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  • greynol
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #25
That might not be needed if we could find an obvious culprit if the OP described in detail what he played and with what equipment. If anything, that would be a good start, IMO.

Agreed, though the rule governing the communication of unsubstantiated claims about sound quality will be enforced.

I can think of situations where you might need to describe sound quality to diagnose broken hardware (a blown tweeter might make something sound dark or muffled), but I don't think this is what's happening here.  Until I feel otherwise, I will enforce TOS8 as it is written.
  • Last Edit: 02 June, 2013, 11:11:06 AM by greynol
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.

Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #26
duncan1979, you wrote long posts in which maybe everything has already been explained, but could you please summarize again in a few straight lines your experience and the trials you made? Of course, before claiming a decline in quality of a narrow class of devices you have to rule out all possible side problems.

Say: you bought a new CD player, nothing else changed in your system (do you changed interconnectig cables?) and you started perceiving bad sound.
You exchanged some (how many) new players in this same system and still perceive that corruption.
You tried different discs, both new and old.
You tried both headphones and speakers. (Do you tried different headphones?)
You perceive (or don't perceive) the same corruption listening from other sources (downloaded files, streaming etc...) or listening to other people's sound systems? (you couldn't compare at home experience or wearing headphones with completely different listening scenarios, like watching a movie or just listening to people).
Etc...


Listened to music via cassette players/radio from the early '90s till 1997 - cassette players/radios and headphones I used would have been cheap , never heard anything wrong with the music
In 1997, was given first portable CD player, a Sony Discman - remember it having amazing sound  - also still used my old Sony cassette player/radio till 2000
In 1999, got a Panasonic portable CD player - can't remember exactly how the Sony Discman stopped working, think it just wouldn't play discs properly but it sounded fine when it would play - was also impressed with how good the sound on this CD player was( listened to both these players using headphones provided with them, the Panasonic cost about £ 50, the Sony was a gift but I wouldn't imagine it would have cost much more )
Approx late 2000, Panasonic CD player stopped working properly - again, I remember this being in terms of not playing the discs or skipping rather than the actual sound being bad -
Got another  portable CD player in late 2000- also Panasonic,which was when I first heard what I'd describe as the ' bad ' sound - this was just weeks after I'd been listening to my ' good ' CD player - I played albums I'd previously played, everything just sounded bad - it was unlistenable above a moderate volume - the first disc I played on it was one I'd just bought, I remember - this was also about £ 50, using the headphones supplied with it
I didn't have much money back then as I was unemployed so had to kind of make do with player I currently had until could afford a better one  - the next few years I tried several different CD players mainly portable ones,  and one larger Sony CD player /radio player, all of which had the ' bad ' sound. As I couldn't really do much else, I just kind of put up with the sound, but I was confused as to why they all sounded like this. The prices of each  would have between £50 and£120
Got my first PC in 2005 and since then mainly listened to music on sites like YouTube, Amazon and ITunes or played CDs in the CD drive- as I've said, the ' bad ' sound I'd heard on all the CD players was here too but didn't see any point continuing to try and find a CD player with good sound when I could just use the PC, where the sound quality was the same.
Have tried several different headphones also but this made no difference

No longer have the old CD/cassette players from the 90s so am unable to compare them


I guess I should have read the Terms more clearly when I registered - I came across this site and thought it worth posting my problem but I should've known I couldn't really expect anybody to be able to help without providing hard evidence
  • Last Edit: 02 June, 2013, 04:36:46 PM by duncan1979

Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #27
Some recordings of supposedly good and bad devices for other users to assess would be the basic point from which we could evaluate this in an evidence-based way.


Duncan1979, can you do that? You just need a sound card (or some USB device) with a line-in.

Also, you might have developped over time a high sensitivity to sibilance, though that sounds unlikely if you say that the changes occurred quickly.


