Has CD playback evolved in the last 5 years?


A recent thread asked if an older, inexpensive player should be repaired or replaced; and that has me asking the question - has cd playback technology evolved to the point where it's now prudent to replace older (say 5 years or more) players because of advancements in technology? I have an older Arcam FMJ 23 that sounds really nice, but I'm wondering if new players or DACs will give me better sonics than my Arcam. (I live in an area where I can't audition equipment very easily)
rockyboy
The capabilities of CDP's are constantly changing (improving ?) and players now are vastly better than they were for the first 10 to 15 years. But in the last 10 to 15 years the changes are not so clear and often are offerred at fairly high prices. But CDP's, like all other audio components, have their individual qualities, mostly in tonal matters. There are many variations available.

I can think of no fundamental changes the CD playback which have just appeared in the last 5 years. There are a lot of small and incremental changes of varying value. I'm sure that there are alternatives to the Arcan FMJ23 that someone would prefer, as with everything else, but if you have no problems with the Arcam and, for example, can not think of anything you want to change or improve about it, save your money until it dies. Sit back and enjoy what you have.
What about the use of multiple DAC chips in the CD units and improvements in the technology of onboard DACS in the last 10 years?
Don't know about recent improvements but as far as the Arcam CD23's concerned, one of the reasons it's considered one of the better CD players is due to it's DAC; "a variation of the 'Ring' DAC, manufactured by DCS which the company used in it's own $15,000 Elgar machine." Arcam had a falling out with DCS which resulted in them using a different DAC in it's subsequent units. The 23's a rare bird, I'd do listening comparisons before getting rid of it!
Don't know about recent improvements but as far as the Arcam CD23's concerned, one of the reasons it's considered one of the better CD players is due to it's DAC; "a variation of the 'Ring' DAC, manufactured by DCS which the company used in it's own $15,000 Elgar machine." Arcam had a falling out with DCS which resulted in them using a different DAC in it's subsequent units. The 23's a rare bird, I'd do listening comparisons before getting rid of it!
I don't think 5 years is a good number to use. Aside from some small improvements, CD players have not seemed to progress much in sound quality using a 5 year time line. If you move out to 10 years, a much better case can be made.
I can personally attest that conversion of PCM two 2xDSD as is done in the EMM Labs (and Playback Designs I believe), has taken CD playback to a different level (for me anyway). If this level with attainable 5 years ago, and if so at what pricepoint I do not know. Also don't know how othe expensive DACs stack up against this technology.
there is no arguing with impprovements in technology, but, someone may prefer a dac or player that is 15 years old to many dacs and/or players in current production.
I'd say the major change has been that there are a seemingly endless number of high-quality external DAC's available to meet just about any budget.
there is no arguing with impprovements in technology, but, someone may prefer a dac or player that is 15 years old to many dacs and/or players in current production.
Mrtennis

Nailed it. My cdp is more than 10 years old but I prefer it to every newer cdp I've tried.
I can personally attest that conversion of PCM two 2xDSD as is done in the EMM Labs (and Playback Designs I believe), has taken CD playback to a different level (for me anyway). If this level with attainable 5 years ago, and if so at what pricepoint I do not know. Also don't know how othe expensive DACs stack up against this technology.
Audiogon acting funny. I did not post this twice.
I've noticed big sonic improvements in the last 2 to 3 years, so I would have to say there as been a big evolution in the past five. To bad you can't audition some of the latest digital gear it really is getting sonically impressive. If your happy with the sound of your Arcam I would recommend an upgrade in that line.
Will have an opportunity in a couple weeks to audition a new Exemplar modded Oppo. But within the last year I've gone to wireless streaming of my 800 plus cd library and find it very convenient. Therefore, the bar is set very high for the Exemplar. It will have to be very magical before I spend the money and replace my Arcam.
I agree with Edorr. I own an XDS1 and an MPS-5 both of which convert PCM to DSD and they both sound superb.

I do think they have taken CD playback to the next level.

But I still keep my Ayon CD5S. There's a time and place for everything and there's something right about the quad PCM1704UK (even if it's an old R2R chip). It's not as detailed or as resolving but with the tube output, it's a really good alternative sometimes.
Doggiehowser, that is only three. What four >$10K CD players / DACs do you own for the other days of the week?

What preamp do you use with the XDS1? I'm still on the fence about a preamp with my DAC2X.
Probably the biggest evolution in CD players is the use of CDROM drives and buffering the data before spooling it out to reduce jitter. Similar to the way Computer Audio works.

The biggest evolution in digital audio is elimination of the optical disk completely. Better retention of the music data on hard disk, and better SQ is possible in the playback due to lower jitter.

Jitter is the #1 problem with digital audio and there have been great advances in the last 5 years to minimize this. It can never be zero, regardless of what the marketing BS says.

The next major milestone is to properly characterize jitter and its audiblity.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
"Probably the biggest evolution in CD players is the use of CDROM drives and buffering the data before spooling it out to reduce jitter. "

Steve, can u name a few CDPs using this technology?
thanks.
The PS audio perfectwave transport for sure....
Edorr, the Playback and the Ayon (used as a pre primarily) is in the study. The speakers are Lenehan ML2 Reference with a Plinius SA-Reference.

The EMM Labs XDS1 is in the main media room with an ARC Reference 5SE to Nemos driving Thiel CS3.7s. I also run two SS2.2 subs.
Nice. Not many would spend nearly 2x on their source as their speakers, but I have heard the Thiels and they are phenomenal, provided you have a moderate size room.
Strictly speaking, you have to consider the 2xSS2.2s + S1 as part of the main speakers :D
Absolutely. Now we are 85x better than Live :-)