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

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#41
I guess this really is program-dependent. Mike, my only interest in music is golden age analog recordings...lp. And new music, deep genre searches on prog, fusion, ambient electronica...rbcd and streaming (maybe). Very little non audiophile music is more than 16/44, maybe 24/96 at most.
Ok, there are a few artists that I love who've gone to DSD, Bill Frissell and Pat Metheny for example. But I love their earlier, "rougher" albums, not a great fan of their latter career audiophile recordings. Classical? I'm happy scouring EBay for bargains, Hi Rez modern stuff doesn't appeal.
I know WBF is populated w Hi Rez listeners. But 95% of music is lp or rbcd. And thus disc spinners still matter.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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#42
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 guess because the OP is about the validity of CD players in 2020 and we're responding to his questions and not streaming formats. Also most thread respondents seem to have eliminated streaming as a source.

david
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#43
I guess because the OP is about the validity of CD players in 2020 and we're responding to his questions and not streaming formats. Also most thread respondents seem to have eliminated streaming as a source.

david
i described the transport i purchased 2 years ago after i had not had a transport for a time and only a server, and what my experience was. then what i did going forward from that point.

i felt that the absence of mentioning high rez digital performance in the thread left it incomplete. i have no illusions that you and i see the same picture here. neither do we need to.
 
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#44
i described the transport i purchased 2 years ago after i had not had a transport for a time and only a server, and what my experience was. then what i did going forward from that point.

i felt that the absence of mentioning high rez digital performance in the thread left it incomplete. i have no illusions that you and i see the same picture here. neither do we need to.
Thanks Mike
As for your comments on hi res. Would you hold that even mainstream content remastered in resolutions as low as 24/96 and played through the likes of the Extreme are on average 'better' than well spun redbook of the same mastering?
 
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Mike Lavigne

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#45
I guess this really is program-dependent. Mike, my only interest in music is golden age analog recordings...lp. And new music, deep genre searches on prog, fusion, ambient electronica...rbcd and streaming (maybe). Very little non audiophile music is more than 16/44, maybe 24/96 at most.
Ok, there are a few artists that I love who've gone to DSD, Bill Frissell and Pat Metheny for example. But I love their earlier, "rougher" albums, not a great fan of their latter career audiophile recordings. Classical? I'm happy scouring EBay for bargains, Hi Rez modern stuff doesn't appeal.
I know WBF is populated w Hi Rez listeners. But 95% of music is lp or rbcd. And thus disc spinners still matter.
this is simple. at some future moment you will discover streaming. embrace it. it's inevitable. and most of streaming is for new music, and most of that has a high rez version you can access. every genre is represented in streaming. so this is just a timing issue.

sure; when you deep dive some artists with streaming lots of what you find is redbook only, but not always. so i will respect where you are coming from for now; knowing where you will end up. 24/96 is better than 16/44. sometimes lots better and makes a difference not just in the sound quality but in the flow and ease. less fatigue and digital signature.

Thanks Mike
As for your comments on hi res. Would you hold that even mainstream content remastered in resolutions as low as 24/96 and played through the likes of the Extreme are on average 'better' than well spun redbook of the same mastering?
the simple answer is an emphatic yes. but it's not really so simple, since (1) it depends on the native transfer resolution. they could be anywhere from 24/44 or 24/48 to 24/88, 24/96, or even higher. assuming it's 24/96 or higher, then yes the 24/96 is predictably better than a 16/44. and (2) whether the dac is bit perfect or up-sampling which can then have less predictable results, or (3) some people/systems prefer the signature of redbook.......very slightly more dense and overtly macro dynamic.....less finely rendered. it plays to certain set-ups. i find i need to play high rez at higher points on my volume control than the redbook and i'm rewarded with greater involvement. i melt more into the music. there is more going on.

in my system i really enjoy redbook, but compared to good high rez transfers it comparatively lacks refinement and textural and timbrel nuance. these are not huge differences, but they are clear and musicially important to me. this is especially true when you get to 24/176, 24/192 and especially 24/352. some dsd native recordings are very good like this too, although overall i prefer the PCM.

what is very interesting is if you have a reference digital cut you use often to judge your system. you think you really know it. then search and see of you can find higher rez versions. this exercise will show you much about this. i have a few like that where i had a reference i used, and then i heard how it really could sound and it was eye opening.
 
