CD's are still the best playback format according to John Darko!

After 3 months of experimentation, John Darko now acknowledges the superior sound quality of CD playback vs. computer audio, streaming services and vinyl using the Hegel Mohican and PSA DMP/DSD:


andolink, I believe John’s words may be open to interpretation, and he might be the first one to say don’t pin him down with your interpretation, imho, cheers great video!

Well… Good for him… :crazy_face:


I must admit I had to find out who John Darko is :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I guess we are different as I never thought and still don’t believe CD’s are the best playback format. But that is just me.

JD is right. What is a mystery is why it took him 3 months to come to that conclusion.

The only thing I got out of this video was that he liked the CD transports he had better than the streamers he had. If he had compared higher end servers (e.g. Aurender Servers) to the CD transports I’m sure his conclusion would be different.

I don’t think these shining discs will be things of the past soon and still enjoying collecting them;


If he had higher end CD transports up against higher end servers the conclusion would be the same.


I seem to have a new CD land in my letter box every day. Sometimes 2.


Not sure I agree - suppose it’s possible but to be fair I’ve also never heard a 100K CD transport but I’m sure you have or actually own one…

Network audio playback is certainly catching up with physical disc playback. One day it will take over, but for the time being the CD transport reigns supreme. However, if convenience is more important then the choice is obvious.

Ignoring computer audio gives up access to millions of CDs via streaming services and high resolution formats. Which is the main reason why I just bought a server and not a disc transport.

Nice assortment of gear (for the most part).

If you subscribe to John Darko on YouTube or listen to a few of his real world, music first, analysis you begin to understand he’s not measuring or endorsing but simply giving the end user who may want to know, how current technology can help them get the most out of their listening experience. Correct me if I’m wrong, It would seem there is some consensus that a resident DSD file played thru a DirectStreamDac, dcs Vivaldi, or ChordDave etc, is current state of the art playback. My PWT/DSDac disc playback is good, maybe equals a ripped CD, but does not come close to a very well recorded dsd file on my system. Many here may have the DS MemoryPlayer and may tell you like John, to their ears, in their systems, a redbook disc played thru DSMP sounds as good or better than a hi res file thru a world class Dac, it’s very subjective to ear and system, and that’s what makes this hobby so fascinating and enjoyable. Darko reveals some very interesting observations on various gear without bias, his video editor, Jana Dagdagan at Earspace on YouTube is a bright young audiophile editor worth checking out. :v:

I’m just curious why JD had that DMP + DSD for 2 years without using them…that comment needed explanation. If I heard him right on that…

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My thoughts exactly considering he reviewed them a few years ago ??!!

Lucky I have both. And in simple terms of hours of utilization, my streaming side clocks up about 3 or 4 times the hours of the physical disc playback side.

Most high end servers have attached or internal storage. I have my entire CD library ripped and stored internally. I think it’d be pretty hard for a transport better this type of configuration.

Actually, in my experience, the opposite is true.

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I agree with cudfoo that I didn’t get that he was saying what is stated in the Thread Title. Maybe that’s simply down to the trend of making Post and Thread titles clickbait-ish. If it had said, “Darko likes the Hegel Mohican disc spinner over the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge streamer!”, I might have thought, “Duh…so what?” and not clicked on the thread ; )

Perhaps the bottom line here, and one that seems is popping up in other threads, is that Format has become less of an absolute consideration these days. Though I can get into a Shootout as much as the next person from time to time, I don’t entirely get the ongoing need to make one format or other the Winner of this particular “Fight”.

We’re usually talking up whatever we have a large library of, and/or the best means of playing that back. It makes sense that if you have a large physical library, you would optimize that PB chain, just as if you had only vinyl. Or if you have little or no physical library or have simply “gone streaming”, you would optimize that chain, and may have no other chain to compare it with (much as a dedicated analog user might not have a DAC, say).

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I do agree that your world is a bit different than mine. I guess I should preface my observations with some context. I’ve never experienced a CD transport under 10K that can compare to similarly priced high end server. Being that you’ve most likely spent more on isolation feet then most have on their kitchen my observations would apply to those of us of more modest means and fortune…

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