CDX2 vs Audiolab 6000CDT with Nova

Does anyone have personal experience of these two CD players?

I had an Audiolab last year for awhile, and I was able to compare/demo it to both a Hegel Mohican and Primare DD35, all used as players or transports into my Nova. The Audiolab held its own against both of the much more expensive other players.

However, I didn’t keep any of the machines and stayed with my Innuos Zenith. That’s now also been sold.

I’ve moved home since then and find myself, for a variety of reasons, hankering after a CD player or CD transport.

I enjoy streaming but mostly do it to preview possible purchase on vinyl or a silver disc format.

I currently also have a Sony x800M2 UHD player, which I use for SACD, DVD-a, Blu Ray audio and CD. It’s pretty good at all of them via coax into the Nova for CD, and via HDMI into my Denon AV amp for all hi-res formats.

That said, I’ve still got a large stash of CD and I’d like to maximise their playback.

Any thoughts on a dedicated CD player or transport?

Budget?

£1k-ish. New or s/h.

I am also looking around. It’s difficult to find something sensible in size and price.

I had a CDX2 for many years, and nice it was…after a CD player ‘gap’ I recently got a 6000CDT (as I have similarly a ‘large stash’) which I play through my DSM/2…

For the money the Audiolab, IMHO, is hard to beat …

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I have the Audiolab into Hugo 1 then into 552 and it is embarrassingly good . Competing with NDX2 and XPS dr ! agree its a great piece of kit.

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I can imagine… the Hugo Mk1 into 552 has a lovely synergy… at least I thought so… to my ears it bested a Naim DAC/555PS and even subjectively outcompeted a NDS/555PSDR in sheer musicality (in my opinion of course)…

I too have a Sony UBP-X800M2 into a Denon AV amp for playing SACD/Blu-Ray etc. and it’s great, but I use my bare CDX2 into 202/200 for all my Red Book discs and it sounds even better. It’s nearly 20 years old and has never been serviced: you’ve probably got a chance of snapping up something similar almost within your budget.

As with all older CD players, the usual caveats about mechanism replacements apply but I would suggest a well-looked after CDX2 that’s still going strong after a decade or more is likely to still have plenty of years left in it.

Mark

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I would be wary of a CDX2 if the laser mech is original. Very good player but it cannot be repaired. Cyrus makes good players and they are half width.

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If it’s purely for transport duties and you want Naim, I’d consider a CD5XS as well as or instead of a CDX2, at least if you want to stay in budget. But if it’s for more than occasional use, I reckon the Audiolab is a safer bet.

Roger

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I’ve tried the 6000 CDT with a Nova and it is very, very good for the money.

In the end I mentioned to Naim that a £400 Audiolab CD transport was outperforming my CDX2 and it was suggested I had the machine returned for servicing (It was twenty years old at this point) .

Rightly or wrongly (I think rightly) I asked for it to be converted into a digital player , and it is now superb.

Alright it depends on how long the mechanism will last -but at the moment it is outperforming the Audiolab .

My dealer tells me has sold several Audiolab transports to customers with high end Naim systems - and it certainly wouldn’t be embarrassed by being in such a system

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Put me down as another fan of the Audiolab 6000CDT. Absolutely phenomenal for the money. I run it through a Rega DAC or my Supernait 1 DAC, depending on the music. Sometimes the Supernait DAC is a bit too detailed.

For what it’s worth as a comparison I ran a comparison last week comparing the 6000CDT to my Bluesound Node 2021 with upgraded power supply streaming Qobuz. Starting the tracks at the same time and switching the DAC between the two. The CDT always had a more full, authentic sound, even when the Node was streaming a high-resolution track.

For the price difference between the Audiolab and a Naim player, you can get a second DAC for a change of pace. Also, I expect you can get parts or replace the Audiolab much easier.

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Yes, the latter factor is one of the things swaying me towards the Audiolab.

Although it will initially be going via coax into my Nova, I am quite likely to be moving to an ext DAC and amp solution within the next year.

The only thing that’s deterring me is the supposed or actual SQ differentials, as mentioned up thread by some, between the Audiolab and a Naim or Cyrus or other CD player/transport.

I have also been looking hard at the Audiolab transport( ever since I read the review from Paul Rigby).
The only thing holding me back is that it cannot play SACD discs.
I am therefore looking into the Yamaha CD-s1000 (and I know it is double the price of the Audiolab but I cant find an alternative). Anybody has some experience with the Yamaha?
I would be hooking it up to a Denafrips Pontus II dac.

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Yes, that is a drawback, though I’m trying to decide whether my Sony UHD x800M2 will suffice for this purpose.

I’m hanging back from the Audiolab for now, whilst I ponder the possibilities of going for a more premium s/h CD only transport, such as a Chord Blu 1 or 2, or the Cyrus Signature XT transport.

Or forgoing all that and going for the PS Audio Memory Transport (not the SACD one, sadly. That’s too expensive) or an Esoteric or Luxman machine that will play both CD and SACD.

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Hello Lucky Luke, I have a Pioneer Universal Player - it’s very reasonable for the money -but where SACD is concerned it won’t release a digital signal , it will with CD . The only SACD signal is in analogue i.e it uses the on -board DAC

I have only one blu-ray concert and it is superb . At the back of my mind , there are issues with every manufacturer but Sony with SACD .

The Audiolab 6000 CDT is a once in a generation product where sound quality for very little money is concerned

There is also an Arcam SACD player which offers a digital output , the last Arcam I auditioned was a nice bit of kit and very nicely put together

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Thank you Charles64 and Ian2001 for your answers.
@Ian2001 I too have a Pioneer DVD player that will play almost anything, a DV-565A. I use it at the moment to play my discs, hence my search for a good player.
I decided to purchase the audiolab 6000, I can buy one at a 35% discount, if all goes well I have it at home tomorrow.
On thursday my local dealer is coming around to install some new stuff and he brings with him a couple SACD players to try out, a Denon DCD1600NE and an Arcam CD-S50 ( maybe that is the player you are referring to Ian2001?). That will be a nice afternoon, I am very curious how they will perform :wink:

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Actually , I too am interested in how they perform .

Please let’s have feedback

best wishes

Ian

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That’s interesting to hear. So with the purchase of the Audiolab and the upcoming audition of the Denon and Arcam players, are you anticipating the possibility of owning a machine for CD and a machine for SACD, too?

I’ve briefly had a Denon 1600NE in my home, (it was my brother’s and I was looking after it during his house renovation) and it was impressive as an SACD player, though I didn’t have my Sony UHD at the time to compare it to.

Looking forward to your findings.

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I will post my findings here, it will be interesting to say the least :smiling_face:

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