It definitely makes sense to get a great DAC. But should one get a CD player and pay a premium for the transport? What should the percentage of cost allocation be between DAC and Transport these days?
Thanks. Looking forward to your wisom.
In my opinion, nothing for the transport, no transport. Rather, apply all funds for a better dac and connection to a computer source or streamer.
Nothing, I'm running a Meridian 808.2. Who needs a transport or a DAC?
If you want a good transport AND processor I dont think you can go past the PS Audio PWT and PWD. With the upcomming Bridge (which is inserted into the DAC) you can have your cake and eat it too as this is a high quality interface for computer audio. If you are like me and unwilling to rip all your cds or just want to play it by ear for a while and see what happens, for $3K US each you will get CD playback which is right up there with the very best.
I agree with two gents above
Getting the best DAC makes the best sense today. Regarding the transports...if I were not looking for the cutting edge sound...Id just use a simple player like Oppo, NAD, Cambridge, etc... and use its digital output connected to a great DAC. If I had lots of CD's that i wanted to continue to spin even in the near future and wanted the best sound from a transport then I would invest in a memory player like the P.S. Audio Perfect Wave Transport or the MSB platinum Data CD IV transport. If I were ready to step into the future and tired of changing disks every few mins....then I would get a simple cd player for occasional cd spinning and invest in a cutting edge music server like the Sooloos or Qsonix. If thats too much then simplar music servers can be had at much lower cost still providing cutting edge sound but not a cutting edge user interfase. It all depends what you want and how you plan to listen to music. But in todays world its surely a good idea to invest in the best DAC that you can or a device that can be used as a DAC as well...(like the Meridian 802. type player). Cutting Edge sound doesn't need to cost a fortune anymore. Ex. a Bryston BDA1 DAC with a Nad or Rotel player used as a transport will get you very near the best thats available out there for under $3K. Something unthinkable 5 to 10 years ago.
It depends on your priorities and your budget. I compared one of the best ripping systems with a state-of-the-art cd-transport. The transport was able to provide more information, more precisely to the dac than the rip solution. Computer audio is in its infancy. Ripping has basicly convenience advantages. They should be compared only with cd players/transports in their price range. If you have a good cd collection and you want to get the best out of them, the best transport you can afford is still a must. Recommendations possible for a certain budget range.
I have to respectfully disagree. I too was curious as to the differences. "Infancy" is a relative term and YES, the high end stuff like dCS, ARC, etc. with their Asynchronous USB solutions are indeed in their infancy. However, if you are lucky enough to listen to the PS Audio's WAVE/BRIDGE solution, this is not in its infancy and is absolutely incredible. I did some comparing the ARC DAC 8 with the PS Audio WAVE/BRIDGE and the difference was astounding.
For those wanting to jump in, there is a great solution and I have jumped. No more transport for me. All my CD's are being ripped and those that have HDCD encoding can retain their HDCD using the right ripping software (dbPoweramp) and using RipNas Essentials hooked to my Windows home server, I can automatically rip in no time to a specified directory just how I want and yes, it does sound as good as played through a transport.
Of course, the real joy is in the high res stuff. Again, the PSA solution is spectacular, IMHO, blowing away the "infant" and "immature" solution of Asynchronous USB others have chosen.
So, does one still need a transport? Depends what DAC you are using.
Hmmm, yet on the PSAudio forum you claim the sound of the PWD is much better with the transport, so which is it? Maybe both are great?
Maybe you can tell me what your goal is.
If you look at the date of my respective posts, YOU will SEE that when I reviewed the Bridge compared to the DAC 8's USB, it was before I had ever considered the PWT as an alternative. IF YOU read my posts on the PSA forum, instead of selectively taking them out of context, you will see that I was a long time audiophile guy who took an 8 year hiatus who got back into it as a result of digital media products via server solutions without the need for a transport being produced by respectable high end companies eliminating the hassles of vinyl and transports, a big reason why I got tired of the world of audiophillia. My initial experiences once reentering were indeed less cumbersome to me than the old days, for me at least, of vinyl and transports, hence the post you are now responding to.
