5 years ago you would have had a lot more choices. How about a Universal Player? Then you can enjoy the music from DVDs and Blu Rays, and if you decide to add a monitor you can watch them as well. I use a Pioneer UDP that did cost $1000 but now has risen a bit in price. I can tell you that with its internal DAC it sounds impressive although I don’t use it this way. Sony makes good Universal Players for much less.
Others will post here and discuss the merits of dedicated CDPs or dedicated transports, and there will be many posts urging you to burn your CDs to a HD and play from a streamer, but I wanted to focus here on the Universal Player option.
At your price range there is the Cambridge CXC, Audiolab 600, NuPrime CDT-8 and the Project CD Box DS2. All are transports lacking internal DAC.
I currently own the Cambridge which plays into a Audio Mirror Tubadour DAC. Not made any comparisons to any others.
Consider a Hegel cd player to match the H390 integrated amp.
+1 on mesch's response, no need to get a cd player. I also have the Cambridge, use it in my 2nd system and it is competent for the money. The other 3 have pretty good reviews as well.
Rumor has it that Schitt is working on a transport.
2nd for the Cambridge. Does its job very well.
I have two suggestions that fit your criteria, but both have built-in DACs. The first is a used Oppo 105 (just under $1K), the second is a used Pioneer BDP-09 FD (available periodically for a few hundred dollars). Either would make a great transport, and both play CDs and Blu-ray DVDs as a bonus.
I would second what @georgehifi said, Denafrips Avatar, but the price went up and I believe it’s in backorder.
By the way George, I apologize for what I have thrown at you on previous threads. It was harsh and unwarranted, and I regret it
Water off a ducks back, can't even remember it
Thanks for all the help, guys. I’m about 10 years removed from the audio world as I am just now buying a house with a dedicated listening area. Didn’t realize that mid/hi fi companies were making standalone transports in line with an average man’s salary. All the best and feel free to add on.
CXC is a few hundred bucks. So unless you live in a pretty beat up country, not exactly “average man’s salary “, unless you were talking about daily salary, which is not a blasphemy when buying audio equipment
You might give an Emotiva ERC 4 a try. I had one for awhile before going to a combination server, ripper, and network device. I used the ERC 4 with and external DAC by Benchmark even though it's internal DAC is more than adequate. Emotiva does have a generous return policy that gives you an ample opportunity to check it out at home.
You mentioned that you like Rega products. I have an Apollo-R that feeds a MDHT Orchid. The Apollo-R can be found used well under your budget, has a excellent DAC and is solidly built. Even though you say you don't need a DAC, it would be fun to compare to the Hegel.
I have an Audiolab 6000CDT transport and love it.
You may want to consider a Denon 2910 or 3910. These sold for about 1k and 2K in Canada. Can be had for about 200 and 500 respectively. Great value. Both are great with SACDs. 3910 is worth the extra and does better with red books. If you can find a 5910 even better. I have both and would have to go to something in the >2K range to get better. Yes, I have have had the oppo 205. I have also heard the new pioneer UDPs are great and have seen a few used ones around 1k.
Yep: also recommend the Cambridge CXC transport - it has a very good disc drive. It won't read anything but Redbook CD's however, so no SACD's allowed. There's no real performance difference between the CXC version 1 and the CXC V2, I've read. Check out the reviews for it.
I was in the same boat a few months ago, but I wanted to go with something new. I considered the Cambridge, I think the Audiolab, and a Rotel CD-14 and a newer version of it (CdD-15 or 1502). I went with the Rotel CD-14; it was highly rated as a transport (at least in one review). The Rotel sounds really good, but like a lot of newer CD players it's finicky and won't play scratched, dusty, etc., CDs. Don't know about the Cambridge or Audiolab for a comparison in any regard, but they all had pretty good reviews (I think the Audiolab, if that's indeed what I also considered), had better reviews than the Cambridge.
I’ve found the Lyngdorf CD2 to be a first class transport, though at your budget you’d need a used one. The other thing of great significance is the Coax cable. In my system all that I’ve tried sound dull, that’s why we made our own, the Network Acoustics ENO Digital Cable Cu is as good as you’ll get.
+1 on the Rega Apollo. I use mine with a Bryston BDA-1, an older but excellent DAC. Honestly, the DAC built-in to the Apollo is very good, nearly as good to my ears as the Bryston.
