CD transport for Nova - Audiolab 6000CDT

Over the last few years - for various reasons I have been downsizing my system whilst at the same time trying to keep the quality as high as possible. This is so that my system becomes easily accessible to me as I get older.

I have been a Naim user for 30 years, and other than the TT and stand alone phono stage my system is mainly Naim

I have a CDX2 (original) and whilst I am very happy with the Nova the CD player now sounds a little lacklustre when fed into the Nova, but the Nova itself sparkles when streamed -so I am wondering about bypassing the analogue input and using the DAC on the Nova .

The CDX2 to be retired , not sold but kept if I return to a non digital amp

As no stand alone CD transport looks from to be forthcoming from Naim I started thinking about transports and came across the Audiolab 6000 CDT at a ludicrously cheap price (£380) and rave reviews from reviewers, dealers and owners alike. It also seems to get paired with some very high end DACs

So I wondered if anybody had experience of this , or thoughts on CD transports?

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I don’t have any experience of the Audiolab 6000 CDT, however, I have been surprised at how different CD transports could sound, considering they’re all outputting what should in theory be an almost identical digital s/pdif signal. The greatest difference though was that only a few could inject a sense of “life” and realism to the proceedings; a subtle but significant difference that once identified becomes obvious if not there. Whether it’s a case of getting the right match between transport, s/pdif cable (and here I found only coaxial could reach the heights), and DAC, I don’t know. All I do know is that assuming everything will work brilliantly together and you’ll get a top result is not so straightforward. So have fun and I hope it all works out well.

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I’d be keen to know the result as I have thought about the same thing for my Atom.

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This seems definitely to be the case - I remember in my pre- Naim days and when I was just stating to get interested a salesman from Dixon’s assuring me all CD players sounded the same as they were just using a digital output .

As my old sales manager observed “you just can’t get the staff these days”

Hi Ian

A very good friend of mine has the audiolab 6000cdt and I must say it sounds pretty good. Using it with an Australian made DAC, not expensive, ( I have one also it’s excellent) and dynavector electronics

As Richard says it’s all about the combination of equipment

Regards

Bevo

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Many thanks

I have one. Very pleased with it, I use it with a humble Chord Mojo and to me it outperforms streaming via the Poly. Not by much but worth it nonetheless.

Interestingly, how have you found your journey back down the ladder to a Nova?

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I had a 200/202 Hi Cap, NAPSC and phono , plus the CDX2 and a Naim tuner.

They were about fifteen twenty years old and needed a service . The rack is in a tight, dark corner - I have a dodgy knee and a cataract .

I could get them out , but getting them back was a different story , so I wanted to simplify the system . I tried a Rega Aethos (very good) but it was too heavy to manipulate easily and safely - also all the inputs were on the wrong side of the amplifier for easy access.

The mistake with my purchase of the Nova is that it doesn’t have the fm/dab option fitted . I like radio as a source very much , and the streamer is very good.

You realise, I presume, that you are already using the DAC on the Nova, as analogue inputs are converted to digital (for multiroom purposes) the back to analogue on the Unitis. That possibly means you are right to use a digital transport only as the DAC in a quality CD player might be wasted.

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Have you considered doing without a CD player altogether? Rip the CDs and off you go. It would save a lot of space, both in players and the CDs themselves.

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I use a 6000cdt with my second system (Linn Selekt DSM with Katalyst DAC) and it sounds fantastic- my Wife prefers physical media. I also tried the retro styled Creak cdt (which I believe is made at the same Chinese factory and has some internal commonality) and the Audiolab was superior in every way.

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Thanks - at the moment I am preferring not to go down the Core/NAS route, this may change .

Partly for physical reasons of connecting the Core to the router and partly because I still have a fondness for the physical media . I bought the Nova for the internet radio and because to offered a one box integrated approach . I don’t want to stream (as yet) for reasons connected with artist payments. I want to buy CDs (and vinyl) to support the artist

The internet Radio 3 has been a revelation (in a good way) and it is frequently on all day - with the odd wow factor .

This particular CD transport has some staggeringly good reviews - from serious users

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Many thanks Greg, that was the sort of reply I was looking for .

Thanks Chris , at the back of my mind I was wondering about by-passing the Analogue to Digital filter and you have just added some extra thoughts

I have the 6000CDT with my Nova and am very happy with this. As you point out it is great value and a transport is all you need with the Nova.

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I don’t do any streaming and buy my music as downloads or records. For £500 you can get a really nice NAS, which will probably sound better than a CD transport, and it’s certainly worth considering before shelling out on another CD player.

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Hi, I used to see streaming in that way also. However, I now find myself exploring and playing music which would never have entered my radar. Those artists receive an income from my streaming of their music which without the streaming service would never have happened. I still pay for full downloads and buy some CDs for ripping, where I want to ensure I have the music to keep without relying on it being available on Qobuz / Tidal in the future. So my tastes have broadened and I have enjoyed a lot of new music.
You have a great streamer and it seems a shame not to take advantage of all it has to offer.
I do still have a CD player but to be honest, since most of my CDs are ripped on a hard drive attached to my NDX2, I only really use the CD player because it is an old and trusty companion of many years!

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It reminds me when I bought the second hand Nds. The seller was using it only with radio.

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Hello,

To a degree, you are right - but at the moment the majority of my musical listening is coming from Radio 3, I used to have (and still do -it needs servicing) a tube Magnum Dynalab . I still have a Naim tuner in the rack as the internet is lousy (or expensive) in my very rural idyll

As you can see I do have a preference for radio, suspect many will stream via Tidal etc and barely use the radio. So at the moment I am streaming but not from a dedicated streaming service such as Tidal but from Auntie Beeb

Probably I am using the functionality of the Nova slightly differently than many , but it suits me

Best wishes

PS For me , it is maximising the sound and cutting down on box count

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If you are happy with used and want Naim the obvious choice would be CD5XS used as transport. I think your Nova has a BNC input which is Naim’s preferred digital connection method and would match the digital out of the CD5XS. A golden oldie which might be worth investigating is the Meridian 200 transport (or 500). My son still uses the one I had years ago and it still sounds good to me.

No idea how these suggestions would compare with the Audiolab, but might be worth listening to it in combo with Nova before shelling out.

Roger