For transport i take my Dodge Viper.
Sometimes I take a taxi....
CD players are for kids...and for a streamer you need a android box
Sometimes I take a taxi....
CD players are for kids...and for a streamer you need a android box
You have what is considered to be a very good sounding DAC paired with a solid performing CD transport. I believe that moving from the competent Cambridge Audio transport up to the very highly regarded Pro-Ject CD BOX RS2 wound result in substantial sound quality improvement.
You wouldn’t have to get an upgraded linear power supply (LPS) immediately. Though an improvement. Many owners report the stock SMPS (Wall wart) still provides excellent sound with the RS2 transport. A good LPS takes it further still.
@musichead - Just as a point of reference, I was using the Cambridge with my Mojo Audio EVO DAC and upgraded to a Simaudio 260DT (transport only) and it produced a nice improvement in SQ, more body, texture and tone to the music. I haven't heard the transports that you mentioned so I can't comment directly on them, my only point for mentioning my experience with switching to the Simaudio is that I expect that you will benefit from an upgrade as well.
For what it is worth , I also switched from using a very good RCA digital cable to Mojo's digital XLR and I realized some addition SQ benefits using the balanced in/outputs. I don't know what type digital cable you are using , or whether or not it would be beneficial with your equipment to also try a "type" switch. Good luck with whatever choice you make.
I would recommend investing in a good DAC and separate streamer. If you can afford a good streamer and DAC you will have no use for a CD transport. A good Streamer and DAC will sound as good and much of the time better than a CD transport or ripped (files copied to an external source). My 2,000 CD serve as wall diffusion panels. Qobuz and other streaming services offer much of their content in higher resolution than CD ant they sound better with a good complimentary DAC and Streamer for about the cost of one cd purchase per month. While vinyl provides additional resolution with greater investment the CD does not. It is fixed with respect to other digital formats. With a high quality streaming service your library is nearly infinite. My library is virtual and huge now. My streamer has storage space, and when I put it into my system it found all my ripped files (if you need to rip, just do it on a PC) on my network, so I coped to the streamer. I have not used them in many months. A good streamer is reliable.
Many folks cannot let go of the disks they bought (sunk cost). If not upgrade your DAC as much as possible using your existing player as transport. Then hopefully enough time
you are the first Pro-Ject CD BOX RS2 owner I have come across who has not clearly heard an improvement with a linear power supply in place of the stock wall wart SMPS. That’s an interesting take. I have read and been told that indeed the sound is terrific with the SMPS but "clearly" improves with a LPS. further evidence that people just hear differently. The always present subjective element.
Agree, quality of transport and digital cable absolutely matter. For some odd reason, there is the tendency (By some listeners) to treat these two vital factors as after thoughts. As though only the DAC matters, not true by a country mile!
CD transports versus digital servers/streamers has been debated endlessly. At the end of the day both sides have their faithful advocates because either can provide much satisfaction if done right. This rivals box speaker versus panel speaker or tube versus transistors. Never to be a consensus winner.
Sparkler Audio has a new CD player the S515 that has digital input and can be used as a dac. You will need to purchase a separate digital inter phase for a usb input if you want to go that route.
I'm very pleased with my single box S503, very natural and open sound.
Can be purchased here- https://www.vkmusic.ca/
I get the feeling from reading your post that you would be more comfortable staying with CDs and not going the streamer mode. A few observations:
1) Regarding SQ, there is no inherent reason why streaming vs CD replay should vary in quality. They both extract digital streams and feed them to a DAC. If the equipment is good enough your CDs should sound the same whether they are spinning on a transport or residing on a computer drive. There are a lot of threads here that debate this, but most people are comparing a $300 CD player vs a 5 K streamer, or vice versa. Streaming is the hot technology now so there are more streamer choices out there than CD players.
2) CD replay tends to be easier. Nothing beats pop in disc and hit play. Of course, you need to physically do this, but since vinyl is your preferred playback media, apparently a little physical effort does not flummox you. Streamers basically are computers and therefore subject to the same networking issues. Did you ever have a printer that has always worked suddenly go off line for reasons that are no fault of your own? Read these threads and you will find dozens of complaints about an update from the streamer company, or Apple/Google/Microsoft, suddenly rendering their collections inaccessible.
