Redbook Keeps Surprising

I was a Best Buy to get a memory card reader for my computer. Looked at the CDs and saw a few in the bargain bin that I would like to have, only a few dollars. Came home, ripped them with DB power amp, picked the best cover art. Transferred to my Aurender through the NAS and played away. WOW, impressive sound and I really enjoyed them both. I like the High Res downloads and my SACD collection but am often really impressed by good Redbook CD. It really is the music that counts. 
I agree. A good Redbook cd can sound like it couldnt be improved upon. I find myself buying new or used from Amazon and saving $$. For my old ears, it takes a special artist and recording to get me to go for the hi-res version.

You would be really impressed with Redbook (PCM) using with todays ideas of I/V (current to voltage) conversion with proper R2R Multibit dacs, as they are "bit perfect" for PCM conversion.

Instead of using Delta Sigma based convertors in most of todays dacs that are used for dsd, then try to do Redbook replay which can only give an approximation, and is not "bit perfect" .

Cheers George

IMO it seems that this old outdated format is finally starting to reach its full potential.  

PCM still rules, maybe the format it's carried on can be updated (CD) but re-played with a dac with R2R Mulitbit converter, there is still no equal.

Make sure you read at the bottom:

"When a PCM file is played on a DSD or Bit Stream converter, the DAC chip has to convert the PCM to DSD in real time. This is one of the major reasons people claim DSD sounds better than PCM, when in fact, it is just that the chip in most modern single-bit DACs do a poor job of decoding PCM."

Cheers George

The Aurender helps get the most out of Redbook.
I just got back from the Newport Audio Show and although I didn't try out all of the headphones, it was the VKmusic compact disc player (a modified TEAC CD drive based on the 47 Treasure) feeding it's signal into their NOS DAC (Philips TDA1543) and played through their Elekit TU-8200 DX integrated amp and into some brand of headphones (which eludes me) that convinced me that 16/44 NOS is still in the game. 

I wish I could have heard those $4K Audeze headphones with that set up but they were in another room.

All the best,

I agree that redbook is fabulous.
From another thread :-

"......I marvel at how good redbook can get today. The new gen dac’s via usb narrow the gap so much that well-recorded redbook sounds just as good as hires pcm/dsd......"
The Aurender helps get the most out of Redbook.

It's a Delta Sigma based converter, so it can't. Only true Multibit converters can get "bit perfect" conversion from PCM. Read the above link.

Cheers George 

Groan.... where someone here is concerned, it does not matter if the OP finds that redbook sounds great.
The thread has somehow gone on to whether redbook will sound great with or without a particular type of DAC chip used.

Heck, the OP did not even touch on the DAC chip.Redbook still sounds fabulous. Period.

Whatever it is that makes redbook sound fabulous is not the issue here. So, the OP is using an Aurender and he is enjoying his redbook but no, this guy has to come along to say, hey, you should not be enjoying redbook so much because your Aurender is a delta-sigma. WT.....?

For any one else to appreciate the best what Redbook can offer as the OP suggests, you need to hear it with it’s best conversion process, not with DSD (Delta Sigma) crap conversion, otherwise they might think the OP is full of it.

It like someone saying how good this Ferrari and for you to take it for a drive, but it’s got cross-ply tires on it and low octane fuel in it.

That’s why there’s a new real hi-rez PCM process hopefully coming called DXD similar to the defunct DVD-A, this is 24bit PCM, and needs true Multibit to convert it properly like the PCM104k dacs. Delta Sigma will just mutilate it like it does to Redbook.

Cheers George

".... otherwise they might think the OP is full of it."

Seriously? No-one else thinks so except.....well, you know who you are.
For anyone else saying that redbook is great without even thinking or knowing what type of converter he has in his DAC, he is then "full of it"?
Come on, give us all a break.

The OP is enjoying redbook very much with his Aurender but now that he is told Aurender is delta sigma, he is going to enjoy redbook less because ....." Delta Sigma will just mutilate it like it does to Redbook"?
I don't think so.

At T.H.E. Show in Newport, I was speaking with the designer/manufacturer of the Bricasti line of DAC’s. This was early Friday morning before the crowds showed up. He said that an LP is in the neighborhood of 14 bits/18kHz (perhaps - up to 25Hz on virgin vinyl). Less than 16/44.1 of a CD. He said that, of course, today’s technology is far superior - but, getting the industry and the marketplace to accept new standards isn’t so easy. He played a few digital demos to show how recording engineers can manipulate compression and the dynamic range. Very informative. He started explaining how the higher kHz ranges allow better-designed digital filters to be implemented in the firmware which offered smoother playback- but, this technical info was way over my head. BTW, the Bricasti room sounded pretty amazing.

Hey jon2020 don't get your knickers in a knot, just giving the readers the info on the best way to convert Redbook (PCM), not to judge and say DSD is better.

