Resolving CD Transports Crowd Sourcing

Hi everyone! A couple of years ago I purchased my endgame CD transport- a Pro-Ject CD Box RS2T. Loved almost everything about the unit--highly resolving presentation, dead quiet background, balanced placement of instruments in a believable 3 dimensional soundstage, and  the synergy it had with my components. In fact I loved the transport so much I had two of them because Pro-Ject quality control and customer service is the pits. After almost a year of hassles, I'm swearing of Pro-Ject.

I'm in the market for a replacement CD transport that has the same qualities of the Pro-Ject minus the quality issues and customer service.

PS Audio, Jay's Audio, CEC, Audio Research (which are CD/DAC units) come up in my search. What are your thoughts? With all the bells and whistles the Pro-Ject was around $3300, so that gives you an idea of my budget, though I could go higher.

Thanks in advance!


You may want to lookat a server in our tests a good server outperformed even the best cd transportsand you get streaming as well


+1, @twoleftears Teac is a solid recommendation


Also look at Shanling Transport along with Jay’s and CEC (both great choices).

Yep its time to move on and purchase a DAC/server combo or a all in one unit, it dosent make good sense to stay in the physical media realm anymore. Hook up with a streaming service that offers HI-Fi or better (studio) quality sound like Tidal or Quboz. Companies like Auralic, Aurender, Cambridge, Oppo are just a few you could check out.


Matt M

Op asks about CDTs and the usual suspects counter with something else...

All the best,


Sorry about your poor experience with the RS2T. Fortunately I’ve had excellent sonic performance you note without the reliability/customer service issues you suffered. It’s been brilliant for me.  I assume that if you were seeking a music server you’d have inquired.

Based on reputation:track record  I’d look into latest TEAC CD tray loading transport. I really like top loading CD transports and strongly encourage you to consider the Jay’s Audio offerings. 
Best wishes 


Having Jay's Audio CDT2 MKIII I might be biased, but its performance and physical solidity is really impressive. I have not listened to ProJect so can't compare, came from Cambridge CXC and it was very substantial upgrade in every aspect.

@charles1dad -

Glad to hear from you! When the Pro-Ject worked it was glorious. Glad you are enjoying yours. Reputation/reliability is definitely important.

BTW, your jazz recommendations, sometime back, have brought hours of great listening pleasure in the wharfy household.

Question-When you recommend the TEAC, what are you basing that on? Can you tell by looking at specs that the TEAC is going to be highly resolving, dead quiet with balanced placement of instruments in a believable 3 dimensional soundstage? 

Jay's is on my radar, as is Audio Research CD6SE, even though that has a DAC. 



@knock1 -

I went from the CXC, which is a decent transport, to the Pro-Ject and it was audio nirvana.

How would you compare/contrast the CXC and your Jay's Audio CDT2 MKIII? It's on my radar, for sure. As I mentioned I'm looking for highly resolving presentation, dead quiet background, balanced placement of instruments in a believable 3 dimensional soundstage.

Tekaudio is recommending the CDT3 MKIII, at almost 2x the price. Have you heard it?



I think you would get all what you listed as your requirements. My first impression, after the switch, was soundstage expansion, some performers are at the reach of my hand, almost eerie. Later on I kept discovering nuances I had not been aware of before.

CDT3 was over my budget, have not heard it.


If you can swing it, also consider AQUA La Diva. Maybe you can find a used bargain for around $4500. I am inviting @thyname to share his thoughts on CDT3 MKIII. He’s got a fabulous system that does full justice to a player like CDT3. 

@lalitk -

Much appreciated. I’ve done research and the Aqua La Diva M2 regularly shows up as a transport with the characteristics I appreciate. It has the CD Pro-8S CD transport, which is the same one in the Pro-Ject CD BoxHave you heard the original Aqua La Diva?



Yes, in a system with AQUA Formula xHD. Goes without saying, the synergy between them were the key that got me toe-tapping. Since then, it has been on my list to consider, if I were ever go down that path. 


BTW, your jazz recommendations, sometime back, have brought hours of great listening pleasure in the wharfy household

Hi David,

I am happy that you are enjoying them. You share a deep passion for jazz and appreciate the outstanding musicians that make it possible.

My comment/recommendation concerning the TEAC transport has to do with there highly regarded VRDS mechanism over the years. I have a 1990s era Esoteric/TEAC CD transport that still functions well to this day. They have certainly improved from my very early model. I suspect their new transport is quite accomplished.

David it’s a shame your RS2T was was faulty x 2 models. I really wish you could have gotten a good one like I did. I believe that much of the exquisite sound quality can be attributed to the superb Stream Unlimited top load drive and servo integrated unit. Same as used in the above mentioned Aqua HiFi La Diva (And Gryphon).

Jay’s Audio uses the highly regarded but discontinued Phillips drive mechanism. Personally I have never heard of any reliability issues with their CD transports.

