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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#61
We transport champions will be quite happy versus the Extreme.
I don't think price alone is the arbiter of the comparison...the top transports are at least 2x pricier than the Extreme (Wadax Atlantis and JMF 3.7), and just pricier (MSB Select 2 box).
This is not a case of proving transports are better than top servers. It's more about proving top servers don't trounce transports, and that there may be sufficiently different enough presentation to ascertain the transport shouldn't die as a concept.
If you have a collection running to many 000s of cd, sacd, dvd a, br pure, br music...doesn't it make sense to maintain a transport of highest quality? Running an Extreme as well would be the plan.
 
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caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#62
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.
I Think the old SGM server up-calculated everything to DSD (via HQ Player?). Someone would come by the house and set it up, and enter the HQ Player parameters for the DAC the guy was using, if I recall correctly. Because of DSD technology, it was a completely different sound. So definitely not apples to apples and very specific to DSD tastes
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#63
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.
I haven't read that thread yet. What is the time frame for support? When will the new model come out? Do they up-calculate everything to DSD like the SGM server? Is the current box upgradeable? Are complementary network elements necessary to bring out the most out of it? If so, which ones?

I'm sure guys who are on the bleeding edge / "innovators" on the technology adoption curve and guys with a lot of cash who don't mind the risk probably don't care. But important questions for the rest.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#64
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.
i absolutely accept that this is your sincere belief. (your interest in this thread is more personal than many for you i can tell). at a particular point i was a silver disc absolutist too.
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
That is often the central problem in trying to assess evaluation of sound by other audiophiles.
i have considerable tools to judge realism. in many cases i have either source high rez files for redbook or the tape or Lp of the source analog for the redbook. i'm confident i can make as informed as judgment as anyone.

regarding the PS. serious server development is now 10-12 years old; maybe 5-7 or so years old with commercial versions. silver disc tech is 40 years old. the learning curve for taking computers and optimizing them for music has been a process. we all must bet on where we see that curve being right now. is the Extreme that break-though game changing product? many of us think it is.

the larger marketplace has voted strongly in favor of files and streaming. so has high end audio.

time will tell.
 
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dan31

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Jul 22, 2010
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#65
If you have a good % of your music on CD it makes sense to invest in the playback. If you have any interest in Hi Rez it makes sense to put future money into a better dac and go to streaming.

I have about 70% lp and 29% physical digital disc. I do have a mix of cd, sacd and some dvd-a. I use an Ayre C5xe MP. I have a spare transport so I’m covered for some time.

If I invest in anything it’s analog lp related.
 

Al M.

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#66
i have considerable tools to judge realism. in many cases i have either source high rez files for redbook or the tape or Lp of the source analog for the redbook. i'm confident i can make as informed as judgment as anyone.
Ok, let's mention the elephant in the room. You do not use live unamplified music as reference and have relatively little experience with it, by your own admission.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#67
Ok, let's mention the elephant in the room. You do not use live unamplified music as reference and have relatively little experience with it, by your own admission.
true; i use the source recording to judge redbook or CD performance.

but if i only had silver disc's i could not do that. i would have to guess as to what the original recording sounded like.

for years there was a jazz club in the small town i live near, 5 minutes from my home, that had live music, mostly jazz, every night. i went there for dinner an average of once a month for 10 years.

https://dannykolke.com/the-boxleys-story/the-backstory-how-boxleys-all-began/

i could listen for 45 minutes during and after dinner, and be in my room listening 10 minutes later. so this was my major live music exposure.

i'm not one to go into town for concerts or go to clubs. i hate lines and get all the activity i need at work every day. but that does not mean i never have had an interest or paid attention to live music. it just had to come to me. and that club down the hill has been closed now for 4 years.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#68
If you have a good % of your music on CD it makes sense to invest in the playback. If you have any interest in Hi Rez it makes sense to put future money into a better dac and go to streaming.

I have about 70% lp and 29% physical digital disc. I do have a mix of cd, sacd and some dvd-a. I use an Ayre C5xe MP. I have a spare transport so I’m covered for some time.

If I invest in anything it’s analog lp related.
70%/29%
What's the remaining 1%? Lol
 
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#69
[QUOTE="spiritofmusic, post:
If you have a collection running to many 000s of cd, sacd, dvd a, br pure, br music...doesn't it make sense to maintain a transport of highest quality. Running an Extreme as well would be the plan.[/QUOTE]

Mike, perhaps you've answered this question before, but in your opinion, does ripping redbook/SACD and replaying through the best storage methods in the Extreme result in similar or 'better' performance than the original disc in the best transport of your experience? If they differ, then how?
 
May 30, 2010
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#70
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.
A shootout is almost useless - you would mostly pick the transport /DAC that best matches the system being used for listening to them. I still own the Metronome Calypso Reference (an improved version of the original Kalista and the C2A DAC and my main digital is the Vivaldi stack. There are basic aspects everyone knows about - e.g. the Metronome tube sound and the bass articulation and detail of the Vivaldi , but the "better" sound ;) depends on what system I am using.

IMHO concerning digital you must live sometime with the equipment, listen a lot of time and tune your system to properly evaluate it. Surely if you have strong convictions and biases you can shorten this time a lot.

I appreciate a lot the Extreme, but for redbook I still prefer the physical CD, but only in a matched transport - I do not like the sound of the Calypso transport in the Vivaldi DAC.
 

spiritofmusic

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#71
Francisco, that last paragraph is maybe the most relevant thing you've ever written from my viewpoint.
 
