no difference between 4k meridian & 400 DVD?


i am really starting to doubt this whole damned industry. today, i tried a little experiment. i burned a copy of my favorite k. jarrett CD. i put the CDR into my 508.24 and the original into my 2-year old sony DVD player. i cued the players up simultaneously and did an extensive A/B for about an hour.

guess what? the differences in sound quality were so minor as to be almost inaudible. if anything, the 508 had SLIGHTLY better response at the frequency extremes and SLIGHTLY better dynamics. i'm not sure if i honestly could tell them apart in a double-blind test.

i always believed my main system was fairly transparent. meridian 508 CDP & 502 preamp, bat vk-75, AZ silver reference IC's, decent copper speaker cables (forget what kind), avalon arcus speakers. the IC connected the DVD to the 502 is cheap audioquest copper. i am using a monster hts-5000 power conditioner with vibrapods under the front end and BDR cones/pucks under my amp.

given that the 508 COSTS 10 FRICKING TIMES MORE, i wanted to hear a major improvement over my cheapo DVD but there just wasn't one. my ears are fine...for example, i heard substantial improvements after installing the pods and especially the BDR cones. is going on here?
In my experience, rapid A/B evaluation disguises differences between components. Listen to a track, pause, switch players, listen again, and see if you don't hear a greater difference.

Of course, this could mean that my method "creates" differences that aren't there.

Better still, listen to each component for extended periods of time and notice how you feel about the music. Level matching is a hard-to-control variable that you must consider. -Dan
You're not making a fair comparison. Make two copies of the original and use the copies as your point of comparison. This will remove the variable of whether the CD copy is truly equal to the original. Another factor to consider is whether the Keith Jarrett is sonically demanding enough material to differentiate between the two. Even if you remove these variables I would not be surprised if you reach the same conclusion. The differences between well designed equipment is somewhat subtle.
Did you try swapping the CDR into the DVD player and the original in the 508 ? That would ensure that the 508 was not being compromised by having to play a CDR. Ideally the comparison should use two original CDs.
Also what recording were you using ? Many pop/rock CDs are terribly recorded and will not bring out the best in the stereo.
Finally I have to say that I have long suspected what you report. I have favourably compared my Marantz CD67SE to an expensive Meridian player and heard only minute differences.
I concluded that digital sources are not worth more than 1/2 the cost of the amp or speakers, unlike turntables. Of course there are many who post here who prefer high end players ... perhaps their system is much better (and more expensive) than mine.
I'd be interested to hear more details of your test.
Funny; I just got a second run of AP speaker wire. My main reason was to install said wires on a different amp. I already had AP 9's w/ copper jumpers in the main system. Lazy guy that I am this was the eaisier place to install the new/used wires. The ones I bought have silver bananas,but are oval 9's. I just put music on while I surf. The sound just jumps out at me. More low level detail,more bass, more of a pure tone;better highs.-- All this from a 200 dollar second run/ and eliminating the jumpers made by the same co.--??? I don't "squint" to listen-- It is just there. I would be depressed if I had the same results re; the cd/dvd players.My "stuff"-- CJ Premiere 5's in triode (16 el34-Siemans, Montana ESP's, Purcell digital, & Sy. Ref. w/ active shielding.(dig. links & ics)Anybody using jumpers might try that second compete run.
You have hit on the reason that objective testing, particularly double-blind testing, is so unpopular on this and similar sites. Many are threatened by the suggestion that any differences between components/wires are so slight in so many cases that they cannot be reliably confirmed in the face of objective testing.