You have an excellent audio system and great music taste. I’d take a thorough look at their CDT3. I believe it uses better parts and a better quality Phillips drive mechanism compared with the highly praised CDT2 model. I haven’t heard either, just going by what I have read. In reality, I don’t think you could go wrong with either transport.


I second (or third?) Jay’s CDT3 MK3. Although it sounds like not in your budget. In that case, the CDT2 should do. Full disclosure: I have never heard the CDT2, but judging by the “house sound” of my CDT3, and the specs, it should be pretty close.

The Pro-Ject audio Transport.  Have not heard the Jay's MKIII but overall the Pro-Ject was just as you said.  I have not found anything that worked as well in our search since I gave mine to a friend a f3ew years back.

CEC makes a very good transport not the TL-5 but up the line.  We use an Audiomeca Mephisto and Metronome but the are very old now.

Closet thing to the transport and our DAC was the Cary SACD 306 player.  BUT not in stock form.  We installed over 100 parts in that sucker to get it to sound like reference players.  Close to the best we have ever heard.

Anyone saying that they have a server that could compete is not using our DAC  LOL!

Best o get something you like and have it modified with better parts quality.

Happy Listening.


BTW if you are looking to sell one PM me.




The Audio Note UK transports are worth a look although a bit pricey.

I would consider the TEAC but the limited number of digital outputs put a stop to that. I appreciate TEAC CD transport mechanisms. Good looking unit too and with more outputs I probably would have purchased.

Although not exactly the latest in CD Transports, the Sonic Frontiers unit may be of interest if one is available on the used market. The Parts Connexion in Canada continues to support and repair this brand along with others. Recently, my SFCD-1 began not reading the table of contents of CD’s at times. The unit was sent in and the optical laser doo dad was replaced. Works like new. Quick turnaround. No complaints.

This is an important point to consider after reading some of the horror stories on here regarding manufacturers refusing to repair or replace a unit after a few years. 


Two comments re: the Jay’s CDT2MKIII:

1) You can buy a spare drive from them if you’re concerned about longevity.

2) I found it a bit forward sounding in my system, with my existing IC’s and footers. Once I swapped them out, everything came back into balance. I’ve been extremely happy with it. 



Just for old times sake, (😊) a few CDs I think that you’d like.

Chet Baker, “The Touch Of Your Lips”

Nicholas Peyton, ”Fingertips “

Jimmy Cobb/Roy Hargrove, “Jazz in The Key Of Blue”

Excellent trumpeters accompanied by excellent jazz guitarists.


If your DAC has an I2S input, that could easily narrow your search down as a majority of available transports don't output I2s. Last I heard, the new Shanling ET3 has been on backorder for months.

I think I would try the TEAC. Buy it from someone, like Music Direct, that has a solid return policy (verify the policy first).

+1 TEAC recommendation. I believe either Sparkler Audio or 47 Labs use TEAC drives in their machines. After reading good reports (here) I use a small form factor TEAC PD H600. It was compared to an Ayon valve player by other users —which I had owned for years before, a beautiful natural sounding machine— and sure enough, feeding an Abbas DAC 2.4SE, this little TEAC helps present potent rich music with air and wide soundstage. Available used for around $400 dollars.


Thanks for weighing in. Have been reading/comparing the two Jay's transports recommended here. Have you compared either to the Pro-Ject CD Box?

And what do you mean by "house sound"?



@stuartk -

Thanks for your insights! I recall, from another thread, you briefly owned the Pro-Ject CD Box. How would you compare the sound quality, presentation etc.. between your Jay's CD transport and the Pro-Ject?



@bigkidz -

You are a wealth of information, and between you and Charles1dad helped me decide on purchasing the Pro-Ject CD Box. I was very fortunate that I was able to return the second CD Box for refund, so I do not have one to offer up.

The CEC transports are intriguing. But, what a pain finding info about them. I know Audio Union sells them, but their website wrt prices in not user friendly.

Do you have any further thoughts on the CEC TL2N or TL03.0?



@charles1dad -

Yes, for old times sake! I have each of the CD's mentioned. Excellent, indeed. And wonderful recordings with intimacy best appreciated on a resolving audio system.

Have you heard these?

Curtis Counce-You get more bounce with Curtis Counce!-fantastic bass player, and the selections go between hard and cool 'bop. Terrific recording, too boot.

Dexter Gordon-Doin' Allright and One Flight Up

Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh


I have the Jay's cdt2-mk3 and bought a back up Phillips drive just in case. It has been flawless in every way and sounds as good as my analog end costing three times more, specially using the I2s connection via a Tubulus Concentus cable. 

@wharfy - PM me as I may be able to help you with new products and the CEC.




Hi David,

Ha! I should have known better that you have these terrific recordings. You know what? I own the 3 you recommended.😊

Not surprising I suppose, good taste and all  that stuff right!! This is exactly why my listening sessions are frequent and usually go 4 hours or so. With your ears and taste get the best CD transport you can afford.


