Looking for my "last" CD transport

Hello everyone,

as I am unhappy with my CD transport which is connected to my Linnenberg Satie DAC, I am looking for my "final" CD transport to replace it.

There is a limited market for new ones but I am also interested to get a vintage one if it makes sense.

Any ideas, suggestions?
Thanks for your help,
I would not buy a vintage transport as many times the laser assemblies are almost shot and are sometimes not replaceable. I don’t know why you would say there is a limited market for new ones. There are beautiful transports from Jay’s Audio, CEC, Moon, Pro-Ject. Esoteric and many others. I think the choice will depend largely on your budget and geographical location.  
As chayro mentioned, I would look into Jay’s Audio new CDT2 mk3. They also make CDP-2 with an exceptional internal Soekris dam1021 R2R DAC. 

Good luck!
I agree with @chayro and suggest you avoid used transports. Repair of older units can be impossible because of parts unavailability or - when parts are available - can sometimes be quite expensive. Please don't ask me how I know that.
I would also recommend avoiding used transports.  The mechanical mechanisms in a few of the CD players I've owned have failed, one just weeks after the two year warranty expired, probably the part that is replaced most on CD players and transports.  I once had a five year old modest Yamaha CD player where the CD drive would not open and the repair shop was unable to locate a repair part, and if they had located one the cost on their parts sheet was prohibitive, so they recommended I ditch the idea of repairing it.
Just buy a new cheap DVD player and use its digital output jack into your DAC. Bits are bits - whether they come from a $100 DVD player or a $5000 boutique transport. I guarantee you will hear no difference!
A Cambridge CXUHD works well for the job in my system. 
If I could have any CD Transport installed in my system today it would be the AcousticPlan DriveMaster. Looks so cool with the exposed spinning disc. 
Yes I have realized that vintage transports might not be a good idea as parts are limited and repairs can get costly.
Thanks for bringing that up.
The AcousticPlan DriveMaster looks really cool - reminds me a bit on old the 47 Lab CD player

PS Audio


Rumor has it that Schiit is working on one, due soon.  Could be just the ticket.
My long term audio dealer will not buy used CD players due to the uncertain life of the laser. 
I have used a Theta Compli DVD/CD transport for years. I bought it used for about $800. Think it originally sold for $5K. I would say it is comparable to a $20K one today. It does only play Redbook and no SACD.
nepfotos OP
I am unhappy with my CD transport which is connected to my Linnenberg Satie DAC

Peter, it’s more likely the dac that not doing your Redbook pcm CD conversion in the best way.

To play CD’s (which are pcm redbook) the dac needs to do it "bit perfect" that can’t happen with a Delta Sigma ESS dac, it can only give a facsimile of PCM

Beg, demo, borrow, or steal a good R2R Ladder dac and see for your self.

Cheers George
I really like the audiolab 6000cdt. Not harsh at all. Don't believe that bit is bit. Quality transports do sound better and the improvements/differences is not subtle. 
" Just buy a new cheap DVD player and use its digital output jack into your DAC. Bits are bits - whether they come from a $100 DVD player or a $5000 boutique transport. I guarantee you will hear no difference!"

An annual ear wax removal procedure is recommended so that going forward you can
I can’t guarantee what you’ll hear from any transport but sadly, I’ve found that there are sonic differences when I listen to those in my home connected to the same DAC. My favorite is an older PS Audio PWT, which I don’t think they sell anymore but are available used and PS Audio told me they’d look at mine recently when I thought I had a problem (turns out to be something I could do myself). I have a TASCAM CD player as a back up which feels solid and sounds good too, just not as good as the PWT when used as a transport, ditto an ancient Rotel that refuses to die as a player. As always, YMMV but I don’t buy the "all transports do is deliver the same bits" argument anymore. Wish it was not so.
You don’t need to go crazy on the transport. But if it’s your “last” and money is no object then research the Hegel. 
"Bits are bits"... That is a golden nugget from the 80's. Thing is it wasn't true then either.

In the last five years I have used a few transports & hear a difference with each one.

For example;
Cambridge (their latest) was bright & kind of harsh in my system until I put it on Isoacoustic feet 

Pioneer Stable plater (via one of there elite models) was very nice but still had a slight edge to it. Build quality is excellent.

Woo Audio is the most natural sounding transport I've heard in my system. Lacks some of the detail I get with the Pioneer stable platter though. It will not be my final transport, but is the best all around transport I've heard so far.

Note that all of the above were used with the same DAC (Audio Alchemy's last production model before selling to Elac)

Op, sorry for sidetracking your thread. None of the above are final transports.

