Best "Zero Budget" Transport For DirectStream DAC?

After years of thinking the DAC’s inside a CD player were good enough, I’ve completely fallen in love with the idea of how the DirectStream DAC converts and have decided I want one. Admittedly, however, at the current price it will take me two-or-three years to save enough money to get one - possibly longer!

This means that I would love to avoid buying a CD transport and instead using one of my current players instead. So my question is, really: Given the three choices I have, which would you say would be the better transport? Choices are a Denon DCD-500AE CD player (2007) (Optical digital out), a Philips CDR-778 “dual deck” CD recorder (2004, I think) (Coaxial digital out) or a Pioner BDP-160 BluRay player (2014) (Optical digital out) - The Pioneer does play SACD’s and, of course, has a HDMI out so would it be good for the I²S input or does it just do PCM and video?

Alternatively, in my household, we have ripped most of our CD’s to FLAC files. Would this make a better “transport” and, if so, what program would feed the FLAC’s out to the DAC via the USB? Note: Windows, but I don’t use iTunes. Ever.

Ha! I just noticed that the term I²S looks like the letters PS. Maybe that’s why he (Paul) likes it so much! :grin:

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Given the three choices you have, I would run all three and let your ears judge. I have a Rega Saturn R and I like both it’s transport and D to A. I use the D to A in it to decode my digital tuner and my carousel player. You can definitely hear the difference between the transport in the Saturn R and the carousel. Since I only used the carousel for filler music I don’t let it bother me.


Don’t screw around :grin:. Get a Sony UBP-X1000ES/UBP-X800 or Sony UBP-X1100/UBP-X800M2. Buy the HDMI to I2S Boards from China and be done with it.

Would it help if I mentioned the Pioneer BDP-160 can be used with SACD’s in the same way an Oppo BDP-103? I literally found out about this two days ago and was very delighted as I was all set to drop big money on an Oppo in July. And soon I will be flooding our music hard disk with lovely DFF DSD files!

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New question. I have over 2/3 of my CD’s ripped to FLAC (and I’m gearing up to rip SACD’s through the above mentioned BluRay player). Would it be better to play the FLAC files via the DS DAC or would it be better to play the actual CD’s where possible? I can connect my computer to the DS DAC via either USB or LAN as there is a spare hub in our router.