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Using inexpensive DVD player as transport for an external DAC

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#1
I'm just wondering if anyone has tried using an inexpensive DVD player with digital outputs connected to a good quality DAC. And if so, how would the sound quality compare to that of a relatively expensive cd player?
 

Ron Texas

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#2
I'm just wondering if anyone has tried using an inexpensive DVD player with digital outputs connected to a good quality DAC. And if so, how would the sound quality compare to that of a relatively expensive cd player?
Many have done this. These days even a Blu-Ray player is under $100. Not much to lose. You do need to think about what you will use as a volume control downstream from the DAC.
 

RayDunzl

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#4
how would the sound quality compare to that of a relatively expensive cd player?
If both the CD player and the DVD player are competently sending digits to the same DAC I would expect no difference.

I note no difference among any of the digital sources that get switched to my DAC - CD "player", Oppo, PC sourced, TV, HDRadio - all play true to the source streams.

If comparing the DAC output to the CD Player's analog outputs, let your imagination run wild... there might just be a little difference, depending on how the two are tuned and connected.
 
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#5
Re
If both the CD player and the DVD player are competently sending digits to the same DAC I would expect no difference.

That's what I would have thought and expected. But with all of the "mysticism" about hifi audio I thought it would be good to ask. I will probably go the dvd/dac option when my cd player dies because inexpensive cd players with digital outputs are very hard to find.

Thank you for all your replies.
 

Willem

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#6
Why not go for a Bluray player straight away, given that you are unlikely to find a DVD player anymore these days. Only thing to look for is one with a proper optical or coax digital stereo output. The cheaper ones no longer have these.
 

daftcombo

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#7
CD player digital output, DVD player digital output : totally OK. I would just make sure it's a 75 ohm coaxial cable, and not longer than 1.5 m. And even that, I'm not sure it would have an impact.

But at the moment I feed my JDS Lab Atom Amp with ANALOG out of a random CD player, and it sounds perfect as well.

CD players & DVD players are usually well made. The only problem is that you can't easily EQ and would need a miniDSP or something like that, and more expensive than the player itself.
 
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#8
re
CD players & DVD players are usually well made. The only problem is that you can't easily EQ and would need a miniDSP or something like that, and more expensive than the player itself.


Good thought. I have a 3 way triamped system with a dbx active crossover so that should be fine.
 
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#9
CD player digital output, DVD player digital output : totally OK. I would just make sure it's a 75 ohm coaxial cable, and not longer than 1.5 m. And even that, I'm not sure it would have an impact.
It has none. When I tested the Classe Sigma SSP on SPDIF Coax I used a 16 m long 75 Ohm cable. I think it was Rg59. Highest tested samplerate was 192 kHz with 24 bits.
 

Zek

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#12
Goldmund used Pioneer DV-300. Try to find DV-300, DV-393, or little better one DV-610 (has coax and optical out).
 
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#13
From what I can see, most lower priced bluray players don't have coaxial or optical digital outputs, only hdmi.

I understand that an hdmi audio extractor should be able to capture the audio from the hdmi stream, output a digital audio signal, and feed this signal into an external dac

My question is, how good is the digital output after passing through the extractor? Is it of the same quality as the digital output from a player which has inbuilt coax or optical outputs?

I saw the following post by Amir which strongly suggests that the quality of digital audio extracted from hdmi may significantly degraded.
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https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/hdmi-to-optical-stereo.2051/page-2
Nov 11, 2017
#26
HDMI carries video with it even when you just use it for audio. The audio is slaved to video. So in all but the best implementations, HDMI adds significant amount of noise and jitter.

Amir
Founder, Audio Science Review
 
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#14
First post for me. I have been reading this site a lot recently in order to have a basis for making some changes to my digital setup.

I have a Marantz HD-DAC1 and a Cayin SCD-50T SACD player. I use the Cayin tube output (it also has SS) which has a 12AT7 and two 6922 tubes. It has a PCM1738 DAC. This unit sounds gorgeous to me. But it is intermittently mechanically noisy. So I have been using a cheap Samsung Blu-ray player as a transport to feed the Marantz. It only has HDMI and optical output. I am using the optical.

With this setup I compared USB Spotify at 320kHz to the CDs with the Samsung as a transport. I was very surprised to hear that Spotify sounded better - actually quite a bit better. This bothered me because theoretically the CD should sound better. So I decided to try the Cayin as a transport despite the mechanical noise. What do you know! It sounded MUCH better. Didn't matter whether I used the optical or coax output. They both sounded the same and much better than the Samsung.

So my question to you technical gurus is what could be going on such that the Samsung works so poorly as a transport. Why does the Samsung degrades the sound so much? The most obvious place where the sound is bad is in its reproduction of acoustic (classical) instrument timbre, and the lack of realism in percussive high frequency reproduction. Cymbal sound flat with no shimmer or ring compared to using the Cayin as a transport (or USB Spotify for that matter). And does anyone have a suggestion as to what to look for in a transport so that it will be at least as good as my mechanically challenged Cayin (which I should probably get someone to fix!)

I also A/B'd the Cayin analogue output with the Marantz (using the Cayin as a transport). I was stunned at how similar that they sound. The Cayin tube output sounded very much like the Marantz. I could barely tell the difference. It has been said that the Marantz has a tube-like sound (which I prefer generally). I can confirmed that that is indeed the case.
 

gvl

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#16
They are not stupid. Two possibilities, either the Samsung somehow processes the signal before sending it out or it's all in your head.
 
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#17
Not in my head. This is not some nuanced audiophile perception. It is pretty obvious to anyone listening somewhat carefully. There is something wrong with the Samsung optical output. Does it make any sense that the Samsung is doing some pre-processing before outputting. I would have thought that outputting optical would have been like falling of a log relatively speaking (but then I have pretty scanty EE knowledge - got a degree in physics instead :) The optical out is probably an afterthought on these cheap Blu-ray players, I am guessing.

BTW, I have no reason to "want" the Cayin to function as a transport. It is mechanically noisy (hoping to find someone to fix that though) and I am looking for a cheap alternative. So no much to get all placebo-y about. Could really bad jitter cause this?
 

Blumlein 88

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#19
Well hard to answer your questions with what we have to go on. Welcome to the ASR forum btw.

Unfortunately you don't get to turn placebo on and off. So that could be some of the answer. Your expectations betray your best efforts. Or not.

One way around this is to do measurements and see if something is wrong with the Samsung. Another is blind tests with someone switching between them when you don't know which is which. See if you can still hear the Samsung as inferior. You wouldn't be the first person to suddenly find they couldn't hear a difference. Yes, even with differences that seem very large. They might just suddenly disappear.

But no one is accusing you of anything. We just have nothing much to go on from your posting.

It's possible some jitter or noise form the Samsung is getting thru to the Marantz and making it sound different. No way for us to know from a distance. The Samsung probably isn't supposed to be doing any processing on the digital out, but we don't know which model you have. Maybe some of them do.
 
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#20
Thanks. I found another old Pioneer DVD player (with the bonus that is plays SACDs if I use its processor). I will hook it up and see what happens. I guess the consensus is that the Samsung should not have any affect on the sound. Nevertheless, for unknown reasons, it does.
 
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