No longer have any players I had from the 90s

I initially thought after reading about sibilance, this was maybe what I was hearing, but I'm sure I read that this is something that just affects the ' s ' sound - other letters too have that kind of distorted sound - ' h's for example

  • derty2
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #28
How about some informative facts like . . . .

" I have physically interacted with many audiophiles living in my city . . . I have played various test CDs through many other systems, vintage and new . . . I have a friend who sells vintage hi-fi and he is a member of the <my city> audio club and on Saturdays most of the senior members gather at his shop and have communal listening experiences and swap notes about audiophile topics such as 'Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present' . . . and after months of listening to my test CDs through many exquisite systems of various vintages in perfect listening environments and swapping notes with experts, my opinion is . . . "

Do you have any informative facts?

  • greynol
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #29
No longer have any players I had from the 90s

I do and I can tell you that I cannot distinguish their audio from those in my PC.

I can tell you that I also have a Panasonic portable with an anti-skip mode that seems to employ lossy data compression.  I'm not claiming that this mode changes the sound quality, though it very well may be ABX-able for some.  I've also seen portables with dynamic range compression which gives an audible volume boost at the very least.

So akin to what skamp was getting at, sure there may be obvious (or not) differences due to DSP.  If we're going to compare CD player DACs, however then we need evidence.  If we're going to compare exactness in digital extraction (the data that hits the DAC) we also need evidence.
  • Last Edit: 02 June, 2013, 07:39:29 PM by greynol
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.

  • greynol
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #30
How about some informative facts like . . . .

You mean anecdotes that aren't useful in furthering a discussion on a science-based forum.  No thanks.
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.

  • Nessuno
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #31
So your finding, as from your first post you only seem to ask for reasons to a fact you've taken for granted, is that between 1999 and 2000 something has happened to CD players that corrupts the sound quality in a very precise and recognizable way. According to you, there's no way to listen in hi-fi since 2000... could it be sort of a millennium bug?!?!? (Ok, just kidding... )

Now it seems to me rather clear that it's a case of expectation bias, an effect you seem, by the by, to indulge:
Quote
(I've never actually tried an IPod as I've heard nothing but bad things about how they sound. )

Apart from more elitist audiophile circles, there's a general consensus that nowadays personal digital players have reached a very good sound quality, absolutely undistinguishable from desktop players. This is also on par with my personal experience amongst many others, so one might ask where you've heard all those bad things.

Maybe that first 2000 player was actually a defective unit and since then you developed this bias, it's also possible that a sound card from early 2000s had a less than perfect headphone output especially if you turn it up, but rest assured that nothing so catastrophic has happened in gear industry at the dawn of the millennium. If something has changed, it was for the best, and more gradually too.


... I live by long distance.

  • 2Bdecided
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #32
Have tried several different headphones also but this made no difference
That's almost unbelievable, unless they were all very bad headphones, or the source was very bad.

The point is, different headphones do sound different, and the better ones are much better than the worst. If you think they all sound the same, then you're either trying the wrong headphones, using the wrong source (CD player or CDs!), or it's your ears (which is possible, but unlikely - you'd have noticed problems in everyday life).


Different CDs players / DAPs (ignoring DSP / bass boost) rarely sound noticeably different. It's known that the headphone output stage can sound different on various units, especially with headphones that put the amplifier under stress, or headphones (mostly IEMs) that are extremely sensitive. EDIT: but that can't explain your general dissatisfaction with sound quality. I just mentioned it because it's about the only example of non-intentional audible differences that you can find on half-decent audio players. (The ones that cost £15 from Tesco are not half decent - they are just crap and have almost every audible fault you can imagine.)



You need to focus on finding out why you, almost uniquely, hear that nothing has sounded good since the year 2000. It's probably your choice of equipment. I doubt you need to spend that much more money - you probably just need to choose more wisely. My Sennheiser HD580s plugged into my Sansa clip, playing an audiophile recording, amaze anyone that I play them to. Even today, people don't believe that mp3s played on a tiny portable player can sound that good.

