Replaced CDP w/ Transport; Now, Soundstage Changes Dramatically w/each CD. Why?


Here's something I've never encountered. I've borrowed  a Heed DT Transport and am loving the increased resolution, compared to my Jolida JD100 cdp BUT, now the sound-stage expands and contracts, depending upon whichever CD is being played.The effect is very evident-- not subtle. This is really weird. 

System: Heed Transport -> Aqua La Voce II DAC -> Wells Majestic Integrated -> Silverline SR17.5 Monitors.
 
I don't even know where to begin. . . any suggestions? ? ? 

BTW, replacing the Blue Jeans BNC cable with an Empirical Audio BNC cable didn't change anything. 
stuartk
If you were playing two CD’s of the same recording and it was doing this it would be strange.

However - If you are playing two different CD’s then sound stage should be very different from CD to CD in order to reflect the "venue" - or the "venue" the sound engineer is trying to emulate.

You mentioned the resolution had chaned/improved - that would definitely affect the sound stage as follows...
  • wider and deeper image
  • improved artist placement with greater location precision
  • instruments may sound softer or louder depending on whether the change in sound stage moved them forward or backwards within the image
  • changes to venue acoustics (i.e. echoes and reverberations)
  • More details
Changing cables can also have similar impact on image size, venue acoustics and artist placement.

Sound stage depends on the sound engineering applied to the recording and the precision of the recording. e.g. Large venues should sound BIG and intimate smaller venues should be reflected accordingly

Hope that makes sense - Steve
The idea with high end audio is not to have a system that "sounds good" but rather to have a system that sounds like nothing. No two recordings are ever the same. So if you are hearing them all the same it can only mean your system is imposing its own character on the music instead of letting the music come through unmolested. Probably all that has happened is your new component is a lot more transparent. What you're hearing now is less system, more recording. Enjoy!
Agree with above posters. My perceived soundstage also varies between different recordings.

Tom
Imagination is indeed a powerful force! Especially coupled with PEB (Positive Expectation Bias).
Yeah, the soundstage in my system also can vary greatly from recording to recording. Sounds like your Jolida was masking details thereby homogenizing various recordings to a similar type sound. Added detail is a blessing and a curse. You’ll enjoy good recordings more than you ever did before, but bad recordings will be more exposed for what they are. I find the tradeoff more than worth it and enjoy hearing more of what the artist and recording engineer intended us to hear. But that’s me. Welcome to a whole new world.

Love your system BTW!
OK. I've learned something, here. Thanks!

I'm familiar with impacts of increased transparency re: detail-- just not in terms of sound-staging. 

I think I'll still play around with different cables and would be interested to 
hear about anyone's favorite spdif cables in say, the $250 range, new or used. 


I am using this spdif state of the art cable but it's a bit above your budget :

https://telluriumq.com/black-digital-rca-cable/
itzhak1: yeah, that's twice my budget ! 


williewonka: you specifically mentioned cables-- what would you recommend ?
I know a lot of members here have very poor opinions of Nordost cables but the change from a Nordost Silver Shadow to a Heimdall 2 was not subtle at all.

More detail, resolution, air. Soundstage changes reflected by each CD as I would expect.

Yes it really did show up poor recordings for sure.

If you do not mind used you could likely find one for $400 or so.

Gets my thumbs up.
For your price range a DH Labs D-750, 1.5 m, BNC to BNC is a nice cable.  A bit grainy, but throws a big soundstage, good details, and a nice bottom end.  I'd stick to a 1.5 m length to avoid reflections.

SoundStage is the name of the game, enjoy. I love tuning mine in for a particular recording and hearing how big and full they really are.


Michael Green

soix: re: my system-- thanks ! It's been a slow process, as my budget is modest by audiophile standards, but I enjoy my system as much as I enjoy friends' much more costly systems. For me, it's always been more about the music. I could live just fine without an audiophile system, but I doubt I'd survive for long without music ! 
@stuartk - take a look at KLE Innovations cables

https://kleinnovations.com/kle-innovations-klei-products/
SPDIF...
https://kleinnovations.com/kle-innovations-klei-products/klei-gzseries-cables/klei-gzero-digital/kle...


All of their cables are very good and outperform most other brands and prices are in AUS $

I order from them direct and they take about a week to come from Aus...

