older CD transport vs newer ones.

I added a fairly inexpensive CD transport to my DCS Rossini DAC/Clock and am shocked how much better it sounds spinning a disc vs streaming it.  It's not even a close call.  I was thinking of bettering my CD transport and was looking at options such at the Jay's CD transport.  There are also options such as Mark Levinson 31.5 which was a 10K unit in it's day.  Any thoughts on the best way to go?  I get a little worried about one of these older units breaking and not being able to get it fixed.  
Don't fall for the hype that if you pay more you get "better" sound from a CD spinner/transport! Not true! All transports that conform to the CD Redbook standard will output the exact same data bits regardless of whether they come from cheap DVD players, CD players or boutique high-end transports. That's the Facts of Life, kids!
Couldn’t disagree with you more, maybe try better transports. I was using a Cambridge CXC ,which is a fairly good transport for the money, with my Mojo Audio EVO DAC . However, I took the advice of Ben at Mojo Audio and upgraded my transport. I decided on a SimAudio 260DT which provided an obvious improvement in SQ..

ejlif, I would suggest upgrading, maybe checkout the Forum thread on the new Project transport, seems a number of members are very high on it.
Sounds great, wait for it to die.

Meanwhile, be ready to order a replacement.

My Experiences

1. Onkyo DX-7500, dual matched burr brown processors, 18 bit, 8x oversampling 352.8 kHz, all the mechanical isolation, optical tricks, etc. they could think of


Damn drawer started misbehaving, still played, still sounded terrific.

2. Niece was throwing away a Sony 5 disc carousel Video Player, DVP-NC80V ( lost remote). I could use if for picnics, parties, why not. Single processor, 24 bit, 192 kHz

Damn thing sounded as good as the Onkyo. Everyone agreed.

3. Let's try an Oppo BDP-105. dual ESS Sabre DACs, 24 bit/192 kHz.

Damn thing didn't sound any better than the single processor Sony Carousel. Sold it, lost $204. 
+1 @facten .
Transports are better designed to output a low-jitter stream than a CDP.
It may be all 0s and 1s, but it’s also the timing and purity of the signal; no distortion to affect the rise time and shape of the square wave. This tech is built into a transport. You can hear this.

older CD transport vs newer ones
Stay away from slot loaders, they are just cheap rubbish.
Older Philips/Sony tray loaders were great, but!!!! some lasers are very expensive or impossible to find 
Cheers George   
I added a fairly inexpensive CD transport to my DCS Rossini DAC/Clock and am shocked how much better it sounds spinning a disc vs streaming it.

The Pro-Ject CD RS2 T Stream Unlimited Pro 8 transport is newer than Jay’s and outperforms it.
Top loader like a TT.
I disagree with slot loaders being rubbish. I've had several tray loaders malfunction, break, jamb, stick, you name it. Mechanical is mechanical. Anything with a moving part can break. As far as the slot loader harming the disc,,, I haven't experienced it.
As I was looking for a streamer, the Cambridge Audio 851N came up. It is built like a tank and sounded good. 
But the Technics SLG-700 was a revelation in build and sound quality. Tray load was solid, but one has to carefully place the CD… $3,000 range, but I found an “open box” for a good disco. 
Cd transports sound very different.... I went from an arcam cds50 which spins sacd.... At first into amp direct and then via a chord qutest DAC. Earlier this year bought a pro-ject rs2 cd transport at 4x the cost that ONLY does CD and I am amazed. CD played in the rs2 as good (but different) than same album SACD in the Arcam.

But playing CD vs CD in both units it becomes very clear that the Rs2 is lightyears better. Clarity, stereo seperation, musicality, blackness between notes... I could go on.

All I know is I am hitting charity shops here in UK snapping up their CD... Up to £1 each but sometimes 5 for a quid. Even compared to my vinyl rig which is a rega. RP8 with apheta 2 MC I think CD might have it and that is the greatest surprise. 
"All transports that conform to the CD Redbook standard will output the exact same data bits regardless of whether they come from cheap DVD players, CD players or boutique high-end transports. That's the Facts of Life, kids!"

