Would a CD transport still make sense?

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newlash09

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I just had to chime-in on this one...

I suspect a many who lived through the CD journey from the mid 1980s are asking the same question:  Is it still worth spinning CDs?

I just wanted to share that although I would be quite happy spinning CDs still - and having them hanging around in their cases for convenience and art work - the sound of a lossless file [pick your favorite flavor] ripped to your music library [again pick your favorite flavor] easily trumps spinning CDs and spitting it out on the fly.

We have a lovely REGA APOLLO ANNIVERSARY CD-player - the one with the WOLFSON DAC set and the Submarine hatch on top.  But playing CDs out through this into our CHORD QUTEST DAC is sadly lacking compared to the music files we play - ripped from those same CDs.

I theorize that having a totally error-free file assembled and sent from RAM in a laptop/iPad [again, pick your favorite flavor] ensures less jitter and less errors than ripping data off a CD in real-time.  I don't know - perhaps I am simplifying things.

In any event, if sound quality is what you are after, a CD-transport can easily be bettered.

We put our lovely REGA away many moons ago - hoping it will emerge in a year or two as our toddler's first CD-player.

Frankly, if I was investing more money in the CD-format, it would be looking to invest in a really high-end CD-ripping device.

[If we want to ask:  Is it is still worth purchasing CDs?  That is a whole other kettle of fish...]
I will be honest about my observations as mentioned below and i can assure you that iam not prejudicial to either sir :)

I have a esotric K-01 sacd player. And I recently tried a lumin T1 streamer cum dac. The lumin was streaming the same tracks from tidal, that i was playing via the esoteric. 

I will reserve the judgement as to sound quality via the 2 mediums for later  :)

Then i streamed the same tidal tracks with the lumin only acting as a streamer, feeding the esoteric as a dac, via high fidelity CT-R1 co axial cable. This clearly showed that the 8 parallel akm chips per channel in the esoteric were clearly more resolving, more revealing of smaller details and more dynamic than the internal dac of the lumin.

Now I will come back to my first point, when comparing tidal streams from lumin vs local cd playback on the esoteric, i heard same exact differences between the two, which actually boils down to the competency of their dacs. And i honestly feel that some tidal tracks properly ripped from the master track will match the quality of a locally played cd, though not all of their library. So a good quality tidal track can match cd playback, if the digital chain is properly thought out.

But why then do I still hold onto the esoteric,  and it is not definitely because of my perceived superior sound quality. But it is because of a tangibly  superior experience for me which comes from handling my favourite discs. Maybe for the same reason behind the resurgence of vinyl....just my 2 cents :)

 
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SONDEKNZ

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@newlash09

We find that TIDAL files are patchy in quality. 

Occasionally TIDAL MASTER files sound simply fantastic.  More often though, they sound less good than our RIPPED CD files.

I used to miss the tactile experience of putting on a CD - we have thousands of LPs too, so can fully relate - but that was quite a while ago.  I don't think I miss the ritual anymore, although having the real original artwork and booklet handy would be nice.  (Someone will direct me to ROON... I'm sure)

I guess my previous post was coming at this strictly from a sound quality priority.

As you quite rightly point out, sound quality alone will not be everybody's priority.
 

For the record, we use the same CHORD QUTEST DAC for comparing all file sources.

 
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newlash09

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@newlash09

We find that TIDAL files are patchy in quality. 

Occasionally TIDAL MASTER files sound simply fantastic.  More often though, they sound less good than our RIPPED CD files.

I used to miss the tactile experience of putting on a CD - we have thousands of LPs too, so can fully relate - but that was quite a while ago.  I don't think I miss the ritual anymore, although having the real original artwork and booklet handy would be nice.  (Someone will direct me to ROON... I'm sure)

I guess my previous post was coming at this strictly from a sound quality priority.

As you quite rightly point out, sound quality alone will not be everybody's priority.
 
Exactly sir :)

I have 750 gb rips of the same CDs I play in lossless format. And I perceive no difference between playing locally ripped files or streaming from tidal as far as the experience as a whole is concerned, in that   I equate both to the same restless experience of constantly browsing and lining up the next track, instead of immersing in the present beauty.

I did use roon for 2 years, with a very long digital chain with reclockers, seperate end points, and  plenty of linear power supplies. In the end it got to the point where it was tiring to concentrate on which addition was making a change. So in the end I just threw everything out, now I just use a simple chrome cast audio for non serious listening. But when iam in the groove,  I switch off my lights, and spin a CD,  throw away the remote, and just sink back into my recliner :)

 

Boris the Animal

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Do you mind me asking which streamer? 

