Audio Quality: CD player vs USB stick vs PC ?

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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I'm guessing the answer to the following question is "no difference at all", but would like to be sure!

I have a Marantz M-CR603, but my question applies to any all-in-one unit which plays CDs and music from a USB stick and/or from a PC via a network. My question is as follows:

If a CD is ripped accurately and losslessly (e.g. to Flac format), is there any difference in quality between playing the music from (1) the original CD, (2) Flac files on a USB stick, and (3) Flac files on a PC connected up to the network?

I am ignoring any noises not coming from the speaker, such as CD player transport noise, and am also assuming the network is working fine so that there are no buffering issues.

Note: this question is not referring to perceived quality (I can't detect any difference with my own ears), but about whether the actual current driving the speakers is identical in each case. Could the built-in amp behave differently with the CD player than with Flac files?

Thanks,

Bluto
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
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If they end up going through the same internal DAC / Class D amplification then no, they should all sound the same or indistinguishable.

Unpublished - duplicate post.
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
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If they end up going through the same internal DAC / Class D amplification then no, they should all sound the same or indistinguishable.
 
Just to throw a curveball; you could argue that since CDs spin, sound quality could theoretically be compromised as compared to a USB stick. ;)

In reality however, I haven't noticed a difference.
 

pkerai

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May 25, 2011
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I think there can be differences between them.
Depending upon equipment and circumstance.
Even if the DAC is the same.

Theoretically, the source is bit-perfect FLAC file.
Apart from the obvious (interruptions in data transmission).

There is upsampling, CD output variance (beacause performance isnot always the same-its a moving part), CD player quality (extraction of more information).

There are some audiophile computer programs that use the RAM Memory to feed the stream to DAC or streamer instead of a solely hard drive extraction. I dont know how much they differ, but it depends on the equipment.
You also get asycronous connections which means the signal can only be changed at the point of
DAC.

The point is that the three methods dont necessarily output exactly the same at the point of DAC.
Maybe someone with more knowledge can explain and elloborate on this......
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for all replies so far. Am I correct in thinking that *if* the CD player is good enough to extract the "0"s and "1"s perfectly from the CD (i.e. producing identical bits to that from the decompressed Flac files), then the DAC recieves identical information whether from CD or from USB stick, and in turn the output from the speakers is identical?

Bluto
 

pkerai

New member
May 25, 2011
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Thats what I highlighted. Some audiophile pc software claims there is difference between pc streaming. Maybe someone with both knowledge and experience can comment.......
 
bluto said:
Thanks for all replies so far. Am I correct in thinking that *if* the CD player is good enough to extract the "0"s and "1"s perfectly from the CD (i.e. producing identical bits to that from the decompressed Flac files), then the DAC recieves identical information whether from CD or from USB stick, and in turn the output from the speakers is identical?

Bluto
Yes.
 

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