Can Redbook CD equal the best Analog?

dcathro

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Sep 16, 2016
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I have never owned any Audio Note equipment, but I have huge respect for their engineering approach (maybe not their pricing) and research.

I love this interview with peter Qvortrup, as he explains their philosophy on digital




I run a 16 bit tda1541 based Non Oversampling cd player designed by my friend in the UK, and also find that the earliest CDs from 1982/3 sound the best.

Does anyone on WBF run a top level Audio Note digital replay chain, or also run a NOS CD player?
 

Lampie519

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Mar 14, 2021
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Does anyone on WBF run a top level Audio Note digital replay chain, or also run a NOS CD player?
I use a NOS dac myself and have multiple NOS CD players. I found however that a NOS CD player is limited and that transports do have a signature of some kind. So trying different transports with seperate DAC's can help find a "perfect match" so to speak.
Funny again is that the best transport i found has oversampling build-in and therefore my NOS dac is getting an oversampled signal (2x 176.4Khz bitrate).

This can be done with any NOS dac up to at least 1x 176.4Khz. So why would you want to if you have a NOS Dac? Because now you also can choose the best filter/upsampler you can find for your DAC and transport (or just use none).
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Big fan of the current digital we use, the 4-box Zanden digital which is TDA 1541 double-crown with separate PSUs (1 of them actually 5 different PSUs inside for the controls, vs clock vs transport itself, etc), lots of EMI/RFI shielding inside, i2s cable. Never felt the need to change though I have not heard the MSB Select 2, Wadax, nor the Audio Note DAC 5th Element which I have heard are all phenomenal. I understand Yamada San is also coming out this year with his latest SOTA digital.
 
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Lampie519

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The amount of crowns on the TDA1541 is of no importance if it not used in the optimal environment and best circuit design. I have already mentioned this in an other thread so i will not repeat it here. So whatever TDA1541 religion you follow, until you have not heard it in a true mono dac you will never see the light... or hear in this case no matter the price tag....
 

Addicted to hifi

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I have never owned any Audio Note equipment, but I have huge respect for their engineering approach (maybe not their pricing) and research.

I love this interview with peter Qvortrup, as he explains their philosophy on digital




I run a 16 bit tda1541 based Non Oversampling cd player designed by my friend in the UK, and also find that the earliest CDs from 1982/3 sound the best.

Does anyone on WBF run a top level Audio Note digital replay chain, or also run a NOS CD player?
My revox b225 uses that dac and I find it sounds very nice for a mid 80s 14 bit machine.
 
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Lampie519

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Mar 14, 2021
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My revox b225 uses that dac and I find it sounds very nice for a mid 80s 14 but machine.
A 14bit player can sound amazing ! (beeing truly dual mono actually).
But some modifications need to be done to make it so. I use old Philips players for that as they are still affordable...
 

Lampie519

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Mar 14, 2021
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Can Redbook CD equal the best Analog?

My answer would be : Yes, it can and even better... just as been promised 40 years ago...
The question here is: Do we want it to....
Many here like vinyl not because it is "better or worse" but because it relaxes to choose a record and play it without interrupting, pausing and skipping back and forth... this same can be said for streaming...
 

dcathro

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Sep 16, 2016
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I went round quite a few second hand record/cd shops today, Some of the shops still sell both, and quite a few are vinyl only. I was in one shop that had their CDs down the back in boxes piled on top of each other all for $1 each. It reminded me of what had happened to vinyl in the 90's when nobody wanted it. The CDs that I look for are pretty rare (made between 1982 and 1985), before digital noise reduction, digital compression, etc.

I wonder if somone will start a CD revival in 30 years time.
 
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Lampie519

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Mar 14, 2021
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Yes, now is the best time to "invest" in CD's if you have enough storage space and not planning to "stream" in the near future....

Then invest also in a good transport or 2....
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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I've just ordered £500 worth of CDs. It helps having a CDP that may not play at analog's esteemed and frankly hard to match level (only a £45-50k digital setup I've recently heard starts to seriously fully compete), but is in no way "second fiddle" or inferior.
 

Lampie519

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I think it can be done under £15K all together. At least match it...