This in my opinion is poor and misguided advice regardless of how well meaning and sincere it may be. DACs get much more coverage and attention but I believe that the quality of the CD transport is as crucial to achieving exceptional sound.

@ejlif I would encourage you to at the very least look into and learn more about the Pro-Ject RS2 CD BOX Transport. In my opinion you should get the best quality transport you can comfortably afford to pair with your high level dCS Rossini and extract its full potential. Contrary to what some others may espouse,  CD transport quality is vitally important and takes no back seat to the DAC.
Best of luck, 
I can think of three components that vary from transport to transport:

1. Error correction…the better transports can better correct things like scratches, pinholes and other defects.

2.  Jitter.  The better transports will significantly lower the amount of jitter.

3.  Noise.  The better the transport, the less noise that gets output along with the 1s and 0s.  This includes both noise generated by the transport itself, and any induced noises by external vibrations.

have I neglected any other factor on how their sound might differ?
I still use a TechnicsSL-PS840 into a Cyrus Dacmaster (sometimes still use the discmaster transport as well but I think it's living on borrowed time) - the build quality certainly feels good, better than my CXC which although good has been a disappointment compared to the brilliant CX amp and streamer; the tray is nasty, the display looks cheap and you can see the plastic inside- track access is pretty quick though but it just doesn't feel like it will last

OK the Technics digital output is not in the same league as using the Cyrus but as a transport it's a joy to use- beautiful sliding tray, direct track access, good remote, lovely display, headphone output, only downer is it's optical only digital out. It is honestly like an old Mercedes and feels like it will go on forever.
I totally agree, take a very close look at the Pro-Ject RS2 CD BOX Transport. I truly believe it will improve your system.
IMO, if your main concern is having the transport die on you, I would purchase the Jay's Audio with 2 extra transports.  That should hold you for a while. The Pro-Ject is probably great, but, also IMO, the transports come from a new company and you never know where they're going to be in a year, or what the availability of spare parts will be in the future.  With the Jay's and 2 extra transports, at least you know what you got. 
I’m using a Sony CDP-2700 from the mid nineties as my transport and it sounds amazingly better than everything else I’ve tried!

All the best.

It is true since you have a killer DAC you can put a $29 dvd through it and it will sound amazing. I have tested this theory on other DACs that range from $1k to $15k. It is true that a lot of expensive companies get their trays from common companies like Teac and pioneer. What you have to realize is what else is in or out of the box. Or what is the box made of. What kinds of boards and components do they use. How are they shielding the components inside the box. The $200 tray might be the same but the rest is not. You also have a killer DAC that can reveal the bad stuff too. Buy the Jays. It’s a great piece and a good value if you have the means. Plus, if you have a laser issue I heard you can swap it out yourself. Maybe even order an extra to keep on hand. If you cannot hear the difference then don’t buy a better transport. But if you cannot hear the difference why did you buy the DCS in the first place? 
In my experience a Good CD transport which only reads Red Book will out perform competition which reads multiple formats due to engineering compromises.

Not all CD transports will perform the same even though technically they should. More compromises.

CEC transports use belt drive systems to reduce error rate, also know as jitter. The lower the jitter rate the better the listening performance. CEC transports are ultra low jitter rate by design. None of this matters unless you have a good DAC to go with your transport. A DAC designed to reproduce Red Book specifically can out perform the competition.

CEC transports are used inside many of your favorite brands and has manufactured their house brand since 1983.

However, if you can not hear the difference go with the less expensive equipment.
... CEC transports use belt drive systems to reduce error rate, also know as jitter ...
Error rate and jitter are two different things. Errors result from inability to read data. That is actually rare - because the data is interleaved and encoded redundantly - and when it does it happen, it is almost always resolved through error correction, which is part of the CD standard.

Jitter is simply a timing error. 
Post removed 
I love my McIntosh MCT 500. Pricey but well built, smooth operating, and great sounding. You also get dsd via built in thumb drive and usb. 
There is something about this that I don't understand.  First off, no one has asked about where the "streaming" is coming from.  I believe the OP when he says that the CD transport sounds better, it is after all his system.  

I don't have a dcs, but I do have a Bryston BDA-3 DAC and it buffers about 30 seconds of digital input so that it can use its internal clock to eliminate jitter.  Does the dcs not have such a feature?