Just got my Jay’s, a month ago.  Very impressed...didn’t have to use my imagination to hear the difference.  First disk I played, I was startled....was not expecting that much difference.  And as a previous uniformed poster reported “bit is bits” hasn’t a clue what a precision transport and laser can do.  The Jay’s weight over 30 pounds and it sure isn’t bricks in side. This is not a laser and transport out of a $100 player....  
These days for any transport you get it needs to have I2S output(s). I believe Jays has I2S out. So does the PS Audio PWT. I am excited to see what Schiit develops. 
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If budget is limited: AUDIOLAB CDT 6000 or the nearly identical LEAK CDT.  I purchased the AUDIOLAB  a few weeks ago, to replace a faulty CAMBRIDGE CXC; the SQ of the AUDIOLAB is so much better. Bass is more punchy and more extended.  The LEAK has the same slot laser (made by JVC) as the AUDIOLAB. Both brands are owned by IAG. The LEAK has also an USB input, but unfortunately no FLAC nor DSD.
I concur with the recommendations for Audiolab 6000CDT.  I got mine on sale for less than $500; normally costs $550.  I’m satisfied.  
I'll 2nd (or 3rd) the Audiolab 6000cdt. Had one for 1 year now, sounds fantastic. The remote is a little slow sometimes but not a real deal breaker.
I know this will sound crazy to some, but I recently purchased the Brennan B2. I have ripped all of my cd's and this thing is amazing! I have it connected via optical to a Schiit Bifrost 2 as my DAC and not only do I have access to all of my cd's (well over 300), they sound AMAZING (the Brennan rips to WAV then converts to FLAC)! The Brennan was truly life changing for me (LOL). I can now listen to any song on any cd with the tap of a finger through the Brennan app on my iPhone..It's friggin beautiful man:)

Buy a Marantz hd cd1. It is a great cd player/transport. No need to spend more. It also has a very good headphone amp built in. You will have to settle for used as it is discontinued. It is also compact and looks terrific, built in Japan.
I recently bought a vintage Meridian 598, supposed to be the best cd/dvd player they ever made.  It was in fine shape.  The sound quality was much better than my $300 Sony.   However, I bought it with the realization that it could go out at any moment, and I would not be able to fix it.  I just enjoy it while it works.  It was priced so that I can walk away and feel I got my money's worth.  
There are a myriad of choices-- but I haven't auditioned them, so you'd have to do that yourself.

Jays Audio CDT2-MK3 $2400
Denafrips Avatar N/A
Pro-Ject CD Box RS2 T $2999
Primare DD35 $2295
Primare DD15 $1495
Simaudio 260D $2300
Nuprime CDT-10 $1895
Nuprime CDT-8 $849

Esoteric P-05X $10,000
PS Audio Perfectwave SACD Transport $6500
McIntosh MCT500 $5000
McIntosh MCT450 $4000

The PS Audio, McIntosh and Esoteric all have proprietary links between their transport and their own brand DAC that allows for pure DSD.

Used (SACD):PS Audio Directstream Memory Player $3000? (new $6000).  This player uses Oppo drives, so if it fails you are out of luck.  The new Perfectwave uses D&M (Denon & Marantz) drives, so if they fail, it can always be replaced.

As others mentioned-- Marantz has a transport, so does Cambridge Audio.

I looked at a bunch-- and have come to the conclusion that I won't be able to do any better than what will be arriving later this year:
Esoteric K-07XD, or the Esoteric K-05XD.

SACD players with phenomenal DACs.  K-07XD Probably around $7500, and the K-05XD $8500?  2-1-in.  Many digital inputs to use the internal DAC, including a USB.  That way I avoid having to buy both a transport and a DAC.  The transport is arguably one of the best in the world.  And the new "XD" versions of Esoteric players are at another level vs. earlier Esoteric players.  Read the reviews of the K-01XD and the K-03XD, which came out in late 2019.  Esoteric confirmed to me that a K-05XD and a K-07XD will be available by the end of this year.

I would recommend a CEC transport, 
they are reliable and very musical.
Vintage transport is not a good idea unless
you have no budget.

