I miss my CD player, computers just dont cut it.

josh05

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Feb 28, 2010
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Hey guys, I have been using my computer connected to a Rega DAC via digital coaxial for a while now and have come to the conclusion my old NAD 545bee connected to my DAC way out performed my PC. Is it just me or could this be true? the PC just doesnt seem to have the crisp timing the CDP had everything seems jumbled and confused and the stereo image just doesnt sound fucused and in control like it did through my CDP.

Would love some input on this people. Cheers.
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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If you are using a PC, use any media playback software you like, turn off any processing, turn it to 100%, turn off system sounds, make sure the system music format is correct (usually 16/44.1) and make sure the only audio is the media player and the signal is untouched. Or you could use ASIO to be sure.

Foobar, Winamp, the above non-free Jriver etc.

I think maybe what you are missing is the tactile feedback. I get pangs of that from time to time.

Then I look at my controller (the phone) and the fact that ALL my music is a few key presses away, that and Spotify, internet radio etc, and I stop worrying and enjoy :)
 

Crocodile

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Jan 15, 2009
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PC operating systems can do all sorts of unwelcome things to a digital signal before a DAC gets hold of it. Probably the easiest/quickest way to hear your PC at it's best is to download the trial of JRiver. Have a read through & try it via USB as well as coax.

You don't say what format your files are in but if lossless, then there's really no tangible reason as to why the PC can't equal/better the NAd CDP.
 
A

Anonymous

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Agree with all above, I have downloaded a trial of JRiver and have found this a significant improvement on iTunes both in terms of sound quality and functionality (except the remote via my iTouch is not as good as the remote app for iTunes).

You might also want to consider investing in a Musical Fidelity V-Link II (http://www.musicalfidelity.com/products/V-Series/V-LINK/v-link.asp) which plugs into the USB port on your computer but is asynchronous and provides digital outputs for either coax to DAC or optical to DAC. Personally I went for optical because I read that the Rega DAC performs slightly better with the optical connection.
 

josh05

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Feb 28, 2010
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Cheers guys, I think it might come down to playing mainly compressed formats through the PC and the NAD being a better transport. When i used the CD player i never played compressed music through it, 90% of my collection on PC is compressed. Defiantly going to try a another program to iTunes and see how that goes, and play some uncompressed music through the PC to see if it makes a difference.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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josh05 said:
Defiantly going to try a another program to iTunes and see how that goes...
Why not rip something to iTunes in ALAC or Apple Lossless first? (Otherwise iTunes with compressed vs something else with lossless is not really a fair comparison.)

Why "Defiantly"? (Intrigued.)
 

paradiziac

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Jan 8, 2011
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All good advice RE: making sure your software is optimised.

But I found that using a USB converter between the computer and DAC makes a significant difference (i.e. the computer sounds at least as good, if not better, than the CD transport into the same DAC all other things being equal).

Some DACs have very good USB inputs, though not the Rega, so better to try a good USB->co-ax converter if you want CD quality from the Rega DAC via a computer.
 

jerry klinger

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Jun 26, 2010
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nads said:
should make little difference as it is really the DAC you are hearing.
Here we go again.

I have to say, though, that the NAD 545 is an incredibly detailed CD player. Was listening last night on Sennheisers through my little Rotel RA02 amp, definitely heard things on old tracks not heard before.

Or the earwax has recently come out after 40 years.
 

jerry klinger

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Jun 26, 2010
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paradiziac said:
Some DACs have very good USB inputs, though not the Rega,
I actually fround the USB was the best input on the Rega DAC. Have you actually heard it or are you just non-quoting a review?
 

SteveR750

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Mar 11, 2005
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iTunes only works really well within the Apple O/S, it's no better than the default windows media player in Windows. A good third party programme set to run your sound card in exclusive mode (J River is one of several) will be significantly better than compressed files via iTunes. My PC is a better source than my Cyrus CD6SE, that is both transport and DAC combination, bearing in mind that the dacmagic + probably isn't the last thing in high end audio.....
 
A

Anonymous

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If alot of the music you have in your iTunes is from CDs you have ripped before and still have it is worth going through the pain of re-ripping them in a lossless format I think (Apple Lossless/ALAC if planning to keep using iTunes or probably FLAC if going to use another player). There is a good thread on backing up a CD collection which deals with this.

I agree with Chebby in so much as Apple Lossless/ALAC sounds a bit better in iTunes than say 192kbps or even 256kbps but it's not a huge difference in itself. Similarly, although I'm now convinced that JRiver is a better player than iTunes both for sound quality and functionality, the improvement in sound is not going to be hugely noticable from that change alone and I would just warn you that it can be a bit touchy with low resolution files (128kps files can skip and stutter at times so have to tweak the settings and they do not show as playing bit-perfectly, probably because they are relatively poor quality files - it excels with files at 192kbps and above but obviously lossless files are slightly better still).

However, a combination of playing lossless files, using a USB converter (such as a V-Link II) to optimise the USB output and a programme (like JRiver) to by-pass the windows processing and laptop soundcard made a significant difference for me and I wouldn't now pay for a CD player again.

Re the Rega DAC I'm sure it's good however you use it but as I said above I run mine into the amp via a MF V-Link II which plays up to 24/96 (you can buy one for up to 24/192) and I consider this a very good USB to optical/coaxial converter for the money.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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josh05 said:
Cheers guys, I think it might come down to playing mainly compressed formats through the PC and the NAD being a better transport. When i used the CD player i never played compressed music through it, 90% of my collection on PC is compressed. Defiantly going to try a another program to iTunes and see how that goes, and play some uncompressed music through the PC to see if it makes a difference.
Just out of interest, how compressed is the 90% of the collection you mention? (Worst case/best case?)

I mean, if you are talking about 128K (or worse) then even re-ripping to iTunes in 320K AAC (with error correction) is probably going to significantly improve things.

Some of my old iTunes 256k purchased downloads aren't even a patch on 256k VBR rips from CDs to iTunes, when like is compared with like. (Same tracks from same albums, both 256K, but one from CD and the other from iTunes store.)

The iTunes download versions sounded dull in comparison, which is why I stopped downloading them and buying more CDs to rip instead.
 

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