mod my cdp or newer cd transport or ?? long

I've been using a '90 $435 Philips CD60 since new both as cdp and transport. I recently got a '90 $800 Philips CD80 for cheap, fully functional, perhaps the best cdp of its day: 33 lbs, huge PS, decent parts incl arguably Philips best CD mechanism for build, sonics, and reliability (CDM-1 MkII). As a transport it sounds no better than my plastic-mechanism CD60, mostly because of dark-ages SPDIF 'design'. My '00 $700 Yamaha single-tray CD recorder sounds better as a transport as it has a properly implemented SPDIF, though of cheap parts.

I have a BelCanto DAC2 in a decent system, which is largely insensitive to jitter, but better transports still sound better for other reasons. And excellent digital cables, both glass fiber and coax. I auditioned a Denon DVD-2900 ($1K universal player) that sounded notably better than my Yamaha as a transport, just a taste of what is possible.

So my less-than-ideal choices are:

1) Find someone somewhere to mod my CD80 SPDIF, and maybe other related stuff like clock and PS. Its transport is currently fine, but for how much longer? No luck finding a mod company yet, though I know these units were routinely massaged nicely a decade ago. And they still sound decent as a cdp.

2) Buy a used CD-specific transport, typically mid to late '90s. As I want a good amount of programming and control flexibility, I have limited choices, currently Proceed CDD or Sonic Frontiers SFT-1 -- others? Problem is they all typically use Philips CDM-12 transports which are now beginning to break, and no luck getting repairs from either Philips or the out-of-business manufacturers.

3) Buy a more modern DVD-based or Japanese higher end cdp that *may* sound decent as a CD-only transport. Compromise is in paying for all the overhead of unwanted video and/or multichannel processing at the likely expense of a top mechanism, SPDIF, clocking, layout etc that makes for a great-sounding transport.

4) Say screw it and buy a proper high-end transport ie ML37. But that's way out of proportion to the rest of my system, and I could get a fine cdp for that kind of money.

What to do? I want control flexibility, reliability, great CD sound and availability used <$1K. No kits or one-off boutique manufacturers. Suggestions and experiences most welcome.
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I went through a similar exercise not long ago. I also have a DAC-2. I tried several transports from a higer-end Muse to a cheap Marantz player.

Transports do sound different with the DAC2, but not in a way I would characterize as "major". After trying several options, I ened up using a Sony DVD player as my transport (DVP-S7700). It was equal to the others in mids/highs and had better base articulation (using the coax connection).

I kept the transport that sounded the best in my system, even though it wasn't very expensive or flashy.

# 4 definitely
I have a Proceed CDD connected to a MF A324 DAC and it is a very good combination. I tried the CDD against a modded Music Hall and a Cal Labs and it was much better (this was done with a EAD 9000 DAC). But yes, the CDM12 is very hard to find. Mine was skipping and the Madrigal dealer here in México told me that the entire transport/drawer had to be replaced because of the laser so I did some checking (the CDD uses the CDM12 IND xport) but finally solved myself the problem by lubricating the CDM12 unit!!!

It is a gamble but then how many years do you plan to keep it? And also try to get one that has been recently serviced, if possible.
#3 and final post on my series of transport follow-ups :-)
Again, all your responses seem correct. I found a just-serviced Proceed CDD: all new drive mechanism - a current model sourced by Philips and modded by Madrigal for CDD, 37, 390s - with the HW and SW updates to bring it up to current spec so it should last awhile.

I read a post where the CDD and 37 offered the same sound, and the 37 actually sounding better than the 31.5, so aside from resale value, Mejames should be satisfied.

Rgodin is also right in that the DAC2 is insensitive to jitter so transports don't sound as different as in other systems. The best sound so far has been from a good universal player, the CDD sounds barely better than all my other CDPs digital outputs :-( Which for $2495 as a transport only I expected more! Rgodin was smart to keep the dvd player as transport.

Finally, Gustavog and I now have essentially the same digital front ends. I would bet you'd hear less differences between the transports you auditioned if you used your MF DAC. The CDD should sound better in that context due to much lower jitter.

The CDD doesn't sound BAD in my rig, just not as good as the $1K Denon 2900, which is probably a $50 drive mechanism, clock, servos and digital output buffer! I ought to be able to do better...