Cheers,
David.
  • Last Edit: 03 June, 2013, 05:37:03 AM by 2Bdecided

  • db1989
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #33
Now it seems to me rather clear that it's a case of expectation bias, an effect you seem, by the by, to indulge:
Quote
(I've never actually tried an IPod as I've heard nothing but bad things about how they sound. )
Apart from more elitist audiophile circles, there's a general consensus that nowadays personal digital players have reached a very good sound quality, absolutely undistinguishable from desktop players. This is also on par with my personal experience amongst many others, so one might ask where you've heard all those bad things.

Yes, if “I’ve heard” in the sense of listening to music is invalid without double-blind listening tests, “I’ve heard” vague anecdotes from some undefined source is even less useful. Lots of people say lots of things. So? This site is here to collect phenomena that have been tested, not collections of claims accepted without any challenge.

As for the specific allegation about the iPod, if anything, it’s regarded as one of the highest-quality DAPs around AFAIK, and some people even go as far as to say things like “the iPod Touch 5G is a better audio source than most DACs will be when connected to a computer or CD transport.” I haven’t tested this claim myself, but its very existence goes to show you that people can say widely contrasting things about the same subjects. Consider the standards of evidence applied by someone before you rush to accept anything they say on faith. Ken Rockwell ran a lot of repeatable tests based upon objective measurements: what about the people who told you all those bad things about iPods? I have very little time for Apple nowadays, but I don’t doubt they’re competent enough to source perfectly adequate circuitry for audio, which can be bought almost literally for pennies nowadays anyway.

No doubt the same applies to most manufacturers of even entry-level CD players.
  • Last Edit: 03 June, 2013, 05:12:46 AM by db1989

  • 2Bdecided
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #34
I'm not sure we know what's causing the "problem" yet, but...
I will enforce TOS8 as it is written.
...and as it is written, ABXing headphones is beyond almost anyone's ability, so we don't demand that. (That's my interpretation - is it yours?).

Cheers,
David.

  • greynol
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #35
Until it can be demonstrated that this is a real phenomenon on par with what is objectively deducible with speakers/headphones, David; I do not feel compelled to grant such an exception. I am not speaking on behalf of the staff.

You may now refer to TOS 2, 5 and 7 as I am not interested in derailing the discussion any further by playing devil's advocate.  There are other discussions about TOS8 enforcement. You may take it up there or start a new discussion.
  • Last Edit: 03 June, 2013, 08:03:31 AM by greynol
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.

  • skamp
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #36
That's almost unbelievable, unless they were all very bad headphones, or the source was very bad.

The point is, different headphones do sound different, and the better ones are much better than the worst. If you think they all sound the same, then you're either trying the wrong headphones, using the wrong source (CD player or CDs!), or it's your ears (which is possible, but unlikely - you'd have noticed problems in everyday life).


Er, as I understand it, he meant that no headphones fixed the kind of distortion that he's hearing. Not that all the headphones that he tried sounded exactly the same. If there is audible distortion in the source (or the output), it is expected that all headphones will reproduce it.
See my profile for measurements, tools and recommendations.

  • Kohlrabi
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #37
If there is audible distortion in the source (or the output), it is expected that all headphones will reproduce it.
Due to different frequency responses and/or bad impedance matching I would expect that some headphones might mask deficiencies, while others could reveal them. OTOH that means that perceived differences can occur due to the aforementioned attributes, too, and might not be result of a technical flaw earlier in the playback chain.
  • Last Edit: 03 June, 2013, 09:43:08 AM by Kohlrabi
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • krabapple
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #38
First, suggest a thorough check of his system settings to make sure there isn't some DSP in play or he isn't overloading his headphones.  Then, suggest the OP get a thorough hearing exam for possible tinnitus-like syndrome.  All that eliminated, he should try playing some CDs with little digital compression -- say, a classical/opera CD from the 1990s -- to see if the effect is still 'heard'.  If so, it would suggest some sort of bias is in play.  Because the idea that all CDPs since ~2000 are faulty is plainly wrong.
  • Last Edit: 03 June, 2013, 01:19:01 PM by krabapple

  • skamp
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #39
All that eliminated, he should try playing some CDs with little digital compression -- say, a classical/opera CD from the 1990s -- to see if the effect is still 'heard'.


