Have transports improved for Redbook CD playback?

So I’m contemplating getting a new transport. I own an Oppo BDP-83SE player and a CAL Delta transport. I still use my transport and player for Redbook playback. 

Have transports improved for Redbook CD playback?
I think your sort of asking the wrong question. Are there transports better than what you have? Yes for sure. As far as transports improving the pertinent question would be since when? And another pertinent fact CD replay is on the quick decline so not a ton of R&D being done on transports. Did you have a budget in mind?
I don’t know about transports, but the DACs are MUCH better over the past 10 years for Redbook. Simply stunning by comparison. My guess is the clocks or reclocking circuits have improved, but other things like the common use of quad dac chips for a single channel may also be contributing. 
@jond I’m open on budget for a new transport. 

@erik_squires I ordered an Emperical Audio Synchro-Mesh reclocker. It seems as though that is where a significant improvement in signal processing might arise. 
@celander - I used Wyred4Sound’s version of that. they do work, but the benefits varied. I also use a Squeezebox. With an ARC DAC 8 the Remedy reclocker was an important improvement. When I upgraded to a Mytek Brooklyn it no longer made any difference.

That’s what I mean about the age of the DAC making a big difference. The new one’s seem to be much better at handling jitter, as well as playing back redbook.


As per your previous thread, I don't know what time period your enquiring about. But in a broad brush sweep, I can tell you arguably the best OEM transport mech ever made was the Victor XL-900 as used in the legendary Reimyo CDP-777. But sadly JVC stopped producing that transport. A few manufacturers are still using NOS Phillips CD Pro-2 LF which is probably the best remaining OEM redbook transport around. Though sadly production of that mech has also been stopped.

Esoteric are using the VRDS-NEO transpor mech. Accuphase meanwhile manufacture their own SACD drives in-house which is a smart move.

With your budget however, I would think this fully loaded Modwright Marantz SA8005 sacd player would be hard to beat. And it's dac performance would likely be good enough to sell your current dac - http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649456359-modwright-truth-tube-mod-marantz-sa8005-tube-cd-playerl...
The Bits is Bits argument is a logical fallacy. If it were true all CD players would sound the same. The Reed Solomon error correction codes can easily be shown to be rather ineffective, ditto the laser servo feedback mechanism. Errors introduced during the optical laser read process are *doubled* downstream during the conversion process.
Cambridge CXC and Nuprime CDT-8 are both excellent value new transports...I believe the transport is a critical component
Bel Canto's CD3t is a killer piece for the money. In the review from AVRev, they called it an outright steal. Note, however, they have made further improvements to it since the time of this review.


Disclosure: we're a Bel Canto Canadian dealer. Try and track down a Bel Canto dealer in the United States near you.
I have heard and liked the CEC beltdrive transports, they make models at a variety of pricepoints and pop up here used pretty regularly. As mentioned by melbguyone Teac/Esoteric makes the VRDS transports which are very high quality. I would suggest those are both good companies to consider as they make their own transport mechanisms. The last thing you want is a transport with a broken mechanism that cannot be fixed or replaced.
Get an asynchronous DAC and stop worrying about jitter!

You are talking about using USB.  Transports do not connect with USB.  Even with USB, you are at the mercy of the jitter in the USB module in the DAC.  This varies widely.  Even with USB, you have SQ issues due to signal integrity on the USB cable and common-mode noise.  Both of these introduce jitter into the USB interface.

I have heard and liked the CEC beltdrive transports

I have modded these in the past.  Reclocking is better.

What must be realized by everyone is that there is no panacea, no silver bullet.  Even reclockers are somewhat sensitive to incoming jitter, although much less than other devices.

If you do get a DAC with a USB or Ethernet interface in it, you are stuck with the jitter of that master clock and supporting circuitry/power subsystem. In general, the more you spend, the better the SQ with these, however many companies outsource these interfaces, so they don't have control over the design and don't understand the design.  They cannot easily make improvements over time.

A company like Empirical Audio that does not outsource the design can make improvements over time to reduce jitter.  We have made mods to our interfaces many times.  Our Ethernet and USB interfaces now deliver S/PDIF signal with 10psec of jitter, directly measured at the end of a 4 foot BNC coax.  Same with I2S.  The only advantage of these interfaces over a reclocker on S/PDIF is that they support native hi-res up to 24/192.  This advantage is not usually even audible in most systems.  If 44.1 signal has really low jitter and the DAC has a decent digital filter (or none), the advantage of 24/96 and 24/192 is much less.  This makes it much more enjoyable to listen to classic rock and jazz etc..

