If you still spin CD's their is a reference level Transport for reasonable money

I just got in-house the Jay's Audio CDT-2 MK3 transport to review for hometheaterreview.com.  The build quality and physical appearance make it hard to believe that it retails for around $2,400.  Right out of the crate not even broken in yet, it's out performing my CEC double belt transport in the reference system.  It retains all the liquidity and analog smoothness of the belt driven transport but offers more details, tighter bass frequencies, and a larger layered soundstage with more air between the players.

Alvin, of Vinshine Audio set this review up with me, so if you go to his website you can get a lot more details/pictures on this transport.  The reason I was motivated to review a CD transport was I received scores of requests from my readers asking what is a great sounding transport, for a reasonable amount of money.  So far, in spades the Jay's Audio CDT-2 MK3 fits the bill easily.   

Showing 27 responses by teajay

First, I made an error regarding the moniker on this great transport, it's the CDT2-MK2, not CDT2-MK3.  The CDT2-MK2 retails for $2,598 Singapore dollars, not $4,980-that's for the reference CDT3-MK2.  The CDT3-MK2 internally up-samples all CD's and does not present native Red book. Therefore, it was ruled out as a candidate for my review.

Historically, I have had some of the highest regarded CD transports in my system: CEC TL-1x, ML-31.5, Ensemble Dirondo, MBL 1621, CEC TL3N.  The CEC TL3N surprisingly out performed the much more expensive MBL 1621 transport for my tastes.  The CEC TL3N I believe retails for around $2,500.  It's still a great transport. However, the Jay's Audio CDT2-MK2 out performs it across the board, is built to a higher standard, and costs less in US dollars.

Baranyi, when are you going to get your butt over here to hear my new reference DAC that replaced the Concert Fidelity DAC-hybrid 040?  For right now I'm not highly motivated to review another DAC, my review on the new piece will be published some time this month.  Then, I could see if Alvin would be interested, in the future, to setup a review on the highly regarded Denafrip reference DAC.

Finally, to answer phil9624's question:  Did I ever hear a CD ripped to 96/24 WAV. Yes, and I don't think they sound any better then the Red book CD in comparison.
Hey ncarv,

I have not had for a very long time the TL-1X in my system.  However, when CEC went to their latest two belt vs one belt technology which trickled done from the reference model the less expensive new models seemed to be better performers then the older more expensive single belt drives.
Hey acresverde,

I did research on your very question and the answer seems to be no.  Both mechanisms are highly regarded for both performance and durability.  
Hi jriggy,

Yes, I have heard the PS Audio PWT transport and thought it was fine sounding, but not quiet as "musical" or having some of the liquidity of my other transports historically. I forgot to mention on the list of transports that I have also owned the Acoustic Arts piece out of Germany.  

I was very surprised when the CEC TLN3 transport out performed my reference MBL that cost almost 24K more!  However, the Jay's Audio CDT-2 MK2 now has replaced the TLN3 as my reference for the reasons I stated already on this thread and is the least expensive of them all.  The build quality/performance is amazing and it's hard to believe that Jay's Audio delivers all of this at such a reasonable price.   
Hey Brian,

Because I'm lucky to do professional reviewing I have owned and reviewed what are considered reference level DACS.  However, the quality of the CD transport can/does make a significant difference in the quality of what your DAC finally puts out.  Yes, you can use a CD player, if it has digital out option, as a transport to drive an external stand alone DAC, but the quality of the performance would still be effected by the purity of the bit stream being put out by the transport, not just the DAC itself. 
Hey d2girls,

Regarding the PD-S95 transport I never had one in my system, but do know they are highly regarded.

It's funny that you mention the Sparkler transport, I tried to setup a review on it with the importer, but it just never worked out.  
Hey rx8man,

The Jay's Audio is not just a decent transport but performs at a reference level.  Which CEC do you own?  Remember, my reference until this piece was a CEC, the Jay's Audio provides the analog liquidity of the belt drive and adds on much better overall macro-dynamics, bass control, transparency, and more open and airy soundstage.
Hey audiorevelation,

I actually reviewed the Woo transport a few years back and it was quite good for the money.  However, based on build quality and more importantly sonic performance it comes no were close as being in the same league as the Jay's Audio transport. 
Hey audiolabyrinth,

I totally agree that you can speculate on which transport would sound better.  However, I have heard the latest generation of the PS Audio DS transport and I prefer what the Jay's Audio CDT-2 MK-2 does in my system with my DAC.

Your second statement is the old agreement between listeners who want for example a line-stage that is a "straight wire with a gain" not to "color" the sound vs a listener who wants the tonality/timbres and spatial qualities that a tube based line-stage provides to the music.  I use the term liquidity to mean a lack of grain or dryness without becoming euphonic at the expense of punch/macro-dynamics or details.  The Jay's Audio transport offers more of this then the PS Audio for my tastes on straight Red book sampling rate.  

Here's the most important question for you: Have you actually heard both transports?  If not you are welcomed to your speculation.  However, that's all it is, not a factually based conclusion based on personal experience.  I find it fascinating when people post that have never actually heard the piece being discussed or "know" that one piece of gear is better then the other, even though they never have heard the piece of gear to make the comparison. 

