A few questions on cd transports

Hi all

I have done searches and not really found answers or if i have i haven’t understood them completely.
Just to start off i have the vivaldi dac, upsampler, and clock. I might be interested in getting a cd transport, but certainly not the vivaldi or rossini as i just won’t use it enough to warrant the cost. So my budget is around £2000, this is for either a new or secondhand unit.
Obviously i want to get something that will work as good as it can with what i have, i don’t need sacd to work as i don’t have any, so that’s the main stumbling block gone.
Questions i have are.

Best to go with the best quality transport tray i can get i would have thought.
Aes output the best to have, and if so is it really a must have to get the most out off my set up.
Will my vivaldi clock work with the clock inputs on these transports ok, or is it only a few or only dcs transports.
If or when i get a transport, and it has aes output, do i connect it to the dac or upsampler.

Finally been looking at the teac transports, also the older esoteric ones, as they have the VRDS, is this a good way to go or not, the esoteric also if i got a player would give me sacd i think, this might be nice to have going forward, but would mainly use it as transport only.

Hope all above made sense, and hopefully you can answer some or all.

Finally i have looked at the older dcs transports, but i am worried these might be a problem if they start to play up, but once again any input would be appreciated on this, as obviously i guess it would all work as it should if i went this way.
But as said this will only be used very frequently and so do not want to spend loads on it.
Cheers dunc

Hi @Dunc

This one ticks many boxes (price, StreamUnlimited tray/ mech and AES), but no clock connection:


Most CD players/transports do not have wordclock inputs. One that has is Esoteric. However dCS wordclocks produce a 50 ohm output ( a normal recording studio provision) and AFAIK Esoteric are 75 ohm input. This means they are not compatible as impedance matching is essential regarding wordclocks.

This can be a problem generally speaking if the transport mechanism or parts such as the OPU are no longer available. For this reason I am not confident with old machines though dCS try to support theirs for as long as this remains feasible. If you are interested in a particular model for any brand I would establish which mechanism it uses and google spares. If you find spares then buy now, even if you do not need them. You will eventually as things like OPUs are consumables. When you do find yourself in need then you may find yourself stuck. dCS have stopped production of models with the Teac Neoteric mechanism and the later Paganinis also have TEAC mechs ( UMK-5). So both are now reliant on whatever stocks dCS have. You could ask.

If you want the ability to play SACD salso then this becomes very difficult other than dCS machines. For CD using currently manufactured items at prices well below dCS then, along with the Schiit that Erno mentions, one other that has good reports is Jays Audio if you are happy to await supply from China.

There is also a review with measurements in Stereophile.

It depends on how much you want CD and what you want to spend. However my experience is that CD transports most emphatically do not sound simply the same as each other.

Cheers guy’s
So basically my vivaldi clock is only going to work with a dcs transport , yes ? There is nothing else?
Also my question on aes output, anyone care to enlighten me on this.

Yes been reading about this and it does look a contender along with the moon 260d and the teac 700 reff.

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Pete - You have it backwards Sir. dCS Clocks have a 75 ohm output whereas Esoterics’ have a 50 ohm.

Best Sir,


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Oops. yes. Put it down to lack of sleep :smile:.

Whichever the outcome is the same for Duncan.

You connect the AES ( or S/Pdif) transport output to the Upsampler if you want to upsample. Otherwise connect to the DAC.

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Cheers once again.

So as far as clock inputs go then what exactly am i looking for that will work with my vivaldi clock?

75 ohm, or one that can run from 50 ohm to 75 ohm like the Jay’s one. Is it just the 75 ohm i need to look for, as i guess they all work at 44.1 ?

You need a wordclock input to the transport that is 75 ohm. Sorry for my earlier reversal of things and thanks to @honchi for the correction.

The Jays has a 75 ohm output . The 50/75 ohm clock port on the Jays is an input, not output. However what does this mean? Is it switchable or is it a vague spec meaning it is a figure between those two extremes? I think some additional research is needed. The output of the Vivaldi clock feeds the Jay’s wordclock input. As @Ermos mentions the Schiit device has no wordclock either way. In a dCS world that narrows the choice considerably MO as with a multibox system you really need to be able to synchronise the timing of the components.

OK, I did the extra research. The Jay’a website reveals that the clock is for a 10mHz master clock so is not compatible with your Vivaldi:

Clock-Output: 10MHz / 5 V p-p / 50 Ω

Clock-Input: 10MHz / 0.3 – 5 V p-p / 50 to 75 Ω

So we are back to a dCS transport ideally. However if CD is not that important then other transports may suffice for casual listening. My take, however, is forget CD and rip them to a NAS using UPnP via Mosaic to replay. Cheaper too.

