transport sound quality of good modern CDPs

Used to be they made big heavy expensive CD transports that improved the sound out of your DAC over a standard CDP transport section. Very few are made anymore, yet there are plenty of good outboard DACs on the market. The better one-box CDPs can often sound as good as redbook allows, yet most seem to use generic off-the-shelf ho-hum transport mechanics with maybe a little tweaking to the servo circuitry. So my question is two-fold:

1) Have the lightweight seemingly modest transports in excellent sounding $2-4K CDPs gotten good enough that their mfgs feel their sound can't be significantly improved by using a near-industrial-grade transport?

2) Would there be a notable sound difference by running the digital output of say a Musical Fidelity A308 CDP into a $5K outboard DAC vs running a Levinson No 37 transport into the same DAC? Or for that matter, a Rega Planet or NAD C541i?
I believe there will be a difference in between. Have ever tried AB comp of transport between expensive and cheapie CD CDP linking directly to DA and there is a noticable change in the sonic performance from diff transport.

Accuphase transport sounds smooth and sweet
EMC1UP transport sounds lively, LP feel
Micromega transport sounds romantic, lose in resolution but very musical
The lack of decent quality CD transports today amazed me as well until I started auditioning a number of transports from a number of manufacturers (Theta, EAD, Audio Alchemy, and Wadia) and discovered only nominal differences between them. These were used with a number of different DAC's (MSB, Wadia, and Bel Canto) and still I found no differences that would merit spending substantially more for one compared with the others. The differences between the DAC's was much easier to appreciate. Currently I use a Panasonic RP-91 DVD-A player with a Wadia 25 DAC in my reference stereo rig and it sounds great. Incidently, I also found no significant differences between the coaxial, balanced, and ST optical outputs in any of the configurations I tried. Off hand, I would just use the best reasonably priced DVD player available as a transport and invest the difference in program material or other components. Best of luck!
rkeman, did you compare any of the listed transports to your dvd player or the transport of an everyday one-box CDP? I would imagine the differences between good transports would be less than between any good transport and a generic CDP transport. But that's why I posed the question.

I have the BelCanto DAC2 which seems to be much less sensitive to transport quality than most dacs (no diff between my '90 cdp, '00 cdr and '01 dvd transports), but I haven't auditioned a big-rig dedicated transport.
Great question. Yes, I compared the mentioned transports to the Panasonic RP-91 which is the primary reason that I currently employ it in a mostly-music stereo system. As I wrote before, there really was very little difference between any of them. To be honest I couldn't even develop a real preference among the transports I auditioned. Perhaps this is why not many dedicated CD transports are being manufactured anymore while at the same time the stereo DAC market remains quite active.
DVD players will generally be much better transports than cd-only players. The tracking, servo and optical systems are much better in order to read DVD's. With the appropriate mods, most DVD players can become superb transports.
You should try a good transport like a Levinson, Audiomeca or Accustic Arts. You'll be amazed at the difference over a DVD or CDP.
Hi Sdecker,

I'm currently looking for a decent transport to run into my Art Audio Gil Elise DAC. Coincidentally, I was considering the Musical Fidelity 308 because of it's very low jitter and the fact it uses a Sony drive in lieu of the unreliable Phillips' drives. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. Can you give me your impressions of the 308. Does it have any problems reading CDR's and CDR's over 74 minutes? I've been using a friend's Vecteur CD-player as a transport and have been pretty impressed but it sometimes has disc reading problems. Don't know if the Musical Fidelity would be any better. Any info woud be greatly appreciated!
VGrubb, I would love to audition a Levinson or equivalent transport, but don't know anyone with one, nor live near a dealer that carries high-end transports for home audition. Which is why I posted the question...

Brawny, I was using the MF308 as an example of a good CDP using what I presume is a mundane sub-Levinson drive. I use a good Philips CDP from '90 driving my BelCanto DAC2. And that has no problems reading 80min CDRs AND CDRWs. They don't make them like they used to. I'm sure you can get plenty of answers to your 308 question on this forum as that CDP has sold thousands.