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

Mar 8, 2015
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#21
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.
We did for sure, I always bring my top 10 evaluation CDs... Might have been the Goldmund. I think it was gold coloured.
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#22
We did for sure, I always bring my top 10 evaluation CDs... Might have been the Goldmund. I think it was gold coloured.
Yes, it was the Goldmund.
 
Mar 8, 2015
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#23
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.
I too would like to hear people's opinions on SoTA transports vs servers. Extreme; Memory Player, Innuous vs Metronome Select, C.E.C. etc.
 

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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#24
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.
Because it's as meaningful as comparing FM tuners and turntables :)! What about digital tuners? How's people's decades of experience conjecture?

david
 
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CKKeung

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#25
Also, most top transports have to pair with dac of the same brand to give the best performance.
It's because most of them have got their own proprietary I2S type of digital connections.
We can be comparing apples, oranges, pears ...etc.
 
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ddk

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May 19, 2013
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#26
I too would like to hear people's opinions on SoTA transports vs servers. Extreme; Memory Player, Innuous vs Metronome Select, C.E.C. etc.
It's logistically very difficult for servers, they're not plug & play and at the very least transports are highly dependent on the quality of the conductor to whichever DAC it plugs into. Then there's the problem of who's qualified to conduct such a test, Emile travels to install his server to get it right because there's a certain level of complexity involved and that requires expertise. Then you're comparing two very different mediums and the only commonality is that they're both digital and given their functionality I don't see them as mutually exclusive.

As far comparing the top transports go there's at least 4 decades of meaningless shootouts to comb through on the net but there are also a good number of high end guys with direct experience of the top transports. There were/are a number of CD players that sound wonderful but sucked as standalone transports, how do we quantify them?

david
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#27
Have not investigated servers in a long while...but 12 years ago or more i bought and earlier version of the Zanden DAC on the basis i would connect it to a server...people thought i was absolutely crazy...I waited and waited...and WAITED to find a server i loved.
...and about 5 years ago, i bought a full Zanden 4-box digital latest spec and have never looked back. I do use the DAC inputs for movies from the Kaleidescape just for fun.
...at some point may try servers again, but i am enjoying music so much, I have not been inspired to investigate...
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#28
Also, most top transports have to pair with dac of the same brand to give the best performance.
It's because most of them have got their own proprietary I2S type of digital connections.
We can be comparing apples, oranges, pears ...etc.
CK, you're saying that these uber transports really are not suited w dacs from other brands?
So, the JMF 3.7, MSB Select 2 box, Atlantis transports are hobbled if you want to run them w an Aqua Formula, TD-12, Lampi Pacific, APL Dsd-mr, Aries Cerat etc?
Surely, it can't be right that in a sector that is already on the back foot ie disc transports, you hamper things even more by not having compatibility w as broad a range of dacs as possible.
It's an i2s connection, yes? That's a decades-long established solution, yes? Why, in 2020 in the twilight of disc spinners, would JMF, MSB and Wadax so fix things to reduce sales of their transports w non- JMF, MSB and Wadax dacs?
 

CKKeung

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#29
What's your views then? Do you have any answers?
:)
 

spiritofmusic

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#30
Firstly, I thought i2s was a "brand neutral" connection
We don't see Usb servers having to be married to the same brand dac
So why transports?
Are we REALLY saying that humungous JMF 3.7 would be hampered going into a Lampi Pacific or APL Dsd-Mr rather than the JMF dac?
My boring thoughts on cd v streamed music remain as boring as ever.
Right now, if I'd have maxxed my cd buying from 1983 and had 10-20k cds, sacds, dvd-a's, pure BRs, glass cds etc...I'd be looking at the JMF in particular...but likely be wanting to match it to a non-JMF dac...
 
Apr 7, 2018
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#31
I compared an Aurender W20 to my Esoteric P-02X both connected to my D-02X. The P-02X is connected via dual HDMI while the W20 was connected by dual AES/EBU. I have not listened to the newer W20SE. While I enjoyed both and the W20 was better than my N100H ... I thought that the transport was clearly superior to all sources and I decided to not purchase a W20 anytime soon. So ... I mostly spin records and CD's and stream occasionally from my older Aurender N100H ... mostly to explore new music.

George
 
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CKKeung

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#32
I compared an Aurender W20 to my Esoteric P-02X both connected to my D-02X. The P-02X is connected via dual HDMI while the W20 was connected by dual AES/EBU. I have not listened to the newer W20SE. While I enjoyed both and the W20 was better than my N100H ... I thought that the transport was clearly superior to all sources and I decided to not purchase a W20 anytime soon. So ... I mostly spin records and CD's and stream occasionally from my older Aurender N100H ... mostly to explore new music.

