i'ld like to know your experience: please indicate two CDT: your prefer and wich one you have comparated with (also integrated cd player but only use as transport)

let's go:


There's a number of CD transport threads already, you might want to take a look at them.

Cyrus CDT-XR is the best in my system.


Cyrus CDT

Jay's Audio CDT Mk.II

Linn Ikemi


Linn Karik

Best hands down Pro-Ject Audio

Then Audiomeca Mephisto II

Next Metronome T1A & AL2 CD Transport & Power Supply

Then CEC TL-2

Then Nano

Then Rega Saturn modified

Then the rest go down from there




I sell CEC transports because it is the only transport I ever heard that does not "guess" at what the music is supposed to be. There is no jitter in a CEC transport. The noise level in the signal sets the standard all others try to match. Many of the transports you can buy are actually made by CEC, if it comes out of Japan. CEC products are just the house brand.

The CEC products mentioned here are previous models and not current production. I have customers who will not give up their 20 year old transport and just  want to get it fixed when it has an issue. 

The Audiolab 9000CDT is a very surprising transport with an amazing ability to seperate instruments providing a great soundstage. 

Audiolab 6000CDT $600 - Too many to list

Jays Audio CDT2 MKIII - $2,500 - Audiolab 6000CDT, Audiolab 9000CDT, Project DS3, Rega Apollo

As a mainly vinyl LP guy, I bought the entry level C.E.C. transport that I've used with a couple different DACs. It delivers what's on the disc without any artifacts and doesn't have the sound I used to associate with "bad CD." Some Redbook sounds fabulous. 

The best CD transport on the market is Esoteric, It's very expensive but it has the best CD mechanism out there, the VRDS clamping transport, there's not a better transport made anywhere.

I'm a very long-term vinyl user, who is now having experiences with Digital as a source in my audio system.

For many years, I could not get along with the impact of the sonic being created from using CD as a Source. This is an evaluation resulting from my attending a limited amount of demo's of a CD Source used in unfamiliar systems, and a recollection of the outcome from the demo' had on myself. 

Today that has changed, I use a Bespoke produced DAC fed by a Perfect Wave Audio CDT.

This combination, introduced as a second Source within my audio system, which has found itself at a place of Parity in relationship to how much it is enjoyed, when it is in use alongside the Vinyl Source.

There has been plenty of same Album A/B comparison to confirm that both Sources are equally enjoyed for the presentation of the produced sound.

I have wondered in the past if there is more to be offered, if a exchange CDT is used. 




Best hands down Pro-Ject Audio

Then Audiomeca Mephisto II

Next Metronome T1A & AL2 CD Transport & Power Supply

Then CEC TL-2

This is an impressive list of very high quality excellent CD transports. Could not go wrong with anyone of these. I can report that based upon direct listening experience the Pro-Ject Audio RS2T sound quality/music reproduction  is outstanding!

Granted its cost is more than many other transports mentioned thus far within this tread. Due to the superb performance it yields, the price is very reasonable and fair.


A further mention of Esoteric. The only pure transport Esoteric now make is the Grandioso, now with the Atlas transport mechanism which replaces the previous VRDS Neo. Unfortunately Esoteric no longer supply OEM transports which means that companies like DCS have had to go elsewhere.

MBL 1621A Transport - makes well recorded CDs sound almost like Vinyl. A  superlative build.

Project rs2 top loader no shakey draw or wobble. Fixed spindle with puck. Can connect 1s2 (hdmi) into certain DACs like the rs2 DAC and reclocks ..... Truly superb and betters my Rega Rp8 Apheta often ... Annoying as it shouldn't 

+1 @magnuman, Esoteric are also the best sacd players on the planet. Closest runner up is the McIntosh MCT 500 which also has a USB thumb drive input. 


Truly superb and betters my Rega Rp8 Apheta often ... Annoying as it shouldn't

Ha, seems as though Redbook CD playback via you RS2T transport caught you off guard and perhaps exceeded expectations.😊

I agree with you on the simple elegance and advantages of a good quality top loading CD transport versus a tray mechanism.


