streamed rips sounded better than the physical CDs.

    However, I'd add not by a large margin!

    Since I've been using my system downstairs, with the RPi, supplied by the same hard-drives, and my Sony Blu-ray player, connected to my Sony AV amp (with built-in DAC, which feeds both the RPi and Blu-ray player) and Celestion speakers, I've carried out the same comparison, namely comparing the file of a ripped CD album (on hard drive) with the same track on the physical CD itself, played through the transport on the Blu-ray player - and the result was identical to that obtained in the other test I mentioned.

    Furthermore, I've carried out the same test in other systems, belonging to friends with different equipment, but where it was still possible to keep the necessary variables the same (always the same DAC used to reproduce either the ripped file or a track from a physical CD), and the results were the same: 9 times out of 10, the streamed (ripped) file sounded best. No idea why it didn't happen 10 times out of 10, but such is the quirky nature of audio!

    Therefore, you can understand why I'm convinced something is happening that the 'technicalities' you believe prove all that needs proving in this matter, simply don't properly explain.

    Even if such a comparison were done it would still only be a subjective 'I liked this better' result. Again, meaningless as I might prefer the sound from the other source.
    How is it meaningless? You can prefer what you prefer, but what either of us hears is NEVER "meaningless"; it acts as valid evidence to be considered and analysed, just as much as any specs or measurements. That's the problem with an objectivist mindset; its rigid thinking often dismisses too much that in reality deserves proper consideration!

    So you would also need to measure the signal at some point in the chain to see if there are any real differences between the two and if there are any degradations in the CD player source compared to the hard drive source.
    Sure, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the results of those measurements would be conclusive, as you would need to know both *exactly* WHAT to measure and HOW to measure it, not to mention using the correct apparatus, *specifically* designed for that job, in order to really know what was going on.

    Not an easy task, unless you're happy with taking a 'broad brush' approach to matters, by not doing things properly and coming to the wrong conclusions, and by making '2+2=5', as indeed is the case so often in these debates, guilty by those whose argument is based solely on a technical standpoint.

    If you can find some then there might be some justification for claiming that the reading a file from a hard drive is superior to reading it from an optical disc. I'd be happy to put money on it that no such difference would be found, since there is no reason for there to be any difference.
    ...that others or you currently know of and can explain!

    Next time you're round, we'll carry out the same comparisons (as outlined above), and you can judge things for yourself, that is if ultimately you're willing to trust your ears more than any technical terms

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  6. #26
    Join Date: Aug 2009

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    as indeed is the case so often in these debates, guilty from those whose argument is based solely on a technical standpoint.
    .
    The claim I was questioning was: the CD is an antiquated device, riddled with problems that playing back audio files fixes. If you want to pursue better reproduction, you must move forward and away from disc playback.

    Which sounds like a technical claim to me. So I was asking what technical data there is to support this assertion. If the claim had been 'I prefer playback from a computer hard drive to that from an optical disc' then no problem, just someone's preference.

    Trusting your ears is all very well, you like or don't like. But if you want to give technical explainations for why you do or don't like then some supporting technical evidence is essential, as I'm sure you'll agree.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    The claim I was questioning was: the CD is an antiquated device, riddled with problems that playing back audio files fixes. If you want to pursue better reproduction, you must move forward and away from disc playback.
    Who said that? Certainly not me... My assertion was that, all else being equal, a streamed file should sound better, through any given DAC, than the same track played identically from CD, which is quite different.

    Trusting your ears is all very well, you like or don't like. But if you want to give technical explainations for why you do or don't like then some supporting technical evidence is essential, as I'm sure you'll agree.
    Indeed, but I wasn't giving any technical explanations; simply making claims/offering an opinion based on my listening experience. In that respect, I can say I believe that any CD player is ultimately governed by the limitations of its transport mechanism, simply because that's what my ears tell me, although I can't prove it

    If that wasn't the case, then what else explains the results I obtained, when carrying out those comparisons [on three separate occasions in different systems], which I've just outlined?

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  8. #28
    Join Date: Aug 2009

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Who said that? Certainly not me... My assertion was that, all else being equal, a streamed file should sound better, through any given DAC, than the same track played identically from a CD, which is quite different.



