CD sound quality

I have Wharfedale Evolution 30 speakers powered by NAD 730BEE amp. CD player is my philips DVD. Some CD's sound almost like the music is muted! or, it sounds like something is in front of the speakers blocking the sound, like a blanket or a large piece of furniture. Imaging actually seems pretty good.

could a low-end philips DVD player + basic cables be the cause of this?

Thanks for your advice
Thanks everyone for these very helpful comments.

Let me be more specific about the sound quality. Specific instruments/voices almost sound as if they are in another room. The sound is never totally muted; that would be a setup problem or device failure/defective hardware. Itzak Perlman’s violin is missing treble. Removing the bypass and turning up treble all the way helps the instrument sound more normal. Of course, its preferable to keep the bypass and the music engineer’s balancing. I did a similar test with a Metallica CD and bass also seemed too distant. Turning up the bass helped a little but quickly muddied the sound of course…

The tuner actually sounds good, though since I have no control over radio broadcasts I cant specifically compare and re-listen to specific sections of music. This cuts out any problem with the CD player and I assume sound quality should be high with the tuner since the only loss of sound quality would be with speaker cables (Oehlbach – 4mm(?))

Could the combination NAD/Wharfedale be less favorable for certain types of music?

I have the most basic cables to connect the Amp/CD player. Before spending $500 on a new CD player, perhaps a small investment in those connecting cables could make a difference?


I don't think this is a cable issue. What you are decribing sounds like a defective circuit somewhere. Since the tuner sounds normal, I'd look first at the CD. Does your Receiver have another jack you can run the CD through? AUX 1 or 2 maybe? Do you have another CD player at your disposal; a buddies maybe that you could try.
Don't think that just because it makes sound it can't be defective. I listened to a Bryston Amp for several years before I convinced myself something just wasn't right. I sent it back to Bryston and they said one of the output transistors was shorted internally!!! It was an amazing difference when I got it back and naturally I felt like a tin eared idiot - And I've been listening to audio for 25 yrs.
This doesn't sound like a compatability or cable issue to me.

This may be something of a hijack if you don't have a PC. However if you do then there is something you can do to drastically improve CD sound. First, pick up a newer used higher end universal player (I picked up a Pioneer Elite 59avi on Ebay for 500 bucks and you can get them cheaper than that). I rip my CD's to PC using Exact Audio Copy (free download) then burn them to DVD using Cirlinca DVD Solo (35 bucks) at either 24/96 (two hours to a DVD) or 24/192 (one hour to a DVD). The sound improvement is substantial. In fact the Pioneer reads them as DVD-Audio discs and outputs both analog and digital (to my NOS tube buffered DAC). Also look at controlling vibration and RF/EMI on the transport.

Direct PC audio (playing sound files from your PC to your system via Squeezebox, etc) is the next step from this. I'm just waiting for it to mature. It's getting close. With terrabyte home hard drives coming soon storage is not a problem. Using FLAC (a lossless encoder) you can compress audio files to fit large numbers of them on current hard disks.

Regarding vinyl, after attending HE2006 and hearing many systems featuring it I found no compelling reason to go back to it. Having to buy new vinyl (the audiophile pressings run upwards of 30 bucks retail) and hardware while ignoring or trying to sell my 2,000 CD's and digital front end makes no sense. Vinyl is having something of a renaissance but to me it is still a dead end. You can rip your CD's and upsample them to improve their sound. PC audio eliminates the biggest digital problem (transport error and jitter).

Plus, digital is far more convenient. If I want to sit back and listen to 2 hours of music without getting up every 20 minutes to flip a disc I can do so. If I want to listen to "Deacon Blues" fifteen times in a row I can do that by pushing a button. Yes, you could go back to cassettes but then you need a high end deck and high quality tapes to make ones that you can enjoy but still fall well short of good digital.

To each their own. Hope this helps.
Bonvoyage - I think Rrcpa gave you the right steps to try next. Try changing the path to see if you can isolate which part of the path is causing the problem. The way you're describing the problem doesn't sound like a typical compatability, or even quality, issue.
From what was added to this thread by Bonvoyage, and through his own logical deductions, it seems that the problem is mostly the recordings and tonal preferences.

If treble is missing on one disc, yet bass is missing on the next, that sounds more like a variance amongst recordings and production issues. What makes me further believe this to be the issue is that FM sounds okay. This means that the basic system i.e. integrated and speakers are capable of providing sonics that are found acceptable, IF the program material is of the tonal balance that Bonvoyage appreciates.

Believe it or not, FM is a highly processed signal i.e. added equalization, compression, etc... On most FM stations, the treble and bass are slightly boosted and the midrange slightly cut. This would add the brilliance, warmth and "oomph" that Bonvoyage evidently seems to desire.

With that in mind, you either have to find equipment that gives you what you want with the tone controls bypassed. It is either that or not be afraid to use the tone controls that you have, sometimes in moderation even though you think it needs more boost than what your speakers and / or amp can handle.

Many folks end up chasing their tails for far too long in this type of situation. They change every component, cable, parameter of installation, etc... available to them without achieving the results that they want or expect. Many times, a simple tweak of a tone control, used within reason and adjusted recording by recording, could have saved them hundreds / thousands of dollars. On top of that, they would have been enjoying their music a LOT more.

Coming to realize that you bought music because you liked what you heard in it is the first step here. The second step is to achieve that same enjoyment. If it means altering the recording somewhat, which was done in massive fashion most all the time in the studio, one shouldn't feel guilty about that. Buy what you think is the best and do what is necessary to enjoy the music. Nobody is monitoring your use of tone controls when you listen and we won't revoke your "audiophile badge". Sean