My CD player's specs

I'm torn whether or not to upgrade my amps or CDP first.

My CDP, Luxman DZ-03 which has tubes showing the front, is 16 yrs old and here are the specs:

Dual DAC quantization - 18 bits
Digital Filter Over sampling Frequency 352.8 KHz
Freq Response - 5 Hz to 20 kHz (+- 1.0 dB)
Dynamic Range - 92 dB (30 kHz LPF, IH-A)
S/N ratio 105 dB (30 kHz LPF, IH-A)
Channel separation 90 dB (1kHz BPF)
Total harmonic distortion - (20 Hz to 20 kHz, 1kHz BPF)..0.05%

Based on these specs, I haven't looked compared other CDPs, would I hear a dramatic difference in sound with a Jolida?
New players with 20, 24 or 32 bit DACs will sound different than your 18 bit machine. Only you can decide whether they sound better.

I find comparing specs virtually useless when comparing digital players since they all have phenomenal specs. It's the DACs, power supply, circuit design and parts that make the difference.
Even CD players today with 24-bit DACs seldom are able to produce more than 17 bits of information. Read JA's measurements in Stereophile. The analog section has always been the problem. The distortion kills the performance of the DAC and swamps any possible jitter problems.

If you want to upgrade something that actually impacts the sound of your system, look at the speakers. Add a subwoofer if you don't have one. That'll make the biggest improvement to your system.
There are only 16 bits of information on the disc. Using convertors with greater is only done to increase DAC linearity. Contrary to Bob's assertions I believe jitter is extremely important, and swamps distortions in the analog output. Bob ... try fitting a low jitter oscillator to a budget CDP like a Marantz CD67 if you don't believe me.

I think Tvad is correct that specs are meaningless and the best you can do is to listen to some newer CDPs. If you buy a used CDP from audiogon and resell it if it doesn't outperform the luxman it will cost you very little.
Specs look ok except the dynamic range seems a little low.
My speakers are very good, well I think they are, they are Kef 104/2 and Kef 105/3.

The power amp is a Luxman as well so I'm torn as to whether or not I should upgrade my amp or CDP first.
Now I'm thinking about it I just might take my CDP to my local store and do a comparison there.

I have a Sony 5 Disc carousel CDP, 10 years old,and when I do A/B comparisons between my two CPs there is very little difference.
Dazman, if you are honest with yourself (and it seems that you are noting your comparison to the Sony), you will find very little difference between quality CD players. The trap that most of us fall into is comparison listening without any way of matching the levels. This will be especially true at a dealer's showroom. Even a 0.5dB or less difference can be detected and, of course, the more expensive player will always be better. It's very hard not to assume that different is better.

Even if you decide to purchase a new player, you don't have to spend a lot to get an excellent player.

Good luck,
Seandtaylor99, regarding jitter... My comment is based on an introduction by David Rich to an article that summarized Robert Adams' AES paper (print #3712) on jitter. From the intro, "The effects of jitter can be assessed indirectly from black-box measurements, but in a correctly designed CD playback system these effects are commingled with, and USUALLY SWAMPED BY, noise and distortion products. Indeed, in exotic designs, the loony-tune analog stages are so riddled with noise and distortion that even large amounts of jitter would have little effect on the measurements."

In the conclusion of the article, Robert Adams says, "Traditional THD + N versus frequency tests and FFT spectrum plots for inputs signals of various frequencies are adequate to cover the effects of jitter. There is no reason to single out distortion components caused by jitter as distinct from those caused by such other effects as D/A nonlinearity, op-amp distortion, etc.... On the other hand, if the THD + N at 20 kHz shows little or no rise compared with the same measurement at 1 kHz, jitter is not a problem."

Adams is a Fellow of the AES, works for Analog Devices and practically invented the asynchronous sample rate converter.


I think the key phrase in the article is "in a correctly designed CD playback system ". Many are not correctly designed and have excessive jitter, often caused by poor layout as much as poor design (e.g.stray capacitance of circuit traces, noisy oscillator power supplies).

Once one adds a separate DAC things get even worse with very poor SPDIF transmit/receive designs.

So I agree that in a correctly designed player, which need not cost more than $500, jitter should not be an issue. In practise though I think it often is.

I know one of the project engineers that worked on the new Rega Apollo decoder chipset. The Rega is universally praised as one of the best CD players under $1000. In his opinion the reason it is so good is because the decoder delivers a very low jitter very well defined eye pattern, and the DAC is presented with a very stable clock.