CD Transports


Greetings. I am setting up a second system for the basement and am using a 1978 Sherwood receiver. At first I was going to just use the turntable with it and play the tuner occasionally but then thought I'd like to play some CDs. In my main system I have a Rega Apollo R hooked up to an Exogal Comet/Ion. Clearly I don't need the DAC in the Rega so I reasoned that it may be better to transfer the unit to the basement and get a transport, namely the Cambridge Audio CXC, for the upstairs primo set-up. Does that sound reasonable? The CD format is moribund so I don't see the point of getting a top dollar one--most of my CDs are ripped on the laptop and I just kept some rare European favorites. I was also tempted to buy a 1995 Marantz CC 45 5-CD player for the basement, but it is probably not such a great performer. Do I reason correctly that the CXC is my best option? I think the DAC in their Topaz player is not as good but that sounds like a decent player too. Thanks for advice. rt
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This new Audiolab got a great review recently. I think I'd be inclined to favor it over the CXC, given that I saw more reliability complaints than expected, back when I was exploring the CXC option.

To be clear, I have no personal experience with either. Just letting you know about an option that may be new to you.
People like the Marantz HD-CD1 as a transport and it's a CDP.
My CXC has worked flawlessly for the last year,no complaints.The remote is not great though.It's meant to run other components in their line also so the transport buttons are clustered at the bottom of the looong remote.
You can also look into the Rotel RCD-1572, reasonably priced and good reviews, I have owned one for over 2 years and no problems.I also own a Sim audio moon 360D, which if you can find one used is a very very good CD player. 
I have the audiolab 6000cdt and have been very pleased with it. it’s a very heavy unit with nice responsive buttons and it sounds very good. I got mine from worldwide stereo which is an authorized audiolab reseller.
Breaking in an Audiolab 6000cdt now. Only at about 30 hours. I like it.
I have a Wyred DAC-2 to perform conversion. I like this combo. The 6000cdt seems very neutral.
My CXC gave me issues with cutting out & skipping.  I have a Mac MCT 450 now
As far as performance for dollar, I would recommend the CXC. You can buy one inexpensively and “refurbished” that I suspect is actually new, on eBay. Plus you can modify it with additional dampening with Noico or Dynamat as per one of Steve Guttenberg’s videos. That’s a fun project. I did it with my Lumin U1 Mini and it worked out well. This way you can swap in and out the DACs of your choosing. 
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Sherwood 5 cd carousel, and McCormack udp-1
rotel dvd/cd player

 Rotel a bit cold, but been on for 3 months now, and sounds way better.

 Breaking in kismet Odyssey. Amps, using my B&K pro-10mc

 sounds great!
List of transports:

CD JVC XL-Z1050TN   $275   used   Top line player in 1990
CD Emotiva CD-100   $299       CD Player so-so, as a transport great - Positive Feedback Julies 1st sytem, Don Lindich says great sound and as transport
CD Pioneer DV-09   $450   used  
CD Pioneer BDP-09FD   $450   used  
CD Marantz CD6006   $499   new  
CD Cambridge Audio CXC   $500       2015 What HiFi awards
CD Audiolab 8200CD   $500   used   2014 What HiFi awards
CD Audiolab 6000CD   $549   new   HiFiChoice 2019
SACD Oppo UDP-203   $549   new  
SACD Lexicon RT-20   $650   used  
SACD Arcam UDP411   $650   used  
SACD Marantz SA14S1   $650   used   Reference
CD Sony XA7ES   $700   used   Best Sony in 09 $3k new
SACD Oppo BDP-105   $725   used  
CD Audio Academy DDS Pro CD   $800   used  
SACD Arcam DV139   $800   used   Best Arcam made, was $3500 new, converts DSD to PSM
CD Cyrus   CD t   $900       2015 What HiFi awards
CD/DVD PS Audio PerfectWave Transport PWT   $1-2k   refurb/used  
SACD Marantz SA8005   $1,199   new  
SACD Esoteric DV-50   $1,200   used   great build, $5.5k new, bargain used
SACD Oppo UDP-205   $1,299   new  
CD Simaudio Moon 260D   $1,999   new   optional DAC +$1000, TAS recommended
SACD Ayre C-5xeMP   $2,000   used   JA reference. Almost as good as $23,500 dCS Rossini Transport
CD CEC TL3N Mutine Edition   $2,000      
CD CEC TL3N   $2,000   new https://positive-feedback.com/Issue75/cec_tl3n.htm PositiveFeedback
CD Cyrus   CD Xt SE2   $2,375       2015 What HiFi awards, terrific buy
SACD Marantz SA14S1   $2,499   new   Reference
CD CEC TL5N   $3,400   new   Hifi Pig - overwhelmed, extremely good value
CD Ayon CD-3sx   $8,100       CD Player/DAC/Preamplifier - tube sounds great, no SACD
SACD T + A PDP3000HV + DAC   $22,500       CD/SACD/DAC , TAS recommended

