An example of an external DAC that is designed to reject jitter is the Benchmark DAC1 and DAC2.
Available direct from Benchmark. There are many other examples. The other thing about a high-quality
external DAC like a Benchmark is that they build a super analog stage after conversion. Many CD
players go the most cost-effective route, using either a minimal-parts design and/or cheap parts.
Denon has a reputation being better than average, so you may already be working with a great design.
Do you not like the sound of your player? I think you live in NYC, which means you can actually take
your player to a hifi store (they still have them in the city, I envy you!) and try out external
DACs as well as newer-vintage stand-alone players. Given the vagueries of room acoustics and
speakers, I recommend you bring a pair of headphones you trust. One mark of a good DAC and for that
matter a good stand-alone disc player these days is that it has a high-quality headphone amp.
Keep in mind that no 2-channel stand-alone DACs that I know of can decode a digital signal from a
DVD movie disc. Some can decode DVD-Audio discs, as long as the player is sending real-deal
2-channel PCM data. Some disc players have built-in facilities to trans-code movie-sound formats to
PCM-over-SPDIF that DACs universally understand. Bottom line, in most case, movie-sound will need to
come out of the player's analog outs and the SPDIF coax or optical cable will be for CD audio and
perhaps 2-channel DVD-audio. I have not seen an external DAC that decodes SACD discs, even those
that decode DSD files. But just because I haven't seen such things doesn't mean they don't exist!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Hirsch" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 5:02 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Upgrading your old CD player - and more. was: another "coming demise of the
compact disc" commentary
> Regarding the last paragraph of your post, could you point us towards some
> online or print source that illustrates the process you describe? As I have
> most fully demonstrated time and again on this list, I am a technical
> ignoramus and need more explicit directions even when it comes to what I am
> sure is a most simple procedure. My current CD (actually a DVD) player is a
> fairly decent Denon unit but it must be over a decade old at this point and
> no doubt could use an upgrade. I had been considering asking the list for
> recommendations, assuming one can still purchase a decent CD player
> As long as I have the floor and am asking semi-dumb, slightly off-topic,
> questions, I'd like to address this to the list in general:
> I am wondering if there is such a thing as a DVD player that does not
> require you to turn on the video that it is attached to tell what the hell
> you are listening to if you are using it simply as an audio player?
> Recently, I finally purchased a flat screen TV, with the idea that it would
> mostly be used to watch movies and classical music concert/opera on DVD and
> secondarily as a satellite music system in my TV area. I thought that
> purchasing a DVD player and sound bar each costing several times the
> minimum price would mean that I would have a fairly pleasant listening
> experience whether watching video or just enjoying music. Not up to my
> Mackie monitors that I adore listening to LP, CD, cassette, 78 (FM even
> radio) on in my audio lair, but at least decent.
> Even though I thought I was dealing with someone at Crutchfield (which I
> have been pretty happy with in the past) who knew what he and I were
> talking about when I settled on a $500 sound bar (you can get one for way
> less than $100 at Tiger Direct and elsewhere) and DVD player maybe in the
> $200 range (ditto), I ended up with a player that shows a timing of the
> track playing, but does not identify what track that is, assuming that you
> will have the TV on and can check onscreen. I was not planning on running a
> 53" flatscreen just so I would know what tune or movement I am listening
> to. Aside from that, despite telling the salesman that I had high audio
> standards based more on the traditional audio than on home cinema concept
> because many of my DVDs are of classical music in concert or opera and I
> was not interested in how the nuclear phaser blasts shook the walls or how
> viscerally intense the fist crunching fights sounded, what came from the
> bar literally made me nauseous. Unless I am playing polyphonic choral music
> at such meditation-low levels that it is impossible to hear how bad the
> sound quality really is I am rolling my eyes in disbelief at what purports
> to be music the whole time. I am willing to junk everything other than the
> TV and start over if there are recommendations. I suppose I could just set
> up a traditional old fashioned setup with an amp and traditional speakers,
> but I did feel that the compactness of the amplified soundbar was appealing
> and wouldn't necessarily be such an impediment to decent sound. Maybe I was
> just wrong.
> Am I the only one out there that has wrestled with this?
> Peter H.
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 12:40 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> As long as it's new remastering done with care and precision, I prefer
>> high-resolution downloads. I miss the physical artifact, but most of the
>> time I'm replacing an atrocious-sounding CD and can keep the booklet if I
>> need liner notes. The problem with HD downloads is that some sound really
>> good (to my ears, the new Blue Notes done by Bernie Grundman sound _much_
>> better than the toothpaste-compressed "RVG Edition" CDs or the
>> whimpy-sounding early-era CDs, to cite one example), but others are just
>> the 96/24 versions of ill-conceived recent-era remasters. Another problem I
>> hear in some old favorites is that the master tapes are clearly
>> deteriorated, with audible dropouts, bad splices and high frequency loss in
>> spots. It's too bad that now when there's technology to make really
>> nice-sounding digital remasters, the old tapes are falling apart.
>> After high-rez, I usually prefer CD. There have been a few really good LP
>> reissues in recent times. Depending on your hearing aesthetic, you might
>> prefer Chad Kassem's (Analogue Production) all-analog LP reissues of RCA
>> Living Stereo albums, or you may prefer the SACD or high-rez download
>> versions. Both are superior, to my ears, to the original LPs and the
>> earlier-era BMG CD reissues. I've been intrigued with the recent emergence
>> of some younger LP cutting aces. It's nice to see some guys a good bit
>> younger than me learning the difficult craft and turning out consistently
>> nice work.
>> One other thing about CDs. People still using 1980s or 1990s consumer CD
>> players are missing a lot of quality contained on the shiny 5" spinners.
>> Get yourself a modern DAC and, assuming your old transport still works
>> properly (not always the case, belts wear out and lubricant gel becomes
>> pastey over time), hook it up via SPDIF coax or optical cable. If the DAC
>> has good jitter rejection. You might be amazed how much better your CDs
>> sound. Many early players simply could not deal with jitter, and many early
>> built-in DACs did not do a good job with the Nyquist rolloff/filtering.
>> Much progress has been made, and some modern DACs with excellent jitter
>> rejection and good sound quality retail well south of a grand.
>> -- Tom Fine