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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: 8294
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: 10406
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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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#388101 - 01/10/13 01:03 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1846
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: 5914
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
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
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1039
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: 8294
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
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1039
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: 5914
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
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: 1846
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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#388129 - 01/10/13 04:19 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: CatBrat]
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1846
Originally Posted By: CatBrat
Something I just noticed about this Sony BD player is it's a 5.1, today 7.1 is standard for players.


A counter to that observation would be.. Even if it was 15.1 I and many people would only use 5.1... There are a lot of people who still use 5.1, even though there are other options like 9.1 ect...

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#388130 - 01/10/13 04:25 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: dakkon]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5914
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
Originally Posted By: dakkon
Originally Posted By: CatBrat
Something I just noticed about this Sony BD player is it's a 5.1, today 7.1 is standard for players.


A counter to that observation would be.. Even if it was 5.1, I and many people would only use 5.1... There are a lot of people who still use 5.1, even though there are other options like 9.1 ect...


True, but you could also say the same thing about it if is was only stereo. (well almost, it's the principle of the matter.) I'll soon have a 6.1 system, so it'd be worthless for me. Sony did a good job of hiding the fact that it was only 5.1. Nowhere did it mention it, except in a spec sheet where there were some Yes/No answers. Beside 7.1, it just said NO.

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#388132 - 01/10/13 04:43 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17791
Loc: NoVA
Where do you see 5.1? Are you talking about the S590? It's gonna output what's on disk, be it 2.0, 5.1, or 7.1, or 116.9.

From the Amazon description:

Sound you can feel
Experience the highest sound quality with Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD codecs which reproduce high-definition sound with 7.1 channels of discrete audio for uncompromised quality.8
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#388135 - 01/10/13 04:56 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5914
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
You might be right, but under "Decode-ability, I get this" from the Sony site. Link

AV Sync : Yes
Dolby® : Dolby True HD decoding (5.1Ch)
dts : dts-HD Master Audio decoding (MA)

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#388138 - 01/10/13 05:52 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5914
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
Dolby® TrueHD and dts®-HD codecs reproduce high-definition sound with 7.1 channels of discrete audio for uncompromised quality.

I found it. It does do 7.1.

I've been running 0 for 0 here lately. I think maybe it's about time to give it up...

Same link as above, but under Features, this time.


Edited by CatBrat (01/10/13 05:53 PM)

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#388147 - 01/10/13 07:47 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1039
I don't know guys. I plugged it in, it seamlessly talked to my router, it's quite fast, the remote works just fine, it talks to the net when required for playing Blu-Rays, produces stunning video & audio & it plays my SACDs flawlessly. It does everything that I want it to plus 3D that I don't use.

How long it will last, I don't know, but for less than $100 CAN that I recently paid, it's a helluva deal...

The only problem for me is that the player's diminutive height left a gaping hole above it that revealed my rat's nest of wires behind it. I had to place a statue of a cat on top to conceal the nastiness back there.

TAM


Edited by exlabdriver (01/10/13 07:53 PM)

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#388171 - 01/11/13 08:21 AM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17791
Loc: NoVA
Thanks for the info, TAM.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#388288 - 01/12/13 04:59 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
Artisan Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 02/04/11
Posts: 23
Loc: Beaumont, TX
Thanks for all the replies, folks. I will stick with my current Sony for now. When I can find an extra hundy I just might pick up that Sony S590 because if supports SACD, a format which I think I'll be diving into soon. In the meantime I'll rest easy knowing that my current optical player is up to my tasks for everything else.

The wait for my M60s is farking agonizing. I custom-finished them, and mistakingly ordered them with the wrong stain. Now I have to wait to receive the sample for the right stain so I can evaluate it and notify Axiom to complete my speakers and ship them, and the added wait is excruciating. I'm kicking myself for not taking more time during the ordering process.

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#388926 - 01/28/13 09:37 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: dakkon]
cohesion Offline
local

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Maple, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: dakkon
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.


Most of the current generation consumer BD players only have analogue audio out for front L/R and no component video out. To get 7.1 audio out you need an Oppo which is regarded as among the best. Also only the older Oppo 93/95 has component out.

