Are Transports Obsolete?

It surprises me in this day and age that transports continue to be developed, and presumably sold. I know this has at least been in part to the physical media aspects of spinning one's CD library. Also, Transports, particularly of the cost no object variety, can be more 'sexy' than servers.

We 'know' that server technology has, for all intents and purposes, eclipsed transports in the last few years, but the best of the best transports continue to garner enthusiasm if not raves from some reviewers that I really respect.

Are there any out there that, having bought a server, have recently been drawn back or towards the world of transports?
What is your server and why and what transports have you or are you reconsidering?
 
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ddk

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May 19, 2013
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#2
It surprises me in this day and age that transports continue to be developed, and presumably sold. I know this has at least been in part to the physical media aspects of spinning one's CD library. Also, Transports, particularly of the cost no object variety, can be more 'sexy' than servers.

We 'know' that server technology has, for all intents and purposes, eclipsed transports in the last few years, but the best of the best transports continue to garner enthusiasm if not raves from some reviewers that I really respect.

Are there any out there that, having bought a server, have recently been drawn back or towards the world of transports?
What is your server and why and what transports have you or are you reconsidering?
Though sales have dropped drastically there's still a market albeit small for high end CD players and transports. There are people like me who don't find computer audio the least bit compelling sonically and this is irrespective of hardware, UI and operating software problems. The main challenge for new high end CD transport/players isn't computer audio but the great and cherished transports that some of these companies made a couple of decades ago are still in daily use.

david
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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#4
No. On my system anyway, the transport plainly sounds better than the rip to a server or streaming of the same title. My server/streamer sounds very good and I have all my CDs ripped. But if I want to hear the music at its digital best, I play the disc.
While servers can sound great, it takes a whole lot of effort or money to make it so. A friend who has been into computer audio for a long time, and has gone through serious tweaking of it over the years, eventually bought the same transport that I have for the best listening experience, as you have from physical CD.

I think I would have to spend a lot of money if I wanted a server that for sure could compete with or even improve upon my CD transport of just $ 1,800 (Simaudio Moon 260 DT), which has very high resolution and signal fidelity regardless of its price. I decided to put the money elsewhere in my system (my last upgrade was to an Octave HP 700 preamp), to great effect on improved sonics. -- Admittedly though the AES/EBU cable feeding my DAC from the transport is more expensive than the transport itself, and it is sonically worth it.

It is obvious to me that the idea that any computer audio is better than a transport because of "reduced jitter" is technically as superficial as the slogan "Perfect Sound Forever". We know how the latter worked out for decades, even though thankfully now digital finally has come of age. Not that it's "perfect", still, but neither is analog.
 
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Exlibris

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Oct 7, 2015
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#5
While servers can sound great, it takes a whole lot of effort or money to make it so. A friend who has been into computer audio for a long time, and has gone through serious tweaking of it over the years, eventually bought the same transport that I have for the best listening experience, as you have from physical CD.

I think I would have to spend a lot of money if I wanted a server that for sure could compete with or even improve upon my CD transport of just $ 1,800 (Simaudio Moon 260 DT), which has very high resolution and signal fidelity regardless of its price. I decided to put the money elsewhere in my system (my last upgrade was to an Octave HP 700 preamp), to great effect on improved sonics. -- Admittedly though the AES/EBU cable feeding my DAC from the transport is more expensive than the transport itself, and it is sonically worth it.

It is obvious to me that the idea that any computer audio is better than a transport because of "reduced jitter" is technically as superficial as the slogan "Perfect Sound Forever". We know how the latter worked out for decades, even though thankfully now digital finally has come of age. Not that it's "perfect", still, but neither is analog.
I have a CEC TL5 belt-drive transport. I've never ventured into computer audio but I'd like to do so just for the variety of music. I'm looking to cast music from a service like Tidal using my Android phone to my DAC. I don't expect high-quality sound -- vinyl will always be my go-to for that.
 

Al M.

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#6
I have a CEC TL5 belt-drive transport. I've never ventured into computer audio but I'd like to do so just for the variety of music. I'm looking to cast music from a service like Tidal using my Android phone to my DAC. I don't expect high-quality sound -- vinyl will always be my go-to for that.
I'm streaming too, from YouTube, through my computer headphones ;). If I like the music enough, I try to find the CD. If it's a live concert, I enjoy the computer headphone experience, that's good enough.
 

Al M.

