EMM Lab CDSD transport motor resonating

Has anyone experienced any sort of resonating sound coming from their CDSD when playing certain CDs. This has happenned to me on two discs, the latest one with "Shirley Eikhard - Stay Open, Track 1 - Take It To The Max". I assume it has something to do with the rotation speed of the transport on that given track, because it slowly fades away past the 2 minute mark, and doesn't occur on any other track. It is extremely annoying and surprising for a $7K transport. I'm starting to wonder if I need to send it back, but I'm hesitating considering how difficult it has been to get it in the first place.
My modified phillips did that a lot, it was the servo's for something(don't recall exactly what) compensating on scratched discs- even if there are light scratches it would make the noise a little bit. Some discs were unlistenable it was so loud- it seemed to be an issue for me only with redbook.
(Camelot has sprung a leak.)

Sorry about your troubles but for that wad of money you spent, you should send it to be fixed immediately since it’ll probably get worse. The company should put you at the front of the line, backlog or no backlog. Considering Meitner’s fine reputation, I think they will.

Good luck.
Nikki: Feel free to call me at 503.221.0465 and I will be happy to troubleshoot with you. You can also email me your phone number and I can call you.

Best Regards,

Thanks for the offer Jonathan. I have also been given a contact name at EMM Lab to help work out my issues. I just haven't had the time to follow up. I am impressed by how dealers and distributors have responded so quickly to help resolve my problem. I'll be sure to post my findings.
My transport has been repaired by EMM Labs and the transport is very silent after 3 days of play. The entire transport mechanism was replaced. Note that the CDSD is no longer shipped with the aluminum tray, but rather, the standard black plastic drawer provided by Philips. It doesn't look nor feel as nice, but they have had some issues manufacturing the metal drawers.

Some time has passed since I originally posted my problem on this forum, but I was only without a transport for 2 weeks. I originally insisted that they ship me a new transport, but in the end, I had to send the unit back for repair. My experience with the general manager at EMM Labs has been very pleasant, so I thank him for taking care of my issues.

So back to my listening now...
Since the repair, has your transport remained silent ?
No, after they replaced the Philips drive, the resonating/ticking returned a few months later. After many discussions with the dealer and distributor, an agreement was made for me to receive a brand new unit (latest revision). Although it is much quieter, it still ticks on redbook CDs. I recently had a different issue with this new transport - it stopped working. Apparently there is a busted fuse (user unserviceable). I am currently waiting for the unit to be returned from EMMLabs.

I find it somewhat impossible to fathom that three CDSD units performed poorly especially on the same tracks.

I have owned 3 CDSD's and never once had a problem.

I would have to ask you that if the sound always occurs on the same tracks that you play perhaps the disk needs to be either cleaned or replaced.
It is all together possible that it is just my dumb luck, but I have received PM from users who are experiencing noisy transports, as well as users who report no problems whatsoever.

The problems were never identical between any of the 3 units. Different discs would cause the familiar ticking sound. My latest unit has been the quietest of all three drives and does not produce any objectionable noises on any SACD that I have played. So far it has only been on CDs, most of which are brand new. Even then, the noises are quieter than my original 2 units and only distracting at times during quiet passages. On particularly noisy CDs, I rip a copy onto CDR using EAC, which often sounds better than the original anyways.

If you want more details, just send me email.

Nikki: By any chance are you using and line conditioning?
Hi Jonathan,
Yes, it is plugged into a BPT 3.5 Sig+, which is plugged into a dedicated circuit. The only other thing that hangs off the BPT is the DCC2. If you are suggesting it may be a source of problems, I'll try plugging it direct into the wall. My transport in for service for a few weeks now so I can't give this a try immediately.
Finally got my transport back last night and plugged direct into the wall made no difference in terms of mechanical vibration noises.
Oneobgyn - may I ask how came you have owned THREE CDSD transports ??? Were they all defective ?
Nikki- Something is very strange. I owned one of the original CDSD (metal tray)and it had a very annoying ticking sound. I replaced it when the CDSD came out and it has been bulletproof. I know several people with the new CDSD (plastic tray) and no one has had any problems.

