CD Player review

6000CDT CD Transport From Audiolab

A basic, simple, stripped CD transport? In this day and age? Isn’t Audiolab reading the script? Paul Rigby reviews, salutes and offers live sacrifices to this incredible machine  

I never thought I’d see the day. The Audiolab 6000CDT is a CD transport. I say again, it’s a CD transport. And…nothing else. Nothing. There’s no Bluetooth. There’s no headphone socket. No networking this or wireless that. 

It’s a transport. You put a CD in it. That’s the deal. 

Let me explain why that’s a talking point. The hi-fi industry has got its knickers in a twist about packing every chassis it can find with “added value”. Which also means a safer bet for “higher profits”. It’s the shotgun approach. Pack enough goodies into a box and some passing hi-fi fan will surely like at least one of those included features and so you’ll be assured a sale. Modern hi-fi kit is turning into mini-department stores. Each component is becoming its own one-stop shop. 

So all-in-one units are in vogue but cross-over components are very common indeed. Headphone amps have DACs, integrated amps include Bluetooth, turntables feature USB plugs and phono amps and so it goes. 

6000CDT CD Transport From Audiolab

The trouble is, hi-fi components don’t like being placed in close proximity with each other because of cross contamination of electrical noise that results in a veiling of subtle and nuanced information. It damages the delicate stuff in sound. It’s not a good thing. Hi-fi components much prefer to be separate and alone. Isolate a hi-fi component and it will reward you with better sound. 

So, for example, there’s plenty of great integrated amps out there but there’s even better sounding pre-amp/power amp combos out there too. Why? Because you’ve isolated the pre-amp bit from the power amp bit. Separate the power amp into two separate monoblocks and sound quality takes a further hike upwards. You can apply the same theory to any component in the hi-fi chain. That includes separating an integrated CD player into a transport and DAC.

This box from Audiolab, the 6000CDT, is different from the rest because it’s stripped of extra technologies. It moves against the grain and accepted wisdom. Because of that, it had my attention and I had only taken the thing out of the box. I hadn’t even put the plug in yet.

6000CDT CD Transport From Audiolab

OK, so it’s a simple box that does one job and that’s a novelty in this day and age. So what else?

The 6000CDT fits very easily into the Audiolab family in terms of aesthetics. If you happen to have a 6000A amplifier, for example, then you’ll notice that the 6000CDT is a perfect visual match for that. 

It also uses the same slot-type transport as seen on the 8300CD (which is priced around the £1,000 mark). I’ve had a love-hate relationship with slot-type transports in the past. Many have a bad attitude. Some work when they want to and others demand that you play out a strange dance if you want to listen to your CD with any sort of success. For example, I remember one example from the past that will remain nameless where you had to rest the CD in the slot. Pause. Then give it a gentle nudge. Anything else and the transport would spit out the disc. Thankfully, the Audiolab removes this sort of palaver. It’s firm, solid and works as it should. Which is a big relief. 

Better still, in operation, the transport uses built-in memory that reads ahead to reduce errors.

6000CDT CD Transport From Audiolab

The thorny issue of jitter is also addressed by Audiolab. Jitter is an odd thing – it sounds odd too. Jitter is supposedly produced by digital storage hardware, creating variations in the bitstream that changes the sound waveform itself (although there are also thoughts that jitter is fixed and is part of the actual disc itself in varying levels and that it is pressed into the disc during imperfect duplication). If I was forced to find an analogue comparison, I’d probably compare the overall effect to wow and flutter on a turntable (I know, it’s not exactly the same but it’s a generalised comparison). So, even though the information itself is, as it where, ‘perfect’ the jitter shifts that information about a bit. So you get timing errors. The sound takes on a slightly distorted demeanour. Jitter (wherever it might come from) has been a problem for a long time and the original developers of the first CD technologies were all too aware of the effect. Apparently, even a 0.1 nanosecond jitter shift is audible – that’s how sensitive our ears are, folks.

To combat this effect, Audiolab took it upon itself to have a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator master clock installed to lower the jitter effect at the transport end of the equation. Audiolab says that the jitter effects are “vanishingly low” but we’ll see about that during the sound tests. 

6000CDT CD Transport From Audiolab

More than that, the coaxial output has been looked at and isolated to reduce noise. This is the most important socket on the 6000CDT because this will be the socket that connects to your DAC. On the 6000CDT, the coaxial socket is fed from a differential line driver.

The box itself is simple, minimal and to the point. The front offers a CD loading slot, stand-by button and standard CD play buttons. 

The rear? Apart from the in-house trigger buttons to connect to other Audiolab products, you get a power socket, rocker power switch and two digital outs. That’s it. 

To me, the 6000CDT is beautiful. Not because it has been styled or moulded or has fancy bits of metal stuck all over it. No, I think it is beautiful because it is simple. I hoped that the philosophy of the outer chassis would be replicated inside too.

SOUND QUALITY

I began by comparing this specialist CD transport with an integrated CD player (i.e. a CD player where the transport and DAC exist within a single chassis). 

Because of budget restrictions, many users upgrade their CD player in stages and gradually, not by buying a brand-new CD player but by plugging that CD player into another DAC. The integrated CD player then becomes a sort of make-shift transport. 

To save cash and to begin with, the ‘new’ DAC is often the unit sitting in their amplifier (maybe the amplifier is newer and the amp’s DAC of a superior specification). Later, they will upgrade again and buy a separate DAC for their make-shift transport. That is, they will plug in a new DAC into the back of an integrated CD player. 

I wanted to test both of these scenarios with the 6000CDT. Just to see if I could hear any sonic differences.

I connected my reference integrated CD player to the Audiolab 6000A amplifier. The DAC inside a 6000A is an ES9018 Sabre32 Reference, so well worth exploiting.

At this point, the reference transport was used to play the 6000A’s DAC. Then I removed the integrated CD player and then connected the 6000CDT transport to the 6000A amplifier and noted the difference.

Doing the test, I played Out on the Weekend from Neil Young on the 1972 album, Harvest (Reprise).

Just how would the specialist transport compare to the transport from the all-round CD player? Is a specialist transport really any better in performance terms? Just how different is the 6000CDT?

6000CDT CD Transport From Audiolab

It’s different. Completely different. “Hey, have you just put on a different CD?”-different. That’s how different.

The leap in quality was quite shocking, actually. Imagine you’ve drawn a picture of your living room on a piece of paper. It’s a sort of comic-strip effect drawing with everything you know in the room, on that paper. It’s a familiar sight but, as I say, it’s on paper. That’s the reference CD player reference (which I hasted to add was three times the price of the 6000CDT). 

Then walk into the real 3D, living (and breathing) room. Walk around in it. Look side on and behind. Jump up and down in it. 

That’s the 6000CDT.

That’s how different.

That’s not to deride my reference either, which is a superb integrated CD player and knocks spots off much of the competition at a similar price. It is highly recommended as an integrated CD player. The thing is, though, it is integrated. It is not a specialist transport. In some ways, it’s terribly unfair on my reference to use it in this fashion but that’s what many hi-fi users do. To upgrade their CD, they add a separate DAC and use the old player as a transport. It’s a standard fudge. So, to that effect, the fact that I used this particular integrated CD player in this test is immaterial. I could have used one of dozens of different branded integrateds and the same result would have occurred.

In fact, I did. I quickly brought in a mid-priced CD player by Cambridge just for this brief test. Another very nice CD player. Excellent. Again, highly recommended as an integrated CD player. Same result? Same result.  

The Audiolab 6000CDT is a specialist you see. That’s the difference here. It’s designed to do one job. It does it superbly. 

6000CDT CD Transport From Audiolab

OK, so how in sonic terms?

First off is the soundstage. This is the place that contains the music. This is where the music comes from. Get this framework right and the quality of the music will have more chance to shine. The 6000CDT does just that because the soundstage was completely remodelled. Which is why I really did think for a brief second that I’d put a new CD on to play. The effect was more than 3D. The music was pushed backwards but not just at the stereo image point – a usual place for 3D effects to occur. No, more than that, space was pushed left and right too, right across the breath of the soundstage. This gave a large rectangular space at the rear of the soundstage for the music to work with. And space is what increased here, lots and lots of space. This meant that the guitar sounded, how to describe this, ‘alone’ is what I’m scrambling for here. I felt that I could have got up off my listening chair and moved my hands around the sides and back of the guitar and never touched the guitar or what was next to it. There seemed to be a discernible gap between it and the vocal.

Detail was much increased too – tonal variation was also increased but more than that, I was hearing far more resonance vibration from the strings. Those little imperfections that tell you that a human being is playing this thing. They added emotion to the guitar playing. 

The drums too were different. Bigger with a slightly hollow sound that suggested that these drums had size but not necessarily mass. It was a great effect because the tonal effects added realism to the overall arrangement. 

Young’s vocal now had an almost lost little boy feel to them. An innocence that just wasn’t present beforehand.

The other great thing about the 6000CDT was the instrumental separation. Previously, the cymbal strikes and hard, pumping acoustic guitar strums occurred at exactly the same moment so hearing the cymbal strikes on their own was a tough call. Not now. Oh no. I could plainly hear both and separate too. That one element sold the 6000CDT as a valid piece of hi-fi equipment to me. Right there, I was a convert. 

I then turned to Rosemary Clooney’s Bluebird CD release of the original 1960 album, Rosie Solves the Swinging Riddle, with arrangements from Nelson Riddle and the track, Get Me To The Church on Time. 