Those with a financial agenda or fragile ego cringe at this suggestion and will predictably flame away in response. Your ears have enlightened you that in the world of high-end audio, you are best served by your ears and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Let me help you out. Your ears are fooling you . Listen to your 508.24 for a month. Only listen to the 508 .24 and nothing else. After that 1 month is over. Put the 400 DVD back in its place. I promise you will hear the difference. It will be like night and day. I went through this with the 508.24 and the Cal-Cl 20. I thought the ony difference was the bass. Smile i was very wrong. The 508.24 unit is very detail and smooth.
I had the same experience with a Perpetual Technologies P3A with Modwright upgrade and a Marantz CD-63. I couldn't hear a difference. And boy did I want to. But I will blame my hearing before I'd blame the P3A. Too many years of noise. When I was 25 I could hear things that most people could not.
I would agree that you should either use two copies, or two originals to make the comparison. That being said, I have been happily using an RCA DVD player-model 5223 (similar if not very close to the Panasonics in terms of internals) for the past year or so as my CD player. What did I have before? An Arcam Alpha 8SE. I was pretty shocked. The RCA was better stock, and got better still with an aftermarket powercord (Cardas Golden-interestingly being offered up in another thread here on a Musical Fidelity player) and benefited greatly from my line conditioner (Inouye SPLC-one for sale used on Audiogon right now-not mine!). I've also been careful to set it up properly and isolate it (using vibrapods), also tweaked it up a bit by attaching industrial floor tile to any area inside the case that I could fit it to without hampering ventilation or the ability to get it back together-also sandbagged right on top of the transport (exterior or the player). In any event, I think you can get amazing performance (perhaps not SOTA) out of many of these cheap DVD players by paying attention to the above. The cheaper players probably really benefit from filtering or line conditioning as a result of probably pretty weak power supplies in the players. My opinion is that blowing a wad on digital right now is totally crazy, and I don't have the wad anyway. I've listened to some very expensive players and none of them make me want to fork out the money.
Your method has no validity.You did not do a proper comparison.
One more thing Meridians are way way overpriced for what you get.Many units at 50% the cost of meridian are better units.
I agee with some of what was said above, I sometimes wonder the same thing about my system(which I believe you are familar with ;) Then I change something in the system-that I have been listening to for a long time-and then BAM a huge change from a subtle upgrade. I would say listen to lots of music through the meridian, for a few weeks at least, then listen to lots of music through the el-cheapo(bet you didn't know I spoke spanish)sony DVD player, if you can't hear a difference unload the meridan and enjoy the $$$ in your wallet, after all your ears are the only important judge when it comes to your system. Enjoy, and don't give up on this crazy endeavor that is audio, it is fun-despite the set backs.

Way to go Natalie, or whatever your name is, offend just about everyone. Although I have no doubt that there are many cdps you might prefer to the Meridian 508.24, that doesn't make them better nor the meridian overpriced. I've heard them all except the very expensive Accuphase players and separates. Nothing I've heard betters the meridian in sounding like real life.

Of course the method of comparison was flawed. But, who knows, maybe S2k, and a lot of other people, can't tell the difference between an expensive and a cheap cd player. They should count their blessings and save their cash. Don't worry, be happy.
I would generally agree with Natalie. However, even if the copy of that CD was inferior to the original the man shoul've heard the difference. Also, I, for example, use a very good Nakamichi deck for the comparison to begin with: except for a very slight noise I cannot distinguish the sound of the cassette and the weaker CD player. When I hear the difference than that player is already quite good. I also support the idea that Meridian is overpriced. In addition, even cheap DVD and CD players sound very different which is also obvious when making the recording on the metal tape. By the way, it is my experience that analog sourses are not that demanding when it comes to interconnect cables.
I started out with some very modest gear. Would add something here somthing there and it just sort of grew. B&W 803 speakers, seperate amps, better player all seemed to be OK. However I was still runnig a receiver as my PRE-AMP, just using the pre outs. Then I purchased a true PRE-AMP. Did no shopping no trying to decide, Just got it (liked how it looked). Took it home expecting to maybe hear a slight gain, but really not expecting much change as evering thing had been real slow (so far) no real thoughts on what I would hear. Installed it and turned it on WOW I mean night and day, Just unreal sound.

The point here is that I knew the sound I had been listening to, but what I heard now was not expected. I knew then and know now how much better it was, no guessing no looking no thinking, what I should here (did not know enough).

In all test that will have any meaning you need to listen to the samething while you are reading, walking around just setting, get to know it by heart and I mean by heart. Then change one thing and one thing only. If you do not know it within the first few minute (this is better or worse), then there is nothing left to say.

I have found that no swithching back and forth waiting for OH what did I hear will ever work. You just start looking to here somthing second guessing what you hear or what you want to here.

I firmly believe to many people spend way to much time chasing a never ending circle of what they think they should hear.

I once came in from a day of being out in the wild country (in Alaska) and being right on top of some totally wild bears and a person said boy you are excited, with out thinking I said if I wasn't it would not have been worth doing and it would be time to quit.

This stereo quest is the same if you can not hear, feal it move you or find the difference, you have lost the excitement of it. Hopefully you will not get tied up in the never ending chase and not be able to just hear what is there.

When you reach a point you are spliting hairs. If it does not move you, then a person has to decide, what am I going to do with this. Me I choose to let it be, as what it was time spent. I will know when I here the next thing that really grabs me until then enjoy what you have. You must have like what ever it was that got you to that point.

