In my many posts, I have espoused the fact that manufacturers designing to price points (say $500) must make a product to sell for $500 that includes product and profit. Limitations of this price point are implied to be lesser profits or lesser quality materials. If the designer has a $5000 price point, the restrictions are much less, and he can either increase profit margin, or increase quality of materials and design. I have stated on many posts, that this does not ensure a better product, and the examples of this are ample. BUT, the restrictions that are not as strict can allow a good product designer to make a better product, as he/she is not limited. Does this always happen?....not on your life! Does it happen?....absolutely!
So, on to the source discussion. A Walmart $200 Memorex CD player is governed by these same rules. As is a $2000 Rega (to choose names at random). As with any product, there are inherent design issues within the realm. CD players in particular suffer from an number of design issues.
- vibration and rigidity
- Transient Intermodulation Distortion
- ground currents
- lense clarity and quality
- clock jitter
- error correction slew rate
- analogue circuits and output preamps
- digital to analogue converters
I could go on and on....I am an engineer!
All of these affect the sound. All of these are both audible and measureable. Have they been addressed? For the most part they can be addressed.....but certainly not in a $200 player. Perhaps not completely in a $2000 player, but more attention has been paid to at least reduce them.
For many years the CD community has built products around an Op Amp (and it's lineage) called the LM741. This chip is slow reaction wise, meaning that output voltage cannot keep up with the slew rate of the requests of the input signal. The TL084 was better, but still not great.
My attempt is not turn this into a technical lecture. I can if required, but on occasion and personal request only. A good speaker can not correct any or all of these problems. The source must do this. In the vinyl world, good speakers will not remove surface noise, or correct incorrect arm height causing strident upper frequencies, or correct mistracking by the cartridge. Alan himself mentioned he could teach anyone to listen for wow and flutter (if memory serves on the concepts) of a turntable. This is addressed presumably to great results in better turntables, and speakers can remove this???? Please.
....again, I could go on with the concepts.
I would be interested in the test data. Using products that are substandard in tsting produces flawed results. Test a $200 CD player into a Wilson speaker, and then a Wadia CD into an Axiom speaker...what do you think it will sound like?
But I still have not heard anyone explain how the speakers can repair the problems caused by sources.