Are Disc Players Dead?

How important is a disc player anymore? I think that stand alone DAC's have far eclipsed the stand alone disc player in importance over the last 3 years with the rise of server based music.

Only an SACD really needs a disc player anymore. In what instance can you get better sound from a disc player than when you download the music, CD or HiRez, then play it back through a new stand alone DAC with the latest technology?

I really only use my very humble disc player to watch movies that I own now. I download most movies to rent through AppleTV, and if I buy a CD (rare) I download it to the server, where it takes up residence in iTunes for playback in AIFF format.

So, disc players on their deathbed, as DAC move to the top of the digital mountain?

I say yes.
actually it will be the same as the dead of the vinyl......
vinyl never died, disc......
well, that is your answer......
8 tracks and cassettes are gone, I believe discs have more in common with those media than with vinyl, they are digital not analog, which is superior
8 tracks and cassettes were analog.
talk is there's movement now to offer DSD (sacd) downloads too. unless someone has a bunch of sacds, the argument for getting a new sacd transport seems to be getting weaker and weaker.

however, having said that, not all dacs and digital interfaces are created equal. for example, you're not going to get the same performance as a transport when you use a pc and a usb interface unless you have the right usb implementation that significantly reduces jitter. in my opinion, for usb, i would only go with a dac that has built in two-dimensional jitter reduction like the playback designs dac or, if the dac didn't have this, then a dac in combo with an empirical audio usb converter that reduces jitter.
I'll give up my new disc spinner as soon as the vinyl guys give up analog .
For me there is no longer any point to owning a high end disc player.
the analog guys hold on to vinyl because they generally like the sound of lps compared to the digital version, and you lose some quality ripping vinyl to hard disk. but cds can be ripped to hard disk without any reduction in quality, so you lose nothing in your digital music collection going to pc playback.
What's Linn's top of the line disc machine called now?
I used to have a UniDisc, when Disc's were important
Cds still outsell vinyl by about 200 to 1 so I think if you consider vinyl to be alive you would also consider cd to be alive and well.
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Vinyl isn't dead. It just smells funny.
This topic seems to reappear every few weeks. There`s such a large volume of music available in the Red book format at very reasonable prices new and used.

My passion is jazz and fortunately much of it was recorded well. My large jazz CD library continues to grow, I`m always finding something new to buy.

A high quality, well set up Red book playback system is capable of beautiful music reproduction,I sure enjoy mine.
Best Regards,
Everyone hasn't jumped on the server bandwagon Mac(myself included). CDPs will be around a long time, just like LPs.
Disc players will not die until:
A- they completely better servers
B- servers get very cheap

Meaning, that on both ends of the scale music servers can still be beat. Furthermore, music servers can be effected by player programs and file types. Until it is discovered why and how to ameliorate it, there will still be assurances in using a SOTA transport.
A high-end player is still the redbook gold standard--it is quiet, more linear, more original to the source. Computers and DACs are nice for those who like the convenience, storage, purchasing options for music--lots of things to like. I'll still take my Wadia directly into my amps. Can't get any closer.
These audio debates are hilarious. I love it!

The disc player guys versus the server guys.

....and the vinyl guys think that both of you are nuts!
I installed a Sonos system and added a high end DAC about 6 months ago. Since then I have not used my CD player once. I still listen to vinyl for critical listening but the convenience of the Sonos is nice.
Jafreeman, you need to explain that to me? How is that? It's the DAC in the disc player reading the 1's and 0's, so I call BS on that.
They are most assuredly not. Many of us like the simplicity, reliability and high SQ of transports and DACs, traits often not found in server-based music systems. We eschew the myriad of acronyms, server and software hiccups, crashes, droputs, firmwares, updates, backdates, minute-by-minute obsolescence of server-based music, especially through USB. At least early day CDP's were reliable!

That`s a good summary, without question there are great sounding server systems(but no better than the really good transport/one box players).

