Transport - will it really make an improvement


Looking for honest advice. I am considering buying a better transport, and cant yet convince myself that it will really make an improvement in my system. At present, I am using a Pioneer elite DV-05 dvd player as a transport with an outboard, Assemblage, platnum dac and upsampler. I am overwhelmed with the improvements the dac made in my system, in lieu of using the inboard dac in the Pioneer Elite. However, I'm just not convinced, due to lack of digital knowledge, that a digital output from one source could be that much better than another. I seam to think that differences in quality of cd players, are mainly attributable to their internal dac's and not the transport or digital side. Of course, I maybe completely wrong!! On the other hand, I would hope to expect a difference if comparing my 500.00 dvd player, to say a 6k transport, but are not looking to spend any where near that much money. Please enlighten me with some education, and if you have any recommendations on a used transport for around 1k. Thanks, Steve

Oh, in case it matters, I have a pair of Innersound Eros MK1 electrostats with their new xover bass amp and ESL amp + good cables.
sfrounds
I have found that in most cases, the transport is MORE important than the Converter..

Richard
I have not used the DV-5, but using a Proceed CDD transport ($900-1000 used) was a huge improvement over a pioneer DVD 525 in my system. Another I liked for somewhat less was the Theta Pearl.
The transport has to extract an ENORMOUS amount of information in a CORRECT manner, reading from a small, dotted, plastic disc spinning at formula1 speed. This info is then fed to the dac for sampling & conversion.
There is incomplete info on the disc in the first place (redbook s/ware); We usually lose info anyway either because it is read in a "confused" way & oversampling can't "correct" it -- or because it's not picked up in the first place...
So, yes: a transport is VERY useful, not only the actual tray & laser but also the implementation around it!
On the other hand, I cannot generalise saying that a used 1k transport will be better than your particular Pioneer; it SHOULD be, as it's designed exclusively to extract info from a redbook cd! Sony, Philips, and CEC supply transports (i.e. the laser reading and disc spinning part) for most manufacturers: maybe you could borrow an integrated cdp (many sony & philips around) and feed the "digital out" tap to yr dac! Good luck
The transport IS very important and WILL make a difference!

I've tried many transports and the BEST sounding to me is the Philips 12 pro. It is used in many high end units and if suspended on a good rubber suspension as used in all the top loading units can sound superb. The main areas of improvement will be : better bass, smoother more open midrange, and highs that extended without any edge.

Many will insist that a newer DVD player used as a transport will equal a good redbook cd transport, don't believe it. The laser and servo systems in a redbook cd transport are optimised to recover the redbook cd spec data. Also, there are no high quality dvd transports that are as good as the Philips 12 pro and therfore ANYTHING that also plays/reads DVD is a compromise!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree that the transport is at least if not much more important than the DAC. If I have a customer wanting to spend $5000 as an example for a digital system I find in most cases the customer will think of $1000 on a transport and $4000 for the DAC. We have found much more significant improvements in spending maybe $3000 for the transport and $2000 for the DAC. As an example, we have gotten better results here using a $3000 transport with a $1800 DAC than with using a $1000 transport with even a $8000 DAC.
JC Ausio what $5000 dollar combination were you referring too?
I don't have the luxury of being able to audition lots of gear before purchase, so I must rely to a great extent on magazine/ezine reviews. TAS has been a good source for many years, and although HP is highly opinionated, I trust his words more than those of many others, (especially some in Stereophile).

So--when the time came for me to buy a transport to accompany my new Chord DAC64, I remembered HP's praise of the Burmesters, with their belt-drives, and got as close as possible (read: without going absolutely crazy with the checkbook) to those very expensive units ($30K for a transport is a bit much, in my estimation!): I bought a CEC TL-1X and I am very happy with it in combination with the Chord.

I can't truly attest to a "magical" effect of the belt-drive feature, but using the CEC is a very satisfying experience (read: Ritual!), akin to the involvement required to spin a long-playing record. I've been involved with analog for 55 years now, and, at my age, "ritual" has become greatly important to me.

