Continued advances in player technology have all but silenced foolhardy predictions of physical discs going the way of the Edsel—a cry first sounded more than a decade ago. SACDs, Blu-rays, and CDs not only continue to be released—they’re thriving in audiophile circles. Better still, modern disc players—ranging from standalone CD players to universal players that accommodate practically every silver disc under the sun—are allowing music lovers to hear sound they never thought possible from their collections.
What should you look for in a disc player? Not surprisingly, numbers matter when it comes to sound. Common specifications such as total harmonic distortion (THD+N), signal to noise ratio (S/N), linearity, and jitter speak to audio effects inherent on all players but extremely low on models built to extract the data from your discs without adding annoying artifacts or debilitating distortion. To this extent, higher-end models offer separate power regulators for the digital and analog sections to reduce interference, feature gigantic toroidal power supplies, optimize the layout of circuit boards for short signal paths, utilize audiophile-quality DACs, employ metal film resistors and advanced capacitors for enhanced accuracy, and isolate and buffer the digital outputs to reduce timing errors.
Today’s players also come loaded with options, ranging from USB inputs and DSD decoding to cutting-edge remote controls and savvy digital displays. And because of ongoing engineering breakthroughs, the loading and laser-pickup assemblies achieve a symbiosis unimaginable even a decade ago. The alchemy carries over to the video side on Blu-ray and DVD players, most afforded stunning upscaling, conversion, and Dolby/DTS abilities that turn video into cinematic experiences. Whether you need a sleek transport or seek state-of-the-art universal performance, Music Direct has a player that will help you get the most music from your disc collection.
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