Why differences in reading the bits

Music from PC, iPOD, MP3 etc
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Why differences in reading the bits

Postby St_Antoine » Wed May 11, 2016 1:14 pm

Dear Gentlemen,

I would like to seek your opinion and experience.

My system is composed of Oppo 105d or Cyrus Cdi ==> Chord Hugo ==> Atc Scm40A.

I use the Oppo 105D to read digital files and feed the information to the Chord Hugo through optical connection.
I use Cyrus CDi to read the CD and feed to the Chord Hugo through coax connection.

I ripped a Dire Straits's Brothers in Arms CD to a wav format and played it on the Oppo. I lost the openness, the timbre, the attack and the pace of the Cyrus CDi. The Oppo sounds dull, lifeless in comparison.


How is that so? I thought that all the Oppo has to do is to read the bits and feed them to the Hugo which does the hard work of converting them to lovely analog signal. In this circumstance, It seems the Hugo is receiving different bits from the Oppo and the Cyrus of the same file.

What is the weakest link? A Linear power source for the Oppo will improve the reading of the bits? The internal clock?
Why is the Cyrus CDi so much better?

If I use Synology NAS to feed the Hugo, would it be better than the Oppo?
There are good reviews of the Bryston dpa 2 as a good transport without a DAC but it is much too expensive.

I don't want to spend more than 400 usd to upgrade my system.

Any suggestion and explanation as why there is differences between the Oppo 105D and the Cyrus CDi as transport?

Thanks all of you in advance.

Have a good day!

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby darrenyeats » Wed May 11, 2016 6:02 pm

Are you using optical input for both sources?

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby St_Antoine » Wed May 11, 2016 6:54 pm

Hi Darren,

The oppo is feeding the hugo via optical cable.
The cyrus CDi is feeding the hugo via coax cable.

My digital audio files are stored in a hard drive connected to the oppo via usb cable.
The cyrus CDi is a cd player.

Chord Hugo will reclock the signal.

I cannot figure out why the oppo does not sound as good as the cyrus.

Do you have any idea where is the weakest link, so that i can improve the sound?

Thanks,

St Antoine

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby darrenyeats » Wed May 11, 2016 9:29 pm

Different digital interfaces into the DAC can perform slightly differently. I wouldn't draw any conclusions unless comparing sound on the same input. Does the CDi have an optical digital output, does the Oppo have a coax digital output? At the least, I would have a play.

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby St_Antoine » Thu May 12, 2016 5:13 am

Hi Darren,

Yes, I have tried the connecting the Oppo to Hugo via coax cable and the Cyrus to Hugo via optical cable.

The Cyrus has more attack, open stage, timbre and pace than the Oppo.

I have quite a large collection of music in digital files. Having the files read by the Synology NAS and input to the Hugo will improve the sound quality?

What do you think?

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby linger63 » Thu May 12, 2016 8:31 am

St_Antoine

This may not be the answer you are looking for but I found it interesting and now run my Oppo 105 and Benchmark DAC2 HGC the same way.

http://everythingaudionetwork.blogspot. ... edder.html

Note that the Oppo's coaxial and optical digital outputs have different resolution level capabilities.

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby tw99 » Thu May 12, 2016 12:03 pm

Did you rip it using a lossless encoder ?
NACD3.5 | SBT / DSpeaker anti-mode 2.0 / SIA2-150 / SCM40 + C1

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby St_Antoine » Thu May 12, 2016 6:09 pm

Hi Linger63,

Thanks for your advise.

The Oppo 105D does output res 24/192 through coax and optical (the Chord Hugo DAC can detect the res 24/194 input from the oppo) but DSD only through hdmi.

I do own very few SACD, Bluray and DVD A, therefore your suggested de-embedder is of limited use. Unless, I want to start SACD collection.

As mentioned, if you rip a red book CD in wav format and plays with the oppo or play the CD on the oppo, it cannot match the Cyrus CDi. Half of my library is CDs and the other half is digital. That is why I want improve the sound from the oppo.

Any comment? Thanks


Hi Tw99,
Thanks for your message. I use dBpoweramp to rip the CD. Are there better apps?


Regards,

St Antoine

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby Shadorne » Fri May 13, 2016 4:46 am

Check the settings in your Oppo. Most blu-Ray players can take a digital file and down mix it or process it according to Dolby and other settings (music hall, Rick, jazz, movie and other settings). There is limited bandwidth on the optical - so it is essential that you select de-select 5.1 or 7.1 mix or multi-speaker output cinema or other processed modes and set the output to just stereo PCM. Optical has enough bandwidth for stereo up to 24bit 192 kHz. Optical does not have enough bandwidth for multichannel sound at that level of quality.

The other possibility is you have a sample rate conversion problem from native 16 bit 44khz on the CD to 16 bit 48 kHz. CD players use 44.1 KHz. Blu-Ray or a DVD will use 48khz or 96Khz or sometimes but rarely 192khz. Sample rate conversion is usually inaudible but sometimes the conversion may be implemented poorly.

