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Old CD player/transport that still performs better than modern top players?

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  • Old CD player/transport that still performs better than modern top players?

    Lately, I had been lazy about playing my CD collection.

    What would you nominate as the best CD player/transport of the past?

    Here are my favorites I used to have and miss:

    1) Sony SCD-1 other than having to pack a lunch in between switching discs, it was fine hunk of metal player. I wonder how it would sound as a transport with modern DACs...

    2) ML 35.1 - I don't think the 35.1 can be made these days at the price range when it was available. It may have been the best CD transport (no SACD though like SCD-1) I ever had. It should sound gloriously with a modern DAC in playing CDs.

    3) Wadia 361 - just as a player, it was a beauty and a fine performer. Maybe someday, I should get one again.

    4) dCS stacks - one of the finest digital sound I got. The transport was sweet and it also played SACDs.

    So, as good as the above transport/players were... I wonder how they would compare to Esoteric, current dCS, Playback Designs and other top sliver disc players including the Oppo 105 (or the new 4K version)...

  • #2
    bluray dvd players are not optimized for cd playback
    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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    • #3
      Ki, I agree that the ML was a great transport.
      I had a few Meridian's and the sound and user interface was great but the cd-rom transport was problematic and I had to replace the drive more than once.
      Currently I'm using a Nagra CDP which is built like a tank, though it doesn't do SACD. If SACD is a necessity for you, I'd likely look at Esoteric. They come up on the used market fairly often and are built to last. If I were able, the transport I'd look to is the CH Precision D1. They rarely come up on the used market though. The D1 also uses an Esoteric drive.
      Chris

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      • #4
        I had stock and hot-rodded versions of the Sony SCD-1 and 777, the SCD-1 being the better sounding of the two. I liked them most as transports feeding the DAC of the month... Ultimately I decided to part with them as lasers eventually fail and getting replacements was getting harder and harder. If I were going to get a transport, I'd get the best Esoteric I could find and have spare parts on-hand.
        Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
        Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
        Phono 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable with 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
        Phono 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable with 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
        R2R Tape: Studer A810 with Bridge Console
        Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
        Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
        Power: Audio-Ultra Power System, IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
        Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

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        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          I still have an SCD-1 sitting on top of a cabinet. Bought it with the eventual intent of modding it so could just use it as a transport to feed an outboard DAC eventually. That never happened. Several people used to mod the Sonys but they eventually got away from the SCD-1.

      • #5
        My Resolution Audio Cesium transport was awesome until the laser died. Unfortunately, there were no replacement parts to be had so that was the end of it.
        Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
        Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
        Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
        Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

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        • #6
          the CEC TL-1 was the best I owned and worth the coin at the time. I never heard the SCD-1 but i had a Sony SCD-777es and as a transport it was fine, the DAC section was thin and bright to my ears.
          TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

          "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

          Comment


          • dcc
            dcc commented
            Editing a comment
            Agreed on the CEC. I used to have a CEC TL1X and it was hard finding a transport that could beat it. But there is even better than the TL-1: the TL-0 and the several iterations that followed (TL-0X etc.). A friend recently purchased a used TL-0X and he admitted that he was re-descovering his cd's that he had stowed away since he had ripped them.

        • #7
          The one I never get tired of is the 47 Labs Shigaraki combo. The transport is a top loader and the DAC is a simple non oversampling DAC with analog filters. Not the most extended but has lovely texture.

          Comment


          • #8
            Esoteric P-0s
            Forsell Air Reference Mk II CD Transport

            Still have both :-)
            Vbr,

            Sam

            Comment


            • #9
              Probably the closest you will come to having glitch free digital audio is the old-fashioned method of playing CDs. Once digital audio crossed over to our computers that are used as servers running software that handshakes with a DAC, digital audio became about as stable as old dynamite and nitroglycerin riding in the front seat of a car down a dirt road with no shocks or springs. Networked digital audio is more unstable than a roomful of psychotics.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                Well put. Just go to any audio show and at least 50% of the rooms are struggling to keep the computer digital front-ends up and running. How many times are you in the room and the exhibitor have to reboot their computer?

            • #10
              Originally posted by mep View Post
              Probably the closest you will come to having glitch free digital audio is the old-fashioned method of playing CDs. Once digital audio crossed over to our computers that are used as servers running software that handshakes with a DAC, digital audio became about as stable as old dynamite and nitroglycerin riding in the front seat of a car down a dirt road with no shocks or springs. Networked digital audio is more unstable than a roomful of psychotics.
              I never switched over to playing CDs with a computer. I still use a conventional CD player/transport and an external DAC connected to the SPDIF output. Zero problems.
              Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

              Comment


              • mep
                mep commented
                Editing a comment
                I wouldn't expect any in that setup. No computer and software connected to your DAC.