Hey Guys,

All my listening notes are now complete for my review on the CDT-2 MK-2 transport.  If you want a Red Book CD transport that, does not upsample the bit stream, to deliver an analog type liquidity (very much like a CEC belt drive transport) with powerful overall dynamics and excellent air and 3D imaging, along with very high quality construction and a beautiful appearance this is your next purchase if you still spin disks as I do.  It is hard to believe a piece of hardware this good can be sold for around 2K on today's market. 
Hey Guys,

No Tacos, just 16/44 red book format.
Hey Guys,

A preview on the CDT-2 MKII has just gone up on Six Moons website.  Srajan Ebaen was kind enough to use my comments in his preview overview.  By the way he explains some of the major points of interest regarding build quality vs cost and his pictures are much more revealing then what's on Vinshine Audio's website.

If you still spin CD's, I do, you really want to take a look at this transport for many superlative reasons.
Hi audiolabyrinth,

Thanks for calling me a gentleman and respecting me.  However, your statement that for me to say, based on actual listening experience, that it is "silly" that a transport that just delivers standard Red book cannot sound better then a transport that up samples red book to DSD raises the question that higher sampling rates are superior sonicly to red book sampling rate.  My reference DAC only does Red book using NOS chips and I find it's presentation much more musical then DSD based DACS.  
Hi Wig,

Honestly, I'm not sure what the jitter level is for either transport.  I'm assuming it's low for both transports.  I do no measuring for my reviews, but base my conclusions on extensive listening of the review piece with a comparison to other pieces of gear that I have experience with.  In this case I have had highly regraded transports that range in cost from around 3K up to 30K in my system.  Yet, the Jay's audio CDT-2 MKII based on performance is the transport I now use in my reference system because it out performed these other highly regarded pieces.  It's beautifully built and is a bargain at around 2K.
Hey Guys,

Srajan Ebaen, of Six Moon website, just completed his review on the transport.  He came to the same conclusions that I have reported here on this thread.  He was also kind enough to include my comments/viewpoints to other highly regarded transports in his extensive review.  Srajan, awarded a "BLUE MOON AWARD" to this great piece.
Hey jriggy,

You are confusing the CDT-2 MK3 with the CDT-3 MK3.  The CDT-3 MK3, because of the heat from its internal clock, it is recommended to turn it off after 24 hours.  The CDT-2 MK3 has no such concerns and I leave mine on all the time.
Hey wig,

Are you close to sharing what you think of the Jay's Audio transport's sonic performance?  A few listeners, last week, were quite impressed in the improvements they heard in my reference system over the CEC double belt transport.  Everyone comments on it's build quality and beautiful appearance.  They all assumed that it must retail for at least 8K to 10K, until I inform them that it's much less expensive.  Then they are quite shocked you get this type of value for such a reasonable price.
Hey k4rstar,

I have three reviews in-line to write, so the review on this transport won't be done for awhile.  If you want more information, please send me an Email through the GON and I'll be happy to discuss the details.
Hey Thomas,

The answer to your question is yes.
Hey Celander,

Yes, you will have to put batteries in your remote, they don't ship with them.  I only use the BNC out which does not reverse channels, so I can't address the issue with the RCA out.  

Have fun and share what you think of its performance.  
Hey audioguy85,

I'm glad that you love your Marantz CD player.  However, a "freakin transport" does make a significant difference when driving a DAC.  Furthermore, you are stuck with the DAC in a CD player, which is great if you like the sound, but not to terrific if you want change-up or improve the overall performance with a better DAC. So, your post has little to do with the topic of this thread, indeed. 
Hey acresverde,

Please stop accusing me of dodging your question.  I clearly wrote a detailed account on the thread entitled, "Jay's Audio CDT-3 : Impressions of a Great CD Transport" which explains why I did not write the review and how Srajan quotes me in his review about my experiences with the CDT-2.  I also, for what ever reason had not received any of your Emails that you sent to me through Six Moons, therefore I was not trying to be disrespectful to you at all.
Hey garrard,

Sounds like your a real fan of my reviewing style!  Please, would you be a reviewer of my reviews and kindly share why you feel that they are a waste of time and offer no useful information to the reader.

Thanks in advance.
Hey acresverde,

Did you ever read what I wrote on the other thread to answer your questions?  If you did please comment on what I wrote because I think it answers why I did not write a professional review and why I did not get back to you.  You are the one that made unpleasant and unfounded statements about me, I never accused you of anything.  Yet, you are attempting to come across as the wronged party.  Thanks for not asking for "recompense" because I owe you none in this matter.

Hey Acresverde,

Just scroll down about 50 posts on this forum page and you will see the thread with my answer to all your questions. Peace to you too, but I still think you owe me an apology for your accusing me of two negative choices.  1) Dodging your question.  2) Not being respectful to respond to you, even though I never got your Emails. 

Heads up,

Steve Guttenberg on his daily audiophile review video just gave a total thumbs up on the Jay's transport.
Hey daveaj255,

It's under: The Audiophiliac Daily Show