How much does a CD Transport matter?

That’d burn its own hole in the ozone layer. :grin:


Thanks for noticing. While I really appreciate the amount of response on this forum it is also a bit daunting to read and digest it all.

For me it is all about having all options and being able to try everything. Streaming is great to explore and try. Vinyl has a good spot to slow down and enjoy full albums. And CD could be similar?

I am in the process of booking a demo at a dealership to listen to some transports on my exact speaker and Naim set. I need to listen a bit.

Currently I am looking at models that have good value and for my all black rack and Naim gear both in sound quality and visually.

Spotted a Musical Fidelity M6CD but those are introduced 13 years ago so maybe not so durable.

Comments on the CDT and CDC please?

Thought this might be useful for you to see how the Audiolab 9000 CDT fits in.


Thanks for sharing. I have the new classic and those seem more shiny or not?

The thread is titled “do transports matter?” … not … “does shiny matter?”

On the money.

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I think it is worth spending money on a really good source whatever that is but deciding on what speakers you like in your listening room is often a very personal choice so I think this is a very good piece of advice.


I have the maranta SACD 30n. Like it a lot. Mostly use it as a DAC for streaming. I do have a few SACDs. I never did a side by side vs redbook but always assumed it was “better”. The are a fair number of SACDs around but expensive. Usually around $40-$50 which seems silly as you can stream hi Rez for cheap

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Fair comment. :slight_smile:

But looks matter and ideally the transport matches the look of the set. Apart from sounding great the looks of the Naim matter to me. I like a set that is not random pieces of gear together.

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Just looked carefully, and no it’s a similar finish to the Naim old classic that I have. Definitely not shiny.

Ive just installed my Roksan Caspian M2 CD player, which I upgraded in my main system, into my second system, replacing the Denon DVD-3930 I had in that system for playing CD’s.
I have the Roksan connected both analogue out into the SN3 and digital out via my NAD C658 streamer into the SN3, which is how I also had the Denon connected.
The sound quality from either analogue out or digital sounds much better from the Roksan than from the Denon so can again advise that different (better) transports definately make a much better sound quality improvement.
Each time Ive gone from DVD transports to CD transports and BluRay Player transports to CD transports and from CD transports to better CD transports, there has always been much better sound quality improvements,


For some reason I feel it is better value to buy something above the most basic transport. So far the Audiolab 6000CDT would be the most basic. New under 400 and used - 300.

But I could step up to, don’t start chi-fi shaming me :wink: , the Shanling ET3. I would expect it to be a better transport. It’s much smaller and could live outside my rack.

But I sometimes see the PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport for around 1200 on the used market. On ‘paper’ it it seems great. Great reviews and HiFi credibility.

But I am upselling myself while I don’t even have a CD collection and am not sure it will sound (significantly) better than streaming in my setup.


The Audiolab 6000CDT is also chi-fi. The Schiit Urd could be a good option, as well as the TEAC PD-505T.

I have been playing around with CD transports and DACs since around 1987 when the Arcam Black Box come out, and a friend modded-beefed up its power supply along with a few other details and decided to design and build his own DAC.

At that time it was pretty much accepted all CD transports sounded the same as did all digital cables and we spent hours every weekend trying all sorts of different things, listening on his Maggie II ribbon speakers that were VERY revealing of even small changes.

And sure enough a $200 Magnavox CD player used as a transport sounded quite worse than the $800 Phillips CD80 used as a transport.

And RCA patch cords used to hook up audio equipment did not sound as good as BNC terminated coax ones.
And short coax ones did not sound as good as longer ones.
Eventually we decided the point of diminishing returns was around 20 feet for the coax.
This was also measurable…he was a microwave engineer and had a Time Depdendent Reflectometer on hand, where we could see that the amplitude of the reflected digital signals was greatly attenuated by the longer lengths.

We then looked at HOW the digital signal was getting to the RCA jack on the back panel. Usually through long lengths of PCB traces. And if digital cables could degrade sound quality, what about PCB traces.

So we got two otherwise identical Phillips CD80 machines. One was totally stock. The other one had an internal length of coax going from the digital chip directly to the RCA jack bypassing the PCB trace. The other used the standard 25cm or so PCB trace to get the digital signal to the jack.

And they sounded like two completely different machines. The PCB traced one was overy smooth, rounded off and lacked attack and dynamics that were very evident in the coax-wired one.

I have an Audiolab 6000CDT as well…it is very cheaply made on the inside and full of compromises. Somewhere out there is my modded CD80, but I cannot remember where I last left it. I would sure love to have it back, as I am confident it would be a leap over the Audiolab.

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if I set my eyes at Jay’s Audio CDT3 for my next target to add a CD Transport to my system in the future, would that make a “Sing Fi” out of my system?:thinking::crazy_face:

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This largely depends on who’s word you listen to.

I have heard both extremes and in-betweens from various respected sources.

I haven’t messed around much with options personally. Mostly just used Naim players with DACs in them.

One interesting thing I remember. from years ago - not directly relevant, but hey, who’s counting? When I had my CDS3 I also had a cheap Phillips DVD recorder connected to my 252. I was off work one day and in an idle moment I thought I would just try playing a CD on the Phillips recorder - just out of pure idle curiosity you understand. My expectation, not unreasonably, was that the CDS3 would slaughter it.

Well I’m blowed if I could tell much difference! I can normally tell the slightest difference between components, especially in my own system. But then I never really rated the CDS3 at all. It’s been suggested that my sample was not performing correctly - perhaps this should have confirmed that!

I would look at transports from Project, Audiolab and Cyrus. but really the skies the limit - or your budget is. Simple - listen to several and also a cheap DVD player. let your ears be the judge.

One thing also is that I’ve heard it said that CD transports out-perform CD players with a digital out.

For what it’s worth my wife uses Moon 260 CD transport with a CHORD Qutest DAC in our system. (I use a Melco music library/player). We both thought this superior to either an Audiolab 9000 transport into the Qutest or a stand-alone Naim CD5si player.


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