Don't ask - I've got a 100+ tab spreadsheet of audiophile components I've discovered while researching my bucket list first high-end system purchase
jab,
No I’m not saying that the rotel is equal to the sim audio moon360D, I’m saying you can pick up a used 360D for around $1,000.00 I have both of these CD players and the 360D is by far better, but for around $700.00 you can get the Rotel RCD-1572, which is better than the CXC player.
For me,the best CEC , Esoteric and Ear. Had a Luxman sacd  D-06 and he disappointed me.
I'll second the audiolab 6000cdt as well as the Marantz HD-cd1. I own both and they are of equal quality as a transport. I switch them out now and then and they both run into a v90 dac by musical fidelity which sounds terrific and is also on stereophile A list. 
A couple of other things to consider which may, or may not matter to you but should be taken into account.

1) A remote. Does it have one? is it a flimsy, plastically, cluttered, poorly laid out affair or something that has been well designed in a solid, metal case with useful, but uncluttered features? 

2) The display. Is it legible at your listening position? Does it contain the information you feel is important or is it cluttered with too much unimportant data? Is it dimmable or can it be turned off? Does it clash with the displays on your other components?

3) The case. Is it a weighty, all metal case that "feels" like a quality piece our is it a plastic lightweight? Does it have an appearance that is pleasing and compatible with your other components.

Again, if sound quality and reliability are all that you care about, then these things don't matter. However, not giving such things consideration could detract from what would otherwise be a satisfactory purchase.
J. Chip
The Audiolab did get a great online review.  I picked up one of the CXCs on Ebay for about $300.  I see the have the new V2s for $350.  I think the Audiolab is $550.  Unless you compare back to back you can never know which is better, but if you're a bit on the neurotic side and the $200 doesn't bother you, just get the Audiolab and forget it. That aside, I have no issues with the CXC.  
Now that the list was expanded, take a ponder at the new Denafrips Avatar:https://www.vinshineaudio.com/product-page/denafrips-avatar

The price shown is in Singapore dollars and works out to just under $1200.00. And you won't have to worry about the Philips CDM4/19 sled as they have 3,000 of them in stock should something go wrong.

And, it's about $500 cheaper than the Jay's CDT2 Mk2.

