You hear a lotta reasons as in less jitter, no interference from analogue output sections, less vibration etc. that stand alone transports sound better than the digital output of a CDP. In all the transports i've owned, when compared to similar priced and even higher CDPs, the transport in every case sounded better. Compare the heralded Sony SCD-1 used as a transport only and compare it to Forsell, CEC, MBL, Acoustic Arts, Barclay, Esoteric P2, Audiomecca and the Sony in all cases comes in a dismal 2nd. Your Dac is high quality and tremendously musical and deserves a stand alone transport to reach it's potential.
Sundance45: Did you actually listen to the Sony compared to each of those standalone transports and hear the Sony that far behind the others? I have what I consider a top-notch DAC and my little dismal Pioneer PD-65, with or without the Genesis Time Lens, does a mighty fine job.
I am also wrestling with this question at this time. My humble opinion is that what matters most is the lack of jitter emanating from the CD player's (or transport's) digital interface and not whether the machine also has DACs and an analog output stage inside it as well as a CD transport mechanism. The problem is, as far as I know, there is no way to know what these jitter numbers are for most machines out there. I have been trying to determine if my Sony CDP-XA7ES is as good a transport as a Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 and there is simply no information, or even opinions on this question out there. Common sense says that the SFT-1 blows the Sony away in spite of the Sony's transport mechanism being a work of industrial art. But where is the empirical data?
I agree!! I just don't want to swap equipment, I want a real improvement
Common sense would also tell us that a transport is the easiest component to measure and validate its accuracy - you either have the exact data at the correct time interval or you don't. And repeatable validation tests would be equally easy. But instead all I ever hear about the "best" transports is that they have the most analog-like sound. Hah?
Getting a better digital cable is the answer. Transports make a difference but a better cable will offer greater improvements from my experience. Borrow a few from your local dealer and find out for yourself.
There is a local guy in New Jersey who has the same CDP as you but he modified it and it betters many other CDPs and also separates we compared it to. We tried many transports adn we always came back to the digital cable as offering the greatest improvement. His Pioneer is simply fantastic.
Kind of the catch 22. Yes, a better cable will/might help a lesser/unmodified player---but that same cable will help the better transport-only setup, as well. Don't underestimate the benifit of a quality transport.IMO, one could use the so so tt with a quality phono stage or cart. or phono cable---It all starts with the spinning thing.
Jitter is definitely the great bugaboo of many transports. When I was putting together my first new system in 15 years, I opted for a DVD player/external DAC combination thinking that the external DAC would provide all of the performance improvement I needed. I was greatly disappointed in the performance and didn't know where to look for ways to improve matters. I borrowed a dbx Quantum mastering processor to experiment with EQ and to my great surprise, without any EQ at all, the sound was better than I'd ever heard. The difference was the reclocking that was done and the subsequent reduction in jitter. Since I couldn't afford a Quantum, I searched for another solution and found a device called the Tent X3. It's a reclocking circuit that you can add to some standard CD players that replaces the original system clock, then refines the edges of the S/PDIF signal that it generates. The results are remarkable. I took a Marantz CD67(?) player which was horrible as a transport and turned it into an amazing transport with the addition of this device. I would suspect that very high end transports do all kinds of things to reduce jitter.
As far as cables go, I think a bad cable can mess up a good transport but I've never heard a good cable compensating for a bad transport.
Jlambrick- I agree with you on the benefits of reclocking. Where can one find more information on the Tent X3?
For jitter I am using a Genesis digital lens.It does wonders for me.Best 550$ I spend.
Here is a link to the Tent labs site. The X03 is under "Player Upgrades".
The installation instructions were a little vague when I bought mine. I'm an electrical engineer so I was able to trace the signals I needed to use to get it going. Maybe they've improved the instructions since then.
I did not realize that a question was asked. Yes Jafox, I did listen to all those transports in relation to the Sony SCD-1. And after it was so apparent that the Sony was inferior to them, I sold the Sony. The only reason I used the Sony for the comparison was that I owned one. Not only was it inferior as a transport, there was nothing to write home about it as an SACD player either. Somehow elevating the Sony's performance by comparison to a Pioneer is not relevant Most of high end equipment will sound fairly good until compared to something that is perceived better. This hobby is all subjective and there are plenty of Audiophiles that like the Sony SCD-1, however; when comparing components usually one sounds better than the rest.
I have to add my 2 cents here, in the past I used a Denon/Proceed combo with very nice results then I upgraded to a Proceed Transport/PS Audio that was great for presentation and depth. The main point that was drilled at me was to isolate to control jitter and micro vibrations, at that time I used Sims feet very effectivly. Now With an ARC CD 2 I am using Bright Star Audio Air Mass/Big Rock 3 and the difference is jaw dropping, I used the Air Mass on it's own for 3 wks before introducing the Big Rock to evvaluate the differences, I will NEVER go back to unisolated equipment again becuse, yes it does make that big of a difference. IMO you can search for years and spend thousands seeking improvements, with the help of K.L. I am in audio nirvana and just traveling deeper into it. It's one man's opinion but I hope that it will help.