Questions about sound quality

richardhbrichardhb Posts: 42Member
edited March 2017 in Totally Not Guitars
I understand that if you want to play music in your living room the better the set up speakers the better the pleasure,but?

If you play a cd through a standard player or Xbox or listen to music on the radio say in HD. If you only use a quality head set direct to the player does the quality of the player make any difference?

Example if I listen to rock radio (WITH GOOD HEADPHONES) on the BBC through my TV digital/HD is it the quality of the TV or the broadcast that makes the difference?

Hope my question makes sence? Sorry to be so long winded?


  • atomheartatomheart Posts: 39Member
    If you're playing the music from a digital media (cd/dvd/mp3- computer/digital video-audio broadcast), the quality of music player (doesn't include the amplifier and speakers!) has little influence over sound quality. Audiophiles will probably disagree with me, but they're the kind of people that "can" hear the difference between two optical audio cables... ^^
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Speaking as someone who might just about be described as an audiophile in that I have a hi-fi seperates system, yes I do think the cd player makes a difference, not as big perhaps as the speakers/headphones, or the amp, but still there, and still audible. That was at least my experience when buying a cd player (some years ago now!) - I tested several, and some did sound better to me than others. I can understand that the signal itself is digital, but it does have to be converted to analog, plus I would guess some other processing, before being sent to the amp - I think there is potential for loss of signal quality as a result, depending on the design, and quality of the components.

    It does seem a bit ironic to me that since the advent of digital music, and things like MP3s, interest in hi fi and that sort of stuff has actually gone down. But of course the other side of the coin is that we do have reliably reasonable quality music reproduction these days, and you can get too wrapped up in worrying about how good your hi fi is, and forget to enjoy the music. The cables - yes that does seem a bit OTT even to me - at least I've never really heard much of a difference, maybe I would have to buy more expensive hi fi for that to matter lol!
  • TinyghostTinyghost Posts: 834Member
    Ha ha.
    Blimey this is crazy, but I'm going to agree with megi.
    I think the player makes a difference.
    I have an old (but quality) hi fi seperates system and I've tried a couple of players/laptops/ipods etc through the aux. In fact I final mix my home recordings through it.
    The difference can be fairly obvious, esp between mp3s and a CD. This could be the players or the format, I grant you.
    But the same cd through the same system can sound different; laptop output sounds weaker and more tinny. DVD player similar. My CD player is old and not great resulting in a hasher tone to say my PC player. So I think definitely there's a difference.
    I listen to vinyl on my hi fi, which has totally changed the way I listen to music. If you want something that feels more natural and full I'd recommend it (it's a continuous physical signal, unlike the on/off digital). Also read "perfect sound forever".
    But hey that's just my point of view, there are no rights or wrongs f'sure (same as with guitars).
    So digital CD guitars, amps, pedals
    it's all down to what you like to hear, or whether you can be bothered to try anything else in comparisum.
    I know a lot of young kids prefer hearing music on tinny small speakers..just because that is what they've always heard and it suits the modern electronic music.
    Crazy, but it's up to them.
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,315Member
    Megi is right; at some point the digital signal has to be converted to analogue (our ears aren't digital) and that's where the audible differences creep in.

    Even the digital-to-analogue conversion process can be done in different ways; but I suspect that most of the degradation happens after that, today's designers being somewhat ignorant of analogue circuit design compared to the days when all audio was analogue.

  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    I found good quality cable can make a tremendous difference over longer runs.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    I'll chip in and say with a hi-fi seperates system the quality of the CD player can make a massive difference to the sound quality.

    I went through comparative listening to different bits of hi-fi gear at various Hi-Fi shops in Edinburgh a long time ago. I was amazed at how much difference there could be. And just like with guitar tones no two people would agree on the same combination being best. Good Hi-Fi gear really used to last too ... the NAD amp I bought in my mid 20s lasted nearly 30 years, and the Linn speakers I got back then are still doing fine.

    I went through a spell of a few years using a cheaper budget CD player - funds were low and priority elsewhere. It almost put me off listening to CDs at all. Fairly recently threw out the budget CD player and got a decent NAD (a good match with the NAD amp). It was obvious within 5 seconds of starting to play a CD just how much I'd been missing.

    The only negative was it highlighted just how bad some of the "loudness war" CDs I'd acquired were.

    On cables though - I've never had the need for long runs so can't really comment on that.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Mark, we must have both been through similar "hi fi aquisition" stages in life - I think I got most of my current kit in the 90s and early 2000s, though I have a pair of B&W DM10 speakers that date back into the 80s. The CD player is a reasonably decent Sony one (something like £170 when I bought it I think). Strangely, I do miss those days when there were plenty of shops on the high street selling audio kit. Now it all seems to be big TVs and surround sound malarky for watching films.

    Re the cables, I guess there are 2 types - connecters between the hi fi units, and the cables to the speakers. I did spend a bit in both cases, but hand on heart I can't really say I can be sure I hear much difference as a result. Maybe it has helped though, in which case all well and good.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Graham - I know what you mean about the lack of shops now doing hi-fi seperates now. I never got above the decent quality hi-fi level though. I certainly never hit the dizzy heights of my Dad with his Linn Sondek LP12 turntable!
  • LotusLotus Posts: 332Member
    Now you're talking boys.

    I got my separates between 1977- 1980 and still have 'em (albeit packed away in the loft)

    In those days we didn't have CD's so it was turntable, amp, tuner and twin tape deck and speakers

    I remember spending hours researching the various bits and ensuring compatibility.

    I was insistent that the tape deck was able to play metal tapes ( that's metal composition rather than genre \:P ) but can't recall ever using a metal tape in the 35 years I've owned it

    As you say, there seemed to be plenty of quality outlets. Usually small family businesses with lots of knowledge and experience.

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