There are some good transports that are cheap by todays standards, I have tried a ton of them and have found that the digital cable was more important then the transport.
I have to disagree with Bigkidz. I have tried several transports and several digital cables (I have Illumination Orichid and the new AQ Raven in my rig) and found the transport to have MUCH bigger effect on sound quality than the cable itself.
BTW - 99% of CD players really bad when used as transports.
It all depends on how much you wanna spend. For about $500 you can get a Theta Data Basic II or PS Audio Lambda II - unfortunately, both are long discontinued, and worse still, the transport mechanisms are no longer made/available. Muse Model 5 is much better in this regard - the CDM12.4 pickup is still available and muse has a great customer service. It is hard to come by though. I recently picked up an used Muse for a friend for $350, he paid next 50$ for a new laser pickup and for 400$ he has almost new transport.
If you decide to spend a little bit more, say just over 1 grand, you will be able to get a very good sounding Theta Jade (I have seen one on AgoN listed for 1100$) or CEC TL-2. Both are excelent sounding transports and can be serviced without problems. A cheaper alternative would be a CEC5100 which can be found for 700-800$, but it is nowhere near as good sounding.
I have the same problem. I have the Theta Basic and the MF 324 DAC. Last week my drawer quit working correctly. I took apart the player and the drive gear was missing 5or6 teeth. I have emailed a guy that supposedly has a repair kit but have not heard back. I use the Stereovox HDXV cable and it replaced a cardas top of the line! It's hard to believe that a 100.00 cable can sound better than a 250.00 cable but it does. Transports are getting harder to find, I agree with the earlier post that the Theta Basic and the PS Audio Lamda are the best transports for the money IMO and the II's versions are even better. Good Hunting. As far as what is more important the transport or the cable, it's all important.
PS the Tri 21 DAC is as good as a DAC gets in it's price range. Only thing that is better is the 47 Labs Shigarki combo.
i have ps audio lambda two (in good condition I'm the original owner). recently, unfortunataly i have some mechanism problem (the motor that spin the cd is weak especially when I load a cd).
what sould i do throw the transport? anyone knows someone who can fix it or have any inventory of this transport?
SINCERELY Yours Yossi