And I'm not trying to say that a better transport won't be better in some circumstances, but this seems like one of those things that has a very quickly reached point of diminishing returns.

Please let me know your thoughts.  Thanks.

"And I'm not trying to say that a better transport won't be better in some circumstances, but this seems like one of those things that has a very quickly reached point of diminishing returns."

Some may feel that way. I believe that the design, engineering,  built construction,  power supply quality and implementation are just as meaningful for a CD transport as any other electronic/audio component
But as I noted above,  for some the transport for whatever reason is viewed as not as important as the DAC.

Some are of the belief that a "decent" CD player or transport is enough to get the job done. In my listening experiences,  the better the CD transport,  the better the sound quality. 

I use a Theta Compli for years now.
Think it was about $5K in the '90s. Probably could not be made today for less than $10K. Theta was at the cutting edge of digital. 
I had Mark Levinson No.37 back in the day, used Phillips Pro transport, laser mech. Best CD transport ever owned, sad day when died, no subsequent transport came close. Gave up on cd plays, exclusive streaming today.
I went through this journey about 2 months ago and can share a bit.
First let me say that i'm not an engineer and please do your own research this is merely what I was able to pick up after combing through a few audio science / social sites.

Do you want to be able to play SACDs?
There is so little content available in SACD and just because it is available on SACD doesn't mean it automatically sounds transcendent. Example: Miles Davis Bitches Brew sound mildly better than the CD box set, however Carlos Santana's Love Devotion Surrender sounds night and day different from the cd. And yes it is transcendent. Now some may argue that it could be that it came from a better master and really has nothing to do with the format. But even if that were true, the SACD is the only format you can get that better master on so... Point is, if playing SACD is important to you the selection process just leaned up a bit. Jays cd transport does not play SACDs.

From what I was able to read jitter is more an inherent issue with how a transport connects to the next component in the chain  i.e. coax, optical, etc. That is not to say that other factors within the player and DAC can't be contributors to jitter however all the connections listed have the capacity for jitter therefore it is possible to have jitter. The fix for this is i2s, the way data travels using this mechanism is uniquely different and thus jitter is a non issue. Jitter isn't reduced, it's just not possible. I apologize I was unable to locate the audio science thread that talked about this in depth.

If this is a must for you, you will also need a DAC with compatible i2s. Apparently there are some compatibility issues you will also need to navigate. Schiit is working on a cd transport and mentioned they will not be including i2s because they don't like the compatibility issues.

Is upsampling important? Can you add data where there isn't any? Yes, via interpolation.

Where I ended my journey:
SACD: I did want the ability to play SACDs, I know there is a tiny amount of content available but when you are able to find something you love and its mastered really well it does sound amazing.
Jitter: I have a Chord Qutest that I love but sadly it does not have i2s so that need kind of fell off the table for me.
Upsampling: I did want this ability.
I ended up getting a used Cary Audio SACD 306 (2006) that I am very happy with. I use it as a transport when playing cds and go balanced when playing SACDs. It has a bunch of Burr Brown chips in it so its DAC is no slack.

If I were to ever push for an upgrade I would prolly go with the PS Audio Perfect Wave used.

Hope this helps!

"If I were to ever push for an upgrade I would prolly go with the PS Audio Perfect Wave used"

The P.S. Audio PWT has stood the test of time. I've been very happily using it in my system the past 8 or 9 years.  Fellow PWT owners who have purchased or heard the Pro-Ject RS2 Box transport report it surpasses the PWT. This is high praise in my opinion as the PWT is an excellent sounding unit. 
I have a JVC XL-Z1010 which I bought new back around 1991, thirty years ago, (yikes!)
The build quality is outstanding, has always performed smoothly and flawlessly, and using the
SPIDIF digital output into a Pro-Tools masteing grade DA/AD converterm the sound quality is probably as good as CD's can produce, which is often stunningly good. It wasn't cheap when it was new ($800) and it's not for sale - but if you find one that is, grab it!

If you have a dac with IS2 connection, it's better if your transport have it to.

