I should also add that I have never heard a high end CD player.
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Well, not disagreeing that it will sound better than many CD players, but if you change the question to how do I get best sound out of my computer as a digital source then you need to consider:
- linear power supplies vs. typical wall warts
- type of cabling and specific cables of your chosen format
- steps you can take to minimize electrical noise and RFI getting to your dac (e.g. google "Regen")
- music playing software
- ss vs. mechanical spinning drives
- what O/S you run and all the non-audio processes that run and add noise to the music signal
I'm probably forgetting about 6 things, but you get the idea. It's a deep subject and few computer audio setups sound alike. Cheers,
So I am missing something.
Apologies. I failed to mention I run a Prodigy cube (converter side only) in between the laptop and the DAC. A 75 ohm coax cable connects the Prodigy to the DAC and and USB from laptop to prodigy. The AN does not have a usb input.
Standard Win 10. SS HD and foobar 2000 as a player.
Audionote DACs only 1x upsample.
I agree you're not getting the best jitter correction in your setup. There are several versions of the Audio Note DAC3.1, they are either NOS or 1xoversampling Dacs and do not upsample. To achieve the highest SQ, it's important to have jitter correction in front of the Dac.
A good transport will have a master clock to correct jitter. There are other benefits over a laptop CD drive such as vibration control and a higher quality lens. Some transports use a buffer after reading the disc to correct read errors.
And a good quality 75 ohm coax cable is needed for S/PDIF input to the DAC.
The outputs of a transport are typically S/PDIF coax, USB, and optical.
But since the Audio Note is unique and may not have a USB or optical input (it’s offered as an option) RCA or BNC coax is used.
A CDP will have the same digital outputs as a dedicated transport, some have AES (XLR). A transport’s only job is to read the disc and clock the signal in the digital domain. It then sends a datastream to the dac where it is reclocked again. CDP’s have an analogue output stage to go to a preamp. This is bypassed when using it as a transport to a dac.
A bit of FWIW from me. I first doubted the possibility of being successful using a computer setup with an external DAC, in as much as I am not especially gifted for all things technical. I left most of the work to a person that understood the concepts and practices of such an arrangement, and in short, when set up properly, it freaks me out that it is possible for the computer setup to sonically outweigh CD alone as much as it does.