Try Cyrus CDt. After 100 hours of break in...
I had a Cambridge and used it with both Mojo Audio EVO and Modwright Elysee DACs . I replaced it with SimAudio 260DT, large improvement in SQ especially using the AES/EBU connection. It is presently in my 2nd system with the Modwright. There are other threads with folks also having very favorable SQ improvements using Jays Audio and Project transports , you might also check out CEC transports. Net net though, don't under estimate the benefit of a higher quality transport.
I own an older two chassis Metronome, Audiomeca Mephisto II, and have owned CEC Tl-5100 and TL5 all used as transports. The Audiomeca was the best of the bunch for overall musicality. The Metronome was also very nice just a tad warmer. Unfortunately it is an older players now. The CEC TL-5100 was also very nice for the price but again an older unit.
The CEC TL3N is excellent, and the Project Audio transport was our favorite that simply was an instant sonic difference maker in about three system we tried it in. There was no going back and forth, it was simply the nicest sounding of them all. The lower priced transports are nice for the money but the Project was the one to purchase. The Jays was good, very dynamic but was not as musical as the older Metronome which we felt the Project was in another league all together.
IMO It’s only a half-baked question and resulting half-baked equation …ya don’t hear or process the laser-read 1’s and 0’s digital bits alone, and it needs to be converted into analogue first,
Hence, a careful matching of a transport to its stablemate DAC ( stratified into various pricepoint strata) comparison, is the better question.
Ignoring the Captain Obvious step-up in audio performance from a stepped up build transport mated to a high-end build DAC;
- is a high(er) end transport feeding a cheap(er) budget DAC gonna make you better off comparatively…. or
- is a high-end DAC with a cheap transport system pairing gonna satisfy or improve your satisfaction quotient?
This argument has been going on since the mid 1970's when Phillips introduced optical recording of data. The issues have not changed.
When you are talking transports there are two types: direct drive and belt drive. Just like with an analog turn table the belt drive transport will sound different than a direct drive. A good transport must be mated with an equally good D/A converter to achieve the best sound at a price point.
Ripping has the same problems, bit perfect is not perfect. This is due to the error rate in reading a CD over running the error correction. This was a known limitation of the "Red Book" standard at the time it was adopted, it is nothing new. Streaming is not the same as reading a data file.
Having said all that if you are happy with what you have, enjoy it. If you can not hear the difference, why waste the money. If you want more, get a belt drive transport which strictly adheres to the "Red Book" standard.
"Bits are bits. Even a 50c computer drive can read at <1 error per million.
Spend all your dough on DA converters. That’s where the evil of digital lies"
Funny, when I purchased a Mojo Audio EVO DAC Ben the man behind Mojo Audio asked me what transport I would be using with it,. I told him a Cambridge CXC. He responded, if you really want to hear the performance of the EVO consider upgrading the transport. He doesn’t sell CD transports so his comment wasn’t a sales pitch , rather it was advice from someone who has intimate knowledge of digital. He was spot on.
Insightful comparisons from a manufacturer of a very high end DAC. In addition someone who’s heard 3 highly regarded CD transports (CEC, Jay’s Audio and Pro-Ject RS2T). One could not go wrong with any of this trio but I understand his conclusion. The RS2T I’ve had in my audio system the last 16 months and can concur that it is genuinely sublime sounding.
It is by design a small footprint and compact CD transport with a huge performance presentation. The better one’s DAC, the more one will recognize and appreciate the quality contribution of the Pro-Ject RS2T. It replaced my “terrific” P.S. Audio PWT memory transport. It is an improvement across the board.
Granted, it is considerably more expensive than the value oriented Cambridge transport. Sometimes you really get what you have paid for.
There are some of us who are well aware of digital audio streaming and acknowledge what it offers. However, we immensely enjoy and appreciate very high level Redbook CD playback and media. The RS2T is meant for this type of listener.
I will not be able to facilitate your decision much. I used a Linn Unidisc 1.1 as both a player and transport for 12 years until the laser died and Linn, in all their wisdom, designed a proprietary laser that they no longer manufacture. AG members on the pre owned market for Unidisc models be aware. That said, without the benefit of experience or audition, reviews indicate best choices of currently marked products include Simaudio Moon, PS Audio, and Ayon.
