How do you improve a CD player which is Transport only

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If you have a CDT as your source for playing CD's how would you improve on what you have if you wanted to upgrade it, I know that you don't have one but many people do and I was curious how a CDT can be improved and what does the £48k monster I saw on social media have that my 6000CDT does not.

With CD Transports being available at a wide range of prices what does a more expensive one bring to the table that my entry level CDT doesn't have.
Better components, power supplies, laser mechanisms, casework build quality....etc.
Oh, and a name that says they can charge what they like because some mug will buy it. :)
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I also rip everything so no need for a transport but I'm always curious about stuff like this. I guess the question is what is the difference between an Audiolab and a 45k dCS? This is the insides of a dCS Vivaldi...

View attachment 6204

I see a lot of chips and capacitors that could end up costing a fortune. Then there's the output stages and all that, and being a little better can cost a lot more. I'm pretty sure there is a difference, I just don't know at what point do you really hear it in your system, I imagine you do need a double digit system to be able to tell.
The main circuit board is white, so there you have it... :D

On a more serious note, I used to work in electronics and, many of the smaller components are so cheap to buy, that the time taken to pick one up off the floor, if you drop it, costs more than just taking another one. All the ICs will be off the shelf items, again not expensive as they are made in huge numbers. Even the four hefty capacitors will cost no more than a few hundred pounds. The main circuit board will be costly because it's a large custom item and, made in small numbers, even so, nothing there to justify the monster MSRP.

Would be interesting to see how much dCS spent on development, I suspect that's the biggest cost of all per unit, given the tiny number of units they will sell.


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Jun 13, 2023
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I agree with what AI says. Better would mean more attention to detail, better quality components, power supply, laser.
I spent quite a while trying to find out what a CD player actually does to try and understand something like the question you posed.
There's a lot to understand, especially when one isn't familiar with electronics.
Something that I noted during my research is that the CD itself isn't being read by the laser, directly as binary code. The 'pits' and 'lands' are read by the reflected image of the laser on to a sensor, and these are what have to be converted into binary code.
The resulting binary codes, being of varying length, are binary 'words'. Apparently, during the manufacturing process of CDs, the transition between a 'pit' and a 'land', should be well defined. Often, the CDs aren't hugely well printed. The error correction codes are contained within the binary code, converted from the low and high bits of the "read" CD surface. I believe the more that the player has to rely on error correction, the more jitter, or less clarity. Additionally this is why a scratched CD or a dirty one can still be played. The error correction codes within the data stream can allow the CD player to "infer", what should be there, if there's an interuption in the data stream.
The timing of the music is supplied by the resulting binary code too. On an LP, the disc spins at a constant rate and the grooves are spaced to supply the timing of the music. With CD, the surface near the centre of the CD, would pass the laser at a slower velocity than at the outer edge of the CD. Therefore, the spin has to be varied, in order that the 'pits' and 'lands' are read by the laser, at a constant rate, hence the clock in CD players. Again another source of jitter, or lack of clarity. I believe jitter manifests as what's called distortion but not in the sense of a distorted electric guitar. This means slightly more 'noise' and less clarity.
I hope my poor explanation of this complex process, might go someway to explaining why a better laser, motor, power supply, clock (crystal oscillator), and all the rest of the componentry, if better quality, will make for more accurate reading and more clarity than a cheaper lower quality player.
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Jun 13, 2023
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It has become "painfully" obvious to me now, that your stupid inclusion of the term "hypothetical" absolutely WAS NOT MEANT TO READ AS SUCH, otherwise my "also hypothetical & thus completely stupid answer" would not have been hypothetical either, given your complete derision of my initial answer (now deleted).

Ok - as an aside, given that I now know your supposedly hypothetical question, was in fact, a hidden agenda to get others here "doing" all of the due diligence that you so utterly NOT humorously demanded they do - for you, possibly (and this is a hypothetical assumption): YOU couldn't be bothered to spend enough time YOURSELF, doing what you are requesting all others here, to do for you, such that all you have to do, is choose the answer most will give.

So you will now get MY OWN, not so hypothetical answer too.

I would strongly suggest you get away from your comfy internally heated and vibrated couch, and go book certain International flights, to get you closer to every manufacturers workshop as you can, to (yourself) "appraise" each and every one of "my discoveries", given that you only need to hear the results, and not be told which is best ("as your ears only, can make the decision for you")

Don't forget to take along your own (rather old now) Audiolab 6000CDT transport player, otherwise the difference in your base reference results will be unattainable.

Oh and excuse the problem I instantly saw, at the very beginning, that of your ENTRY LEVEL, (cheapest model, with the least bells and whistles) HEGEL H95 DAC, as it is so far below, in comparison to even HEGEL's own H590 - as to be pathetic in the extreme, so toss that as far out the back toile window as you can, before you even start.