In case you're interested there may be refurbished 95's available direct from Oppo for $800.


Edited by cohesion (01/28/13 09:38 PM)

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#388927 - 01/28/13 09:51 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: cohesion]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10406
No, if the disc has 7.1 audio, that's what the player will output through its HDMI or coax and optical digital outputs.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#388957 - 01/29/13 09:26 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: JohnK]
cohesion Offline
local

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Maple, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: JohnK
No, if the disc has 7.1 audio, that's what the player will output through its HDMI or coax and optical digital outputs.


Yes John. I said analog as in the opposite of digital. The "D" in HDMI stands for digital. It is actually the only format capable of transporting a full 7.1 channel lossless audio soundtrack like DTS Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD but older receiver/preprocessors (like mine) may not have the required input and even if it does may be incapable of decoding it. (In fact this is only output on HDMI if the player is configured to output bitstream and the upstream device supports it.) Coax and optical digital outputs are limited to 5.1 channel 'lossy' formats like Dolby Digital or DTS. Yes DTS-ES does encode a back surround channel within the format if it is available on the source but this is not really a discrete channel.

The point I was trying to make is that if you have an older receiver or preprocessor without HDMI inputs or without support for the latest lossless 7.1 channel audio formats using player without a full set of 7.1 audio outputs will limit your options for getting all those lossless channels out to your speakers. For me this was a compelling reason to get an Oppo. I got the 95 but even the $500 BDP 93/103 has the full set of 7.1 channel analog outputs. Mind you if your receiver/processor doesn't have the 7.1 channel inputs this isn't an issue.


Edited by cohesion (01/29/13 09:37 PM)

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#388960 - 01/29/13 09:41 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: cohesion]
Kruncher Offline
devotee

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 484
Loc: Maple Ridge, BC
Originally Posted By: cohesion
The "D" in HDMI stands for digital.


Sorry, but that's incorrect. HDMI is the acronym for High-Definition Multimedia Interface.

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#388962 - 01/29/13 09:58 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Kruncher]
cohesion Offline
local

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Maple, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Kruncher
Originally Posted By: cohesion
The "D" in HDMI stands for digital.


Sorry, but that's incorrect. HDMI is the acronym for High-Definition Multimedia Interface.


A technicality. HDMI is an inherently digital format. Of course digital coax and optical digital outputs are digital. Only good old fashioned analog is not digital but most consumer BD players including the Sony that was mentioned earlier only have front left and right analog outputs. No centre, surrounds, or subwoofer.


Edited by cohesion (01/29/13 10:05 PM)

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#388964 - 01/29/13 10:11 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10399
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
The first few generations of the top of the line main stream consumer BR players (Samsung, Panasonic Sony etc.)had analog outs, but as HDMI took ove, most companies dropped the analog outs, not sure on how viable using an old BR player would be now.
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#388970 - 01/29/13 10:32 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
cohesion Offline
local

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Maple, Ontario, Canada
Agreed. There may be some other brands that still make a high end player but Oppo basically owns this market.

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#388971 - 01/29/13 10:39 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10399
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Is there even any other player in this segment? I am not talking about rebadged Oppo's either.

I do not believe Denon offers a player at this price/feature point anymore, that would have been my only guess.
_________________________
Jason
-----------------
TTTHHHPPPPPTTTT!

My HT

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#388979 - 01/30/13 12:56 AM Re: Source Quality [Re: cohesion]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10406
Your earlier post stated "To get 7.1 audio out you need an Oppo...". As clarified, you were only referring to a situation where the receiver had no HDMI input(and processing), but did have multi-channel analog inputs which could take the feed from the Oppo multi-channel analog outputs. Point understood.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#389021 - 01/30/13 09:39 PM Re: Source Quality [Re: Artisan]
cohesion Offline
local

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Maple, Ontario, Canada
Yes exactly. One scenario where the 7.1 analog outputs of an Oppo would be advantageous compared to the commodity consumer players is when one is using an older receiver/preprocessor without HDMI or that cannot decode the newer lossless audio formats. (Or when one wants to buy a used high end preprocessor for cheap.) This only applies if it has 5.1 or 7.1 analog inputs.

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