The Esoteric X-01 would probably be considered one of the best CDP to use as a transport, if not the best.
I have no relation with the seller.
I have no relation with the seller.
Dfwlistener, if it were me & I was on a budget I would consider selling your Rotel dac, buying a new Sony XA-5400ES & sending it to Modwright to get the Ultimate Truth mod which should out-perform anything around that price point. And the Modwright Sony XA-5400ES would be a much better SACD player compared to a stock Oppo 105 connected dac-out to your Rotel dac. That also gives you the flexibility to roll the stock tubes with upgraded NOS tubes as recommended by Dan Wright to get a different/better sound. I know Arnie Nudell is a big fan. Just food for thought.
If I understand the OP correctly, he wants to play CDs (using a transport) and continue to play files from his Mac Mini thru the same DAC.
A Modwright Oppo would be a less expensive option. But if budget permits, then the Sony would be a great way to go.
I just realised that your Rotel DAC cannot input SACD. Don't know if that's important to you.
The Esoteric may be overkill, but the OP just asked for the best CDP to use as a transport. We all know there is no best, of anything. However, he also gave no price range, so we can't assume he meant best budget transport either. If he has a budget, and would like recommendations within that budget, he should probably clarify that, and not ask for best recommendations. Best recommendations come with unlimited budgets.
Sorry guys. You are definitely correct that I forgot to specify budget. I was thinking something in the $1k to $2k range. The choice as I see it would be to just buy the Oppo at $1200 to play CDs and SACDs and A/B the two DACs or buy a decent CD or CD/SACD player in the same price range to use as a transport. If the Oppo sounded better with downloaded HD files then I would just sell the Rotel.
I was in a similar position somewhat except that I wasn't ripping anything but simply needed a transport to feed via spdif into my Dac (Lampizator Big 6 then recently a Big7) so I did exactly what you originally said you would: I bought an Oppo BDP 105 which I use strictly as a transport for coax out. I had read, as you, that it was pretty well built,(it is) and has so far proven reliable and permitted both dacs to sound pretty darn awesome. I briefly tried it once alone via its own analog outs and it sounded better than you might expect a $1200. player but aside from that one time I have never utilized it for any other purpose but for its coax out.To my mind it was an appropriate price point for its purpose...much less $$$ and I figured there is still plenty of stuff out there that would work but perhaps not quite as robust or considerate of parts quality/bang-for-the-buck; any more expensive seemed counter-intuitive since I wasn't interested in any other aspects of what it can do. As for resale, at some point down the line its remarkable versatility would seem to make it a good used choice for a wide variety of people. For the record, the Lampizator Dacs are stupendous.
Good luck with your decision.
I tried a cec before I tried the Oppo...I don't recall which model it was but it was definitely several years old but was also at least a few K$$$$. It sounded really good and certainly better than the Oppo ...the ONLY reason I didn't buy it was that it played only redbook CD's...nothing else. Not even burned copies of anything...it it wasn't redbook, it wouldn't play. Unfortunately, even though I have a reasonable collection of Redbooks, I already have quite a few copies and other discs that I frequently enjoy and I had to turn it down for that reason...but I was impressed (and somewhat disappointed) that there could be such a difference...more relaxed/natural/'easy listening'... I'll even say more "Analog sounding", it was a great sounding player. But the Oppo fills the bill nicely, especially now that I've climbed even higher up the dac tree.