Introduction to Universal Audio Player Reviews
Audio players specifically for disk media are the standard CD, SACD and BluRay audio players. Although the redbook CD format has been labeled dead, it’s still probably the most common used format by audiophiles, vinyl argument aside. The CD player and/or transport will most likely disappear over time with the advent of digital file storage, but for the time being, still used in most systems. The sampling rate of 44.1 kHz is being challenged with the high-res audio offering rates at double 96 kHz and 192 kHz.
A CD transport player is merely a CD player without the DAC, it cannot convert the signal back to analog for playback without an external D/A conversion. The advantage is that a CD player may not use the best DAC and an external unit may do a better job, like a separates system might suggest.
The SACD or Super Audio format may have peaked but there is still a following. The DSD or Direct Stream Digital encoding has kept the SACD player popular. Additionally, the SACD format can be used to record in multi-channel, although few recording companies make the effort beyond 2 channel stereo. Some may recall the format war between DVD-Audio and SACD which ultimately became the preferred format, however most universal players will play both.
Finally the newest format in audio is BluRay. Although predominately known as a video format, BluRay disks offer huge storage capabilities and bandwidth needs of higher resolution audio. With the potential for lossless audio and multi channel, the BluRay format offers the potential with very high sampling rates up to 352 kHz and 24 bits. Additionally, the DXD or Digital Extreme Definition is the successor to the DSD format now used in high resolution recordings. DXD formatted music can be now downloaded from online sources.