Mfg’s indicate that as CD player quality goes up the player extracts more information for better quality sound. If I rip a CD using a standard external R/W disc player, is all this content now in the digital file (e.g. FLAC)? Is the quality of playback sound now dependent on the playback DAC, just as the quality of the CD playback is dependent on the transport/dac?
That is a most interesting question to me. Since I got my Gryphon Ethos Transport DAC, I believe listening to a spinning disc sounds noticeably better than feeding the ripped data from the same disc to the same DAC. I have no answer as to why this is but I believe it to be true.
Is your Gryphon a memory style player? I have a Bryston BDP-2 / BOT-1 setup. Feeds the CD “data” into the BDP digital player. I’m not sure the rips via DBPoweramp sound better, or if the BOT-1 disc plays do. My hearing probably isn’t good enough to tell. Both sound great.
No sir, high end transport, high end DAC combo. No converting anything to anything. The Ethos just sees so much deeper into the DATA from the transport somehow. I have no idea what is different but I really enjoy the difference. When we plug an MBL 1621A Transport into the Ethos DAC it is in the same class. One is not better or worse than the other, but each has it’s own sound. For comparison my previously enjoyed Jay’s Audio MK2 sounds lifeless and dull plugged into the Ethos DAC. My PST was recently returned to me and one of these days I will plug it into the Ethos and see where it stands. I believe it will be in Jay’s Audio territory, very enjoyable to listen to until you hear the 1621A or the Ethos Transport. I had no idea such performance increases were possible.
I depend on dBPoweramp myself. I have for quite a long time. I am certain it gets the correct data, if possible. It also is quite obvious when it doesn’t. It is a fine tool and one that makes me uninterested in trying something else.
Your Bryston setup is likely to be very good. Very good indeed. It may be a prudent idea to avoid testing or listening to $30K plus transports though. I am really surprised by this. All those years reading about a $40K CD player and I’d think “Bits are Bits”. I don’t think that anymore. No sir.
Great discussion. I am on the lower end right now with marantz 6007 feeding optically into stellar strata. Wondering if i should just rip my cd’s onto a server and avoid upgrading the cd player. At my level of system it may not matter. In any case the initial indication is that there is some loss in the ripped file. Found stereophile review of the gryphon and quick scan indicates the author thought no difference between the cd and the flac file.
As always the total system influences all this. I think my answer is that for my lower level system cd vs flac is no effective difference that i could hear.
It’s almost impossible to do a side-by-side comparison of separate components, as we’re comparing apples to oranges. You could argue comparing a disk spinner to a server from the same manufacturer at the same price point and with similar specs, maybe. What I did to determine where I found the greatest difference was in my automobile and at home using the PST. In my car, I’ve compared spinning a CD to the same ripped (at native CD resolution) files saved to a thumb drive. At home, I did the same with the PST. Those were the closest, most consistent ways I could think of, as there are only so many ways you can compare a disk spinner to a server of some sort. Both instances used the same DAC and power supply, etc. In both cases, I found the disk play superior of the 2 methods. As for upgrading your spinner or the DAC, it may come down to the convenience of using a server or the ritual of spinning the disk. If you have a budget in mind, that’s also a consideration.
A CD and a ripped bit perfect file play back with the same DAC should sound exactly the same. It’s the exact same bits. The only variable is the quality of the playback component. With a higher quality server, it can sound better than a lower quality CD player and vice versa.
Clifton, how do i insure bit perfect rip?
Just use a good program. dBPoweramp is a favorite here.
In my experience, playback software (Roon, JRMC and others) and transporters can have different impacts on the sound.
“Bits are bits”, but the sound of the converted bits are not identical by the time they reach the speakers, even when otherwise “identical” bits are fed to the same DAC from the transport/CD and the computer or NAS.
CDs playing through PST used to sound better than my old streaming setup. Now I am not sure. A few changes I made to my server have brought them remarkably close to each other.
First, I replaced the stock charger with an IFI iPower X for Orbi satellite which connects to SoTM Cat7 Lan Isolator. Second, I ripped all CDs into AIFF files. Third, I added a quality power cord to an IFI Pro Elite PS for the server. These changes have made SQ from streamer sound close to original CDs. In some cases, local files sound better in fact.
Scott, you are so knowledgeable. Yes, this bits thing can get quite complicated. You are getting into a more advanced system where these variables in playback can make a noticeable difference. But in a more basic digital system, I doubt if it’s much of a significance.
Awesome stuff. Thanks for the details
Al, you are so spoiled with this Ethos! Now all lower priced CD players sounds dull and lifeless. I will play more this Mega bucks lottery. Perhaps I will get lucky.
It is weird reading this coming from you. You can hear the difference between footers. Bits are Bits, no sir. Not even.
Don’t forget Al, I hear big differences in LPS’s also. I’m waiting for this Farad Super 10. Should be a mind blower.
I’m leaning towards the bits are the same, but there’s something going on in the interaction between the external source and the Ethos’ DAC. So power cables, ethernet cables, etc could be the cause of the difference. Does the Ethos reclock better from certain interfaces?
But I also know you have tremendous attention to all those details, so I gotta be wrong!
You know my turntable setup.
More importantly I know my turntable setup.
But that isnt what we are discussing here. We are discussing CD playback vs. CD RIP playback. You say bits are bits and I have to scold you for even going there.
You and your brother are welcome to visit and decide for yourselves.
Al, I was talking about external LPS (linear power supply). not Lp’s.
If I said the same bits played back in all components all sounds the same, then I deserve to be scolded, but that’s not what I said.
My brother and I would love to take you up on your gracious offer if someday we are in your area, not to hear that bits are not bits, but to hear your highest of end system and the sound it could produce. It would be such a honor.
Whew! I am glad I got it wrong!
I happily rescind my scolding!