That's what Antony says! I used a Theta Data Basic and really liked it. I sold the Data Basic and bought a Data Basic II and it was even better. Get the best one that you can afford because the Tri-Vista 21 is awesome!
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My buddy uses an older Cary 301 as a transport with his 21 DAC linked with a Kimber digital RCA cable. Both tube units seem to match up pretty well. He bought all his stuff from John at Audioconnection and seems very happy with it. I wouldn't go specifically looking for a 301 however, as it is a bit dated and may be hard to find anyway. We also tried My Wadia 23 as a transport on his 21 and that too did great. I think the Theta is a very well designed product. A Data Basic II or III would be a good unit. Many guys seem to like the Modded Sony 770 as a transport. I think also a used CAl delta would be a good choice.
Best, Ken :)
Thanks for the input guys. Saw a Theta Jade on the site a few days ago but havn't followed-up. The holidays are slowing me down. Also been thinking about the fact that the DAC 21 can handle higher input data rates (e.g. 96K). Maybe a DVD transport instead of a CD transport? Not sure what music is available at that data rate. I'm mostly a classical and blues guy.
Antony also said he was reclocking the bitstream when it hit his DAC. I.E., there is a reason for his not caring about what transport you use and all DAC's do not share the same requirements. I'm driving the DAC with the cd player it replaced at the moment (Arcam CD23), when the Arcam finally gives up the ghost (it has made a lot of revolutions and just keeps on ticking) it will be replaced with something used that either looks cool or is dirt cheap. Anyway, were I you and it my money I'd blind test a dirt cheap cable and transport against a more expensive alternative before spending. If you can't tell the difference blind 10 times out of 10. . . . . .