George
The ES-Link of Esoteric employing hdmi config is also a proprietary high rez transmission format, most probably of I2S type too.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#33
CK, you're saying that these uber transports really are not suited w dacs from other brands?
So, the JMF 3.7, MSB Select 2 box, Atlantis transports are hobbled if you want to run them w an Aqua Formula, TD-12, Lampi Pacific, APL Dsd-mr, Aries Cerat etc?
Surely, it can't be right that in a sector that is already on the back foot ie disc transports, you hamper things even more by not having compatibility w as broad a range of dacs as possible.
It's an i2s connection, yes? That's a decades-long established solution, yes? Why, in 2020 in the twilight of disc spinners, would JMF, MSB and Wadax so fix things to reduce sales of their transports w non- JMF, MSB and Wadax dacs?
I dont think that is exactly what CK is saying. At least from my own reading/understanding, ALL equipment is best designed if it is designed KNOWING IN ADVANCE what it is going to be connected to. (This applies for example to amps and speakers...the IDEAL is for the amp to know exactly what speaker it will be connected to...but the vast majority of amps are connected to multiple speakers. I think there is a direct quote from Flemming Rasmussen about this in regards to his own amps which are spectacular.)

Thus in the case of true SOTA transport/DAC systems...the Transport WILL work with all manner of different DACs...but to be truly ideal, the transport will work "best" with its own DAC.

That does not mean the Metronome Kalista Transport will not best plenty of other transports in working with a non-Metronome DAC...but GENERALLY, i understand that true ideal circumstances are for the 2 to be designed together.
 
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spiritofmusic

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#34
Lloyd, hopefully. Because if you wanna run a transport with a dac like Pacific, TD-12 or APL Dsd-Mr, there is no "matching" cd transport.
And I have quite the man crush on the JMF 3.7.
Only €55k!
 

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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#35
One thing that hasn't been mentioned which I find relevant for myself is the satisfaction of handling physical media and pushing physical buttons vs app and screens. Maybe it's a generational thing but it matters.

david
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#36
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.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#37
Ron, I spent my whole life insulating myself from computers, choosing hobbies and lifestyles and jobs that were hands on (no, not THAT hobby, lol).
As far down the slow living, analog lifestyle as possible. Ok, I shouted and swore at early cd adopters and digiphiles thru the 80s and 90s. And then of course came around to digital, taking another 15 years to find the cdp of my dreams.
To finally end up in a place where de facto the market has chosen to make streaming preeminent, and in UK and US at least, kill the cd and kill the cdp.
But I'm still the same person I was.
And having taken so long to get the cd sound I like via careful choice of cdp, attention to power and vibration management, now I have to start the whole learning curve again...but this time w extra layers of complexity...to Roon or not to Roon, USB or not, extra routers/clocks/switches/LPSs.
All the while being all fingers and thumbs w the tablet.
And also feeling one step removed from the medium.
I also won't stream movies, for the same plus additional critical reasons.
So, I have no love of the cd...but I just struggle to embrace the tablet culture, lack of owning music, and what looks like harder and harder routes to great sound...I've heard a dozen setups now, all have left me cold except Blue58's SGM/first T&A, now Aqua Formula setup.
 

CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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#38
One thing that hasn't been mentioned which I find relevant for myself is the satisfaction of handling physical media and pushing physical buttons vs app and screens. Maybe it's a generational thing but it matters.
david
I have noticed an interesting behavior among my CAS friends for years.
With a tablet on their hands, many of them tend to keep on swapping/skipping tracks or going to another another song or another album. They just can't stay and finish a song or a movement of a classical music piece.

I find this kind of behavior very annoying, particularly that I listen mostly to classical music.
Is this impatience due to generation gap or that the remote/control of CAS is too handy?
:rolleyes:
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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#39
I have noticed an interesting behavior among my CAS friends for years.
With a tablet on their hands, many of them tend to keep on swapping/skipping tracks or going to another another song or another album. They just can't stay and finish a song or a movement of a classical music piece.

I find this kind of behavior very annoying, particularly that I listen mostly to classical music.
Is this impatience due to generation gap or that the remote/control of CAS is too handy?
:rolleyes:
Ha ha ha! I've noticed the exact same thing but I don't complain because I can't sit through an entire streamed track anyway. This also gives me a chance to tell them that I've had enough :)! I really can't stand listening to computer audio more than an few minutes in the background before getting physically uncomfortable.

david
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#40
the 800 pound gorilla in the room of this thread that no one seems to mention is high rez PCM streaming and files. optimally played they are game changing for digital music playback. i go for a week or 10 days digital listening without a redbook title. almost all new music i listen to is higher rez. and that is not discs.

2-3 nights a week i'm listening to a high rez classical music playlist for 2-3 hours and loving it. Cd's approaching what i'm hearing from this? i doubt it.

i respect that some seem to prefer Cd's on transports to high rez. not how i see or hear it. my most recent transport experience in my system was a 4 month period 2 years ago with the Aqua Formula and Aqua La Diva transport using the AQlink i2s digital interface. it was very fine sounding on my CD's, although until i placed the Herzan active under it, it was not equal to the ripped files. then it came very close. but not close to high rez versions.

we all have our own set of priorities. it took me about 4 years (2010-2014) for me to really get over silver discs and embrace files, and then 2 years ago it took me about 18 months to go from files to streaming. we love what we know and enjoy. but if we speak about digital music playback performance objectively with new music, it's high rez files and high rez streaming. period.

YMMV, in my system to my ears, and all that stuff.
 
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