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#46
As an engineer, I tend to think the technical challenges of designing a server to playback files from among other sources, CD/SACDs ripped 'bit perfectly' off line, while certainly not without its challenges, would be (much) easier than pulling the data off physical media in real time. Even buffered implementation strategies which have existed since the early days of digital (PLL etc.) have their own challenges.
 
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Jan 16, 2013
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#47
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:
I observe the exact same behavior when listening with others to classical. On the flip side last night I listened to four non- classical albums streamed/Qobuz without changing one track.

Four albums straight through with critical listening. I am much more into the "music" than if one format sounds a bit or even a lot better, although of course the sonics need to be at a certain level to forget about the system and get lost into the music.

The generalization thing may be in general, but not always. I am 68 and love my phone/Mac/iPad running Roon. I don't care for the ritual of media handling even a little bit. It's fun that we are all different!!!
 

rblnr

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#48
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.
I think it's generational too in that those of us raised on discs or LPs are aware of a world that has no internet connection, so there's some security in knowing we have physical media or rips on site should the unthinkable (for younger generations) happen.

As for the specific topic, I've been streaming since the original Squeezeboxes and have rarely played discs since. Did a lot of A/Bing over the years and felt there was no difference between discs and a rip, and convenience and the ability to immediately access and put eyes on anything in my library in a different way promoted listening to stuff that might otherwise fall by the wayside. Hirez has pushed a transport even further into the rearview for me.
 
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caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#49
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.
CD Transports from the same family as the DAC, or anything such as reference level Esoterics and other reference models even up to 20 years old, will destroy any streaming server I have heard.

Streaming is great for discovering new music, but for music most important to you, CD transports are the way to go.

It's easily provable via dCS Rossini player. The transport blows away anything streamed. And the stand-alone transport is even better.

Kind of mind boggling that guys who want the BEST or "audio journalists" who write about "realism" of state of the art DACs would not have a transport.

Makes one lose faith in all the garbage information out there.
 

spiritofmusic

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#50
What can I tell you, Caesar...STILL no top class server versus SOTA transport shootout.
I get that AF0 versus Vyger versis Clearaudio Statement ain't happening anytime soon. Or even that humungous air suspended monster from Germany that's always broken and stays on static display.
But Extreme versus MSB Select or Wadax or JMF transports...you can't tell me this would be too complex to set up.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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#51
CD Transports from the same family as the DAC, or anything such as reference level Esoterics and other reference models even up to 20 years old, will destroy any streaming server I have heard.
not my experience.

as i wrote a few posts above; i preferred files from my previous level SGM server compared to the same brand transport with their digital interface with the Aqua Formula dac and La Diva transport. fast forward 2 years to the SGM Extreme where files and streaming have taken large leaps forward sorry but just can't see your view as valid.

Streaming is great for discovering new music, but for music most important to you, CD transports are the way to go.
most redbook content in your library exists in streaming. and ripping the ones that don't is trivial.

It's easily provable via dCS Rossini player. The transport blows away anything streamed. And the stand-alone transport is even better.
depends on the server used.

Kind of mind boggling that guys who want the BEST or "audio journalists" who write about "realism" of state of the art DACs would not have a transport.

Makes one lose faith in all the garbage information out there.
:rolleyes:
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#52
not my experience.

as i wrote a few posts above; i preferred files from my previous level SGM server compared to the same brand transport with their digital interface with the Aqua Formula dac and La Diva transport. fast forward 2 years to the SGM Extreme where files and streaming have taken large leaps forward sorry but just can't see your view as valid.



most redbook content in your library exists in streaming. and ripping the ones that don't is trivial.



depends on the server used.



:rolleyes:
Hi Mike,
I trust myself and what I hear in friends' systems, and I have heard a good number of comparos. To me it's night and day.

What we perceive as realism obviously differs. Let's agree to disagree on this one.