The presentation provided lots of atmosphere because Clooney sounded like she was recording her track in a large auditorium in front of a live orchestra. That sense of space, the grandeur and the sense of immediacy was there in buckets, with plenty of reverb from the upper mids swilling around, adding a vivacity and energy to the piece. Tubular bells and cymbal taps offered delicacy and fragility from the treble area while percussion provided welcome tonal balance in bass terms. Transients were sharp and accurate while trumpets and saxes were both clean yet resonant.

I then removed the 6000CDT from the 6000A amplifier. 

It was time to move the test onwards. To get serious, as it where. I wanted to move away from a built-in DAC and find an external model. So I hooked the 6000CDT to the most basic, the cheapest of modern DACs I could find. In my case an iFi iOne DAC, priced around £200 or less. And a brilliant little DAC it is at this price point. 

So, in effect, you’re looking at a complete CD player (i.e. transport plus DAC) for somewhere in the region of £500. Give or take.  

As an ‘unfair’ comparison, I brought in a ringer (which you won’t find in the reference list below). A highly respected, award-winning integrated CD player costing around £1,000. 

It should have walked all over the 6000CDT/iOne combination. It didn’t. In fact, the results were turned around. The 6000CDT/iOne walked all over the respected, award-winning integrated CD player. 

I sat there for a bit. Just a bit stunned. And not to say just a bit excited as well.

To repeat, this £500 (or so) transport/DAC combo not only out-performed a top of the line, £1,000 CD player, a CD player that in itself has vanquished most of the immediate competition but it flew way above that CD player’s performance level.

How exactly? Firstly, Audiolab’s now familiar tonal balance. I heard this on the 6000A amplifier and I now heard it on the 6000CDT transport. The notion of allowing bass a position in the overall tonal presentation appears obvious but is rarely, properly heard on hi-fi under £1,000. On the 6000CDT, bass was abundant but never over-arching. It never swamped the soundstage and didn’t here. What it did was make sense of drums, make sense of bass guitar and added weight to the strums of the acoustic guitar. That bass wasn’t just a tone either, it was organic and characterful. There was detail and information here. That separate, isolated DAC decreased noise, increased detail, air and space in and around the midrange, allowing those essential and tiny details to spew forth.

The midrange was never bothered by bass. It occupied its own space and gave the ear more than enough detail to fascinate. The guitar on the Audiolab/iFi combo was now open, informative, sparkling and sounded like a collection of strings pinned to a resonant box. The ‘famous’ CD player muddied the sound, in comparison. 

One more notable element, the 6000CDT/iFi produced a quite superb treble response. Light, delicate with reverb tails a-plenty. You could hear the treble on the integrated CD player but you had to work a little to separate it from the background. It sounded a little dull when compared to the 6000CDT/iFi. 

Look, I won’t name the CD player. The manufacturer was kind enough to loan it to me and I wasn’t going to reward them by performing a hit job on their pride and joy. Also, I don’t want to point the finger at this CD player and infer that it’s not up to the job. It is up to the job, as an integrated CD player. It remains excellent. A superb CD player. Trouble is, the 6000CDT has just moved the goalposts for all CD players under £1,000. Re-written the script. Invented a whole new ball game.  

I then removed the 6000A amplifier and allowed the transport to specialise even further, adding an improved DAC to it. In this case, the Chord Qute HD and swopped over to Rosemary Clooney.

Connected to this specialist DAC, the 6000CDT offered an increase in maturity and sheer quality.

So cymbal taps sounded full and rich in variation while the tubular bell strikes (the wedding bells from the song, I guess) now offered a real, deep, right from the gut response to being hit by the hammers. The bell sound sounded like they started from deep within the bell and rose up from there. The sound was full and rather majestic.  

Clooney’s vocal also now had a smile in her voice. She was obviously enjoying herself here. You could actually hear her grinning as she was singing certain lines. The undertone from Clooney was, “This is fun!”

OK, good, good, good. Shall we step it up again? I upgraded the DAC once more to a yet more expensive Benchmark. Switching quickly back to Neil Young, the music now sounded…expensive. Rich and fruity in terms of natural detail with a combination of authority and tonal balance, the 6000CDT shouted quality from the rafters. Everything from the characterful acoustic guitar drums, the decisive thuds from the percussion, the melancholic howl from the lead guitar, the multi-layered response from the harmonica. The effect was wholly impressive.

The enhancements were obviously greatest with the more expensive Benchmark DAC (priced around the 2k mark) but were just as effective with my old Chord Qute HD (which you can pick up for around £500 from eBay) and the low cost iFi iOne at £200. 

Consider this critical fact, though. The 6000CDT registered and allowed for a vast increase in sonic quality from the iFi iOne to the Chord and from the Chord to the Benchmark. This is further proof that the 6000CDT is not a bottleneck in itself. The CDT6000 has plenty of capacity in terms of sonic improvement. There is no hint that the 6000CDT hampers any future upgrade. Confirmation that the 6000CDT is quality. It can take upgrade, after upgrade, after upgrade and the sound continues to improve. The 6000CDT moves up a gear each time. How far can it go? I have no idea yet. I had to stop somewhere, to publish this review so the jury is out. I have no idea how good the CDT6000 actually is yet. That, my friends, is pretty thrilling stuff.

You should see the 6000CDT as a secure investment to a long (long) term CD upgrade path, therefore.

CONCLUSION

I have to ask you this. Why aren’t we all jumping up and down, celebrating and organising street parties to salute the Audiolab 6000CDT CD transport? This box is a major entrant onto the hi-fi market place. It deserves the plaudits and more.

I had to look twice, no three times, at the price of this transport. The Audiolab screams quality, transforms an integrated amplifier’s built-in DAC, takes full advantage of a separate DAC, raises the quality of your CD music to ceiling busting heights and you’re only paying £379? Ha! Oh, really? Oh, yes. 

If you want to play your CD collection with a transport/DAC combination that will not only scare the living bejeebers out of dedicated integrated CD players of five times the price but also threatens to reduce every integrated CD player under £2,500 (maybe higher – I just don’t know yet) into aluminium-flavoured jelly, then grab one of these transports and hook it up to your favourite DAC. In fact buy two and keep the other as a backup, just in case. 

The 6000CDT revolutionises budget CD play. It’s as simple as that. And that’s why it does the job so well – it’s simplicity. That’s the key to the 6000CDT. It’s not stuffed and bloated with other useless features. Its purity of build and approach lifts CD quality sound to unimagined heights at this price point. As such, it’s well worth membership of the exclusive maximum score club – a Golden Groovy. All hail the Audiolab 6000CDT!


AUDIOLAB 6000CDT CD TRANSPORT

Price: £379

Website: www.audiolab.co.uk


GOOD: expansive soundstage, tonal realism, 3D presentation, simplicity of design 

BAD: nothing

RATING: 10


[Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Group, The Audiophile Man: Hi-Fi & Music here: www.facebook.com/groups/theaudiophileman for exclusive postings, exclusive editorial and more!]

REFERENCE

Benchmark DAC2 HGC
Chord Qute HD DAC
iFi iOne DAC
Leema Essentials CD Player

Audiolab 6000A amplifier

Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp

Icon Audio MB845 Mk.II monoblock amplifiers

Quad ESL-57 speakers with One Thing upgrade

Tellurium Q Statement cables

Gekko Purple Haze cables

Blue Horizon Professional Rack System

Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components

CAD GC1 Ground Controls

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184 Comments

  • Reply
    Steve
    12th July 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Paul. I have the Moon ACE. Would you recommend this player with the DAC in the Moon?
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      12th July 2019 at 4:10 pm

      Absolutely – it would be a fine match Steve.

  • Reply
    Dennis
    12th July 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I have parasound halo integrated, would it be god with tbe sabre dac inside?
    Best regards

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      13th July 2019 at 11:51 am

      Hi Dennis – absolutely. A good match.

  • Reply
    Fernando
    13th July 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Hello Paul! I recently bought an mx-dac of Musical fidelity and am using it with my CD player Rotel RCD 1570. I was thinking of swapting the CD player for a dedicated transport. Do you recommend replacing the Rotel with audiolab transport?
    Great review!
    Greetings from Argentina…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th July 2019 at 10:57 am

      Hi Fernando – yes, absolutely 🙂

  • Reply
    Richard
    13th July 2019 at 10:21 pm

    How about a standard audiolab m-dac?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th July 2019 at 10:56 am

      Yep – won’t be an issue Richard.

  • Reply
    Ignacio Perez
    14th July 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Paul, many thanks for the very interesting and useful review of the Audiolab. As indicated earlier, I am planning to replace my old C. Audio 640 Azur CD player and I had almost decided on the Rega Apollo which has received very good reviews. What is your opinion or advice? I note that in your review you mention an integrated CD player at around 1000 pounds and that the Audiolab was way better. Being a transport, how would you need to set up the Audiolab (do you need a DAC)? Look forward to your feedback. Best regards

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th July 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Ignacio – I would buy this transport and make up the rest of the money you would have spent on the Rega with a quality DAC.

  • Reply
    michael nielsen
    14th July 2019 at 5:34 pm

    If this is true, then this must be the best cd-player ever.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th July 2019 at 5:59 pm

      Not quite, Michael – but it is excellent 🙂

  • Reply
    Ignacio Perez
    14th July 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Many thanks for the quick feedback, Paul. Do you suggest a specific DAC?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th July 2019 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Ignacio – what budget are you thinking about?

