CD Transport vs Music Server

AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
1,547
690
200
41
UK
ifi-audio.com
I use an EtherRegen between storage/streaming and server, and connect the server to DAC with a 40 foot optical cable.
With a LPS for EthernetRegen? What unit?

Not familiar with the Project but it appears meant to be used with the Pre-amp as it has a better clock.
The Jays has an OXCO clock and clock in and out, plus I2S out. Seems like a no brainier, send it back.
This is the problem with I2S connections. There is no standard for now. Some manufacturers cooperate to have one, but still as you can see it's all over the place.
 

MichaelHiFi

New Member
Jan 6, 2022
22
8
3
66
AES/EBU digital cable is specified at 110 ohm impedance, while coaxial digital cable is 75 ohm.
I guess I got that backward. Thanks Bill.
 

RikkiPoo

Active Member
Nov 5, 2020
89
61
25
With a LPS for EthernetRegen? What unit?


This is the problem with I2S connections. There is no standard for now. Some manufacturers cooperate to have one, but still as you can see it's all over the place.
They added an clock signal to the I2S for "best performance". Suggests it needs a better clock. May be the reason its not sounding up to your expectations.

Connection to an external D/A-converter Use one of the available S/PDIF outputs (Coaxial, Optical and AES/EBU) or I2S to connect the CD player to a D/A converter or AV processor. I2S connection is made for connection with Pre Box RS2 Digital only. It includes also masterclock from the DAC and ensures the best possible performance.
 

AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
1,547
690
200
41
UK
ifi-audio.com
They added an clock signal to the I2S for "best performance". Suggests it needs a better clock. May be the reason its not sounding up to your expectations.
I2S signal consists of 3 clocks actually.
MCLK - main clock (also known as SCLK)
BCLK - bit clock
LRCK - left/right channel clock

The two latter are usually divided from the main clock. They all are sensitive to jitter and interference because it lacks any error correction system. That's why the HDMI standard is used for those cables, as it provides balanced operation and very good shielding.
 

RikkiPoo

Active Member
Nov 5, 2020
89
61
25
I2S signal consists of 3 clocks actually.
MCLK - main clock (also known as SCLK)
BCLK - bit clock
LRCK - left/right channel clock

The two latter are usually divided from the main clock. They all are sensitive to jitter and interference because it lacks any error correction system. That's why the HDMI standard is used for those cables, as it provides balanced operation and very good shielding.
What are they referring to when they mention the I2S "includes master clock from the DAC" and how does it differ from the typical I2S signal?
 

MichaelHiFi

New Member
Jan 6, 2022
22
8
3
66
Not having i2s I resorted to a mixed bag of cables I have collected over the decades. I found a good Coax, a generic optical and a leg of balanced cable from Zero Audio I'm pretending to be an AES cable. It's not.

I moved the RS2 to the Adona rack and used 3" maple under it. Hard to qualify difference in sound due to the change in cables.

Early impressions are a mixed bag of goodness and not so goodness. First off, much of the bass region has returned. But it feels inconsistent, forced, strangely textured perhaps. Staging is also inconsistent. It's as if I'm breaking in a new component. I spun Jesse Cook "Gravity". That was fantastic. Lana Del Ray "White Dress" too was amazing. Her breathy voice really came across well. On my digital stream, It feels to me now that there was something else going with her voice. Not as real sounding, less textured maybe?

Switching between inputs on the May it was hard to choose a winner. Optical, wasn't preferred. I went between a non AES cable and a good coax input.

The RS2 is not in its best form. It may benefit from a good LPS and a better AES cable. That adds another ~$1.6K. Is it worth it?

Happy Listening.
 

MichaelHiFi

New Member
Jan 6, 2022
22
8
3
66
For some reason I had convinced myself that break-in on a CD transport was not necessary. I was completely wrong. The changes in the SQ of this transport were drastic to say the least. I only have about 20 hours on the RS2 but those turned out to be very important hours. And due to the maturing of this transport, I expect further improvements - don't know how - but at this early stage, it is a keeper.

Music has taken on a vividness and dynamic contrast that I've never experienced before. One word to describe is suddenness. Music comes at you and no longer in a forced way. Amazing separation as well. I don't get the layering yet but the stage is wide. There are front to back layers but not as precise as I've heard, which is usually from my friends system which pulls that trick off very well.

I'm pretty excited now having the RS2. My streamer is amazing but I might believe this CD transport is better without an LPS and appropriate cable.

I'm inclined to order the LPS first and the AES cable later. Someone mentioned the Nikola 2?
 

AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
1,547
690
200
41
UK
ifi-audio.com
What are they referring to when they mention the I2S "includes master clock from the DAC" and how does it differ from the typical I2S signal?
It doesn't at all. I2S can be configured as 4 lines:
DATA - the data itself
LRCK - left-right clock
BCK - bit clock
GND - reference

Or 5 lines:
DATA
LRCK
BCK
MCK - master clock
GND

The difference between I2S interfaces between manufacturers comes down to the pinout and if they decide to use a balanced connection etc.
 

taww

Active Member
Jun 13, 2020
89
76
25
45
New Jersey
taww.co
Quick update - I am finding it hard to complete my review of the PS Audio transport without a good comparison piece, so I have finally ordered a Pro-Ject RS2-T which has come back in stock. I also have a Tambaqui DAC now and the PS Audio Transport + Tambaqui sounds quite good via AES-EBU, so should be interesting throwing the Pro-Ject into the mix. Perhaps the I2S will also be compatible w/Mola Mola's (the PS Audio's is not).
 
  • Like
Reactions: AMR / iFi audio

taww

Active Member
Jun 13, 2020
89
76
25
45
New Jersey
taww.co
For some reason I had convinced myself that break-in on a CD transport was not necessary. I was completely wrong. The changes in the SQ of this transport were drastic to say the least.

Glad to hear it's improving! In my experience, digital components often need the most break-in. I can only surmise the high speed signals make them particularly sensitive to the dielectric characteristics of e.g. capacitors, which do need some time to stabilize. I'll run my in for a couple days before listening too carefully.

FWIW I'm sure an expensive AES-EBU cable can sound great, but if the implementation of everything is to spec you still should be able to get good sound with a reasonably-priced one. I'm using a fairly modest DH Labs cable (maybe $100?) and I find it practically indistinguishable from the I2S link on my PS Audio setup. I hear a Mogami studio-grade AES-EBU cable is also a good starting point.
 

AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
1,547
690
200
41
UK
ifi-audio.com
Glad to hear it's improving! In my experience, digital components often need the most break-in. I can only surmise the high speed signals make them particularly sensitive to the dielectric characteristics of e.g. capacitors, which do need some time to stabilize. I'll run my in for a couple days before listening too carefully.

FWIW I'm sure an expensive AES-EBU cable can sound great, but if the implementation of everything is to spec you still should be able to get good sound with a reasonably-priced one. I'm using a fairly modest DH Labs cable (maybe $100?) and I find it practically indistinguishable from the I2S link on my PS Audio setup. I hear a Mogami studio-grade AES-EBU cable is also a good starting point.
Mogami makes one of the best affordable cables. They are very popular both in audio and in the studio. I've seen some very impressive stereo setups wired with them. It's always good to check if used plugs are compatible with interface impedance (AES 110 Ohm and 75 Ohm for RCA).
 
  • Like
Reactions: taww

charles1dad

New Member
Aug 23, 2021
18
13
3
67
@MichaelHiFi
I've been busy and away from this forum for awhile. I came across your recent posts just a short time ago. I'm very happy that you gave the Pro-Ject RS2T some needed burn/settle-in hours and did not impulsively give up on it (As another poster here suggested). It is a splendid sounding CD transport that will continue to improve as the usage hours accumulate. Terrific sound with the stock SMPS wall wart, yet gets better with a good quality LPS. I have had the Fidelizer Nikola 2 LPS since Jan-2022 and this is simply an excellent pairing.

In my experience the RS2T needs a good 100 hours to really settle in (With subtle improvement past that point). The Fdelizer is good after just a few hours out of the box but definitely makes quite notable improvements up to about 200 hours. It would have been nice if Pro-Ject had chosen a more universal Is2 approach. I use RCA-SPDIF via a High Fidelity CT-1 Ultimate cable and have zero complaints. The RS2T is a superb CD transport in my humble opinion.
best wishes,
Charles
 

charles1dad

New Member
Aug 23, 2021
18
13
3
67
@taww
I owned an earlier generation P.S. Audio PWT for 12 happy years and gave serious consideration toward the their new transport model. I am sure I'd be quite happy with it but multiple positive comments from RS2T owners was too much to ignore. I am looking forward to your comparison of two fine CD transports.
Charles
 

taww

Active Member
Jun 13, 2020
89
76
25
45
New Jersey
taww.co
Hi @charles1dad - yup the Pro-Ject RS2 T is on day 3 of running in now. So far it's good, certainly better than the Cambridge CXC v2 (obviously!), but not knocking my socks off. As of day 2, slight preference for the PS Audio which is more run-in and has a hair more solidity and depth to it, but the differences are subtle enough that I'm not sure I particularly care for one over the other. Based on the remarks here, I trust the Pro-Ject will be more compelling after a few more days. Once it settles in, I'll try my linear supply (HDPlex 300W) as well. I'm using a modest (DH Labs) AES-EBU cable to either PS Audio DirectStream or Mola Mola Tambaqui DACs, and I've also tested S/PDIF (Audience Au24 SX) to a RME ADI-2.

