Small Form-Factor CD Player/Transport

I'm looking to see what's out there (and available in the US) as far as smaller CD units are concerned. Transport or Player, preferably front-loading, in that c.$1000USD range. Here's a short list of what I've stumbled across, thus far:

  • Pro-Ject CD Box DS*
  • Teac PD-301-X
  • Rega Apollo (but this is top-load, unfortunately)

Well I can vouch that Pro-Ject is committed to the “box” small/compact form factor. I haven’t heard any of their front loading CD components but they have very good word of mouth reputation. I own  their top loading CD transport (RS2T) and it’s genuinely fabulous sounding.

If the Pro-Ject front loading models come even close to the RS2T you’ll have a very fine sounding component.



I own a Pro-Ject CD Box S ($499 new) that has been utilized in several different systems over time. It is musical, built very solidly, and reliable. Although well under your targeted budget, I would humbly suggest not leaving it out of the potential mix.

The Cyrus looks great, but just physically too deep, atop from being over twice the budget. Aesthetically, I'd lean more towards the Pro-Ject or Teac. Question with the Pro-ject: In the DS line, it doesn't appear you can order the CD units with the "wood" side panels. However, there are other boxes (DACs, etc.) that have the exact same chassis, but are available with side panels. Am I seeing that correctly?

Oh, and under budget is perfectly fine! 1's and 0's are mostly the same, given my current listening situation/room/system. Aesthetics, design and functionality are the more important factors.  

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The Cyrus Cdt...compact, sounds great. Yes, a bit deep dimension wise, but not very wide. A far cry from the full size audio lab it replaced. Freed up some space atop my audio credenza. Better yet, I got it brand new, $999...$300 off!

I also use my Marantz hdcd1 as a transport. It is 12 inches by 12 inches. Also sounds great.

Luxman D N150 

super small

$2800 retail but can be had for about $1,500

I have owned one for a year now with great results


Heed cd transports and Bel Canto CD3t these are all shoppers box sixes transports and are built like tanks. I think Gene Rubin may offer the Heed products. 

Caution: If looking to go I2s connection, not all are compatible. Had to return the PS Audio CD transport which was not compatible with the Gustard x26  pro dac.

You could find a used Parasound Z-CD.  Very compact good sounding player. I use one as transport with Mytek Liberty DAC and AQ Optilink-1 toslink. I like small stuff.  

I looked at the smaller format CD transports last year and found that they moved around a lot when ever you touched them. Inserting or removing a CD for instance. With my current setup, I can’t put weights on the units, so I ended up buying a full size CDT.

All the best.


If you can find one, this is a cool little unit - Onkyo DV-SP205FX SACD player.  I think they are Japan only and will need a power transformer.  I think I paid less than $300 including the transformer for mine.  Maybe not and "audiophile" device, but it sounds great in my 2nd system and will play SACDs.

I think there is a sea change with CD Transports brought about by their I2S data output and DACs that can accept it. If there was a universal I2S format that ensured compatibility between all transports and DACs things would be much easier. I am looking at Pro-Ject and Heed CD transports with I2S to connect to my new Holo Audio Spring 3 v2 DAC.

@rogerstaton I am looking at Pro-Ject and Heed CD transports with I2S to connect to my new Holo Audio Spring 3 v2 DAC.

The problem as you noted is the lack of an industry standard protocol. For example my understanding is that Pro-Ject is proprietary and only seems compatible with its sibling DACs.

If true then regrettable. Such an excellent sounding CD transport should have as much universal utility with other brands as is possible. I use my Pro-Ject  RS2T via Spdif to my DAC and it’s splendid.


Thanks for that Charles. Do you know for a fact that the Pro-Ject RS2T CD transport's I2S output is incompatible with other manufacturer's DACs?



Hi, I do not know this for a fact, just anecdotal reports from other Pro-Ject transport owners. No doubt that the U.S. distributor could provide guidance. 


@charles1dad     I thought I had read specifically in one of the threads on AG about this DAC that Project's I2S is only compatible with Project gear.


Yes, that’s why I say my information is anecdotal and not officially sourced.