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24bit CD Players, What's the deal?
post Jan 28 2013, 08:01
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CD players seem pretty outdated nowadays. I even replaced my laptop's CD drive for an SSD - because I download nearly all of my music online, and when I want to rip a CD I just plug a drive into my eSATA port. But I was looking for a CD drive to complete my new stereo setup - which I don't think I am even going to get because I have a turntable for my vinyls and my laptop for everything else...

However, I found that there are a lot of 24bit CD players on ebay that sell for 2 to 5 thousand dollars! As far as I was aware CDs are physically 16bit storage devices. Am I wrong? Are CDs actually 24 bit, or are these multi thousand dollar CD players just complete gimickes?
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post Jan 28 2013, 13:14
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ReplayGain developer

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I don't think anyone has made a strictly 16-bit only 44.1kHz only CD player for decades.

Once you oversample to allow digital anti-alias (anti-image) filtering, you no longer have the original "bits" anyway. You need a DAC that has a sufficiently low noise floor and linearity to reproduce the signal cleanly. That could have any number of bits, from 1 to 24 (or, in marketing speak, even more wink.gif ). A DAC that failed on the noise and/or linearity requirement could also have any number of bits.

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