Since my eighteen year old Mac MCD7000 recently died, I''''ve been shopping for an upgrade. I still have my Sony multichannel SACD player which I''''m quite happy with, but still like the idea of a separate CD unit.
Will S&V forum members please give me "their spin" on the advantages & disadvantages of owning a CD "transport" vs. a CD "player" and possibly several valid reasons why I should or shouldn''''t bother purchasing a one format unit?!
The unit in question is a MCD751 CD TRANSPORT which has one optical + one coaxial digital output for connection to a D/A convertor or in this case, my MX132 pre/pro. It lists for $2,500.00.
Thanks in advance for your time, replies & insight...
McIntosh, what a surprise!!
Seriously, you transport vs. player question can be equated to the separates vs. receiver scenario.
As long as you play CD''s your transport will be good, so will a CD player but better DAC''s and upconverters may come along....
You are in the true separates realm, where a high end DAC/upconverter makes sense, either in your Mac pre/pro or as a separate. I don''t know what your pre pro offers as far a DAC''s and upsampling, or for that matter what your SACD player provides. My equipment isn''t in you league, but the Denon Alpha 24 plus processing does make a difference with CD quality. I''m sure Mac has better upsampling equipment, and you certainly want that ability rather than a straight conversion.
To your question I would say it depends on your pre/pro and it''s capabilities. With a CD transport if the pre/pro doesn''t provide both upsampling and conversion you are looking at a separate component, but one that could service multiple sources.
A CD transport is like an amplifier, it''s still good down the road, you just replace the electronics in front of it.
So my two cents boils down to my belief that there are excellent upsampling electronics with higher bit rates out there that do enhance CD sound, before conversion. A transport obviously doesn''t offer that feature, a CD player may depending on model. So if you get a transport your prepro needs to upsample or you''re buying a separate upsampler/DAC.
My knowledge of MacIntosh is very limited. Musical Fidelity make superb DAC/upsamplers, I believe also with tube versions.
I should have you problems..... [IMG]biggrin.gif border=0[/IMG]
I think the gain in sound quality with seperate transport and D/A converters comes from the seperation of mechanical forces. As I'm sure you know, this can affect the sound quality and won't color the music.
Seperates are certainly great since they allow you to upgrade either unit independently.
But the problem comes when your introduce various forms of jitter that arise in the S/PDIF that you have to send from the transport to the DACs.
Obviously, the seperate route is more expensive, and that model you have there is very nice. And I imagine they gotten over some or most of the jitter considerations.
If you can afford the price tag, and you think you ears hear an audible benefit, then why not?
Go for it![IMG]'/idealbb/images/smilies/2.gif'[/IMG]
In a nut shell, it is mainly going to depend upon how good your pre/pro is at doing the digital to analog conversion. If you feel confident that your pre/pro does all that you need it to, then go with the transport, as that, in my opinion, results in the better signal path .
Ms P, is that you on your avatar?
Yah Billy....... your a hottie! LOL
No elfstone, that's not really Mrs. P.
But I bet everyone here wouldn't mind it if that's what William really looked like.
Next you''re going to tell us you aren''t really the Captain of the Titanic...[IMG]/idealbb/images/smilies/2.gif[/IMG]
Ah man, I was ready to move to California[IMG]/idealbb/images/smilies/1.gif[/IMG] We don''t have that kind of scenery here in Florida. I feel like I''m stuck in a Cocoon movie.
I took a look on the McIntosh web site, but couldn''t see your pre-pro and therefore don''t know about the DACs. The transport idea vs. cd player is sound. Check out stereotimes.com for their review of seperate DACs if you don''t feel your pre/pro is using the latest/greatest.
there are several advantages of a transport over a cd player although whether these differences are audible or worth the money is completely up to you. much of these center around the reduction of jitter. for example, the transport contains a clocking crystal that times the digital output. the spdif interface carries both the digital data and this clocking signal. timing information is transmitted from the transport to the dac, which will in turn use some sort of ram buffer or pll circuit to reclock the incoming data and reduce jitter more. a good transport will have a high quality clocking mechanism so that it doesn''t have to rely so heavily upon the dac, especially one that''s built into a pre/pro and not a stand-alone dac. other factors that may affect the sound include the power supply, rf interference, motor speed fluctuation, and error correction.
since you like mac tubes so much, maybe it''s time to experiment with a tubed cd player like an audio aero or cary audio? if you have spare change leftover, you may even want to consider purchasing a good stand-alone dac, like msb?