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CD Players With and Without Compact Disc Digital Audio Logo vs. Red Book

Cawafuoshi

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Hi everyone,

I am trying to understand why some CD players, especially in the low price segment found as portables or in cheap bookshelf systems, do carry the official Compact Disc logo while many do not.

Do manufacturers have to license the logo? Are they awarded the logo if they adhere to certain standards as specified in the Red Book of the format?

Isn‘t gapless playback part of the feature set and shouldn’t players with the logo support it?

Thx for shedding some light on this. I am shopping for a cheap bookshelf system but fear that CD playback might be compromised on systems without the logo.
 

Zek

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A cheap bookshelf system is in itself a compromise in terms of sound quality, so the CD player in it cannot be anything special.
 
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Cawafuoshi

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A cheap bookshelf system is in itself a compromise in terms of sound quality, so the CD player in it cannot be anything special.
Oh yes, you are totally right. But it is not for a critical listening application and probably will be pimped with an external amp and better speakers.

But, does the logo make a difference in terms of features/capabilities versus players without?
 
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Hugo9000

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If it has the official CD logo, it should fully implement the Red Book standard, including correct gapless playback. I doubt that it's being policed these days, however, since even a major audio company like Yamaha is incompetent/dishonest about it. I'm referring to Yamaha model CD-S303. It has the official CD logo, yet it cannot play CDs gaplessly.


Many inexpensive DVD players nowadays do not have gapless playback of CDs.

Some manufacturers note "gapless playback" in their manual or promotional materials online, but they often are referring to file-based playback (FLAC files on USB, etc.), while they do NOT support gapless playback of compact discs.

Some people don't notice the issue, because of the music they listen to. If you listen to opera, you'll notice the gaps immediately due to the abundance of track access points within the middle of continuous musical passages. (Anyone remember "Index" points on CDs? This was a feature that allowed even more access points, in this case, within tracks themselves haha. I think only my first player even showed them on the display, but didn't allow direct access to them via remote or controls on the front of the unit.) There are also quite a few orchestral pieces where one movement connects without a pause to the next (some major works by Beethoven, of course, as well as numerous Late Romantic Era works). For popular music listeners, there are a few famous albums, like Dark Side of the Moon, where gapless playback is required. But that's much less common than in classical.

I always make it a habit to read user reviews and look for comments about gapless capability, and when I've auditioned streaming services, it's the first thing I test.


What's sad is that Yamaha says this about one of their "network" players:
Gapless Playback
Many live and classical albums have no gaps in the music. Gapless playback ensures that there are no pauses between audio files. This provides playback with no interruptions, the way it was meant to be heard.
* Compatible with WAV, FLAC, AIFF and ALAC file formats.
Yet they somehow 'forgot' that it was an essential feature with CDs, and actually REQUIRED as part of the CD Red Book standard.
 

Hugo9000

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@Hugo9000: that's outrageous. Such deceptive labeling and ignoring standards should be punishable.

But for the CD-S303 specifically, it looks like gapless playback was fixed with a firmware update.
Thanks! That's good to know. Their customer service had previously replied to some customer inquiries saying that despite not playing CDs gaplessly, the unit was 'working as intended' lol. I suppose they had enough complaints or returned units that they decided to see if firmware could fix it after all. Or perhaps the engineering team intended it to work correctly from the start but made a mistake, and the customer service team issued a standard reply that nothing was wrong lol. I know the previous model (CD-S300) played gaplessly without needing firmware fixes, so it seemed odd to screw up the "updated" or "refreshed" model.
 

MRC01

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Another required part of the CD redbook standard was de-emphasis. It's similar to Dolby B but applied to digital audio. Boost the treble before A-D conversion, then cut it on playback. The curve is significant, starting around 1 kHz and going to +10 dB at 20 kHz. So if the player doesn't implement de-emphasis, those CDs sound terribly bright. This feature can be indicated in 2 ways: a flag in the CD TOC, as well as for each track. Some CD players don't decode it properly, which is why some DACs have a button to manually apply the de-emphasis curve.

Fortunately, CDs using this feature were rare.
 
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Cawafuoshi

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All is very interesting which makes me wonder if gapless play is in the hardware or rather is a software feature. The firmware update suggests it‘s software ,but perhaps the hardware has to support it somehow as well.

In the end, it would be nice if implemented but it’s not the absolute dealbreaker.

The bookshelf systems available through Amazoncom, if you do not shell out for a Denon or perhaps Sharp, seem to be all of the same low cost OEM reference design save for some distinctions in looks and whether it has a headphone out or not.

Panasonic in Europe keeps selling a system that caught my attention and reminds me of the old Yamaha Pianocraft micro components, but it’s rather expensive for some background music system and not running on 110V. Their cheaper system looks nice, but is probably similar to the low cost ware available to us.
 
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Cawafuoshi

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So, I ordered a Sharp XL-HF203B, with logo. There is nothing I have found in the manual that lists gapless playback as a feature. I will have to try it out and see if I can live with it.
 

DVDdoug

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I don't think Red Book audio CDs have "gaps". I believe it's one "file" (but not a computer file) usually with silent audio between tracks, and track markers. I've made several continuous concert CDs, and with a cue sheet you can put track markers anywhere you want (maybe only on a frame boundary).

FLAC and MP3 files are "different'" and you might get gaps between tracks. FLAC and MP3 are not part of the Red Book standard.

Likewise, DVDs can have chapter marks anywhere (on a frame boundary) and although they are split into 1GB files, a movie plays continuously.
 

Paianis

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CD-DA playback can only be gapless if the divisions between tracks fall on a CD sector, which in terms of samples is a multiple of 588 or a 75th of a second. So burning CD-Rs with Track-At-Once mode is a no-go.

As long as this is the case and no pre-gaps have been authored into the CD master, all compliant CD players should not insert gaps between tracks.
 
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Cawafuoshi

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Update: the Sharp micro component system never materialized due to shipping issues the seller claimed. I went down the cheap route and bought a portable Coby CD player. Looks remind me of my two Sonys I had in the 90s and 00s.

To my delight, the Coby does the trick and delivers gapless playback. I am going to connect it to a Klipsch ProMedia 2.0 set of PC speakers at work.
 

EJ3

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Update: the Sharp micro component system never materialized due to shipping issues the seller claimed. I went down the cheap route and bought a portable Coby CD player. Looks remind me of my two Sonys I had in the 90s and 00s.

To my delight, the Coby does the trick and delivers gapless playback. I am going to connect it to a Klipsch ProMedia 2.0 set of PC speakers at work.
The COBY that I gave as a gift lasted until the day after the warranty expired. I hope that you have better luck.
 
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Cawafuoshi

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The COBY that I gave as a gift lasted until the day after the warranty expired. I hope that you have better luck.
Let’s see. First impressions are good. The drive is silent and reads fast.
 
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Cawafuoshi

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Same here first impressions were good, didn't last. I would have not been so unhappy had I not given it as a gift.
Time will tell. Sorry for your experience. I am just glad it works for the time being as a stopgap.
 

EJ3

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Time will tell. Sorry for your experience. I am just glad it works for the time being as a stopgap.
Time will tell. Sorry for your experience. I am just glad it works for the time being as a stopgap.
Well, I must admit, it was cheap. Maybe I expected too much? Hopefully yours will get you through your stopgap & then have enough life to be kept around as a temporary spare!
 
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