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#72
I guess I used the term 'shootout' too loosely. Actually, come to think of it, I don't like the term as it applies to the love of music... So let me rephrase: I would love for people to describe the relevant differences between their favorite Transport and server; what they prefer and why...
 
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May 30, 2010
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#73
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.

IMHO any one using the word "realism" should write "my version of realism" and describe in what aspects he finds the sound "realistic" - our notion of stereo "realism" is so vague and diverse that it is completely meaningless unless properly explained referring to defined recordings, not with equipment comparisons. Surely YMMV.

Anyway why being so aggressive and unfriendly with anyone not agreeing with you? It kills any hope of having fair and interesting debates with such people.
 
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caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#74
IMHO any one using the word "realism" should write "my version of realism" and describe in what aspects he finds the sound "realistic" - our notion of stereo "realism" is so vague and diverse that it is completely meaningless unless properly explained referring to defined recordings, not with equipment comparisons. Surely YMMV.

Anyway why being so aggressive and unfriendly with anyone not agreeing with you? It kills any hope of having fair and interesting debates with such people.
Yes, I am passionate about this. Nothing personal intended. Having heard most of the top streamers from lumin, aurender, naim, etc., I think streaming is one of the biggest scams in high end audio today for getting the best sound.

One may get at best 80%, but probably realistically get 70-75% of what a transport can do. Like I said above, for the sake of argument, let's assume that the Extreme is a unicorn and is truly better. But only a handful of people have this server. The vast majority of guys streaming have been screwed over..

Imagine buying a top speaker system for $200K-500K.But you get 75% of its value... Kind of like walking to the top of the Empire State Building and letting $50K-$125K fly off into the air...

I hate scams and dishonesty that is so prevalent in this industry. So that's why I am passionate about it
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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#75
I guess I used the term 'shootout' too loosely. Actually, come to think of it, I don't like the term as it applies to the love of music... So let me rephrase: I would love for people to describe the relevant differences between their favorite Transport and server; what they prefer and why...
I wish we can all sit and listen together with you, Mike, Al, Microstrip, Spirit and others to calibrate our tastes. But generally, I have found that streamers are more flat and robotic sounding. A lot of analytical detail thrown at the listener by a robot.

With transports, on the other hand, one gets better timing, palpability, better interplay between musicians in space... just more realism.

Like I said, I wish we could all listen together, as talking about audio is like dancing about architecture.
 
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#76
Like I said, I wish we could all listen together, as talking about audio is like dancing about architecture.
:) Too true...
 
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Al M.

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#77
I wish we can all sit and listen together with you, Mike, Al, Microstrip, Spirit and others to calibrate our tastes. But generally, I have found that streamers are more flat and robotic sounding.
Flat, yes.

Live music is not flat.

***

Actually, it depends. I have heard also good streaming. Would I still prefer a transport if I could hear it side by side? Well possible.
 
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CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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#78
IMO the most important advantage of streaming is to enable audiophiles to explore a much bigger world of music.
Not only more conveniently but also at much lower costs than getting their silver disc versions.

However in term of sonic performance, streaming is in its infancy stage of development.
At this moment, it lags behind silver discs and playback of internally stored music files inside servers significantly.

As good as the Extreme Server and as good as the madly tweaked network systems of my HK CAS audiophile friends, we can differentiate streaming and internal music file playback in seconds. No fight at all.
This is the repeatedly observed "shootout" result we experienced after the Extreme is available in HK. It occurs in all the various audio systems of my Extreme owner friends.

Yes, streaming is the future, but not now when we talk about sonic performance.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#79
IMO the most important advantage of streaming is to enable audiophiles to explore a much bigger world of music.
Not only more conveniently but also at much lower costs than getting their silver disc versions.

However in term of sonic performance, streaming is in its infancy stage of development.
At this moment, it lags behind silver discs and playback of internally stored music files inside servers significantly.

As good as the Extreme Server and as good as the madly tweaked network systems of my HK CAS audiophile friends, we can differentiate streaming and internal music file playback in seconds. No fight at all.
This is the repeatedly observed "shootout" result we experienced after the Extreme is available in HK. It occurs in all the various audio systems of my Extreme owner friends.

Yes, streaming is the future, but not now when we talk about sonic performance.
CK,

i respect the feedback of the preference of CD's with top transports and streaming redbook.

how do redbook silver discs generally hold up against Extreme streaming higher rez (not 16/44) with the recent boost from the Roon update and Emile's massaging?
 

spiritofmusic

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#80
Well Mike, since 95% or more of the great music of the world resides on lp and cd, that makes the argument for transports undeniable. For that 5% or less that is purely the preserve of audiophiles, yep sure, the best server makes the best sense.

What I'm most intrigued by, is whether the vast majority of classic Golden Age recordings eg 50s 60s original Mercury and HMV etc labels classical, 50s 60s original Blue Note Atlantic Impulse etc labels jazz, 60s 70s original classic rock, sounds across the board better thru Extreme than later pressings on lp and cd, the Extreme ONLY bettered by the best original pressings.

Put another way, a budding audiophile wanting the best library...$25k on Extreme and access to recordings that across the board sound better than later/non original run pressings on lps bought s/h.

Or lps and cds (non hi rez material) across the board STILL being better on their original formats than thru Extreme.
 

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