CD/DAC qualities unleashed at what amplification point?

 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 328
Registered: Sep-04
I was wondering if anyone has any opinions and experiences to share on this subject....

To get the best out of our systems, it's best not to compromise either end, right?

But to what degree will an amp and speakers of a lower price/qaulity range benefit or show the true qualities of very high-end sources?

What, in your opinions would be the price/quality point of amplification at which we'd really start to notice a difference between mid-range players?

Also, is there really much to consider if I were to exploit the transport of a cheaper, but reasonably robust CD player used with a slightly better DAC in an effort to get better sound, without keeping these two units within the same price bracket? Remembering, of course that price does not always equal quality.

I hope this sparks some interest for discussion, because it might help me to make a few budget-conscious decisions.

Cheers,

V
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Varney, how many questions would you like to put in one post? In my experience the basic hifi heirarchy of garbage in = garbage out is very true in 95% of the cases. The better the components ahead of the speakers, the better the speaker will perform. I've had $10,000 worth of front end and amplification hooked to $250 a pair speakers and everyone was amazed at the quality of sound.

The first fault I see in your question, however, is your "mid-range player". That term is very open to interpretation both in what is midrange price and performance. One thing I think you'll see in many lines is the same player being used in a wide variety of price ranges with features added that generally won't substantially improve performance. In some lines this may be as broad as $100-700 players. They're mostly the same chassis and transport. As you get to $900-1500 the story is the same but with different components. If sound quality is your only need, you are often best buying at the low end of these break points.

As to the low priced transport with the higher priced DAC, that also depends on the individual components. The thing to remember is the transport has to get the information off the disc before the DAC can do anything with that info. Now we're talking jitter, error reduction and error correction, timing and clocking problems, disc clamping and damping, laser scatter and focus just to name the most common problems a transport can introduce. If you have a low priced transport that does all that well, you can put it with a much higher priced DAC. If the transport doesn't do those things well, no DAC will fix the problems but, instead, will simply magnify them along the line.


 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 334
Registered: Sep-04
When I speak of 'mid range' amplification, I am really talking about lower-end gear which does not seem to benefit a great deal even from proper speaker wire. An El-cheapo crapper stack is a good example, but probably doesn't apply to my needs.

Since I use NAD for my amplification, I suppose the question really applies to this. They offer a fairly detailed sound and as far as I know, a detailed sound will carry as many faults from a bad player as the good points. But they are not THAT detailed. I seem to remember you yourself, when talking about the 'sins of ommission', me interpreting that as 'leaving something out' which otherwise might have been done not so well. If I was not very skilled in blending paint, it might be better to paint in successive bands, rather than make a bad attempt at it. From a distance, the mixing still works, because of what you don't see at that distance.

I think the question I'm trying to get across is does an amp capable of converying only so much detail really benefit from a player which gives it all. We can always go into overdraft mode and play it safe with the best of the best, (subjective) but that's not how I operate, budget wise.

So I've decided just to ask brand specific questions now: "Does a NAD sound good with this player, or this player...." may be a more definitive aproach, but thanks for the info all the same.

Regards,

V

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
I don't think spending several times the price of the amplifier is worth the money as a general rule. I really can't answer where the level begins to reach diminishing returns; that is different for each individual. I find a useful analogy to be automotive. Would you find an improvement in performance by replacing the carbuerator and manifold on your engine without doing anything to the motor itself? Would you find improvement if you then replaced the exhaust system and the ignition? If the motor is a decent product, probably yes. If you consider cameras; would you get better performance by buying a slightly high priced lens to place on a mid priced body? Probably. Would it be worth buying the most expensive lens? Likely it wouldn't. Will you get better performance from a better air brush with the same paint? These are all relative questions that can be defeated by an inept user. The hot car is wothless to someone who can't work a clutch. The camera is useless to anyone who doesn't understand apperture and depth of field. The air brush that achieves great detail won't do a house painter much good. In this case, the aptitude of the user is equivalent not to skill but to attitude. If what is important to you is not what the particular equipment strives to provide, the gear is useless to you. If, on the other hand, you find the right match, several well put together pieces of mid priced gear can do much better than a system that has no direction.

Once you ask for a specific answer to a subjective judgement, you know how many answers there are. Opinions are like ...




 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 336
Registered: Sep-04
Opinions are like.... Ten a penny.

V
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