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

@jl35 Your transport suggestion of the Nuprime CDT-8 Pro is intriguing. Seems to do a lot for the $$$.
I’m going to compare my SF Ultra Jitterbug against my EA Synchro-Mesh/OTL reclocker using my CAL Delta into my Theta DS Pro Basic IIIA DAC. The Synchro-Mesh/OTL reclocker has significantly lower jitter than the Ultra Jitterbug on it’s output to the DAC, so the audible improvement of that upgrade should be evident. I’ll then move on to comparing the Oppo BDP-83SE and CAL Delta unit’s as transports feeding the Theta DAC with and without the EA Synchro-Mesh/OTL reclocker in the mix.
I recently bought a new Cambridge Audio CXU HD to use primarily as a transport.  Red Book CD's are better (more detail, huge sound
stage) than my Italian made Northstar transport, and Blu Ray movies are stunning! 

As an additional bonus I can stream from my computer (WiFi) through the CXU and straight into my Chord DAC which is MUCH, MUCH better than streaming through Roku (also WiFi) and the TV to the stereo.

For $700.00 I'm very happy!

Note: the CXU HD is strictly a spinner, it has no on-board DAC.
@fixedincome It seems as though the Cambridge unit is a complete blu-ray player (with built-in DAC). 
Post removed 
I have a Chord Blu Mk 2 cd transport and upsampler. It's key advantage is the built in upsampler. It can upsample CDs to 32/384 via BNC SPDIF. If used with its sister Chord DACs, Dave (I'm using this) and Qutest, it can upsample to 32/768 using dual BNC SPDIF. This is the best transport I've had in my system which have included a Accustic Arts CD transport, AudioNote CDT2, 47 Labs Flatfish w/upgraded clock and battery power and Esoteric P2S. FWIW.

Transports do make a difference in the performance of the DAC it is driving.  I highly recommend that you take a look at thread I started on the Jay's Audio CDT-2 MK-2 transport that I'm reviewing for hometheaterreview.com.  I have a very long history with some of the highest regarded transports in the last twenty years and based on build quality and more importantly performance this 2K transport is a true bargain.
Celander, I found the Oppo 83SE was a fine universal DVD player back in its day but a quality dedicated CD player will sound much better for Redbook CD playback. I would also recommend an Esoteric unit as others have. They are built like tanks and sound excellent.
What’s it mean to be a “single speed player,” such as the Primeforce CDT-8 Pro?

Are universal players multi-speed players? And don’t Redbook players vary speed as a function of disc reading location? 
I looked at Jay's Audio transport offerings, I was very surprised that they do not have Toslink
For me the answer is simple: VRDS-Neo... The only transport which solves the problem of badly pressed CDs (as described at square-2.com), and this is what I will be getting for myself (with Schiit or Naim DAC) for an upgrade from my present CDS3/Wadia 781i... All these pains of reducing external vibrations seem slightly irrelevant to me, once I measured that the most vibration onto CD/SACD mechanism is actually coming from the inside, from the badly pressed CDs... 
So far I bought all available "CD mats" which promise to reduce CD vibration while spinning, if any will reduce it, I will post an update to my blog. But VRDS-Neo clamps CD to a heavy "top-platter" and any pressing glitches should be reduced drastically. 
I have an Exemplar modded Oppo 83 that I play SACDs on. I couldn’t run it to my Schiit Gumby because it has no 2 channel output other than the rca, as I recall.  Check your Oppo and the DAC; I’m not sure you can run the Oppo to it.
Oppo DACs seem to be pretty good. I think my Mac changer through the Gumby sounds a bit better than a Red Book on the Oppo, myself. 
No jitter.

Not technically possible.  Any company that claims no jitter is FOS.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

I'll agree. That was my input, not the manufacturer's.  

The BCD-3 has only 1 master clock  that controls both the transport and DAC rather than the DAC slaving to the usually inferior transport clock. 

DAC slaving to an inferior transport problem is eliminated with a Synchro-Mesh reclocker.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Post removed 
The NuPrime CDT-8 Pro transport claims to have ultra low jitter. A NuPrime Support Manager reported by email to me that the CDT-8 Pro output circuit jitter measures at 120 psec. That’s not exactly ultra low jitter. Hell, my 20-year old CAL Delta transport has 50 psec jitter. 
Post removed 
I just put a Jay's Audio CDT2 MK2 into my system, replacing a Musical FIdelity M1 CDT, and an April Music Stello CDT100. The jay's is MUCH MUCH better than the Musical FIdelity, and the Musical Fidelity was better than the Stello, to my ears. 

The build quality on the Jay's is incredible, so that might be part of it. But the build quality on the Stello is better than on the Musical Fidelity.

Transports matter.
celandar, Any chance to compare the sound with the Synchro Mesh in the loop?

@kalali. Nope. I’ve since returned both units. I never had both at the same time to set up the test. I’m sure the SM would have improved the SQ of the CDT-8 Pro.