  • Reply
    Ignacio Perez
    14th July 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks, Paul. Between 300 and 400 euros (basically what I would save getting the Audiolab instead of the Rega Apollo)

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      15th July 2019 at 12:15 pm

      H Ignacio – I would look at the most expensive DAC you can afford via Schiit. In terms of price/facilities/performance, the company offers a good blend for your money.

  • Reply
    Ignacio Perez
    15th July 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Many thanks again, Paul. For instance, the Bifrost? Would such a combination beat the Apollo in terms of musical quality?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th July 2019 at 12:58 pm

      I would be confidant enough to say ‘yes’ on that even thought I have not reviewed the combo, Ignacio.

  • Reply
    Dermot
    16th July 2019 at 12:59 am

    Brilliant review as always. I always get very excited when the David’s slay the Goliath’s. This must be one very special machine. Unfortunately after 20 years without a CDP and, finally succumbing to the lure of the new Tangerine Dream ‘In Search of Hades’ mammoth box set on CD, I went and bought one! A cheap one all told but it’s a goodie. At least I can now listen to Tangerine Dream’s glory years with loads of unreleased stuff in tow. Naturally I felt a bit sick when I read your review but, at least I know now what to aim for in the near future. This player is an absolute must buy and I’d be a fool to ignore yet another lure into the the abyss. Or should it be Hades 😱

    One question if I may, and knowing very little about DACS, would my little FiiO X5 DAP work with this Audiolab transport?

    …….and don’t forget to review that box set as it’s only stunning!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th July 2019 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Dermot – thanks for your kind words. Re the DAP, I don’t see why not. You just need the correct cable. I couldn’t get the box set in for review because of the label was a bit stingy re review samples. It’s on my ‘to buy’ list though 🙂

  • Reply
    Dermot
    16th July 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Good news Paul; The set sold out within days of its initial release but the good news is it’s getting a repress due to massive demand and is set for (re)release sometime in early August – https://burningshed.com/tangerine-dream_in-search-of-hades_boxset. So get your order in ASAP!

    Had a closer look at my Fiio X5 and there’s only a line/coax out port. Also there’s only an output from the Audiolab. So am I right in thinking that it won’t work? I need an input in one of them don’t I?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th July 2019 at 3:04 pm

      Phew! Thanks Dermot.

      I suppose you could hook it up and listen through headphones on your DAP but yes, you will need to look elsewhere for a hi-fi connection. That iFi model I used in the review would be one budget choice. Schiit is another option re. value/performance.

  • Reply
    Dermot
    16th July 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for that Paul. That iFi model is calling me hither 😊

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th July 2019 at 3:34 pm

      Hehe – no problem Dermot.

  • Reply
    Ignacio Perez
    17th July 2019 at 12:39 am

    Thanks again for the very useful advice, Paul. Rereading your review, I must say I’m very tempted to go for the Audiolab; it really seems one of a kind. However, I have asked a couple of hi fi dealers in Brussels (where I live) and none is enthusiastic about Audiolab (not the 6000 in particular). In fact, they don’t sell products from this brand anymore. Apparently, some models have not functioned well. They insist the Rega is a better option, more solid and more musical. So I’m a bit hesitant. Grateful for any further advice you can provide.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      17th July 2019 at 10:38 am

      Hi Ignacio – hmmm 🙂 We all have our own personal sonic tastes and they are welcome to theirs. I would agree that Rega’s amps and CD players sound excellent and you won’t be disappointed if you do ever decide to go for Rega. I rate them highly. On a related note, if you do ever ask a hi-fi dealer for independent sound advice, just bear in mind that you’re also talking to a business man…who sells hi-fi…who has invested a lot of his own money in stock…and he’s trying to sell it…

      • Reply
        lawrence LaCosse
        21st May 2020 at 10:09 pm

        Well Paul, I have a Audio lab cd transport ready for EBay. Why? Purchased a “Jays Audio” cd transport. Not sure you have reviewed that one yet but it puts Audio lab to shame.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          22nd May 2020 at 9:50 am

          Er, they’re a bit pricey aren’t they Lawrence? In excess of £2k? I’m sure they sound lovely and I’d be happy to review one myself but isn’t a direct comparison a little unfair?

          • lawrence LaCosse
            22nd May 2020 at 3:02 pm

            “A bit pricey” Yup. You are correct! I guess I’m venting, trying to make myself feel better for spending that kind of cash!!😕

          • Paul Rigby
            22nd May 2020 at 3:18 pm

            🙂

  • Reply
    Ignacio Perez
    17th July 2019 at 11:45 am

    Many thanks again, Paul. You always provide useful and sound advice. Basically, what I’m looking for is a noticeable and audible improvement from my current C. Audio 640 player and not having or wishing to upgrade in one or two years’ time. Listening mainly to classical and jazz, what I look for in CD reproduction is a warm, enveloping and neutral sound, as close as possible to analog (obviously, I will not get that and for that I have the Planar 3). What I wonder is whether I can get something better than the Apollo Rega for the same price (around 750 EUR) if I go for the Audiolab. Roughly speaking, I would have 300 EUR left for the DAC and I’m not sure that will get me a very good unit. What do you think?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      17th July 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Iganacio – thanks for your kind words.

      Basically, with the Audiolab you’re getting a transport that is so good, it works well with a DAC priced at several thousand pounds. That’s how good it is. What this means is that, whenever you want to upgrade, you don’t need to upgrade the transport (I would say, you will never have to upgrade the transport ever again). From that point on, just upgrade the DAC. This means that your upgrades are cheaper (because you’re spending money only on the DAC, not the transport too) and more efficient because you’ll be buying DACs from specialist DAC manufacturers. If you do upgrade you know that the better DAC will improve sound by large amounts. You also maximise your money and its value because of that. I noticed a big improvement in sound connecting the 6000CDT to a little iFi DAC of £200. The better the DAC, the better the sound.

  • Reply
    Ignacio Perez
    17th July 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks again, Paul. So, if I were to spend between £250/300 on the DAC, which one(s) would you recommend? Would that combinatiion be a noticeable improvement over the Rega Apollo?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      17th July 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Ignacio – at that price, you tend to get great value from Schiit equipment. Buy the best one you can afford. And yes, I would say so.

  • Reply
    Craig Stenstrom
    18th July 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Awesome review. I may have to upgrade my modified Sony Playstation 1.

  • Reply
    Ben Armine
    23rd July 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Another no-nonsense review. The comparison with the Rega Apollo is intriguing. One thing I would like to know is the manufacturer of the actual drives in each of the transports. For example are the actual drives manufactured by Audiolab or Rega, in the same way that Cyrus manufacture their own drives (caveat: as far as I know). Instinct suggests a top loader will have the mechanical edge over a slot loader. Is there any further advice you can offer, Paul?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      23rd July 2019 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Ben – firstly, I never mentioned a Rega CD player in my review 🙂 Nevertheless, thanks for your kind words. As for drive sources, etc. The nature of the source is less important to me than its implementation. The purity of the Audiolab build and the company’s low noise approach to its design is what stands out.

  • Reply
    Larry Hoffman
    26th July 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Hi Paul, I use the Cambridge CXC transport. It is also a dedicated CD transport, and a close competitor. I’d be very interested in a comparison of the two units.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      27th July 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Me too Larry 🙂 I was unable to do that during the initial Audiolab review but I’ll see what I can do in the future.

      • Reply
        Larry Hoffman
        29th July 2019 at 6:39 pm

        That would be great Paul!
        Thank you,
        Larry

      • Reply
        Alex
        23rd April 2020 at 11:42 am

        6000CDT Vs Cambridge CXC
        Since the late 80s I must have owned about ten cd players, including some tweaked/modified (clock upgrades, valve output stages etc etc). About 5 or 6 years ago I started to explore separate DAC territory, using an Arcam cdp as transport, then replaced that with the Cambridge CXC, happy that it was a clear improvement sonically on anything that had gone before in my system, the only negatives being the crappy remote and the unreadable display. Then I saw the Audiolab 6000CDT advertised, and read the review here. Familiar with the brand, and mindful of the slight failings of the Cambridge mentioned above, I decided to give it a try. Duly installed in the system a couple of days ago and left to run for a few hours, I then sat down to listen. Immediately obvious that there was a big difference in presentation at least – but was it better, or just different. Listening to more discs tended to strongly reinforce the former, but it wasn’t until I reached down ‘ELO The Collection’ a compilation dating from 2009 of Geoff Lynne’s earlier efforts, that I knew for sure. This disc has always sounded muddy, lacking in any depth or sparkle, when played on previous cdps – the Cambridge was slightly better than the Arcam, say, but now on the Audiolab it was like another recording. It now had depth and sparkle, didn’t need to have the volume turned up in order to try to hear into the music. Great. Well done the 6000CDT, and thanks to you Paul for reviewing it for us. The System: Roksan Caspian Mk1 amp; Heed Dactilius 3 DAC with QPSU; B&W CDM1 SE spkrs; REL T5 subwoofer; Chord Clearway cabling and RA Yello mains cables from Trichord Powerblock 500.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          23rd April 2020 at 12:07 pm

          Excellent stuff Alex – thanks for taking the time to submit your review and for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated!

