How much does a CD Transport matter?

I got to hear the project cd2rs yesterday into a dCS rossini dac, no clock.
He also has a Jay’s CDT2, this was a mk2 version, but he got it upgraded to mk3.
He has 1000’s off CD’s and so wants a cd player or transport still. He really wants a rossini cd transport but they are expensive, and he can’t afford it, and not a chance he is ripping them as i talked to him about doing that years ago.
Anyway back to cd transports, i have got to say his Jay’s cd transport has always sounded nice, but for me just streaming using his rossini has been equal at best, and certainly never made me ever think about going back to a cd’s.
He rang me and said, do you fancy popping over and listening to it before it goes back today. I said why not, and so popped over last night.
We started with his Jay’s, and once again it sounded nice, and compared to his streaming i couldn’t tell any difference at all.
He then plugged the project in, now this in comparison to the Jay’s looks like it stands about as much chance off sounding good, as i would in beauty contest. It’s small, light, the lid is a bit naff i feel, and the power is from one off them nasty wall plug things, so looking at it i wasn’t really expecting it to do much.
Well i take it all back, this thing completely showed his Jay’s the way to do it, the difference was quite shocking, i was blown away really by it.
Now remember its the same everything apart from just the cd transport, everything else was 100% the same.
I wanted to bring it home but as said he had to take it back this morning as someone else has it booked out, shame as i was very interested in what it could do.
I have since been reading a few reviews on it, and what they are saying about how it sounds is what i also would say.
It’s using a new design, and it’s certainly working. So maybe go try one if you are looking for something like this, just dont be put off by the way it looks.


again what the rest of us call a streamer with digital outputs… its nothing but product naming and branding… shouldn’t confuse the branding product terms with their literal counter parts - they are branding metaphors. And as I have stated it is NOT a network bridge in a digital network audio.

But then a Ford Galaxy is not literally a galaxy either… but it sounds like its big and holds a lot of people - which it does.

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Manufacturer’s of bridges use the term Room Ready. It simply means Roon can be used with that bridge. It isn’t a Room term.

I deal with manufactures of network bridges nearly every working day… if I mentioned a front end for Roon or Roon Ready they would look at me as if I had just walk off a space ship from Mars.
It’s a marketing branding term for a small niche of audiophiles which is borrowed in concept only from actual network bridges. Its a metaphor.

The manual does mention Minimserver running on a NAS.

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Hi, with regard to ? As communicating to a uPnP server? Yes if it’s an ethernet streaming front end it would likely work UPnP/DLNA so MinimServer, Asset you name it - ie most media servers that conform to the DLNA/UPnP specifications. It would then would likely stream digital audio out from it after it had been recovered from ethernet, decoded, analysed, repackaged into SPDIF or USB frames and the reconstructed digital audio data sent out via SPDIF or USB.

Naim perform this functionality in their Streamers; using, simplistically, the NP800 front end digital audio input protocol interface and SHARC DSP when configured for digital output as opposed to analogue output. Many Naim streamers can only do one or the other as internal system resources are optimised for either digital or analogue output functions.

Interesting……the ex Phillips cd guys had a hand in the design, still know what they are doing.


There are other threads on this, but…

Several people here have already suggested giving these things a listen. Is judging hifi by how it sounds really a weird suggestion?

We did that, with multiple listeners, with only 1 able to see what was being played.

We compared various different versions of songs and albums on Tidal and Qobuz to CD played directly and to CD ripped and played back via Core and streamer or via MacBook and streamer. We compared different streamers too and compared my old Marantz CD player to the CDS2 and the rips and the streamers.

Neither professional musicians nor younger/better ears could consistently discern whether they were hearing CD via CDS2 or via ripped-to-Core via NDX2/XPSDR. Everyone could tell when we dropped the XPSDR or tried the CD drive in my old MacBook (awful), or swapped NDX2 streaming for ND5XS2 streaming. We also noted consistently that Hi Res streams were often better, but not always.

I can appreciate the points made by knowledgable people arguing that many of these differences must be illusory - but the evidence unequivocally shows that, for whatever reasons, it is not so.

If all those things matter, it seems un-surprising that a better transport playing ‘live’ into a DAC may be audibly better.

I also note that many asserting this mention that they tried A and B and picked what sounded best. That seems sensible to me.

If we can’t hear a difference, we’ll always pick the cheap one. If we can, we pick what sounds best, whatever theory has been argued here. Who doesn’t decide that way?


I do too, it’s a different industry, so it doesn’t matter. The audio industry commonly uses the terms “network bridge” and “network transport” for this type of product, it is clear no one here is talking about layer 2, context is everything.


Other than Ethernet…. I work with a part of the commercial and industrial digital audio industry, not the consumer Hi-Fi industry however.
Anyway I think we now know we are actually referring to digital streamer transports so all is good.
Professionally we would likely call these media gateways… but in hifi circles and the relatively small consumer hifi electronics industry as I think we can agree they can be called many things, depending on the product manufacturer. I agree context is important, but it does irritate me when terms are misused and you need context to decipher…. Ho hum…
But do bear in home digital audio with wifi etc, network bridges and their functionality in certain home networking products can be a source of must frustration… so we are talking in the context of digital home network audio.

But I agree let’s move on, we have made our points clear.

I have one, they are pretty good aren’t they! You can also add an LPS

Do you mean people could hear the difference clearly when you swapped NDX2/XPSDR for ND5XS2?

I’d be surprised if everyone in a group of listeners could consistently discern differences when a nude NDX2 was swapped for an ND5XS2. But maybe that’s just my own bias.

Oh I think they would on a good system, they have quite a different character, kind of like Malbec vs Merlot. I am sure the different electronics has something to do with it.



I have old ears and am a rubbish tester (confirmation biases and I keep listening to the music instead of the hifi, so it can take me ages to notice differences in the latter, only then to be consistently annoyed by them). However, all of us could distinguish between:-
C. ND5XS2.

If anything, the gap between A and B was bigger than between B and C. Naim and power supplies…

This was using 52/SC/300DR and B&W 804D3s.

We could also hear a difference when using the 82/HC/250/ Neat Xplorers that I had decided to ship to Tasmania (ditto with Shahinian Compasses from upstairs). However, the gap really wasn’t big enough to diminish enjoyment for me, so the ND5XS2 went to Tassie and we forgot about finding another NDX2 on eBay. Money saved!

If I eventually find I want a bit more elegance and detail in Tassie, the VFM answer is probably to keep the ND5XS2 but to keep looking patiently on eBay for an nDAC.

Others ears may reach other conclusions….

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I still have my Meridian 200 transport, and when required plays through my NDS. A great sound and comparable to a ripped CD through UPnP.

Cable is a Harmonic Technologies Cyber-Silver, from when this transport played into a Pink Triangle DAC, pre ND5XS and my Naim journey and streaming was from a Squeezebox 3 with LMS running on the NAS.


Same here. Really nice combo!

What is your system?

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I completely get what you are saying regarding the build and looks of the Project, I think they look awful but clearly have a great design and internals. I believe some of the components used are the same as those in much more pricier models from brands such as Metronome. The lid on this however would be something I just couldn’t live with, bit like a budget DVD player!

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Digital - DCS Vivaldi full stack + Antelope 10M reference clock

Amps are in the next room


Same mech used in Gryphon & Aqua among others

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