All the best,
Nonoise
Thanks so much for all the advice. The Cambridge Audio still looks good but there seem to be reliability issues. If I get a refurbished one possibly it had its problems and is fixed. I am leaning to the Audiolab and the Marantz HD cd1 so things are narrowed down. Kennyc, that was quite a fine list of alternatives! Jchiappinelli, all of your points are well taken and those are all important considerations; I have zero toleration for flimsy and poorly laid out stuff. I should have said from the outset that I have been delighted with the Rega Apollo R. You guys are great. 
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Having heard most of these in my own system, the lower priced units perform as that, they are not giant killers if that is what you are looking for.  My friend has the CEC TL5 that he is selling that was converted from a Japan model to now able to use in the US.  I think he has it listed on US Audio Mart. Anyway I heard that compared to the CEC TL-3N, an older high end Metronome CDP/transport, and Jays Audio.  Alos compared these lower priced units Rega (I do like the Saturn as a transport for the money), CXC, Sim Audio (don't remember the model #), NuForce transport, Nano transport, etc.  There is nothing bad about any of these used as a transport.  Even the Electrocompaniet is a very good option.  TO me the CEC TL5 was the best especially for the price and conversion.  Followed by the older Metronome with separate matching power supply (may be a CA-1 model?), then the TL-3N, then the Electro 1 Up, then the Nano with a better power supply.  The Jays Audio is a nice player but when we compared that to the Metronome, it lacked the depth of sound stage and it was not anywhere near as musical.  This may be a preference thing but that was the groups decision.

Happy Listening.    


My CDP died after 12 years (MH 25.2).  Still have a lot of cd's but also wanted to move into steaming from my old macbook.
Bought an Emotiva ERC-4 cdp/dac.  love it solidly built, sounds great and 599.00
I was lucky enough to pick up a very old WADIA WT3200 in excellent condition for the right the right price some years ago. According to the Lampizator site this is just a Marantz CD(95 in a fancy case.(very fancy and robust I may add(). This thing has been a revelation. It immediately kicked out my expensive Meridian 508.24 transport to go into my main system.

When Philips made the CDM1 transport they committed the cardinal sin of consumer manufacturing;: they left inbuilt obsolescence out of the equation. Being a new medium and not knowing how long transports would last, they took a punt and basically built the best one they could. As it turns out, not only do they sound truly excellent, they basically never wear out, which in today’s era of planned obsolescence is commercial suicide. They learned their lesson, and have never committed the same error with their subsequent designs. So if you ever get a chance to pick up any unit in good condition with a digital out using a CDM1 leap in with both feet.

What amazes me is that something so old can still hold its own sonically agains much more recent offerings, and will probably outlast them all. It is one of those rare pieces of equipment that I never feel the need or urge to upgrade because it sounds so ‘right’. It has seen off or equalled everything people have brought round to my place (leaving some jaws on the ground), although by now I am sure better sounding transports must exist.
i must add, using the CXC as a benchmark it is on a totally different level.
Just to let everyone know, per an email response to my query to Cambridge Audio, the difference between the CXC and the CXC V2 is 100% cosmetic (the finish/color). There is no difference in features, specs or functionality. 
I too, have the Audiolab 6000 CDT(silver of course).  I'm running it through two optional DACs. My onboard DAC in my P6 preamp which sounds very good(IMO) and a separate Schiit Gungnir MB. I've had the Transport for about a year and it's been excellent so far. I passed on the CXC because of several reviewers that had problems with component reliability and less than good support from Cambridge Audio.
I got the chance to listen to an Audiolab 6000CDT in my system yesterday and was rather impressed. While it it didn’t have the resolving power or authority of the Wadia it did most things right musically, and from memory certainty struck me as being sonically superior to the CXC.

Most importantly, if I didn’t have the Wadia it provided a sound I could live with. So generally a big thumbs up.
 I have had the Audiolab CDT for several months. Can't recommend it enough. One of the best audio purchases I've made.
    A friend of mine has the Cambridge CXC. He is considering replacing it with the Audiolab and moving the CXC to another setup.
No issues with it; mainly aesthetics are at play as much as anything .
 
Audiolab CDT it is. The Marantz HD was tempting but why get the DAC when I'm fine with the Exogal Comet? The CXC is probably fine but too many issues for some. I like the idea that the CDT is simple, stripped down to basics and apparently sounds great.

For the record the Sherwood didn't work out for my second system so I ended up with Adcom GFA 545 II amp and GFP 565 preamp, for which I will use the Rega Apollo R. It wasn't worth having the tuner because I can't get the single jazz/classical station in my rural area without some big antenna. To me streaming kills FM but those old receivers are very cool.