And under £5K if you compare it against analog in the same price range.
 

spiritofmusic

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Well, £4k gets you a refurbished Marantz CD12/DA12 SE from 1989. This alone gives vinyl a 33.333rpm spin for it's money.
 

Lagonda

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No it can not ! You guys need to listen to better turntables ! :)
 

Ian B

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I'm thinking of Betteridge's Law of Headline's : "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."

The interview is pretty interesting and they are certainly correct about the importance of power supplies with digital. I have yet to hear one of these systems in person, but my impression is that they do midrange really well for acoustic music, but bass, treble, and speed, not so well.

I remember 20 years ago I was really excited about how good SACDs sounded and my friend would reply "Actually I read that Red Book CDs can sound just as good or better!" When I heard Red Book in his system, it did not sound good or noteworthy. My sense has always been some people have a psychological attachment to the format that they invested in, even if it really isn't fantastic. Granted, the quality of the recording is always most important, and the DAC makes probably as much or more impact than the recording format.

I also remember all the discussions about why the earliest CDs sounded so bad. Maybe the converters were garbage and had phase distortion, the mastering engineers still thought they were working with vinyl, second generation tapes were used, etc. The big advantage of that era is the massive amount of dynamic range that was preserved and the lack of digital limiters.

After years working in the audio industry I found very few instances where 16/44.1 sounded better than the same source converted to 24 bit or DSD. The instances where it sounded better were with DACs that were noisy/measured poorly and benefited from not having as much dynamic range to deal with. Perhaps that is true for Audio Note.

I definitely respect the lengths they are willing to go to get away from "digital" sound. I used to think DSD was the best way to go, but some DSD converters are also very clinical, and maybe there are other ways. I also suspect that the route Audio Note goes in order to constitute digital sources in an analog flavor alters the sound significantly with distortions. People are willing to pay massive cash for their systems, so they must sound really good, at least for some tastes.
 
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jespera

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Jan 12, 2018
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I have never owned any Audio Note equipment, but I have huge respect for their engineering approach (maybe not their pricing) and research.

I love this interview with peter Qvortrup, as he explains their philosophy on digital




I run a 16 bit tda1541 based Non Oversampling cd player designed by my friend in the UK, and also find that the earliest CDs from 1982/3 sound the best.

Does anyone on WBF run a top level Audio Note digital replay chain, or also run a NOS CD player?

I use a tda1541 based abbas nos dac and an abbas modified and tube clocked marantz cd 94 transport.

Yes early aad discs sound the best. Not quite the level of vinyl but remarkably close. Plus quieter and more tape like presentation.

Friend of mine has a top level audio note (5ish dac) set up. Thats the second best digital that ive heard.
 

Lampie519

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Mar 14, 2021
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If done correcly digital should be better theoretically and is also better practically.... Somehow the industry just did not find the the way (as they turned into the wrong direction and everyone follows blindly as we have seen with oversampling filters in the 90's. The more the better was the credo, now it is the oposite (NOS is king) what a joke !

If someone actually would start to think by him/herself we could make some real progress here....

Same with the people who "know" what is better without having listened to it... just because someone else said it...

I do not claim anything here but just want to help people think for themself...
Just because it has not been heard by some it does not mean it does not exist or will ever....

Best wishes,

Frank
 

Al M.

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If done correcly digital should be better theoretically and is also better practically.... Somehow the industry just did not find the the way (as they turned into the wrong direction and everyone follows blindly as we have seen with oversampling filters in the 90's. The more the better was the credo, now it is the oposite (NOS is king) what a joke !

If someone actually would start to think by him/herself we could make some real progress here....

Same with the people who "know" what is better without having listened to it... just because someone else said it...

I do not claim anything here but just want to help people think for themself...
Just because it has not been heard by some it does not mean it does not exist or will ever....

Best wishes,

Frank

Many of what are considered top DACs have oversampling filtering. And the designers of those DACs usually strive to improve their designs by not just measuring, but by listening as well. So I am afraid you brush with too broad strokes here.

I am very happy with my oversampling DAC.
 
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Lampie519

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I don't say it is correct or incorrect, just how we went in one or the other direction without choosing our own way (by this i meant the industry in general). Without the pioneers who dared to try something else we would not even know of NOS.....

I hope it is not understood the wrong way...
 
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