CD Transport / Player Thread

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by MoatsArt, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    Really? That's not good. I actually had an issue with my disc drive rattling (only sometimes and only on certain discs) and they were apologetic and offered me a full refund. I opened it up and fixed the issue myself though.
     
  2. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    I’m glad you had a better experience. I think they just blew me off when I used words like “jitter” and “Schiit” ;)
     
  3. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    Discipline is really required when sourcing vintage mechanical transports. Discipline to check classifieds daily for the best deals, and to not buy units with irreplaceable mechanisms that are overpriced from sellers trying to unload ticking time bombs. It personally took me months of careful browsing and research to land an Arcam CD73 for a reasonable price which I am pretty happy with, but I'm still looking to upgrade it as I love spinning CDs.

    I made this list a while ago of models to be on the lookout for when browsing classifieds/eBay. It is by no means exhaustive. The best bargain players to use as transports in 'stock' form are likely the Marantz and Philips (often identical to the Marantz and just re-badged) that utilize earlier CDM 'swing-arm' mechanisms. Many cheaper and inconspicuous players sporting these mechanisms can also be elevated in performance with simple mods.

    A link to the list: https://pastebin.com/D9QJu8eD

    Feel free to PM me for advice on particular models.
     
  4. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Really my question is a bit more general but just picked specific products to be more focused. Like if I had X amount of money to spend on a CD playing solution, where do I spend to get maximize quality? Standalone CD player? Put as much as I can in a DAC? Put everything in the transport and cheap out on the DAC?

    But of course there is probably no straightforward answer. The differences in DACs seem pretty small so you might get a lot more by focusing your spending on a transport. But then when you have something like a Gungnir which reclocks the signal, it seems you can be a bit more forgiving of a mediocre transport and you can go cheaper with similar results, as long as you don't trip off the VCO light.
     
  5. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Understood. But if you are thinking of adding CD to your system and your Modi Multibit has a spare input, I can attest that 20-yr-old Marantz -> Modi Multibit (via coax) >> Marantz internal DAC. Removal of treble hash, improvement of bass texture, and as Mrsdegraded put it "if I was to describe it visually, each instrument is more in its own space", so imaging (which I guess suggests that jitter is no worse).
     
  6. StefanAC

    StefanAC Acquaintance

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    @Biodegraded

    Sorry, but I beg to differ. While I haven‘t heard the Modi Multibit, I have experience with some high end DACs - Audiomat Maestro 1 MKII, Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 MKII, EAD DSP-9000 Series III etc. And a modified Philips CD-304 MKII isn‘t far of those DACs purely judged on sound.

    By the way - Marantz made a vast amount of different players in the last 30 years. Some good (CD-94 based are the best), some less so. Just get something with a TDA1541 and mod it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  7. StefanAC

    StefanAC Acquaintance

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    If someone is interested in researching which drives are used in @k4rstar list just have a look:

    http://vasiltech.narod.ru/CD-Player-DAC-Transport.htm

    I would go with a Philips CDM-1, a cheaper Sony mechanism or a widely available Sanyo drive. Even Sony’s high end laser die in the end and there are no spare parts anymore, Pioneer‘s stable platter drives like to loose a lens when they get old and the cheaper Teac VRDS drives are a joke.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  8. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    I should have been more specific: my Marantz is the CD63-II, which has the NPC SM5872 DAC.
     
  9. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    I scour the local Nashville lists all the time for hi-fi deals. If I find a good one I will let you know. There is a Denon DVD player on CL at the moment, but I remember seeing a Denon CD player not too long ago.
     
  10. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    And really guys, when talking transports, we really should be talking input chips and laser mecs as well as the controller chip. It is all about the PLL.
     
  11. powermatic

    powermatic Friend

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    I use a JVC XLZ-1050 that I bought new, which means ohdeargod it is directly on the heels of 30 years old. Which reminds me, I need to pop the cover and think about cap replacement. It has never, not once, failed to play a cd and yes, I will bang a 2x4 against my head repeatedly to hopefully counteract such a foolish statement. I am running it through the Gungnir Multibit of course but even the built-in DAC is not too bad, with the somewhat-fabled K2 anti-jitter circuit. It has a remote, motor-driven volume pot so you can use it sans preamp. I prefer the sound through my pre. YRMV, obviously it's hard to recommend buying a 30 year old cd player, but it has been a loyal workhorse for me.
    jvc xlz-1050.jpg
     
  12. GoldfishX

    GoldfishX Facebook Friend

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    Wait...what!? While I'm fully confident in their ability to put together a decent CD Transport/Player, where did you see this?

    I want to know because I've been keeping my eye out for one. Such a thing probably adds another piece of Schiit gear to my rig on day 1.

    Speaking of which...any thoughts on the PS Audio PWT (Perfectwave Transport)? Their approach of having the data stream from memory (after being read off the CD) seems promising and it goes for significantly less than the $4000 it commanded when it was new. The Woo Audio transport has good looks to it, but basically zero impressions online about it. Both fine looking pieces.
     