Thanks all! rt
Buy whichever Esoteric unit matches your budget.
I recently acquired the P03 - D03, and combined with Entreq grounding it is superb
See if you can get your hands on a used PS Audio DMP transport on you’ll find yourself spinning discs again. It’s glorious as it reveals data and information you never knew was there. 
I have 3 vintage transports all with Philips mechanisms the CDM9 being arguably the end of the better quality built mechanisms.   PS Audio Lambda is in my main system w/CDM9 pro.   Museatex  CD-D/Philips CDM1mkii, in bd,   and a Rotel RDD 980/CDM9 .   The Rotel is available and is listed on US Audio Mart for 199 plus shipping.  It includes a essentially new remote .    Ive had this Rotel for at least 10 yrs as a back up.  Not used much at all.   Quiet running and made back in the 90's when these companies were out trying to outdo each other for entry level high end.      
For the record I did get the Marantz CC 45 5-CD player from 1995 to hold me over. It has Philips components and sounds great and cost me $50. I know 5-CD tray machines are anathema to audiophiles but they are very convenient, especially if you like Wagner operas. 
My Moon 260D stand-alone transport came with a 10-year warranty.  No problems after two. Recently I paired it with the Moon 780D v2 DAC, and I now have the most transparent digital front-end I've owned in 20 years of spinning cd's.
I have compared many CD players and Transports and for the money, it is really hard to beat the Pioneer Elite units.  The DV-09 is literally built like a tank.  Same for BDP-09. unit.

They are very inexpensive and are absolutely wonderful as Transports.

enjoy
Word to the wise: Audiolab.
I'm going to throw a curve ball.  Back in the SACD days, Pioneer put out a universal player (in this country designated 578A.) John Atkinson mentioned it in an article or review as having the most accurate instrumental timbres of even the most expensive players.  He wasn't kidding, folks.  I picked one up on closeout.  But beyond the timbre, the transport was the same as Pioneer (probably sourced from them) and has been far more reliable than the Sony's.  The amplifier stage is cheap and two dimensional, but as a transport it is rock solid compared to any of my other CD sources.  I use it with a BelCanto e1 3.0 DAC with excellent results.

Find one used, give them a $100 bill, and buy yourself dinner with the change.



Let me ask, on the other end of things>>> The old equipment that you are using the CD with, has it been tested, rebuilt, or serviced? I ask mainly for the reason that old electronics have great potential, and are worth getting the electrolytic capacitors replaced in them. I know this firsthand, and would advise anyone with beloved equipment of more than 25 years old to have the equipment sent in for such a rebuild. Otherwise, in time the equipment will choose for you.
The costs to buy a "built like a tank" CD Transport that was top of the line in its day vs buying a brand new one that is even close to its performance or even sending the older one in for service is minimal compared to spending thousands for a new one.

Take for example the Pioneer Elite DV-09 or BDP-09.  I've compared these against many, many CD players/Transports, many brand new and very expensive and they beat them all as Transports.  For $400 used, you just can't beat this.

People went through the upgrade path where they went from DVD players to Blue Ray players and got rid of their top of the line DVD players because they were using them for home theater also.  Well, my home theater system is totally different and in a different room from my 2 channel system.  

The DV-09 is just cool, the way the door opens and how solid it is.  The DV-79Avi is also nice.

But, in my 2 channel room is the BDP-09 and in my other system (office) is the PD-65 and the DV-09.  I really like the wood side panels on the Pioneer Elite stuff.