My response, with respect, is to @clearthinker. While I fundamentally agree bits are bits and the greatest benefit-cost ratio realized with DAC improvements, improvements in a digital source, make a difference due to design differences that reduce ground, radiated, and power supply noise … and timing. A computer is not optimized in this regard to the degree of an audiophile transport or server. In my journey, I realized audible improvements with upgrades from a dedicated MacBook on battery power running I-Tunes , to the Mac running Audirvāna, to an Aurender. The progressive reduction in digital noise reduced background noise audible as a hash between images with an associated blacker background and increased detail, reduced high frequency “digital” glare, and a more organic sound. As I have said, to each our own ear-brain connection.
So Paul, from my perspective, transport improvements will be audible. Look to the recommendations you received from all. Most important, trust your own ear-brain connection. Verify if you purchase used that the manufacturer will support the product. See if they have projected a model support sunset since the industry is moving to serves. Remember my Linn experience.
Charles 1 dad, is spot on with his assertions. I am on my 3rd RS2T transport. The first 2 had issues, to put it mildly. Charles convinced me to try ONE more time, which I did. This one inspected by the Music Room before being sent out has
worked just as it should for the last 6 months or so. I have an Audiolab 6000 CDT in another system, which sounds very good, complimented with a good DAC.
However, as suggested by another contributor, A better DAC will improve things, I believe also. BUT, BUT::: The RS2T transport with my Meitner Dac MA1 is SO FAR ABOVE the other, it's actually hard to believe, you have to hear it, it's actually like owning a new CD collection. As Charles has commented several times before, it has to be the Laser and the Blue tiger servo system installed. Ask anyone that owns one, its hard to believe my earlier comments, but, its sound is just wonderful. Hope this helps, only problem is, Expensive, at least by my standards. To hear is to believe. Robert TN
Probably not adding much to the discussion but I have a PS Audio transport with a Brinkmann Nyquist DAC. We couldn’t be more pleased. Plus, I picked up the transport used so saved a bundle. I can tell you it is a significant improvement over the Denon set up. I have no idea why it improved clarity and details but no question it did.
I believe you. I owned the P.S. Audio PWT for 12 very happy years before replacing it with the Pro-Ject RS2T in 2021. In my opinion the PWT is still one of the better higher level CD transports that one could acquire and very high value if bought used. It was exceptionally reliable during those12 years of heavy usage.
a cheaper alternative to their trans, but can be used as one:
Project DS3 Standard sheet metal housings are not torsion-resistant and mechanical accurate enough to mount a sensitive CD drive where the laser position has to be correct all the time. Our massive aluminium chassis provides the best basis for the CD drive and our Blue Tiger CD-80 servo developed by Stream Unlimited is the most advanced on the market.
My ps audio transport drawer stopped functioning, and didn’t think it was worth the shipping and repair costs. Had stored all of my cds to roon core and subscribed to the principle that digital coming off solid state medium rather from a spinning disc was inherently superior. Bought the project r2 transport special from underwood. Without hyperbole, found the music superior to my network/streaming to the dac. The transport came a day earlier than the digital rca, had an old mit 350 rca cable. Even better than the digital cable
"the transport came a day earlier than the digital era..."
The Digital era started with CDs.
If you don’t mind, what DAC and music server/streamer are you using? The RS2T sounds excellent with its standard wall wart power supply, yet improves further with an external LPS substitution. I purchased my RS2T from Underwood Hifi as well.
I am using qobuz. Sonore ultra rendu as a roon player via usb to audio gd r7
I do find the project to be “picky”with disc quality. CDs that were kept on my car visor organizer have occasional skips. The sq on Red book is not incremental.
@tennisdoc56 Try this digital cable. I did, and it was a game changer. If it doesn’t blow you away just turn around and sell it for little/no loss as Acoustic Zen cables have a very fluid used market.
Yep! That’s an individual decision. Excellent as is, but can be pushed further with a high quality LPS. I listen usually 4 days a week for 4 to 5 hours on average. Most decidedly worth the price to acquire the LPS .