CD Transport / Player Thread

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

  1. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    4,751
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I got the Onkyo C7030 recently and it's fantastic for the money (you can find them for around $150). Much better than my crappy Sony DVD player. Even the DAC inside was not embarrassed by Gungnir Multibit... in fact I find it just as enjoyable with technicalities not being hugely different (Gungnir Multibit is a bit more euphonic, bit better at subtle room acoustics and instrumental reverberations, etc). I am selling Gungnir Multibit to fund something important and only considered it once I compared the two and realized I could live without it. I really can't believe something so cheap sounds this good.
     
  2. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    6,519
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I've been looking for a CD transport to upgrade from my Arcam CD73 for months. I finally found a replacement, and while I'm not sure I'll be keeping it for reasons unrelated to performance, I wanted to share it anyway.

    My criteria for a new transport were as follows:
    -Massive, overbuilt, everlasting construction with an emphasis on vibration control
    -A legendary mechanism
    -A remote
    -Display shut off
    -BNC output
    -Table of contents display

    [​IMG]

    This is the Pioneer PD-S95, AKA the PD-T09 in Japan. Imported stateside under the 'Elite' line of hi-fi components, it did not sell very well due to poor dealer traction and inability to compete directly with US household names like Theta & Wadia who were slapping new faceplates on other Japanese disc spinners and marking them up 300%. Specifically, this is the transport-only model, not sporting the Legato converters of the PD-95 but instead BNC output and a slightly different finish.

    It has everything on my wish list, except for TOC display. It reads even the most scuffed CDs in my library in a second flat and skips tracks instantly (even faster than the already reliable Arcam). The display on/off is a toggle and the display smartly remains on when playback is paused; unlike the Arcam where it needed to be turned off again after every interaction with the player.

    [​IMG]

    The mechanism is Pioneer's own Stable Platter, a suspended turntable-like platter that the disc is placed on face down, with the laser assembly mounted above. The platter sits in a comically large motorized drawer. The player weighs over 40 lbs, making it nearly twice the weight of the Yggdrasil sitting in the shelf below it. This particular unit was modified by the previous owner with Black Gate capacitors (lord knows why on a transport) and an IEC inlet (the stock unit features a fixed power cord).

    So how does it sound? The Arcam made for a lovely transport. Its sound was well balanced with especially great attack. I have not had much of a chance to A/B between the Pioneer and Arcam, but first impressions puts the Pioneer as being cleaner, purer, and slightly more dynamic with better layering. I think if it has any character as a transport, it is a little lean in the lower mids & bass. This is not unlike the Arcam which I always felt was a little bright & airy compared to a USB connection.

    Regardless, they absolutely do not make anything like this anymore. It feels like I have a museum piece sitting in my rack, albeit one that will last a lifetime. My curiosity remains squarely on how this unit would perform against a unit sporting a VRDS mechanism such as a TEAC VRDS-25 or Esoteric P-2, as well as if there any gains to be made between the standard RCA coaxial output and the BNC output which I have yet to test.
     
  3. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,376
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Nice write up, @k4rstar. I owned a PD-65 CD player for a couple of years and then sold it to a buddy who still uses it today. The thing won't die. He also tried it as a transport when I lent him my Bifrost Multibit and Yggdrasil on separate occasions, and it still made a great transport. It's too bad Pioneer discontinued the stable platter system.
     
  4. Don Quichotte

    Don Quichotte Rando

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2018
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Baia Mare, Romania (EU)
    The thing won't die... until the laser diode does, isn't it? Then you would need to replace it and it might be unavailable by that time. This is what I would fear most if buying such an otherwise very impressive vintage unit. Even for my lowly Cambridge D300 CD player I have bought 2 spare transport modules (the whole mechanical part, not only the laser ensemble) and 14 years later I still find myself using the player, having done 1 transport replacement about 4 years ago. Pretty good sounding btw, for the price of course, and proved to be a really decent transport (with BNC out!) for a Gungnir Multibit.
    Regarding these high end transport units such as the Pioneer above, does their laser diode have a significantly longer lifespan? Because something tells me that would not be the case...
     
