Suggest Transports that can be Demo'd at home

I'm quite happy with my system (Silverline 17.5 monitors/Wells Majestic integrated/Aqua La Voce II/Jolida JD100 (as transport) but am wondering whether I ought to purchase another transport before they're no longer available.
$3000 would be my limit, budget-wise and longevity is a big concern. Used is OK, as long as unit is M. 

I have two caveats which make this tough-- 1) as a rule, I don't purchase any gear I can't first demo at home and 2)
I'd ideally prefer something made in N. America. Of these two qualifiers, the second is negotiable, but not the first.

I could demo a Bryston BCD-3 from Audio Advisor, but I'm not sure it makes sense to pay for a unit that includes a DAC I won't use. Also, I came across a comment in the Forums that the Bryston has fatiguing highs-- a flaw I particularly abhor. And, it's considerable over my budget. 

The Moon Neo 260D is not, as far as I can tell. possible to audition at home and I read on one of the AGon transport discussion threads that the drawer is flimsy. 

The Jay's Audio products look to be very good but I didn't see anything on their site about a trial period. 

A used PS Audio is a possibility, I guess, although I read that they used Oppo transports, which are no longer being made, so that's a concern from the longevity stand-point. 

 Any other units I should be aware of ??????????????


Thanks, twoleftears-- I've read a review of the NuPrime but wasn't aware of the Primare. Will check it out. 

I went through a similar problem recently. I wanted a U.S or N. American unit, or a non-Chinese sourced unit.

 I considered the Sim Audio unit, but was not sure what CD mechanism it used. I wanted a transport that used a dedicated audio CD drive, not an adapted computer drive. I also wanted a unit for which I could easily get a spare drive, in case it failed. I looked at the Japanese CEC TL05 drive, but the U.S. distributor did not respond back to me. I considered buying on E-bay, but  was unsure the unit could be adapted to U.S. voltage without affecting the sound quality.

 I then started looking at European units, and considered the Atoll (French) and Van Medevoort CT360D (Dutch). Both the units used a > $100 Teac 5020 audio only CD drive, which is a robust unit of newer design. and easily found. The Van Medevoort could not be sourced in the U.S.. So, I contacted the U.S. Atoll distributor, who was very responsive to my questions. The unit can be serviced in the U.S., I believe by Nick Gowan at True Sound. The components in the unit are largely of French manufacture. I picked up a spare drive  when I purchased the unit for a modest cost.

I am not certain if an in-home demo is available. Perhaps if you have a nearby dealer? I took a bit of a leap-of-faith by purchasing before hearing. But, I had read a number of European reviews and reviewed the internal design and construction, which appeared to be sound. 

The Tascam 200  uses the same Teac 5020 drive. The Atoll has a significant number of enhancements over it as a transport, but I’d bet the basic character is there. They can be sourced fairly cheaply, and perhaps that might give you enough insight on what a Teac 5020  based unit sounds like?  And the transport build quality? Perhaps a Tascam 200 might even sound good enough as a transport to suit your needs?

 The Bryston BCD-3 uses a Blue Tiger JPL-2800 transport, which appears to be a good quality drive. However, if you’re not going to use the DAC, I’d say you’ll get more value buying a dedicated CD transport.

That Primare CD35 also uses a Teac 5020 drive.   From what I can tell, a number of higher end transports are using the Teac drive. Just some info I thought I’d pass along.


Mooglie67-- many thanks for your helpful/informative response !

Your list of considerations/priorities is very much in synch with mine. 

Can you give me any idea how the Atoll has affected your system, sound-wise ? 

I'm very pleased with my Aqua DAC and agree that a dedicated transport would be a wiser use of my money. 

RE: Primare, I don't see a listing on their site for a transport-- only the CD35 Prisma, which includes a DAC. 

I had been using an Oppo-93 SPDIF out to my Yggdrasil Analog 2 with a Jorma Digital cable (RCA at Oppo, BNC at the Yggdrasil). I was never quite satisfied with the sound. It seemed to be somewhat mechanical, bleached, or lacking tonal densities, with the mid-bass sucked out, and an emphasis on the treble. From memory, I seemed to recall getting better overall quality sound when I was using a CAL Delta transport with a lesser DAC (CIA VDA-2) and cabling.

The Atoll DR200 Signature gave me a fuller tone, with better timing (PRAT), and fluidity. The images are more defined and fuller bodied. The soundstage widened and deepened. The mid-bass is back. The sound is more relaxed, non-fatiguing, but still with good drive. 

So, basically everything improved.

There’s a review by Edouard Hendrix for AV2D (in Dutch, but can be translated), that pretty much spells out what I’m hearing.   If you search for “Atoll factory” (Son-Video blog) , you can find some interesting photos and story of the factory in the Normandy area of France. The Atoll is a fine unit. I’m sure some of the other units mentioned here are also quite good, too. 

 But, I suspect once you get to the level of the Sim Audio or Atoll ($2K-ish units), any additional refinements are going to be smaller, and at a significantly greater cost. Atoll also has a higher end, top loading unit ($4k-ish?), but that was more than I wanted to spend.

Yeah, the Primare CD-35 looks to include a DAC.

The Atoll CD transport was a significant upgrade to my system. But, that could also be because the Oppo 93 was so bad as a transport. I don’t know how good your Jolida works as a transport. 

If you have access to some other CD or DVD players to try as transports, you may want swap them around and see what you hear. That will give you an idea of the sensitivity.  I’m pretty sure with your gear the sound quality will improve with a better transport. How much? Hard to say, but I’m pretty sure you will hear it.


I auditioned the Primare CDT 35 transport only, but was so unimpressed that I took a chance on the Jay's CDT Mk2 (bought blind, same price in South Africa) and have been in audio heaven since.