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Castle Knight 2 Speakers

jai1611

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I thought I'd share my experience with CD transports, which may be of use to others. First some details of my setup:
DAC: Lampizator level 3 (gen 3)
Amplifier: Rethm Gaanam
Speakers: Rethm Saadhana v1
Cables: ICs and speaker cables are Rethm, digital cable is Black Cat Veloce. Power cables are a mish mash of Einstein, XLO and some generic ones.

My transport journey has been all over the place. The first transport I used with the Lampizator was a cheap and cheerful Nad C515. Even with this, the Lampizator was so far ahead of anything else that I heard that I was satisfied. However, I knew that the DAC deserved something better so managed to convince Dr.Bass to part with his beloved Teac. Unfortunately, the CDP was lying in Bangalore for over a year before I could finally pick it up. In the meantime I used the Yamaha CD-S2000 and a Goldenote Stibbert as transports. My observations on the various transports:

Nad vs Yamaha: the Yamaha is a very solidly built machine and was an all-round pleasure to use. Sonically, it had a bit more resolution and a slightly more spread out soundstage.

Yamaha vs Goldenote: I honestly cant make out the difference. Maybe some minor changes but nothing I would say with conviction.

Goldenote vs Teac VRDS 10: a very noticeable improvement in the resolution and impact of the bass. Also a more airy and precise soundstage. These were immediately apparent on the first CD. Subsequent listening also shows more resolution - not in your face but suddenly noticing something extra in very familiar recordings.

I also has a dedicated music PC which outputs SPDIF through an E-MU 1212m sound card -> monarchy audio DIP classic (reclocker) -> Lampizator. To me, the same CD ripped into the pc using EAC and played back through Foobar doesnt sound as good as a good CD transport. Maybe the same level as the Nad - not sure though. I suspect that the gap could be narrowed and perhaps even closed through a more optimised pc setup (maybe an off ramp or Art Legato). However, given that I have a lot of CDs and quite enjoy listening to them, I'm in no hurry to pursue this.

p.s. a special thanks to Dr. Bass for letting me have the Teac

p.p.s. I also have a Lampizator kit which fits a tubed digital output on CD transport. May experiment with this at some point on a backup cd transport (maybe the NAD)
 
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jls001

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p.p.s. I also have a Lampizator kit which fits a tubed digital output on CD transport. May experiment with this at some point on a backup cd transport (maybe the NAD)

You should try this. Some circuit surgery and soldering is probably required but I am guessing you will be surprised by the outcome. This is the original Lampizator configuration.

PS: what was the VRDS doing for a full year in Bangalore?:)
 

arj

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Lying in a box. Waiting for a trip over where I had time to go pick it up

and of all days he chose a pickup where it could have been only a pickup and nothing else :( next time hope to make worth a meeting..my apologies
 

jai1611

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and of all days he chose a pickup where it could have been only a pickup and nothing else :( next time hope to make worth a meeting..my apologies

Thanks for hanging on to it for so long, and for accommodating my weird schedule. Lets hope we can plan proper listening session next visit
 
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gobble

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How is the emotional connect with different transports? Do you perceive a difference? Like one may be sounding happy and fresh while the other clinical in timing, restrained but with precision feel etc?

--G0bble
 

jai1611

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How is the emotional connect with different transports? Do you perceive a difference? Like one may be sounding happy and fresh while the other clinical in timing, restrained but with precision feel etc?

--G0bble

To me that is more dependent on the DAC. The percieved emotional connect did seem less on the pc though.
 

reignofchaos

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jai did you try the emu with wasapi or asio? Wasapi is far smoother than asio which sounds harsh IMHO.
 

gobble

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To me that is more dependent on the DAC. The percieved emotional connect did seem less on the pc though.

I guess you are not emotional or senti about your transports then :eek:hyeah:

Thanks
--G0bble
 

Dr.Bass

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Goldenote vs Teac VRDS 10: a very noticeable improvement in the resolution and impact of the bass. Also a more airy and precise soundstage. These were immediately apparent on the first CD. Subsequent listening also shows more resolution - not in your face but suddenly noticing something extra in very familiar recordings.

This is exactly how I felt when I first heard the TEAC. I just could not understand how it managed to bring new details on even typical pop songs which any way have very little inner details.

