Is there a decent used transport for under $300?

Hi everyone,

I have a way cheap but decent budget rig: a Trends T-Amp driving tekton design single driver speakers (Fostex 167e, $325)and a Tube Audio Design subwoofer ($125 shipped, really not as bad as you would expect). Until today, the signal came from the venerable Rotel RCD 855 player (considered a good budget player in its day) with the digital out feeding a cheap "Super p" DAC, which sounded significantly better than using the 855's DAC.

All together I was getting a robust, authoritative, and stable full range sound, but today the 855 finally gave up the ghost after a protracted demise.

I have been wanting to get a transport only unit anyway, but for this setup need to keep the cost below $300 used. Is this possible? If so, would such a transport be better than a similarly priced player? For example, is the Rotel RDD 980 transport currently listed on A'gon for $195 an improvement on the digital output of the 855? I'd also love to know about any other thoughts/possibilities.

Thanks very much in advance of any responses. It's no good here (hear) without the music.
sony 9000es
I'd go with a SONY 7000 or a Pioneer/Elite w/stable platter. Should be available for around 2-300.
thanks for the responses...these are players not transports so are you saying these players should sound/perform better than my cheap dac cheap transport combo idea? I wouldn't be surprised, though I did read that the Sony 9000es and sony players in general had reliability problems, which is the last thing I want to return to.

anyway thanks again, any and all additional comments are most welcome.
Get an Oppo for less than $200 new.
California Audio Labs transports average 225-250 with Balanced, Unbalanced and Optic O/P
thanks again, i did a quick search for the oppo and got some mixed reviews, as well as some confusion about which model is best for audio only and to be used as a transport only. it seems a dedicated transport would make more sense than a player with all the other functionality i don't really need, but if there is a used player for under $300 that is better than a used $300 transport with my cheap DAC then i am open to suggestions, though i would tend to think otherwise.

somec59, CAL transports have always intrigued me, so i gather you think they are a good value used (if not to old and still with plenty of life in it)? They certainly seem to be.

thanks, any more thoughts are very much appreciated.
oh yeah, another question about the CAL transports: do they play ripped cdrs?
I was looking for a transport for my Bel Canto DAC2 a month ago. After doing research and watching the ads here I broke down and purchased an Oppo 980H.
After using it as a transport only for ten days I finally hooked up the audio output to my amp last night. Why? because I was playing a cd with HDCD. Anyway, the audio out is not bad, not quite as good as the DAC2, but not bad.
Also, I suggest staying away from the used 9000es. I have a dead one in my garage.
I'm selling two Rotel RDD 980 less than $200 on ebay....I think they sound fine and offer flexibility by changing DACs. I would guess that the design of the Rotel transport is better because of the isolation from parts together in a one box construction. I looked at the specs and description transport in the RDD 980 manual and they mention bigger and better transformers/power and less vibration by going to separates. That may be ad hype but there often are compromises in old one box design. There is much discussion about which is more important, transport or DAC; in theory you should hear a difference but you may not...too many variables in my opinion (cables, amps, speaker, support/isolation etc.) I have compared my system to a one box rega planet and Pioneer pd65 and liked the rdd transports with different dacs but I doubt that you'll hear much difference in ONLY a switch to a tranport
thanks for the insights timrhu and dla405j. i think for the amount of money i'm willing to spend it seems a used transport only unit would be my best bet, i can always update the dac later. of course, i'm happy to entertain any claims to the contrary. dla, the Rotel RDD 980 seems like a very good option, they do have a good reputation. about the only other true-transport option in my price range is the CAL transport, unless i am missing something, so i guess it comes down to how these two compare. anyone have any more thoughts on this? am i missing wouldn't be the first time.
Those are players, but they are often used as transports via digital outputs due to low price, build quality, and in the case of the pioneer/elite units, stable platter mechanism. You are not going to find too many transport only units at that price, since its pretty much a niche item.
thanks swampwalker, sorry but i wasn't sure which players you were referring to...i think the Rotel RDD 980 is a transport only unit as is the CAL Delta. i know my options are limited but i'm just trying to optimize my front-end approach to this budget system and am still leaning to a transport only simply because it seems to make more sense if i'll be using an outboard dac. but again, i'm open to other suggestions.
with a Pioneer PD-65, which I use as a transport, you can turn off the internal dac, so it functions purely as a transport.
I believe the now famous JVC line of cd players such as the 1010 and the 1050 were fantastic as transports and great as just stand alone players.
these are more interesting suggestions...a question, does anyone think these stand alone players mentioned thus far are better than a CAL Delta dedicated transport?

thanks again everybody
I would hesitate to use the oppo as a transport. I have had a modded one for a few years and its err, a little less then robust on the drawer, motor noise etc.

With that said, i did use it for years, and i think the picture quality is stunning. I did not do any comparison with other transports.

I posted a similar inquiry on another forum, and most of the responses seemed to lean towards a used pioneer elite unit. Not sure if they are closee to 300 or not but worth a check.
thanks much kbuzz and everyone else, i think for now i'll shoot for a not too old CAL transport, i never heard anything to contradict that, at least not under the scenario i sketched out under the thread question, also the other recommendations were somewhat scattered and less consistent, and the idea at least makes some sense superficially and intuitively...thanks again.