  13. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Damn, i need to read his blog more often. But it looks like a CD player is years away too
     
  14. Scott Kramer

    Scott Kramer Friend

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    @baldr said:
    <snip>I always knew that the best sound by far comes from spinning discs</snip>

    I hope he means ripped discs also (flac/wav) along with his mechanical spinner... that's a hell of a stretch to say a spinner alone is needed for best sound! Agreed with everything else re: streaming, universal, etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  15. StefanAC

    StefanAC Acquaintance

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    That is great news about a Schiit disk spinner! I hope they will keep it CD only and stay away from the whole DVD/BluRay crap that mainly adds complexity to the drive mechanism.

    My way into DIY started when I sold my Micromega Stage 3 CDP (which worked over 6 years without a single fault) to fund the purchase of a shiny new T+A DVD1210R DVD player. While the sound was an improvement, the noise while reading and playing a CD wasn't. And after 15 months the Philips VAL6011/01 drive mechanism died. I got it replaced under warrenty and everything was fine for another 18 months until that replacement drive died as well. Now out of warranty, T+A offered to replace the drive at the company's expense - I only had to pay for the drive unit. Which would cost me 500 Euros - and that is not a typo. The VAL6011/11 was obsolete by that time and the company I bought a 2100 Euro DVD player from wanted to sell me a 50 Euro drive for ten times the price. Luckily I found someone who could repair the defect - it was an overheating IC, which was obsolete as well. So much for future repairs. I sold the now working DVD1210R for less than 500 Euros and started my search for a replacement. That was 15 years ago.

    My premise for a new CDP was to either get one whose drive unit was indestructible or easily (and cheaply) replaceable. After much research I found out that only the Philips CDM-1 seemed to be in the former group. While drives like Sony's magnetic rail KSS-151 or KSS-190 (and the great BU-1C) were fantastic, their lasers started to fail and were no longer available or extremly expensive. The same went for the higher end TEAC VRDS from CMK-3 upwards which used the same lasers. The lower end VRDS drives like CMK-4 were a marketing joke as I see it - and even a Wadia 850 used them. I briefly became interested in the Pioneer stable platter drives (because I liked the Wadia 830) - until I read an ever increasing number of complaints that those drives started to loose their laser lenses due to deteriorating glue. That list could be continued to other manufacturers but the direction is clear - the better the drive mechanism, the higher the price and the lower the number sold. Which meant only a very limited amount of spare lasers in contrast to cheaper drives.

    In hindsight I should have kept my Micromega Stage 3 as that CDP used a Philips CDM-12.4 - readily available in the early noughties and even relatively cheap now. Or gone the CEC route earlier. All their drives used the same Sanyo SF-90 or SF-P1 drives as their basis, be it a TL-0, a TL-1 or a TL-5100. Those lasers are still widely available for less than 50 Euros and the belts are 5 Euro each - including shipping costs. But I fell for the Philips swing arm drives. Trying some CDM-4 based ones first I realized two things - the TDA1541 DACs these CDPs came with sounded great when modded and even a CDM-4/26 aka CDM-1 MKII dies in the end. And the ubiquitous CDM-9 are far worse in that respect.

    In the end, all my disc spinners now are based on the Philips CDM-1 drive. I bought, modded and sold over 30 of them in the past - only one came with a dead CDM-1. And that was due to a DIY attempt of the former owner who killed the working drive with his soldering iron. As in the early days of digital audio the CDM-1 / TDA1540 combination was used by a variety of manufacturers (Revox, Spectral, Magnavox, McIntosh, Meridian etc.), I think some advise for cheap players is in order. If you like an analog like sound, get a Philips CD-104/204/304 or Marantz CD-74/84 with a TDS 1540 DAC chip, replace the electrolytic caps and 5532 op-amps and call it a day. If you want to use it as a drive for your external DAC, the cheapest way is a Philips CD-304 MKII which uses the great TDA1541 - but you might prefer its internal DAC to your external one. The most modern CDM-1 based CDPs are the Marantz CD-94 and Philips CD-960 twins and their derivatives. And the ultimate CDM-1 transports are the Marantz CD-12 and Wadia WT 3200 twins while the Spectral SDR-1000 is the best integrated of the line. Good luck hunting the classifieds!
     
  16. jmcmasterj

    jmcmasterj Friend

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    I use a Teac PD-H600 as a transport. It's too bad this model was discontinued. It's very solid, reliable and smaller than most units.
     
  17. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

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    If you have this sort of money. Buy an esoteric transport, Ideally p1 grandioso but some of the line has the grail mechanism.
    Don't buy into the chord memes..
     
  18. huynhhungvnr

    huynhhungvnr New

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    Just found an old McIntosh MCD7005 in my basement.
    "16 bit DAC with 4X Oversampling". Anyone know how well it performs compare to modern DAC?
     
  19. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Any suggestions on a small very cheap (<200) CD transport to pair with the Vanatoo Zeros? Should have a remote.

    I don't suppose CD transport quality has much of an effect on SQ, does it?
     
  20. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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