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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Comments

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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For those who have not yet learned to like that deficient and analytical sound of streaming, it's a great time to pick up some used reference level transports for 25 to 35 cents on the dollar thanks to the audiophile herd that think streaming is better. :):)
 
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twitch

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Jun 17, 2010
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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.
Pardon me if this is a foolish question but why would you buy a new CD, not listen to it, then just rip it for streaming ?? Wouldn't it make more sense to just buy a high rez download ??
 
May 30, 2010
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Pardon me if this is a foolish question but why would you buy a new CD, not listen to it, then just rip it for streaming ?? Wouldn't it make more sense to just buy a high rez download ??
Perhaps this is true for HiRez tittles, but not for redbook. When you buy a CD you get the property of the physical bits, the legal status of an high rez download is a dark taboo subject that no one wants to debate ... :)
 
For those who have not yet learned to like that deficient and analytical sound of streaming, it's a great time to pick up some used reference level transports for 25 to 35 cents on the dollar thanks to the audiophile herd that think streaming is better. :):)
I don't have any deficiencies or analytical sound when streaming Amazon Prime Hi-rez. Sounds identical to a good transport reclocked with a re-clocker.

Those that still believe that transports somehow have a magical quality: There is nothing there but the data and the timing. Same thing if you stream the same CD tracks from Amazon. All you need is to get the timing right, with low jitter. A transport can get there, if you reclock it.
 
Pardon me if this is a foolish question but why would you buy a new CD, not listen to it, then just rip it for streaming ?? Wouldn't it make more sense to just buy a high rez download ??
Depends on how the track was originally recorded. If it is available in native hi-res, then downloading it makes sense. If it simply up-sampled, might as well buy the CD and rip it. Also, if you only want one track, that download is sometimes possible rather than getting the whole album.
 

BlueFox

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Nov 8, 2013
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Pardon me if this is a foolish question but why would you buy a new CD, not listen to it, then just rip it for streaming ?? Wouldn't it make more sense to just buy a high rez download ??
Not all CDs are available as downloads.
 

CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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Hi Sid,
The link doesn't work.
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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For the Empirical Audio Synchro-Mesh reclocker, I posted initial impressions in # 199 on thread page 10:

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/are-transports-obsolete.30549/page-10#post-655759

Yesterday I did another detailed comparison Synchro-Mesh reclocker vs. direct from transport via AES/EBU, which turned out to be quite interesting. The CD was the famous Cantate Domino recording from 1976 in a spacious Swedish church for choir, soloists, organ and brass on the Proprius label; CD version PRCD 7762 from 1993 (in my view preferable to the CD layer of the hybrid SACD from 2003, PRSACD7762).

The church where it was recorded is Oscarskyrkan in Stockholm:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar's_Church

Recording engineer Bert Alving used a Revox A77 and only two Pearl TC4 microphones.

Three audiophile friends have heard the CD in my system (pre reclocker), and know that the sound of it does not need to stand ashamed at all in a comparison with the in audiophile circles famous LP.

I switched back and forth between reclocker and direct route transport > DAC numerous times in order to make sure that what I report on is not just a bogus impression of the moment.

Most of the comparison was on the first 2 and a half minutes of track 1 (the title track "Cantate Domino"):

The solo organ at the beginning is portrayed with great spatial depth on the recording, and is located far on the front wall upon stereo reproduction in my system (probably playing at the back wall of the church where the recording was made). The spatial depth is the same with and without reclocker, yet there is one important difference. Without reclocker the sound is equally far on the front wall, but it is more "over there": The sound does not energize the entire acoustic of the church as much. With reclocker, on the other hand, the entire acoustic is more illuminated. The organ itself, as origin of sound, is still "way over there", but the sound propagates forward and the energy fills the acoustic. Without reclocker, the sound of the organ remaining "way over there", creating a separate acoustic space, can superficially, at first glance, sound more impressive in terms of depth projection -- it is a "hifi" spectacle. Yet the sound propagation with reclocker seems more natural and real, which makes it the winner.

At first the difference in organ sound with and without reclocker may appear subtle, but once you zoom in on it, the difference in projection of the sound into the acoustic turns out to be crucial.

The entrance of brass after more than one minute stands out more firmly with reclocker. The differentiation between brass instruments and their harmonic interplay also becomes a bit easier, and the echo projected into the acoustic more distinct.The brass sound radiates more energy into the space of the church.

