Newbie question on digital source.

I am totally new to hifi world. I am gradually building my system. I bought the NHT 3.3 speakers and a Aragon 8008 MkII amp. I am searching a preamp which I got a lot of recommendations.

Now for digital source, a friend recommend me the Sony DVP-S7000, which is cheap for used. But seems no one is using it in their hifi system. I am thinking about the Perpetual P3A to be used as DAC. But seems I still need to spend some money on a good CD player as transport. I have a technical question regarding this:

Does CD transport matter? My understanding is that, evey the cheapest DVD player has a coax or optical (toslink) output and send PCM signal which is pure digital to DAC. So why I need to spend a lot of money on CD transport?

Could you guys recommend some reliable used CD players or CD/DAC combination? I am thinking about DVD player with optical output and a P3A DAC. Is it good enough to match my system? My budget is up to $500.

I am using a Sony 7000 in a second system and for the price $2-300, used), its pretty hard to beat. Plus it can be used as a transport if you add a DAC later. Built like a tank. I think your friend gives good advice. Save the extra $ and put it into a better pre-amp.
From your previous query on the pre-amp, I'd third the recommendation for the Cary SLP-50(A). A real sleeper of a design and can be had very inexpensively on the used market. Sounds wonderful in my system and easy to resell if you don't prefer it. Don't be afraid of tubes, they don't bite and you can replace them when they die.

For $500+ you'd probably do better buying and all-in-one player. Yes, the transport does make a difference. Sony makes some good players, including some capable SACD players that can be had in that price range used like their 555. Also used you could look for a Rega Planet 2000, and Ah Tjoeb 4000, or a Jolida 100, the latter two having tube-output stages. If you insist on the DAC/Transport and must stay in your budget, the only thing I could think to recommend, for just a bit more, is the CAL Sigma II DAC and a decent transport like their Delta. Again, this is a tubed DAC. Had one a few years back and it sounded great! The transport they made, the Delta, is good too, but be forewarned the company is no longer in business. Still damn fine gear for the money.
For <$500 budget, stand alone CD/DVD player is probably a much better choice than DAC/transport. You are less likely to get into trouble with the ever escalating upgrade game.

You can pick up a new Philips DVD player that has SACD for around $500 that is also a good sounding cd player. There are a few used Sony ES SACD player that can double as DVD player at that price range as well.

You can try the player out at your own home from a local dealer that has returned policy. Probably can compare a few player at the same time.

There is another crazy option. I assume that you have a computer with CD-ROM. Just rip all the CDs onto your HD in WAV format, get a good sound card with coaxial digital output and output the signal to your favorite DAC. Somewhat not audiophile but it could fun. Figure 600mb per CD. So you will need about 200GB for your average 300+ cd collection. This is probably a lot of work and more expensive, but it's possible to share the music through out the house easily with wireless network. Has anyone tried this before?
Hi guys,

Sorry for type. My budget is around $500, not limited to $500. I want to spend $1500 on preamp and digital source.

Will spend some time to absorb all your inputs.


That's a interesting approach. If you already have a PC, then I believe a 200GB HD is definitely cheaper than a good CD transport. Plus, every CD/DVD ROM today have a direct digital output, I will try to connect it directly to my receiver as PCM source to see what will happen :) All I need is to have a ATX power supply to connect to it. If it can function as a transport, wow! I have a bunch of CD writers.

But I would like to get the answer from technical point of view. From optical or coax output, all the signal should be the same. Ipy mentioned the timing issue. But as an electical engineer (sorry I only play with IC, not tubes), I can hardly believe that.

Try the Birdland Audio Odean (DAC $998 new, $500 used) with volume control. You can go straight to and amp with it.

Amazing sounding DAC and you skip the preamp all together.

If you want a preamp, try the Bel Canto Pre1 with DAC1 built in. You could find it for $1500 used.

Going from the digital output of the CD-ROM is probably fairly jittery. I was thinking going from the HD through to a high quality sound card with a coaxial digital output. You might even find a Pro version with balanced AES/ebu digital output. Although you have to figure out how to do a remote with the PC.

There are a lot of SW out there now you can use to index your music collection. They are usually designed for MP3 but usually support WAV format as well.

Hard drive is a much better digital source compare to on-the-fly data correction of CD/DVD players.

Since you are looking for preamp as well, you can actually consider doing the entire thing in digital domain. There are plenty of DAC out there with good volumne control.

System is singing: Generic DVD player -> Theta Basic II DAC -> ARC LS-15 tube pre -> Aragon 8008 -> NHT 3.3.

Sound is warm and laid back, no forward and bright at all (some guys complain about NHT speakers).

I might settle down on SONY S7000 DVD player as transport now and save for a good SACD/DVD-A player next year.