BTW, I have plugged it into power conditioners and directly to the wall and it performs flawlessly either way.
I know several people with the new CDSD (plastic tray) and no one has had any problems.

I wish I could say the same, my 1 year old CDSD with a plastic tray is now making loud resonating noises with certain CDs, which can sometimes be heard over the music from my listening chair. I am waiting to hear back from my emmlabs dealer regarding a solution.
The distributor told me that my two previous units were quieter than the average. So either my expectations are out of line, or there are many others.
Just want to make it clear that my latest service call was not due to mechnical transport noises. It simply stopped working. This latest CDSD revision is my quietest so far.
Thom_y - Just curious, what was the final solution to your problem?
No problem with mine, after I had it (the metal tray) replaced under warranty.

David Shapiro

My CDSD went back to Calgary last week via FedEx. I also sent two CD's that were problematic. Within 2 days my dealer nicely called me and told me that they had checked out machine at emmlabs. THey could definitely hear what I was complaining about. Yet, when they had the machine opened up they determined the transport was working normally. In fact, I was told it was compared to two or 3 other machines (including a new one) and it was no more noisey than the others. I was told part of the problem relates to how the Philips transport works. Regardless of whether the disc is a CD or SACD, it spins at SACD speeds. THe early tracks are read from the inside at a higher speed and the speed slows as it reads outward. THis explains why the noise goes away with later tracks. If you have an unbalanced disc, it will apparently make a noise at this faster speed... this is not a problem with the transport I'm told. So, the solution will be replacing the top, for one of the newer ones without ventilation holes and increased insulation. I think you had some of the same issues. So, I am just waiting for the CDSD and my discs to be shipped back to Eastern Canada so I can see if it is satisfactorily fixed. It sounds like you are happier that yours is now quieter. Time will tell. I hope so.
Hi Thom_y,
Hope it all works out for you.

The ventilation holes are very problematic for allowing mechanical noises to escape. When they replaced my CDSD with the newer Philips drive, they did not have the new cases, so my transport still has these vents. I used Dynamat to plug them up and it has made a huge difference. Any mechanical noises that I still hear are only coming through the drawer now.

What's strange (but in a postive way) is that ever since they fixed my issue with the fuse, the CDSD is absolutely quiet - knock on wood. They never gave me an explanation as to what was done, but I'm starting to wonder if they put in a new drive. Apparently the fuse that died is not user serviceable?
The top with fewer ventilation holes helps considerably. They also use a black soundproofing insulation inside the top cover that helps. I know of a few folks that have had minor issues with the adhesive that holds it in place.

I don't know about anyone else but I find it disconcerting that a 23K digital playback system doesn't have better build quality. There's no doubt it sounds great but for 23K
Well my CDSD is back home and was put to the test last night. Yes, the new case without vents and the added insulation seems to have largely corrected the problem. The most problematic CD can still be barely heard if you turn the music off and stand closer to the machine. But the average CD that was making noise is no longer heard even beside the CDSD. Given that I'm told my drive was not replaced, I surprised more people don't notice this noise with older CDSD with the vents.

The only thing is since it has come back, I now seem to notice when I load a new disc, the machine makes an audible, loud, transient pop through the speakers just as it is about to play. Not all the time, but I don't remember that before ??? I will continue to observe.

I get the pop as well & I have one of the newer units. NO problems though.
I also got a pop in the pair I have had on loan. It was much better than the previous pair though (from a year or so ago) which was a disaster - the display had a mind of his own, the motor was resonating and there were constant pops when the music was laying. I could not belive souch a lousy engineering in a such an expensive product.

