Initial thoughts - my dear old Proceed PDT3 and the PWT


#1

So after running the IsoTek burn in CD on my new (to me) PWT for 24+ hours, I hooked things up so that I could hear my long lived, stellar PDT3 transport linked via a custom 75 Ohm digital coax to the PWT hooked into the PWD via a standard HDMI cable (I don’t have an AC-12 i2s… yet =P~ ).



I’ve been living with my PDT3 for about 20 years. The old Philips CDM-1 Mk.2 drive is built like a brick sh!thouse. The laser draws only a few milliamps more than it is spec’d for when brand new. A number of caps have been replaced and I think it performs nowadays better than it did when it was new. Other CD drives have come into my house but none (that I can afford!) have stayed. Having said that, listening to a number of upper end digital devices these recent few years has made it apparent that my old classic is showing its limitations - a bit of digital grunge, and bit of “dirty” sibilants. But still highly musical.



I made sure I had two CD-Rs with the same tunes on them so I could just switch PWD inputs and listen to one transport or the other. My impressions in no specific order: my old transport is still mighty competitive with something in the price range of the PWT, but the PWT pretty much completely removes that trace of digital grunge that I can now hear quiet clearly from my PDT3. The size of the soundstage is about the same, but maybe (just maybe) my PDT3 has the tiniest bit more width. Depth seems about the same. Oddly, tonally the PDT3 seems to skew just the tiniest bit toward the lower vocal range, making Boz Scaggs’ voice (for example) sound just the tiniest but more “manly”. And I may be imagining this one, but I think the PDT3 has better “left/right” - effects that pop out of one speaker and then the other seem to be just a hair more obvious through my old Proceed. Not sure about that one. There’s no doubt the PWT is cleaner sounding, however.



What really surprised me is that, except for the noticeable reduction if digital noise, the two transports sound closer than I would have thought. I suspect it has a lot to do with the digital lens in the PWD, but even so you can still hear the difference between two different transports. You would think that if the lens were “perfect” you could hook a cheap Sony Walkman CD up to it and it would sound no different than Esoteric’s best VRDS transport. I wondered what the difference would sound like if there was no lens in the PWD.



Are they that different? Not really. I think if I stopped listening to the PDT3 and just listened to the PWT for a while I’m not sure I’d remember how the other was different - except for the removal of digital grunge. That, along with the overall good sound, will I think make the PWT a keeper.


#2

Await a better HDMI cord before you compare too much. The difference is likely to be significant and widen as the cord burns in. Nonetheless an interesting comparison.


#3

I used to have one of those, too – loved it. As you say, it’s built like a tank. But getting rid of any amount of audible grunge would be my idea of a BIG improvement. Transparency, man, transparency!


#4
Await a better HDMI cord before you compare too much. The difference is likely to be significant and widen as the cord burns in. Nonetheless an interesting comparison.


I have a line on an AC-12 1 Meter. Hoping to close on it today. :)

I used to have one of those, too -- loved it. As you say, it's built like a tank. But getting rid of any amount of audible grunge would be my idea of a BIG improvement. Transparency, man, transparency!


Yes, I agree. The only downside is that the PWT is not dead silent like one of these old dedicated CD transports. The nature of the CD/DVD mechanism from what I've read in other threads.

#5
Await a better HDMI cord before you compare too much. The difference is likely to be significant and widen as the cord burns in. Nonetheless an interesting comparison.


Ta-da! :)
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#6

That’s a great HDMI cable. I use a .5 meter on my PWT and a 2 meter from my Blu-ray to my TV. Just isn’t anything better as far as I can tell.


#7

For the price I got this 1 Meter at I’m not going to complain. It’s practically unused. The original owner plugged each end into the respective drive and DAC… and then never touched it again. Looks brand new.



Are these things directional? I have it set up so the light markings “spiral” toward the DAC.


#8

Cool. Let us know how the comparison goes with that in the mix.


#9
tony22 said: Are these things directional?

Not that I am aware.

I like the spiral theory however. :)

#10

If it’s not marked, I always follow any printing, left being the source. Don’t think there’s any printing on this one, I just try to notice which goes which when removing and reinstalling so I keep the direction one time to the next.


#11

My wireworld HDMI cable is marked with arrows showing directionality.


#12

Hmm, have you ever tried the AC-12 in comparison?


#13

Make sure you also upgrade the power cord which makes a huge difference as does effective isolation. When I replaced my PSA silver HDMI cord (which, BTW I agree is tops for HDMI Feed from BD to one’s flat screen and also to processor) with Shunyata’s magnificent Python XLR ZiTron digital it blew the PSA HDMI cable away as it did every HDMI cable I have tried, so I stopped trying and just enjoy it. I believe that is due in my humble, but untested other than my ears, opinion to the extremely small wires inside the HDMI cable, the many wires involved which interract with the digital signal, and minute connections. The ZiTron XLR is freaking magical.



When I isolated both my PWT and PWD with, admittedly insanely expensive but the best ever, isoation devices - Stillpoints Ultra 5’s (4 under each device as well as my entire 2-channel system. Just wait until you hear what they do for your speakers!) everything improved so dramatically it was like I just replaced it all with pure analog stuff. I can now thoroughly enjoy everything except those wretched early pressings that sound like hard machinery pressing on beehives. One can really hear back through to the source incredibly well. Images have superb depth and width far beyond the speaker plane. Most impressive.



Oh, and while we’re on it the newest Marigo Labs ultra mat is so very good, to say the least and very audible improvements one would not expect using the PWT with memory involved. But, it does.



Lastly, to end the stray EMI/RFI Shakti Stones are essential final tweaks.



In the end, take your time and add things slowly to get a feel for the changes that they improve. I can barely pull myself away from mine now. Love 'em. They finally provide the promise I had expected early on but felt were incomplete, and that is entirely due to tweaks necessary to, well - tweak out the final last bit of performance they can provide. You’ll love it.



Odd


#14

@oddeophile



Yes, those ZiTrons are amazing. I’m a Shunyata nutcase!


#15

Shunyata has released a new alpha digital PC, specifically designed for digital equipment. I am going to compare it to a cobra zitron and an ac12 PC on the PWD.



I can’t compare the wireworld HDMI to the ps audio HDMI as I don’t have an ac12 HDMI cord… Wish I did though.


#16

My feelings about the Zitrons are mixed. I absolutely love what they do on the power cord side, but in my system the Python Zitrons were not as good (between PWD and preamp) as the AZ Absolutes. Four out of four listeners agreed.


#17
tony22 said: Four out of four listeners agreed.

But what did your dentist think?

#18

He said it’s okay if I eat Reece’s Pieces this Halloween. :))


#19

Try the Anaconda ZiTron’s which in my system buried the Python ZiTrons. Much more airy, open, dynamic and lifelike. The lack of shielding makes the difference and absolutely NO noise or RF issues in my system.



Odd


#20
Shunyata has released a new alpha digital PC, specifically designed for digital equipment. I am going to compare it to a cobra zitron and an ac12 PC on the PWD.

I can't compare the wireworld HDMI to the ps audio HDMI as I don't have an ac12 HDMI cord... Wish I did though.


From someone I know and trust regarding the new Alpha Digital ZiTron PC for digital components, they buried their ZiTron Python's they had on their PWT/D in their system.
Transparency to die for, lifelike and just plain jaw dropping.

BTW - I am also a Shunyata fanatic. Their cabling has transported my system (and me) as a whole to a whole different universe of musical magic. :x

Of course, it did not come without some pain. I believe I have dropped close to $35K in cabling throughout my system in the past 18 months. I may be broke, but happy.

Odd