  • Reply
    William Hawkins
    1st August 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for the great review, Paul. I was thinking about upgrading from my Roksan Kandy III CD player so it seems like this could be the shove I need. Did you have a preference about which output to use?
    Also, I will be buying a dac. Have you heard the Marantz Dac1? Or any recommendations you may have around the £1k mark would be very welcome.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      1st August 2019 at 2:09 pm

      You’re very welcome William – coaxial has received some special isolation attention. I’d go for that. I’m afraid I have yet to hear the DAC in action. Give it a listen if you’re able of course. I like this one: https://theaudiophileman.com/abacus-dac-review-heed/

      • Reply
        William Hawkins
        16th October 2019 at 4:00 pm

        Thanks for the recommendations, Paul. I went for the transport and Heed Abacus and am very happy with them. I’m enjoying the incredibly enhanced detail and scale and can listen for hours without tiring! Just one thing – I bought a Chord Clearway coaxial interconnect and wonder if I should invest in the Shawline instead (I could always repurpose the Clearway for my dab receiver). Money is a consideration but I could persuade myself “in for a penny, in for a pound” if you think the difference is substantial. Many thanks again.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          17th October 2019 at 5:38 pm

          What’s your budget on this cable purchase please William?

          • William Hawkins
            17th October 2019 at 6:32 pm

            Thanks for the reply Paul. I was thinking up to £200 unless you had something specific in mind a bit above. I can’t see myself ever going above the £2-3k level for the sources unless Madam Lotto smiles on me!

          • Paul Rigby
            18th October 2019 at 11:06 am

            Hi William – if you can add a few more pounds, I’d go for this: https://telluriumq.com/blue-digital-rca-cable/

          • William Hawkins
            18th October 2019 at 1:03 pm

            Thanks for the help, Paul, I appreciate your enthusiasm and will see if I can audition it. Loved your iphone 8 impersonation on the video, by the way!

          • Paul Rigby
            18th October 2019 at 2:40 pm

            Oh dear – sorry, sometimes I get a bit silly 🙂 It’s a mood thing, hehe. Thanks William, let me know how you get on.

  • Reply
    William Hawkins
    1st August 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks, Paul. I read your Heed review after I posted my comment. You’re not alone in admiring it, I’ve discovered, so I’ll audition it if I can, but it looks like a good bet anyway.
    No need to reply again, you have a job to do! I appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication.

  • Reply
    Gustavo Anaya
    7th August 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks Paul for another awesome review!!!! I have bought the 6000A and the 6000N, so probably next logical step should the 6000CDT 🙂

    Reagrds, Gustavo

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      7th August 2019 at 4:48 pm

      I guess so! 🙂 And many thanks for you kind words. You won’t be disappointed if you do buy one.

  • Reply
    Andrew Sullivan
    7th August 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Fascinating review, thanks! I’m running the 6000CDT with 6000A through Dali Oberon 5 speakers with Chord C-Screen speaker cables. Although the sound is enjoyable, I haven’t been blown away as most reviewers have been. The Audiolab’s are connected by a very cheap optical cable and powered via a very cheap four way power extension. I also do not have a dedicated hi-fi rack, with the amp placed directly on the CDT, with an IKEA cupboard beneath. I’m considering a Russ Andrews power extension and a better quality digital connection. Any thoughts or alternative advice? I’m also wondering if the Dali speakers are up to the task… Have you tested them?
    Cheers, Andrew

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th August 2019 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Andrew – thanks for your kinds words. You’re on the right pathway. Get your ancillaries right first. Then look at your hifi chain, then think again about the Dalis. All of those things you mentioned are problems that will mask sound quality. You’ve done a great job to identify the issues. I’d correct those first, look at other possibly issues too (check out my accessories review section for possible ideas), listen, compare and contrast. Once you’re sorted, come back to me and we’ll have a chat about that.

  • Reply
    Sanjoy Sen
    8th August 2019 at 1:07 am

    Great review Paul, sounds like a real giant killer and your excitement was infectious!

    I have a Naim cd5si CD player (and 202/200DR) Which DAC combined with the Audiolab transport would comfortably surpass it?

  • Reply
    Alberto Silva
    8th August 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Let me tell you that your review is absolutely accurate. But allow me complement it, adding a bit of my story. My old Counterpoint DA11 died two years ago. For the past year I’ve search for replacement. So I set a 2.500€ target line to new or second one transport, to match my DAC’s (vintage Wadia 2000 and Apogee 1000) and a modern and great iFi Pro iDSD.
    From second hand Audionet, Theta CompiBlu and Audiolab 8000CDM with the famous CDM9Pro, to the modern offers from Moon and Project and also giving a spin in some integrated CD players, like the excellent Naim CD5XS2, I’ve tried a lot of options.
    Audiolab 6000CDT??? Nooo way, to cheap, with CD slot, lots of empty space inside, forget it, it will not have a chance.
    Well it beat them all, exactly by the same standards you’ve explained with cheaper products. This is a rare jewel in a world of standard five zero prices.
    And in fact I also do think that they have nail it quite well with jitter.
    So forget old transports, forget big/old Marantz and Sony ES transports, swallow the audiophile pride in expensive stuff and give the 6000CDT a spin, it’s a jaw drop exercise.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th August 2019 at 12:38 pm

      Spot on Alberto and thanks for your story – very informative and one that will help others who read it, I’m sure.

  • Reply
    Dermot
    18th August 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Paul,

    A lot more comments since I last posted here! I’m delighted that they’re all positive and indeed they should be! Only short time after reading your review, I went out and bought it! From Richer Sounds up Belfast way. A terrific company I have to say. I won’t go into details as I’ve already mentioned them in my earlier post. Anyway I also checked out Schiit (as recommended by you) and I was extremely impressed by the whole philosophy of the company. They actually sounded like they cared plus they’re so witty and funny! Long story short, and, I know you’re a fan of multi-bit dacs, I actually went for their cheapest model the Modi 3 based on two reviews/tests which basically told me to go for the cheaper Delta-Sigma dac! One was from a customer who had tried/owned all the dacs and the second one was from a very thorough objective/subjective review of the Modi 3. Anyway the upshot of all this is that everything you said in your review is absolutely spot on even with the tiny Modi. I was dancing around the room in excitement and I even fell over the dog lol! Such a magnificent sound in the supposed death throws of the cd medium. Downloads, streamlining etc etc ear your heart out! Final word: if anyone out there, after reading the review, doesn’t react like I and others did in buying the darned thing then I’m not one (multi) bit sorry for you for losing out to one of the best and affordable sounds currently out there. No excuse whatsoever! Thanks Paul for switching on the light 🤓

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      19th August 2019 at 10:45 am

      Thanks for your insight Dermot!

  • Reply
    Simon
    19th August 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Paul, thanks for a very informative review. I have owned an Audiolab 8000CDM (Mark II) CD transport since new (c/w a Rega DAC at the moment). The 8000CDM is 20+ years old now but was very well regarded in its day and has performed faultlessly. Do you think that the 6000 CDT would be an improvement? Has CD transport technology improved significantly?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      19th August 2019 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments, Simon. How they compare? Well, I cannot say because I have not tested the pair together so I cannot judge any possible improvements from the 8000CDM onwards. That said, the 6000CDT does feature some interesting isolation technologies which does lower noise and that, in itself, should improve sound quality. I would encourage you to listen to the 6000CDT for yourself, though. I’m sure you could hear any sonic differences.

  • Reply
    John
    20th August 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Very interesting review. When my Arcam CD73 died I considered the Audiolab 8300CD as a replacement but couldn’t afford it then. I was also put off by the slot loading transport. I ended up buying a Marantz CD6006. A fine player but soundwise I still prefer the CD73. It sounded open & refined whereas the CD6006 sounds musculer & closed in. The CD73 wasn’t perfect. It’s tray was flimsy & sometimes made a grinding noise when closing. CD’s would also occasionally skip but then play fine when reloaded. Your review has got me thinking about the Audiolab again but which one? I don’t want streaming or other such Emperor’s new clothes. I just want to connect the player to the amp & play CD’s (from Westcoast rock to Heavy Metal). Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      21st August 2019 at 3:31 pm

      Hi John – I’d still go with this transport and a DAC of your choice and then, if you wish to upgrade, just change the DAC. The transport is a pure/simple design, the main reason is sounds so good.

  • Reply
    Joel
    23rd August 2019 at 12:35 am

    Paul, on a side-note, have you done a review of the Audiolab 6000A, since you have one apparently? I’d be interested in a review of this amp to see if it’s the same sort of bargain as the CD player. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Joel
    23rd August 2019 at 12:37 am

    Never mind. Yes, you have. Cheers.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    28th August 2019 at 6:10 am

    Nice, informative review, Paul.

    I have a Devialet Expert Pro 250 CI. Do you think a pairing with the 6000CDT would work well?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      28th August 2019 at 1:24 pm

      Yes indeed, Debbie.

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    3rd September 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Paul, thank you for an informative and excellent review.
    I am looking for a CD transport to use with my Schiit Yggdrasil DAC.
    It will replace a very old Arcam Alpha Plus, which is occasionally used as a transport.
    I had considered a CEC TL5 but these are extremely expensive!
    Do you believe the 6000CDT and Yggdrasil will be a good combination?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th September 2019 at 10:43 am

      Hi Ian – thanks for your kind words and indeed I do, yes. Let me know your thoughts when you get the painting up and running!

    • Reply
      Juan Bustillo
      29th February 2020 at 10:41 am

      Hi Ian , probably is too late , but I would advice you against the CEC , I had a TL51 , and gave a lot of problems , most important the top sliding drawer micro-switch , that allows the Transport to starts , fails and prevents you to use the player . And this transport gives you ( at least the one I had) a hard time to lock to for exaple the Audio Alchemy DTI Pro 32 . And , of course the TL51 didn´t play CD-R nor CD-RW . So I would go or the Audiolab , way more cheap .