My listening time is limited with kids, I like to listen to new /  old favourites when I get the chance and quality is what I long for, if I had time on my hands and I was single / retired  I would be all over streaming and the world it would bring, my biggest disappointment with streaming is that the HI-RES material is often below CD quality and the different services and the content that each offers will become more fragmented depending on the label / service provider catalogue.

With silver disc's I have what I have, I own it and it sounds good. most of the time.
I’m using the Primare Prisma module for streaming. 
Streaming certainly brings benefits but I don’t find it such a relaxing experience. I’m always flicking from one track to another or one artist to another. There’s a time for that of course. But the greatest enjoyment is just hitting a ‘play’ button and forgetting about how the music is being delivered. 
I haven’t bought a CD for ages but still buy vinyl. What I’m struggling with is what to do with the CD collection going forwards.

 

StingRay

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Do you mind me asking which streamer? 

My listening time is limited with kids, I like to listen to new /  old favourites when I get the chance and quality is what I long for, if I had time on my hands and I was single / retired  I would be all over streaming and the world it would bring, my biggest disappointment with streaming is that the HI-RES material is often below CD quality and the different services and the content that each offers will become more fragmented depending on the label / service provider catalogue.

With silver disc's I have what I have, I own it and it sounds good. most of the time.
Some cds I have sound awful, many of the more recent remasters are better. Some of the HiRes on Qobuz is worth hearing. The advantage of streaming is you can try new music and the choice. Some cds are getting very expensive now as they become rarer or you can’t buy them anymore. 

 

tackleberry

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The youngest player I have was made in 98’, I’ve had tons of players and never had a failed laser. I only had a new one put in my cd7 cos I wanted to. I had a cd104 that is a bit dicky when it had been on too long that’s it, my pal who bought it had a mess with the power supply, sorted! 

 
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MartinC

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Do you mind me asking which streamer? 

My listening time is limited with kids, I like to listen to new /  old favourites when I get the chance and quality is what I long for, if I had time on my hands and I was single / retired  I would be all over streaming and the world it would bring, my biggest disappointment with streaming is that the HI-RES material is often below CD quality and the different services and the content that each offers will become more fragmented depending on the label / service provider catalogue.

With silver disc's I have what I have, I own it and it sounds good. most of the time.
The miniDSP SHD listed in my Wigwam Info is a streamer as well as a DSP/DAC/pre-amp unit. I bought it because of its non-streaming functionality and wouldn't particularly encourage anyone solely focussing on streaming capability to consider one, in part as the Volumio UI is not the best. A NAD C658 offfers much of the same functionality but combined with the better Bluesound streaing UI. The Dirac Live functionality of both will take some time to make the most of and my guess is that you may well end up considering this too much of a faff at a busy time.

 

hearhere

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My Primare I35 amp is quite new and has a good DAC module. I am still using my 10- year old Naim CD5i-2 CD player as well as having most of the CD collection on Flac and stored on a Synology NAS drive. So I can access digital files from Tidal, from the NAS or from the Naim. I find Tidal quite variable in quality, the NAS is marginally better than the CD player, but is using the much newer DAC. My wife much prefers to use the CD player. I’m considering adding a new CD transport which I suspect will provide the most consistent high quality source. I’m keen to hear the views of the WAM on this. There is a little voice telling me I must be nuts.
Just an idea, but I wanted to retain a CD playing facility (now mainly for borrowed or friends' CDs I don't want to rip), but not just a CD player.  I hate using a PC for anything other than for control so I need a ripper, streamer and NAS drive.  You can get all these features in one box - CD player, CD ripper, 2 x 2TB hard drives and streamer that's Roon certified and MQA compatible.  Perhaps that's what you're looking for too?  Answer - there's only a couple on the market - I have the NAD M50.2.  Ticks all these boxes.

 
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Boris the Animal

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Just an idea, but I wanted to retain a CD playing facility (now mainly for borrowed or friends' CDs I don't want to rip), but not just a CD player.  I hate using a PC for anything other than for control so I need a ripper, streamer and NAS drive.  You can get all these features in one box - CD player, CD ripper, 2 x 2TB hard drives and streamer that's Roon certified and MQA compatible.  Perhaps that's what you're looking for too?  Answer - there's only a couple on the market - I have the NAD M50.2.  Ticks all these boxes.
Looks great Peter but much more than I need. I was wondering if there would be anyone firmly in favour of a quality transport over ripped flac files but it seems not. 

 

Metatron

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My wife much prefers to use the CD player. I’m considering adding a new CD transport which I suspect will provide the most consistent high quality source. I’m keen to hear the views of the WAM on this. There is a little voice telling me I must be nuts.
The answer is that this is for your wife. It's not really YOU you need to keep happy. Rather, that will be a by-product of keeping your wife happy.