The last pair seemed to work OK though (apart from that pop on start up).
Hmm...I have never had a problem with any of my CDSD's and I have owned 3 of them.
I too have had endless problems with the CDSD; it is very noisy on some disks, as other have noted. And, sometimes it takes 20 tries before it will play an SACD. I took the factory's advice and added sound damping insulation inside the case. That helps with the clicking, but nothing seems to account for the refusal of the transport to play some SACDs, or to take multiple tries to play them -- and there is no pattern. So, basically I do not know what to do. The factory tries to be helpful, but the fixes don't fix the problems. It is not that they are in the least uncooperative, but nothing works, and I've been told the transport will not be replaced. So, it appears that I am stuck. When it works, it's great. But I must say that I certainly did not expect problems of this type at this price point.
Oneobgyn - so how came that you went through 3 different CDSDs if you didn't have a problem ?
I initially owned the original SACD 1000 which even though an albatross never once had a problem.

I then owned the last version of the CDSD with the metal tray and no USB. I wanted the latter in order to be able to do firmware upgrades and sold that unit as well as the SACD 1000 here on Audiogon. I presently own the current version with the USB port and as I have said repeatedly I have never once had any problems with any of these players or my DAC6e (now the Signature Edition) for that matter.

IMO for my ears the Meitner gear remains the best digital available in the market today. It is so good that I still have no desires to get back into vinyl.
Thom_y - I also have the minor static pop once in a while, but it's never been much of a concern to me.

Oneobgyn - You are very fortunate to have never had any issues, but I trust that you are not trying to imply these issues are not real? I have also gone through 3 units and all of them made resonating sounds to varying degrees. However, the latest (non SE) version has been the quietest as all noises are certainly within reason. I do find it surprising that you have never heard anything with the original CDSD. My listening position is about 11 feet from the CDSD, and I could clearly hear the resonating over the music on about 10% of my discs.

I was becoming very frustrated with the transport. I invited the dealer to witness the problem first hand in my room and they agreed that it was unreasonable for a transport of this cost/calibre. My dealer was able to negotiate a new transport for me and I am grateful to them - as I believe they had to absorb considerable cost in doing so. There is certainly something to be said about great customer relationships, as I will continue to be a patron of their store.
As I said, I have never had a problem with any of my units so I canot affirm or deny that the issues are real. If you have had the problem as have others then for all you it is real. Fortunately never for me.

Despite the fact that your 3 machines have been "flawless", the fact remains Nikki and I have had the same problem with noise from our CDSD. IT IS REAL ! In both cases, our transports were deemed acceptable, and the problem was addressed with insulation and in my case a new top without vents. Given that I was experiencing this with up to 1 one 4 or 5 CDs, I can't believe others have not had the same REAL problem. Perhaps, my room is too well sound protected from outside noise and I'm more apt to hear the noise coming from my CDSD. Anyways, I am happy the emmlabs and my dealer quickly dealt with this problem and fixed it reasonably.

As much as I really like the sound of the CDSD/DCC2, the fact remains for the price of the CDSD I would expect better. For over 8K, I would not expect the poping noises when a disc starts playing, the clicking when you use the remote to increase volume or change tracks, and the horrible key layout and general quality of the remote. The noise of the transport itself and the inability to play certain copy controlled discs (EMI Canada) has also been annoying for a system of level. It is important for this info to be available for others who may be experiencing the same issues, or for future emmlabs buyers. No point in trying to suggest this is imaginary.
You seem to be preaching to the choir as I never said that I dispute your problem. I was merely stating (and I will say again) that I have never encountered one problem with my units. I have never owned the DCC2 so I cannot comment as well on the clicking heard when you turn up the volume.BTW, as far as sound treated rooms I can say the same about mine as it too is overly treated so that if there is something going on I would hear it without any problem.

Have you ever talked with Jonathan Tinn about your problem?

One last question.....are both of you the original owners of these units? If so I would suggest you have them repaired under warranty.
Yes, I am the original owner and the repairs discussed above were just done under warranty.
I am the original owner and all service requests made through local dealer and Canadian distributor under warranty. The latest replacement unit was negotiated by my dealer, because EMMLabs determined my first two units were within factory specs and there was nothing else they could/would do under warranty.