Transport Recommendations

Hi All: I am looking for recommendations for a CD transport under 2K. I prefer new. and am considering ProJect, Audiolab, Schitt, and Primare - your thoughts? Any brands I may be missing? Thanks!


I see new CEC transports offered here for decent money.  Sorry I am not sure of the seller. 

I know you prefer new, but at your budget I’d definitely go for this used Jay’s Audio CDT2 Mk3 as it’s at a higher level than the others. Seems to be in excellent condition and from a reputable seller who allows for returns if for some reason it doesn’t work out. This one’s a no brainer to me, and best of luck.

I like this CD player. It can function as a stand alone Wolfson DAC or CD Player/DAC or just a transport. It could function as a backup DAC if you decide to upgrade and sell current unit while searching for another or if current unit dies. Little over the $2k budget but not much.





Check the post on the Rotel.  It can only function as a CD player or standalone DAC.  Not just as a transport.

Prices may not be current:
1.3 Yamaha CD-S1000                                    

2.0 Rotel CD6000T                                         

2.1 LUMIN U1 mini 

2.5 Jay’s Audio CDT2-MK3

3.2 Soundaware D300REF Transport

✅ 3.2 Project CD Box RS2 T

I really like my Audiolab 6000CDT transport and it’s quite inexpensive. I definitely recommend it.

+1 for the Audiolab 6000CDT transport.  At around $500 it is a great machine.  I've owned it and put it up against a few very expensive players.  It made me wonder why I was spending so much more.  It has one job to do and it does it well.  Punches above it's weight.  IMHO

Cyrus makes a good one, the Cyrus cdt. I’m loving mine, especially the deal I got on it from the music room. It takes up far less room than some of the others, which was important to me, as my allocated living room real estate Is limited by the wife factor....I am also partial to the UK stuff.

I bought a used CEC TL-5, and have been very happy with it. Excellent customer service as well.


It replaced a MOON 260T.

I’ve been very happy with my “Cyrus CDt Transport” over the past couple years. It’s a transport only and you will need a DAC. 

Soix hit the jackpot!

Depends how you look at it.  What is this unit, a year or two old?  Yet the ad says:

cosmetic wear including two small nicks on the left edge of the faceplate, and a few faint scuffs on the left side of the chassis. 

Who would treat a practically new unit this way?

But more than that, TMR wants $2044 when shipping costs are included and a 3-month warranty versus buying a brand new one with a 12-month warranty for $2498.  I don't know about you, but I am willing to shell out the extra $454 for a brand-new unit with better warranty.  Same goes if TMR accepted an offer to sell for $100 less.  

I'll second @parker65310.  I have the Audiolab.  Sounds, works, and looks great!  Very inexpensive for what it is.

I have   a Project RS2T in my more expensive system, sounds Fabulous. There have been issues with them, see audiogon forum. I have returned 2 and have been successful with my 3rd. It has the stream unlimited cd mechanism CD pro 8 and the blue tiger cd-84 servo system. The others that have it are over 10K.

I also have a second system, which uses a Audiolab 6000CDT with a very good DAC and sounds Great. There is a considerable difference though, clarity and dynamics especially! However, until Project gets all the bugs out I would be suspect in purchasing one at this time. If they do, its a clear winner, bar none!! Ps the 6000 CDT is a very good machine. I might even consider the jay model too, very good reviews. Robert

+5 for the AudioLab 6000CDT. Brilliant simple unit. Designed as a transport only. Excellent power supply. Sound is clean and immediate. I have not had a single CD that would not play in it regardless of condition or origin. I can't see why you would need to spend $2000 when this is like $500 used. The newer model incorporates a tray instead of a slot loader if that is a worry for you (hasn't been for me).

@vinylvalet i have the Shanling on order; will report back after I get it later this week. Seems to check all the boxes for $750. I had the Audiolab previously and liked it- sold it as I was concerned about the talk of the slot loading potentially scratching CDs… unfortunately I don’t have it now to try side by side - been using a cheap DVD player in the interim …(expected  @jasonbourne52 to weigh in on that by now!)

Very happy with my Audiolab 6000 but I do have a fair number of SACDs so the new Shanling will be on my list if/when the 6000 dies

It's a little above your budget but I would recommend that you consider a TEAC VRDS 701. I have one and I like it very much.

I had a horrible experience with a PSA PerfectWave transport that used a cheap computer grade CD drive and I vowed that I would never buy another transport from a manufacturer that didn't specify the origin of the drive mechanism. There are only a few reputable drive manufacturers - Phillips, TEAC, Marantz, and a couple others. I would strongly suggest that you go with a transport that uses a CD drive from one of the big three. The Phillips drives are out of production but there are several manufacturers who are using NOS drives - Jay's Audio being a good example.

I own two transports; a Jay's Audio CD3 MkIII and the TEAC. I also own a Marantz KI Ruby SACD player that has a coax output so it can be used as a transport. I'm running a Berkeley Alpha Reference II MQA DAC plus an Audio Mirror Tubadour IV DAC. I've compared all three transports through both DACs and they sound essentially identical to my ears.

One option would be to buy a used Marantz SACD player, such as an SA 8005, and use that as a transport. This would likely be a better transport than buying a new transport that uses a cheaper CD drive. I had two Marantz players over fifteen years (and thousands of CD plays) and I never had a drive fail. My PSA PerfectWave transport had three drives fail in 5 years.

