Upgrading my Redbook after 18 years

My vinyl system is my primary source but have ventured into headphones as a second system with Redbook being the only source I use. Headphone listening is provided by a newly broken in Schitt Gumby thru a Cambridge CDX transport and I have started using the system more and more, am really impressed with the Gumby but would like to upgrade the transport and the Bell Canto CD3T has come to my attention with the bnc connection which as I understand would behoove the Gumby. I will also like to upgrade my 18 year old Wadia 8 transport and my Jadis D2 dac in my main system and was thinking maybe a single piece CD player in the range of $2,500.00 slightly used or demo. On my main system I like what I have better than the Oppo players so other suggestions will be considered. Please note SACD isn't needed and have no plans to download, stream of other sources just Redbook on both systems.
Schiit and Mytek make tremendous DACs for Redbook playback.

I think you'll be really surprised though. In general, the current crop of DACs perform so much better with Redbook than they did 15 years ago. 

Be prepared for most people to urge you not to go the single unit route, and to get separates.

However, if you like the idea of eliminating a connection, and getting a dedicated Red Book player, the models near your price point are Bryston BCD-3, Hegel Mohican, and Primare CD35.  There's plenty of discussion of the first and second here and elsewhere, and very little to my knowledge of the relatively new Primare.  Some less-than-confidence-inspiring details emerged along the way concerning the Mohican; I just got my new BCD-3.

Spending $2500 on a new transport is a waste of money.  Just add a reclocker like the Synchro-Mesh and this should be a significant upgrade.  It will perform like a $10K or more transport.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

@erik_squires , have had my Schitt Gumby for about 4 months really like it and yes I am surprised at the level of performance I am getting from it.                                                                                                                   @audioengr ,I am looking at your products now and thanks.                     @twoleftears , you purchasing the Bryston is a good endorsement, if you would give it a month or so and reach out to me with your feelings on it I would thank you.

Here are jitter measurements on the Synchro-Mesh:


You will have a tough time beating this at any price.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio


One option I’d urge you to consider is rip your CDs to hard drive and, instead of transport, get a device like an Auralic Aries, BlueSound Node or Salk Streamer (there are others) to play the stored digital files back through the Gungnir.  Good luck.


Enjoy your new BCD-3.
I've had mine for about six months, and my Classical CD collection has never sounded better. 
I'd agree with @audioengr and keep your transport and get a good jitter-reducing device, then get a good DAC -- there are so many more great ones out there these days than standalone players, and good digital cables are also very reasonable.  Since you're an analog guy you might take a good look at some of the newer R2R NOS DACs that tend to have an innate natural and organic quality that may appeal to you.  In your price range I'd look at the Metrum Onyx or one of the Schiit DACs.  Best of luck. 
Just for clarification: are you listening to headphones only, or speakers as well
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@mahler123, two separate systems, main system/vinyl/CD with vinyl 95% is speakers and 2nd system just headphones with digital/CD source and this is where I have the new Schitt dac.
@elizabeth , I am aware of your set up and how you use your Marantz in it, I have a few old dacs, Wadia, Theta, Jadis that I use in my main system but after adding the Schitt to my headphone setup upstairs I was really impressed and was looking to cost effectively max it out and then address the main system downstairs where my digital front end is very long in tooth, like me.
@ghosthouse , I will definitely look into your suggestion and weigh it all out, do see the convenience in it, my issue is the old dog new trick thing.

Hi.  Yes, there's a convenience factor BUT I also find sound quality from ripped files better than from playback of the physical CD.  It's NOT that hard to do, either.  

1) CD ripped via iTunes (using Apple Superdrive) as ALAC file to                        
Seagate  2 TB hard drive.

2) Seagate via USB 3.0 to Aries Mini; Mini to to Schiit Eitr USB/SPDIF converter via Oyaide USB; Eitr to Gungnir MB via Blackcat Silverstar 75 coax.

3) Schiit Gungnir to Schiit Freya preamp via balanced/XLR interconnects.

My Gungnir doesn't have USB input, hence the Eitr.  The Aries Mini does have an internal DAC so output direct to the Freya is possible but I found the sound with a USB/SPDIF converter to external DAC to be more robust.

There have been past discussions on A'gon about "best practices" for converting CDs to ripped files for playback. The Computer Audiophile site is worth a visit.  I don't claim my method is anybody else's best practice but it works for me and the results sound very good.  Good luck.