And your the one that post up a link to a great R2R multibit dac,, and raved about the fantastic review it got, not me, and I even praise Moffett for doing it to get the best out of Redbook.

Cheers George


I fully agree about the Bricasti.
I have auditioned it in my home system but it could not yet do DSD at the time.
Don’t let anyone tell you different just because....

Yup, you guessed it. The Bricasti is delta-sigma!
The issue in this thread is that redbook sounds great.
It is NOT about R2R vs delta-sigma for best redbook replay - that would be another issue for debate elsewhere.

To you-know-who-you-are, please start a new thread.


I have had a DSD capable Bricasti here, and yes it was very good when it did DSD, but it was shown up by an old Cary 303/200 24/96 R2R multibit doing PCM DVD-A (an extension of Redbook) which it had to down sample from 24/192 to 24/96 and even still the difference was easy to hear, the Bricasti could not match it.

In case your wondering it was through B&W 800D MkII Diamonds.

Cheers George

To you-know-who-you-are, 

You need professional medical help.

Get off your high horse and take a breath

Just agreeing with the OP, and letting those know the very best way to get the best from Redbook, which is what it’s all about as many of us have a vast collection of CD's 

Review of Aeris DAC :-

"JRDG states that the Aeris is "based upon an asynchronous buffer, voltage-controlled crystal oscillators and a 24-bit D/A converter – under the precise control of a FPGA running proprietary algorithms..." and "...delivers bit-perfect conversion ......."

But, but......

Review of Bricasti M1 :-

"The M1 is one of the best DACs available on the market at any price."


You believe what the dac manufacture is selling you, that a hybrid dac can deliver "bit perfect" Redbook PCM??? You been suckered sunshine.

Why do you think dacs like the YPsilon,Total,Trinity Dac, Flagship MSB's and many others have designed their top dacs with hard to get R2R Multibit converters for Redbook only conversion, when they could of used Delta Sigma at 100th of the price and got DSD replay as well??

Some can't see the forest through the trees.  


You are making a very rational point. The type of chip or conversion (Delta Sigma vs R2R ladder ) is just one aspect of what determines the final sound quality of a DAC. Implementation of either method is the more important issue. I’d make the argument that I/V conversion, power supply quality and the output stage quality and execution are of greater influence on the sound quality. You can not overemphasized one isolated aspect and then attributes that this is the only explanation.

I’ve heard numerous examples of both approaches to DAC design and there’s considerable overlapping between them. Based on listening I don’t believe that one is " inherently" superior to the other.  I'd encourage people to just listen and come to a decision based on what you hear rather than dogma concerning isolated design /part  choices. 
Thanks,  Charles, for chiming in. 
I guess we should leave the dogmatic one well alone.  

Nothings perfect.

Glad to see a thread praising CD sound quality.

I’ve been using Dbpoweramp to my own homegrown PC based music server and couldn’t be happier.  I haven't actually played a CD in years.  Alll CDs are ripped to music server and backed up immediately up front.

CD playback like everything can only be as good as the weakest link in teh chain, but many ways of assembling a robust chain these days.
Redbook Keeps Surprising....

What is more surprising is that the thread gets hijacked and becomes which "type" of DAC is better - DS or R-2R.

I love the CD playback on my simple Teac player or even the good old Oppo 970H. Yes, the Teac sounds better than the cheap old Oppo. But that happens only when you are comparing the equipment, and not listening to the music. CDs now-a-days sound damn good.

I/V stages, too right Charles, just as I said in my first post

But I/V stages are only used on current output dacs, as voltage output dacs don’t use them, I leave you now to ponder and do some homework which ones use I/V stages and which don’t.

And we are talking about Redbbook (pcm) and the best way to listen to it, there's no hijacking of the thread. 

Cheers George

Hello George, 
My only point is that multiple factors determine the overall sound quality of DACs. There're all important contributors and it's difficult to say that one is the definitive factor. Davt,  I'm sorry for straying off your topic. 

multiple factors determine the overall sound quality of DACs

Yes you are also correct there Charles, and in the conversion of Redbook (PCM) there is one glaring factor, published by MoJo sound and recognized by many in the know, that is:

"When a PCM file is played on a DSD or Bit Stream converter, the DAC chip has to convert the PCM to DSD in real time. This is one of the major reasons people claim DSD sounds better than PCM, when in fact, it is just that the chip in most modern single-bit DACs do a poor job of decoding PCM."

Cheers George

Coming back to the OP, if I understand it correctly, cd recordings today which sound good are more likely to be sourced from 192/24 masters which are then downsampled to 44/16 in the disc or as downloads.

