Music Player: WD TV vs WD TV + DAC vs CDp


Well-Known Member
Dec 4, 2008
Chennai, India
This weekend is the time for this long pending question I have. How well does the WD TV compare to a dedicated CDP.

So the plan is to play few collection of songs on the CDP and do the same in WD TV (off-course loseless) and see what would be the rating.

The system:
Marantz CD63 SE and NAD 541

NAD 370 (modded, pre-amp and power seperate, this amp was bi-amped)
NAD 2100

Behringer Active cross over CX 2310

Monitor MA 1200 gold

Behringer DEQ 2496

We didnt have too much time and was not able to get hold of DAC Magic so we did the comparison with the above mentioned gear. We had initially planned to do a longer review but the results were too apparent so didnt spend too much time.

For convenience I had selected two songs from Harris Jeyaraj music from the movie Ayan.
Song 1 was Nenje, an all round song with good balanced musicals which will give us a good view of the soundstage.
Song 2 was Vizhi Mudi, this song is perfect example for vocal and soft bass (for which I i am a sucker)

Urs truly - Been listening for last 9-10 years, can appreciate good music

My wife - Loves music through her iPod and was used to 128 kbps sound :rolleyes: and now slowly becoming addicted to real music :yahoo:

Flanker - One of the most passionate music lovers I have seen in my years. Borders inbetween being eccentric and sane when it comes to music. Has a dedicated music setup for his living, seperate music room blah blah..has HUGE collection of LPs...okay I can go on and on about this guy who spent 4 hrs just to get this review going, changing CDs , connecting wires. I wont say thanks to him, bcos thanks is too small a word for him :)

Here is the take:
Ratings 1 to 5 (best)

WD TV connected via RCA to amp (which means we used WDTVs DAC)
Vocal: 1
Sound stage: 0.5
Instrument clarity: 1
Nothing to write about, the vocal was pushed back, the instruments where playing together and in front. Really an injustice to Harris and singers harish and Karthik

WD TV connected via Optical using Behringer
Vocal: 3
Soundstage: 2
Instrument Clarity: 2.5
MUCH better, the vocal were pronounced, not much of sound stage, we could make out the instruments but def where playing together. In Vizhi mudi song there is a mild echo of the singer which is very subtle and beautiful. This was not heard with WD alone, but was heard with the DAC.

NAD connected to the same rig (I will post Marantz vs NAD in CPD review section)
Vocal: 4.5
Soundstage: 4.5
Instrument Clarity: 5

WOW, let me quote what my wife said:
"Ram, is there only two speakers? I thought Harish was singing in front of me" . The Vizhi mudi song Karthik was sounding brilliant, we could clearly hear the sound staging and each and every instrument along with the very very subtle "Jalra" ;).

Both I and Flanker were totally done in 10 mins and there was no need to test other English or test audio CDs bcos the difference was day and light. So we stopped the test within some 45 mins.

Bottom line: NO comparison. The CDP wins hands down, no competition.

Thanks for all your patience :) Will invite Flanker to post his view
Thank you, Ram. This was the reason I did not get into any of these devices (WDTV, Xtreamer etc) as my main use would be music.

Am curious thought - would putting a quality DAC in these instruments up the price by quite a bit?
im pretty sure ( though the time between hearing was a whole hour) that my vintage SONY DVD player sounded better than a WDTV version 1

the sony dvd playr sounded better to me even after the WDTV was connected to a Vdac!
ofcourse the Vdac is known to roll off highs and on a laid back side ( so its not an ideal candiate for a WDTV source )

its pretty much a given that a wdtv is not for music

i too have found the NAD cdps really good VFM.
Now i only need to compare the VFM aspect between them and a music PC driven by an ESI juli
(will not be able to post on that till dec though)
Good review, and a very pertinent point established.
Thank you MBR and flanker! Waiting for flankers review.

By the way, Mbr, I too love the song Vizhi moodi.

If its not too much to ask, can you guys try out the test sometime with an AVR or HTIB?:eek:

In yr view what is the comparison between :
- iPod, connected via RCA cables
- WD TV, connected via optical

Agree that CDP sound is much better, but ripped music has its conveniences.
I am not sure if this thread is relevant anymore.. But here are my observations.

Ram Sir, You can try this yourself since you have the WDTV.

The WDTV outputs BAD audio signal through RCA in comparison to what it outputs via HDMI.

I have tried connecting using the below configs for comparison.

1) RCA of WDTV --> NAD C320 --> Speakers
2) WDTV --> HDMI in TV :: TV's audio out RCA --> NAD C320 --> Speakers
3) CDP --> NAD C320 --> Speakers

(1) 1/10 - This is incomplete audio. Low volume, incomplete frequencies. Everything you mentioned.

(2) 4/10 - All frequecies present, gives better volume at same knob position, fuller sound. But absolute lack of soundstage, not so great dynamism, bad seperation.

(3) 9/10 - Putting 9 here only because there is always room for improvement. :)

Iam not sure if any of the above traits od WDTV will affect movie sounds. I haven't found it lacking. But that could be because I haven't listened to anything better (w.r.t 2.0 sound in movies).
Just curious. How was the NAD connected to Behringer? Co-ax?

PS. Just realized this is an old review. Pl ignore.
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