  • Reply
    Andrew Williams
    4th September 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Hi after reading a few reviews I decided to go with the 6000cdt to replace my aging Roksan Caspian m series 1 cd player ,what can I say iam listening to all my cds again it sounds fantastic I am running it with a Hegel H190 integrated amp and buchardt s400 speakers the best £379 I’ve ever spent go buy one.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th September 2019 at 4:57 pm

      Excellent! Glad to hear that you happy with it Andrew – thanks for your feedback 🙂

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    4th September 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Paul,
    Thanks. Not sure I understood your ‘painting’ comment though …
    I currently listen mainly to music streamed from a hard drive. These are all lossless files from CDs. In your experience, can a CD transport, such as 6000CDT, sound better than playing the same files, from a hard drive, and played through the same DAC?

    I ask as there seems to be a lot of debate about this, with some claiming that no CD transport can ever match a high quality streamer and others saying quite the opposite!

    Linn stopped making CD players as they say that streamers are so much better from both a theoretical and practical perspective, but some audiophiles believe that the best digital replay quality they can achieve is still with a good CD transport and high quality DAC.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th September 2019 at 4:53 pm

      Hi Ian – auto correct 🙂 Should have said ‘pairing’, hehe. As for hard disks, etc…

      You can produce superb digital music but I find that you really have to work hard to cover all of the bases. With a CD transport and external DAC, you get a bigger bang for your buck, as it where with superior music for less cash.

      For digital, if you address the digital noise issue with proper external grounding, if you select the right DAC designed for best sound practices not for lifestyle convenience, if you use a digital source with absolutely no noise generated within (that’s harder than you might first think), if you use an *external* hard drive source, properly isolated, if you…you see? Yes, I believe it can be done, you can get a real audiophile level of sound from a *wired* hard drive (this isn’t streaming, incidentally, streaming is a substandard audiophile music carrier but great for a lifestyle set-up) but you need attention to detail.

      I still see the entire genre in its baby stages.

      CD has been going getting on for 40 years. And CD is still improving. As is our knowledge of the format. CD isn’t dying either, despite reports. Well, not absolutely. It’s merely moving from a mass market status to a specialist status. I can’t wait for that transition to occur, then the real development fun can begin via specialist outfits. Digital music will come but it needs time.

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    4th September 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks very much for replying.
    I was scratching my head thinking what ‘painting’ had been auto corrected from; now I understand!
    I really appreciate your thoughts on streaming vs CD replay.
    I think I am probably not ‘streaming’ based on your definition.
    I have an external hard drive and use a very old Logitech Transporter to deliver digital output from FLAC files to my Schiit Yggdrasil DAC. It sounds pretty good.
    I also have Qobuz on a month’s free trial, but I am not sure if I’ll keep it. It’s certainly convenient…. Now that IS streaming!
    In order to improve my system, I agree with you that I would probably need to spend a lot on something like an Auralic Aries G1/G2 to achieve low noise.
    I think you have convinced me to get a 6000CDT.
    In the meantime, I’ll carry on buying CDs, as I don’t think the format is dying either!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th September 2019 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts Ian and no problem 🙂

  • Reply
    Al Salerno
    4th September 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Paul and Ian,
    I recently became aware of Paul’s excellent account of the Audiolab CDT transport. I’d like to thank you Paul for taking the time to put in words precisely what I have experienced with this transport. The Audiolab transport is a great find among the multi-thousand dollar cd players and transport In the market place. I replaced an older Theta Miles CD player and was surprised how much better the Audiolab unit is. Ian, I use the Schiit Yggy DAC and the Audiolab transport and am very pleased with the overall SQ I get from my system. I’ve also experimented with a couple of digital cables to see if I could discover further refinements. It never ends does it? 🙂

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      5th September 2019 at 6:00 pm

      True, Al – it never ends 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    6th September 2019 at 11:46 am

    Hi Paul and Al,
    Thank you.
    It looks like I should get a 6000 CDT!
    Unfortunately it will also mean buying a new preamp, as I currently run without one.
    Al, what preamp do you use?
    I’ll probably get a Schiit preamp -either the Freya S or Freya + ( which has tubes as well as solid state outputs)

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th September 2019 at 12:18 pm

      Mine is a high-end jobbie Ian – not sure about your price range. I use an Aesthetix Calypso (http://aesthetix.net/calypso.php). That’s a valve design too, incidentally. Yes, the Schiit is a good call. That should work well.

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    6th September 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks.
    Wow.That looks like a nice preamp, which I have no doubt sounds great, but I think it is over £6k!
    I certainly hadn’t budgeted for that amount.
    I think I’ll go for the Schiit Freya Plus, as at around £850, I could add a high quality digital source , like Auralic Aries G1/G2), and the 6000CDT and still have change…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th September 2019 at 3:14 pm

      Sounds like a plan, Ian 🙂

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    7th September 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks Paul.
    It’s very encouraging to know I am probably on the right track!
    I understand that getting digital music to to sound as good as CD is a challenge, but have you come across any digital sources ( or network bridges) which you could recommend.
    Currently considering Auralic Aries or DCS Network Bridge.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th September 2019 at 10:07 pm

      That would depend on your budget, Ian – otherwise you’ll have an unworkable list as long as your arm 🙂

  • Reply
    Dave
    7th September 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Hi paul, how would you compare it to the Cambridge audio cxc ?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      8th September 2019 at 9:58 pm

      HI Dave – I haven’t done a direct comparison, I couldn’t get one for comparison at the time, so can’t give a categorical answer to that, I’m afraid.

  • Reply
    Al Salerno’s
    8th September 2019 at 6:20 am

    Hi Ian
    For the past 10+ years I’ve been using an Audio Research Ref2 preamp with either a pair of Odyssey Kismet mono amps, or a VT 200 (I’ve been thinking about selling the VT 200 due to not using it so much these days). I also have my first serious preamp I bought almost 40 years ago! The would be Audio Research 6B that I just can’t seem to part with. About a year or two ago, I also brought home the AR Ref 5 to audition. Honestly, for me I preferred my old Ref2 to the Ref5. The Ref 5 had the better midrange, but the Ref2 had a better top amp end.

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    9th September 2019 at 11:28 am

    Hi Al,
    Thank you very much for replying.
    That Ref 2 is a serious preamp! From what I have read, AR make some of the best preamps available, at any price.
    I don’t have the budget for that kind of preamp- most of my budget has already gone on ATC SCM 100 ASL active loudspeakers.
    They are fantastic.

  • Reply
    Al Salerno
    10th September 2019 at 3:37 am

    Hi Ian,
    I would love to hear the ATC’s sometime. I’ve heard great things about their active speakers but have not had the opportunity to listen to them. I’m confident the Freya plus would be a great choice, given the supportive reviews I’ve read. The team at Schiit Audio seems to be on a roll!

  • Reply
    Ian Walker
    11th September 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Al,
    I first heard some ATCs over 25 years ago, and was so impressed I thought that one day I would have to get a pair.

    I finally got my active 100s about 12 years ago. I bought them second hand.

    I love them and I can’t praise the factory highly enough; they brought my old speakers up to current spec about 3 years ago.

    I would definitely recommend an audition if you have a local ATC dealer.

  • Reply
    Oyvind Hagen
    14th September 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks for many nice newsletters. Read your review on 6000CDT CD TRANSPORT FROM AUDIOLAB, only £ 372. Are you really saying this transport is as good as the fort knox Audio Note CDT Two II, which I can buy second hand here in Norway for 2500, or the Heed Audio obelisc DE for 1500?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th September 2019 at 10:25 am

      Hi Oyvind – many thanks for your note. I wasn’t comparing the 6000CDT with any other transport. What I was doing was highlighting the benefits of separating an integrated CD player into a transport and separate DAC and then upgrading the DAC when funds allow, to increase sound quality.

  • Reply
    JR
    20th September 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Paul, you were quite busy here 🙂 I am waiting for the 6000ctd I ordered and wonder if the CA dacmagic100 I have is good enough… If I choose to buy a new dac I can spend ~ £350 and my question is whether I can feel a difference with a dac within this budget (any suggestion?) or better to wait till I can spend some more (though I don’t expect it will be soon)

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th September 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Hi JR – yep, you’re right! The Cambridge should be fine. No probs. I’d stick with the latter for now and upgrade to something around the £700-£1,000 mark later on. Let’s have a chat at that point.

      • Reply
        JR
        20th September 2019 at 6:08 pm

        Thanks Paul. I decided to use the dacmagic in order to set a system for my father. Therefore a recommendation for a dac under £400 will be appreciated! (except a coaxial for the 6000cdt I need just another coaxial or optical)

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          23rd September 2019 at 10:30 am

          Hi JR, the Schiit Modi Multibit would be good, iFi produce good DACs too.

  • Reply
    Max
    26th September 2019 at 8:13 am

    Hi Paul, I suppose the 6000CDT can be coupled with my old audiolab 8000DAC? May it arise any mismatch between them?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th September 2019 at 10:38 am

      Can’t see an issue Max – should be fine.