On a more realistic plane, it would seem that the elimination, or, failing that, the reduction, of relative movement (other than rotation, of course!) between the disc and the laser pickup is to be desired. The theory then is that the belt provides isolation from the drive motor. Again, I can't attest to the effectiveness of the arrangement. I can only say that the combination of CEC and Chord has provided me with CD sound I can enjoy; my previous Wadia 830 did not. Prior to these recent purchases, I was on the verge of reverting exclusively to analog.

To address the original question, however, I do feel (FWIW!) that of the two components (transport and converter), the converter is of more importance.

BTW--my system comprises:

CEC/BEL(interconnect)/Chord/Transparent(interconnect)/ARC (preamp)/Synergistic Research/Brystons(pair of bridged 4BSTs)/XLO cables/SoundLab A-3s.

Jim
I don't have the luxury of being able to audition lots of gear before purchase, so I must rely to a great extent on magazine/ezine reviews. TAS has been a good source for many years, and although HP is highly opinionated, I trust his words more than those of many others, (especially some in Stereophile).

So--when the time came for me to buy a transport to accompany my new Chord DAC64, I remembered HP's praise of the Burmesters, with their belt-drives, and got as close as possible (read: without going absolutely crazy with the checkbook) to those very expensive units ($30K for a transport is a bit much, in my estimation!): I bought a CEC TL-1X and I am very happy with it in combination with the Chord.

I can't truly attest to a "magical" effect of the belt-drive feature, but using the CEC is a very satisfying experience (read: Ritual!), akin to the involvement required to spin a long-playing record. I've been involved with analog for 55 years now, and, at my age, "ritual" has become greatly important to me.

On a more realistic plane, it would seem that the elimination, or, failing that, the reduction, of relative movement (other than rotation, of course!) between the disc and the laser pickup is to be desired. The theory then is that the belt provides isolation from the drive motor. Again, I can't attest to the effectiveness of the arrangement. I can only say that the combination of CEC and Chord has provided me with CD sound I can enjoy; my previous Wadia 830 did not. Prior to these recent purchases, I was on the verge of reverting exclusively to analog.

To address the original question, however, I do feel (FWIW!) that of the two components (transport and converter), the converter is of more importance.

BTW--my system comprises:

CEC/BEL(interconnect)/Chord/Transparent(interconnect)/ARC (preamp)/Synergistic Research/Brystons(pair of bridged 4BSTs)/XLO cables/SoundLab A-3s.

Jim
I have a Pioneer Elite DV09 DVD player - I was using it as a transport for MSB Link DAC III and then later a Bel Canto DAC1. I got a dedicated transport - a Muse Model 5 and I was very impressed with the improvements. I can't describe the improvement accurately (trying to describe sound is like trying to cut roast beef with a screwdriver - I read somewhere recently), but it was better in just about every way. The Muse Model Five generally go for about $650 or so - it was worth every penny as far as I was concerned. A Theta may also be another consideration at that price point.
In response to Electrostaticman: The Audionote CDT-2 ($2950)transport top loading with Black Gate Caps in the power supply and a Audionote DAC One.1x Signature ($1499) or 2.1X ($1799) is an awesome combo.
My own experience:

I have used both Sony and Onkyo DVD players (both top of their respective line) as a digital front end. I recently purchased a Chord DAC 64 and found that I could not listen to my music, because I was distracted by the crap coming from the DVD players. I A-B'd both and found the Onkyo (about 4 years newer than the Sony) to be marginally better, but still not acceptable. I was hearing MUCH more information with the Chord, and some of it was obviously garbled.

I have recently added a used Mark Levinson 37 transport, and I am now in musical heaven. Now, my only gripe is my being able to tell the difference between a bad/good/great recording! Ignorance was bliss.