P.S. Not even going into how these state of the art servers become obsolete after a year or 2
 

spiritofmusic

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#53
Caesar, I totally agree w you re the sonics of top class transports. But I don't see Extreme becoming a paperweight or doorstop anytime soon.

Truth is Caesar, there is no mkt in US or UK for a top transport...the customers don't exist.

But go to Germany, and esp Japan, HK and rest of SEAsia, and there the mkt thrives.

So Extreme will do brilliantly in those territories...as will the Esoteric, MSB Select, Wadax Atlantis and JMF 3.7 transports.

Just what is gonna play those rare pressing cds, Glass cds, Shm-cds, sacds, dvd-a's, BR-pures, BR-music discs? Gotta be a Wadax or JMF 3.7 universal disc transport.

What a waste to be a wealthy perfectionist audiophile and not have a lovely SOTA transport as well as server.
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
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#54
Caesar, I totally agree w you re the sonics of top class transports. But I don't see Extreme becoming a paperweight or doorstop anytime soon.

Truth is Caesar, there is no mkt in US or UK for a top transport...the customers don't exist.

But go to Germany, and esp Japan, HK and rest of SEAsia, and there the mkt thrives.

So Extreme will do brilliantly in those territories...as will the Esoteric, MSB Select, Wadax Atlantis and JMF 3.7 transports.

Just what is gonna play those rare pressing cds, Glass cds, Shm-cds, sacds, dvd-a's, BR-pures, BR-music discs? Gotta be a Wadax or JMF 3.7 universal disc transport.

What a waste to be a wealthy perfectionist audiophile and not have a lovely SOTA transport as well as server.
Let's for the sake of argument assume that the Extreme is an outlier, which I don't really buy, the reality is that most people outside of a handful of guys with the Extreme have spent thousands, tens, hundreds of thousands on their systems and are getting a fraction of what their system is capable of.

That is a real shame!
 

spiritofmusic

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#55
Ooh! Glad YOU said that and not me Lol. Have you sorted the barricades for the responses winging yr way?
 
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spiritofmusic

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#56
Caesar, Extreme could be an outlier. Remember, €25k gets you a unique package...server par excellence literally in a class of it's own...and your own PC Man Friday, Emile.

He can even sort Roon for his customers. Unless the Innuos or Pink Faun etc head honchos are doing this for their customers, that €25k looks more and more like extreme (lol) vfm.
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
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#57
Caesar, Extreme could be an outlier. Remember, €25k gets you a unique package...server par excellence literally in a class of it's own...and your own PC Man Friday, Emile.

He can even sort Roon for his customers. Unless the Innuos or Pink Faun etc head honchos are doing this for their customers, that €25k looks more and more like extreme (lol) vfm.
The marketing machine is going full blast... a lot of servers to sell
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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#58
What we perceive as realism obviously differs.
That is often the central problem in trying to assess evaluation of sound by other audiophiles.
 
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Voltrix

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#59
not my experience.

as i wrote a few posts above; i preferred files from my previous level SGM server compared to the same brand transport with their digital interface with the Aqua Formula dac and La Diva transport. fast forward 2 years to the SGM Extreme where files and streaming have taken large leaps forward sorry but just can't see your view as valid.
I believe this shootout needs to be put into a financial context to obtain a meaningful interpretation. While the La Diva transport falls into the 7K range the SGM server revolved around the 16-17 K mark at the time which is more than double price. Naturally, the SGM should have the edge here and it might have been more meaningful to compare with a similarly priced server. Taking the SGM Extreme for a shootout with, for example, the Vivaldi transport in a dCS system where it would naturally be used sounds like the preferred comparison.
 
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#60
I would love to see a shootout of RECENT and similarly priced Transports and Servers.
Transports I've heard and loved include the New Metronome two box monster, the Metronome Kalista (Golden Fingerprint by Wojceich Pacula of HiFidelity.pl but 69,000 Euros!! ); the Audionet D1 Drive (a big overachiever) TOL CEC. Other's I know of but haven't heard include dedicated Transports by MSB, DCS, EMM, JMF DMT 3.7 and the like.
As far as 'comparable' Servers?... Other than Emile's Extreme and the latest from Laufer Teknik. Those I don't know so much.
 
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