  • Reply
    Roger Lucas
    7th October 2019 at 10:17 am

    Paul
    Having recently purchased an Audiolab 6000cdt for use with my surround sound set-up, I too was stunned by how much better it sounded than my well respected integrated player – it was like chalk and cheese!! However, this begs a serious question of both manufactures and the hi-fi press for both making and supporting inferior hardware when patently far superior two (and even three box) players were available in the eighties. Why has it taken so long for hardware manufacturers to exploit the software potential of the silver disc. A great review.
    Roger

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      7th October 2019 at 11:20 am

      Thanks Roger – I think the ‘rise’ of the CD is more to do with time (time for developers to try things and get things right), partly to do with a disastrous initial marketing campaign (the ‘perfect’ disc format thing set the format up for a fall, the depths of which it has been climbing from for years afterwards) and the more recent increase in general research and development. Improved ADC equipment seen in studios like Abbey Road, for example, has increased inherent CD sound quality immeasurably over the past 10 years alone.

  • Reply
    Philip Livingstone
    20th October 2019 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Paul,
    After reading your review of the 6000cdt I went out and bought one myself to replace my old “turntable” Pioneer PD-S 904. I have just acquired a Chord Qutest DAC and have used Audioquest’s Cinnamon optical cable to link the transport to the DAC while using Chord C Line interconnects to my ancient Audio Innovations Series 500 driving Heco Einklang Direkt speakers. I’m looking to maximise the performance of the transport and dac and would appreciate your thoughts on cables as I’m assuming that the optical cable would be outperfrmed by a coax cable. Do i require a RCA to BNC cable? I was interested in the MCRU Ultimate digital cable and am open to ideas on the interconnect around the £200 mark. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      21st October 2019 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for your question, Philip – sounds like a nice system you’re putting together there. You’re right, the coax will be the best option. Audiolab has applied some special attention to this area too, to improve sound. Abetter bet is Tellurium Q’s Blur Waveform II. Be an extra £35-40 over your limit but well worth spending.

      • Reply
        Philip Livingstone
        21st October 2019 at 10:04 pm

        Thank you for your advice, I am trying to build my system up again with the fewest steps in the upgrade path as I’m wary of buying something that isn’t optimum only to trade it in at a loss later. Hence the transport and dac which are the best that I can afford before it gets into silly money. The optical cable being the only stop gap just to get them up and running while the interconnects were purchased to hook up my Aiwa XK-009 Excelia cassette deck. Unfortunately it needs a service so I’m hoping that it’s only drive belts and that I can find someone to carry out the work.
        Next on the list is a replacement for my Old Clerkenwell Road Roksan Xerses, the Rega Planar 10 looking very attractive at the minute!

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          22nd October 2019 at 9:51 am

          No problem Philip – if you need any advice in the future, give me a shout.

  • Reply
    Juan Bustillo
    9th November 2019 at 11:51 am

    Hi Paul , I just bought the 6000CDT to replace my CEC TL51 CD transport , that after seventeen years decided to it was time to retired , that was last year , in the meantime I used a very cheap Sony DVDas a transport ( I know) until I decided wich CD transport to buy , and thanks to you and other reviews I decided for the Audiolab . So far so good , of course the sonic difference with the Sony was instant ! I use a vintage Audio Alchemy combo , The DTI PRO 32 conected with I2S cable to the DDE v3.0 then to a QED passive pre-amp directly connected to aclass A 100 w amplifier that only has an on-off knob , very minimalist ! After a day or so of serious listening I have to say I´m very , very pleased with this purchase .
    Altough was more than a year that my CEC broke , I think the 6000 CDT is a better performer , and most important it plays CD-R and CD-RW that the CEC didn´t !
    So thank you for helping me to go for the Audiolab !
    Greetings from Buenos Aires .

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th November 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Many thanks for your thoughts, Juan and I’m glad I could be go help.

  • Reply
    CS
    12th December 2019 at 9:13 am

    Great Review. As a result I bought an Audiolab Transport (used) after reading your review to pair it with my M-DAC yesterday. It will replace a CD transport CEC TL 5100 (still working but imo lacking detail in sound). Will let you know my impressions after arrival. Digital cables I use are Aqvox and tellurium black Mk I. Once again many thanks for your lively description. Best regards fron Germany! C

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      12th December 2019 at 2:47 pm

      Thank for your note, CS and I appreciate your thoughts. And yes, let me know how you get on.

  • Reply
    Alan Dean
    15th December 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Really helpful review and just a bought one to go with my Chord Mojo, Rega Brio and Dynaudio Emit 10s. Problem though is audio dropouts of about half a second, distinct switching off and on which is really annoying. I am using AudioQuest Forest Coaxial cable. I suppose some electrical appliance could be triggering the phenomenon. Changed the coaxial to Amazon Basics but same happens. Just wondering if this is a common problem with CD transports.
    Thanks Alan

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th December 2019 at 11:50 am

      Hi Alan – the only time I’ve had issues like that related to the connecting cable not providing a secure signal. Remove the cable, then reinsert. Make sure the cable is sitting properly in the jack, not being pulled or pushed in any direction. Fiddle around with the thing. Sometimes not pushing the cable fully ‘home’ can fix it. The ideal connection might be somewhere between fully home and out, if you see what I mean? Failing that, try another cable.

      • Reply
        Alan Dean
        16th December 2019 at 8:16 pm

        Thank you for the prompt reply Paul, appreciated. I’ve tried all you suggested but made no difference even using 3 different coaxial cables. I did change the coaxial for optical and there was no problem but I’m not sold on optical connects except for the TV. I suspect that the Audiolab isn’t pushing out out enough signal or there a buffering problem. Definitely though it is vunerable to interference. So returned this second Audiolab to Amazon and reinserted the Marantz 6006UK CD player connected to my Chord Mojo via coaxial and it works flawlessly. So still keeping an eye open for a capable transport

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          17th December 2019 at 11:35 am

          How odd! I never had an issue myself, Alan, and I tried different configurations in that area. Sorry to hear about that. Have you considered Cambridge’s transport. I have yet to test it but have hear good reports.

        • Reply
          David
          23rd April 2020 at 12:36 pm

          Optical is the best way to connect to the mojo, it is recommended by Rob watts the designer.

          • wolfgang
            1st May 2020 at 1:19 am

            The green light its low voltage. As line in it could be too low I guess….
            Pressing both volume buttons when turning the Mojo on sets it to line level 3mV.
            From the Mojo Head Fi forum I know that clicking 4 times minus gets it down to 1.9mV. ( from line level).
            Green is about 15 clicks down (in between is turquoise). I wonder what the voltage is then?
            Usually around 2mV is adequate. I use mine with color blue intego.

        • Reply
          Wolf
          29th April 2020 at 12:28 pm

          I’m not aware that Audioquest has a digital Forest Coaxial with RCA and 3.5mm plug for Chord Mojo. A correct cable would be i.e. from Chord such as the Clearway with RCA to 3.5mm.
          But as David said for Mojo an optical cable would be superior (recom. by Rob Watts).
          Optical cables have less problems with EMF interference as I know.

          • David
            29th April 2020 at 6:16 pm

            People seem to think jitter is a problem with optical, but not with the chord mojo. Also the output of the mojo has very low noise because it’s designed for IEM headphones. When using it for a desktop dac the output is high at 3v, I drop mine down so the volume colour is green, not sure what the voltage is, but it gives a much better sound. I have also removed the battery from mine and now leave it plugged in all the time without the heat problem.

          • David
            1st May 2020 at 10:02 am

            Yes 2mv is about right, but I find that the mojo with lower output and the amp turned up more gives a better sound. I have tried lots of different combinations.

  • Reply
    CS
    29th December 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Dear Mr. Rigby,

    As promised, a few thoughts about the Audiolab 6000 CDT CD transport:

    Now that my Wireworld Supernova Tosink cable has arrived (very good product), I have heard some of my CDs through my M-DAC and can only confirm your impression that this CD transport is a very good product. It will inherit my CEC TL 5100. Very good stage, great dynamics and (with the Wireworld Supernova) also a very good substance in the bass. I listen with active Klein + Hummel studio monitors, which I operate directly via the balanced preamp output of the M-DAC. Previously had a Tellurium Waveform Black for the DAC. Subjectively, Wireworld Supernova offers a better result.. I am now expecting a Tomanek ultra-linear power supply for the M-DAC from Poland and I am excited to see what improvements will be made.
    Thank you for your review.

    Greetings from Germany

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      29th December 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Hi CS – glad you liked it and that your experiences were good. Many thanks for the update.

    • Reply
      wolfgang
      1st May 2020 at 1:16 am

      The green light its low voltage. As line in it could be too low I guess….
      Pressing both volume buttons when turning the Mojo on sets it to line level 3mV.
      From the Mojo Head Fi forum I know that clicking 4 times minus gets it down to 1.9mV. ( from line level).
      Green is about 15 clicks down (in between is turquoise). I wonder what the voltage is then?
      Usually around 2mV is adequate. I use mine with color blue intego.

  • Reply
    Pascal
    28th February 2020 at 12:18 am

    Hello Paul,
    Your review on this cd transport is spiky! I bought myself a DAC Atoll 300 and I was just wondering, would my old CD player Rega planet (Mk1) be enough to read my many CDs! I told myself that I had to find a CD transport, even if it was to dig into the user, see in the old man, some of whom had a good reputation in their time! And now I come across your magazine a bit by chance! About the DAC Atoll DAC 300, I would have liked you to review, why with the Audiolab CDT! Hope to read you and thank you for allowing me to discover devices that deserve to be known! Best Regards !

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      28th February 2020 at 10:34 am

      Not a problem Pascal – thanks for reading.