            • #11
              I have an old denon cd player it can be. A transport of a anolog output. No blue rays though. Very nice sound really most cd sound good but the same of you get my point. It's was big bucks at the time. I also still have a Sony es CD player but that brick wall filter really stinks by today's sound.
              analog stuff.
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
              sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
              new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
              thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
              thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
              kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
              phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
              speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
              mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
              digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
              Dacs lampi various

              Comment


              • #12
                The few ttimes I play CDs I play them on a Micromega Duo CD-3 transport. Still works great.

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                • #13
                  Originally posted by Ki Choi View Post
                  Lately, I had been lazy about playing my CD collection.

                  What would you nominate as the best CD player/transport of the past?

                  Here are my favorites I used to have and miss:

                  1) Sony SCD-1 other than having to pack a lunch in between switching discs, it was fine hunk of metal player. I wonder how it would sound as a transport with modern DACs...

                  2) ML 35.1 - I don't think the 35.1 can be made these days at the price range when it was available. It may have been the best CD transport (no SACD though like SCD-1) I ever had. It should sound gloriously with a modern DAC in playing CDs.

                  3) Wadia 361 - just as a player, it was a beauty and a fine performer. Maybe someday, I should get one again.

                  4) dCS stacks - one of the finest digital sound I got. The transport was sweet and it also played SACDs.

                  So, as good as the above transport/players were... I wonder how they would compare to Esoteric, current dCS, Playback Designs and other top sliver disc players including the Oppo 105 (or the new 4K version)...
                  I was never crazy about the sound of the early DCS digital gear. Know everyone raved about the Delius (had it in for review even) but my Altis gear just blew it away. Burred and closed in sounding as I remember. Not ever funny. New DCS another story.

                  Had the SCD-1 and like you said, it tried your patience loading a disc. Wasn't bad sounding but a little thin in the mids and etched. But showed the promise of higher rez digital even if many of the SACDs were converted to PCM.

                  ML was good but I always thought possessed a tailored sound. Like much of the older ML electronics. And not very open.

                  One that I liked back then that would still probably hold it's own was the Audio Note DAC 3 (?) that I reviewed for TAS years ago. And the CEC that people also mentioned.

                  I just think that most of these old DACs would fail though especially when compared to newer digital gear in the area of upper octaves and transparency. Just listen to some of the early digital recordings and their upper octaves. Take cymbals for example. Everything is just kind of crunchy sounding. And weird sounding. Like its being overloaded. Not to mention etched and sizzly.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

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                  • #14
                    It seems by reading this there is plenty of reasons why you guys love analog over digital
                    of the shows I have gone to digital sounds just as good as analog if done right. While shows overall are a crap shoot
                    digital is much easier and does not wear out like tape or vinyl. Something else to add to this. Some here and else where have a analog front end costing many thousands
                    and pass judgment on digital from basically crap lol. A completely unfair judgement. I get why Ina way you guys and gals love vinyl or tape and it's wonderful. I considered that but was happy to forgo the drama of keeping it and using it. It's why I own a few hundred rips of them maybe more. But chose to go digital for convince
                    and ease of operation. I do know plenty of analog people who have done as me and keep it too. They admit when transfersed it's a bit changed but better. Yes doing s rip or tape transfer does improve if done in dsd and right. I hesitate to say better as it alone is choice. But being there did shiw me it's true.
                    No bidy should give up on digital simply because of ignorance in using it. If I bought a VPI flagship and some ultra hi end arm , cartridge and preamp would I get it right ? I doubt that. But digital is much more simple and does not cost nearly as much and can come plug and play like your CD players.
                    Please done take this post as being rude just an honest view of what I see and read. Rhapsody has both go there and hear how great both are then comment.
                    Be fair in comments please in the end it's all we have anyway.
                    analog stuff.
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                    sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                    speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                    mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                    digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                    Dacs lampi various

                    Comment


                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Al, not quite sure what you are getting at. It's really not about digital vs. analog but what older digital products stand the test of time. Which do justice to the music.

                  • #15
                    Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                    Just listen to some of the early digital recordings and their upper octaves. Take cymbals for example. Everything is just kind of crunchy sounding. And weird sounding. Like its being overloaded. Not to mention etched and sizzly.
                    I'd rather not.
                    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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