I have a question for Ted Smith. I own the Directstream Dac and currently use a $50 Sony blu ray player as a transport connected to the DS with a coaxial cable to play CDs. I compared other cd players I own like the Oppo UDP 205 as transports as well and noticed no difference in sound. So do all CD players sound the same on the DS irregardless of price? I’m asking because I was considering upgrading to an expensive Marantz dedicated CD player to use as a transport instead of the cheap Sony blu ray player. Would I hear an improvement with the Marantz or would I just be wasting my money? Because as far as I can tell all CD players sound the same through the DS. Let me know what you think.
Great question, although I experienced a distinct step up in Redbook CD SQ going from the PWT to DMP. Folks are hearing SQ differences between the successive firmware updates for the DMP. But the connection to the Direct Stream DAC is via I2S in this case.
With the DS the differences come more from the grounding quality of the source than the clocking quality. I’m not sure those differences are as directly correlated to price as clocking differences. But still there’s probably a good overall correlation between price and sound quality, possibly with noticeable standouts.
I think you did some very interesting research Roy. You also might want to check the difference between an actual CD and a rip of that same CD. You may end up not buying an expensive CD player after all and stick to your cheap ol’ Sony BR player. The thing is: if you open most CD players they all have the same internal (computer CD) drive, some brands not even hiding the origin of it. The same is true for expensive and cheap DAC manufacturers all using the same Texas Instruments 4 dollar chip, PS Audio NOT being one of them by the way.