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#388053 - 01/09/13 08:27 PM Source Quality
Artisan Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 02/04/11
Posts: 23
Loc: Beaumont, TX
As I await the arrival of my Cherry/Chestnut M60s I am spending most of my free time slogging through reviews and tech specs of different home audio gear, from speakers to receivers to DACs and beyond.

One thing that keeps popping up in my research is the quality of the source. As of right now I have an Onkyo TX-NR818 that I stole from Newegg and a pair of Axiom M60v3s that should be here in a few weeks. Aside from the cable box (Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8240 HDC, supplied by Time Warner Cable) my only source for CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray is a Sony BDP-N460. This player is no longer made.

I bought this player nearly three years ago when I purchased my Samsung 46" LCD. At the time I didn't know any better and just wanted something that supported what I thought was the future (Blu-Ray) as well as older formats (CD, DVD). At the time, I bought it for about US$250.

Through my research, I see that many audiophiles opt for what I consider to be obscenely expensive CD players from brands like OPPO that cost over a thousand dollars US. What I would like to know is if I'm actually missing out on anything sonically with my discontinued Sony BDP-N460, or if I can rest assured that I have a decent audio source that will allow me to slide by the pricy "audiophile" CD players/sources.

I have an OCD thing about having matching electronics. Since I have an Onkyo receiver, it makes sense to me (not at all rationally) to have other Onkyo gear. I see that Onkyo currently offers a Blu-Ray player "BD-SP809" for $499US MSRP. They also offer a CD player "C-S5VL" for $599US.

I have perused other sites and see that manufacturers offer standalone CD players for upwards of a grand.

I would like to know how my discontinued Sony player stacks up against this very expensive competition. I am able to lay down some cash on serious speakers, but I am hesitant to fork over similar dollars for a damn CD/DVD player. What is it about these high-end sources that I lack with my current source?


Edited by Artisan (01/09/13 08:29 PM)

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#388055 - 01/09/13 08:37 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8135
Loc: Tacoma
Not a thing.

I think that your transport (the Sony) is more than fine. I'd be flabbergasted if a statistically significant number of people could reliably tell the difference between that and the boutique players.

IMO, people buy "the expensive one" in audio for reasons other than quality of sound.

Quality of source is important, but I think that term refers most relevantly to the quality of the recording or of the medium, not to the DAC or transport. If you were streaming 64kbps MP3's or something, we'd have to talk.

Really, don't worry about it. You'll have a great system that will easily reveal everything that is on the CD. You'll really be able to appreciate the quality of the recording and mastering process.
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#388062 - 01/09/13 09:44 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Arti, Tom is entirely correct. As to terminology, it's a stretch to refer to a mere player(rather than the CD or other data)as the "source", but this is part of the hype to justify spending absurd amounts.

Optical disc readers and the associated electronics(including the DAC)have long been at a stage of development where the digital content is extracted with noise and distortion far below audible levels and with audibly flat frequency response. Nothing more can be done, regardless of cost, and it's rare to even see the trouble taken anymore to test for the minute measurable differences in players.

Your present Sony, if still in good operating condition, is more than just "decent".
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#388101 - 01/10/13 01:03 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1806
Originally Posted By: Artisan
Through my research, I see that many audiophiles opt for what I consider to be obscenely expensive CD players from brands like OPPO that cost over a thousand dollars US.



Actually, within the Audiophile community the Oppo product is a bargain at only 1,200$... the Oppo 105, bests many 4,000$+ CD players…. It’s all about perspective. To some a 500$ cd player is a ton of cash, to others they wouldn’t bother with the “cheap” 500$ players…
Case in point.
http://www.hometheater.com/content/4500-cd-player-yes-cd-really

The Oppo 103 is one of the best deals around right now. I have a good friend who has one, he compared it to several of his other player, he could audibly notice a difference. He could also visually notice a difference on Blu Rays.. I was personally torn between the 103 and the 105, I REALLY wanted the 105. However, like John eluded to.. I don’t think I would actually notice a difference.. If all you are doing is playing CDs and have no interest in the other services that the new products offer, then I would say stick with what you have.. If you think you may want to stream, or have a Blu-ray player.. Then get the 103.

Honestly, Oppo is the only optical media player manufacture I would consider…

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#388108 - 01/10/13 01:24 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5651
Loc: Some random location
Back in the day I bought my OPPO 93, I did a lot of comparing the video quality of a newer $200 (before any discounts) Panasonic BD player and the OPPO 93. I couldn't find any noticeable differences. The OPPO 103/105 "might" be better, but I haven't compared, and I have my doubts.

Edit: I did keep the OPPO 93, and I plan on purchasing the OPPO 103. Not because I believe the video quality is any better, but because I believe the OPPO uses better quality parts. To me, that's worth something in quality and longevity.


Edited by CatBrat (01/10/13 01:28 PM)

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#388117 - 01/10/13 02:48 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
exlabdriver Offline
aficionado

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 809
There was some discussion of this stuff here - page 33 & 34:

http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=387749&page=33

Not trying to irritate anyone, but at a hundred bucks each, you could buy a lot of Sony S590s for what one Oppo cost - no prestige factor though, just solid bang for the buck...

TAM

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#388121 - 01/10/13 03:24 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8135
Loc: Tacoma
Hey, TAM, since you brought it up...

Does the S590 have an audio streaming feature? i.e. if it is connected to your network, and there is a digital music library on your network, can you use the S590 to access songs, albums, playlists and such?

If so, how is the UI?
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#388126 - 01/10/13 04:02 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
exlabdriver Offline
aficionado

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 809
tom:

It has a whole bunch of streaming capabilities including 'Netflix' etc. It is connected to the net through my router & it was a painless setup.

I don't use it for streaming (I'm still stuck in the 90s, ha), only for playing BDs & SACDs. To find out it's streaming features, check it out at Sony's website or elsewhere.

This is from BB, Canada. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to list them all:

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/sony...7f28cf813c2en02

From the reviews that I've read, it works very well in the streaming mode for those who use it that way...

TAM

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#388127 - 01/10/13 04:14 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5651
Loc: Some random location
Something I just noticed about this Sony BD player is it's a 5.1, today 7.1 is standard for players.

Also, I always start out reading the 1 star reviews on Amazon.com. There were 37 of them saying stuff like, Crappy, Remote won't work, Junk, Network problems, No Pandora, Won't play my playlist from PC, etc, etc, etc.

A few of these are to be expected, but I think there's too many that put this player in the Junk profile.


Edited by CatBrat (01/10/13 04:22 PM)

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#388128 - 01/10/13 04:17 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: exlabdriver]
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1806
Originally Posted By: exlabdriver

Not trying to irritate anyone, but at a hundred bucks each, you could buy a lot of Sony S590s for what one Oppo cost - no prestige factor though, just solid bang for the buck...
TAM


I think if i saw the Sony and Oppo on displays side by side, and i personally couldn't tell the difference. Then i'd buy the Sony. Like you say for 1/5th the cost if there is no perceivable difference, then why pay the extra cash?

Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible.

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