    Indeed, but I wasn't giving any technical explanations; simply making claims/offering an opinion based on my listening experience. In that respect, I can say I believe that any CD player is governed by the limitations of its transport mechanism, simply because that's what my ears tell me, although I can't prove it

    If that wasn't the case, then what else explains the results I obtained, when carrying out the comparisons, which I've just outlined?

    Marco.
    It was Russell who made the claim and I quoted it in my original post which you replied to.

    I'm fine with anyone preferring one method to the other. That's not in question. What I'm pointing out is that claiming your preference is due to the transport mech or the optical system or whatever other reason has absolutely no validity unless backed up by some sort of technical enquiry. Otherwise it is far too easy to end up drawing the wrong conclusions and dissapearing down a rabbit hole of expensive nonsense.

    Incidentally have you considered the mechanism that the hard drive uses to read the data? Do you have any rationale as to why that mechanism is superior to an optical drive? Is there any rationale to thinking the optical drive might be superior?

    There is a big problem with drawing technical conclusions based purely on sighted listening tests. Sighted tests are useful only for determining what you personally prefer.

    And I will grant you that a sighted listening test is usually sufficient to decided whether to buy something or not.

    Ironically it is only on subjective forums where 'the measurements don't matter' that people seem so keen to extrapolate all sorts of technical conclusions from simply listening.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  9. #29
    Join Date: Jan 2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    What I'm pointing out is that claiming your preference is due to the transport mech or the optical system or whatever other reason has absolutely no validity unless backed up by some sort of technical enquiry. Otherwise it is far too easy to end up drawing the wrong conclusions and dissapearing down a rabbit hole of expensive nonsense.
    In terms of the first bit, well it has as much 'validity' as any other subjective opinion or experience expressed.

    It's an observation/hypothesis, Martin, and something I believe is true, based on my experience in the area concerned, and which I'm perfectly entitled to put forward. It's what a forum is for: throwing ideas out into the open for others to consider, in order to promote discussion, and that can be done without the existence of a 'technical enquiry'.

    As for the second bit, as I've said before, but which you seem to be ignoring/failing to consider, is that who's to say that the results of any technical enquiry would be conclusive? Who's to say that all that needed testing/measuring, in order to prove or disprove the existence of what's being claimed, will have been tested and measured?

    Therefore, you're making the fundamental mistake of believing that the results of any such technical enquiry would be a 'done deal'. The fact is, it'd likely be no more a 'done deal' than my claims are to the contrary.

    Incidentally have you considered the mechanism that the hard drive uses to read the data? Do you have any rationale as to why that mechanism is superior to an optical drive? Is there any rationale to thinking the optical drive might be superior?
    I'm by no means an expert in this area, so someone more knowledgeable would need to comment, but I believe that SSD drives, with having no moving parts, solves the problems of HDD, in that respect, so that may have some bearing on matters.

    Regardless though, all I can do is report what I hear and offer some sort of explanation. It's what inquisitive and intelligent people do. It doesn't mean that the reason I've proffered for the difference I've heard is right, but it does mean I can hear the difference.

    There is a big problem with drawing technical conclusions based purely on sighted listening tests. Sighted tests are useful only for determining what you personally prefer.

    And I will grant you that a sighted listening test is usually sufficient to decided whether to buy something or not.
    Aw Gawd, you're not playing the old blind-test card? I'm not even going there, as you know my feelings on that matter! Did you need a blind test to tell you which system at Cranage Hall you liked best, or were you happy to trust your ears?

    Likewise, I don't need a blind test to confirm what I think sounds better between a streamed music file and a CD.

    Ironically it is only on subjective forums where 'the measurements don't matter' that people seem so keen to extrapolate all sorts of technical conclusions from simply listening.
    Well, as I've already said, it's simply about throwing ideas out into the open for others to discuss, and that approach will always be promoted here, over subjectivists being expected to shut up, simply because a hypothesis they've put forward to explain something they've heard, may not be technically provable.

    That, muchacho, is the way AoS is, and always will be!!

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  10. #30
    Join Date: Jul 2009

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    A few years back, David Price ran a demo at the Bristol show, demonstrating the differences between digital technologies. As I recall, he played two or three pieces of music in low resolution MP3, high resolution MP3, red book CD and high resolution lossless formats.

    I sat in on three of these demos and when he asked two pertinent questions at the end, everyone could hear the difference between all four but, when asked which one they preferred, the majority of all three sessions' participants went for CD!
    Adam.

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