Many recording studios seem to be doing all-digital masters nowadays, either in hires pcm or dsd. A very good sounding cd like Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue, I have been told, is mastered in hires pcm.
My entire collection consists of redbook CDs (some vinyl) and I am very impressed with the sound I am getting from most.  Running a Audiophilleo USB/SPDUF converter (for computer) or Arcam DV-137 disc player (CDs and DVDs) into a Bryston DAC. Have not purchased hirez or DSD files. I buy CDs and rip to computer. Unlike mapman, I keep the CDs.
I own a lot of CDs, rip them into 44.1/16 AIFF files, transfer them to my music server from iTunes.  I also have a few SACDs and have purchased some 192/24 AIFF files from HD Tracks.

I must say, the music I have on both SACD & 192/24 sometimes does sound slightly better, the performers seem to have a little more "distinctness" with the sounds they make and they are more precisely positioned in the sound stage, but 1) the difference is not consistent and 2) those hi-res versions are the results of being remastered, so I'm not sure I'm comparing "apples to apples".

For nearly two years I've had the pleasure of enjoying a PS Audio DirectStream DAC, and that unit really impresses me, its ability to extract all sorts of detail from CD quality AIFF & FLAC files.

I'm guessing that the higher resolution of the distribution files might have some effect on the sound quality, but that most of the good sound quality might come from excellent engineering and mastering.

Sometimes I am just astounded by how good even 44.1/16 sounds on my system.
Post removed 

Hi ejr, are you making this sacd/dsd v pcm/cd comparison judgment using the same dac?

Cheers George

"When a PCM (cd) file is played on a DSD (sacd) or Bit Stream converter, the DAC chip has to convert the PCM to DSD in real time. This is one of the major reasons people claim DSD (sacd) sounds better than PCM (cd), when in fact, it is just that the chip in most modern single-bit DACs do a poor job of decoding PCM (cd)."

For those of you who are ripping your CD's to hard drives, and then either donating the CD's to thrift stores, or selling them cheap at garage sales or to used record stores, my friends and I would like to say THANK YOU.  
+1 to oregonpapa.

I haunt the local thrift stores and have added about 60 CDs’ to the collection in the past year at prices ranging from 50-cents to $2.00 per disc. Many of those CDs’ feature artists and titles that I’m not familiar with and my curiosity has been richly rewarded many times over. It’s allowed me to explore new genres and expand my musical tastes and preferences.

So I say ’Thank you’ as well...and keep ’em coming guys’.

I also say +1 for these cheap to get CD bundles, but the big downside is if we/us are getting them this way instead of purchasing new ones because we are content to listen to the 100 that we just got for peanuts, it will speed up and spell the end of new cd's being manufactured, even great specialized labels like Reference Recording cd's etc etc. 

Cheers George


This leads to another consideration--do you prefer to listen to your digital music via files, or do you like to have the physical media playing in your system?  My dealer was playing music via his MacBook into a DAC, and I remarked on how good it sounded.  He said yes--with the reservation that the file may not be as bit perfect as the actual disc. 

@ oregonpapa et al.
I presume that you realize that ripping and then reselling, even donating, the physical CD is a flagrant violation of the fair-use provisions of the copyright law. You MUST have physical possession of the original CD, LP, DVD whatever, or you must delete it from your system. (A purchased download is, of course, a different matter.) Everyone knows all that, I presume, but georgelifi is absolutely correct. Ripping CDs and ripping-off the artist is NOT in *YOUR* best interest, either. Not only is it simply unethical (but I guess you can live with that...), it has over the years had a notably adverse effect on musicians and music production in general, especially on those with limited audiences and distribution. It also necessarily keeps prices higher. Lastly, when one disposes of the CD, one disposes of the frequently worthwhile "liner notes" and artwork as well.

I'm not saying I've never purchased a "used" CD, but when I do, it is never sold by anyone again. Moreover, I'll often make an effort to buy CDs directly from the musicians themselves whenever possible. I guess I think of it as noblesse oblige. In any case, if folks in these parts can lay down ridiculous money for cabling and other exotic gear, at the very least they can reasonably support the musicians and others without whom the rest is for naught.
Good points, lp2cd.  I have always wondered what the used CD retailer owes to the artist after I have sold them a bag of CDs I no longer enjoy.  The music store will give me anywhere from .25 to $3 for a CD and reject a few, as well.  They then offer me cash or store credit, with 20% off anything purchased. 

"You MUST have physical possession of the original CD ...."

This is an interesting aspect of the law. I always thought artists get paid for each CD purchased but what happens to the same purchased CD after that is immaterial to the artist as he/she will not or cannot be paid twice for the same physical CD.

It's like if I have a defective CD, I should not bin it lest it gets picked up by a scavenger?

