How much does a CD Transport matter?

The Pioneer used a clamp to stabilize the disc. It was called the Stable Platter and it was loaded face up, rather than face down.


Yep. Our first CD player was one of those Pioneer jobs. Picture side down, no clamp, we joked that it was a bit like our Sondek. OK for a few years and then died. Tried to get it repaired, but it was always flakey after that. Replaced it with an Arcam Alpha 8.

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I’ve used an Audiolab 6000 CDT into my Nova for 2-3 years now and could not be happier. Highly recommended from me.


Agreed, and they’re even popping up in charity shops these days!

Anyone got any particularly good recommendations for a CD+SACD player to go with a Naim system? I’m currently using my Blu-Ray player for SACDs into the home cinema amp, but I could be persuaded to take a more ‘purist’ approach.


If you weren’t aware:

SACD players do not output DSD (the SACD signal) via their digital outputs (some exceptions to that). If a SACD player has a digital out it will most likely be converted to PCM. This is most likely how your Blu Ray player works with your AV amp.

Some manufacturers (eg dCS, PS Audio) do have SACD transports but these only work with their DACs.

Some Sony Blu Ray players do offer DSD out over HDMI, but that needs a DAC with HDMI DSD inputs, which the Naim does not have.

If you want to use SACD with your 222 then you’ll have to use the analogue outs of a player in to the 222. Denon DCD1700 NE is a good budget choice.

I use SACD extensively and have 150+ discs. They can be quite costly though.

I would suggest you abandon the idea of SACD and focus on CD.

To address your original question: yes, CD transports can make a difference. However, with a 222 I wouldn’t recommend spending too much. The Audiolab 6000CDT is fine (I had one of the first ones for some time). It’s quiet in operation and is quite a good visual match with the 222.

If you really get in to CDs then you could move up the ladder to a Moon 260dT, which is an excellent transport.

I have a good system with an excellent streamer/network player. Excellent as it may be, a CD played on my Luxman sounds better to me than a Qobuz stream or local FLAC file.

If you want to hear what is possible with a great CD/SACD system, then take a listen to a dCS system through good amplification and speakers. Then start saving!


I am convinced more and more these days that different mastering causes these differences. Which makes it very difficult to compare streaming platforms to CD and Vinyl.


I have a Marantz CD 6007 and a CD 6006 UK Edition (pls don’t ask why) which are EUR 350 players and a Roksan K3 CD which is a EUR 1500 player. Analogue through the SN3 the difference is clear but using digital out through the NDX 2, I am hard pressed to hear any difference at all. So not sure how much you need to spend to hear the improvement.

Not the Primare then… it uses a Teac drive.
It is,however, a good recommendation, great transport.

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Yes transports can make a big difference. I have over 300 CDs and love my Cyrus CDXTSE2.

I recently heard a demo of Cyrus CDXR as a transport and I was frightened to hear difference between a 200 pound and a 1000 pound digital coaxial cable between transport and preamp with a good DAC in it.


The transport makes a big difference, even with DACs that should in theory be transport-agnostic, such as the Naim DAC.

When the Naim DAC first appeared and I had one at home I tried it with a large variety of different transports - essentially all the players I had at home on hand (around 12 IIRC), from a lowly Samsung DVD, through to a number of mid market Philips based players (Rotels, Marantzes, Philips, Arcams) to a Sony SACD player, a big Sony ES player, the Naim DVD5, and a couple of Meridians. Worst by far was the Samsung DVD, closely followed by the big Sony ES player (possible hampered by the Toslink connection). The Philips CDM4 and CDM9 based players were pretty good, but all much of a muchness. One thing to be very careful of with the Philips and Marantz players was to get the figure eight mains connector round the right way - one way definitely sounded much better than the other! Best by far though were the Meridians, and in the end I chose the 200 transport. The difference was it just sounded more real than the others - it passed the ultimate test, it made the hairs on my arms stand up where even the best of the others couldn’t quite do it.


I’m not adding much to the discussion, but this was funny to read :slight_smile: Cue the usual images of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse.

Hope the psa came back ok.

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Same here. I loved using a CD-player but in my experience a good dedicated music-server, lika a Melco, matches a very good transport.

I rip using XLD with a portable Pioneer Blu-Ray writer which has very high quality redbook-implmentation and includes the “PureRead 4+” feature which vary the laser/drive-parameters and can be set to only accept error-free readings. More secure than AccurateRip.

With a macBook the Pioneer also enable me to play DVD/BluRay movies.

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Excellent post, thanks! This raises the bar on how advice should be given.


You should have kept to the original fuse? :slight_smile:

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Interesting. I have an old Meridian 506 24 that struggles to identify discs. Sometimes it plays, sometimes not. Maybe I’ll get it fixed if possible/cheap to repair and plug its digital out into my NSC 222.

It does sound like the mech is failing. With a new mech it would make an excellent transport.

I’ll see if my dealer can help then. He handles repairs (he fixed my failed XS2 relay) but doesn’t sell Meridian.

It may just be the laser head that needs replacing. The full mechs are of course long gone…

Fingers crossed then :crossed_fingers:.

I currently use a Marantz SA8005 (for CD and SACD), and a Cambridge Azur 751 BD (for DVD-a, Blu Ray Audio et al).
Both via RCA into my SN3.

The Marantz has been a revelation, I bought it as a temporary solution but it’s stayed in the rack and gets a lot of use.
I’ve had more expensive spinners (Chord Blu + QBD76 DAC, Cyrus Sigantures, Hegel Mohican, and various other Marantz SACD players) but in my current set up the SA8005 is fantastic. Not saying it’s “better” than those, as I can’t accurately remember, but I love its sound and performance both redbook and SACD.

The 751 isn’t in the same league for CD/SACD but is useful for other hi-res formats now that I’ve dispensed with my last Sony UDP.