3)Otoh, once those CDs have been ripped to a streamer, and assuming that you don’t have the issues mentioned above, then the convenience issues are different. It can be great (well, maybe not for your health) to sit on the sofa and use a tablet to pick your music.
You may enjoy it so much that you will add a streamer service and use it to play the music that you have on lp and not vinyl.
So here is what I am doing. I bought the Melco N100 server/streamer. It has a 2 TB HD. I also bought their CD Ripper/CD
transport, the E 100, which wii both rip CDs or function as a transport for CD replay. The E100 needs to be attached to the N100
in order to work, but it’s built like a tank, makes great rips, and sounds better than my Oppo 105 as a CD transport into the same DAC. Total the cost around $3K. The Melco has worked for me with less IT issues than other streamers that have passed through my system from Bluesound,Bryston,SHM, and Arcam. Melco is also compatible with Tidal and Qobuz (and Roon) but not other services, at least at this time, AFAIK
If you like the sound of your dac, you might try to max out it’s attributes with footers, cables, etc. I found using a Symposium Svelte Shelf and Cardas woodblocks under my dac brought out significantly more of its positive qualities. Same with the CXC, but I used a corian shelf with 4 Vibrapods underneath the shelf, as the CXC has a weird bottom configuration. But if you’re trying to get it to sound as good as your analog, IMO you’re chasing the dragon. And I’m far from a digital hater.
Of course another route is to upgrade the transport and/or dac, but there’s no way to tell unless you listen. You might try one of the better dacs in the 5k range like the Bricasti or Rockna if they offer a home trial. But if you're not saying "holy crap, this is good!" within a couple of days after turning it on, I'd probably send it back. At double the price you should be hearing a huge improvement or it's not worth it.
There has been endless discussions about for ages about CD/Streamer. It is important to realize the answer on the basis of cost/sound quality is not static… it is changing rapidly now. Ten years ago the answer between the two would be CD if you want high end sound quality without an unlimited budget. The answer today is probably either for roughly the same cost. Over the next ten year the answer will be streamer. Already a number of companies manufacturing CD players and CD transports have ceased production. So going the streamer / DAC route is future oriented. Going the CD route is putting off the transition. Nothing wrong with it… it is a pursuit for enjoyment. But if you look towards the future you are likely to have a higher performance system in ten years from now if you go Streamer / DAC vs CD player.
"But if you look towards the future you are likely to have a higher performance system in ten years from now if you go Streamer / DAC vs CD player."
I appreciate your comments but that is simply conjecture and nothing more (Or less). At the rate things are going with continued improvement with Analogue turntables, CD transports and digital servers/streaming it’s anyone’s reasonable guess. It will be interesting and fun to see where these various audio front end sources take us.
Thanks for the replies!
I am very happy with my Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE DAC and have no interest in making a change. It’s not inconvenient for me to put a CD on a tray and press play :-). I’m into vinyl and it’s worth all the effort for the musical experience.
I just want to maximize my current CD collection and an upgrade to my CD transport I am sure will provide improvements. I have modified my Cambridge Audio CXC and it brought improvements. The CXC is very good, it frames the musical picture very well and it presents the full spectrum of sound. I suspect a better transport will bring more body to the sound and better contrast. My TT setup is really good and that is my reference point, I assume I can narrow the gap between my TT and digital.
I don’t mind going the direction of a streamer as long it can deliver the same end result as a quality CD transport. What streamers should I look at? should I look at one that has an internal hard drive? or one that I can plug a hard drive into? I assume this is the way to store the files. I am not excited about ripping all my CDs but if the same result can be achieved with added network streaming like Spotify it might be worth it. The complication with digital is always noise, do streamers have issues because how they are designed? I see some have very serious power supplies to deal with noise.
@mahler123, In my opinion made a very good suggestion for you. The Melco N-100/E100, combo streamer/server/HD storage/CD ripper/transport. All this for 3000.00 USD. Seems like a very reasonable solution with flexibility and streaming convenience.