  • Reply
    Mark Haynes
    15th March 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Hi partly as a result of your review I’m buying a silver Audiolab 6000cdt to replace my old Cyrus XT2 transport. Now I know that many will say “why don’t you just get the Cyrus serviced’ but it is £300 and requires me physically take the transport to my nearest dealer (which is a long way now that Creative Audio in Shrewsbury have closed down) and I’ve heard lots of disgruntled Cyrus owners that complain that after servicing they have lots of problems and Cyrus are none too helpful. I have a Roksan K3 DAC which I’ll connect with a coaxial that always makes me nervous (because it is so thick and heavy with lockable RCAs that will demolish most coaxial inputs if you’re not careful). I like the fact that this transport seems to have a tough looking coaxial input lol! Nice and informative review that I hope that the naysayers about cd transports being just 0s and 1s will take note.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      15th March 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks Mark – let me know how you get on with your purchase.

      • Reply
        Mark Haynes
        1st April 2020 at 11:57 pm

        Hi, I’ve lived with 6000cdt now for a couple of weeks and I can report that it sounds now at least as good as my Cyrus XT2 player. However I should just say that I did not think that at first. For the first week I found the sound although good for the price a little distant, lacking in leading edge note definition and a touch ‘hard’ at times. I was impressed but felt it could be better so I had a hard look at the player and noticed that it had an input fuse which is very unusual in cd players (my XT2 doesn’t have one nor does the Arcam CDS72 which I’ve been using). Thinking that this might be a ‘bottleneck’ on performance I ordered an A & R gold fuse (£15) to replace the fuse. Wow! What a difference! I would’ve ended up giving it 4 stars and said that it wasn’t quite as good as my Cyrus XT2 (which is more expensive) but with the A & R gold fuse in place all my reservations were ‘blown away’. Musicians/performers took a pace forward, the leading edge of notes was much better and that trace of hardness was gone (I have perfect pitch which is a pain for my wife lol). Now it is definitely 5 stars and worth every penny but PLEASE replace that input fuse!

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          2nd April 2020 at 1:00 pm

          Ahhh, interesting Mark. Interesting. Nice one and thanks a lot for the tip. You may find the sound loosens up over time too and you are using coax I assume?

  • Reply
    Mark Haynes
    2nd April 2020 at 5:03 pm

    I am using a W & M Audio Reference coax. Sound is great now and I would actually say it is better than my old Cyrus XT2 (without the PSX-R2 it must be said). I will say that also (I have over 2000 cds) this player will play ‘difficult’ cds that the Cyrus would never play which is a bonus (how many can claim to have a cd collection that is ‘perfect’ throughout?). I did notice that the transport responds to mains cables quite noticeably as well. As with fuses this is a subject that many will cry ‘audiofool’ over but the differences are so great that I don’t need a ‘double blind’ test to hear it is easily noticeable even from the next room. I was actually surprised at the level of improvement by changing the fuse (even though I’ve had good results elsewhere with my equipment – internal fuses make more difference than mains plug fuses IME).

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd April 2020 at 10:04 am

      Thanks for the update Mark – that fact that you can hear sonic differences with ancillaries like this is also a testament to the unit’s basic clarity, I would add. Which gives it room for future modification. A good quality shelf, isolation feet and the like for example.

  • Reply
    Dave
    3rd April 2020 at 10:47 am

    Did you do this test double blind ?.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd April 2020 at 11:14 am

      Hi Dave – I test using a method I’ve developed over the years which tends to take all day for one product and involves A-B, C-D, A-C comparisons, studying a piece of music over time, focusing on individual instruments and so on. As I say, it’s a full day thing. I don’t do double blind, no. I don’t use machines either. All of these so-called foolproof systems are open to bias and none are perfect. I’ve tried them all and discarded them all. Although plenty will disagree with me of course, I find my system works for me.

  • Reply
    DJ
    6th April 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Hey Paul, I accidentally stumbled upon your review of the Audiolab 6000CDT as I am researching a replacement for my NAD C 546BEE CD player. Other components in my system are NAD C658 streaming DAC, Rotel RSP 1582 premap, Parasound A21 amp and Focal Electra 1038 BE. My question to you is, Would replacing the NAD CD player with Audiolab 6000CDT make a difference in my system?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      7th April 2020 at 11:41 am

      Yes. Next question? 🙂 Seriously though I’d grab the CDT and then just upgrade your DACs when you have the cash to hear improved sound quality. Use the coax socket as the preferred connection method, though.

      • Reply
        DJ
        7th April 2020 at 10:30 pm

        Thank you for your reply 👍. As you expected, one last question…any DAC you recommend in the 3K price range.

  • Reply
    Mick R
    26th April 2020 at 3:03 pm

    H Paul,
    Firstly, I hope you are staying safe in these highly unusual times!
    I wonder if you are still offering advice on this thread subject?
    If so I would be deeply grateful for any comments you may have regarding my situation?
    I have a Chord Qutest DAC, Rega Elex-R Amp, Kef LS50 speakers.
    At the moment I am using a borrowed Audiolab 8300CD as a transport only. Overall the sound is pretty good, but I’m sure I can get better from the Qutest-based system.
    I need to give the cd player back to its rightful owner and hence I need to buy a CD transport.
    I want to get the best I can from the Qutest, which is a great DAC.
    I’ve seen your review of the Audiolab 6000CDT and I know this is the same transport as the 8300CD, so I know the sort of quality I could get simply by purchasing the 6000CDT.
    However, if I can better this, then I would like to do that. I know “better” is subjective!
    For instance I was considering the Cyrus machines CD-t and CD-XT Signature, although I appreciate that the CD-XT would be a serious jump in money.
    What would your thoughts be on these comparative items; I am more concerned with getting the best from my Qutest-based system, so if it meant spending up to say £1500 on a transport to do it then I probably would.
    Many thanks in advance.
    Mick.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th April 2020 at 4:01 pm

      I’m giving advice on every post currently present on this site, Mick. So no worries on that score 🙂 I haven’t done a comparative test with the Cyrus, I’m afraid so my answer can only be partial. What I did find with the CDT, though, was that it never presented itself as a bottle neck. Hence, even with £3,000 DACs, it was never the weak point in the chain (connected via coax, I must stress). This is one proof that I have that the CDT is quality. The performance I gauged, the variable, is not the CDT, it’s the DAC. The CDT does enough to allow performance upgrades to be measured into the many thousands of pounds. Hence, the better the DAC, the better the CDT performs.

      • Reply
        Mick Reed
        26th April 2020 at 4:20 pm

        Paul,
        Thanks for your very quick response!
        I appreciate that it’s difficult for you to give any more of a detailed response when you’ve not done a direct comparison.
        From what you’ve said, I would read that you wouldn’t necessarily expect the 6000CDT to give that sort of transparency and headroom in its performance (which is perhaps not that much of a surprise for a machine that costs a respectable £379).
        Thanks again, Paul. I shall mull it over further to the point that I’m driving myself mad and then make a decision! 🙂

  • Reply
    Michael
    27th April 2020 at 6:07 am

    Paul – Thank you for your review on this CD transport. You have created a dilemma for me. I have been considering the CD transport from Heed Audio. I have been a bit hesitant as I don’t see that many reviews or comments on the Heed transport (for being available for a fair number of years). Your review is very timely and very informative. I am sorry to put you on the spot. I know that you have not reviewed the Heed CD transport but do you think that this transport could be noticeably better than a new CD transport selling under $1,000? Heed Audio is far more well known in Europe than in the US. Any insight from the Audiophile Man is truly appreciated.

    Stay safe

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      27th April 2020 at 9:33 am

      Hi Michael – I like Heed a lot. You’ll find Heed items reviewed on this site and, I think, everyone of them has received a good review. They know their stuff. Hence, if you did plump for that transport then I would take an educated guess that it would perform very well indeed and you won’t be disappointed. I’m afraid that’s all I can do, though because I have not heard it, I was never offered it for review or made aware by the company that it was even out and about, at the time of release.

  • Reply
    Michael
    27th April 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you, Paul! Your feedback and favorable reviews on Heed Audio mean a lot. I like to buy equipment and then just enjoy for many years. I’m glad that I have an opportunity to compare both the Audiolab and Heed Audio transports. I will look beyond cost. I know that Audiolab is a great company. Just didn’t know about Heed Audio. Again, your response is very helpful. I look forward to reading your latest thoughts soon ! Take care, Paul!

  • Reply
    Ash Snart
    30th May 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Paul, a lovely review. Would the Audiolab transport go well with my Cambridge Audio CXA60 amp and DAC? I did have their CXC transport but it kept dropping out 🙁

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      30th May 2020 at 1:36 pm

      Hi Ash – many thanks and yes, absolutely.

      • Reply
        Ash Smart
        30th May 2020 at 2:40 pm

        Hi Paul, thank you for your comments, that’s great news! Thanks also for taking the time to reply. Cheers!

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          31st May 2020 at 10:41 am

          Not a problem, Ash.

  • Reply
    David
    12th June 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Paul, I have now got the audiolab 6000cdt and the Cambridge audio cxc. The difference between the two is very big, it left me shocked. The audio lab is a lot more spacious with a more forward presence. When I played wish you were here by pink floyd i could actually sense the guitar in front of Dave Gilmour and also that it was way below his mouth. There is more depth to the sound stage. With the cxc that feeling was gone. The cxc the soundstage is flatter but wider. Out of the two and to my ears and my room the audiolab is a clear winner. Having looked inside both boxes the one with the least components wins, how mad is that. All this has got me thinking about other audiolab products, they do seem to know what they are doing when it comes to sound. Will you be reviewing the 6000n and have you listened to the 8300a. I have had Cyrus amps for about 30 years and currently have the Cyrus 8 qxr with a psx r2 power supply. Do you think that the dual mono design of the audiolab 8300a would better it ?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      14th June 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks for your report David – appreciate it. Not sure if I’ll be reviewing the ‘N’ and I haven’t done a demo of the 8300, I’m afraid. I have heard good reports from colleagues, though. Dual mono *should* offer sonic improvements sure but it also depends on other factors.

