belt driven CD transports compared to direct drive transports


New Member
Apr 29, 2022
I would like to know if any of the members have the opportunity to evaluate a belt drive CD transport and compare it with a direct drive transport? If so how well did the belt drive perform?

Thanking you in anticipation


Well-Known Member
May 3, 2021
I think or I guess belt drive is better , I have belt drive CEC TL0 3.0 and it is the best transport I have heard.
CEC TL0 3.0 is far better than all other transports but I do not know why?
maybe belt drive is the reason, maybe the suspension is the reason, maybe the output circuit is the reason, maybe the psu is the reason , I do not know
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AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
Belt-driven drives are less susceptible to motor quality, as it is mechanically decoupled (for vibrations) from the disc. On the other hand, the belt is something that requires some maintenance from time to time.
I think it's hard to draw deeper conclusions, as the rest of the CD circuits will dominate the sound signature anyway.
My 2 cents.


Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2016
In my experience, it is very hard to draw definitive conclusions just based on the concept of belt drive v. conventional (calling conventional transports "direct drive" just sounds odd to me). As to belt drive, I have owned both the CEC TL-1x and the TL-0 (which I currently own). As to conventional transports, I have owned probably a dozen over the (unfortunately now many) years, including (among the high end) the Altis Centauri (really underrated), the Stahl Tek, the Esoteric D1, as well as using a Soulution 541 as a transport.

The sound of the CEC TL0 and TL1x bear very little relation to each other, comparatively, for components from the same house. The TL1x was warm, rich, and a bit fuzzy / lacking in ultimate detail. The TL0 by contrast. is clinical, highly resolving, but definitely less warm. If I can point to any overarching commonality, it would be a stability in the midbass.

Frustratingly, however, I have found myself drawn to belt drive regardless, but damned if I could explain why. So taking your ultimate question, yes, belt drive transports (a very small set of the universe of the transports) can certainly compete with conventional transports. If you pick up a TL0, I highly doubt you will be disappointed.
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