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new (to me) CD transport

Randy Bey

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Guys, - especially those of you with the 300+1 disc changers -

I have to tell you about this. I became convinced of the potential for audible changes via a transport change while at a friends house. He switched between a high end Rotel CD player as transport and a mid-range DVD player as transport for a little A/B comparison.

There was a difference that could be noted in the first 20 seconds!

I squirreled this info away in my cheek for quite a while. I have been using a NAD C520 CD player as transport to my MSB Link III DAC.

Finally I got a chance to get a dedicated transport, a used Theta Data Basic, which is pretty high end. I put it in my system last night.

Oh my Lord.

It replaced the NAD and a Monarchy DIP. Without the DIP the NAD had sibilence problems, female vocals had a touch of graininess, a white noise component to the higher ranges. With the Monarchy, which I was very happy with BTW, the sibilence smoothed out.

The Theta crisped the sibilence, took out all traces of white noise, and did not give any impression of "smoothing". There is definition now in these upper registers that wasn't there before.

The other immediately observable difference is the sound of percussive instruments. They have a complex waveform, asymmetric not symmetric like non-percussive instruments, and I did not notice the "glossing-over" effect that was there on the NAD. The Theta brings out details on those percussions that I didn't know were there.

Oh, and the imaging has improved. This is something to say since imaging was a strong suite with my rig all along. Didn't think it could get better, but surely there is more spacial focus now than before.

For you guys with the mondo changers, I'm not saying give them up; they are still quite good for most of the time, non-intensive listening.

When you want to really immerse yourself, perhaps you could pop the CD out of the changer and put it in a dedicated transport.

It was money well spent. This is not something I say casually.

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dammit randy, now I will have to go out and buy a transport for serious listening! (no way I give up the two mega changers, I am too lazy...they also keep me from scratching or dirtying them!)...what about that CEC (whatever is was I cannot remember) that audio advisros is hawking? any opinions on other options...? regards, tony

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I use my Sony DVP-S3000 as a DVD player and CD transport. I chose it initially for its dual lasers. It is not designed to pass DTS and will only do it if there is nothing but DTS on the disc. So, I've been thinking about a transport and/or a new DVD player. I don't doubt the Theta sounds great. How can I slip that into the house?


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I would go used in this department (as I do everywhere I can). This way you can get the most bang for the buck. For me, I got the Theta for 75% off list; can't knock that kind of discount.

John, get it shipped to your work address. Sneak it into the house when the wife isn't home; maybe she won't notice. Say you're auditoning it if she does. Not that I'm that sneaky wink.gif.

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I've been using Theta's data basic 2 for more than five years,it is on a par(some times better) with the best transports money can buy.When first used,it gave huge improvement in soundstage depth,focus and it almost sounds analog when partnered to Apogee's da1000e-20 dac. Rest of my system:Khorn's with Alk x'over+Decca London ribbon/horn tweeters. Marantz 7 reissue preamp Marantz model 2's monoblocks for Khorn,Leak stereo 20 for Decca tweeters,Nakamichi car crossover(18db,6khz filter same as Khorn),Marantz 10 B tuner,Garrard 301+Sme 3012 & Thorens Td224 turntables,Nakamichi RX505 cassete deck, all connected to Tice Elite 3 AC filter.

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OK, for the uninitiated, a transport is like a CD player, except it doesn't have an internal DAC that produces analog outputs that can be fed into a stereo "as is" and produce music.

It only outputs a pure digital 1 and 0 type signal, which needs to be fed to an external DAC, which then in turn outputs the analog outputs that CAN be fed into a stereo to produce music.

The transport I'm talking about can be had for about $500 on the used market, or $2000 if you want to buy it new (and the latest incarnation).

The DAC I feed it to is an MSB Link III that has been updated by Channel Islands and includes the updated power supply, which, unfortunately, I had to buy new due to circumstances beyond my control, and which I probably have about $1000 invested in to date. I'm not really counting and it's happy hour here in Minnesota (motto: two days to spring and only 2 feet of snow left on the ground!)

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