Which Vintage CD Player To Use As A Transport?

I need a bargain CD player. Emphasis on bargain. One possibility is buying a cheap Schiit DAC and a vintage player to use as a transport. $100 or so for something described as “bulletproof.” Two questions:

—Is this a good idea?

—Which brand/model/year would be a good choice for a transport? 

Many thanks. 


I’d have to buy them both. The Schiit DAC is $115.00.

But this is Plan B and it seems like too much work. I think that I’m going back to Plan A and getting as much used CD player as I can get for about $200. The current frontrunners are the Cambridge Audio Azur 651C and the Yamaha CD-S300. Any preferences between them?

Other possibilities are a bit older: The Arcam CD72 and the Rotel RCD-951 (and various other Rotel models).

When it comes to electronics, especially digital electronics, I can’t help but think that newer is better. That’s certainly true with computers and aren’t CD players kinda alt-computers?

Someone is sure to point out that CD technology really hasn’t changed much since [whenever]. But there seems to be no debate that DAC technology has moved forward significantly so I question that premise.

Of course, the reason I’m in this bind is because my Denon 32 bit player died after only two years. (More bits! Better tech!) Talk about cheesy.

I would never suggest buying a vintage CD player for use as a transport.  What breaks down in CD players? It's the transport.  Just doesn't make sense.  Why would you want a high mileage transport?

@corelli Amen.  Couldnt have said it better. Bought a Yamaha CDS2100 and never looked back.  This player replaced my Rotel RCD991 that I adored after it stopped working.

I’ve been using my Sony DVP-S7000 DVD Player as a player then transport for over 30 years. I stopped using it for movies since it had issues reading some of the newer ones. It does a fine job as a transport.

I intend on riding this pony til it dies!

Next transport will likely be an Audiolab.

There was a time a while ago when Sony and Pioneer had the CD/DVD player wars.  Both companies seriously overbuilt their CD/DVD players.  This is very similar to auto manufacturers having their "Racing Divisions".  Such as Volvo R, Toyota TRD, big boys like Mercedes AMG, etc.

Pioneer Elite had some serious CD/DVD players that are absolutely outstanding as Transports.  Same for Some Sony ES series units.  Skyfiaudio talks about this at length on their videos.

I have sat and compared many CD/DVD players as transports only into my Audio Research DAC 9 and I can tell you using straight forward A/B comparisons, that the Pioneer Elite DV-09 (beast) , DV-79AVI, PD-91, PD-93 (monster), BDP-09 (absolute monster), PD-65, Sony CD-77ES, are absolutely outstanding as transports.  Even some of them of pretty good analog outputs also.

Look at the Video on Skyfiaudio about the PD-93.  OMG that thing is built.  PIoneer definitely lost money on that unit.  Same for the BDP-09 and DV--09 stupidly overbuilt.

Also, the drive units can still be found.  Including the laser mechanism.  You would be very hard pressed to find transports that can match or beat these units.  

notwithstanding the CD/DVD wars between Sony and Pioneer Elite, what also happened, was DVD's were created and the standard CD player was obsolete.  But not really.  If you wanted to use it only as a CD transport, you kept the CD player.  Then Blue Rays came out and the DVD player that couldn't play Blue Rays were obsolete.  But not really.  Same reason. Some made outstanding CD transports.

Then 4K came out.  you see where I'm going.

People that were in the amp of the month club had to have the latest and greatest newest equipment and sold or traded in the top of the line CD, DVD or Blue ray player that costs many thousands of dollars and were definitely hi end.  So that used market saw them and knowledgeable audiophiles grabbed them as CD transports.

These things are only a few hundreds of dollars on the used market now (not the PD-93), and will to this day blow away or match in quality players costing now several thousands.

Don't believe me?  Grab a BDP-09 for a few hundred and see.