The other possibility is that you have severe jitter from the Oppo and the Hugo has been unable to fix it even though it is reclocking."
"ATC. Always The Champion. I will not record without them. The best studio monitors. Period." ~ Lenny Kravitz

Benchmark DAC3, 2 x ATC SCM EL150ASL, 1 ATC SCM 0.1/15, 2 x Genelec 8020, Roland TD-30 Drums, Pearl Ref Acoustic Kit, Ludwig brass & Pearl Ref snares, Gibson LP Supreme, Fender Precision Bass

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby Alexk » Fri May 13, 2016 6:43 pm

Sounds to me as though the Oppo is performing some sort of sample rate conversion (SRC). Your system sample rate should always be set to match the source material. In the same way that playing back 96 KHz audio in iTunes makes no sense if your system clock isn't set to 96,000 Hz in Audio Midi Setup (or whatever the equivalent is on Windows).

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby St_Antoine » Sat May 14, 2016 5:14 pm

Hi Shadorne/Alex,

It makes sense.
My oppo 105d is set to read the pcm files at 192kHz.
I will set it at 44kHz and compare with the Cyrus CDi again and report the finding.

Thanks and cheers

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby Shadorne » Sun May 15, 2016 3:26 pm

I think you may be down mixing

Check Down Mix Mode in your Oppo and ensure it is set to Stereo!!!!

Here are the options

LT/RT – Left Total/Right Total. The center and surround channels are mixed into the two front channels according to the LT/RT matrix. A Dolby Pro Logic receiver will decode the two-channel audio into surround audio.
Stereo – This mode down mixes multi-channel audio to 2-channel stereo output. For original stereo content the output will not change. For original multi-channel content the surround and center channels will be mixed with the left and right front channels. This is recommended for use with TV sets or stereo receiver/amplifiers.
5.1Ch – This mode enables 5.1ch decoded audio output. The number of actual output channels depends on the disc. If the source content has more channels, the surround back channels will be mixed into the surround channels.
7.1Ch – This mode enables 7.1ch decoded audio output. The number of actual output channels depends on the disc. For 6.1ch contents, the left and right surround back speakers will both output the same surround back audio channel.
"ATC. Always The Champion. I will not record without them. The best studio monitors. Period." ~ Lenny Kravitz

Benchmark DAC3, 2 x ATC SCM EL150ASL, 1 ATC SCM 0.1/15, 2 x Genelec 8020, Roland TD-30 Drums, Pearl Ref Acoustic Kit, Ludwig brass & Pearl Ref snares, Gibson LP Supreme, Fender Precision Bass

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby St_Antoine » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:59 pm

Shadorne/Alex,

Sorry for taking much time to post my finding after implementing your suggestions.

Just to recap, I use the Oppo 105d to extract the bits from the digital files and input them to the Chord Hugo DAC. But when extracting the bits on the CD from the Cyrus CDi and input them to Hugo DAC, music sounds much better.

You guys advise me to changed the audio settings of the Oppo 105d to stereo and the sample rate to be equivalent to the source's one. I did it and spent much time doing the comparison. There is no noticeable improvement in the sound quality.

My conclusion is that the digital files reading from the stock Oppo 105d cannot match the CD reading from the Cyrus CDi. I don't know how Cyrus achieves that but it sounds so much better in the dynamic range, the pace, the timbre and spacing of each instrument, the details and the decay.

Cyrus CDi plays only CDs (red book) while the Oppo 105d is preamp - universal Bluray/DVD/SACS/CD/HDCD player with headphone jack/optical/coax/rca xlr outputs (the Swiss knife of audio/video). They cost the same price!

I think the only way to improve the sound quality from the digital files is to change or upgrade the Oppo 105d.
However, at this stage, I am contented with my system. I will upgrade once my equipment is broken.

Unless any one suggests a cheap improvement.

Cheers.

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby AndyU » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:08 pm

Try ripping a CD on your laptop using a good ripper like dBpoweramp into a lossless format and playing it back to the Hugo via USB (possibly running your pc from batteries to minimise USB noise as Rob Watts suggests.) I had a Hugo driving SCM25As for a long time. I thought it was wonderful. Then I upgraded it to a Hugo TT which was (somewhat surprisingly) a good bit better.

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Re: Why differences in reading the bits

Postby St_Antoine » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:55 pm

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your suggestion. I did the ripping with dBpoweramp in wav format.

I live in HK and space is luxury here. I will need to divorce my wife first before, I can put a laptop in the living room for music playing. It will look awful from an aesthetics point of view. Besides, each time I want to play digital music, I need to switch on the computer, open files etc... a bit troublesome.

Changing the DAC will have the same effect: the reading from the Oppo will be inferior to the Cyrus'.

My Hugo is not yet one year old, and I don't intend to change it in the very near future. I am a bit tight financially.

For curiosity, what is your system like? How do you connect the source to the TT. The sound quality is better because of the xlr connection to the speakers?

Cheers.

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