Ruminations On CD Players

After multiple factory rebuilds, I'm ready to replace my twenty year old Arcam CD-73 CD player.  I've looked through lists of recommended CD players in the $2000 range, and have noticed that some are all-inclusive while others have separate transports and DACs.  Other than ease of replacement, what are the benefits of having the transport and DAC separate?  Any recommendations on CD players in this price range?  I only have music CDs so don't need anything that can do more than that.



John Cotner

New Ulm, MN


I think it’s so great that you’re keeping your mind open to other options, and in the end it will likely pay off big and be well worth the added effort.  I noticed that you haven’t really touched on what improvements you might aspire to with a new digital front end and what sound characteristics are most important to you as this should ultimately be what guides you to the best upgrade path, and any thoughts you have on this critical info could be very helpful in getting more targeted recommendations here.  Also, in addition to the Cambridge transport mentioned above I’ll also mention this Audiolab transport that has garnered a lot of positive feedback.  Just something else to chew on while your in research mode.

Forgot to mention, I just watched a movie called “New in Town” starring Renee Zelwegger and Harry Connick Jr. that was actually pretty good and located in…wait for it…New Ulm, MN.  Coincidence?  Hmmm.

Will your unit still function as a transport ? i also say seperates and get a 2k used dac . I have a Cambridge player as transport and Bel Canto dac



Personally I prefer the separate CD transport and DAC solution, for many reasons others have pointed out. I use an Audiolab 6000CDT transport ($599) and a Denafrips Pontus II DAC ($1,825). That's $2,424 all in for a terrific CD transport and an amazing DAC. As time goes on (or if you have the funds) you could always upgrade either. If want to spend more up front, the Jay's Audio CDT2 MKII $2,500 is truly an end game transport......and what I will upgrade to.

I just scored about 90 used MHS Mozart and Beethoven albums, so I'm listening to a lot of that.  I mostly listen to classical from the romantic period back.  I've also developed an interest in medieval choral and early instrument music.  I'm trying to improve the equipment to accommodate voice and strings.  I recently replaced the turntable and the CD player is next.  I also need to track down the source of a mid-range screech, which I'll address in a future post.