Best regards, Dave.
Most transports use either Phillips,Sony,or Mashista as a drive.They are designed as universal application devices and do a poor job for Audio.This is one reason you see so much good press on Audiomeca ,they produce their own reader.My opinion is there are only a few really good transports and it begins at this device.
The power supply of the transport is also EXTREMELY important. This is why we do power cord demonstrations on the transport. Look at the power supply of most units including the Audiomeca which is distributed in this country by Sanibel Sound a subsidiary of Hi Fi Farm. Then go to your nearest Audionote dealer and open it up. Just having a external power supply does not guarantee anything. In fact, some designers feel the cord connecting the power supply to the unit is a source of R.F. contamination. Rather than quibbling as to which brand is better I think the question has been answered. Good transports make a difference. Find a dealer you trust and seek their advice
By the way Audionote does make a very good dedicated transport for $999 retail since I notice SFSOUNDS was looking for something in that price range.
For anyone reading this thread JC Audio,s statement about Sanibel being a sub of HiFi Farm is 100% not true.They are 2 completly different corporations with totally different ownership.It is true however that I am affiliated with both companies.So far Sanibel has managed to garner a lot of praise for providing new and important products which truly have something new and important to offer the audiophile.Aloia with inductive power supply,Audiomeca with it's own reader and the first application of Anagrams digital technology,Piega with their own truly unique ribbon diaphram,and soon to come more "new" technology to enhance the aural experience.By the way the external supply converts 12 volt elminating rf potential.
Best Regards,
Stephen A. Davis president owner HiFiFarm
22 years service to the audiophile
Stephen A.Davis director Sanibel Sound
Americas most important distributor for the future of hi-end
If I can add to the question above with some of my own:

What can one expect out of a high-end transport? Or, what do you listen for once you get above a certain threshold for jitter?

I imagine that it isn't all about controlling jitter, but I don't understand what is beyond the 1's and 0's and the "spacing" of them. I'm wondering what the advantages and differences are once you hit a certain point (wherever that may be) of controlling jitter.

Also, do jitter-control boxes do as good a job as having a good transport to begin with? What about "locking" the clock between a transport and DAC of the same brand?

Finally, is there a sound difference between using RCA coaxial and AES/EBU digital outputs? Thanks for the help y'all.
A good transport does do a better job of controling jitter although some of that jitter control is being handled at the DAC now on some machines. A good transport IMHO will allow you to hear more of what's on a cd. We actually hear things we didn't know was on the disc as we move up in transports. Again this will depend on the equipment used! On the equipment we have tried we prefer the RCA outputs.
To be honest I haven't felt a desire to try the jitter reduction devices as the digital we get is so awesome as it is I have felt no longing. Maybe someone else who uses a high quality transport and DAC can answer that one for you.
Finally a good quality transport should work equally well with most DAC's. Many people who are using cd players etc. as transports probably have not heard their DAC's at their best. We have sent even a $999 dedicated transport to people who were using VERY expensive cd players as transports and all have noticed a big improvement. Even at this modest price point. Hope his helps some.
This question about transports is very critical to me also these days. I've spent much time wrestling, internally with it. I keep wondering should I get a real kick-ass megabucks transport or a megabuck DAC or CD player? But in the end some experiences showed me the way to go. Currently I have an MSB Link Dac (fed by a Proceed PDT3 transport, no slouch). I really like it in fact, I mean I like its basic sonic character: dynamic, harmnonically rich and detailed also. Ok sure, maybe it's not a Mark Levinson, but also, maybe the sonic character of a Mark Lev would not appeal to me for whatever reason.
So my point is, liking the basic sound of the Link Dac, how do I proceed to improve it? I currently use a Audio Alchemy DTI jitter box. It DOES help a lot. Much more insight into the harmonic structure, much more "interesting" sound that is more like real music, BUT it still sounds like the Link Dac. I tried once the Perpetual Tech P1a, which performs the same function as the AA DTI pro, but it's funny that the P1a actually totally changed the sound of the Link -- much more refined, more detailed, etc., etc.. Although I found some things to dislike about the P1a, what I did discover is that WHEN FED A VERY LOW JITTER SIGNAL, the Link was capable of incredibly upgraded performance. So this is a function that COULD be served by a megabuck transport, OR by a jitter box such as DTI Pro or maybe the Genesis Digital Lens. So answer: if you LIKE the basic sonic sound of the your DAC, but want just a bit more depth, musicality, detail from it, then the anti-jitter boxes may be a possible solution; some can be obtained used for quite decent prices. The amount of difference the jitter device is unknown until you try, but most reviews state that it almost always makes some improvement except for the best (most expensive) transport/Dac combos.