What's wrong with a DVD player as a transport?

Just wondering if there is some technical reason a dvd player won't perform as well as a cd player? Also why would a changer not perform as well as a single disc player? Please answer with technical reasons. Thank You
My beleif is that as more circuitry is added to a component, the more complicated the signal path becomes thus degrading sound quality. In developing a high end system, a primary goal should be to minimze the complexity of the signal path. A dvd player must read numerous formats, and as a result, the increased number of processes and electrical circuitry is likely to add coloration to the sound. I am not saying that a DVD player cannot be satisfactory as a cd transport, it is just less likely to be as good as a dedicated source.

A changer may sound inferior for a similair reason. The increased complexity due the addition of a motor (for cycling through discs), is likely to interfere with the required circuitry for playing discs thus sacrificing sonics.

This is just my oppinion as I would not call myself an expert. I have, though, experienced with DVD players as transports without much success.

I don't think there is necessarily a technical reason why a DVD player or a changer is an inferior transport. Typically I think the reason is simple economics.

Obviously a DVD player and/or a changer has more complexity than a dedicated CD player or transport. There are more components and more/different signal paths.

There is no reason why a manufacturer could not build a DVD player/changer that would be a great transport, however, they typically won't because the price would be out of reach for most of the buying public. Why build a great product if it just puts your company out of business because it doesn't sell?

Obviously a DVD player can be a great transport. Look at the praise on this site for the mod'd APL Denons and ModWright Sonys. By all accounts they are have excellent CD performance from a DVD based machine. Why didn't the OEM just build the player this way? Economics.....


I would guess most of the 10k and above, universal players probably ain't to bad as cd players;and I've read some of the moded uni's--Den.3910/5910-- ain't chopped liver,either.I would say the quality of the parts and the implementation of the circuitry come into play.
Several years ago, the Bound for Sound guy was arguing that DVD players made superior transports.
I used to own a Modded DVD payer (not the Denon), a cheap version, to try it out...it sounded, well..., like a modded DVD player, I tried it also as a transport for my EAD 9000 III with not good results. Flat, no soundstage no impact dynamics...tiny.
I bought a CEC TL-1 and couldnt be happier (well maybe a Forsell would make me happier!) the detail retrieval is complete, the finnesse of the sound is beautifull.
I would recommend a better transport and cheaper DAC.
I am also concerned about reliability with DVD player transports.
I guess there are no shortcuts.
Read this, please. Way back in 1997, there was a panel of ''all star'' reviewers- the ones with the better credibility (leaving Sam Tellig out, of course) from different magazines. They got together, all 6 or 8 of them for a shootout between transports of the ''cost-no-object'' category. We are talking Sonic Frontiers esotaria and the like....

The ONE that came out as the all-around best transport .....

Actually a bit of a shocker for everyone involved - The Sony S-7000 DVD player used as a transport.

These findings were published in the now-defunct Planet Hi-Fi website, one of the early great audio website.

If you are still in doubt, please let it be known that some of the world's best loudspeakers ( how about the $ 16,000 Verity Audio Parsifal ) were developped and voiced on systems comprised of this very same Sony S-7000 player, combined with a Meitner Bidat Dac. I know this for a fact, please don't ask me how. Verity then went on to a Sony 7700 and afterwards - get this- a Pioneer 05 DVD player used again, as a transport. I beleive the Fidelio was developped with the latter. They claimed that the nature of the laser pick-up itself, having to focus on smaller pits and dots, made for a more precise, information-gathering system than the regular cd player optical system. Now we are talking pre-2000 era here.

This does not make a DVD transport the best solution today necessarily - but it speaks volumes about it's long-known attributes. And many other manufacturers (speakers, amplifiers, an preamps, even interconnects) also used these very same ''low-cost'' DVD transports in developping THEIR products. Nothing to brag about on their part, probably, but how interesting nevertheless. It just worked for them, with a finger shown in audio snobery's face.

Of course, hi-fi shops would rather sell us expensive transports than a relatively inexpensive DVD player. But that is another story altogether.

I remember walking in audio snob-shops and having salesmen laugh at me when I told them I was using a ''non-audiophike'' Sony S7000 in my system for audio purposes only. I was politely given the old brush-off for lack of knowledge. Then I would take my (multiple-folded) Planet Hi-fi review from my back pocket, show it to them, and watch their mouth be lost with words.

I have been using DVD transports since 1998 and have never looked back. I'm probably missing something, but I sure can't hear it.

Although I do not necessarily agree that a DVD player should be better than a CD player or a CD mega changer or special dedicated DAC, my experience is that the differences between players are small enough that I am not at all surprised to read your comment.

My room, speakers and the source material mix/mastering quality totally dominate the quality of what I achieve in playback from my system. Differences in digital players tend to be dwarfed by these other factors.

