Essence Audio - High Fidelity Help & Hints - Article
Why Don’t My CDs Sound Good When Played On My DVD Player ?
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All DVD players can play normal CD media.
The Answer as to whether all DVD players are GOOD sounding CD players however, is a resounding NO!
DVDs and CDs appear to share the same physical characteristics (such as the size of the disc) but technically they differ greatly.
CDs have different focusing requirements than DVDs. To play a CD on a DVD player, a DVD player will have either a variable focus mechanism for the laser or a dual laser mechanism – that is, one laser to read CDs and another to read DVDs. These days the dual laser arrangement is generally the more common option.
To find a really good sounding CD only player can be difficult unless you are prepared to pay a premium price for one of the high end machines.
The popularity of cheap DVD players which will also sound “reasonable” when playing a CD, and the popularity of surround sound systems has to a large extent slowed the production of the dedicated CD only machines. The quality of reproduction from these cheap machines can be summed up by the comparison of an MP3 audio track to a normal CD track from a disc.
The bottom line is this: If you want the very best audio reproduction from a CD played in a DVD player it is advisable to thoroughly compare players. Some of latest DVD players will give a good account of themselves, some will not. It is very much the case of comparing various DVD players with a known audio CD (a reference disc*) and then choosing a machine which sounds good playing your disc.
* Ideally your reference CD would contain example tracks that cover the range of music you are most interested in. Even though any digital aberrations are likely to be across the entire audio spectrum, it is still a good idea to include tracks that will test for both high and low frequency fidelity, where any problems will be more obvious.
Essence Audio - Music First!
Incept: October 2009 - Updated May 2010