Bargain CD transport and budget system

If you're like me you still have lots of CDs and maybe you're not too thrilled with USB audio though you live with it given convenience...but looking around I don't really find any stand alone CD transports that are aimed at our headphone audio market-- a fair amount of hi-end full sized types but wow many are $1k and up even used etc. I have a few old Sony first-gen "ES" DVD players--the DVP-S7000-- I used to mod for CD-audio service with better op-amps and beefier power supplies. They're still highly regarded DVD players and used are still a few hundred bucks-- so I decided to try the SPDIF, optical, and RCA-audio output into my JDS Labs EL Amp II/ EL DAC II system and see how the outputs sounded though my HD-660S and HifiMan Anandas. Right off the bat I knew the RCA output would be compromised as the signal is routed through protection diodes - put there in case somebody tried to push audio into the output circuit; in my modded players I bypassed these with either six9's copper or solid silver wire. Sure enough even the optical output sounded better than the RCA section but the SPDIF audio was awesome- just crystal clear and punchy. But the downside of the DVP-S7000 is it's as big as a typical AV receiver! We need small form-factor here. I remembered I still had my Mom's old budget Sony DVD player I inherited-- sure enough, it had a SPDIF out! ..and it powered there's dozens on Ebay ;-)
The Sony model is called DVP-SR500H. It uses the RMT 129A remote. These players are on Ebay going for $5 to $29 dollars sometimes with free shipping-- the remotes are usually $10ish-- so I ordered a couple of each as I have 2 friends I'm gathering components for. While I was rooting around Ebay I saw these Cambridge Audio DAC Magic 100s. They have USB, optical, 2 SPDIF inputs...factory refurbs for $135. None of the lower end JDS DACs had SPDIF inputs so I decided to try one of these too. For running the SR500H for audio you really need the remote- play/pause/stop is it for controls. I tried the setup with one of my original JDS "O2" amps and also an Atom; both were great and had excellent sound. I even tried out some Portishead "Numb" cuts to test the low end-- all went as deep as the EL Amp II with same clear open top end. I used a $12 Ebay digital coax cable and swapped in my fancy Audioquest one; no difference! So let's see; $28 player, $12 cable, $65 O2 amp, $135 for the DAC, $10 remote... $250 for the whole sweet little system and it's only 12" wide and 8" deep!
I took the cover off the DVD player to clean out dust from the transport- it came apart very easily. 3 small Philips screws on the back and one on each side. Anyhow-- just wanted to share a bargain find with our fanatical community- Cheers! Alex Round Rock sunny Texas


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