If you want to try DIY here's a link to my own IC's that can be used for SPDIF...
http://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ahelix-interconnect-cable.html


Regards
Here is a nice BNC cable for $250 from the listings:
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9chh5-wireworld-gold-starlight-7-bnc-cable-excellent-condition-...
No connection to the seller and btw I concur with above the soundstage should change with each recording congrats on your new transport!
Another thing to consider for soundstage definition improvement is what sits under your components. Isoacoustic pucks are very reasonably priced & can greatly improve soundstage. Just food for thought... Also, I agree with uber that Nordost makes an awesome digital cable. 
williewonka, jond: thanks for the cable suggestions. Will check them out. 

boxer12: I haven't heard of Isoacoustic before. Presently, I've got the old style Stillpoints under the Heed. Will look into it. 
stuartk OP
 perceived soundstage also varies between different recordings.
This is a fact, my Cambridge CXC CD transport shows this up very well.
And it was also compared to the OP's Jolida transport also owned by the TNT-Audio reviewer Chris Templer, this is what he said of the A/B comparison between the Cambridge CXC and his Jolida JD100.
Quote: Chris Templer TNT-Audio Cambridge Audio CXC CD Transport review.
"To say there is a big difference would not be an exaggeration, the CXC clearly reads better than the Jolida. Playing music that had been ripped to the server via pc was always cleaner than the Jolida, which I had put down to the effects of the valve output and DAC. Comparing digital out on the Jolida to the CXC there is a vast difference with the Cambridge extracting more information (detail, air and ambient space) and less fuzziness (or cleaner sound). The CXC also trumps the sound of the same disc ripped via pc to the server."


Cheers George
"Another thing to consider for soundstage definition improvement is what sits under your components."

Agreed - I have had great success using 3 brass cones under all of my components. I also tried wood cones, which provided audible improvements, but the brass cones provided a little more detail and clarity.

In my case, the components sit on a granite tile with a thin rubberized mat between it and the MDF shelf. 

The brass cones vary in diameter/depth, from a 2.5" dia cone 1.25" high for the turntable down to 3/4" dia cone 1/4" high for my Bluesound Node streamer.

Unfortunately, all of the cones were custom made so I cannot recommend a brand, but there are some good commercially available products out there.

Regards - Steve


If one transport is level and the other one isn’t guess which one will sound better. And have a better and more revealing soundstage. The first two guesses don’t count.
georgehifi5: yes, I'd agree that (even my modded) Jolida does exhibit "fuzziness".  Funny-- it was Chris Templer's review of the JD 100 that inspired me to look at it in the first place. 

williewonka: I guess I'm in the minority re: brass. I have some brass footers and having been dissatisfied no matter where I've tried them, they now serve as "book-ends" on my CD shelves. Perhaps not all brass footers are the same? Mine are Edensound. I prefer ceramic cones and as mentioned, the original Stillpoints. 

geoffkait: this may be a dumb question, but unless components have some sort of threaded, adjustable feet, how does one "level" components? 




I agree, ceramics kill brass. Brass is one of your softer metals. NASA grade ceramics are almost as hard as diamonds. Brass is waaay on down the scale.

geoffkait: this may be a dumb question, but unless components have some sort of threaded, adjustable feet, how does one "level" components?

>>>>Absolute level of the CD itself is not as easy to obtain as it seems. The tray level is not a good reference, sometimes the tray is at some angle to the transport. The level of the top of the chassis is not a good reference, either, because tolerances of the whole package are not exactly NASA precision. If you use a bubble level on the top of the chassis what you often find is the level varies. So, which one is correct? If the component does not have threaded feet you will have to come up with a shim or two under one or two feet.

Also, “fuzziness” is not unusual for ANY CD player. Everything is relative for resolution and dynamics. Unless one addresses scattered background laser light AND flutter and vibration of the CD whilst spinning I’m afraid you’ll always be on the fuzzy side of things. It’s always gaining to be fuzzy and compressed relative to what it should be. People give designers of this stuff way too much credit. 
geoffkait: thanks for the explanation. So then, what does one use for shims ?  


Quarter, dime, small ceramic tile, playing card, credit card, CD, industrial diamond, steel washer, aluminum washer. How will you know the CD is level whilst playing?
 If the component does not have threaded feet you will have to come up with a shim or two under one or two feet.


Here we see the difference between Audiogon's reigning theoretical physicist and an actual, you know, physicist. The actual physicist knows three points define a plane. Not one. Or even two. Three. 
millercarbon, God gave animals and pianos four legs for a reason. He gave CD players four legs for the same reason. It’s so they won’t run around in circles.
What I think Geoff was referring to is that with 3 or 4 points the existing cdp sits upon you would ONLY need to shim 1 or 2 to change level.