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#7
It surprises me in this day and age that transports continue to be developed, and presumably sold. I know this has at least been in part to the physical media aspects of spinning one's CD library.
My dealer once was at the Canadian factory of Simaudio Moon, and they showed him multiple pallets of the CD transport that I have, ready to be shipped to Europe. Obviously big demand there.
 

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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#8
I have a CEC TL5 belt-drive transport. I've never ventured into computer audio but I'd like to do so just for the variety of music. I'm looking to cast music from a service like Tidal using my Android phone to my DAC. I don't expect high-quality sound -- vinyl will always be my go-to for that.
My family uses various services, Spotify, Pandora and some other ones that I don't know of using their phones and tablets and stream to their personal and house systems via Apple Airport. I simply don't hear any worthwhile difference between this and mega dollar computer front ends that I've heard, in fact I prefer the sound quality I'm getting at home over quite a few those high dollar system!

david
 
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May 11, 2019
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#9
I'm streaming too, from YouTube, through my computer headphones ;). If I like the music enough, I try to find the CD. If it's a live concert, I enjoy the computer headphone experience, that's good enough.
I so totally identify with @Al M.'s take on this subject! He described my listening behavior exactly. :D
 
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BlueFox

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Nov 8, 2013
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#10
I haven't turned my CD player on in a year. I used to listen to a new CD before ripping it, but now just RIP it. I guess I should take it off my rack.
 
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mullard88

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Jun 5, 2010
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#11
I still use transports. I have two transports hooked up to my dac now. One is a 47 labs flat fish, the other is a Vitus Audio MP-T201.
 

CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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#12
No. On my system anyway, the transport plainly sounds better than the rip to a server or streaming of the same title. My server/streamer sounds very good and I have all my CDs ripped. But if I want to hear the music at its digital best, I play the disc.
So am I.
Very few servers/streamers are able to challenge my Select Transport+DAC connected by the optical MSB ProISL.
:cool:
 
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jfrech

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#15
I'm like the others above, my Transport just sounds good. There is more than just a stream of digits apparently...
 
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#16
I think its fair to say that at the edge of the art the preference of server vs physical players comes down to a number of factors. I must say that I have not yet heard Emile's Extreme or the latest 128 thread Memory Player, but I have also not heard the latest top transports from CEC or Metronome.

Servers of course have the added benefit of streaming and playing back hi res files, that most transports do not offer.

My intention is to lay ears on all four pieces once the CV is laid to rest.

I think Emile put it best, mastering (and manufacturing methods for physical media) probably trump the playback methodology, but YMMV.

I'm also not sure I agree that (all) servers are more sensitive to setup variables than stand alone Transports.
 
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Jan 16, 2013
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#17
I think its fair to say that at the edge of the art the preference of server vs physical players comes down to a number of factors. I must say that I have not yet heard Emile's Extreme or the latest 128 thread Memory Player, but I have also not heard the latest top transports from CEC or Metronome.

Servers of course have the added benefit of streaming and playing back hi res files, that most transports do not offer.

My intention is to lay ears on all four pieces once the CV is laid to rest.

I think Emile put it best, mastering (and manufacturing methods for physical media) probably trump the playback methodology, but YMMV.

I'm also not sure I agree that (all) servers are more sensitive to setup variables than stand alone Transports.
Kerry,

You DID hear the Extreme server when you visited Rhapsody.
 
Likes: musicfirst100
Mar 8, 2015
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#18
Kerry,

You DID hear the Extreme server when you visited Rhapsody.
Yes!! You're right Bob. I forgot that. It was amazing sound, but all the equipment in the chain was new to me that very memorable evening in your 'lab', so it was hard to make a definitive assessment of any single component in the chain.
But, however, I would say that listening to streaming thru the Extreme left little on the table compared to your disk spinner. (sorry I can't recall what transport you were using...)
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#19
I do find it fascinating that there's been no high profile comparison of a top disc spinner like Msb Select transport, Wadax Atlantis universal transport or JMF 3.7 universal transport, versus Extreme.

All we hear is conjecture that no transport can match let alone exceed a top server.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#20
Yes!! You're right Bob. I forgot that. It was amazing sound, but all the equipment in the chain was new to me that very memorable evening in your 'lab', so it was hard to make a definitive assessment of any single component in the chain.
But, however, I would say that listening to streaming thru the Extreme left little on the table compared to your disk spinner. (sorry I can't recall what transport you were using...)
I can't remember if we played CD's. I usually only play the Extreme. If we did play cd's then it was either a Rockna server/cdp or the Goldmund transport.
 

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