Anyway, just my thoughts on saving lots of money and getting top equipment.

enjoy
“Built like a tank“ transports have some rather serious flaws, at least most of them do. Scattered CD laser light gets into the photodetector as noise, external vibration distorts the signal, induced vibration (e.g., transport mechanism and transformer) and the fluttering of the disc forces the laser servo feedback system to produce errors that can’t be corrected.
Wow, so many in favor of the Audiolab 6000cdt - I'm gonna add my vote too. Still breaking mine in, but 3 months in, it is amazing and a great value at $549. Running it thru my Schiit Audio Yggdrasil dac, I'm hearing detail like never before. Have fun with yours. 
Audiolab CDT 6000 breaking in nice. Very neutral. A bit soft. Very laid back in my modest system.
Give the Audiolab some clean recording like Communique or Neil Young. It rewards!
Someone mentioned the Pioneer Elite DV-09 as a great unit
It retailed for $2.200
It weighs 35 pounds, Really built like a tank!!!

I have one, no scratches on it. Close to mint
I was selling it on e-bay, and got an offer for $179.
I felt that offer was a joke. I took it off e-bay.
 I would like to get $350 or more  for it.

Does that sound like to much?
I have the remote, manual, and original warranty for it.

I see other people on this site selling units, not as good as mine for $450

I would appreciate other peoples opinions..
I now am using a Oppo.
When I say "Built like a tank" I'm speaking from an Engineering point of view.  I am an Electrical/Electronics Engineer that has designed built amplifiers, filters,  and electronic circuitry over my career. 

I typically mean designed and built very well.

many of these have four DACS two for each side for redundancy.

As I said, i have sat and compared these units to many many other CD player/transports, and I really had a hard time finding any that beat them as transports.

Also, in response to one comment, i have experienced no sound degradation.   No scattered light, etc.

Also, the BDP-09,  DV-79AV and the BDP-95 are very nice as CD players  also because they have excellent internal DACS.  

Just saying.  With people constantly upgrading to the latest and greatest Blue Ray players with the latest bells and whistles.  They sometimes forget that some units (Pioneer Elite, Sony ES, etc.) were very well designed and built as audiophile level units.

enjoy
Yes, I’m aware you don’t feel as though you experience scattered light. You’re used to it. You would be aware of it by its absence. Same goes for seismic type vibration. You get used to the distortion/noise. Most people believe the CD laser is monochromatic and many believe it’s red. So what else is new? Enjoy the music 🎵
Just to clarify, isn't it so that the new DACs are vastly superior to what they put in the older CD machines? Thus it makes best sense to get a transport because one is usually bypassing the built-in DAC on older players. So some older players may have excellent DACs but they can't measure up to something such as what I use, the Exogal Comet. To me that't the big advantage of the Audiolab--I'm getting a great transport and not paying for some internal component I don't need and will never use. Of course I do like vintage components and wouldn't hesitate to get one of the older CDPs for an early system, but that is a non-performance issue. 
The trouble is that for virtually all CD transports the damage is done prior to sending the digital data to the DAC. The damage is done within the first Picosecond as soon as the laser tries to read the physical data on the disc. Garbage in garbage out 🔁 🤗
I don't  necessarily agree with some of the statements here.  If you address clocking, jitter, etc. then a good dac is a good dac.  Either it does what it's supposed to do (correctly convert a digital stream to analog) or it doesn't.  

The systems that go back and forth to make sure that it got the correct data before proceeding, multiple laser pick ups, error correction, jitter, all kinds of things.  These all add costs to designs and systems.

i initially was speaking about transports only, then added a few units that have pretty darn good internal DACS.

Now back in the day, these were near top  units both in performance and costs.  move forward to today, these "used" units for the money are pretty hard to beat.  And that was the point.

You take a top of the line DAC today and get a top of the line Transport both today and older transport unit and compare the two into the same DAC.  Jaw dropping differences?  no.  A solidly built transport with good pick up mechanism is just that.  

I've also compared top of the line DACS of today with CD players and DACS of the past and guess what?  differences? yes.  Jaw dropping, not in many cases.  Especially DAC vs DAC.  Discrete analog output stages and very well designed and built power supplies matter.

but, this is just me.  Don't get me wrong, there are technological advances.   but if budget is an issue, I would invest in a nice DAC and get a used but very nice Transport.  Especially if you could synch the internal clocks.

enjoy