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CD Transport/DAC recommendations

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I've been looking into putting together a separate CD transport and DAC rather than the all in one player...can anyone suggest good transports and DACs or any other accessories to go along with such a set up i.e. power supplies, coax cables? ... thank you
post #2 of 37
What's your budget? IMO, under $1000 it's may not be worth it, as you can get some *very* good players (Rega Planet 2000, Musical Fidelity A3CD, Sony SCD-C333ES, Arcam Alpha, Rotel RCD-971) that will compete with transport/DAC systems for the same budget. Plus a transport/DAC system will inject more variables into the sound equation (more cables, more system-matching, etc.).
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
MacDEF, iwas hoping to limit the initial cost to $2000. While i agree there are several very good cdp's with excellent transports and DACs in that price range i was planning on going the separate route for primarily upgradability reasons and to give me the option of expermenting with various combinations of DACs/transports so i would imagine the overall costs would continue to rise over time.
post #4 of 37
I'm sure there are other good choices, but the Pioneer Elite PD-65 is a great CD player to use as a transport, just because the transport mechanism is fantastic...CD goes upside down on a platter and is held magnetically.
post #5 of 37
Well, one thing that alot of people swear by is the Monarchy DIP (digital interface processor). It goes between the transport and the DAC. It supposedly reduces jitter immensely.

Just something to think about.
post #6 of 37
mc whak: If that reduces jitter, wouldn't a decent PCDP be a good transport? I thought the main reason to upgrade transports was to get rid of jitter.....
post #7 of 37
Portable CDPs have other problems. Aside from the fact that they're butt-ugly, they're rather flimsy and can be shaken rather easily. Most portables compress the information read from CDs for shock-protection purposes, which degrades the sound. And finally, portable CD players only have optical digital outputs, which aside from being inferior in sound quality (due to more chance of distortion within the cable), are open (i.e., they don't have protective caps for when they're not in use), so dust can get into the jack and distort the signal.

No, a portable CD player is certainly not good as a transport, even with an anti-jitter device. Besides, I doubt that any device can completely eliminate jitter.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by DanG
And finally, portable CD players only have optical digital outputs, which aside from being inferior in sound quality (due to more chance of distortion within the cable)....

Optical digital probably has the advantage over coax if the digital interconnect will likely be run by areas of high EMI/RFI, as an optical signal would be unaffected by these things.
post #9 of 37
My guess is that it's better just to get a coaxial cable with good shielding, thus avoiding both the problem of EMI/RFI and of light distortion.
post #10 of 37
I dunno.....I somehow get the idea a PCDP could be a decent transport...the distortion thing is very true....but I guess I could just get some Monster () cable to fix that. And I don't think it matters whether the optical outs can get covered in dust - as soon as they are bought, they should have a plug stuck into them - voila, instant dust cap
post #11 of 37
You can never get rid of all of the jitter. Even on super-elite-audiophile players. The DIP processess and reduces the jitter by quite a margin (according to reviews that I read), supposedly increasing soundstage. And since you can pick up a good used one for ~$145, it might be a worthy addition.
post #12 of 37
Another problem with portables has come to mind: the laser pickup system itself. While the laser and lens are probably just as good in any CD player (except for these so-called "blue-laser" players from Meridian, was it?), the system that picks up the reflections from the surface of the CD is probably far inferior in a little portable player.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
I dunno.....I somehow get the idea a PCDP could be a decent transport...the distortion thing is very true....but I guess I could just get some Monster () cable to fix that. And I don't think it matters whether the optical outs can get covered in dust - as soon as they are bought, they should have a plug stuck into them - voila, instant dust cap

IMHO a PCDP would make the worst transport!

Toslink makes for a very poor digital connector IMHO. I work with fiber gear at work and I see distortions (with video signals) if even the slightest speck of dust is present on the connector. I have also spliced fiber cable and a poorly made splice (usually caused by dust present!) will also affect performance. I see the (mostly) poor quality that toslink jacks (and its even worst on a PCDP!) and cables are made of and I would not even bother to use it at all I if had the choice.

Most problems with coax digital transmissions are trying to keep the impedance constant throughout the chain. Any variance in impedance, whether in the cable itself or most likely in the output jack of the source or the input jack of the DAC is what causes jitter. It is VERY hard to keep a true 75 Ohm impedance constant throughout the digital chain, which is why highend transports, DACs, and digital cables are so expensive!

Squirt, with only 2k to spend, I believe you will get better (and cheaper!) results with a high quality CDP.

2K can buy you a Rega Jupiter or an Arcam FMJ CD23!
There are others to chose from, but just these two examples would make killer music!
I'm sure that you would have to spend way more than 2k to beat their sound.
post #14 of 37
bootman: I was certainly not suggesting that squirt get a PCDP and use it as a transport, lol. I wasn't sure if that's how you interpreted my speculation. That's all it was - a window shopper's speculation....
post #15 of 37
A good transport might be the NJOE TJOEB at around $540. It uses a high end phillips transport mechanism that is common in players at about 2,000-3,000 dollars. Also has digital servo tracking. In addition to being a great transport it has a (supposedly - I have never heard it) superb tube output with burr brown DAC's.

A DAC you definately want to consider is the EVS millenium Dac 2. Fully discreet Class A FET output... FET is a solid state transistor with a special kind of feedback that results in a more tubey kind of texture to the music while maintaining dynamics of SS - Skippy told me that. The DA chips are the top of the line Burr Brown chips which list for 25 bucks each. I think the cost of components on this thing is over 500 dollars so the price is extremely reasonable at about $1,000. All this info and more is available at the website listed below.

http://www.tweakaudio.com/products.html

While I can't say for sure, it's my personal opinion that this combo would outperform any CDP or transport-dac combos for the money. Buy a bettercables digital cable for cheap and forget about impedance problems.



The DAC chips in the EVS millenium DAC are far superior to the ones used in the MSB Link DAC and the MSB has been said to sound better than the SONY 333es w/ redbook cd's. 333es often sells for about $599 and is supposed to be very close in peformance to the 777es.
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