Gun- Don't rule out a used Sony XA7ES CDP for a transport. It's beautifully built and can function as a player while you're between DACs or getting upgrades. Just a thought. Good luck.
16 responses Add your response
You can get a Theta Data II for that price - much better than the Basic. But I must admit they are not the most reliable or easy to repair CD Transport I have owned. With other DACs I find the Data II trounces the DVD players, but you should really try a DVD player as recommended by Bel Canto - sometimes these manufacturer guys know what they are talking about when they recommend something as a synergistic match with their goods.
Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 is very good, but will probably cost more used than Audio Alchemy DDS Pro. (If I have initials wrong, it's their top of the line.) The AA was underrated from the start, IMHO, and it didn't help for the company to go out of business. But that may help YOU, pricewise. It features the Pioneer "Stable Platter", arguably a better design than almost all Philips models, as used in many name brand transports. The DDS Pro has a separate power supply, and is massive, helping with vibrations. I own and have used both products I've mentioned here, and like both a lot.
Gunbei: I hate to bring this up, but a used Sony 9000ES SACD player is in your price range. Can anyone rate its performance as a transport? I know that Albert Porter has one, but do not know if he has tried it with an external DAC. I can only consider the unit if it will play "digital audio recordable" CDR's and will be testing this in a couple of weeks with the help of Albert. I think that the breaking point of whether SACD software will become readily available is soom approaching.
Dekay. As usual you have read my mind. Yes, the 9000ES is something I have considered too. Supposedly, a pretty good transport with SACD to boot. I'm wondering if the EVS or Stan Warren mods in combination with the Bel Canto would be redundant or cumulatively positive. I'm sure they'll benefit the SACD playback. Thanks Bro.
If I had your system and had $1k, I would not buy a transport. It's a bang for the buck thing. My radical suggestion is to sell off all your speakers + sub and purchase a Proac Response 2, or possibly a Spendor S100. The not so radical suggestion is to spend the $1k on tweaks -- do you have an excellent equipment rack? are your cables optimized? room treatment? isolation products? Either of these suggestions will yield a greater sonic improvement than upgrading a transport. However, if you do go the transport route, my recommendation is the Sony 333ES, a multi-disc SACD player. It's available for $600-800, new. Hope this helps!
Gunbei, try to wrangle a in home trial for a day with a high-end transport (maybe from dealer or even a friend) and compare it to any basic cd player with a digital out. Do it blindfolded a/b fiddle around for an hour or too and see if you really hear a difference. Onhwy61 is right, a grand can do alot more in other places.
Onhwy61 and Ezmeralda, point well taken. I'm already in the process of evaluating all supporting pieces [tweaks], which includes all cables [power cord too], power conditioning, and vibration reduction components.
I've noticed that Black Diamond Racing Cones do make a difference in my system, so I'm considering other enhancements too.
Thanks for the different perspective. I appreciate it.
I am looking for a transport,too. I have a Wadia Digimaster X-64.4, and have been running it off a Cal Icon Mk II.Am I in la-la land to go to separates when one boxers are in? How much did the Wadia 22 go for? What's a Wadia 16( tfta.com)And how about the Proceed CDD? Or should I save up for a Mark L. or a Krell? Thanks for the feedback.
I noticed you were considering the Sony 9000 ES.
I have a system that includes the following.
Audio Research LS25 Pre-Amp. Theta Gen 5a Dac, Theta Pearl Transport, Sony 9000 ES, Lexicon MC-1 Processor, Bi-Amping All speakers (except SCM"S) with Parasound HCA 3500 & 1500 amps (need to up grade AMPS as I can) B&W 800 Nautilus Front, B&W HTM1 Center and B&W 804 Nautilus rears, B&W SCM8'S sides, Cardas Interconnects and Transparent Digital cables. ESP Power cords
I find the Theta Pearl to be much better in my system as a Transport than the Sony 9000ES.
The sound stage is much larger, more detail and a lot fuller.
May be system dependant as the Pearl paired with the Theta Gen 5a Dac should match well. What ever the reason the 9000 ES does not work for me.
I thought as the others above, and got the 9000 ES looking to free up space and have only the one item and less cables but sound is not even close. The SACD disk in the 9000ES can not even match the standard CD in the Theta Stuff.
Good Luck Bob