Why do most of my cd's sound terrible

Well I’m happy you don’t have the issues I do. My room, which I am stuck with, is the big culprit. I’m glad I don’t use a preamp any longer–this amp has really “nailed” the system I want to have, and the ZROCK2 is the hammer. I was taught differently about buffer amps and gain stages, and I think it’s more important to describe the ZROCK as a gain stage (I don’t think it’s a buffer amp) as that is its operational lynch pin. (Personally I’m not against buffer amps, they just are not useful to me in this system). Anyway, have a nice weekend.

Interesting back and forth. Im learning something anyway. So im just curious as i would love to try a Zrock type device, what is the main difference between the Zrock and the Modwright tube buffer? That got a lot of press initially too. You can up the gain on a Zrock over and above the input but on the Modwright you can “bend” the signal but no change is gain?

I myself don’t have any experience with the Modwright or how it might sound. . . .

Actually i was just inquiring as to the difference in operating principles and technologies. I have no idea how either one sounds.

Please let me know if there are any errors in my posts regarding basic electronics.

I continue to wonder what you mean by a buffer amp. Can you provide an example?

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I have a sense of the function of the Decware.

But I have no idea what the Modright does even after reading their website and a review.

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Well I think that you may be referring to this product:

Looks like a very nice component. Judging from my experience with similar products it will “smooth” out the sound in a good way, remove some edge and glare, depending on tube choices which will tailor the sound somewhat. And it will lower the impedance of the output signal which should also help most preamps or amplifiers and create a nice sounding input signal that should improve the perceived sound of the source. (Not unlike in a different manner the regenerators I have lower the impedance and improve sound).

The ZROCK2 or 3 will additionally more aggressively shape the signal and the frequency response can be varied with tube type and the choice of two tone signatures, and this effect will be varied with the increased gain output and heavier application of the chosen curve, adding what I perceive as density and heft to the signal, and influencing the midrange as it also progressively diminishes the treble frequency output.

I imagine both will sound similar (when the ZROCK2 or 3 is in a “bypass” position or low application of the curve and gain) and different (when the gain and effect are more heavily applied on the ZROCK2 or 3).

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I’m done discussing this Elk.

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Yep, that is the device I was referring to.

Thank you for that description. Seems the Decware is at a better price point with equal if not better options to fine tune …

As in there is nothing wrong with my exposition of basic electronics?

And you have no explanation for your use of the the term “buffer amp”?

This is objective “here is how it actually works” stuff. As you claim I am wrong in my explanation let us all know what is actually true.

There is nothing to be afraid of. I, and others here, are happy to learn.

None of this challenges your happiness with Decware’s product. That you like it and it solves a problem for you is great.


Am I in the right thread to say that all my CDs sounded great after my latest upgrade and tweak, even the bad ones. :thinking:

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So the Zrock is just a buffer with variable gain at certain frequencies?

Just a little food for thought in the spirit of the OP’s initial complaint. He is right when he states that some older CD’s don’t carry the impact that some of the more modern ones do, and that comes from the fact that back in the 80’s and even up through the 90’s CD’s were mixed differently that their vinyl counterparts. Many forget that very few systems at that time had separate DAC’s and S/PDIF inputs and we relied on the analog sections and DAC of the player we were using. I know that my early SONY CD players I used had a very robust analog section that did bring with it, it’s own sound signature. Point being most find adding some EQ can do wonders in much of our more modern systems… Just sayin’…

There are certainly some CD’s which could use some judicious EQ to be more listenable.

Generally, however, my experience is that if almost everything sounds bad, one cannot blame it on CD’s but rather the system itself needs attention.

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Elk, I have repeated what I mean several times: if it is unity gain I was told it’s a buffer amp, if it goes well beyond unity gain adjustably it’s a gain stage. I haven’t said either of us was right or wrong, just that is how I was told to refer to them by an engineer years ago and how I have seen them described and communicated in audio groups before. If he was/is wrong, so be it. I don’t “have to be right.”

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I have the CD of REO Speedwagon’s you get what you play for from the early 80s. Terrible sounding. Compressed, tinny and just plain bad. The music is wonderful so I enjoy every minute of it to this day. And I don’t have to get up to flip the album. Ahh

Hmmmm. . . This still does not make sense given the applicable electronic circuits - as I have explained.

So, for example, if you adjust the Decware unit for no gain it is a “buffer amp,” but it is a “gain stage” (and no longer a buffer amp) if adjusted to provide some gain?

Again, this does not make sense to me. Not a “right or wrong,” but rather I need to understand.

My guess is what you were told was a form of colloquial shorthand.

If you ever see the output impedance of the unit disclosed please post it. Decware avoids stating it while including it in the specs of other pieces of kit it offers.

In any event, it is an interesting unit.

I, too, will listen to bad recordings of good music.

But this does not keep me from wishing the recordings were better. :slight_smile:


I wish for the best recordings too, but always return to the reason for all the madness we endure; music.

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