Art, I use a common Sony 200 disc CD mega changer's optical output with my Tri-Vista 21 DAC and am happy with it. I may borrow a transport from the local Audio Salon and see how it works. Enjoy your '21!
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Can't comment on how it will interact with the Tri-Vista but the TBDII transport is an excellent unit for the money. Good bass, not too forward, throws a wide soundstage and overall performance is excellent, especially with Theta DAC's. Had a few transports, sold or traded them all - but still I keep the Theta Data Basic II on hand. One thing... these units are prone to mechanical glitches, i.e. drawer function and laser alignment (it's what I hear and have experienced). If the whole transport mechanism fails, it could be a problem since these mechanisms (Philips) are no longer in production. But for around $500.00 used, it's still, IMO, a good bargain if you can get more than a few years out a used one.
I also run the Tri-Vista DAC. I thought it sounded great with the Arcam FMJ 23 used as a transport. Then I tried out a nice used Theta Data Basic, the first model I believe, and was quite surprised at the improvement. Considerably more airspace around all voices and instruments, and greatly enriched bass, but with nice detail. By this time, I'd committed too much to new amp and speakers to take advantage of a real bargain.
Unless it quits the next day, hard to see how you can go wrong at prices around $500 USd.
I've used the Basic II transport for 10 years and still use it in my big rig. Upgraded through Theta from Basic to Basic II. I've used it with a MF A324 with great results and compared it with two DVD players (used as a transport) and the Theta always one, hands down. I'm on my 4th DAC. It's a keeper for me. I sometimes consider buying a backup. For the current used price I think it's steal. My greatest hifi gear sound improvement, strangely enough, was when I bought my original Basic Trasport. I was between speakers and bought a pair of PSB 200's to tied me over. I was using a Theta Cobalt DAC and NAD 5000 cdp as transport. This was a decade ago. I couldn't resist the Basic when it came out and my dealer let me take it home for audition. I didn't expect to hear much differece because of my cheap speakers. I was way wrong- the largest and best sound improvement I have ever heard was replacing the NAD as my transport. Still rings music in my memory. I've tried one other Theta transport since then when my Basic was being upgraded, but it wasn't as good. I've found that the Theta Basic II sounds best with a silver/teflon cable. Balanced output is best but either works great with a silver/teflon interconnect. I've tried many digital cables and Kimber AGDL or Illiminati have always won with the Basic II. Good Luck.
Redvolt: Just in case you were being discreet to spare my feelings, that 'other' Theta transport wouldn't have been a Pearl (or a Jade, their other Stable Platter-based design), would it? Nahhh...bet it had to be the one that played Laserdisks! ;^)
Funny story: I was actually planning to buy a Basic II originally, but at that time Theta's customer rep suggested that since the Philips mechanism it had been based around was no longer in production, future repair would be more difficult, and so recommended I try the Pearl instead. I didn't regret doing that from a sonic standpoint, but soon after my getting it, Pioneer discontinued production of the Stable Platter mechanism, which effectively put Theta out of the CD-only transport business (not that they weren't already headed firmly in the DVD direction by then). Oh well - the unit's never given me a lick of trouble anyway. Although I've heard both transport models through Theta DAC's (the DSPro Basic IIIa is my own Pearl's dancing partner), it's been in different systems at different times, so I've never compared the two head-to-head.
...And less strong of a consideration for used gear, which is how I bought my Pearl. (Theta were very helpful no matter that I wasn't purchasing new - possibly in part because they don't make anything in this catagory anymore - but to me it's just smart business practice all the way around, and I commend the company for their enlightened approach to an area that causes some manufacturers paranoid heartburn.)
Some have commented negatively on the fact that the Stable Platter mechanism employs a plastic superstructure, as opposed to metal in the older Philips-sourced units. However, its internals actually seem quite sturdy in comparison with the typical mass-market jobs that the word 'plastic' may conjure up images of, and I wouldn't be surprised if the thick molded-ABS with truss-type reinforcing ribs isn't at least as rigid as many using folded thin metal-sheet, and quite possibly better-damped as well. Besides, the actual Stable Platter concept, with its aluminum turntable, integral damping mat, automatic disk clamping, and evidently good laser and servo, definitely sounds like it's a notch above most other drawer-style mechanisms (provided you can get used to loading your disks in label-side down).
[Other by-the-way tidbits, for what they're worth: I use a Monarchy DIP 24/96 jitter-reduction unit between the Thetas (probably not necessary for a Jade transport, which features built-in jitter reduction), and both transport and DAC respond well to balanced-AC and voltage/waveform-correcting PLC's. After having previously used both copper and silver, my digital IC's of choice aren't either copper *or* silver, but carbon: van den Hul The Second XLR and The First Ultimate RCA (they're my analog IC's as well). I recommend that anybody interested in reducing the impression of 'digitalness' to the sound and restoring a natural smooth coherence try vdH carbon as digital IC (see linked articles on the vdH website containing theories about this topic; my own suspicion is that carbon sounds better here because it might induce less jitter-producing time-smear at mHz frequencies than metal wires do). Digital PC's are HT Pro AC 11, the decent-est moderate-cost option out of several I've tried for this system position, though I don't use them elsewhere.]