If anyone wants to prove this to themselves....simply move your speakers by about two feet and you will immediately hear a significant audible difference, often with one position being decidedly better than another. Or compare an original release with a remastered version. Switching between one CD player and another rarely produces such big differences...
I seem to remember the "measurements" section of a review where John Atkinson discussed DVD players being able to generally read the more difficult test tracks without error, compared to cd players. OTOH, I found this post where he indicated their inferiority due to master clock frequency discrepancies.


With the newer stuff, I have to agree with Avguygeorge regarding quality and implementation as my Muse 10 sounds much better than the PD65 with D2D-1 and DAC 3.0 that it replaced.
I bought a used Reimyo DAP-777 DAC here on the 'Gon and was disappointed with its performance using both an older Pioneer CDP with the Stable Platter Mechanism and a Muse 9 CDP as transport. I bought a demo Sony DVP-S7700 CD/DVD player on eBay for $200, and the sound with the Reimyo is incredible. Talk about 'hearing into' the recording. I could hardly believe that a transport could make such a HUGE difference. And that's the stock Sony. (You can have $1300 of mods done to it if you feel guilty spending so little).
I cannot recommend this transport enough.
The sad truth is that, arguably, the weakest link in most high-end cd-playback system is...the cd itself.
The DVD player I was using was a fully modded
Pioneer DV-563A, by fully modded I mean Power supply R core transformer, pi filter Panasonic caps, and Clock, etc, etc.
I several systems the diferences were obvious, you could tell right away, I even gave it full burn in, with very slight quality increase.

I am not trying to pick a fight or disrespect anyone, I just feel that I was misguided by reviews and modders I and want to tell my story to help somebody else, I spent and lost, money trying to get a better transport with terrible results, I even bought the fully modded Sqeezebox2, which is a great product! , but High End it is not.....yet.
I agree w/the conviction that DVD players can make fine CD transports. Back when I first started obsessing w/finding a good-sounding CD player and had a Tjoeb 99, I bought a Sony DVD player (89.00) at my trusty Sony dealer -- supposedly for movies only. I A/B'd it with the 99 and guess what? I sold the Tjoeb and am still happy with the Sony, and this is in a $5,000+ system. Number of circuits and topolgy have absolutely no effect on the sound, but we tell ourselves otherwise in order to justify the Meridians, Krells, and Levinsons of the world.
Many new CD players are using DVD or computer derived ROM drives. I am no expert, but it seems to me very few CDPs use a dedicated CD drive anymore, and a well designed and executed DVD player should be equal or possibly superior from what I can gather as they use newer technology anyhow. I have a Bel Canto PL-2 and I honestly think it is the equal of my previous Ayre CX-7e as a player, not just a transport, but it plays dvd's, SACD and DVDA with only one box on my shelf. Not sure if there is a "correct" answer on this as transports and DAC's are always about synergy anyhow...
A few years ago there were some DAC makers that recommended DVD players as transports for their DACs. I believe it may have been Bel Canto or EVS, but please don't take my word for it.
Personally I can't hear anything missing. I've been using an inexpensive Sony DVD changer as a transport into a Bel Canto DAC 1.1. I'm moving this player into our HT system and am replacing it with a Sony Dvpnc 555es as a transport.

This player allows you to turn off the video circuitry and appears to be very well thought out. Although it costs much more than the player it's replacing I don't expect to hear any difference.

I have about a 15k system and don't feel I should spend more on a better transport. My system sounds so good already I'm quite satisfied. Moving a bass trap in my room would be more of a difference than between transports.

I appreciate everybody's input. I'd like to hear from an engineer who could say why a dvd player won't work as well as a cd player for a transport though.
I'd like to hear from an engineer who could say why a dvd player won't work as well as a cd player for a transport though.

Don't hold your breath. An engineer would tell you it doesn't matter what you use as a transport, as long as it can deliver the appropriate stream of bits to the DAC. And most $50 DVD players on the market have no trouble doing that at all.
Like Davetherave, I also have a DAP-777. I purchased a brand new CAL Audio DVD player after they went out of bsuiness for $800. Original cost was $2,500 It has balanced output to feed into the DAP-777. It also had a very expensive transport mechanism.

The review in Stereophile to Home Theatre stated the DVD portion was so-so but it had a state of the art transport section. Sound quality is outstanding. Also the video section can be turned off for less electrical interference. I can't see spending big bucks for a transport. (This replaced a Pioneer DVD model modified by Dan Wright that I used for 4 years with the Birdland DAC-Lite.)

I think John Marks addressed the issue of inexpensive transports in Sterophile stating that a used EAD player sounded fine.

I appreciate everybody's input. I'd like to hear from an engineer who could say why a dvd player won't work as well as a cd player for a transport though.

What makes you think that a DVD player won't be as good of a transport as cd player?

