How much does a CD Transport matter?

Hi. I am considering getting into CDs. I have a whole thread on why below.

I am now a the point that I am looking at CD transports since my NSC222 has a DAC and it seems pointless to invest in a new DAC.

My set is based on the Sopra 2, NSC222 streaming preamp and NAP250 poweramp.

So what CD Transport fits this set? Considering I am only getting into CD and have almost no CDs I am looking for value for money.

I went to my dealership and asked what would fit well and they told me the Cambridge Audio CXC would not get the full potential of my set. They opted for the Primare DD35 at 2.100 eu would be good. Is this sales talk or I ‘wasting’ potential sound quality with lesser transports?

Earlier I was considering Audiolab CD Transports that ranges from 600 to 1200 eu.

I still need to audition but wanted to get some opinions from you all. How much does the transport matter? It seems the DAC is doing most of the work. Do I need such a fancy Transport to get everything from the DAC in my NSC222?


can you get a loaner transport, take it home and compare to using a $40 samsung dvd player as a transport?

That is very much for you to decide. Some sort of demonstration or home trail may help.

The Audiolab CD transports seem to get positive comments on here.


Audiolab sells online directly so I can purchase and compare. Yes. Good suggestion.

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Ten years ago at the launch of the Muso in central London, I was lucky enough to meet one of Naim’s senior mechanical engineers. I was left with firm impression that the quality of their mechanical engineering is central to everything Naim does.

Which is all a round-a-bout way of saying that if you are prepared buy secondhand, then Naim’s CD5 XS and CDX2.2 CD players may both give you what you want. Both have S/PDIF sockets on the back allowing you to feed the dac in your 222 box. (In both cases, the internal dac within the CD player would be bypassed, and the CD player would be behaving as a transport only.)

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Can’t spin a disc without one. :wink: :+1:t2:

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I love my Audiolab CDT7000.
The use of the transport means that the sound signature is very much all down to the NDX2, which is simply brilliant. :blush:
Interestingly though, there is a subtle difference between CD and Streaming from Qobuz…:man_shrugging:t2:


‘Only’ £499… :crazy_face:

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Well it seems to be accepted that the quality of streaming transports matters, makes a massive difference.

A £300 transport is better than a £100 transport.

A £1000 transport is better than a £300 transport.

Naim current generation streamer used as a transport is a lot better than a 1st generation streamer.

I’m using a Primare NP5 streamer into an Ndac. By far the best transport for the ndac I’ve used. So, I’m confident they know what they are doing.

Take a listen. Let your ears decide. :thinking:

I had the cheapest audiolab and now have a +£2k project. Yes there is a noticeable difference. The question is are you willing to spend the extra if you are just dipping a toe in the water?


A bit of a left field suggestion but why not stream music via Qobuz for example instead? This allows to choose between 16/44.1 and higher resolutions in most cases.

If you already have some CDs, why not use a computer disc drive and rip them to FLAC or WAV and attach them to your 222 on a USB drive? You would then use the Focal & Naim app to select the music.

These options would be cheaper. A Qobuz annual subscription is about £129 in the UK. If you do not have a computer CD/DVD drive, USB external versions are available for about £50 or less.

Just a few thoughts.


Having just ripped all my CD’s and LP’s so that I can stream them from my Melco to NDS I’ve never been happier. I still occasionally buy CD’s because they are cheap, I then use a c£30 Asus cd drive to rip them to PC before transferring to music library (Melco) but any PC/Nas/USB stick will suffice. A ripped CD which is streamed, I would contend, usually sounds better than anything less than a top flight CD player.

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Very pleased with my Audiolab 6000CDT running into my Hegel H95’s DAC, it maybe the baby of Audiolab’s range but it performs very well, I often wonder just how much I would have to spend to improve sound quality on my CD replay.


There is a difference, I’ve had a Project box, then a Cyrus CDT and now a Cyrus xr and each was better than the last. Depends what you want to spend


If I wanted to return to CD I think I’d try to find a transport which had the ergonomics and build quality that made it a pleasure to use. Can’t stand flimsy plastic trays and slot-loaders.


Apart from Naim’s puck/tray design, what genuine alternatives have been tried?

ISTR Pioneer had a design where the disc was loaded face-down, possibly with some sort of puck?

Anything else?


There seems to be a bit of a buzz on social media around this cheapish offering.


Think the mystical Audio Note designers also favour the sliding roof?

Possibly the nicest looking shoe box CD?



Quite a few have used pucks and mounted the mechanism in the tray itself. Nagra’s CD player did a good job with this. I had their CDC and CDT in the past. Others have made very sturdy metal trays which slide in and out very gracefully. Esoteric, Accuphase and Marants, for example.


The answer, less all the verbiage is YES.
I’d look for a transport where the Manufacturer makes the transport, if possible. What you want is a transport with the lowest measured Jitter you can or want to spend for. I think if I was getting back into CD play back I’d look at the PS Audio but it’s expensive. The Primare DD35 looks good at a reasonable price.
I think maybe I’d buy a player that I could also play SACD’s on… SACD sounds awesome.