  5. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,376
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Granted, my sample size for judging the reliability of the PD-65 is exactly ONE, it's hardly reliable data. However, after working electronics retail jobs and a few years with a manufacturer, I can say that 20+ years on a CD player with no repairs is very unusual. Or maybe the Pioneer Stable Platform really was that good. Either way, laser diode replacement availability normally gets pretty sketchy after 5 years unless the transport mechanism was used in multiple models over several years.
     
  6. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    383
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    India
    Always wanted to see how a well regarded CD player serves as a transport:

    Marantz CD63 II Ki Signature

    [​IMG]


    As a Coax transport -
    Sounds better than average. Has this grand speaker like presentation, extremely smooth and grain free so much so that treble sounds bit too polite. Vocals sound delicate, some warmth, good resolution, very good tone/timbre/pitch. Bass is on the thicker side and this is what ruins everything else. Were the bass just a little tighter , it would have made for very good transport. At this point the cheap PCI Digigram easily outdoes this Marantz as a Transport

    As a DAC - Sounds underwhelming. Low resolution is a major weakness. Still not as bad as most sabre/AKM dacs (Some of them are a disaster)

    vs ESI [email protected] xte via coax - The marantz is much better. [email protected] is decently resolving but can hardly portray the sacle of instruments. On well recorded tracks the [email protected] sounds just flat. No dynamic surprises. [email protected]'s DAC isn't horrible though. Limited resolution and some treble energy but otherwise a good tone
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  7. winders

    winders boomer

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,562
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    San Martin, CA
    This post of yours is confusing. The Marantz CD player is a CD transport with no inputs (well, there is a remote control input) and digital (RCA Coax) and analog (RCA) outputs. The Eitr is a DDC and is in no way a transport. It is not possible to intelligently compare the Eitr and Marantz CD player as they perform completely different functions. Your statement that the Eitr is "even worse than the SPDIF header you get for free on a desktop motherboard" is simply outrageous.

    What is happening to this place?
     
  8. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    383
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    India
    .
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  9. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,981
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Australia
    I also find it rather odd. Eitr is probably the best audio I've heard out of a pc other than DLNA.
    Sibilant upper vocals? I think it might be worthwhile tinkering a bit with the eitr.. Something seems amiss.
     
  10. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    383
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    India
    Well yes, to several people it has sounded good and has been considered as a VFM USB solution. And I don't doubt/question others experience. It's just that I didn't find it good. The performance delta is rather huge than the PCI card I am using. To eitr's credit , I've disliked all the USB solutions I've heard. Not anything fancy , just some Musical Fidelity V Link II (even lower fidelity than the eitr but bought much cheaper) and a Firestone Key (awful).
    I think we can move on from defending products we own. The Marantz I bought , several owners have heard the voices of God from its DAC section , I think it was just lo-fi.
     
  11. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,981
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Australia
    Has nothing to do with defending my own purchases. I have many interfaces and transports that cost 10x as much as eitr. I've also spent time with pretty much all the best streamers on the market aurender, aria, aries and I simply don't agree with your impressions. Is the EITR the best thing on the market? No. But it's also not bad and it's definitely not "soft, hardly any drive, sibilant upper vocals." .

    I think there is something else going on here.
     
  12. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    383
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    India
    Phew, it would have been better if I had not mentioned the eitr at all. The only reason I did is to provide some references to well known similar type of gear, in this case the eitr.
    I'll edit the post and make peace.
     
  13. Xecuter

    Xecuter Brush and floss your amp twice a day

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,981
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Australia
    Don't do that! I'm not saying you're wrong! Maybe it does sound like shit,
    I just want to know why it sounds like shit for you, when so many people have found it is really solid for the price. Including myself.
     
  14. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    383
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    India
    I understand and find your response reasonable. But I'd like to move on from here. I ain't very good with words and describing my findings further will only make it worse.
    Moving on to CD players, Denon DCD 2700 to be acquired next.
     