I will say I'm not taken with the overall build quality and engineering of the Pro-Ject. The little sticker nub which contacts the lid switch seems misaligned and doesn't consistently register the lid as closed; it doesn't always read my discs on the first shot; and it's hit or miss if the unit or remote buttons respond e.g. skipping tracks. The PS Audio has similar quirks and I was hoping Pro-Ject would be better, but it's about the same. The Pro-Ject is also a little noisier in operation than the Marantz SACD-M3 transport in the more solid chassis of the PSA. I get why these low-volume units cost as much as they do nowadays, but it's a disappointing when these are basic things that $150 players back in the day got right. I miss those old school Japanese players which were responsive, convenient (loved that you could enter track numbers and hit play to close the disc tray!) and absolutely bulletproof...

Side thought: anyone compare a Simaudio 260D to any of these transports?
 

charles1dad

New Member
Aug 23, 2021
18
13
3
67
@taww
Hi and thanks for the update. Yes I'd give the RS2T another week or so and then see what you think. Maybe there is some quality control issue with some of their units. I've had no noise problem or remote control problems thus far. It's good you have both transports for direct comparisons. I know that a few people don't particularly care for the RS2T's ergonomics and small package (No problem for me). It is the sound quality that's the make or break factor for me.
Charles
 
  • Like
Reactions: taww

taww

Active Member
Jun 13, 2020
89
76
25
45
New Jersey
taww.co
Ok yeah, you were right @charles1dad - the RS-2 T does continue to improve (on day 8 now) and has handily passed the PS Audio on a number of discs. I was starting to feel like it wasn’t as big a step up over a typical streamer via Roon as I had been hoping for, but it’s growing on me and streaming is sounding a bit worse (though not bad at all, just flatter and more synthetic) each time I go back to it. :)
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
7,239
2,828
603
Greater Boston
Good question! Popular unit.

I do own a Simaudio 260D transport, and it is very good. Yet with my Empirical Audio Synchromesh reclocking system (see my signature for details) the sound is even better. The transport alone has a jitter of 115 psec, which is good; an Oppo in comparison has a jitter of 800 psec and sounds significantly worse in direct comparison. Yet the reclocker brings down jitter to about 8 psec, which is computer audio level, but without the RF noise problems that often plague computer audio.

Here are my notes from a while ago on a comparison with and without reclocker:

I brought the Synchro-Mesh with Dynamo power supply to my friend Ian. He has the same CD transport (Simaudio Moon 260 DT) and DAC (Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2) as I have, but otherwise an even more advanced system, with CH Precision amplification and Magico M Project speakers. The Dynamo power supply was plugged into the wall via a ZenWave Audio Clear Bass power cable. We heard the difference with and without Synchro-Mesh reclocker in the chain immediately, in a matter of 2 seconds. With two minutes of music, there were numerous things to observe, it was all crystal clear.

In the slow movement of Haydn symphony #83 (Neville Marriner/Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/1989 digital mastering) the strings and woodwinds had a very rich, saturated color with the reclocker, and the silkiness of the massed strings was first class. Without Synchro-Mesh, using the AES/EBU connection with an expensive Shunyata cable (which Ian otherwise also uses for streaming through a dCS network bridge, with ethernet input into the unit), the tone became comparatively one-dimensional, flat and grey, and all the fine structure of silky tone on the strings was severely diminished. Also the resolution of bowing on the low strings was much lower. Furthermore, there was a slightly metallic tone on the violins without Synchro-Mesh, whereas with Synchro-Mesh the tone was superb. With a faster and louder movement (first mvmt of symphony #84 from the same CD) it was clear that there was also more distortion without Synchro-Mesh, with it the sound was simply cleaner.

***

The Simaudio transport is about 2 grand, the Empirical Audio reclocking system (including digital cables) is 2 and a half grand. So for about 4.5 grand you get a fantastic CD transport system. I bet most transports would benefit from a reclocking system as described.

In fact, the Project RS2T has a measured jitter of 220 psec from CD:


I definitely would expect it to sound even better with reclocking than it apparently already does.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rando and GSOphile

taww

Active Member
Jun 13, 2020
89
76
25
45
New Jersey
taww.co
Ah yes, reclockers! They were all the rage until streaming took over. I used a Monarchy DIP back in the day. The 8ps figure of the Synchro-mesh sounds impressive, except don’t you need to ultimately measure the jitter at the receiver/DAC since the clock will have to be recovered again? Would be nice if it has AES-EBU too.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
7,239
2,828
603
Greater Boston
Ah yes, reclockers! They were all the rage until streaming took over. I used a Monarchy DIP back in the day. The 8ps figure of the Synchro-mesh sounds impressive, except don’t you need to ultimately measure the jitter at the receiver/DAC since the clock will have to be recovered again?

Theoretically yes. In fact, I was skeptical about reclockers since the clock inside the DAC does the ultimate job and in mine it is supposed to be excellent. Turns out, the clocking inside the DAC, adjacent to the DAC chip, apparently works better if it gets a better pre-clocked signal to work with.

Would be nice if it has AES-EBU too.

I preferred AES/EBU from the transport, but it turns out that the BNC that the reclocker works with, in conjunction with the reclocking itself, overall yields a better result. Steve Nugent from Empirical Audio prefers BNC to regular RCA because of less reflections. He has extensively measured it all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rando and taww

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing