new updates in transports or are they obsolete ?

any new updates in transports ?

it would appear that cd transports are outdated in favor computer storage..

any thoughts ???
Your average music lover listens to CDs either as ripped computer files (probably data compressed) or using a multi disc DVD/CD player. Because of this manufacturers have really scaled back on the production of single disc CD player mechanisms. Very few audiophile oriented companies have the resources to design and build a CD transport from scratch and that's why you see so few dedicated transports. It's also impacting single disc CD players.
Apparently Rega has developed a new transport for their forthcoming Apollo CD player
There was never a large amount of companies manufacturing reference level transports to begin with, however you still have major players in digital gear producing terrific transports, such as: 1)CEC 2)Ensemble 3)Accustic Arts 4)Zanden 5)Meitner 6)Teac 7)Wadia 8)Dcs. If you still want the finest possible sonics out of a digital source, a reference level transport makes a significant difference compared with hard drives.
Don't forget Audiomeca.
Look for a White-Paper that I wrote on that explains why computer driven audio done well will always beat a conventional transport. Why waste good money on a transport?
both teejay and audioengr offer valid points...

has anyone done a comparison between a computer and a high end transport ?( forgive me if this question has been asked before)

There are at least 2 companies out there with storage solutions and I predict that more will come. Kalaidascape is a (very expensive) uncompressed storage system for DVD's. They are also working on a music server. One of the keys is the ability to store uncompressed data with a lossless system. It will be very interesting in the enxt couple of years.

David Shapiro
I have written about my own comparisons between transports (dedicated and CD player) and my hard drive based system before on other threads here. In short, I no longer have a CD player and all my CD's are now in my attic.
i have to confess... the idea of dropping my cd collection in ONE place and have the ability to pull up a cd and make a playlist is pretty tempting....

what are the pro and cons of hard drive based storage/transport apple system ( i am a mac guy)...


Mikesinger - every show that I exhibit at (CES and RMAF) has my demo of computer audio versus Transport (modded, including Superclock3) and everyone that listens to this A/B hear the improvement with computer driven audio.

Pros and cons:

1) no CDs to scratch
2) no getting up from chair to search through piles of CDs to find the desired one
3) Long playlists of favorite tracks
4) better organization of music in the database - genre, artist, title etc..
5) easier portability to other locations, such as on vacation
6) cheaper to do download of one track versus buying a 12 track CD with 2 good tracks
7) more control of the music selection from listening position

1) Time that it takes to load all of the CD tracks
2) Time that it takes to setup playlists
3) Some can have trouble setting up the upsampling and players etc..
4) wire across the floor to the listening position for USB type converters

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Are there any portable music player out there that will output digital format via USB port? I know the current crops of iPod does not.

If I have to boot up my computer each time I want to play CD, not to mention the cost of a computer dedicated for playing music, I might stick to the old fashion one box CD player. But if there are portable player out there that can output digital format, I can be playing music even before my amp is on.
"every show that I exhibit at (CES and RMAF) has my demo of computer audio versus Transport (modded, including Superclock3) and everyone that listens to this A/B hear the improvement with computer driven audio."

Audioengr- what transport were you using?
thanks for the input....

in really thinking about would appear one could use both.

- high quality transport for data transfer ( there is a definite sonic signature for high quality transports)
- computer for transfer and playback.

the REAL questions are

- will hard drive playback capture the transports "delicate" sonic signature

- will play back on a pc be better coming coming off the hard drive after transferred since there is suppoose to less jitter ?

it would appear that a high quality transport with firewire, usb output (or a computer interface /hard drive) would be optimal..
Kana - I have been using a heavily modded Sony DVP-S7700 with the same DAC. It performs better than anything stock, including CEC, which I also mod.
Semi - I just leave my laptop on all the time. It has power saving modes for the CPU and screen. Just touch the touch pad and you are up and running playing songs. Much quicker than turning on a CD player and loading a CD, and I dont have to get up from the listening position.
"will hard drive playback capture the transports "delicate" sonic signature"

Absolutely, but with even more clarity.

- will play back on a pc be better coming coming off the hard drive after transferred since there is suppoose to less jitter ?

Playback from the "hard-drive" is actually always from a cache in memory. The data stream from the USB only needs to average the streaming rate. The precise clock is added at the converter. It's in the converter where the low-jitter timing happens. This is where the magic is.

it would appear that a high quality transport with firewire, usb output (or a computer interface /hard drive) would be optimal..

USB or firewire to S/PDIF is a great start. USB or firewire to I2S is even better. Look for my white paper in on Computer Audio for more info.
Creek CD50 mk2 uses a computer style transport. It would be interesting to see a review on using the Creek as a transport.
Interesting comments by Mikesinger. I recently bought a small Yamaha hard drive type unit because I too would like to relieve some of the clutter caused by my CD collection. I'm about to start putting most of my choral CDs (many of which I listen to when learning a piece of music I'm singing and thus don't care too much about sonics) and a number of the ones I listen to less often into the hard drive so I can regain some space. I am not yet giving up my Forsell transport, though, because that is the one transport I've used with enough of a sonic signature that makes the music more engaging to me. I'm very curious, once I've stored a bunch of the CDs, to hear the differences between playback from the hard drive through my DAC vs. playback through the Forsell. The Forsell was designed to sound more like analog playback--it will be an interesting comparison. And Mikesinger is thinking as I am, I'm interested in hearing whether a CD stored in the hard drive via the Forsell transport vs. the unit's own transport mechanism sounds different, both from each other and from direct playing through the Forsell.
That will be interesting Rcprince, keep us informed.

Do you have any info on how the Forsell sounds more like analog playback?

I can see that a DAC's analog output stage can be tuned to sound "analog". But for a transport to have this effect, the bit stream would have to be modified or "good jitter", if there is such a thing, be introduced into the bit stream.
Kenn 39, I agree with your thinking in theory; I have no idea how Peter Forsell did it, and it certainly doesn't make any sense to me as to how it could happen either, but his transport consistently has had more of the analog-like "bloom" with individual images in the soundstage and a much wider and deeper overall soundstage than other transports I have tried in my system, particularly in its first version (when I had it upgraded to Mk. IV, it gained a little more focus, though not enough to make it sound like a Levinson or Wadia); in addition, I could always play it louder (something you can always do with analog) than other transports I tried, as the digital edge you sometimes get when listening at higher volumes is not there. I am not an engineer, so I can't explain how it was done, but it is noticeable. I do know he used particularly good parts in the building of the unit, hand-chosen for the sonic signature he wanted to achieve, that likely is the main part of the explanation. I'll also note that this transport is particularly affected by isolation devices, which shouldn't in my mind make a big difference in ones and zeros either but does.
"Kana - I have been using a heavily modded Sony DVP-S7700 with the same DAC. It performs better than anything stock, including CEC, which I also mod."

Mahalo. Now I understand the improvement.
Rcprince wrote:
"I'm interested in hearing whether a CD stored in the hard drive via the Forsell transport vs. the unit's own transport mechanism sounds different, both from each other and from direct playing through the Forsell."

Huh? Maybe you do not understand how the computer works. When the data is stored on the hard-drive, it is only the data, no timing information. As long as there is an error-free data read of the CD, it does not matter what CD reader that you use or how fast it is read. It's only data. The timing information is added back at playback from the hard-disk/memory of the computer by either the add-in card or the external converter.

Can you suggest some hardwares & softwares to setup a computer base audio system?

Do I need USB2 or will USB1 be sufficient? Will the USB input DAC available today my best bet or should I use conventional DAC and add the interface hardware to convert USB to coax? Given that it's pure digital and audio freq is not very high, I assume adding a USB-coax converter like Waveterminal will not introduce errors.

Also, do I need to disable my sound card to direct audio bit stream to USB?

Thanks in advance.
Audioengr: I really am computer illiterate, so I only have a basic idea how this works. You had said in an earlier post that the hard drive would capture the transport's delicate "signature", I had assumed that meant that if I used the Forsell as the transport to transfer the digital data to the Yamaha, it might have a different signature than if I use the Yamaha's own built-in transport to transfer the data from the disc. If not, that's fine with me, one less variable to check in my comparison. Did I misread your previous post?
RCprince - I dont think it was me that said anything about "delicate" anything. The CDROM or DVDROM drive reads the data into the computer to be stored on the Yamaha hard disk. That's all. You should not be trying to use your CD player to read data to the hard drive.
Semi wrote:
"Can you suggest some hardwares & softwares to setup a computer base audio system?"

You will need a laptop or a quiet tower with USB2.0, at least 2.0GHz Pentium. I would recommend the Off-Ramp Turbo USB to S/PDIF coax converter to a conventional DAC such as the excellent Benchmark DAC-1 (get a new one) or a modified Perpetual P-3A. The P-3A has the advantage of I2S input. I will be offering a USB to I2S converter at the new year. This is the native interface for the DAC chips, so it eliminates the S/PDIF interface, which is even better. If you want balanced outputs, the Benchmark is the best choice.

The sound card may compete with the USB interface, so you may need to defeat this. I talk about many of these things in my article on Computer Audio for Look for this to be published soon.
Here is the article in
Audioengr, can you comment on the amount of hard drive storage space that is required per CD in lossless format? Thanks.
Averages 30MBytes, but some tracks may be 50 MBytes. It talks about this in my paper.
This thread really got me thinking.

Apple has a hardware called Airport Express which has optical out from what I read. Even though Positive Feedback's article advised against optical output due to jitter, but I assumed jitter will not apply to this case when data are read from HD and broadcast over WiFi.

Is that the theoretical best setup for sound vs. USB-S/PDIF converter using wire? I still prefer to use a dedicate player like iPod that has digital out feeding DAC directly, but newer iPod does not have digital out.

Another question is iTune read CD multiple times until all data are retrieved, similar to EAC? EAC runs slow, I will rather use iTune if it does the job equally well.
Audioengr: read the paper, sorry I missed this. With lossless compression, looking at about 300 MB per CD. If we factor in RAID/mirroring, then let's say 500 MB per CD or 2 CDs per GB. A collection of 1000 CDs would then require 500 GB of mirrored storage. I am doing the math for a computer with this amount of storage and adding in the cost of your USB-SPD/IF converter at your advertised price and finding the cost is quite high. I can get a brand new CEC TL51X transport - quite good - for $1295. This is only $300 more than just the cost of your interface. Then add in the cost of the computer, disc array (any decent collection is beyond the storage capability of most PCs) and you are paying a lot for convenience. Even the convenience is questionnable since it would take a lot of time and effort to rip all the CDs and add the tags. Is my math off here?
"I assumed jitter will not apply to this case when data are read from HD and broadcast over WiFi."

Yes, the jitter is bad from the AE optical output. It can be modded to add coax out. This is much better.

"Is that the theoretical best setup for sound vs. USB-S/PDIF converter using wire?"

Both the AE and the Squeezebox will give similar results, but they will only pass 16/44.1. They will not do upsampled data. The both need mods to compete with the Off-Ramp.

"is iTune read CD multiple times until all data are retrieved, similar to EAC?"

I believe so. They are both good rippers. I use EAC and I've never had a correction or an error.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Baddabob - The CEC transport will not even come close. I've modded them. If I were to fully mod-out the CEC transport and then rewrite all of your CD collection on black CD's using my modded battery powered CD-burner, only then would it come close. The computer would still be better though. There's a big difference here. For the same performance, Computer Audio is always cheaper.

Also, you will likely not rip every track on every disk. I imagine that half of them will not get ripped.
I am using an upgraded, and modified PSA Lambda for a transport to my also modded Audio Note DAC. I have to manually operate the drawer of the Lambda. I am intrigued by using the DVDROM on my new computer to feed the DAC. What is the best connection method?
What would it cost to set-up a good hard drive based system? I am assuming that I buy an off the shelf product that I do not have to modify (or have someone who does this for me since I am incapable of doing it myself). Bob
Baddabob- If you're in the market for a transport take a look at

Baddabob- If you're in the market for a transport take a look at:

Stello CDT200 (Aberdeen Components has an excellent mod for
this unit)

LyngdorfAudio CD-1(does upsampling)

A PC alternative would be the new Cambridge Audio
Azur 640H music server
A good hard-drive system can run the range from <$2K to over $4K. For under $2K you can have an Off-Ramp Turbo with a stock new Benchmark DAC-1. You will not believe how great this sounds. If you have to have the very best (the additional improvements get smaller and smaller as you spend more, but this is where the magic is), then $4K is more like it. Battery power for the Off-Ramp, mods etc...

I was wondering if hard drive fragmentation has ever been an issue with your set up.

I'd imagine the odds would be much lower for this happening on a system designed just for music playback versus a computer system that's constantly writing, erasing, copying and rewriting data over and over again until the files become stored in non-contiguous segments.

But even if it does get fragmented, it would be easy to repair. I was just curious if you were ever listening to Sarah Vaughn and she suddenly started going Porky Pig on you.

If you were setting up a hard drive system you should use dedicated hard drives for the music file storage. You'd start with a clean drive and fill it up by ripping CDs one at a time. Under this scenario fragmentation would never become an issue. Even if you didn't have a dedicated music storage drive playing back two channels of red book quality audio is a fairly trivial task for any 7,200 rpm hard drive. Fragmentation just isn't a real world issue for consumer type audio playback.

I asked this same question regarding iPods over a year ago. I guess I have difficulty letting speeding snails lie. I've never experienced what I would consider a fragmentation related issue with my iPod. The batteries on the other hand suck major donkey dork.