I also have a Bryston DAC3.  It has 4 HDMI inputs. I have a large SACD collection.  My Oppo 105 is programmed to output the DSD layer of SACD over HDMI.  I also have a Sony ES SACD player that feeds another HDMI input on the DAC.  The Sony transport sounds a bit smoother than the Oppo but the differences are slight.   For red book I use a Melco transport/ripper that is connected to my Melco N100 NAS/Streamer.  The N100 is connected to the Bryston by usb.  It is a big, bold highly detailed presentation that is quite addictive 
Everything mechanical breaks! My “warm sounding”, “built like a tank” Yamaha CDX-1120 from 1989 cannot be repaired since its laser pickup is unobtainable. It had a lovely output when channeled through my 1969 tube-based system. In my opinion, newer units are more likely to read and play almost all of your CDs. I would go for a company that will continue to support its products in both parts and repair. 
Funny you guys mention PS Audio PWT. It was the very next transport I tried after ML #37, so disappointed! Even after modding never came close to 37, much darker sounding, less involving, the 37 was such a special transport, on top of one of the best transport mechanism (Phillips Pro), the had proprietary mounting and servo. After selling PWT, gave up transports, migrated to streaming,  cd rips on NAS sound fabulous.
I no longer trust cd transports, I've used couple cheaper ones in bedroom system, both Emotiva and Sony have died. Cheap mechanisms used in these can be purchased for $20 or less on ebay. I'd check to see what mechanism used before I'd lay my money down for any modern transport, only the bespoke would be of any interest, something like Esoteric.

I disagree with slot loaders being rubbish.

Sorry but they are made for cars, 3in1’s, portables and computers with cheap Chinese lasers/motor assemblies etc
And they can put horizontal scratches right across the cd if there’s the smallest dust particles on the slot brushes.

Cheers George
Since you already have a dCS, great products, and you are very happy with the brand I would look for a matching dCS Transport, one that has a a VRDS, or Stream Unlimited transport mechanism. The overall performance will be seamlessly next level.

One of the greatest transports ever built was by TEAC - the VRDS. Which most always uses a Sony laser. For many years it was featured in most all Wadia digital components. TEAC  came up with a High End division called ESOTERIC which used the transport mechanism exclusively leaving other companies like Wadia out in the cold, for a while.

The VRDS NEO is regarded as the Best transport ever built. The VMK3 version is featured in dCS Vivaldi units, as well as several ESOTERIC units. Wadia was said on planning to produce their All in One 981 units with the VRDS NEO before their demise, only 6 prototypes were ever built, only 2 had a VRDS mechanism, none of those were NEOs.

It is my understanding that Philips has recently developed a similar type Transport which is said to rival the TEAC version at a fraction of the cost. You could also look for an ESOTERIC unit to integrate into your system. 

What ever you decide good luck. 
I second sns with the Mark Levinson #37 drive and Philips CD-Pro transport - I used this drive built in Madrigal Proceed PMDT in combinstion with Reimyo DAP 999 EX Ltd. for many years and it sounded great, nothing came close.
When the laser finally died I tested a lot of different CD- and DVD- drives as transports only (Denon, Primare, Micromega, Electrocompaniet, PS Audio PWT, TEAC) - nothing showed the same sonic quality.
Finally ended up with Audio Research Ref. CD9 SE carrying again the Philips CD Pro-Transport, which is said to be one of the very best drives ever built.
The Project CD-Box RS-2T sounds interesting as it carries the Stream Unlimited (ex-Philips Engineers) CD-Pro 8 transport - this company also supplied the laser drive for the Wadia S7i which is not a bad reputation at all.
Furthermore I second charles1dad that the better the transport the better the sound! 
Probably you can find an AR Ref. CD8 used with Philips CD Pro Laser mech. and use it as a transport only with your Rossini DAC (I clearly preferred even the AR Ref.8 to the PS Audio PWT, the Ref.9 is even better than Ref.8 IMO)

I was using an AudioSpace CD8 (Phillips laser and 12 years old and $900) as a transport only going to a Theta ProBasic III DAC.

Moved to a PS Audio PWT (memory player that was/is also 12 years old and listed for $4000) and the PWT blew the CD8 away.