By the way my system has grown to a fairly complete system. CJ LS16 MK2 Pre-Amp, Jadis JD-1 Transport, Jadis JS1 MK2 DAC, Sony 9000ES Lexicon MC-1 B&W 801N front mains and 804N rears, HTM1 Center and SCM8'S side speaker, great cables most of the Misc conditioner and such. I am real happy with it.

However as a hobby I will try that next item. I just will not be trying to make it a matter of it has to make it better. I will either like it or will not. Then I will sit back and listen to the ever so great sound I have Until something else jumps out at me.

When something gets OH SO GOOD (to your likes), big changes are much harder to find.
I know the differnce between my 37 36 combo from levinson and the theta miles was huge. No comparison that the levinson rig was better. It actually almost made the theta unlistenable. So i know there are differences..... thats for sure. There have been other times when i a/bd the denon 1650 AR a very good class B budget player to an old sony 5 disc cd changer and could tell no difference at all. Now the system i was using was pretty bad and that could be an issue. Also speaker wires are very important in showing the differences. Once i upgraded my wires differences were much more apparent. You might want to do the same and compare again. - Ian
geez...look at the controversy i've created!

a few follow-up points:

(1) i realize that i should have used two origianls or two CDRs to make the test completely fair BUT...the DVD player doesn't read CDRs and i didn't want to spend $20 on another original CD just for this. that said, i highly doubt it would have mattered anyway since they sounded identical and i doubt that would be the case if the CDR was inherently inferior.

(2) to those who suggested my ears are broken, why is that NO ONE publishes the results of any legitimate DBX testing with two digital sources, cables, etc.? i think docwarnock is right...the industry prefers to avoid such experiments as 'they' probably know the results would be inconclusive most of the time.

(3) why do people like 'natalie' feel the need to attack me for being honest? maybe i am naive but i thought we were here to share information that might benefit each other. in other words, get a life natalie.

(4) as for the meridian being '"overpriced", well, that seems to be the consensus among those who bought other players and want to justify their decisions. i highly doubt that the meridian is substantitally more overpriced than any of the supposedly high-end players at that pricepoint....and i am starting to wonder about all of them.

i had hoped to start an open discussion about the reality of digital versus the hype..instead i get a bunch of semi-personal attacks and useless flag waving. let's try to stay on topic, ok? thanks.

I predicted the flames. It is the only response that the "true believer" is capable of when presented with contradictory evidence.
I've had the same experience, took out my cd player which lists for $5000 and sounds great and replaced it with a $79 apex ad1500 dvd player!!!! I listened to 'On Every Street' by Dire Straits I swear the apex was every bit as good my music cd player on the first 2 tracks. But on the 3rd track 'When it comes to you' my cd player vindicated itself, with the apex the rhythm and pace was off almost as if the song was playing in slow motion, it just didn't sound 'right' it really worth it to pay 10-20 times more for a component for a small incremental gain in performance, that depends on your finances..But anyway I learned a lesson from now on I only buy products for which I can hear audible diffrences so for me that would be speakers & preamps, amps I won't be paying extra for digital or cables since I can't hear the difference....of all the comments here I concurr the most with Docwarnock
Sorry you felt I attacked you.All I wanted to say is your method left you open to attack.Make another CDR and do the comparisson with both.Then I will respect your comments.
Audio truth is very welcome.
A few questions:

What type of connections are on the speakers? Bare wire? Spades? Bananas?

Which Sony DVD player?

A few observations:

I own a Meridian 508.24, a Sony DVP-S9000ES, an old Toshiba 1200 DVD player, and an even older CAL DX-1 CD player. For CDs, the Toshiba sounds better than the DX-1, the Sony sounds better than the Toshiba, and yes..the Meridian sounds better than the Sony.

Lets face it, digital technology gets cheaper to make with each passing year. It broke my heart to hear my 5 lb clunky Toshiba blow my beautifully crafted DX-1 out of the water, but life goes on. That said, I do believe that Meridian makes extremely high quality equipment. My advice--listen to it one more time...and then keep what sounds best.
argent: spades and sony 550D.

i am very skeptical of digital now but i haven't given up yet. my preamp may be the culprit here (in terms of choking off detail) although i think it sounds pretty good considering what i paid for it. a local dealer has a used BAT vk-50 he wants to unload. i may audition that one next week. if so, i'll try my experiment again.
Try to borrow some higher quality speaker cables from the dealer as well so you can experiment more faithfully. As for the two copy thing... I can not tell a difference between a cd copy and the real thing on my pretty revealing system, but then again ive never really carefully compared them.