I really like my Accustic Arts Drive 1. There's one listed right now for $2,500.00, http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?dgtltran&1146888967
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I continue to use the Pioneer PD65 as a transport and it has performed incredibly well with a variety of DACs including the Counterpoint DA10 (awesome unit for the price), ARC DAC3 II (somewhat bright and fatiguing), ECD-1, VTL Ref and now the Manley Ref DAC.
I have since added the Genesis Time Lens which brings on a significant degree of clarity and added space between the notes. I had to struggle to hear differences between the PD65 and transports much more expensive, Muse and Audio Aero, and so I quit trying. But the Genesis was a marked improvement. Interestingly enough is that digital cables also show a significant difference in sonics.
From all of these experiences, I have yet to be convinced it is necessary to spend a fortune on a transport. My reference source is still the Clearaudio Ref TT.
the lens seem to be a very cool device but pricey when everything is added up..
lens $400 (used)
cables $350 (used orchid, need one more with the lens)
power cord $250 (used audience)
comes in at a extra $1000 (estimated)...so would the $1k be better served by adding the lens or by adding/upgrading the transport clock ?
has anybody gone this route before ? the bummer with upgrading the transport, you lose the roi when you sell vs good roi recovery of selling the lens & cables..
If you got a Genesis Lens, you could run both your Sony (as transport) and the Airport Express through it--it'll improve them both.
You wouldn't need as expensive a cable from the transport to the Lens--use your better cable from the Lens to DAC (though a better cable to the Lens will have some effect).
I have a new-found appreciation of my Lens after recently removing it from my system. Didn't notice too much initially, but putting it back in surprised me by how much more engaging the music was.
Along the lines of Mikesinger's comments, I was thinking of selling the Lens, it's cables (digital & power) and buying a better transport, but after this little experiment, I'm going to pass and keep the Lens for now.
Sogood: Yes, selling the DA10 was one of the two regrets I have made over the last few years....the other being the ARC VT130 which smoked the VT100 and sells for far less here on Audiogon. Both the DA10 and VT130 are absolute runaway steals in performance and price.
Elberoth: The Lens benefits highly from aftermarket power cords. Both the Purist Dominus and Kubala-Sosna take the unit as far as the unit itself does in the chain. Other PCs that I tried, NBS Statement and PS Audio Statement made very little difference. It is quite incredible what some PCs do to digital gear. Makes no sense, but a return to the stock PC and the ambience and life in the music is significantly reduced.
And yes, a super duper digital cable is the same improvement as the PC. I went from a cheapo cable to the MIT AES/EBU and this was quite a nice gain in clarity. I then changed to the Marigo 5.7 and wow, even bigger. So maybe it is not so much what these more expensive cables are doing but rather all the damage that the cheapo cabls are doing.
Yioros: I got my Lens for $450 a couple years ago. It has the plastic remote but who cares as the remote is used only to power the unit up when power goes down. It is too bad the unit does not have a power-on switch as I would never need to use the silly remote at all. And yes there are different versions but I understand this to be only the firmware.
I agree that the 2-nd digital IC has to be of high quality. I was talking about the first one (form transport to lens). It does make SOME difference, but it is nowhere near as great as the second one, and if you are on the budget, that is the place to save some $$$ IMO.
The best way to save money using GDL is going with ST cables - they are superior to electrical connections and are dirt cheap (you can get one for 30$). Talk about "value-for-money" here. The problem is, not many components sport ST ins/outs. But if they do - use them by all means.
As for power cords - I have tried Shunyata Diamondback and could not tell the difference. Maybe some more expensive cords would, but I was not encouraged to try.
BTW - get the GDL with plastic remote - it doesn't look as good as metal one, but it is easier to use (and it is cheaper). I had both.