Off topic here, but I upgraded to a Mojo Audio Mystique DAC and it was another wow moment. I have ordered an EVO as I was so impressed.

My point is that you need to spend for a transport if you have a resolving enough system.

It never ends.

Thanks for listening,


"Moved to a PS Audio PWT (memory player that was/is also 12 years old and listed for $4000) and the PWT blew the CD8 away."

Yes your experience with the P.S.Audio PWT mirrors my very good outcome. I had an early generation Esoteric with the VRDS mechanism/assembly. I used it for years and it was very good sounding (And reliable it still works fine today). Direct comparison to the PWT in my system the PWT was better sounding and more musically engaging.

@sns and others had different experiences with it. This is nothing new, diverse opinions and listening impressions are part and parcel in High End audio. Personal taste,system synergy etc. I do think that the Pro-Ject RS2 BOX is extremely intriguing with the latest "top loading CD" Stream Unlimited technology (And Blue Tiger servo board) and attention to detail and built quality. This thread has produced some very interesting and insightful commentary.

Was sold on streaming hi-res until I replaced my Cambridge CXC transport with the Jays’. Streaming still sounds great but something natural about the red books now. Both paired via I2s to Holo Audio May Dac. To think I almost got rid of the discs!

Streaming still sounds great but something natural about the red books now. To think I almost got rid of the discs!

Lucky boy.
A couple of members in our Audio Club had thousand + cd’s they collected from the start of CD. And then sold them all when they went to streaming, chopped and changed streamers for a year or so, and then in the end gave up on hiend audio altogether, and now have budget systems, and we don’t see them at the meetings anymore.

I believe this is the reason why, streaming is usually always the later (red compressed) re-releases

Only album they ever did.

And the Boss.


Cheers George

@ggc: you're absolutely right with the VRDS and VRDS Neo drives - I wanted to buy a Wadia combo of 521 DAC and 571 transport - there was an 24/192 upgrade announced for the DAC 521 - I was waiting almost 2 years as I wanted to buy most recent products - unfortunately Wadia stepped out of the hghi-end business with those products before.
The Wadia S7i player had built-in the better 24/192 DAC but according to Wadia engineers the drive itself was not on the same level as the 571 transport.
So I went with the AR Ref. CD9SE and the Philips CD-Pro transport.

I use the teac vrds10se as transport. 
Old dac removed course it can add distortion on the main board. 
Recapped the main board. Added a bnc 75ohm at the rear. 
Tentlabs reclock. 
Replaced the two belts one of them runs the CD up and down to the spindle very hard to replace (tip add markings on that piece course it's tricky to get it right in gears again) 
It is a tank very nice running transport.
One disadvantage the laser isn't made anymore but I got a list of players where this kss151A is also build in. 
If your handy this is a very good alternative. And nowadays not expensive
@chayro proj ect isn't a new company.... They have been around since 1991... Mainly turntables.

In the UK we don't really get Jay's so I cant compare and although we do get CEC they are at least 3x the price here (and that was before stupid Brexit) 
This is the best transportation in the world that Esoteric only uses for its products. Not even $ 80,000 Dcs Vivaldi can have it since Esoteric won't give him. minimal distortion and the triumph of modern digital engineering. if you find a used k03xd at a good price yoy might give it a try.
Try a Studer D 730 from the 90... that is the best I ever had - Mark Levinson nr. 37 is good but..... not in  the same league. I have both.
A good transport and you don't recognize your CD's.
I tried several transports connected to my dac, including a friend's mega $ transport  (can't remember the make/model). I agree with sns: my cd rips played from my computer's hard drive sound better than the cds played from the transports. 
my cd rips played from my computer's hard drive sound better than the cds played from the transports.

Sorry that's impossible if the same transport and CD!!!! was used to do the copy with, and both were using the same dac, and exactly the same digital link up to the dac. 

CD!!!'s are not the same here is the one and only album by these guys re-released over time.
 (red compressed) (green uncompressed) 


Cheers George
Don't agree with Georgehifi, tons of info on this very topic all over the place, many reasons why rip could sound better than cd played over transport. Doesn't mean it always will, but its not unusual that it does.