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  1. #1

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    Default 2 Channel Duel - CD vs. WMA Lossless

    Since I am currently ampless . . . waiting for my Odyssey amp to arrive . . . I've decided to plug in my Sennheiser HD555s and do some listening tests.

    Test Rig:

    Rogue Audio Metis (as headphone amp)
    Oppo 981 HD - CDP
    PS Audio DLIII DAC
    Dell Inspiron 9400

    OK . . .

    The Dell was hooked up to the DLIII via Kimber Kable USB. The Oppo used a Signal Cable Coax.

    Test Material:

    Keb'Mo - Martin Scorcese Presents
    Diana Krall - Live in Paris
    Patricia Barber - Comapanion
    Metallica - Black Album
    Incubus - Morning View
    Alicia Keys - Unplugged

    The Oppo obviously got the hardcopy and the dell played WMA lossless.

    My girlfriend switched between sources in a blind test.

    I guessed the source incorrectly 73.3333% of the time. I listened to 50 different songs several times each and often guessed the wrong source. This is a major testament to the quality of the PS Audio DAC.

    While testing, it was extremely difficult to distinguish between each source. My mind played tricks on me several times as my girlfirend would say she switched the source and to replay the same song previously played. Only she really hadn't switched the source at all! And sometimes when I was sure the source had stayed the same, she had switched it.

    I think I may start moving towards listening to music off my harddrive. I love to own the albums, but the ease of use on a computer is amazing.

    It will be interesting to see if I experience the same results on my Adagios once my amp arrives.

    Has anyone else decided to take the next step in the digital age?

  2. #2

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    Auditioned the same type of test with a ML setup about three weeks ago and the CD won. Biggest difference was that the sound was "thrown" down to the floor. Don't ask me how in the hell that happened, but it did. Better sound stage with the CD as well. Clarity was hampered as well.

    Not buying into that technology yet. Good for low level background listening, not for critical listening IMO.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  3. #3

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    I'd love to invite a couple of local Polkies over one day to do such a test. Thanks for posting your results.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  4. #4

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    What kind of CD player did you use? I'm going to compare the DLIII Oppo combo to my new Consonance Turandot to see if I have the same results. The PS Audio and Oppo may simply not be high-end enough to draw many distinctions in the music. I'm not going to say I have golden ear by any means, but I evidently couldn't tell the difference in what I have tested thus far.

  5. #5

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    Well, the CDP that we had was my Rega Apollo CDP. It was "kind of" [meant loosely] a blind test, because he switched the signal via the remote, so I could never tell which source he was using. I could, after he told me which was which, tell which source was playing. It was fairly obvious to the both of us and you didn't have to be in the sweet spot to tell.

    We did the same thing thru his Oppo. Don't recall the model # [but I could find out if you are interested]. He also had a Benchmark DAC used with the Oppo. Now on that source, the differences were not as noticeable. One would have to have a highly trained ear to distinguish the differences. He could not tell any change. I noticed very little with this CDP and had to strain to hear it.

    For the test, we were using the World's Greatest Audiophile Recordings [Chesky Records] SACD, but we were testing with the redbook layer.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  6. #6

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    FYI, we never did the test without the DAC on the Oppo.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  7. #7

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    The oppo alone sounds bad compared to the Dell w/ the DAC. The dell without the DAC sounds worthless.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    FYI, we never did the test without the DAC on the Oppo.
    The DAC leveled the playing field. There's no reason lossless files couldn't
    sound as good or better than a cdp. Of course, they also could sound much worse.
    Like anything else, it's all in the planning.
    Unless the pc had a problem, or the cdp had a lot of jitter, I would expect
    both sources to sound much the same sharing the same DAC.
    It is a real, usable format. The real trick is not screwing it up in
    putting together a system. Lossless format and good ripping programs
    are out there. Hardware for pc's have gotten cheap. DACs are where the problem
    lies. There is no good reason why a DAC for pc playback should cost
    big bucks. The big guys are ignoring the market, so we are left with a bunch
    of small DAC companies handbuilding this stuff. If someone came out with a
    mass produced DAC with a good analog stage for $200-300, it would change
    the face of music playback. Instead, we have a bunch of fair to ok Chinese
    companies making DACs. Kinda like dating the hot chick's chubby cousin.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolidSqual View Post
    Has anyone else decided to take the next step in the digital age?
    I've been trying to convince a few knuckleheads around here to try the lossless format from a HD, be it a full computer or an iPod.

    Obviously I'm gonna need to upgrade my DAC to hook-up my laptop to the main system, but the ALE off the iPod is so damn convenient, that the few percentage points of difference between it and the CD simply aren't worth the trouble for 95% of my listening.

    Rock on with the digital gear, baby!

    Wes
    Link: http://polkarmy.com/forums

    Panasonic TH-42PHD8UK 42" HDTV | Polk Audio SDA-SRS's (w/RDO's & Vampire Posts) + SVS PC+ 25-31 | AudioQuest Granite (mids) + BWA Silver (highs) | Cary Audio CAD-200 | Signal Cable Silver Resolution XLR's | Wyred 4 Sound STP/SE Pre | Signal Cable Silver Resolution XLR's | Cambridge Audio azur 840C--Wadia 170i + iPod jammed w/ lossless audio--Oppo 970 | Pure|AV PF31d

  10. #10

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    Ive done the computer thing a few times...

