It's the DAC but that player can't read SACDs or DVD-A types either.
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Don't know what esoteric CD's are... but, you have a really nice "red book" CD transport from the 90's. You can only play back red book CD's with your C/BD 2000, including HDCD's... So, if you have some HDCD's in you collection, make sure your DAC can decode them if you want to hear HDCD's potential.
I want to thank you for the comments. Actually, I thought changing the DAC would permit playing of most CD's to include HDCD's. Presently I am using a Lite 72 Tubed DAC/24bits which does not even recognize HDCD's. I get a good sound from my Redbook CD's but wanted to hear some of the other formats. Thanks again for your comments.
Most of the DAC's I have been researching take high-resolution formats in the form of 24bit/96kHz over USB, using a computer as a transport. In all my research over the past few months, I have not seen a single outboard DAC that will decode SACD or DVD-A. I haven't seen anything about HDCD decoding in an outboard DAC either. You need a different optical disc player for these formats (except HDCD which your Parasound will do).
I looked at your Lite DAC's limited listing of specs on the pacific Valve site, I don't think it can decode high-resolution audio signals, it has a display that shows the sampling frequency, but it doesn't say which frequencies it will accept...I would assume more than 44.1kHz Redbook...?
There are a lot of affordable options for outboard DACs that decode hi-res audio, if you want to get into computer-based transport systems. There are also affordable SACD players out there. Check out SACD.net for a listing of current titles.
Thank you for taking the time to research this information. It has given me what I need to move forward. I really love the sound of my Parasound belt drive but understand I will need to purchase a more moderen transport and DAC if I want to play something other than Redbood CD's.
I want to thank all who contributed comments and thoughts. They are all very much appreciated.
By the way,
Does anyone know of a DAC (under $1000 dollars) that will permit my Parasound Transport to play HDCD's? I understand there are many classical and jazz HDCD's that are great and sound as good as the latest CD technology. Of course I will appreciate all comments. Finally, what output hookup from the CD player provides the very best sound reproduction? Thanks all.
I still think you need a different CD player to play HDCDs, I don't think getting a new DAC will allow your Parasound to transport the HDCD signal. The transport first has to decode the digital compression of the HDCD file on the disc, then send that signal to the DAC to be converted to analog. It is the transport that will grab the HDCD bits and bytes, not the DAC.
Getting the signal from a disc transport to the DAC is a matter of some debate. General consensus is that optical is not a great way to do it. Digital coax is the preferred method, if you are using wires. Get a decent cable (spend some $$$) and make sure it is at least 5 feet long, from what I've read shorter digital cables create internal bounce-back reflections that affect sound quality. You can also get into the impedence ratings of the cables vs. the connectors vs. the DACs internal circuitry, but these discussions go over my head.
There are also products out there that you can place between your DAC and your transport, these are called re-clockers. These products, like the Pace Car, can convert the signal from one format to another, like optical to digital coax, or USB to digital coax, and they also apply new timing to the signal, removing any timing errors that are produced by your transport. These products can drastically improve the sound, some would say they are more important than the DAC.
In my research I have to say that the Benchmark DAC1 or DAC USB is probably the 800 pound gorilla around the $1000 price point. It re-clocks the signal and does a decent job.
I have also read several posts by folks in the know that say SACD and HDCD recordings have good and bad quality, just like some Redbook CDs have good and bad recording quality. If I were you I'd spend the dough on the DAC, the cable, and a good re-clocker, that will raise the quality of your Redbook collection to heavenly levels. And you don't wind up re-buying all your music in a different format!
Good evening Realremo,
Again thanks for taking of your precious time to respond at length. Actually, when my CD transport was developed, there was a DAC that was produced to mate with it. Together they are able to decode HDCD's. The owners manual supports this. I've spent some time looking on Audiogon for this very DAC and have missed at least 2 chances to own one. Presently, I am using a digital cable that is 6 feet long, but I must admit I had no idea the length of the cable had anything to do with the sound. That's great information and I thank you for it.
I decided to get the 72 Lite tube DAC to get a more warm sound. Plus I can roll the tubes to vary the sound which I have done. I have a fairly large collection of Jazz and Classical CD's, all Redbook. Some better than others I might add.
I do wish there was a list somewhere that post the best sounding Redbook CD's. There is a listing of HDCD's that I can order from to include some based on the listening of HP of Absolute Sound. I've not seen any Redbooks on his listing. Again thank you sir for this great information.
Realremo, According to DIYHIFI which many do use to purchase parts, etc, and are the home of Lady Day 300b and many other components both kits and factory built sell ready made (75 ohm digital) cable in 2 lengths only 12 inch and 5 meter which are claimed to be the correct lengths. I actually probably had read something somewhere about cable length for digital signal so thought I would order the 12". It actually does seem to make a difference and I have a nice close proximity with transport and dac. Although the 12" is $59 and the 5 meter is $79--not much of a price break for going with foot length. And they are indicating 5 meter not 5 foot-- but you must have heard the 5 somewhere. I am not a cable freak by any means. The only other cable I paid just over 200 for is Kimber Kable speaker wire. Always wanted to try it.
Skiroe, the 1.5m recommendation is a minimum length to avoid possible jitter that the cable itself can add to the signal if it is shorter than 1.5m, there have been many posts and white papers written on this subject, if you do some searches in the audiogon forums you will find plenty of opinions regarding this. I use a 3m Kimber USB cable that is a blend of copper and silver, and the coax that I have is a 1.5m wireworld, also a blend of silver/copper. Total for both was less than $160. Have not compared the sound to cables shorter than 1.5m, so I guess I cannot definitively say that the 1.5m minimum is valid, I am just trusting the opinions of engineers and DAC designers.