CD Transport Thoughts

For my second Headphone based system I am looking to add a dedicated CD transport.

Arcam D33 Dac
Musical Fidelity HPA P with HD600/Cardas
Pioneer PD-8700 CD Player

Looking at Audiolab 9000 or Cyrus CDxt Signature. Sound is good at the moment. I am treble sensitive I think as thats always the bit that bothers me. The current system can get a bit shrill. Having run the headphones and amp with ND555 feeding its not shrill! DAC with USB feed is not shrill but also not as detailed as the CD player.

Thoughts on the 2 transports above or any other comments please :slight_smile:

If you are treble sensitive, I advise you a CEC transport. Warm and analog. It uses a belt, like the turntables. More expensive, but maybe second hand.


I replaced my un-repairable CDS-3 with a Pro-Ject CD transport. It’s every bit as good.


Thanks @Flyfisher which model did you buy? I had a CDS3 with XPSDR and it was a great player.

@frenchrooster French, good to hear from you as always! CEC I think price wise vs the other 2 is still a chunk more for their base model. Really that good?

Having tried a few cd transports into my dac recently,i can say that almost all will sound pretty much the same.
It was only when you can start matching things that any real inpovements, and the naim ND555 isn’t open to matching so that doesn’t come into it.

Matching i mean,
Having dual aes for higher bit rate, clock input for system matching, sacd.

Just get a decent cd transport and dont worry is my advice, without spending £1000s. I spent £200 on an old sony transport and it certainly held it’s own with ones costing well over £1000 new.
The only one i would probably say is worth it is the project one, as that was very good to be honest, but not much different to my bargain sony.


On a similar quest sometime ago I ended up with a cdt 9000 and a Chord Hugo tt2. I tried desperately to like it but in the end it was far too strident.
Even with the Meze empyrean phones.
I believe it was the Chord that was my particular bugbear. My old ears and Chord simply do not harmonise. I listened for more than half an hour in the Chord room at Signal’s audio show and the same edginess was there.
My ears not Chord who have a very devoted and knowledgeable fan base.

The end game was an Atom HE with the Empyreans and Qobuz to soothe me into the early hours most nights.

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Hi @Dunc just to clarify, after testing transports you can’t really hear much of a difference? Just out of interest did you test the Audiolab 9000 or the Cyrus CDxt Sig?

If the above is your finding the Pioneer PD-8700 which has a stable patter system maybe is not able to be significantly bettered in the treble harshness…

I don’t want to waste money…

I understood that you wanted something on the warm tone side. The why I advised it. They are well known for that. Can’t say if it will be better or not, but not aggressive for sure.

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@frenchrooster yes I am not looking for analytical. I want musical, detailed and retaining the expression of the music without becoming too shrill/high/peaky.

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I didn’t try them all, but i did try a few off the main contenders.
It all depends as some do a little upsampling as standard, and you have to really look at the specs if you want a true cd red book.
But there are some nice new cd transports out, and you can’t go far wrong with any of them.
But i dont feel you need to go mad with just a cd transport, unless like i said you are matching cd transport and dac, like in a dCS stack or something like that.

As said the little pro ject transport was very good, but still £2k and it wasn’t £1800 better than my budget sony top loader.

Steve, it’s the CD Box RS 2. I also got the Pro-Ject power supply. I really liked the CDS3 / XPS dr, but NAIM couldn’t repair it. I find the Pro-Ject transport to be completely neutral, what’s on the CD is what I hear. That being said, it doesn’t suffer poor recording’s well.

Your Melco can work as a cd transport, not?

There’s a thread actually “ Nds not syncing with cd transport “. The OP can’t make work his Jay audio transport connected to Nds dac.
So maybe all cd transport can’t work with Nds or Nd555.

To clarify, I was talking about the Melco ripper, if you still have it.

@frenchrooster I certainly have the D100, best piece of audio equipment I own. Its in constant use! I still buy A LOT of CD’s!! Thats why I want to play them in my office system, well CD’s and Bandcamp streaming anyway.

The D100 I would love to use but its only USB no optical/coax etc. I would need another Melco and them run that into the DAC. Unless you know another way…

No other way as the melco server controls it.
Plus it’s usb only

USB to SPDIF converter?
I am sure @Darkebear knows how to connect the D100 to Nd555.

The d100 needs a melco to work, as you can’t operate it any other way.
You can’t just plug it into a dac, it has no buttons to operate it with

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