The problem is the numerous bugs that have yet to be sorted out.There`s still a learning curve and a ways to go.
didn't they say that about vinyl player's?
After reading the responses I forgot the OP's question.
OK, just reread it.
I prefer my old 20 bit cdp with HDCD to my DAC. So much so I bought a spare laser assy to install when the original dies.
How in hell did this get to be a digital vs vinyl thread?
a disc player has a dac and a stand alone dac also has a dac.

obviously the cd player has a mechanism that "spins" discs.

it is the spinning that has been criticized, allegedly causing "errors". companies like ps audio and servers address the problems of listening to a disc while it is spinning.

in order to assert that the cd player is inferior to a stand alone srever and dac, or as some have used mac lap tops and dacs, one needs to edstablish the superiority of one over the other.

all it takes is one cd player which "sounds" better than separates to disprove the null hypothesis.

one can say that a particular cd player does not sound as good as a particular dac and transport mechanism, but one cannot generalize, unless one has sampled all cd players--an impossible task.

thus i think cd players will survive until there is sufficient evidence of their inferiority.
Macdad is a BIG vinyl fan. I have read many of his posts on the subject. So, knowing that he considers vinyl to be alive, I tried to answer his question about digital discs from that perspective.

That is why I referred to vinyl.

I have nothing against anyone preferring vinyl to digital by the way.
Are Disc Players Dead?

When computer audio outperforms a top-line well done CD transport, the latter will be dead indeed. Unfortunately, so far, this is not the case, at least not in my book!

So enjoy the "dead" CD player/transport, and the music, of course! :-)

Best wishes,
Alex Peychev
Are turntables dead? There really aren't that many records being produced anymore and the used supply of records in good condition in music that people want is diminishing. Add that to the fact that everytime you play a record it is wearing out. It is a fact the turntable will be dead long before the disc player. It has been dying a slow death for years. The only thing keeping it alive is the low prices for used records.
I do not think so, I like the ritual of playing discs. If I get a server and like it better for sound and convenience then maybe the silver disc spinner will be dead, but that will not be for some time. I like having solid media.
Rrog, you are way misinformed. Do an internet seach, vinly production has increased the last 5 years at an exponential pace.

Do a web search.
Here are some figures for cd and lp sales and shipments for 2010:

According to Nielsen SoundScan, in 2010:

235 million cds were sold (approximately)*
2.8 million lps were sold

*cds were not broken out separately, thus the approximation.

According to the RIAA, in 2010:

226 million cds were shipped
4.0 million lps were shipped

The Beatle's Abbey Road was the biggest selling lp with 35,000 sold. Suburbs by Arcade Fire was a distant second.

Sales of cds are declining, sales of lps and digital downloads are increasing. Disc players will remain an essential item for many audiophiles and casual listeners for a long time to come though.

Someone may even build a disc player that makes cds sound better than vinyl starting a cd revival. Could happen.
Macdadtexas, Vinyl production has increased from practically nothing. Tomcy6 has provided some very useful statistics.

The only true test is to spend as much time, energy and expense into CD as you do in vinyl while making CD your primary source. Only then will you realize the capabilities of CD and wonder why you listened to ticks and pops.
If someone prefers vinyl to CD that`s a personal /subjective choice(nothing wrong with that). To compare CD sales volume with LPs is a losing battle for vinyl, there`s simply no comparison. Analogue records are a tiny niche and will remain so(sound quality can be debated until the cows come home).Both formats have the potential to sound fantastic, just choose the one you like. I don`t understand the need to draw a line in the sand.
Good news for me. Sell off all your CDs for 99 cents and Im there to buy them !!
Question: How do ones and zeros on a cd sound better than ones and zeros on a hard drive? As I said on a thread I started a while ago, I think people who haven't embraced the server/dac method don't want to spend the time transferring their collection or are scared of computers. Before you guys attack me on this, take a look at other threads regarding this topic and you'll see a lot of people list the same reasons.
When will the audio folks start discussing about "cloud" music? Servers are such old technology now. Talk to twenty-something interns and it's all about "cloud". Guys, you are so old...and so am I :-)
I agree, using servers and hard drives is so like 2010.