Personally, I think there are some very good CD transports out there used. Naim CD5XS is a damn good player and can also be fed to a DAC, so you will get two options of how to listen to ye olde silva diskies. There are others, but if your wife like the Naim sound, look, etc... I'd build on that.

And I'm not known as a Naim fan, so there ya go.

 

mtbmarkymark

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I was looking for a CD transport last year and bought a Pro-ject CD Box RS2T. One of the deciding factors was that they had developed their own laser mech so it should be serviceable into the future. It sounds very good. It's only downside is that i found the physical noise of the spinning disc noticeable when listening at low levels late at night.

After reading @George 47 review I listened to a Melco hard disc player. I used it with an £122 Buffalo bluray drive. When you put a CD in the drive the Melco asks if you want to play it ( CD transport mode ) or rip it to the hard disc. Once ripped you soon find yourself playing the rip in preference

The sound quality is excellent just bettering the Pro-ject. You get a streamer too. Of course should the bluray drive reach the end of its life replacement is easy. 

 
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Boris the Animal

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I was looking for a CD transport last year and bought a Pro-ject CD Box RS2T. One of the deciding factors was that they had developed their own laser mech so it should be serviceable into the future. It sounds very good. It's only downside is that i found the physical noise of the spinning disc noticeable when listening at low levels late at night.

After reading @George 47 review I listened to a Melco hard disc player. I used it with an £122 Buffalo bluray drive. When you put a CD in the drive the Melco asks if you want to play it ( CD transport mode ) or rip it to the hard disc. Once ripped you soon find yourself playing the rip in preference

The sound quality is excellent just bettering the Pro-ject. You get a streamer too. Of course should the bluray drive reach the end of its life replacement is easy. 
This is helpful. I saw a Cyrus video promoting the technical advantages of transports over lossless ripped files but I guess that was just marketing-speak judging from the replies here.

 

hearhere

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I was looking for a CD transport last year and bought a Pro-ject CD Box RS2T. One of the deciding factors was that they had developed their own laser mech so it should be serviceable into the future. It sounds very good. It's only downside is that i found the physical noise of the spinning disc noticeable when listening at low levels late at night.

After reading @George 47 review I listened to a Melco hard disc player. I used it with an £122 Buffalo bluray drive. When you put a CD in the drive the Melco asks if you want to play it ( CD transport mode ) or rip it to the hard disc. Once ripped you soon find yourself playing the rip in preference

The sound quality is excellent just bettering the Pro-ject. You get a streamer too. Of course should the bluray drive reach the end of its life replacement is easy. 
Could you let me know the model number of the Melco you mention?  It's not in your Wigwam Info and I can't find a CD player / ripper / hard drive store / streamer on the Melco website.  I was only aware of the NAD M50.2 and an expensive Metronome that did all this in one box, but I'm sure there are one or two other similar devices out there.  Thanks

 

Metatron

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I'm assuming the Melco D100 as it's their only transport/ripper.

No physical playback buttons. Also looks like it came from 1981

Edit: following removed as not pertinent to OP who was not asking about the Melco model.

I think it requires something from the N1, N10 N100 series of Melco products. I don't think you can just plug the USB into a PC and rip away with your choice of software.

I also don't see how it solves your wife's hankerings. You have ripped music already and have means to play it, but this doesn't satisfy your wife who prefers entering a disc and hitting a play button.

So getting a Melco N100 that doesn't 'play' discs out to a DAC using physical buttons, but requires some control software (likely Melco's), is going to solve her requirement how exactly? 

Caveat: it is reported/advertised as a great standalone player into a USB-DAC, but I cannot see how without physical play/stop buttons - it has that 'requires a computer control device' element to it. 

 
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Boris the Animal

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I'm assuming the Melco D100 as it's their only transport/ripper.

No physical playback buttons. Also looks like it came from 1981

I think it requires something from the N1, N10 N100 series of Melco products. I don't think you can just plug the USB into a PC and rip away with your choice of software.

I also don't see how it solves your wife's hankerings. You have ripped music already and have means to play it, but this doesn't satisfy your wife who prefers entering a disc and hitting a play button.

So getting a Melco N100 that doesn't 'play' discs out to a DAC using physical buttons, but requires some control software (likely Melco's), is going to solve her requirement how exactly?
Err..that wasn’t me!

 

Boris the Animal

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Noted. HearHere asked for model and I just recalled my prior posting, so forgot you were the OP and not HearHere - my mistake, sorry.
Metatron, this is partly to do with Mrs BTA but if I knew I could get a transport that matches or betters my NAS then I would consider getting one for my pleasure too. However the scores on the doors don’t seem promising.