Or for 3000.00 you could go
the route of a very upper tier CD transport i.e.the Pro-Ject CD BOX RS2. No streaming/CD ripping or HD storage, but dedicated/committed specific task of reading CDs at a upper tier performance level. State of the art according to some familiar with it.
Either seems like money well spent depending on your preferred approach.
Charles, what I am saying is not conjecture it is a forecast based on my knowledge and experience. I have been working in the high tech electronics industry for over forty years while being an audiophile. I have worker with electrical engineers, R&D groups, marketing people, and inside the global electronics manufacturing chain. There is a fundamental difference between vinyl and the digital end of reproduction. My forecast rests on a very solid footing.
"My forecast rests on a very solid footing"
And maybe an accurate forecast, but just a forcast nonetheless. No one knows if digital streaming is going to be the superior source/delivery of audio sound quality 10 years down the road. We will simply have to wait and observe how things evolve. So far I’ve come across no one who is a definitive predictor of future outcomes. Time will tell. In the meanwhile pursue what. sounds best to you.
Without debating the benefits of one format over another, I started much as you, wanting to enjoy my CD collection at a higher level of SQ without spending a fortune. Starting with what I thought would be a minor $600 upgrade, I turned to this this forum for advice and went through two or three systems over a year and a half before settling on the components I now have.
I am very happy with this system and its SQ. I favor detailed and balanced reproduction that comes as close as posible to what I know/remember a live acoustic event to be. My system is based on an Innuos Zenith Mk3 streamer which easily ripped and currently stores/plays my 650 or so CDs. The Innuos also servs as a Roon core. With a lifetime Roon and monthly Qobuz subscription, suffice it to say, my CDs now serve as approx. 250lbs of ballast in my living room stereo rack/center.
As a side note, I had a lot of fun doing this and did not really loose any money. Yes I spent more than expected, but IMHO it was not wasted. Per, ghdprentice and many of the other more reasonable members of this forum, the DAC you select is very important, but so is every other part of your system. Each component/IC/tweak matters and serves to further or hinder the sonic mission of every other component. So, a lot of this depends on trial and error, and personal preference.
Also, digitally, a lot can be done with relatively little money. I put together an office/headphone system that consits of a Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra and Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 with a generic LPS and my prior Audezee LCD-1 HPs for about $1k. This system was purchased pre-owned, piece by piece after much research on this forum and various audio reviews -- it sounds nearly as good as my main system as listed in my profile but does not as of yet nclude an amplifier and speakers or powered speakers.
In many ways the discussion is all about exactly the same audio stream, but how you chop it up and how many boxes you want to buy to get the music to your system.
All start with a computer file at a company that desires to sell it. They can copy that file to a CD, and sell the physical media, or put the files up for purchase through a download service, or put it on line for streaming.
As a consumer, we need a: transport (only if we buy CDs), a streamer, and a DAC before inputting it into our stereo. We can buy:
A CD player - physical transport, streamer, DAC
A CD transport - physical transport, streamer and separate DAC
A Streamer - internet receiver (with or without storage) and separate DAC
A single box internet receiver, streamer, DAC
It’s a question of how you get the files and how many box solution you want. The quality is all about the implementation of the solution you buy.
@xrayz there is a Youtube video that I followed, basically separating some wires that are clipped together and putting some Dynamat on the inside of the lid and around the base where possible. It made the music tighter, slightly better tonality and darker backgrounds. Worthwhile IMO.
What's holding me back from the streamer route is my initial experience with a laptop. I burned lots of CD and used a few different programs working from my phone, it was convenient but I could never get the sound to be as good as my CXC transport. USB vs Coax connection? Did some investigation on how to improve the computer setup or what really needs to be done. Once enlightened I gave up. To many variables that need PS isolation. Noise seems to be the huge problem with digital. In theory a CD transport is more simple and less functions to isolate. In the end I just want to get the most out of my CDs and DAC.
Do transports impose a character to the sound or do they just get the most out of a DAC? the better the transport the better the DAC will sound? or do they impose a character? Someone wrote me saying the Proj-ect transport can be very transparent, analytical and cold? maybe it's just revealing the failing of CD?