    The thing that gets loss to me is fullness, depth, and dynamics...

    My setup is very dynamic is every sense... huge center image --- clear, etc etc etc...

    So --- basically, if anything negatively effects that, I pick right up on it...

    But then again, I dont have any fancy sound cards or anything either ;)
    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  11. #11

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    I expect I will hear a difference once I get my new CD player. If I don't, I will shoot myself in the foot for wasting money.

  12. #12

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    You need to git one of dem thangs dat glow and **** ya know??

    ;)
    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  13. #13

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    Yeah, I'm operating on the assumption that the best players look either like spaceships or the Forbidden City in China.

  14. #14

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    What kind of CDP were you looking at getting if you don't mind me asking? Or do you know yet?
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  15. #15

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    Either Consonance Turandot or Cambridge Audio 840C

  16. #16

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    I agree music in the Lossless modes sound great, I have a hard time telling which is playing CD or Lossless. I'm comparing the Ipod ALE vs. CD.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  17. #17

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    Hmmmmm ----

    Yeah -- I found my next player the other day -- one day...

    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  18. #18

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    My Ipod would beat that ;)

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  19. #19

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    Hmmm

    Maybe -- on the other hand, I could knock someone over the head with that... and they would never get up again...

    Thing looks to have about 1/2" aluminum plating all around...

    Can you say... HOLY HELL?
    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  20. #20

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    How do you like your Shanling? I've heardmixed things about the players, but I love the style. I may just have to pick of the CA 840C as a safe bet, but the player is so boring to look at.

  21. #21

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    I love it...

    Wouldnt trade it for anything

    Build quality is through the roof --

    No mechanical trays -- nothing to really break

    Tube, Analog, and Digital outs

    Seperate power supplies for all outs (Analog, Digital, Tube, Headphone)

    The tube stage isnt spectacular

    But man the analog stage is absolutely ROCKING.

    I wouldn't trade it for anything unless it was an upper end Shanling to be honest ---

    And I'll say this, I have never heard a huge change in CDPs (stock) ---

    So, take that for what its worth... :)
    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  22. #22

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    I have no idea which player will sound better at this point, but in about 2 hours, we will be A/B'n his Shanling w/ the Rega Apollo. :D ;)
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  23. #23

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    Speaking of sound differences, the biggest change in sound you can get is to just go ahead and change your speakers...

    Funny how that works -- but each component "upgrade" you make is pretty much menial (to me anyways) YMMV
    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  24. #24

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    trey,

    Don`t you already have that one?
    Cary SLP-98L F1 DC Pre Amp (Jag Blue)
    Parasound HCA-3500
    Cary Audio V12 amp (Jag Red)
    Polk Audio Xm Reciever (Autographed by THE MAN Himself)
    Magnum Dynalab MD-102 Analog Tuna
    Jolida JD-100 CDP
    Polk Audio LSi9 Speaks (ebony)
    SVS PC-Ultra Sub
    AQ Bedrock Speaker Cables (Bi-Wired)
    MIT Shotgun S1 I/C`s
    AQ Black Thunder Sub Cables
    PS Audio Plus Power Cords
    Magnum Dynalab ST-2 FM Antenna
    Sanus Cherry wood Speak Stands
    Adona AV45CS3 / 3 Tier Rack (Black /Gold)



  25. #25

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    Nah, I have the lower end version (1500 new)

    The one I pictured above is around 2900 new
    www.Vr3Mods.com ///// www.Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro

  26. #26

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    I want to hear the Apollo v. shanling duel. I have been considering both payers. Please keep us informed.

  27. #27

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    Default I have found so many forgotten jewels in the music collection.

    Even the less shiny ones. Playlists are such a blast, you can build such varied ones for any purpose...I've made one with Chesky/Stereo-pile test and music material just for when there's a change made. BTW I'm one who can hear that there's a difference in real/artificial stereo in the Chesky Demo disc but I couldn't tell you which is which,to me they both sound good :o

    I agree with the comment about speakers producing the larger changes.
    I like this loose quote..."be more open to 5k worth of gear driving 10K worth of speaker vs 5k worth of speaker driven by 10K worth of gear."

    I've found hardrive streamed lossless can put up a solid stable soundstage populated with reach out and touch singers and instruments.
    The loudspeakers pull off the trick of looking like a pair of boxes sitting in a room populated by performers. The far flung less solid sonic cues enlarging the illusion of exspansive space to the solid stage, which extends wall to wall and pushes out foward and behind the plane of the loudspeakers. Yes, between wall and speaker a solid sonic image-object is projected.
    Sure my room could be bigger first and foremost. 16 bit digital and the 12 year old digital processor set each have their own soft spots.
    I do enjoy hard drive sourced music very much. If I could start from scratch now maybe it would go like...
    A large fully treated room,the best speakers I could swing, Network streaming device, a DAC/Preamp ,a transport, then amplification.

  28. #28

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    I've done the comparo, in the end I slightly preferred a SB3 w/Elpac power supply being run to a MHDT Paradisea to my Jolida JD-100. Spent a few weeks comparing DACs to each other and them to the Jolida, the Paradisea is the only one that could reproduce music like the Jolida could.

  29. #29

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    Nice thread...

  30. #30

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    Now here's the ticket . . . anyone ever heard one?

    http://www.stereophile.com/mediaservers/207slim/

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