After the brief brass interlude, the female choir sings softly a capella, soon to be joined by male choir voices which then leads into a rise of volume before solo organ sets in again. With reclocker, the sound of the choir is more immediate, with greater transparency as if a thin veil had been lifted, and there is greater articulation. The sound is more alive, less flat. The choir voices also make the large acoustic resonate with more energy, creating a stronger atmosphere. Even though it might be the initial impression, the greater immediacy of the choir sound is *not* the result of the choir moving forward in space compared to direct route transport > DAC; the location in the church appears to be the same. The dynamic surge in the singing towards the end of this episode projects more energy into the acoustic and thus stands out more.

***

I checked some other tracks. The greater transparency, immediacy and articulation of the choir, with enhanced projection of energy into the acoustic, is also evident in the soft a capella singing at the beginning of "Stille Nacht" (Silent Night) and in "Il est ne le divin enfant" (track 8; the beginning of the second LP side). On the latter piece, the difference of with and without reclocker is quite stunning.
 

stumpy

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Mar 31, 2015
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I now own the Denon dcd 1600NE, possibly the most gratifying purchase I have made for my high end system, which has had disk spinners from Marantz (SA 10), Accuphase, and others. I expect a barrage of hate, as I bought it on sale at B&H for $699. Needs a really good system and power cord and interconnects to shine. My other source is a Transrotor tt (yes it does sound a bit better..). I a/b'd the Denon directly with a redbook only spinner which has had high praise (company begins with a B ) and the Denon was a bit better on redbook, and of course with SACD. Then again, I like a straight, unadulterated (not over warm) sound. To be fair, Denon transports have a notoriously bad reliability reputation...
 
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matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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I now own the Denon dcd 1600NE, possibly the most gratifying purchase I have made for my high end system, which has had disk spinners from Marantz (SA 10), Accuphase, and others. I expect a barrage of hate, as I bought it on sale at B&H for $699. Needs a really good system and power cord and interconnects to shine. My other source is a Transrotor tt (yes it does sound a bit better..). I a/b'd the Denon directly with a redbook only spinner which has had high praise (company begins with a B ) and the Denon was a bit better on redbook, and of course with SACD. Then again, I like a straight, unadulterated (not over warm) sound. To be fair, Denon transports have a notoriously bad reliability reputation...
The dCS Rossini Transport uses a Denon disc spinner.

Matt
 

stumpy

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Mar 31, 2015
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That's good to know. Either I'm going deaf or that player sounds nearly as good as any digital I've heard. I bought it as a stop gap and decided to just keep it.
 

Joe Cohen

Industry Expert
Jun 10, 2012
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I think this is interesting but very individualized and idiosyncratic. I agree it is partly a generational thing.

I have a big "thing" about retaining push-buttons and rotary switches in cars. For some reason, in cars, touchscreens really annoy me!

But in audio I find having to handle the physical media inconvenient and a bit annoying. I care only about the sound quality, and I don't think I attribute any discrete enjoyment or pleasure to having the physical media in my hands.

If the sound were identical I would be happy to remote-control a vinyl LP jukebox, rather than pull an LP jacket from shelf, unsheath the record, operate the turntable, put the record on the platter, apply the dust brush, cue the tonearm, unmute the preamp, and sit back down. I would be happy to avoid that time-consuming and laborious process. Do people really find this whole specific process fun as an independent source of enjoyment? Or is it merely the known "price" of the sonic pleasure of vinyl playback?

Here is an alternative theory (which also sounds in a strong generational difference): maybe, for some, it is not about having physical media to handle, but rather the knowledge that we own the physical media -- while we don't own anything by streaming? Maybe it is the psychological satisfaction of knowing that we possess and own the music we love which causes us to value physical media -- and manually handling the physical media reminds us of our possession and ownership of it.
What I like about the ritual leading up to the needle drop is that it brings my focus more into the present. It adds weight and import to the occasion of listening, even if it is all for one track only. So I view it as more of an opportunity than an inconvenience.
 
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Lagonda

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What I like about the ritual leading up to the needle drop is that it brings my focus more into the present. It adds weight and import to the occasion of listening, even if it is all for one track only. So I view it as more of an opportunity than an inconvenience.
It’s wonderful forplay:)
 

Musiclvr

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May 20, 2020
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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
I totally agree
 

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