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Bargain CD transport and budget system

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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 up...plus there's dozens on Ebay ;-)
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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!
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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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