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Transport vs DAC

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
I think I may be getting a new source this summer (as can be seen below its kind of bottlenecking my system). I have a bit of a complex that I HATE buying things that I will be forced to replace completely. Thus I got a headsave classic that I can use for a portable amp when I get a better stationary amp. For the headphones I had no choice. I couldn't afford RS1's, but I have a friend who will buy my 225's off me someday. To the meat of the question.


I'm thinking of just getting a really good transport this summer. I would imagine that I won't be able to shell out more than $500-600. This would get me into a Rega Planet 2. Not bad to say the least, but I feel like I could do better. Are there any players out there that are just great transports? Something that you buy it knowing that you'll need to buy a DAC in the near future to get to its potential? Basically it boils down to what CDP has the best transport (completely ignoring DAC) for about $600 (it has already gone up from $500 - 600 in the last 3 minutes! not good).

Thanks in advance,

Mark
post #2 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Target1
(it has already gone up from $500 - 600 in the last 3 minutes! not good).
Since by now you should be at 2700, it gets easier.

SCNR
post #3 of 64
Why not buy a reclocking or otherwise jitter-insensitive DAC and spend less on the transport?
post #4 of 64
Personally I think the transport is as important if not more important than a dac. With that said, I would think your best choice is to get a one box cd player. I think the movement in high end audio is going away from two box solutions to the good old one box. One box saves money because you basically have to buy double everything for a 2 box setup. One box eliminates the jitter problem. One box means you won't have to buy and expensive digital cable. One box means you won't have to worry about synergy between dac and transport. Just my two cents. Ive heard good things about the rotel 1072, might be worth looking at.
post #5 of 64
Quote:
Personally I think the transport is as important if not more important than a dac. With that said, I would think your best choice is to get a one box cd player. I think the movement in high end audio is going away from two box solutions to the good old one box.
Even better a quality CD Player with a digital output allowing for it to be used as a transport if desired at a later time.

As mentioned there are possible jitter questions when the DA Converter is taken out of the box and the digital transmitter/cable/gigital receiver interfaces are introduced but the flipside is you most of the time get a far better quality anaolog section and power supply with the external DAC due to it being a specialised device with attention payed to the specifics of its function.
Reclocking ,a stable reference can correct any of the two box problem areas but at a cost.

no free rides guys,never is.
post #6 of 64
I vote for a one box cdp as well, especially since you're trying to save money. Buy the best cdp you can afford, which should give you both a good transport and dac. Later down the line, you can always add a dac when your wallet allows.
post #7 of 64
Thread Starter 
Are there options out there for a transport alone? I would really like to have a separate DAC and transport so as to be able to upgrade them one at a time. I have a feeling that a $500 transport could support a $1500 DAC. Whereas a $500 CDP with a decent DAC in it would bottleneck a $1500 DAC. Thanks for all the advice, and I'm sure I'll make a decision eventually.

Mark
post #8 of 64
I think you might be better rethinking your plan. I think you would be better with a one cdp for now. I used a grace 901 headphone amp with built in dac with my ML 31 reference cd transport. The results were very good considering. I suppose if I really needed to I could sell my ML dac and just use the grace 901 for the dac duties. But the ML dac is in a different league. It has more air, naturalness, musicality everything I look for in a piece of audio equipment. It could put most high end vinyl setups to shame and then some.
post #9 of 64
Thread Starter 
Ok, so you are all starting to win me over. From what I have read, technically if I were to buy a DAC1 (slightly out of my price range), I could use my computer playing lossless songs, or my ipod at 256 AAC and get really good results. Can someone set me right here?

Mark
post #10 of 64
Im not sure how you came to that conclusion, It seems like most of us are saying to get a one box cd player. Of course do whatever makes you the happiest. I get the feeling that people around here think that a one box cdp dac is somehow inferior to a seperate box solution. Thats simply not true, True high end cd players don't skimp on anything. I used to think the secret to great sound was in a dac, but experience has showed me that the transport is equally if not more important. instead of getting a $500 transport and a $1500 dac, I would rather have a $2000 one box player.
post #11 of 64
The transport should be irrelevant. I base this conclusion on the fact that my $30 computer CD drive can read CDs (even mildly scratched ones) losslesly at more than 50 times the normal playback speed. I would think that your typical audio CD player is even more reliable. So, aside from some timing issues (which should also be negligible if the DAC has any type of buffering, which I think most do, which also implies they have their own clock to read the data out of the buffer by) there is no reason a $100,000 CD player should be feeding a DAC any differently than a $30 CD player.

Unless of course they are manipulating the data stream to somehow make it sound better. But this is a bad thing, in my opinion.
post #12 of 64
I think you are way oversimplifying the process of a transport. I used to share the same viewpoint as you before i put a $1500 dac on a $100 transport, and heard absolutely no difference. This was after extensive a-b'ing. So if you are happy neglecting your transport, perhaps its for the best because you don't know what you are missing.
post #13 of 64
My transport is bit perfect: losslessly encoded files on my computer (sent to a Benchmark DAC1).
post #14 of 64
The Planet 2000 is both a good player and a good transport. Taking into consideration its retail and street price used, and with its Sony transport, it is a solid value. I used one for both functions, and it allowed for the incremental upgrades that you have under consideration.

In terms of transports, I basically believe you get what you pay for. There is much more to them than spinning discs and a red laser. CEC belt drive transports are sweet.
post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrith
The transport should be irrelevant.
In terms of what the music sounds like, many of us are discovering that what "should be" and what "is" are often too different things. This seems to not only apply to cables, but perhaps also to transports. I am now in the process of testing this issue via a change in transports myself, and will report back, but there certainly are a lot of people on various audio forums, and professional reveiwers, who have found different transports to make a difference even where they didn't expect it. I am not convinced myself, but the anecdotal evidence seems to be substantial. I probably start a separate thread reporting on my experiences with an upgraded transport with my DAC, which is supposed to be relatively transport insenstive.
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