I may be wrong but I find this issue rather puzzling.
@charles1dad  Having the same Dac as you I heartily concur. All I listen to is redboook either CD's ripped to flac or Tidal and I think my system sounds fantastic. I could care less what kind of dac chip is used its what I hear that matters, to me at least.
Hi Jond,,
I’ve owned the Yamamoto YDA -01 DAC for nearly 7 years and during that time span I’ve heard multiple numbers of DACs. Be they delta sigma or R2R based. My conclusion confirmed by listening is that there’s considerable overlap between the two types. R2R can indeed sound superb but I don’t find it inherently superior. Delta sigma can and does sound superb as well. Both are dependent on multiple factors and most certainly implementation.

After all these years the Yamamoto DAC has withstood the test of time. Here's what I mean.  In terms of musical involvement /emotional engagement and a very natural /organic character it is still one of the best sounding DACs I’ve heard. If definitely falls into the musical rather than the Hifi niche.
@jafreeman, jon2020 et al.

From our "friends" at RIAA:

"Copying CDs

    It’s okay to copy music onto special Audio CD-R’s, mini-discs, and digital tapes (because royalties have been paid on them) – but not for commercial purposes.

    Beyond that, there’s no legal “right” to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won’t usually raise concerns so long as:

      • The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own.

      • The copy is just for your personal use. It’s not a personal use – in fact, it’s illegal – to give away the copy or lend it to others for copying.

      • The owners of copyrighted music have the right to use protection technology to allow or prevent copying.

      • Remember, it’s never okay to sell or make commercial use of a copy that you make."

In other words, the original, physical CD (or whatever) is your license to possess a copyrighted work in whatever format you, personally, may have transferred it to. You must continue to own the original CD. If you haven't the original CD, you've no license to possess a copy of the work no matter the form or format. And you most certainly can not legally or ethically transfer a copyrighted CD to someone else for them to make copy. It's pretty straightforward and only fair to the musicians.

Doing what I do, LP to CD transcription and remastering, requires that I have a high awareness of the copyright laws involved. Mostly, I work for the person or label who owns the copyright on the original recording. But If I do a transfer for an individual, I, and any reputable transfer service, will be adamant that my customer owns the LP personally and that they will not give up possession of it. It's their license to own the CD transfer *FOR THEIR PERSONAL USE ONLY*.


Thanks for clarifying. Much appreciated.
If we have ripped a CD but not distributed the rip, retaining it only for personal use, that would be still be ok even if one day we happen to lose the original CD, like when moving or we bin it because it has bad scratches on it.
I hope this is correct.
Understand, first of all, I'm not an attorney and copyright law is often ridiculously stupid and complex. The legal rule of thumb, however, is that there are NO commercial recordings that are in the public domain, not even the old Edison cylinders which are still protected by sundry state laws. The only copyright-free recordings are the ones you make yourself of PD material.

But almost certainly, a situation such you describe would be so de minimus as to not merit concern. Problems start when one obtains a recording, rips it by whatever means, and then turns around and deliberately disposes of the original paid-for recording, one's license. Occasional, accidental loss of a CD, meh. Wholesale disposal of or especially deliberately reselling of ripped CDs, not so meh. And putting the ripped track up on the web to share, oh Lordy! Ask YouTube's legal dept. about the fun they've had!

Oh, and BTW, I'm of the school that believes that Redbook CDs can, at least in theory, perfectly reproduce a sound recording in the range of human hearing. The problems that occur are peripheral to the format itself, i. e. in the recording technique, ADC, mixing/mastering, DAC and playback equipment. For listening, higher sample rates and word lengths are generally silly and wasteful.
I hope I'm not breaking rules since I already started a post about buying an external DAC but...

Does this mean that if I'm just listening to Redbook CD, I should stick to the analog output of my Meridian 508.24 instead of buying something like an Auralic Vega if I only intend to listen to CDs right now? The discussion about R2R and DS has me confused.


No confusion, just read this by MoJo music, it explains it all simply.

Remember pcm (is Redbook), and R2R Multibit converts it "bit perfect".

DS delta/sigma (bitstream, single bit) does DSD, but only a facsimile of Redbook (pcm)

Cheers George

"When a PCM (cd) file is played on a DSD (sacd) or Bit Stream converter, the DAC chip has to convert the PCM to DSD in real time. This is one of the major reasons people claim DSD (sacd) sounds better than PCM (cd), when in fact, it is just that the chip in most modern single-bit DACs do a poor job of decoding PCM (cd)."

PS:  sboje your Meridian is a CS4390 a Delta Sigma not the best for Redbook so is the Auralic Vega also a DS convertor.

If you want the best for redbook conversion look for a dac that use R2R Multibit.

The price of the Auralic is $3.5K there are many  R2R mulibits in that budget. ask if you want some recommendations.  

Cheers George 



Thanks again.

You don’t have to be confused. As its been mentioned several times in this thread just listen to DACs that interest you and then choose what "you" believes sounds best. Forget R2R vs Delta Sigma debates, just listen and trust your own ears. There's no better way to judge an audio component than actually hearing it. 
+1, charles1dad.