Or, The Whole Story by Kate Bush, as he owns it, and I have a copy from the 80s to compare. For reference, metaflac calculated a Replaygain album gain of +2.06dB and an album peak of 0.87792969, and a Dynamic Range Meter score of DR13. The first thing duncan1979 should check, is if he gets identical or similar values with his own rip of the album, to make sure that he isn't listening to a hot remaster these days.
  • Last Edit: 03 June, 2013, 01:31:08 PM by skamp
See my profile for measurements, tools and recommendations.

  • greynol
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #40
I'd be SO grateful if someone who knows anything about these things could confirm that it's not just me that's crazy and there's been some knd of general degrading of the sound quality from around the early 2000s  or just someone who's noticed anything similar

Well I think the consensus is that it isn't due to the evolution of playback hardware.  Hopefully you haven't rejected it and stopped reading the discussion.
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.

  • sszorin
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #41
duncan1979, you wrote long posts in which maybe everything has already been explained, but could you please summarize again in a few straight lines your experience and the trials you made? Of course, before claiming a decline in quality of a narrow class of devices you have to rule out all possible side problems.

Say: you bought a new CD player, nothing else changed in your system (do you changed interconnectig cables?) and you started perceiving bad sound.
You exchanged some (how many) new players in this same system and still perceive that corruption.
You tried different discs, both new and old.
You tried both headphones and speakers. (Do you tried different headphones?)
You perceive (or don't perceive) the same corruption listening from other sources (downloaded files, streaming etc...) or listening to other people's sound systems? (you couldn't compare at home experience or wearing headphones with completely different listening scenarios, like watching a movie or just listening to people).
Etc...


Listened to music via cassette players/radio from the early '90s till 1997 - cassette players/radios and headphones I used would have been cheap , never heard anything wrong with the music
In 1997, was given first portable CD player, a Sony Discman - remember it having amazing sound  - also still used my old Sony cassette player/radio till 2000
In 1999, got a Panasonic portable CD player - can't remember exactly how the Sony Discman stopped working, think it just wouldn't play discs properly but it sounded fine when it would play - was also impressed with how good the sound on this CD player was( listened to both these players using headphones provided with them, the Panasonic cost about £ 50, the Sony was a gift but I wouldn't imagine it would have cost much more )
Approx late 2000, Panasonic CD player stopped working properly - again, I remember this being in terms of not playing the discs or skipping rather than the actual sound being bad -
Got another  portable CD player in late 2000- also Panasonic,which was when I first heard what I'd describe as the ' bad ' sound - this was just weeks after I'd been listening to my ' good ' CD player - I played albums I'd previously played, everything just sounded bad - it was unlistenable above a moderate volume - the first disc I played on it was one I'd just bought, I remember - this was also about £ 50, using the headphones supplied with it
I didn't have much money back then as I was unemployed so had to kind of make do with player I currently had until could afford a better one  - the next few years I tried several different CD players mainly portable ones,  and one larger Sony CD player /radio player, all of which had the ' bad ' sound. As I couldn't really do much else, I just kind of put up with the sound, but I was confused as to why they all sounded like this. The prices of each  would have between £50 and£120
Got my first PC in 2005 and since then mainly listened to music on sites like YouTube, Amazon and ITunes or played CDs in the CD drive- as I've said, the ' bad ' sound I'd heard on all the CD players was here too but didn't see any point continuing to try and find a CD player with good sound when I could just use the PC, where the sound quality was the same.
Have tried several different headphones also but this made no difference

No longer have the old CD/cassette players from the 90s so am unable to compare them


I guess I should have read the Terms more clearly when I registered - I came across this site and thought it worth posting my problem but I should've known I couldn't really expect anybody to be able to help without providing hard evidence


This thread is over two years old but I have to make Duncan see this - You are right, I hear the same thing. In the mid 1990s Sony went downmarket, they targeted the masses and not those with refined audio senses. The sound quality of their products went down; for me the last good year for Sony CD portables was year 1995, after that year came darkness. There is nothing wrong with your hearing, a Sony player from let's say 2005 is plain unbearable to listen to.