While the Esoteric is a very well made component and it also sound really good the top ones on my list better it in sound quality. The Esoteric has less of an organic sound if that is what you are looking for. The Audiomeca was one of the best sounding transports and I still own it. It makes music sound very special, you can really close your eyes and dream. The Pro-Ject just betters it. The jays MKII was also a very good transport. It is more forward sounding than the Pro-Ject and the Audiomeca so it sounds a little faster. It comes down to synergy with your DAC and the type of sound you prefer. I have not heard the MKIII. If you are on a budget get a Rega and replace the laser. For some reason just changing the laser makes a difference even if it is a new player. We actually compared that. The Nano if it is still around I had purchased for under $500 back in the day is a small little box but it produced a fantastic sound. Still have one somewhere. I just could not get past the tiny size of it.  Shame on me!


Happy Listening.

I bought the Audiolab 6000 transport.....Returned it.....Did not like it at all.....Then bought the CEC belt drive TL5 base model....WOW this is a fantastic sounding unit...No Jitter.....Belt drive instead of direct drive makes all the difference....It’s like a turntable for cd’s. With my Audio Mirror Toubadour’s live music.


While the Esoteric is a very well made component and it also sound really good the top ones on my list better it in sound quality. The Esoteric has less of an organic sound if that is what you are looking for. 

Agreed. Mirrors my listening encounters with Esoteric digital audio. Built like the proverbial tank people like to reference. In my opinion the sonic signature is analytical hifi more so than natural.  However, as noted it simply depends on what a specific listener is pursuing.


+1on the Audiolab CDT 6000. I am 90/10 vinyl to compact disc as far as listening habits but I can tell you the AudioLab takes the sting out of having to listen to CD when I don't have a vinyl copy. Very organic and an incredible value. Some people are down on the front loading feature but I have never had a problem with it and it has never damaged one of my discs.


Agree with your observation on the Jay's CDT2 MKIII, and synergy. It sounded fantastic with my Denafrips Pontus II and a Musician Aquarius I had borrowed.....both being R2R ladder DACs.

To my ears it was too forward when connected with a Chord Qutest I had on hand, but then again I do not like Chord products (too fatiguing to me) in there's that.


I think you're wrong about the esoteric transport I have one and it sounds very natural and organic just depends what cable you use and what DAC you use with it, I use the Wyred4sound 10th anniversary DAC and according to one of the reviewers that put it up against his VPI turntable with the $5,000 Japanese cartridge he said it was every bit as analog sounding and I've gotten the same results, The esoteric transport beats everything on the market unfortunately they're so expensive now I have the esoteric P10 and it was only $2,500 back in the '90s their transports are crazy expensive now, they were so far ahead of everybody back then it wasn't even funny they were using OCC single crystal for the internal wire that's how smart they were, don't know about now because I haven't listened to this super expensive stuff.

I have had some good listening with the PS Audio SACD Transport.  Definitely give it 2 thumbs up.  

@magnuman - what other transports have you compared it to?  It is a very nice sounding transport no doubt.  The other transports we tried were more to our preference and that is what this is all about.  We build our own components/DAC included and have more digital cables laying around as we are in the industry so we have plenty to work with.  As I always say, as long as you enjoy your system that is all that really matters.  We offer our advice based on years of experience, hearing too many systems, making and modifying products, to ever list and just being in the industry hearing many components in many different systems. 

Happy Listening

IMHO - what I know...what ever that means...

Esoteric has the best transport mechanism made thus far.

I read that Phillips has made great strides with a new mechanism of their own. 

Esoteric does produce OEMs for DCS. It was speculated they were to renew producing OEMs to Wadia for 981 and 9 series when it mattered ...

Premier audio manufacturers use Esoteric VRDS Transports as a benchmark measure of the technology.

If I had the scratch - I would get a Esoteric Grandioso and pair it with a Lampizator Horizon. 






I also have the 6000CDT and for my ears, it sounds good.  Maybe some day I’ll move up the ladder on both my transport and streamer, but for now, I’m still happy.


Premier audio manufacturers use Esoteric VRDS Transports as a benchmark measure of the technology

I would agree with regard to those desiring “tray drawer “ operation. As noted above, some of the very best sounding CD transport/CD players held in the highest regard choose to utilize upper tier Phillips top loading drive units.


I am still using the Enlightened Audio Designs T-1000 transport feeding a Enlightened Audio Designs DSP 7000 DAC through an  ST Glass cable.

EAD uses the Pioneer stable platter mechanism , you actually load CD's

face down . It has a very warm organic detailed sound and is built like a

tank . 

Tried some of the newer transports but nothing really stands out to make a

change at this time .

This is a question that actually deserves more consideration in this era of streamers. In short, I have always found physical media (cds / sacds) played directly on a physical drive superior. But, unfortunately, the era of the CD transport is pretty much dead.