Where did my cloud go?
Clouds may be the way to go but I hope they put enough silver iodine in them to keep them around. I can just imagine everything being on a cloud and then, poof! Where did it go? This is all in jest but I remember someone 'loosing' the entire 18th century in the original "Rollerball" movie. Everything was on a giant server and everyone had access to it but someone felt it best to forget the Enlightenment.
Cloud is useless when your internet connection goes down. And yes it happens.

Vinyl will always be around because to some, it represents the ultimate in sonic quality. It is a major pain to use, and very expensive these days to outfit with hardware (TT, RIAA phono preamp, and the LPs themselves). It has fallen down the priority scale because of the convenience factor of digitally based media.

I'm stuck at the CD stage myself, prefering CD discs to thumb drives or WiFi connections. I still like to be able to pull a jewel case and view the cover art, and still look at the concept of an "album" as a related sequence of sonic experiences. Not a digitally selected set of random top 40's hits. I have Direct TV music channels for that kind of listening, and I don't do it on my high end audio system.

Plus the direct digital route is fraught with other problems. Just go to the computeraudiophile site and read about sonic quality losses from digital files being sent from common PCs or Macs. Apparently lossless digital isn't as perfect as many would lead us to believe. Plus, ever have your computer go down when playing a sound file via USB? The resulting screech will tear your ears off.
I enjoy both my CDP/CDs AND my vinyl set-up. As far as vinyl is concerned, there seems to be quite a bit available on the web.

In my case, and perhaps the same for many others as well too, there's a great used LP store about 15 minutes from my house. I can pick up old box-sets for $8-$15, e.g., yesterday I enjoyed listening to Beethoven's 9th, H. Karajan conducting, Berlin Philharmonic, DG -- 2 record box set. Perhaps I'm just lucky, but the LP store that sold that box set to me does a great job of screening out LPs that are generally in very good to excellent condition.

OK, enough said about vinyl. The vinyl debate continues to rage on.

One last comment about digital. I agree with the posts above that embrace the view that "redbook" CD will be around for a while. So, I'm not inclined to sell my CDP or my CD collection just yet, not even for 99 cent a CD.

My concern about new digital formats is alluded to in some of the comments above. It seems that a popular format or media is now "Clouds." Other than the white puffy stuff I see in the sky, I haven't a clue what Cloud media/format is.

And that makes my point. IMHO, the recording and music distribution inductry needs to settle on a standard format. Even if I were to purchase a DAC today, it will do me no good if the DAC is not compatible with the latest cutting edge format in vogue, be it Clouds or whatever. But having said that, if the music industry would settle on a new hi-rez format that is superior to redbook CD, and the new format was the only game in town, then I would consider giving it a try.

That's my opinion, being somewhat of an old-head.
"Apparently lossless digital isn't as perfect as many would lead us to believe"

Files can be better than original CD. The reason for that is that CD player cannot read the same sector many times, playing in real time, thus interpolating data when scratches on CD are longer than 4mm (quits at 8mm). Digital file can be ripped using EAC or MAX as data files reading sectors many times until proper checksum is obtained.
This is not to say that the day of server-based systems that reliably provide as high SQ and reliability as CDP or Transport - DAC based systems is not coming. But, as Charles1dad points out, currently (no pun intended) they are just too "buggy" and too many audio manufacturers have rushed servers, streamers and USB Dac's out the door too quickly, in order to ride the wave. At least the early CDP's, while far from the apogee of SQ, played reliably. My Magnavox CDB 650 (or something like that), the first 16-bit CDP, still plays! I wasn't on the phone with Tech Support 5 times a day -- ever!