  • yourlord
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #42
It was very nice of you to necro a thread for your first post just to explicitly violate TOS#8

  • krabapple
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #43
also: 
Joined: 16-November 13

  • Last Edit: 13 October, 2014, 01:35:16 PM by krabapple

  • sszorin
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #44
It was very nice of you to necro a thread for your first post just to explicitly violate TOS#8


How did I violate the rule ?
- From paragraph 8 from the book of law of objective judging : 
"All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality, must -- to the best of their ability -- provide objective support for their claims. "
I have no axe to grind against Sony Corp. and no personal relations with and feelings towards any of Sony's CD players. I only report what I hear. On top of it Duncan concurs with me in this matter, so it is 2 out of 2, if anyone hears different please step out and contradict what we both hear. As a testimony of my objectivity I submit my statement that I am not prone to believe in hype and propaganda of any kind, in the fields of technology or outside of it. To prove it, giving an example, I say that a tendentious hate propaganda has made Hitler a synonym for evil, I say that he was no worse than Churchill or Roosevelt, I am even forced say that Churchill was more evil because that is an objective fact.
I have not been paid for what I say in this matter and I do not work for any of Sony's competitors. To prove that I own these Sony CD players would require a signed affidavit and testimony from an officer of law and this costs money. Perhaps some hydrogenaudio member who has got a lot of money and who is interested in this matter could help to pay for the expenses required to submit proper proofs ?

"Acceptable means of support are double blind listening tests (ABX or ABC/HR) demonstrating that the member can discern a difference perceptually, together with a test sample to allow others to reproduce their findings."
This is kind of impossible to do. I have eight, different, of those CD players and I know each of them by their their sound signatures. I know which one plays when I hear them - this fact negates the requirement of not knowing which player is playing. It is kind of comical, I am not supposed to know which player I am listening to but I do know which one it is before I am allowed to know. How do I get around this fatal problem ?
Getting test samples might be difficult for others, who would go through the hassle of acquiring some dozen different Cd players from different years of manufacture ? If Hydrogen Audio could put together an investigative team and send it to Toronto where I live then I can bring all the equipment and others could hear what two of us hear.
  • Last Edit: 13 October, 2014, 08:20:03 PM by sszorin

  • mjb2006
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #45
I only report what I hear.

Do it somewhere else. Maybe you do hear a difference between pre- and post-2005 CD players, and maybe some do have an audible sonic signature, and maybe you prefer the sound of one over another. Or maybe you are just imagining some or all of these things, demonstrating expectation bias, and would be completely unable to differentiate better than a roll of the dice if you did some double-blind, level-matched testing. How do we know which one it is?

This is simply not a forum for making unsubstantiated claims of this sort. No one cares who concurs with you, and according to the rules, it is your responsibility to prove that you can hear a difference, not for us to prove that we can't.

Proof does not require a team of engineers and expensive equipment. An ordinary TOSlink cable going from the player's optical out to a cheap USB soundcard's mini-SPDIF input will be sufficient to get exactly what PCM audio data the player sends to its DAC for analog output. You could compare these captures and find out if the players are reading and producing output from the same PCM audio stream. They probably are the same, so if you're hearing these differences when the player is connected digitally, then you know it's all in your head. If the player is connected via its analog outs then maybe the DAC is producing audible noise, but your imagination is still an option. Analog output should be easy enough to capture, same as ripping vinyl, and you can then do level-matched ABX tests with the recordings in foobar2000, or maybe upload them so we can compare/analyze, ourselves.

