Why does my computer sound better than my CD player?

My system consists of a NAD C340 integrated amp,Cambridge Audio D500 CD player,Onkyo Integra CD changer and NHT 1.5 speakers. I use Kiber Kable 4PR speaker wire and Audio Research Pro interconnects. The problem is my system sounds too bright and fatiguing for me and my friends when used with either sources. Don't blame on the NHT because when I switch source to my computer through a cheap freebee mini-jack to RCA plug wire,the sound is much smoother and crystal clear with improved soundstage and great balance(defintely non-fatiguing).My computer sound card is SoundBlaster Live! Could you explain the reason?-Sylvester
Two reasons come to mind: 1. Your sound card may be truncating information that your other system doesn't.
Your main system is revealing noise (RF? Bad AC?) that the computer can't. 2. The sound card may be have pure DC as its power source. Ever notice how good a (relatively) tiny car stereo sounds? Many think it's due to being battery (DC) powered. Them's my two cents!
Then it would seem that your Onkyo changer is at fault. Why not try a better CD player, or add on a decent DAC, or simply use your computer as the CD source?
I agree with dweller and plato, this is a good example of down sampling. Get an old cd player w/2 times oversampling and a laid back cable (audioquest). Can you hear differences between cambridge,onkyo, and pc cd?
It is the Acoustic Research Pro Interconnects. I have demo'd them, and while they are good for $20 a pair, they are definitely bright. Also, if you search the other Audiogon threads you will find one where someone asked about the AR cables. The conclusion of the group was they were very bright. Here is the link.


A better power cord will improve the Cambridge, but not in the bright area. The bass will be tighter.

I was a contributor to a thread about the AR cables, possibly the one that Sugarbrie referred to. I found them to be flat and dull sounding in my system but the owner of these cables found them to be VERY bright in his system. Since you are also changing interconnects when switching sources, this may be part of "brightness" problem.

As to your selection of Kimber 4PR, it is VERY well known that this is a bright and "zippy / zingy" sounding cable. Even Stereophile states this in their "recommended components" description. Transients are highlighted and spectral decay is minimized. As such, music tends to sound VERY fast and articulate upon the striking or playing of notes but lacks body and harmonic overtones. As such, it can work well in a system that is overtly warm and bloated but i would think that it would not be complimentary to speakers using metal domes. Sean
I found the Cambridge Audio CD player bright and harsh when I auditioned it. As others have suggested, see if you can try yet another CD player.

- Eric
I was not suggesting the Cambridge is bright. It is right out of the box new (but so is every CD player), but after 100 hours it is fine. There are reviews on the Cambridge in Stereophile, HiFi Choice, and Audio & Video Lifestyle. None of them found it bright. They all recommend it. I can't think of another under $500 machine worth considering. The power cord comment comes for the fact that the bass is a little bloated IMHO with the cheap AC cord they give you.
While i don't know about the 500, i know that Listener magazine REALLY liked one of their earlier models. They basically said that it was "THEE" budget cd player to beat. Sean