CD transports; do they really matter

In my pursuit of total sonic harmony, I have been investigating whether a CD transport ( to replace my bulky and aged Luxman CD player ) would be a good option.  I had an interesting conversation with the manufacturers rep of a respected brand regarding his companies CD transport.  He basically said its all in the DAC, the transport, as long as its not a cheap component, does not make much or any difference. So, I ask does it really matter?



of course the belt drive thing is CEC marketing. They make very good transports, but to suggest that they are inherently superior because of their drive mode is taking things a little bit in the direction of the marketing department. As you suggest belt drives introduce problems of their own that are not inherent to direct drives.


A friend had the CEC TL2N (Which I believe utilizes 2 belts?) for a number of years. He purchased a P.S.Audio Memory PWT and in his audio system both sounded very well. They provided different sonic presentations  and some listeners preferred one over the other (No surprises with that).

Point is they were highly competitive and the PWT is not belt driven. So as is often the case, there are multiple ways of "skinning the cat". Belt drive and direct drive mechanisms if executed at a high level can be very viable options. I do agree that attention paid to limiting vibration is critical for improving the sound quality of CD transports. There are numerous ways to achieve this as well.

This is one key aspect (Among others) that seperates the higher quality and better built/engineered transports from cheaper made units.

I have tried many transports and can not hear a difference between an expensive transport and a cheap blu ray player from best buy - but the dacs make a huge difference. However, I know many claim that ripping and playing from a hard drive is better than any transport.....



Can you tell us the brands and models of those transport you've tested?  Also did you test them on the same equipment like A/B test?



I can't recall the models but a toshiba dvd player, an NAD cd player, sony blu ray player, Denon cd player, and a couple others - nothing very expensive although the NAD was a well built model.   Yes the A/B was with the same coax cable and dac.  I usually hear any fine differences but could not.