@wharfy - fwiw, I heard the least cost CEC in my system and it made involving sweet music but not quite enough air, space and detail for me to keep. The more expensive models would probably be worth a listen. 

I own the CEC TL5......I bought it because they are top loaders ( no more probs with front loaders) and they are BELT DRIVEN , just like a turntable.....getting rid of the direct drive vibration and rumble is paramount to extracting the purity of the music and playing it in a most natural way. I love it and the Japanese quality in top notch.


Audiogon member @wig owned the CDT2 MK II and MK III as well as the RS2T. I’d  contact him via this site’s email. He is insightful and knowledgeable.



The Teac does look like a really good unit, but I’ve never heard it. I have auditioned the Jay’s CDT2 MkIII both in a friends system, and in mine. It is without a doubt the best CD transport I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.

Very detailed, yet not at all bright or fatiguing. In my system it was paired with a Tubes4HiFi VTA St-120 tube amp, and a Denafrips stack which leans toward a more relaxed slightly warmer sound. The extra detail was a welcome addition to both combos, and a great pairing. I decided to put off my purchase of the Jay’s unit, and stick with my Audiolab CDT6000 for now (a great inexpensive transport), so I could upgrade my streaming rig…..going forwards I see myself streaming more than adding to my CD collection.

Best of luck

I bought a Jay's CD3 Mk III a few months ago and I highly recommend it. It's massively well built and a pleasure to use. I have compared it to my Marantz KI Ruby SACD player's transport into my Berkeley Alpha Reference 2 DAC and I can't hear much difference. They both sound great. I think I can hear a slight improvement in soundstage when I use the 4X oversampling but it's very subtle.

I've got a Teac 701 on order from Music Direct. They show it as on backorder but I believe that Teac is not yet shipping this unit and I don't know when it will be available.

Why would I want a Teac transport as well as the Jay's audio? It turns out that the CD3 has a characteristic that is a downside for my situation. I collect HDCDs (the Alpha DAC decodes them) but the CD3 doesn't play them. It apparently uses dither on the first bit where the HDCD instructions are encoded. If you read the Stereophile review they note that the transport uses dither which is unusual. When you turn on the 4X oversampling it uses all the bits but that doesn't work for HDCD.


Yes, but I’m not able to comment on that unit’s sound because I simply could not deal with its small dimensions -- I found it so impractical that I quickly reboxed it and sent it back to TMR. Therefore, I spent very little time listening. For whatever it’s worth those who’ve heard both seem to consistently favor the pro-ject’s sonics, so I’m an outlier.

I have my system pretty well dialed in at this point and have no complaints about resolution but keep in mind I’m quite sensitive to any hint of fatigue or forwardness and am willing to sacrifice a modicum of resolution for the sake of musicality. If resolution is a top priority, the pro-ject or the Jay’s CDT3MKIII might be better choices for you.

If TMR still sells pro-ject, you could take advantage of their return policy, keeping in mind the fact they’ve begun charging a restock fee. Good luck!



I must agree with nonoise. Posting a reply that is not an answer is not likely to be helpful or even appreciated. A person may have reasons for not streaming, such as lack of bandwidth. Where I live fibreop has been within four kilometres for two years without moving any closer. Streaming means nobody else in the home would have access to wifi while I listen to music.


At the very least, prefacing your reply with a question as to whether or not the OP has considered other options would appear (to me) to be both more helpful and less arrogant. After all, one person's path is not necessarily everyone's. 


So I have the Audiolab CDT6000 and an OPPO running into a Pontus ll and they sound pretty close to me. If I was to upgrade my Transport, I’d look for I2S to get the best sound output and the Teac does not have, but the Jay’s Audio CDT2 MK3 does.

All the best.


The TEAC 701 versus the Jay’s Audio CD transport will be most interesting. I hope that you are able to do this at some point.


It is good to read that the Jay’s Audio CDT2 has worked out well for you. Congratulations!!



I'd consider waiting until all the bugs are worked out of the new Schiit transport and for a couple of reviews.  I have only owned two lesser priced Schiit products, the SYS and Lokius, but like their overall business model.


Thanks for the recommendation. Did some research and this is what I learned-

The URD’s CD drive uses StreamUnlimited‘s metal tray-loading Redbook CD mechanism. StreamUnlimited manufactures CDPro8 and BlueTiger servo boards. I will be curious to read the user reviews.


More good recommendations! TY

I researched and listened to both the Simaudio 260d and the Primare DD35.

The Sim has transport issues, which is what torpedoed my second Pro-Ject transport. I auditioned the Primare in my system and was underwhelmed.

Haven't heard the Audiolab 9000cdt. When looking for a cd transport to replace an ailing Arcam, I auditioned the 6000cdt and a Cambridge CXC. I chose the CXC.