As with the ARC DAC, despite purchasing the PWD with Bridge, my mind is open not closed and had the ARC sounded better via their HD USB 2.0 (will not use term asynchronous) I would have gladly worked a deal out with my dealer and replaced the PWD as a server solution. I found the PWD/Bridge much superior and returned the DAC 8 with a thanks but no thanks. The one server solution I would like to compare the Bridge to is the Weiss, but unfortunately, that is not possible for me at this time as I do not know anyone who locally sells them or who has one for me to play with.
Lastly, as it particularly pertains to the post regarding the PWT and my recent posts on the PSA forum and elsewhere here on AVGUIDE, someone on the PSA forum stated that they like the PWT better than Bridge. As with the ARC, keeping an open mind, I took my dealers PWT, cut a bunch of discs and actually wrote a fairly extensive review on the PSA forum regarding my impressions of the PWT after listening to and comparing the same source material extensively all of last weekend. You are correct that at this point, I do find the PWT superior to the Bridge which I find superior to ARC's DAC 8 USB input. Since the sonics of my system is still first on my list, I purchased a PWT from dealer after my experience so I now have both the Bridge and the PWT, the latter at this time, I believe sonically superior.
If you look at the date of my post on the PSA forum, you will see that my experience with the PWT occurred after the original post here and my ultimate hope is that in the future a server solution will be able to replace a transport.
Hopefully this will clarify some of my posts you seem to have issue with.
I recently bought a Bryston BDA 1 and could not be happier. In fact, my transport is a mint 1990 TOTL Denon DCD 3560. Yes, I have a spare laser and belts to keep it going.
The build quality of the 3560 puts most high end to shame. Copper plate throughout to prevent any RF from getting in. Separate power supplies for analogue or digital circuits. It shows (sounds). It has 2 SPDIF outs and an optical out. In addition to the RCA analogue out.
I would like to point out that the differences in the sound of the 20 bit DAC in the Denon compared to the Bryston is subtle at best. It is not light and day as one would think. I am not sure how you are to take this but perhaps "if it is good, it is good". Personally, I chose the vintage route on this simply BECAUSE THEY ARE BUILT BETTER AND DESIGNED TO LAST. I cannot say this of the Philips transport in the Bryston BCD 1, which I rejected as too flimsy. I was not willing to pay more. But I got this "gem of a vintage player" for cheap, and with spare parts it will keep on going. Coupled with a new DAC it has new life left in it. Not even comparing the sound of its own DAC, which is not too shabby at all. In fact, I think it would embarrass many modern DACs if tested.
But whatever route you go, if you buy new GET A NEW LASER AND BELTS NOW WHILE THEY ARE STILL AROUND. Imagine getting a turntable and finding out 15 years later you cannot use it as you have no cartridge to use on it.
I currently own an EMM cdsa player and a EMM Dac 2 I also use a Weiss INT interface to connect the dac to my mac.I dont want to use the cdsa transport for occasional listening and I found that a number of very cheap players can do amazingly well as transports.To name a few XTZ cd player, oppo ,my favorite though is a Sony DVD player 900V I bought next to nothing secondhand !
My advise is never to pay big money for a transport.
I agree with Zak. The Oppo BDP 83 or newer transport for $500 will give near reference level sound with an excellent DAC. i.e. The DAC must have good jitter rejection. FWIW, the new Ayre DX-5 universal player that sells for a $10,000 price tag uses the exact same oppo transport. You can read Micheal Fremers stereophile review of the DX5 where he clearly states that.
The new $4000 MSB universal player is also using exact same oppo cd transport in their player.
Okay, this is just my experience. I was using an Oppo 83 as my transport and I loved what it was doing in concert with my TriVista DAC (yes, I'm a very, very modest audiophile--it's a curse you know) but I took a chance when someone was willing to give away Lector's newest transport. Well, my system was improved greatly. It made more difference than any swapping of amp, preamp, speakers, cables I have ever experienced. I have no reason why; I can hardly believe it myself, but my wife yeard it and my kids and so on. It doesn't make sense but I'm not going to question it.
P.S. I thought maybe since I was optimizing the rest of my system it might be the last piece syndrome--you know your stereo is only as good as your weakest link