  • Cavaille
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #46
This thread is over two years old but I have to make Duncan see this - You are right, I hear the same thing. In the mid 1990s Sony went downmarket, they targeted the masses and not those with refined audio senses. The sound quality of their products went down; for me the last good year for Sony CD portables was year 1995, after that year came darkness. There is nothing wrong with your hearing, a Sony player from let's say 2005 is plain unbearable to listen to.


I´m sorry to chime in... but this simply isn´t true. I have reviewed countless portable players by Sony and other companies for my blog using sighted and double-blind methods (I don´t advertise the latter as it puts off the audience) and I´ve found time and time again that older CD players, stationary or portable, do one thing only: colouring the sound. Reason: playback laced with (often measurable) ill effects caused by shoddy/old-fashioned/budget-related engineering. This goes for their line-out (less so) and their headphone out (which most of the time are plain awful).

Just take the 1988 Sony D-20: heavy thing (weight = good sound, yes?... No.), robust built quality, beautiful sounding over its line-out. But the reality is this: it sounds nothing like the original (-> the music it plays). So you´re just listening to a personal preference of yours, not the original, unaltered sound.

And it´s easy to come by these assumptions. For 15 years I thought that my first CD player (a portable Technics SL-XP 300) was a wonderful thing, sounding lovely, causing me to believe that everything I owned after it sounded awful. Bought it again in 2010 only to find out that I had been gravely mistaken. It´s really not a good player. Headphone out sucks, line-out colours the sound (still haven´t found the reason; measures ok). If you use one of these old players, you won´t listen to the CDs as they were intended to be listened to, you´re just hearing some euphonic colourization added to the actual sound of the medium.

The gadgets that are closest to the original sound are newer budget players for DVD / BluRay or recent DAPs like the Sansa Clip+ or the FiiO X3 (using its line-out). In fact, even many of the portable MD players I own, sound more neutral than the portable CD players (and MD uses an ancient lossy compression inferior to present-day AAC or MP3!).

BTW, the guy starting this thread mentioned the album 'Never Forever' by Kate Bush. The harsh sound he observed is on the CD itself. The album just sounds bad. His older CD players hid this sub-optimal sound, the newer players stayed closer to the truth.
marlene-d.blogspot.com

  • mjb2006
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #47
Re: my last post, I overlooked the fact that it was about portable players, so my comments about testing them should be adjusted, as the players surely don't have digital output. Nevertheless, I think it's safe to assume the data is read from CD correctly and that any objective differences are in the analog stage. These must be measurable. The analog output can still be recorded, and you can do an RMAA test as well. I keep meaning to do this on my CD players. I think I hear a difference in one of them (the oldest one, natch), so I want to see if that's really true and what the reason may be.
  • Last Edit: 14 October, 2014, 05:04:01 AM by mjb2006

  • krabapple
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #48
This thread is over two years old but I have to make Duncan see this - You are right, I hear the same thing. In the mid 1990s Sony went downmarket, they targeted the masses and not those with refined audio senses. The sound quality of their products went down; for me the last good year for Sony CD portables was year 1995, after that year came darkness. There is nothing wrong with your hearing, a Sony player from let's say 2005 is plain unbearable to listen to.


I´m sorry to chime in... but this simply isn´t true. I have reviewed countless portable players by Sony and other companies for my blog using sighted and double-blind methods (I don´t advertise the latter as it puts off the audience) and I´ve found time and time again that older CD players, stationary or portable, do one thing only: colouring the sound. Reason: playback laced with (often measurable) ill effects caused by shoddy/old-fashioned/budget-related engineering. This goes for their line-out (less so) and their headphone out (which most of the time are plain awful).