However, the hard drive of my Tivo unit is in serious need of deep digital colon cleanse. The older it gets the more skipping, pixelization and drop-outs occur. I think it's time to just replace the the damn drive. I'd imagine all the recording and erasing going on with this unit would exceed anything a hard drive based music system would experience. Plus if a hard drive system sounds better it's a no brainer.
Audioengr- you will also not believe how great a Stello CDT200 sounds with Aberdeen Components mods that cost alot less any of your mods etc...
Audioengr can you provide links to any industry reviews which support your claims? The computer setup you are recommending is two to three times the cost of a decent used transport, and since we are talking about the transport level only here, improvements are going to be governed by the law of diminishing returns - a factor not to be ignored. No offense, but you do stand to gain from sales.

One thing I will say is that if I were to go this route, I don't think I would buy a boxed music server. The post by Gunbei about Tivo points to the kind of mess you can get yourself into with a closed box type of arrangement. Better off with a standard computer/laptop and external disc arrays, I would think.

Kana, is the Stello front loading? I am interested in a decent front loading transport. I am not intersted in anything that has to be modded, though. I'd rather just get something that is engineered and built to work and sound good.
i dont think audioengr is trying to take anyones money(selling junk or something not needed)...

the solution that is offered is very elegant and pretty much where digital is heading like it or not (ie cutting edge)

in really looking at it... a high quality transport is still needed and a usb inferface for a dac and computer that would allow storage and playback of a cd library...

I'll throw my $0.02 in here in defense of Audioengr, since I've got no skin in the game as to whether or not you go HD or transport. My computer based rig sounds to my ear as good as my Eso DV-50s when run through my dCS upsampler and DAC. In terms of economy, I use Apple Lossless (yes, it in fact is lossless, bit-perfect output from the USB) and, by my estimate, I could fit about 2000 CDs (this includes redundant 128 kbps AAC files for *every* song for use with my iPod), with album art and full tagging, on my 1TB RAID 5 box. My 1TB RAID 5 box was under $1K to my door (I've actually got two--a 1TB Terastation and an older Dell Powervault that was much more expensive, but probably unnecessary expense). Its a highly reliable system and the ability to access songs is unparalleled.

OK, you can buy a nice transport for less than a grand.

But, can you get to any song in your collection in less than a second? Can you create playlists that are accessible anytime you want? Can you play a playlist and have hours, or even days, or continuous music? Can your girlfriend/wife easily select songs and use your gear? Do you spend time cleaning CDs? Are there unplayable CDs in your collection (there used to be in mine, but EAC eventually gave me playable .wav files from them)? Here's my favorite... Can you access any CD from your transport when in different rooms? I use some thin-client network devices and can have access to similar functionality in my garage, my pool room, my study, my bedroom...

Trying to do a $ for $ comparison just doesn't work--computer based audio provides you with a host of functionality that a transport will not...
Baddabob- the Stello CDT200 is a front loader and stock it out performed a DV-50s in a tri-amp'd TacT system. It was reviewed on It doesn't need to be modified,
but like everything it can benefit from a few tweaks.

Personally, I'm not concern about switching to any song in less than a second,creating playlists or owning an iPod.

Very well said, Edesilva!
All very convincing. The jukebox feature would be nice, but I am a classical/jazz fan, so maybe not as important as for others. And I wasn't meaning to cast aspersions on Audioengr's credibility. I do find in this hobby though that enthusiasm can sometimes get ahead of itself. Good to hear about that 1 TB Raid 5 box. That is a better price than I would have thought; I imagine it would be faster than these pokey 7200 rpm drives you can buy at Best Buy, would it?
There may be marginal speed benefits from RAID 5, since I *think* there is some striping, but its not like RAID 1 (RAID 0? I get those confused--whichever is striping but no redundancy), which really is faster even with the same speed drives. That said, I have yet to have speed problems reading from these drives when playing music. Writing is a different matter. When updating tags, the terastation is very slow. But, since I usually am updating tags while doing something else, it really hasn't annoyed me too much.

One aspect of networked/computer based audio that I didn't mention is that I get to hear a bunch of stuff that I ordinarily wouldn't throw in the CD player. I can just set the thing on random play with the whole collection while I'm working on something else, and its amusing what pops up. I've actually probably heard a greater variety of what is in my collection--albums or songs I've forgotten--than I did before. There is also an embarrassing amount of "what-the-heck-is-that"--songs/artists I've forgotten, some of which provokes some rather interesting memories.

I think my next project is actually ripping my classical CDs and getting those out of the living room as well. I've resisted doing it so far, because classical doesn't seem quite as amenable to "random" play or playlists, but I'm beginning to see how it really could work. Think I'm probably going to have to get another terastation for those...

I should also mention that another nice aspect of the terastation is that its actually pretty quiet. My other RAID 5 setup--a Dell Powervault 745N--is like a 747 on take-off. My original concept was stuffing it in a closet, but even in a closet it would require an acoustic cabinet. The terastation is a much smaller, more friendly form factor and it is realistic to put it almost anywhere.