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Red book CDs are by far my favorite source, especially for the type of listening I do. I'm not crazy about the first pass of any recording. I usually pay attention to a recording around the 3rd pass. For that reason I like Long Play and on repeat. That shoots it in the foot for tape and vinyl, but that's me and the way I listen. Others who take more of a DJ approach (back to back) listening, not letting the system settle, have a completely different view of the sound.
For myself, it's premature to listen before a system (including room) has a chance to harmonize with the audio signal, with all of it's mechanics involved. I can deal with FM and streaming but with start and stop mediums CD is a fantastic way to get to the musicality.
we all have our own thing, for me CD is the champ
Of all media types CDs sound the worst right out of the box, but are the most amenable to Tweaks of all the media types. The perfect storm for the obsessive compulsive dragon chaser. From holographic foils to cryogenics, to Morphic Messages to green and purple pens to edge bevelers and Artificial Atoms. What more could you ask for?
I used to listen to CDs as a convenience, much-preferring vinyl over the shiny discs. Now that the system is tweaked to the heavens and back, CDs are on an equal basis with my vinyl rig as far as sound quality goes.
Do they sound the same? Nope. CDs have lower noise, better dynamics, and more defined bass ... on good recordings. Vinyl has more of that human quality and the organic naturalness of live instruments ... on good recordings.
Both mediums are close ... so close as to not be significant (on my system).
If I were starting from scratch, and not surrounded by thousands of LPs collected over almost a lifetime, I would not buy a turntable or records. I wouldn't stream using a laptop either. It would be red-book CDs of the highest recorded quality, period.
Should probably also add this since it's a big deal for me. I am a one source listener. I don't hook up my systems with more than one input and usually only have one input (meaning one set of RCAs) period on the unit.
I've always thought it funny that HEA made "Discrete" such a big deal breaking term yet didn't put the word into practice. Preamps using multiple inputs are not discrete Preamps.
People tend to judge cd based on their experience, conveniently forgetting that it is often the DAC and/or transport being the limiting factor. A lot of CD's (when the recording has been done properly) will sound really impressive when using the proper equipment. One shouldn't reject the CD as a carrier, but should admit that it is indeed expensive to get the final result the way we like it. However for those who are willing to invest a few extra dollars, CD will sound fantastic.
That’s not how I ever heard or have seen the term "discrete" used in HEA.
From my reading, and use, "discrete" is an abbreviation of "discrete circuits" which is the antonym of "integrated circuit." From a practical matter this means gain stages are built using individual transistors, rather than chip based op amps.
"Discrete" does not refer to the number of inputs, or to input switching capabilities. In home use, there's almost no need for "discrete inputs" since you only use one at a time.
Very rarely I have read of "discrete outputs" which refers to having multiple outputs which do not share circuitry and may even be isolated by independent voltage regulation stages.