Would be crazy to shim ALL existing points although you certainly COULD!
Actually my point was, for a component with a foot on all four corners, if you remove one foot the component could easily topple over. You can get away with three cones only if you can arrange them in an equilateral or isosceles triangle. Three points may define a plane but four points are usually more stable.
geofkait: you left out tiddlywinks. . . and whether genuine tortoise shell,  ebony or titanium 'winks yield superior sonic benefits ! 

I've had the Heed DT in my system for a couple days, now, and am really liking it a lot. Although the resolution is, in some cases, dramatically improved over the Jolida CDP, I've encountered no listening fatigue or etched highs. I'm assuming this is due to a particularly fortuitous match with the Aqua La Voce DAC.

PRaT, a factor crucial to my listening enjoyment, is simply amazing.
Overall, I definitely have a sense of entering more deeply into the music. Instruments have more dimension, timbres are more colorful and vocals more palpably real. 

I'm looking into the possibility of purchasing a back-up drive for the Heed. Is there some sort of database that lists which drives are in which units ? 
You should be a reviewer. 😬
The good news / Here's a list: 
http://vasiltech.narod.ru/CD-Player-DAC-Transport.htm#H
The bad news / Your Heed is not on it
boxer12: thanks; I'm familiar with it. . . unfortunately, it doesn't include Heed. 

geoffkait; Hah !  I'm afraid I'm not very good at explaining what I'm hearing without resorting to cliches. Usually, the only times I step back and focus upon sonics are occasions like now, when I've just introduced a new component into the system and my ears have yet to fully adjust to the change. In other words, the element of novelty is still very fresh. I welcome the intellect to the listening room when the focus is gear but if the focus is music, I want to be IN the midst of it, not sitting off to the side, analyzing. 
back to cables. WireWorld knows what it takes to make outstanding cables. The higher up their product line the better the sound, but whatever they offer in your price range you can count on for excellent value
tweak1: Thanks for the suggestion. I scanned the Wire World website quickly and didn't see any links to a return policy. If I can't try it at home, I won't consider it. Audio Art has been my go-to cable source for many years and I've ordered their D-1SE to try out with the Heed. If that isn't a good match, I'll certainly be open to alternatives, providing a home demo option is avail-able.  
stuartk "I scanned the Wire World website quickly and didn't see any links to a return policy. If I can't try it at home, I won't consider it. "

While your policy, practice, and custom is worthy, justified, and admirable you're guarantee, assurances, and satisfaction are ultimately the role, responsibility, and policies of your dealer and not the manufacturer of the product in an instance such as this.
clearthink: given that Wire World has an online store, I don't comprehend your post.  
This is to be expected. 

The better quality transport is more revealing of the work that the engineer put into each unique recording. 
Try Jays Transport/Black Cat digital cable 
beautiful combination.
Also an R2R Ladder Dac 
Analog sounds with dynamics .
Unfortunately the scattered light inside the transport reduces soundstage performance of all CDs. Palpability, stability, localization of musicians, separation of instruments and notes and the dimensions of the expanding, enveloping sphere. The fluttery, wobbly and vibratory nature of the spinning disc doesn’t help at all, making the sound slower, more diffuse and more compressed.
geoffkait-- you say "transport", but I assume this also applies to CDP's .

Of course. All CDPs have a transport. The stray laser light fills up the transport compartment like a Christmas tree light. 💡
Regarding the fluttering disc: I use a rubber mat designed to be placed on top of the disc when playing. Noticeably improved sound. 
Question, why you think CD vibration would hurt the sound? I mean, after all the player has error correction and a laser Servo Tracking system, no?
geoffkait: it's a claim I've read repeatedly by those who advocate burning CDs to a hard disc and by those manufacturers, such as PS Audio, that sell players with memory buffers.
That actually didn’t answer my question but that’s OK. 
geoffkait: then perhaps I misunderstood you. Can you re-phrase the question? 
I asked how could a vibrating CD hurt the sound. 
geoffkait: I'm confused. You wrote:
   "The fluttery, wobbly and vibratory nature of the spinning disc doesn’t help at all, making the sound slower, more diffuse and more compressed". You clearly know much more about this topic than I do. 
StuartK, the suggestions to replace your BNC cable are on to something.

It's a crucial link. And unfortunately the state of the art SPDIF cables are expensive.

When I upgraded to the Black Cat Tron, I couldn't believe the difference it made. It was like I was only getting 60 percent of the DACs performance with the previous cable.