If you are not sensitive to the difference between the Red book performance you get with a DVD player or a pure red book transport. Get a DVD player and save the money. Otherwise get a Red Book only transport. I distribute and service CEC products in the US and Canada.
If you want to keep a certain distance from your music and you
prefer not to get too much involve. A DVD player is the best option.
I would get a high quality transport from an established maker like esoteric or accuphase or luxman they will serve you the best as well as a good vintage one as well from wadia or theta or esoteric or cec but you will have to watch out for belt issues with the old ones.
Don’t get a used transport unless you’re willing to trash it if parts are unavailable. I saw a YouTube video for the Primare transport  - where they mentioned TEAC is still making CD transport mechanisms that are used in cars (for the ones that still have them) - these are the single-slot feed ones, like the Leak transport - and companies who use this mechanism should be stocked up with replacements if they’re smart. I also read that you can buy a spare laser from Jay’s Audio if you buy one of theirs.  Definitely fact check me on all of this.
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Unless you're only planning on living for another 10 years, there is no such thing as a final CD transport. It's the most mechanical component you can buy for your rig. I can't think of one company who will have you covered for repairs 20 years down the road. Oh yes, Esoteric fixes them BUT, are you ready to send your unit to Japan and shell out $3500.00?
You would think a company like Sony could manage to make and support a great CD transport or player. Yes and no. Large companies like Sony only support any given unit for 10 years. Then, you can heave it in the dumpster. Krell players in the day were great. I had a 20i. Not long after it's debut, the transports were discontinued by Phillips. Krells plan then was to have the players shipped to the Netherlands for repair. Again, not worth the price. I presently only a PS Audio transport. It is quirky like an old computer. When those transports are gone, it's Chuck U. Farley. I think the best option is to but a cheap transport and be happy.
jnovak: Esoteric has service in the USA, it is only sent to Japan if they cannot service it in the US, which is not often.  $3500??  I think you mis-typed it.  More like $350.
Hi fred60. Not a typo. Most Esoteric players need to go to Japan as that's where the "alignment jig" is kept. They did start a service whereas you can send your player to TAP Electronics in Ca. and they will remove the transport and send it alone to Japan. Still, this all in all will be costly. The thing that's crazy with this is; Esoteric is supposed to make a fantastic transport. Much has been touted about it's greatness. Looking at the past 20 years though, I'd say much cheaper transports have faired just as well and for a fraction of the price!
jnovak: I see that you had a problem with Esoteric after buying a used piece.  They have a 3-year warranty on all equipment.  And the cost of shipping can be avoided-- there are many cheaper options.  What about PS Audio?  They sold their Directstream Memory Players for $6,000 using a Oppo transport mechanism.  Oppo gets out of the business-- and PS Audio owners are out of luck.  Esoteric makes their own mechanism, which means that they can fix it.  Did your Esoteric repair cost you $3,500-- or as you posted on another thread-- $350?  Anyway-- you buy a Ferrari, you pay a lot for maintenance and repairs.  Buy a cheap player, and you can just trash it when it stops working.
Don't waste time and money....All you need is an Oppo UPD-205, if you can find one!
There are quite a few Transports available. Take a look at Audio Note(UK). State of the Art .
 They cover different price ranges. They stand behind the product and you will always have a transport to last.  I have the CDT-4 right here. I will probably sell mine to move up in the range.
CD playing is here to stay.

Purchased a Jay’s CDT2 MKIII about a month ago, it replaced a Pioneer Elite PD-95 transport and it is significantly better. I also purchased a spare Philips laser from them for $300. Tried the Audiolab first and returned it, the Pioneer being just over  20 years old was much better and again the Jay’s is superior to the PD-95.
I think it makes sense to choose a product from a brand that still
believe and support the format : Accuphase, Esoteric, C.E.C, Gryphon,
Audio Note(UK), etc. I am happy to see quite a few.

Some just keep a player to add a few sales but their interest is
long gone, how can you expect a great product ?

I also believe that CD playing is here to stay, It's a good thing !

A dream player must put in to the list is Emm Labs XDS1V2-V3, has got USB dac input and also reads SACD, really good one!
Many years ago i ran my Krell KPS 25c through a fairly expensive DVD. The sound was devastatingly bad. I can't dive in to details, but it was shocking! This is something i think of when i use my current transport.
Can't stop wondering if a really sturdy transport would give a serious lift or just cost money. 
I sell Technics that plays CD, SACD, MQA Coded Discs and does so very well. It's also a great network player. sunnyaudiovideo.com626-966-6259
Also regarding new gear especially CD Players these days. Most of what is available as a high end transport or a CD Player are pretty much throw away items. This is what our world is coming to. From retail to being a year old, they drop out of the bottom. They remind me of the Auto Industry. To me I don’t get wrapped up in that new technology is better. The question is to who it is better for. To me it’s better for the company or the industry because they get to make more money on us poor souls. If you feel you have to keep up with the Jones, have at it. If you desire a true value with some reliability and proven reputation, don’t limit yourself to just new unless you feel like donating money. You will end up back on the forum complaining how blew cash. My suggestion is make sure you’re you do your research and pick what’s best for you. Don’t end up like the folks who are obsessed with televisions when technology changes every 6 months and believe me, not for the better as a consumer. I hope this helps.