Just take the 1988 Sony D-20: heavy thing (weight = good sound, yes?... No.), robust built quality, beautiful sounding over its line-out. But the reality is this: it sounds nothing like the original (-> the music it plays). So you´re just listening to a personal preference of yours, not the original, unaltered sound.

And it´s easy to come by these assumptions. For 15 years I thought that my first CD player (a portable Technics SL-XP 300) was a wonderful thing, sounding lovely, causing me to believe that everything I owned after it sounded awful. Bought it again in 2010 only to find out that I had been gravely mistaken. It´s really not a good player. Headphone out sucks, line-out colours the sound (still haven´t found the reason; measures ok). If you use one of these old players, you won´t listen to the CDs as they were intended to be listened to, you´re just hearing some euphonic colourization added to the actual sound of the medium.

The gadgets that are closest to the original sound are newer budget players for DVD / BluRay or recent DAPs like the Sansa Clip+ or the FiiO X3 (using its line-out). In fact, even many of the portable MD players I own, sound more neutral than the portable CD players (and MD uses an ancient lossy compression inferior to present-day AAC or MP3!).

BTW, the guy starting this thread mentioned the album 'Never Forever' by Kate Bush. The harsh sound he observed is on the CD itself. The album just sounds bad. His older CD players hid this sub-optimal sound, the newer players stayed closer to the truth.


There's an awful lot of claims about CDP sound  in this post. That raises several questions:

When you conclude that a CDP 'colors the sound' this is because it either 1) was different in  a DBT or 2) measures significantly different? 

How do you know what the 'original sound' is?

In a CDP that is 'beautiful sounding' due to coloration, what happens when you play a recording whose original sound is already  'beautiful'?  Does it become more beautiful?




  • Cavaille
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Declining sound quality of CD players from 90s to present
Reply #49
There's an awful lot of claims about CDP sound  in this post. That raises several questions:

When you conclude that a CDP 'colors the sound' this is because it either 1) was different in  a DBT or 2) measures significantly different?


DBT.

I started with sighted tests. But roughly 1 1/2 years ago I found them to be increasingly unreliable (to be precise: I found my hearing unreliable) so I added DBTs (via foobar). In case of older reviews, I repeated listening tests using DBTs for some gadgets, prompting me to change some reviews.

Measurements have been unreliable too. I have several players that measure very well using RMAA, their sound however says something else. Which means a) I´m doing something wrong or b) I´m not measuring enough (-> go beyond RMAA). For that reason, I consider my 'measurements' nothing more than fancy pictures without any real informational value.

How do you know what the 'original sound' is?


The method is this (have always been doing it like this for my blog):

1. grabbing 'reference' tracks of my choice to the harddrive
2. burning them to CD alongside test signals (RMAA, jitter, 1 kHz sines for level adjustment, etc.)
3. playing that CD with the player to be reviewed
4. recording the output of the player with my soundcard in 192 kHz (I want to have a look at aliasing rejection)
5. level matching recorded tracks to the reference tracks on the HDD & resampling to match the sampling frequency of the reference
(5a. sample precise editing in order for them to all start and end at the same point was added later for DBTs to work)
6. listening test using headphones

I can easily alter the method for MD or DAPs. In the first case, I digitally record the tracks on the HDD to an MD (using a stationary deck). That MD is then played back, its output recorded digitally to the HDD, creating new 'reference' files (I have to consider compression errors caused by the ancient ATRAC encoder). These files are then used as references for MD reviews. For DAPs, I just copy my initial reference files to the DAP to be reviewed.

The weak link might be the soundcard used for recording their output, the Xonar Essence STX. I might listen to some small coloration caused by the Xonar. So far however, I haven´t found any flaw.

In a CDP that is 'beautiful sounding' due to coloration, what happens when you play a recording whose original sound is already  'beautiful'?  Does it become more beautiful?


I reject the irony. To answer your question: No.
  • Last Edit: 14 October, 2014, 03:12:26 PM by Cavaille
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