I see there is a company in Germany that sells a modified audiolab 6000 cdt.... Power supply and clock if I remember.... Doubles the price but if my modded bluesound node 2i is anything to go buy these non stock items can be radical improvements... Might be a US company doing the same.
Try to find a Used Moon Neo 260d cd transport. It was better than the Audiolab, Cambridge and lyngdorf in My setup. The older Bryston is worth a listening too.
I am not sure where you live. If it is in the US, my local audio store is a Hegel dealer and has the 390 in stock. Also, the owner just brought in a used balanced Ayre SACD player that retails for $3000 on sale for $1500 from his own personal collection. He has the big brother $6,000 SACD player at his house now. This player makes all those other models that were mentioned, which are good choices pail in comparison. I am thinking the owner, Mike Holm would give you a deal on the two pieces. They can ship it to you if you do not live near the Chicagoland area. The website is -
holmaudio.com. If I did not own a Oppo 205 I would buy it. I need my Oppo 205 for movies. I know this sounds like a plug, but the end goal is to get you some gear that people can only dream about very close to your budget. I just bought two matching T9 REL subs that were meant to go into the owners house. He helped me out and let me have them instead. I hope you did not pull the trigger on the Hegel yet because that is what’s going to make this deal work. Good luck, GOD speed, and welcome back to the game.
I have enjoyed my CA CXC.
Matter of fact you can get the CXC *and* a Project Pre Box S2 DAC
for less than $1000 (as I did) and put more money into an amp without a DAC (which makes it easier to upgrade later) or use a vintage amp like my rebuilt Pioneer SA-9100.
I believe the Project is way better than most internal amp DACs.
The Marantz hd cd-1 is a steal at current prices. It is compact, beautiful with the wood sides, and it works wonderfully as a cd transport. The headphone amp built in is also very good. Music direct had it @$399. It is a $600 player. Marantz are well known for building very nice cd players/transports. Secondly, I would choose the audiolab cdt 6000. I own both, and feel they are equally good in their roles as a transport.
I would agree with Towertone in 99% of the cases when you are using an internal DAC versus a stand alone. One of the only companies I feel that makes an incredible DAC for the integrated amps is Hegel. It does everything and has really good sound. I am a separates guy for the most part. Hegel is one company that does this extremely well. Also by getting an internal DAC you do not need to spend money on power and interconnect cables which can easily add $500 to the price. Nor do you have to spend the time figuring out which interconnects sound right with your system. This is a very common rabbit hole that can really get expensive. With this setup you only need to add a something for streaming and you are ready to go. You already figured out the hard part of figuring what pre/ amp sounds best with your setup. The rest is really about money for the sources. It took me 20 years to lock in my power plant.
I too have a Cambridge CXC v2. $600 feeding a Bryston BDA-3 dac.
Sounds wonderful. Hard to go wrong.
Here's a short vid on how to do a few tweaks, not parts changing, simple stuff virtually anyone can do.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoxC3st7WQw&t=1521s
OK OK the DAC costs $4000 so maybe it would make any transport sound better. Maybe.
Good luck with your choice.
@barts Did you do those mods? Thoughts?
FWIW, I got my CXC v. 1 from Crutchfield for $389. I don't think V.2 is all that different/improved is it? Because I think a used CXC v.1 might be quite a bargain.
The new CXC I got with haggling, in Aus cost me $490aud that’s $353usd!!!! this is why it’s the best bang for buck so far.
Until hopefully (ex Theta) Mike Moffat of Schiit Audio gets into gear with this resurgence of CD transports needed on the market, then it "should" take over best bang for buck.
@hilde45 I did the Dynamat tweak and I got good results from it.
A $20 sheet of Dynamat (Amazon) took care of both of my CD players; and, I've got enough left over to do at least one more CD player. The video is right about being careful where you where install the mat; so, take your time and think it through if you do it.
Very interested in the rumor that Schitt is developing a transport. where did you hear that?
The Schiit rumors have been around for a little while, and I'm also very interested. I wonder what the price will be, though I suspect it will be very reasonable.
I'm currently using an Audiolab 6000 CDT, which I purchased only after reading a number of reviews on it and the Cambridge CXC. The Audiolab received better reviews, and so far I'm very satisfied.
Have had Cambridge Audio CXC for a couple of years. No DAC, transport only. I’m using the DAC in my Parasound Halo P5. I also use it with Cambridge DACMagic plus.
