CAL Delta or Theta Data II as transport?

Currently using my Sony 7700 DVD as transport to EVO Millenium DAC II, and wondered if it would be worth moving to a mid-level(?) dedicated cd transport. The CAL and Theta units are frequently available used for $400-500. Other suggestions welcome but like to stay under $1000 used.

How much to you lose at this level compared to the Wadia, Levenson, etal?

Many thanks in advance for sharing your experences.
I used a Delta about 6 years ago with a Wadia X64.4. The Delta had the optional ST output. It replaced my Sony X77ES player that I was using as a transport. The system sounded worse, and I couldn't understand why.

I borrowed a used Wadia WT-2000 transport, and couldn't believe the difference - much more low level detail and better soundstage. Not a small difference. Needless to say I dumped the Delta and kept the 2000.

This is where I learned firsthand that transports do indeed sound different.

Even my old Sony CD player outperformed the Delta in my case.

I've never tried the Theta, but would be inclined to pick it over the Delta just on reputation.
I posed a similar question on the Asylum several months ago. The nice thing about this is that i did receive very good advice from all concerned. Proof that those that enjoy this hobby may be "snobs" to those that aren't "hi-enders" but are quite helpful to those that are willing to try : )

I started to do my own research taking those suggestions into consideration. Between various info on the web and talking to people that owned various models and their experience, i was able to make some pretty logical conclusions. My "pecking order" of transports reflects the same findings that most of the contributors to that thread suggested. If you want to take a look at that thread for yourself, the address is below.

As it is, i've been using a Delta with several different DAC's and tried other "reasonably priced" transports before. I was using a Delta with an Alpha at the time of my post to the Asylum but wanted to upgrade. My experience is that the Delta works reasonably well and is a good match with the Millennium II and all of the CAL DAC's. It might not work quite as well with other units. Like any other component, you may run across situations that are not optimum combo's. I have run the Delta with a few other DAC's and never really had any complaints. Then again, those with better hearing / higher resolution systems may offer greater insight than i.

With that in mind, I would look into a CAL Delta ($300-$400), Theta Pearl ($450-$650) or Wadia WT-3200 ($700-$900). While the Pearl is more money, i believe it to be a better performer than the Delta. Besides, it is much more of a cosmetic match for the Millennium than the Delta ( if you worry about such things ). In turn, i think that the Wadia is probably better than the Pearl but it too climbs even higher in price.

Depending on how high up the ladder you want to go, performance does escalate with price ( at least in this specific case ). Sometimes you'll get lucky and stumble across a good deal on one of these or something similar though. If you're patient and keep looking, you can build a KILLER system for pennies on the dollar. Whatever you do though, don't under-estimate the importance that a decent digital cable will play. You should be able to find something quite suitable on the used market for $60 - $150.

In my specific case, i recently stumbled across a very expensive transport ($5000) that is super low jitter and was a PHENOMENAL deal ($450 ). Needless to say, a human could not have whipped out their wallet any faster than i did. It will be replacing a Delta in one of my systems and is proof that God still loves me : )

While the Delta can be found on CAL's website, the Pearl is hard to find on Theta's. I've also included a link for that. There are more than a few circulating around with a black faceplate, so keep that in mind. The Wadia is older and also hard to find information out about, but i was able to find one ( not so good ) picture for you. You'll have to cut and paste the address though since it is SO long. Hope this helps... Sean
Here's a link to the thread i was talking about:

Here's a link to the Theta Pearl:

Here's a link to what the Wadia looks like. You need the WHOLE thing, so make sure you get it ALL:
I used a CAL product, not the dedicated transport but their Icon Mk II player as a transport and then upgraded to the Data Basic Mk II transport which I bought used over at Audiogon! Needless to say, the sound was great!
CAL, Theta, Wadia, Levinson all make good transports! I believe the Wadia and Levinson is good but probably a bit expensive! The Theta Data Basic MK II can be had used here for $450 to about $650!
The Data Basic Mk II is a lively, upbeat and neutral player! The Theta Jade is warmer sounding and the Pearl is slightly less warmer than the Jade and still a good performer!
A freind of mine uses the Data Basic Mk II with the EVO Millenium DAC II with good results!
All the best!
great conversation guys

I also have an EVS Millenium II
and it totally revolutionized my system
still have a trace of hum with it
but can't hear it when the music is on
It does mate very well with Cal products

I'm waiting for my tax return to upgrade from a cal icon (coax out) to something bigger. Sean had some great advice on the digital cable (any faves?). I thought an AR transport (only) might be a good choice. Also isolation is a good thing (I use vibrapods under the EVS and cd).

I see Cal delta's on ebay for $400-500 each week. I too am looking to get a nice deal on a unit. Anyone prefer belt driven transports.

The other thing I would mention is a good power chord is a must on the dac and transport. I use a Harmonic Technology chord and it works wonders and drops the noise floor even more


Having never heard the Theta Basic II, Theta Pearl, or Wadia WT-2000 I can only comment on my experience with the CAL Delta as compared with a Pioneer DV414 (unmodified) used as a transport. My DAC is a Bel Canto. -- The Pioneer presents a slightly wider and more forward sound stage (about 2' in front of my speakers). The lower midrange is more full sounding (perhaps accentuated) and imaging is less well focussed. -- The CAL Delta has better focus and does not present a forward image (starts at the speakers and extends back from there - the term laid back comes to mind). As compared with the Pioneer the CAL Delta draws no particular attention to itself and I find it to be musical in that I find myself listening to the music and feeling comfortable with the tonality of the instruments. -- As mentioned many times on this forum, the components of a system taken together create the effect we listen to so here is the rest of mine: AES/Cary AE3 tube pre (upgraded caps), AES/Cary AE-25 tube amp (upgraded caps), Anaysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cables, and Moth Audio Cicada speakers. All are run through a PS Audio P300 using Silver Audio Power Burst power cords. Having tried several digital cables (DH Labs D-75, Illuminations D-60, Van den Hul the Second) and interconnects (DH Labs BL-1, Silver Audio Silver Bullet, Harmonic Technology Truth Link, Van den Hul the Second) I am most pleased in this system with the least expensive D-75 digital cable and Monster Cable M350i (a big surprise to me) between CDP, Pre, and Amp.
Get a Theta Data Basic II and never look back. After using a Nakamichi CD Player 2 musicbank for years as a transport, the first thing I noticed with the Theta DBII was a seamless integration of freqency shifts. More musical all the way around.
Everyone's input is really appreciated, esp. Sean for giving me the benefit of your extensive research (care to disclose the make/model of the steal you apparently made?).

Based on the comments think I'll stay away from the Cal Delta. Ramesch23's about the warmth of the Theta Jade sounds interesting. My thinking at this point is to keep my eye out for a well priced Theta or a Wadia if I see one under $1000.

Thanks again everyone for your input, it's sincerely appreciated.