With that said, I have used 20+ transports in my system over the years, and a baseline question is always "what DAC"? Many Dac / transport systems are designed specifically to be used together. For example, I would never use an EMM transport with a non-EMM Dac.

If I had to pick a best "non-DAC specific" transport, it would be some variation of the CEC TL-0 - it was so far ahead of its time when it first came out in 1992 or so its not funny. The next best in my experience- and highly underrated - was the Altis Centauri. I would easily pay 50% more than what I sold it for to buy one back again. For transports I have not heard in my system but experienced at shows, the Metronome Kallista ranks tops.

But if you want to get into transports designed with specific DACs in mind, the best I have heard are the Stahl Tek, the MSB Signature, and the CH Precision.


Post removed 

Charles 1DAD, Is spot on with the RS2T transport.  I have 2 systems,  the smaller and less expensive one uses a Audiolab 6000CDT and sounds great with an Benchmark 3B DAC. The more expensive one uses The RS2T with a Meitner Ma1 V2 Dac  and sounds superb. It is of course much more money.

    All the transports mentioned, as Charles stated are very good and no one would be disappointed to own any one of them. But, for the money You'll be hard pressed to come close to the RS2T in sound. I have also added A LTA audio LPS. All I listen to is R&R at about 90db , and always leave smiling. Of course,  a couple of glasses of Buffalo Trace  never hurts. Robert TN

The MSB Signature Data CD transport has two features which make it an outstanding transport. The first one works with all the outputs. While playing a disc it is actually ripping it, storing it on cache and then it plays it back. The second one works only with an MSB dac. Using the i2S output, the transport will be synced to the dac’s internal clock. You can hear the laser turning on and off and in a dark room see it doing it.




Disc spinners that I own, in order of preference:

Pro-Ject CD Box RS2 T

Esoteric UX-3pi

Oppo UDP-205

Oppo UDP-203

Pioneer BDP-88f

Oppo BDP-80

I compared all of these as transports, in the same system, same cables.

Another vote for the Pro-Ject RS2 CD Transport.  I run it to the DAC module in a Boulder 866.  In A/B comparison, it bested by far my Oppo 105, as it should given the price point, which I had been running digital out to the DAC in the 866.  The Pro-Ject retrieves significantly more detail than the Oppo in terms of timbre, especially audible to me in the case of vocals, with singers sounding more like themselves.  So it manages the neat trick of presenting more detail, yet sounding less clinical.

Memory is a tricky thing, and I didn't do a direct A/B comparison, but I believe the Pro-Ject to be a significant step up from other CDPs I have owned previously, including a Meridian 508 and a Granite 657 (with tube output).

As detailed in other threads, the Pro-Ject sounds great with the stock power supply, but can be improved with an LPS.  I have one from LTA; I think Charles uses a different one.  Here's a long thread re the Pro-Ject --

Magnuman agree esoteric can be organic it depends how you utilize and match them? Cables in one way to do that, and what Dac you use.Tube DAc like audio mirror will be a good choice, My only problem with esoteric is their repair service here in the US.


I took a look at your audio system page, very,very nice!

I can imagine that your Mojo Audio Mystique EVO DAC and Pro-Ject RS2T pairing sounds exquisite.




The builder (Benjamin Zwickel) of your Mojo Audio DAC also designed/built an audio streaming unit. Interestingly however he’s a very strong advocate of high quality CD transports for the digital source. You probably already know this about him. 😊



Are you using the Hijiri Takumi power cable for the LTA/RS2T as well as your Boulder 866 amplifier? Looks like you have an exceptionally clean and simplified audio signal pathway. Definitely uncluttered.😊



I've owned the Cambridge Audio CXC and the Audiolab CDT 6000. I like the Audiolab a bit better than the Cambridge Audio. But, it's not a huge difference.

Prior to these I usded a LG Bluray player and Onkyo 7030 both as transports and certainly the CXC and the CDT 6000 are MILES better than those two CDPs used as transports.

I have a Chord Qutest DAC and the CDT 6000 and the Qutest is really very satisfying.

I do plan on upgrading my DAC (5+ yrs with the Qutest) and going even higher with the CD Transport. Many choices, I'm not sure which way I'll go, yet.

@charles1dad Thanks for the kind words.  Yes, I'm feeding the LTA and the Boulder with Takumi PCs, and using a Hijiri HDG Million AES/EDU between the Pro-Ject and the Boulder.  The Takumis, in particular, may be overkill, but I really do appreciate the results.