In another thread I commented that anyone who plays CDs regularly should buy the nicest transport they can afford. It's the component that you most interact with and it's the component that is most prone to breakdown. When you operate a transport like the TEAC, Jay's Audio, or any of the Marantz SACD players, you can just feel the quality. The drawer is quiet and moves smoothly. The mechanism is absolutely silent. When you compare that to a transport that uses a cheap mechanism the quality difference is obvious. Everytime that cheap plastic tray noisely sides out and goes "clunk" and then loudly slides back in and you hear the motor spin up, you will wish you had spent more money on a nice transport.

Thanks for all the feedback thus far.

Regarding the Audiolab CDT 6000 - I too have read some articles referencing the slot load scratching CD's. Anyone actually have this happen? Seems hard to believe that a reputable manufacturer would allow a product that causes damage to remain on the market...

The Alpha Audio (Dutch reviewer) recently did a shoot out of 7 or so transports, they have a video of the whole thing on their YouTube channel. There’s probably a written summary on their website too.   I like their reviews, very thorough and often using a panel of listeners, as in this case.

TMR wants $2044 when shipping costs are included and a 3-month warranty versus buying a brand new one with a 12-month warranty for $2498.  I don't know about you, but I am willing to shell out the extra $454 for a brand-new unit with better warranty.

@jetter makes a good point.  I actually assumed the CDT2 was discontinued when the CDT3 was introduced but that was incorrect — thanks jetter.  The only reputable place I found that sells it new is this one that’s linked through Jay’s website.

Although saving upwards of $500 isn’t insignificant, I tend to agree with jetter that in this case buying new might be money well spent.  Frankly, and although $2k does seem to be the going market value for a used CDT2, I’d think around $1500 is much more reasonable and has sold for that amount in the recent past.  Not sure why the discount for a used unit is so little these days.  Anyway…


The ET3 has I2s (HDMI) output, but doesNot do SACD for lack of license, but are working on it.  Here's a Darko review:



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+++++++1 for the Audiolab 6000CDT, at $600 it is an absolute steal.....I still own mine and have no immediate plans to replace, it's not a weak link in my system. I've had zero problems with mine, and it's used almost daily for 2 years

++++++1 for the Jay's Audio CDT2 MKIII, best transport I've ever heard in my system, and what I will buy whenever I upgrade

I second the vote for the Rotel. I use the DT-6000 as CD transport which is very good in sound. Plus I use the DAC for my Volumio Rivo streamer with an external LPS. All in all for about 4K. Lovely sounding system.

@gnoworyta - owned my AudioLab 6000CDT for a couple of years now. Never had a problem with scratching, but I can see and understand the concern. Some see it as a "potential" problem. Some see a tray as a "flimsy problem" waiting to break. There are "potential" problems in everything if you look. I believe AudioLab’s replacement to the 6000CDT (aka newer upgraded) changed to a tray just because they felt they may be loosing market share to a perceived/inherent problem with slot loading.

That being said, if you don't want to risk a slot loader I would recommend the newer tray model. I don't own one, haven't heard it, but if its anything like the 6000CDT it will impress.

+1 on  my Jay's CD2 mkIII  stellar build quality and sound .Totally the best transport I have  ever owned. Never a hiccup in two years. 


@chuckie I am about to put in an order for a Jay's CD2 MKIII. Glad to see your response. 

I gave my friend this OPPO bdp-83

he used it for years and years as a transport



always verify they can find the SACd layer, that means the laser is not too weak.

The best I have tried with all listed and some more. PS Audio Wave SACD transport ( newest) reads CD loads to file and plays off file. That eliminates jitter and the like. Sounds very close or better or as good as best streamer/server. 

I also have the AudioLab 6000CDT and when they came out with the AudioLab 9000CDT with the tray, I was disappointed it did not have the I2S connection or I would have upgraded to that transport.


One more thing to consider, the Jays CDT2 MKIII includes and native HDMI I2S output

@burtlake, I just ordered the Shanling ET3 straight from the source for a whopping total of $724.00. It’ll be awhile until I get it and run it through it’s paces. Time to sell my AudioLab 6000CDT...

CEC all the way....Belt drive...It looks like a little turntable...Japanese     CEC TL-5....with my Aavik / Borresen 35K rig...Awsome piece.


As a content CDT 6000 owner. Please update or start your own discussion to tell us about it

I have 2 systems in my home, and have the Audiolab 9000CDT on both. I upgraded from the 6000CDT and was amazed at the improvement.

+1 for the Jay's Audio CDT2-MK III...  It's above your price point new however used it's probably in your price range.  Built like a tank and terrific sonics.  I have one and love it !  

Want to save $1900??  Try this: an used Pioneer DV-578A player used as a transport.  In my case it feeds a bel canto e.One series DAC3 from its 24/96 digital output.  Has the same bass solidarity as the transport in the much more expensive Pioneer transports, and wipes every other CD player or transport I've tried with the DAC3.  Sound of my combo is side-by-side equivalent as the Oppo 205 player.....and I have no doubt that a newer/better DAC would make the combo superior.


Took an interest in this thread to the point where I'm itching to try out the Shanling ET3 (but I wont') and I read some reviews on a site where the owners say they preferred the Shanling to the Jay's CDT-2 Mk3 and the Project CDT (they didn't mention which one though). Just some more food for thought.

All the best,


The Jay’s transport is already gone. I looked at getting it for me and decided to get a better streamer transport instead.