Now, with a slightly better but hugely more expensive DAC, do another test, to see if you actually need to waste more money (without any cents "PUN intended")

Check your speakers, to see if they aren't nearing their EOL or if they may have suffered catastrophic voice coil failure at any time, as all of that will absolutely effect, the sound quality you hear, long before you can discern any difference between the quality of your electronic equipment.
If they are within spec, and still "young (and tight)", then go to the other end and check that, as CD's are not indestructible, as even pinpoint damage and minor scratches, can absolutely distort the playback of these mediums, as can the simple fact of your finger "oils" (that get onto a CD with constant handling by human fingers) which will damage a CD's surface after a while.

Whilst there at the "originating signal source" - check to see which medium you are "playing" - as if that is a vinyl record (of some vintage), that has been stored incorrectly, there could well be a desperate need to "deep clean" the grooves, to remove dust and grit, which will seriously degrade any sound output, as will any warping if the record has been subjected to sunlight (or heat) as the wow & flutter has weird sounds that alter an original sound.

Oh and change that pickup needle while you are at it, as 25 hrs playing-time for most styli will utterly degrade their viability for continuous use.

Many people simply think, it will alert me when it needs replacing, by which time you will have done serious, irreparable damage, to your vinyl records.

None of which creates crystal clear sound, when a replay is desired to be heard.

Then & only then, go through all of your connection cables and interconnects, as any earthing faults (causing ground loop hum) or broken cables, or dislodged plugs & sockets, as well as other worn out components, will also effect the sound quality which many people suspect (incorrectly) as a malfunction of a device, and NOT that of a cable's structural integrity.

Move on to any device anywhere in your system, that may be in serious need of actual maintenance, rather than simply needing to be replaced.

Only then will your HYPOTHETICAL question be answered, as by then you will know (or should know) that one of more components is at fault, and it isn't simply that you haven't done your research (of your own system) correctly.

I wouldn't have a clue, as (for starters) I never bought into the (stupid) manufacturer's of CD's suggestions, that CD anything, would ever be better in sound quality, that the vinyl records I have, which are fully 100% quality of content, rather than any sampled CD can provide, as I don't care that CD's with a lower IQ of just sampled content, which I doubt (in faithful reproduction of musical "vocals and instruments" forms) will ever be better than the original sinusoidal waveforms of the original analogue equipment used to master the commercial release of the CD contents you are trying to recapture.

If you are ONLY using CD's for electronic DATA recovery, there is no point in converting data signals to an analogue version, as it simply doesn't exist.

No wonder you suspect the HEGEL H95, as after all, it was the absolute CHEAPEST that HEGEL has ever made, which in reality is the base model of their entire H range of "far-better/newer/updated & more powerful" models, so maybe just toss your money away and buy the H600

After all, if you want a HYPOTHETICALLY BETTER system than you have now, start with the best build quality right from the get go.​

Go buy the H600​

Then when you come back here, others (here) will suggest anything you desire, to make that unit sing.
At that point in time, maybe you will appreciate just why, this stubborn old KIWI, insists on pure sound, (in the form of Analogue sinusoidal wave formatting).
Digital to me is a "curse word".
One I have had to "put up with" since the dawn of the computer age.
Digital & Digitized ?
Sure, it may have some advantages, but with any purists thoughts on sound reproduction
To me, Analogue is the only format that matters.

Plus I can do some strange things to an original Analogue 2ch stereo sound recording, that I cannot do with a digital data stream.
For starters, I can subtract as many "other" well hidden content (channels),that none of your high highfalutin descriptions of your HYOTHETICAL "question", even comes close enough to allow you to hear, the exact quality of an original Analogue sound recording, of a stereophonic nature.

None of the Digital feeds of signals, or their precise quality - will ever be revealed, until the analogue signal that they represent (in a sampled manner), is dealt with in an Analogue way.

After a correct dissemination of content, is achieved (by me & my 1965 Decoder), you can then use as many "mono-block" amplifiers as per the number of audio channels I can extract, to send all these extra (previously unheard or played) channels, which will of course require you to also purchase numerous extra speaker units too.

Hence your tiny "playing room" will need to be exponentially expanded, to accommodate several hundred EXTRA speaker units, (along with their mono-block amplifiers) which will vastly improve your new found listening quality, of heard recordings.
You appear to have a rather fanatical dislike of the CD. For me it was and is, an astonishing and worthy accomplishment, given the era in which it was achieved. Moreover much hard work, thought, anxiety and faith that it would be worth it in the end had to be relied upon for the CD to appear in our lives.
All music reproduction has its benefits and compromises, including vinyl LPs as, I'm sure you'd agree.
An example of this is that a certain frequency of bass sounds on an LP have to be boosted within the 'phono stage' of the pre amp, otherwise it would be unacceptably non-existant.
Personally, I like CDs, they certainly have some irrefutable benefits over vinyl LPs and with the proper attention to quality and detail of everything in between the artist and listener, a reasonable end experience can certainly be enjoyed by CD users in my view.
I'll add that given the price of Vinyl LPs, I wouldn't have a hope in hell of having the wonderful collection of recordings that I enjoy, if I attempted it with vinyl LPs.
I don't do any streaming, all my music listening is achieved via CDs. With careful selection of CDs, CD players, amplifiers and speakers it's certainly viable to finish up with a perfectly acceptable, pleasant, even brilliant sound quality for the listener.
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