I did like the Philips CD pro2M a little more when it comes to timbre accuracy and flow of music but then the TEAC is not a dedicated transport, it is a CDP so as a pure transport it may not be as complete (sonically) as it could potentially. However, these are transports which clearly shows the men from the boys so it is worth experiencing in ones system.
 

jai1611

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I did like the Philips CD pro2M a little more when it comes to timbre accuracy and flow of music but then the TEAC is not a dedicated transport, it is a CDP so as a pure transport it may not be as complete (sonically) as it could potentially.

Thanks for the tip. I'll try and find a CD pro2m to listen to.
With the Teac, a clock upgrade is something that could help but seems a bit risky to experiment with.
 

Dr.Bass

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Dr. Bass, Doesnt the Acoustic Portrait transport use Philips cd pro2m?

Yes they do and it is superb!

Jai, upgrading the clock should not be risky at all, it is a very common upgrade on transports. But whether you are handy enough to do it and you need to find someone to do it for you, that is the question to be solved.
 

prem

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Hi Jai1611

When budget permits, get yourself a dedicated Esoteric transport. Its in a different league. And more importantly completely hassle free. I have heard the Zanden which uses the Philips Pro. The Esoteric pulls out much more details and is more transparent. I would go with a transport which extracts every bit of detail and then go with a DAC which is voiced to suit personal preferences. The TEAC VRDS which you are using now is nowhere in the playing league as compared to a dedicated Esoteric transport
 

jai1611

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Jai, did you get the power cords ?

Yes, I did. Havent tried them out yet though.

Hi Jai1611

When budget permits, get yourself a dedicated Esoteric transport. Its in a different league. And more importantly completely hassle free. I have heard the Zanden which uses the Philips Pro. The Esoteric pulls out much more details and is more transparent. I would go with a transport which extracts every bit of detail and then go with a DAC which is voiced to suit personal preferences. The TEAC VRDS which you are using now is nowhere in the playing league as compared to a dedicated Esoteric transport

Thanks for the tip Prem. I dont think I'd be springing for one of those any time soon though - would rather consider a complete source upgrade rather than just transport if spending that kind of money (~$7k+).
 

Dr.Bass

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Yes, I did. Havent tried them out yet though.



Thanks for the tip Prem. I dont think I'd be springing for one of those any time soon though - would rather consider a complete source upgrade rather than just transport if spending that kind of money (~$7k+).

Jai, you already have a super DAC, as good as any DAC costing upto $10k. It is only your transport which needs attention. I cannot think of any other DAC for $7k odd which will be of any significant upgrade over what you have now except may be the next level of Lampizator, however it will be just more of the same thing that you already have. But a transport upgrade will have much bigger impact on the fundamental levels of music reproduction.

As a transport you should also seriously consider the 47 Labs Flatfish. I have seen people of Audiogon who clearly prefer it to even a top level Esoteric transport.
 

jai1611

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Jai, you already have a super DAC, as good as any DAC costing upto $10k. It is only your transport which needs attention. I cannot think of any other DAC for $7k odd which will be of any significant upgrade over what you have now except may be the next level of Lampizator, however it will be just more of the same thing that you already have. But a transport upgrade will have much bigger impact on the fundamental levels of music reproduction.

As a transport you should also seriously consider the 47 Labs Flatfish. I have seen people of Audiogon who clearly prefer it to even a top level Esoteric transport.

Thanks. I guess I'll have to look around for a better CD transport to try out. Too happy with the current sound to buy something blind.
 

prem

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I have heard complaints about the reliability of the 47 Labs Flatfish. For that kind of money i would go with something absolutely bullet proof. The Esoteric transport pulls out so much info that if the dac is not upto it, things start sounding very analytical. Most of the comments about Esoteric sounding analytical arises because of this. Infact the person behind the Esoteric designs is a big vinyl buff. Which is the reason they even introduced a phono stage.
DCS Scarlatti, Playback Designs and a few other top end digital players use the Esoteric transport mechanism. I believe the Philips pro transport mechanism can be had for less than $900 whereas Esoteric does not sell its transport mechanism to other cd player manufacturers for less than $ 6000.
 
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