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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

Nov 15, 2021
OK Budget system UPDATE! Tried same rig with a Drop/THX AAA ONE-- subbed it in after my JDS Labs 02s and Atom amp trials-- this time I tried it with the Planar Mob-- Ananda; Sundara 2021 with new Dekoni hybrid pads, and the 2021 Audeze LCD-X
Since the THX AAA One are now popping up on Ebay for $125-$150 range I decided to hear if the claims of sterility etc were valid-- plus if they're as analytical as some claim that should be borne out too. I decided to stick with the Warner Remaster of Dire Straits since it has distinct bass, guitars, acoustic guitars low in the mix etc. This amp at these prices is still what you'd call a 'budget' amp-- the whole system runs $350ish. The Cambridge Audio DACs are still on Ebay for $139...OK well gotta say it was fun hearing all these headphones through this amp-- no surprise, the Ananda was the easiest to drive and really brought out the acoustic guitars and low-level background vocals; the Sundara was the power pig of the lot but still at amp gain setting of 3 the volume knob only got to about 11 o'clock for plenty loud listening. I bought the Sundaras used and with trashed pads so I only know them with the Dekoni's really; when I first got them they sounded about the same as a new set of HE-X4s I had. NOW these things punch way above their weight in all respects! Interestingly the Audeze LCD-X sounded just like huge-er Sundaras in most ways...all the good qualities but just ..MORE Lol. My usual listening rig with these headphones is through a JDS El Amp II, El DAC II; none of these amps/systems has any perceptible background noise whatsoever-- the headphones themselves were by far the biggest variable. Overall all the differences in the headphones I had previously noted with the JDS rig carried over to the Drop/THX AAA One setup. Bottom line is it's still the software and the transducers that matter most- the AAA One sounded nice and musical to me! Cheers, Alex sunny Round Rock Texas
Oct 22, 2021
Great idea. Thanks for the post. There are still quite a few used players on eBay, some in pretty good shape.
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