I think if i really do want to dip my toe back into cd’s then a dcs transport is really the only way i would be happy with.
This means going old school as not prepared to pay the rossini or vivaldi prices as it’s simply not worth it for me, but at the same time i wouldn’t want to end up with a nice looking expensive dcs door stop.
So this probably means just forget about it as it’s probably not worth the hassle it could bring.
Cheers dunc

This is tempting me:

I’m running an old Pioneer CD player as a transport, digital out via spdif/coax. Cable is a cheapo Audioquest …
Wondering- is there much improvement SQ wise when jumping up the CD transport ladder? Guess SQ will improves with some sort of SACD transports (not too much out there…) but is the invest of a 6000EUR CD transport worth it?

I’m playing CDs and SACD with a very nice Marantz SA 11 S3. Playing SACD with XLR output directly from the Marantz sound is a little bit better than playing SACD that is just CD quality trough the coaxial output to my Bartok.
But playing just CD is a little bit better sound trough the Bartok than directly from the Marantz.
In order from better sound, deep,soundstage…

  1. Marantz SACD ( XLR output to preamp)
  2. Marantz CD - Coax -Bartok- XLR to preamp
  3. Marantz CD ( XLR to preamp)

It’s a pity I cannot output SACD to Bartok . Playing SACD the only output signal from Marantz is coaxial and just with CD quality no SACD.

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I will try an deal both with your question and @en1omb in this same answer.

Overall any CD player with a functioning 75 ohm digital output will produce some sort of sound if connected to a dCS DAC. For infrequent users of CD this is acceptable. For others with large collections of CD or who just want the highest quality this is not enough.

In regard to the former i have little to say. It will work to some sort of degree. However there is little to provide an easy clue as to why, say, a CD player from Sony might sound different to one from,say, Panasonic. At least at a published specification level. Users can only find out from hands on experience.

For users wanting southing more, then we do have a at least one reliable thing to look for. The dCS systems are very (very) well thought out. One of the important things is the fact that for a multi-box system to work properly the components must function in synchronisation. To do this it is necessary to link the components to a single timing source - a wordclock . This can be a separate box or an output from one of the components such as a DAC. Years of reading here has indicated that some are confused by this and think that synchronisation is the same as using a more accurate clock. It is quite different.

So, with a dCS system at its intended quality level, a transport with a 75 ohm wordclock input is essential. Otherwise we are back to it working in a sense but otherwise it will be down to hearing it and deciding if it is acceptable. I cannot predict that. Playing SACD with dCS DACs requires compatible connectivity which more or less restricts choice to dCS units.

Is there an improvement jumping up the CD ladder? In general the answer is in what I say above. Of course a current dCS transport will provide a significant gain in what to expect from silver disc but I fully understand that there is a cost barrier.What about old dCS units?

I would avoid the very old ones such as Verdi. The connections for SACD are no longer able to be met with modern units. So this means either Scarlatti or Paganini models. Unfortunately for all spares availability is shrinking or even over. Personally in 2024 I would steer clear of such a purchase. Frankly the alternative of ripping CDs to a NAS and playing them using Mosaic is preferable from all viewpoints except for the labour involved. It is cheap, probably only a few hundred pounds. People are often put off as they think they need to rip all of their CD collection as a single exercise . That is not required. I would suggest that you only rip your most played discs but leave the rest to be ripped as and when you want to hear them. You also get the benefit of more storage space and easy access and navigation.Sound quality is going to be indistinguishable from very good transport replay or so close that you won’t care further.


Accuphase transport DP-900 connected to voicing equalizer (room correction) DG-68 with proprietary HS-Link. DG-68 downsamples SACD to 176.4 kHz before processing, and this sample rate is available at SPDIF outputs. (Output of downsampling to 352.8 kHz only available on HS-Link.)
When using an electronic room correction unit, the drawback of dCS transports is, that they downsample SACD to 16bit 44.1 kHz. I’d love to get SACD downsampled to 176.4 kHz by dCS transports. dCS could easily do it, but they don’t. Why?

Because 16/176.4 or 24/176.4 is not something universally acceptable to all DACS ( irrespective of age or brand). 16/44.1 is.

If you are also referring to the transport being able to choose to play the 16/44.1 layer of a hybrid SACD , this is part of the SACD standard and relates to the disc itself.

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SPDIF up to 24/192 is a standard these days. After all we have 2024 not 1983. And the choice on the sample rate to downsample SACD to PCM should be left to the user.
I do not think it’s a matter of univeral acceptability to all DACS. Rather it has to do with SACD licence and its copy protection.

No. I did not mention any possible hybrid layer on the SACD in any way.

Of course. that’s the answer. Anyone who is unable to play SACD from a dCS transport and has an elderly DAC simply needs to sell this and get a 2024 model. Obvious.

Come to think of it while you’re at it why not just get a dCS DAC and you won’t need to convert from SACD anyway?