What to do with my PerfectWave Transport (3.5 years old)?

Good day,

In the last couple of weeks, Forum members have been kind to give me advice about my PerfectWave Transport.

That thread is here: What transport (not PS Audio) do y'all use with I2S-enabled PS Audio DACs?

It seems that my options are:

Option 1: Replace the drive in my PWT myself.

There is a Forum thread about this DIY project.

That thread is here: PWT disc drive replacement

I have also emailed PS Audio and exchanged emails with a service rep.

The service rep at PS Audio has offered replacement of the PWT drive (if it’s the correct variety drive, still to be determined whether it’s SATA, replaceable, or IDE, out of luck). The transformer would also be replaced (service rep: “It probably needs it,” which surprised me). The cost was quoted as $250 (unclear if shipping is extra) and a one-year warranty is included. (I do wonder how the pandemic and any possible remote workdays would affect the accomplishing of this repair.)

Option 2: Repair of PWT in Boulder by PS Audio.

Option 3: Sell the PWT as-is. It still sounds great, playing CDs. (However, this option feels tricky because of the occasional PWT quirks that seem well-known on this Forum: the “growling” of the PWT after certain CDs are “read” before play. And, of course, the abending/abnormal ending/freezing of a CD during play, which, yes, happens only rarely . . . but often enough to tick me off and send me on this what-the-hell-to-do-now with the PWT.)

Have any of you replaced the SATA drive yourself? If so, did the growling and the abending cease? 100%?

Have any of you had your PWT repaired at Boulder? If so, did the growling and the abending cease? 100%?

Has anybody sold a PWT? Did you warn potential buyers of the PWT’s quirks?

(Related, I don’t recall ever seeing the Colorado-based reseller of lots of PS Audio trade-ins warn potential buyers of the PWT’s quirks. Did I miss those type of warnings in the reseller’s online ads?)

If you have experience with the PWT such as I describe above, I would very much appreciate your reply to this thread. I’m simply unsure which way to go with my PWT.

Thank you, Chaz

Personally in your shoes I’d have PS Audio repair the PWT, that’s a great price and it’s hard to think of anything that could replace it anywhere near that price or more.

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My apologies if I missed this in the other thread, but have you tried opening the drive and cleaning the lens and the sled rails? I know that some members of this forum live in hermetically sealed, dust-free clean rooms, but for the rest of us cleaning the optics and moving parts of our CD transports is something that has to be done from time to time.

Any reason why you don’t rip and just leave a physical transport behind? I dispensed with the last of my physical discs after ripping quite a few years ago. I decided I didn’t want to be held hostage to the availability and maintainability of optoelectro-mechanical playback hardware. I do acknowledge that decision has left me without the ability to rip or do physical playback today, so I’m left with what is available through HD downloads. I’ve learned to be patient with the availability of downloads of music originally released on CD that weren’t in my collection before I ripped it and sold it all.

Manufacturers won’t be supporting digital physical media playback hardware for much longer IMO.

See this as any opportunity to free yourself of hardware with no long term future. My two cents.

I understand your perspective, but I am a physical product guy. (I’ve got many more LPs than CDs, but, no, I doubt that I will ever convert to streaming . . . old dog and all that.)

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Are you saying that the growling of the drive and the freezing during play (which requires turning off the PWT with its rocker switch in the back of the unit) can be cured this way?

Did you do the cleaning and the growling/abending disappeared?

Yes, @lonson, I am intrigued by the repair proposal, which was news to me.

(However, you have got me dreaming of the Audiolab 6000CDT! Only kidding or maybe not. . . .)

Before repair, I’d really love to hear from PWT owners who have done the repair and know that the growling/abending has disappeared.

If it didn’t, then what? (I suppose that’s what the one-year warranty is for?)

All of which makes me wonder when the growling/abending began to manifest in my PWT?

Lots to consider. Thanks again for your kind counsel, lonson.

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I’m only suggesting it as it’s a simple operation and may solve the problem without replacing the drive. If the lens is dirty, it may cause the EAC function of that unit to re-read the disc more than is necessary and this could account for the ‘growling.’ If the rails are dirty, it can make it difficult for the sled to read the outer portions of the disc, accounting for playback ending before the disc is over.
It’s entirely possible that the drive is simply failing and needs to be replaced, in which case you’ll need to open the unit anyway (unless you want to pay someone to unscrew a handful of screws and plug in a cable for you). You’ve already spent more time writing about this than cleaning the unit (or replacing an inexpensive drive) would have taken.
Anyway, good luck in getting your PWT running again. It really is a wonderful player.

Heh. Easy for YOU to say. But thanks anyway, Chaz

Fair point. :slight_smile:

But it is really easy to perform a simple cleaning and this may well be all you need.

Best of luck!

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OK then, I’ll bite. Is there a “How To” on this at the PS Audio site?

Or something online elsewhere - youtube, ifixit, etc.?

Thanks for the reply, @elk

You just need to open up the critter, see here.

Then just look up how to clean an optical drive lens (gently swab with alcohol).

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Thank you for that link.

Not too long ago, I removed the top of my PWD. Have to admit that it was no walk in the park.

TJ has promised to send along four of the all-thread screws. When/if those arrive, I’ll have to get brave.

Let us know how it goes. I hope it is a simple fix.

Asking for advice from anybody who has had a PWT repaired by techs in the mothership at Boulder, CO.

Did the repair fix your PWT?

Also would love to hear from anybody who has done the DIY replacement of the PWT drive.

Did the freezing/abending cease? Did the noises (what I call “grumbling”) before play with some CDs disappear?

Thanks again, y’all,
Chaz

@chazz you probably know my answer from the previous posts, I’d open the chassis and determine which type of optical drive you have. If SATA then replacement is really pretty simple and all (minor) issues in my case have been resolved. Will play any of my discs including very high res DVDs burned with WAV files. If you find the drive is IDE then you are not out of luck. Options are purchase used IDE drive or buy simple SATA to IDE adapter pc board so that you can use a SATA drive in your PWT.

Not sure exactly what your growling sound is caused by but could be the optical drive mechanism getting worn. Total cost in my case is $20. Pretty low risk if you can remove the chassis lid with the “special” screws (can also be done with a very small diameter tool (awl) by simply pushing the lid up from the bottom screw holes.

@kcleveland123 Thank you again for taking time with my deliberations, hesitations, and belly-achin’ troubles.

It is great to see that a SATA drive replacement cured your problems. That is key info!

I lean toward replacing the drive myself. . . .

Best to you, Chaz

As a PWT owner, I am so pleased to see that PS Audio is still offering to replace these and warranty the repair for such a reasonable fee. You always have this fear your nice older gear could end up as a brick and knowing they have your back should it play up is a nice feeling.

@danm, do you know which type of drive you have in your PWT?

If your PWT is 3 and 1/2 years old it is more than likely an SATA drive or it at least has the board that supports both IDE (PATA) and SATA. IT is very easy to do the swap and you can get all threads from PS Audio which makes opening the unit up very easy. My PWT had an IDE drive and a board that supports both. In my personal experience I never had any lock ups or noises with the IDE drive. I had one disk making some noise it was a Reference Recordsing Hi-Rez DVD. This is why I tried the SATA drive. I did not like the performance with the SATA drive I tried a number of them. That was when the lock ups came into the picture for me. I than decide to open the original drive. I found the hub needed to be cleaned and also cleaned the laser while I had it open. I put the original drive back in and all the original performance and reliability came back.