Memory Players


Hi Folks.

Well, the upgrade itch has got me and it may be time to once again dip my toe into the technology pool. It's actually been a while since the last "itch", so I'm O.K. with it.

I am still using a Denon DVD500 as my digital reference source. This unit was a giant killer in it's day with it's heavily constructed chassis, extensive shielding, and those wonderful Burr Brown 1704 24/96 dacs.

Unfortunately, CD quality has worsened. The discs seem thinner, the discs sometime vibrate, then vibrating the dacs, blah, blah, blah.

Who has experience with either the Nova or PS Audio Memory Players (or others like it) and what could you tell me?

I extracted the information below from what I believe to be the old Nova website. It's very interesting.

"“Read-until-Right” is the principle that lies at the heart of the Nova Physics Group Memory Player and that enables it to achieve its stunning sonic effects. When a CD is placed in the Memory Player, the laser will first read the disc like any other CD player, but what distinguishes the Memory Player is what happens when the laser encounters a hard to read spot on the disc (and this happens hundreds or even thousands of times per disc, either from dirt, scratches, surface imperfections or eccentricity). A standard CD player at this point will introduce Error Code Correction or Error Concealment Correction (ECC) and Parity Bits. The Memory Player disables ECC and Parity Bits and engages its Read-Until-Right (RUR) and Dynamic Laser Positioning (DLP) software. RUR attempts to retrieve the original information on the disc by engaging its DLP that repeatedly shifts the laser angle. Only when the information can’t be extracted after hundreds of attempts do Error Code Correction and Parity Bits kick in, creating as perfect a theoretical facsimile of the missing information as possible, as in standard CD players."
buscis2
I would not buy any player based on claims of superior or different technology. IMO, that's the downfall of many audiophiles. Buy based on sound, build quality and reputation for good service. There are many excellent players out there and you can get reviews from the people here who own them. I've heard some of the best players in the world by DCS, Esoteric, Zanden and others. None of them employ any of this (excuse me) horseshit. Don't fall into the trap. Just my opinion, of course. That's not to say the Memory player is not good. I'm just saying, if you want to buy it, buy it because you auditioned it and it blew you away - not because it uses whatever claimed advances. Good luck.
Well you see... That's why forums can be such a great exchange
of ideas. As a matter of fact, here's another:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue57/memory_player.htm
That's a nice article and the person seems to like the sound. My point being, the technology doesn't mean squat unless it translates into sonic benefit.
Chayro,
I can`t argue with your bottom line, judge components based on sound, not hype and promises.
My PS Audio PWT is memory based and it`s excellent. Very natural,open,dynamic and very transparent. A truly well performoing CD transport in my system
Exactly. It seemed to me that the OP was considering the Memory because he was attracted to the technology, which is, IMO, not the way to go about it. So many audiophile products are sold on that premise- this DAC uses the Sabre chip or this turntable uses a magnetic repulsion bearing. There are so many design aspects of each component in the chain, that the alleged superiority of one of these design principles does not mean a thing. I believe the AMR CD player uses some old chip design and it certainly sounds better than an Oppo using the Sabre chip. Anyway, sorry for the bit of a rant, but I just think that people should read less and listen more. Just my opinion.
11-29-11:Buscis2
" Who has experience with either the Nova or PS Audio Memory Players (or others like it) and what could you tell me?”
"It's very interesting.”

11-30-11: Chayro
"It seemed to me that the OP was considering the Memory because he was attracted to the technology, which is, IMO, not the way to go about it.”

Chayro, I’m sure you are very well meaning, but I can’t find anything to take issue with in Buscis2’s posts. He is simply intrigued by an alternative technology and is making inquiries. IMO, that is using Audiogon to its best effect.
The problem with all-in-one players is that they usually make the wrong choices for ripping software and playback software. You are better off to get a Mac Mini and put Amarra on it. This delivers a world-class sound that beats all CD players and transports if coupled with the right USB DAC. This way you can upgrade the S/W as the technology improves.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
FWIW, I find the idea of using flash memory very intriguing.
"You are better off to get a Mac Mini and put Amarra on it. This delivers a world-class sound that beats all CD players and transports if coupled with the right USB DAC.”

Is it really that simple Steve? If so, what are all of the problems and complications with PC sourced audio that I’m always reading about. And why do so many who have tried, return to their CDP’s in frustration, saying it’s not ready yet.
Try and have a listen, when I heard The Memory Player a few years ago after one of the reviewers hyped it up;

#1 was not easy to use

#2 had quirks

#3 for what it was a fairly cheap cabinet and not much inside but very exspensive did not have me opening up my wallet.

#4 continuous upgrades but some specific models were not available to up grade.

The latest one is suppose to have fixed allot of this including just being different all arround and is actually allot less costly also so best you get one that is broken-in and have a listen, we are still talking close to $10K, far from being pocket change.

The PS Audio, I keep reading this and that and have had one in my set-up and it was sonically disappointing compared to my red-book set-up so again best you get one if interested and have a listen in your own set-up.
I'm with Phaelon. I am still hassling with my rep for my Marantz NA 7004 which is a very buggy media player. I also own a Squeezebox Touch, which for $300 represents a heck of a value and is a lot more reliable than the aforementioned Marantz, but it also does strange computer like things that require reboots and what not.
Computer Audio is clearly the next thing especially for high Rez, but they just are not at a user friendly enough stage to make give up the trusty Silver Disc spinners.
Is it really that simple Steve? If so, what are all of the problems and complications with PC sourced audio that I’m always reading about. And why do so many who have tried, return to their CDP’s in frustration, saying it’s not ready yet.

I was a skeptic for a while too. Not anymore. I have a very simple yet effective computer audio set-up that also allows me to play CDs if I choose (I can even A/B side by side).

I think some people get carried away with how far you really need to go to get great sound out of a computer set-up. It doesn't need to be that complicated and I'm keeping my set-up pretty simple in comparison. Haven't experienced any hiccups yet. I also think some manufacturers aren't thinking through their designs very well, mainly due to inexperience in this area. Steve Nugent Gordon Rankin, and a few others have been at this for a while and are experts at it. So there are some really good solutions out there that work just as effectively or better than the traditional digital front end components.
The statement about the Nova player that is quoted in the OP is misleading. What occurs "hundreds or even thousands of times per disk," which in conventional players and transports is subjected to what it refers to as "Error Code Correction," results, at least in reasonably contemporary implementations, in bit-perfect recreation of the original data on the CD. What it refers to as "Error Concealment Correction," which results in less than bit-perfect recreation of the original data, only comes into play rarely (not at all on many CD's), in extreme situations such as severe scratches, or disks that are otherwise in poor condition.

See my post here, and the Wikipedia links provided in my previous post in that thread. Also see two posts in that thread in which Steve provides added confirmation, one of them stating that "with a clean CD, there are virtually no read errors with modern read heads. There will be some differences in jitter with each play however, based on lots of things, such as AC power, ground loops in the system etc."

The quoted statement about the Nova player appears to indicate that it disables BOTH error correction and error concealment until such time as its RUR process has been unsuccessful. If true, that would say essentially that their approach creates a problem which it then solves.

Regards,
-- Al
...."If true, that would say essentially that their approach creates a problem which it then solves." LOL!
I would not touch any high tech product like this unless is was convinced that the company will be around in 10 years. Speakers perhaps, but not music servers.
Given news articles I've seen and multiple threads on the subject, I'm not sure anyone can say with any conviction that new releases of CD's will be manufactured and distributed 10 years fron now. I suspect PS Audio will be around in 10 years.
"with a clean CD, there are virtually no read errors with modern read heads.

Almarg, I wanted to mention this in the spirit of clarity...
You'll note in my original post I had mentioned the diminishing quality of the actual media iteslf. Off center spindle holes, asymmetric deposition of aluminum, variations in flatness are all major contributors to read errors also.

Also... Am I mistaken? Or does the MP utilize a ROM drive. If so, I was actually unaware of ROM drives incorporating error correction.
Does the MP utilize a ROM drive. If so, I was actually unaware of ROM drives incorporating error correction.
I believe that all or nearly all CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives will not perform error CONCEALMENT (i.e., interpolation), but I'm pretty certain that they do perform bit-perfect error CORRECTION when reading an audio CD (to the extent that it is possible to do so for the errors that occur), utilizing the error correcting codes that are on the CD. I'm not 100% certain, but I presume they do that to the same extent that a standalone player or transport would.

BTW, although the CIRC error correcting codes that are used on audio CD's are extremely powerful, as indicated in the thread I linked to in my previous post, those used for data CD's (as opposed to music CD's) are even more so, as might be expected.

Following is an excerpt from this old (1988!) writeup on CD-ROM drives:
This first level error correction (the only type used for CD Audio data) is extremely powerful. The CD specification allows for discs to have up to 220 raw errors per second. Every one of these errors is (almost always) perfectly corrected by the CIRC scheme for a net error rate of zero. For example, our tests using Apple's CD-ROM drive (which also plays audio) show that raw error rates are around 50-100 per second these days. Of course, these are perfectly corrected, meaning that the original data is perfectly recovered. We have tested flawed discs with raw rates up to 300 per second. Net errors on all of these discs? Zero! I would expect a typical audio CD player to perform similarly. Thus I expect this raw error rate to have no audible consequences.

So why did I say "almost always" corrected above? Because a sufficiently bad flaw may produce uncorrectable errors. These very unusual errors are "concealed" by the player rather than corrected. Note that this concealment is likely to be less noticeable than even a single scratch on an LP. Such a flaw might be a really opaque finger smudge; CDs do merit careful handling. On the two (and only two) occasions I have found these, I simply sprayed on a little Windex glass cleaner and wiped it off using radial strokes. This restored the CDs to zero net errors.
Regards,
-- Al
Thanks for the response Al.

It reminds me of the way A'gon forums USED to be...

Polite, intelligent exchanges of ideas.

Sometimes. :)

Ed.

You cannot go wrong with the PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport (Memory Player). It reads hi-rez wav files (up to 24/192) BURNED onto dvd's in addition to regular cd's. There is no better reader for the money, imo. It doesn't do SACD nor HDCD. With SACD your out of luck, with HDCD, the files can be extracted to your computer and the HDCD can be decoded to 24 bit/44.1 files using dBPoweramp's HDCD dsp decoder and burned onto DVD for playback in the transport HDCD decoded.
Thanks very much, Ed (Buscis2).

Here is an excellent paper from Linn, which is essentially consistent with what I had said about CD-ROM drives, but provides some good elaboration.

Best regards,
-- Al
Extracted from the Linn

"CD players will perform interpolation automatically, often without the user being aware of it. Most ROM drives, however, will not perform interpolation, (although some may provide it as an option), so it is the responsibility of the ripping software to decide what (if any) concealment should be done. Software concealment relies on accurate C2 error reporting by the ROM drive, but again not all ROM drives support C2 error reporting."

You hit the nail right on the head Al!