Believe me, I would love to use a server-based system and not have to elevate my corpus, get vertical, use my upper extremities, and actually pick out a CD to listen to in its organic entirety!

Nglazer - many people still don't use computers seeing them as confusing, buggy and not as reliable as abacus.

I use Mac Mini with Benchmark DAC1 thru Apple Airport Express with short Toslink. It works without any problem for a long time. Computer did not hang-up since I bought it almost 3 years ago. Sound is exactly same as one from CDP directly to DAC. I have external firewire hard drive and two backups. One of the backups I keep at work in case of fire of theft.
For me, they sure are.

The Squeezebox (for all the music in the house), and my laptop (for just *my* music, processed by a particular software package) out to my DAC, produce - at the *very least* - the same sound, without having to mess with sifting through all the media. I used to be the guy who said that I would never go this route "because I like to take my time, and be able to sit back with the liner notes." - (etc) - This is no longer the case. And if I really feel the desire, I can always refer to the disc still on the rack in the other room.

I hate to say it, but I've also ditched vinyl for this. I don't have the money for a rig that, in my opinion, will make the music sound any better. I don't have the money for the high price (ridiculous in a lot of cases, now-a-days) of decent vinyl (that still isn't flat), or much enjoy to spend the time associated with the whole process any more...and my OCD just gets far too much in the way. ;)
Another thing folks are overlooking. There is NO storage media in a PC or Mac that is archival quality. What happens when your hard drive crashes and destroys all your files? Or you lose or misplace a thumb drive? They can be a pain to recover. And those CDROMs and DVDs that are burned in consumer burners will not last 20 years either. Commercial CDs have a better chance, and I have some that are early 80's (that's 30 years) that still play fine.

Playing a CD does not wear it out, unless you are such a putz you scratch the surface. Most of mine are perfect because I take some moderate care in handling them and storing them.

The rapid obsolecence of digital media make the constant migration of your stored data a constant and perpetual task. If you had data on Jazz drives or other obsolete media (floppies?) you are SOL now trying to get it back.
Dhl93449 - Maybe I was lucky, but I never experienced failure of stationary hard drive. Just in case I have 2 backups, but I agree with you that CD on the shelf is safer (unless you have fire or theft). I have three hard disks containing exact copies (one at work), but in addition I have still all CDs on the shelf.

I'm not worrying about scratching CDs either, but rather about better playback of used scratched CD that I bought. Ripping such CDs as data CD will improve quality (copy better than original).

I agree about CD-R and especially DVDs not lasting long - unless you pick better media that uses higher quality die guaranteed to last 100 years (Taiyo Yuden). On the other hand I will be deaf in 20 and dead in 40 years - why to worry now.

Good point about media obsolution. I'm already thinking of getting large Solid State (Flash) drive to copy my hard drive into it. Flash drives have limited number of write cycles but last forever with reading and have no mechanical parts - perfect for long lasting reliable music server.

as many have already said on here, this is an easily solved potential problem.

1) back up hard drive

2) internet back up - done once to an internet based source, then every night it automatically updates any changes from your home based hard drive, to the web based storage. Solved.

I don't think there are many people who don't use a computer, even though they think it is buggy and confucing (myself among them, even though I was an early adapter going back to DOS days). I think you can see from the comments in this thread that there is a wide range of experiences with computer audio, some of it great, some tolerable, some not so good. That is not the case with CDP's or transports and DAC's. That is my only point. And I also think it is much more difficult to get audiophile - grade SQ from computer based audio than CD-based. You need the right computer, backup hardware and software, player software, streamer or player hardware, USB or Toslink or firewire cables and good, reasonably priced download source and/or ripper software. That's a lot of pieces in which something can go wrong, even before they all have to communicate with each other. I just don't think computer audio is there yet for a high percentage of actual and prospective users. I eagerly await the day it is. I carry no brief for shiny discs, but nothing in this world sends my blood pressure higher than indecipherable error messages.