OK here it is, I have heard and compared most of what has been recommended above. The Electrocompaniet One Up is an excellent player and transport. You can probably find an older model for $1K. Next would be the Nano transport. It is a tiny thing but has excellent sound. I purchased one for $400 when it first came out. Not sure how much they are not. You can upgrade the wall wart to a better one which will offer improved sound also. The other ones suggested above did not pass our listening tests a number of years back in direct comparison. The Rega Saturn was also nice for the runner up.
For older models look for a Metronome CDP or Audiomeca Mephisto transport. They produce some of the best sound that I have heard but they are old and prats may not be available any longer.
good advice as above. Go ahead and invest in a Cd player or Cd transport.There is a plethora of inventory out there, demo and second-hand, marketplace.
Just saw a new one, Leak CDT at $895.
I did a bunch of forum lurking before buying an Audiolab 6000cdt.
All the other contenders have been mentioned in this thread but in researching I the Audiolab kept rising to the top.
Short version is that I am super pleased with the Audiolab and I don’t think you can go wrong as it has great sound, soundstage, detail etc...
+1 to thyname for his apology to georgehifi and +1 to georgehifi for graciously accepting the apology. We need more civility like this on these threads.
Great thread and very timely. My Linn Unidisk SC just died. It won't read Cds anymore, so I am in the market for a new player or transport also. Thank you cjlundberg for starting this discussion and thanks to all the posters who are offering advice.
I solved the CD transport problem some 5 years ago . Discovered Space-Tech Laboratory. They make a transport taking a cd rom drive which you can replace for peanuts. The AES output is better than any transport I have heard including a top of the line Teac. Price is also good.
No I have not done the tweaking due to music room being gutted and redone.
I bought the v2 simply because the v1 was no longer available. Also I can't speak to any differences between them, although I have read that there is virtually no difference. If the difference in cost $6000 vs $4000 I would go with a good used piece. But, the difference between $600 and $400 is negligible. Especially when my darling wife thinks nothing of spending $200 on hair and nails on a regular basis. \8-)
Especially when my darling wife thinks nothing of spending $200 on hair and nails on a regular basis.
Yeah!! you gotta turn a blind eye to that one, otherwise it end in no goodies for hubby, or worse a divorce.
I had Theta separates for awhile and enjoyed the sound. You can find a Theta transport online for a decent price. I also had a Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 transport that was excellent. I've seen a few of those floating around online as well. I've heard good things about the Audiolab 6000CDT and it's very affordable.
When I went from a dedicated 2-ch system to a Home Theater system I ended up selling my Theta gear and purchasing a OPPO BDP95. The sound was fantastic. Plus it plays SACD and DVD-Audio discs (as well as DVD and BluRay). I upgraded to the 205 for my Home Theater when they came out and moved my 95 downstairs to front a 2-ch system that I've put together in my Living Room. They are fantastic products.
You can find the 95 and 105 at decent prices online (like eBay) but don't bother with the 205 unless you want to drop some serious coin. Now that OPPO is no longer making them the 205's shot up in price and are selling for as much as 3 - 4 times their original retail price. It's crazy.
I did a bunch of research before buying a transport and the Audiolab 6000CDT kept coming up,,, ALOT..
All the other contenders mentioned in this thread I looked at but the Audiolab kept rising to the top.
I purchased the Audiolab 6000CDT about 5 months ago and love it. So clean, detailed , no noise and sound stage is the best I've heard.
I highly recommend it.
AudioLab 6000CDT for $549! Cannot beat it!!
I'm using a Pioneer
UDP-LX500 universal player as my CDT, $1099 list, $999 from dealers. It was a huge improvement on the Rotel CD player I was using as a CDT and it is a top notch 4K Blu-ray player.
I have the digital out plugged into a Rega DAC-R using a Chord Clearway cable and out Chord Shawline RCA cables to the Rega Elex-R
EASY- Cambridge Audio CXC CD transport-
Cheapest component in my system by far, and doesn’t disgrace. Excellent value!
I feel the best built and best sounding under $1000 transport is the Theta Compli. Built like a battleship and super solid. You might be able to find one for around $500. Think the original price was over $2K. In 1990s dollars. Any used Oppo is quite good but does not compare. I use the Compli in my headphone system with a $20K tube DAC.
The Audiolab 6000cdt has worked flawless for me paired with the Neko Audio dac.