  15. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

    Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    6,636
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    When comparing to the [email protected] and Digigram, did you use 16/44 rips of the same CD(s) you were playing on the transport so you could be sure they were the same masters?

    Looking forward to reading your impressions of the Denon vs the Marantz as transports. Different mechanisms, presumably different PLL implementations as well. Is the DAC you're feeding the Adcom underneath? I can't read the model number.
     
  16. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    383
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    India
    Yes, all self ripped CDs. I used the ESI for almost two months, so have a good idea how it sounds. I was using the digigram earlier but moved to ESi as it was a PCIe solution and my new PC didnt have the legacy PCI to support Digigram VX222 V2.

    Marantz will soon go under surgery for a better coax performance. Stock it's fine but the thick bass is bothersome.

    The DAC is an Adcom GDA600, modded.
     
  17. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

    Friend Contributor
    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    6,636
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    Taken from SFD-1 thread...

    Do you know the DX2? Here's one for $CAD 220:

    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649445545-california-audio-labs-dx2-cd-player/
     
  18. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,376
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Single bit, I believe it was $650 new 20 years ago. Not a bad sounding player but 220 CAD seems like a lot to me. Honestly you can probably find something new for a little more money that has a warranty and is probably as good. I'd hold out for a CAL Icon MkII (multibit) if you want a CAL in that price range.
     
  19. Merc

    Merc Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Canada
    I like physical ownership of music and use a CEC TL-1N belt drive transport and soon to arrive Schitt Yjjdrasil 2 daC. I did own PS Audios Direct stream memory player a very good transport of sorts though still effected with screen freeze ups and other glitches however comparing the CEC transport to the Direct Stream I ended up selling the PS Audio player.,..
     
  20. sacredgates

    sacredgates Audio-Technica's high priest

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2015
    Likes Received:
    412
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Black Forest Germany
    Home Page:
    [​IMG]

    I finally settled on a dedicated CD player as a transport for my headphone listening set up.

    I was looking for a cd player/transport:
    - with a small footprint
    - which is well built / engineered (especially with a good drive)
    - with a dedicated and nice remote control
    - with attention given to the power supply
    - not older than 10 years

    In the end I narrowed down my search to the Denon dcd-cx3 sacd player.
    It took a couple of months before one showed up for sale in optical mint condition but with a flawed opening mechanism (see later).

    This little guy was part of a set of high quality medium sized components.
    Especially the cd player stands out. It got quite a bit of technology and know how from its Denon flagship brothers, like a proper master clock and dac layout from the AE series. High quality parts were used like Elna Silmic ii capacitors. Build quality is really solid; this player was still made in Japan...
    The engineers were allowed to develop a custom solution for the drive because of the smaller footprint. It is much better than average. It is encased in its own dedicated zinc casing weighing 1.4 kg by itself. The tray is slim and made entirely from dy cast aluminium.

    [​IMG]

    The dcd cx-3 cd player comes in with a rather hefty 7 kg; subjectively it feels like a lot for the size.
    There are independent power supplies for the analogue and digital section with two separate power transformers.
    And it does indeed come with a nice and complete dedicated remote control, without being cluttered with buttons for other components.
    Negatives are the small display, and the fact that many players develop a problem with the opening mechanism when getting older. Denon has a repair and modification set available which solves this problem. The repair/modification is reasonably easy when you have the right parts + instructions and when you are a little proficient with such things.
    I just finished these repairs, and while at it I did glue a few pieces of Dynamat dampening material onto the zinc drive casing.

    I am happy with the results as a cd transport for the price I payed (400€ + 45€ repair parts). The player now feeds my Soekris Dac1541. Occasionally a SACD is played directly from the analogue out. Digital to analogue conversion is very reasonable for SACD. CD analogue out is a few classes below that what the Soekris can accomplish when taking over the conversion.

    There is info on the web here and there.
    Here a few links:

    5 photos (click 4 times next image)

    japanese page with photos and english texts when scrolling further down
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018

Share This Page