I had a Music Hall CD25 cd player and Sony S7700 dvd player that I compared as just transports and liked S7700 better. Dac was Bel Canto DAC2.

You are speaking in general terms as well when you say dvd player vs cd player as a transport. it's like comparing a sedan to a coupe. which is a better performer? can you say?
They can. I have a reference player that is a modded Sony DVP-S7700 DVD player. There are several others that make superb transports as well, including Denon 2900, Pioneer DV-47A, Pioneer DV-09. All stock transports have weaknesses due to requirements for FCC emissions and sometimes due to poor design as well. See this white-paper for more info:

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I had a Sony DVP-S7700 that was mod'd specifically for Transport duties. Personally, the Cary CD-308 and Theta Miles that I owned at the same time smoked the mod'd Sony when used as a transport. In my system the Sony made my digital front end sound like, well, a Sony DVD player. It was tonally OK, but the soundstage narrowed to a point between the speakers and it just didn't have an zip to it.

To each his own!


I use a DVD Player as a transport. I notice no narrowing of soundstage ..sorry. I've also compared separate transport to cd player..again there just wasn't enough difference to warrant spending more. Maybe some of these players have more noise and jitter than others? These units must have extreme quirks to make your system sound as bad as some describe...I just haven't heard it.
I should have one of Audioengr's Turbomodded Electrocompaniet ECD-1 w/SuperClock 2 DACs here in the next week for an audition. Looking forward to hearing this DAC as I hear the differences in DACs, amplifiers, preamps and cables with no problems using a cheap dvd player.

I wasn't trying to imply that anyone else's setup should behave as mine did. I was just stating that the Sony DVP-S7700 that was mentioned several times did not work well in my setup. The two dedicated players I owned at that same time were both superior when used as a transport.

Both the Cary CD-308 and Theta Miles (balanced) were easily better than the mod'd Sony used with either a Birdland Odeon Lite or Channel Islands DAC.

IMHO, YMMV, my system, my ears, etc.


No problem...I think DB test would show most couldn't hear the difference in transports. If you're one of the few that can, I commend you.

Good listening
Reubent - I didn't mod your player did I?

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Reubent - You didn't have the Sony 7700 in "slow" mode by any chance? This will crush the performance.

Steve N.
I have played around with transports for a long time and we have done a lot of direct comparisons.
On one test we tried Proceed CDD, CAL ICON, Counterpoint (with the CDM12) and the clear winner of that test was the Proceed.
On another test we used Meridian 200, CAL DX1, Magnavox CDB624, with the clear winner bieng the Meridian, with more dynamics, the others being not so far behind amazingly!
On another test we run Proceed against a Krell CD30, the owner prefered the Krell and kept it, I prefered the Proceed but didnt have the funds at the time to buy it.
All this tests were done with an EAD 7000 series III DAC and Siltech or Madrigal SPDIF.
On a more recent test we tried the CEC TL-1, Modded Pioneer DVD, Metronome CD player (as transport), and MusicHall CD25 with PS mods. The DAC used was a Benchmark with Siltech cable, The clear winner of course the CEC, way behind the Metronome and MusicHall with diferent flavors, insultingly behind was the DVD player.

An engineer once wrote a big paper on the Sony 707ES as transport, and then told me the Pioneer DVD player would be soooo much better than the Sony...I would advice just trust your ears, but try to make direct comparisons, the same day on the same system with the same cables, and the same song, diferences are obvoius they jump at you, no need for a sixth sense or ESP!
Steve, how do u know if your sony 7700 is in "slow mode" - cant find my manual. Are u refering to the audio change on the remote?


I didn't even know there was such a thing as slow mode. So, unfortunately, I don't know. I sold the Sony a couple of years ago.

Oh, and you did not mod it. It was mod'd by one of the mod'rs popular on this site, but will remain nameless!

Steve, when u mod gear for people u should set their gear up or tell them. I have had it on slow mode for i dont know how long. For those who r interested, its in the Initial setup 2(hit setup on remote) - go to audio filter - choose sharp or slow.
To access "slow mode", go to the setup menu - on screen video. One of the tabs leads you to this using the remote control to navigate.

Steve N.
Whites - I usually run a full diagnostic and check the modes now. You may have been an early customer, prior to when I started doing this.

Steve N.
I have owned the Pioneer '09 and the Sony 7700. I have the Audiomeca Enkainthus as my dac. I tried both of these as transports,only,against my Theta Data3. The main difference is in the low end of the music.It is noticable;it just ain't there--no matter what the rags say.
The main reason is the laser p/u and clock! Dedicated laser p/u and clocks for audio redbook and dvd video are spec'd differently. So though the drawer mechanism of a dvd player can be as sturdy (if not sturdier) the circuit was made to read video data not audio.

As for single disc vs. changer, just think simple is better. However, even a cd changer outperforms a single disc dvd player as a redbook transport.