  • Reply
    midnight
    9th August 2020 at 10:13 am

    Hello,
    I also recently got this CD Transport und im really enjoying it.
    I also got the Sound drop Out issue BUT ONLY when using coax. With the optical Out it works Like a Charm, also interesting is that other CD Transports do have the Same issue. I think it could be the cable itself. Why? Cause i Heard accounts about specific drop outs when using the light Switch or the heater turning on. That bring’s me to the conclusion optical cables are immune to electrical or magnetical inteferences, coax Not so much. So that must be the issue ( coax isnt galvanic shielded) , that a small Portion of the Signal gets lost so that the DAC need s to Re sync due to electrical/magnetic inteferences in the coax cable. Please correct me If im wrong.
    I will try to use a Sheath current filter to see if it fixes anything.
    Thank you for the review!
    Cheers
    Midnight

  • Reply
    Jeffrey
    22nd August 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Hello Paul, I had my Oppo 105 output past the Sabre DAC’s replaced with a high quality Transformers modification. When I got this back I didn’t bother using my expensive giant killer Australian made Giesler DAC again the improvement so obvious. Well feeding the Oppo transformers with a 6000 CDT via Coax has me in music Nirvana, an incredible Value upgrade. I’d love to know how the 6000 CDT compares to expensive transports. I don’t bother with upgrades unless they are so obvious I barely need to A -B.
    Thanks for your review.
    Regards Jeffo

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      24th August 2020 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for your report Jeffrey and if/when I manage to grab an expensive transport, I’ll certainly give it a look.

  • Reply
    Normand Hamel
    30th August 2020 at 7:05 am

    Hi Paul,

    I have recently acquired an Audiolab 6000CDT and I am delighted with my purchase. Now, I am trying to extract the maximum information possible from this extraordinary machine and therefore I am looking for the best, yet affordable, digital coaxial cable to connect it to my DAC. More specifically, I am looking for a cable that would represent great value for the money just like this transport does.

    I am a classical music listener looking for timbre, transparency and dynamics. So far I have tried the Monolith from Monoprice and I was very disappointed. That cable sounds bland on the Audiolab. However I had very good results with the Brillance from Blue Jeans Cable (Belden 1694A). It is very natural sounding and lifelike, but has a bit of grain and lacks air. For the price though it performs very well on classical music.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st August 2020 at 8:52 am

      Glad you’re liking the Audiolab. So have you settled on the Brilliance then or are you still looking? If so, what’s your budget?

  • Reply
    Normand Hamel
    31st August 2020 at 4:14 pm

    The Brillance appears to be still burning in, but I am not sure. It is indeed a terrific cable, not to say an extraordinary cable, especially for the price it is sold at. It is supposedly a professional studio cable but it does not sound that way in my system. I wish it did though, because I like when music reproduction is so transparent that you have the feeling of being there, wherever it was recorded. If it’s a bad recording, so be it. At least I am hearing the truth. When I read your review, after watching the video that goes with it, which lead me to acquire the Audiolab, I had never heard a digital audio cable and I only had on hand a 20 year old Monster Cable video cable (M500V). When the Audiolab arrived I therefore plugged it into my also brand new integrated amp DAC via the Monster. In the interim I had acquired an SKW optical cable to see which type was better sounding. No contest, the coaxial (M500V) was more like the real thing. However the latter was distorting in the high frequencies. That’s when I decided to order the previously mentioned cables after discovering an article by Jay Luong who had reviewed different versions of both the Monoprice and Blue Jeans. Perhaps because they were different versions, or maybe for other reasons, I had a totally different experience with these two cables than Jay had. However, I have since ordered a Requisite cable identical to the one he also reviewed, except for the connectors. But I don’t know yet how it sounds because it is still on its way. In the meantime I would like to know if there is another inexpensive cable out there that would be available as an alternative to satisfy my quest for the Graal. I absolutely need a 2 meter length, so the QED Performance being available in 1m or 3m lengths does not fit the bill for me. Since you know the potential of the Audiolab Paul, I thought you might have some recommendations for me. As you now undoubtedly understand I am on a low budget. By the way I live in Canada and our dollar is losing ground at the moment.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      1st September 2020 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for that – so what’s your budget?

  • Reply
    Normand Hamel
    1st September 2020 at 4:11 pm

    The Requisite is the maximum I can go. If 88 USD for a 6 foot cable may not sound like much we have to keep in mind that once converted it amounts to 114 CAD. Plus 35 USD for shipping, which amounts to 45 CAD. So we are already at 160 CAD, almost double the initial price in USD. I haven’t received the Requisite yet (it is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow) but I expect to have to pay additional custom handling fees of 20 to 30 CAD. And I am not sure but I may also have to pay the federal sales tax, which would be another 5 %. So even though it started at 88 USD I may end up paying close to 200 CAD, which would be the maximum I am willing to pay for a single digital cable. Especially since I know how good a cable can be for 35 CAD on Amazon, including taxes and free shipping. That is what the BJC Brillance cost me in total, and is still improving a bit every day. Enough so that if the Requisite turns out to be not as good in my system as I expect it to be I would be very happy with the Brillance. That being said, I am still interested to find inexpensive alternatives that I can compare to each other until I can lock on one particular cable. That is what I did in the past with analogue cables. But for digital cables I am just starting on this new odyssey. And I already find the experience as fascinating as it was with analogue. So if you know some inexpensive digital cables that can be as good as the best ones, and hopefully you won’t tell me that it does not exist, I am more than willing to explore what is for me an entirely new field. A collection of 2000 CDs is awaiting your suggestion(s).

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      1st September 2020 at 4:43 pm

      OK, I’d look at QED in that case. The best you can afford.

      • Reply
        Normand Hamel
        1st September 2020 at 4:47 pm

        Thanks Paul! By the way, I just received the billing (not the cable though) for the Requisite and it amounts to 215 CAD in total, when it actually had started at a benign 88 USD.

      • Reply
        Sid Murphy
        11th October 2020 at 4:52 pm

        Just watched your YouTube review of the 6000CDT – your enthusiasm was intriguing. Popped over here to the full review and wanted to ask a question: I own a 8200CDQ – needing it’s pre-amp functionality for my Raymond Lumley Monoblocs which drive Magneplanar 1.6QRs – its DAC used for a Vortexbox ripper/streamer. I was considering the 8300CDQ as an upgrade. Would a 600CDT be better with another pre-amp/DAC combo? This transport seems a bargain and an upgrade safe one at that as DAC technology changes. If so, any thoughts as to options?

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          12th October 2020 at 12:01 pm

          Hi Sid – options really depend on your budget but – for CD and digital play – I would go with a separate transport and DAC for the reasons stated in the review.

  • Reply
    lawrence LaCosse
    1st September 2020 at 5:26 pm

    QED?

    New to me in Michigan. Any U.S. distributors?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      2nd September 2020 at 8:38 am

      Hi Lawrence – I believe this is the US distributor: https://fidelityimports.com/pages/contact-us

      • Reply
        Sid Murphy
        12th October 2020 at 8:30 pm

        Paul, I have a Chord Mojo I could use with the CDT…it’s more the pre-amp functionality (ideally with remote source selection and volume control) I’d require. I appreciate that a separate transport/DAC combo is ‘better’…do you have any thoughts on the M-DAC+?

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          13th October 2020 at 9:49 am

          Hi Sid – the M-DAC+ is very nice, yes.

  • Reply
    Alvin.
    3rd September 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Based on your review Paul both Here and on YouTube (and of my knowledge of you “back in the day” – taking the better Path like you not naming the CD player…I won’t say) but just to SAY:

    Have a heavily modified Oppo 203 (think EVERYTHING) as my final disc player, but it doesn’t make me want to not listen to Vinyl on my P10?

    Sold many when I went to streaming, but a substantial chunk of CDs still love here, so read your review and got seriously curious.

    Bought one today, see how it goes into my special Dac, a PS Audio Directstream with Windom firmware.
    Best you get short of mid Tier DCS.

    Thank you for putting it out there and giving your review, folks heard you.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th September 2020 at 9:51 am

      Thanks for your thoughts, Alvin.

  • Reply
    Gaz
    4th September 2020 at 7:48 am

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the great review and video.
    Just bought one!

    I’ll be doing an interesting comparison with it in my own system, which speak directly to a couple of points you made in the video when talking about its quality and how it steps up?

    After getting into streaming in a big way and playing CDs less, I thought I’d buy my “final” disc spinner, an Oppo 203, modded with linear psu, better clocks, mechanism damping plate, Furutech silver IEC, silver internal cabling and all that juicy goodness,
    https://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?56087-Hey-guess-what-I%92m-about-to-do-Major-Oppo-mods

    And hooked up over i2s via HDMI into my PS Audio Directstream Dac.
    So (…on paper…) a good cd spinning setup?

    I use the Oppo primarily as my Roon endpoint and movie machine, but spin the occasional CD as well.
    Cd playback is “good” and certainly good “enough”, but it’s not infectious the way listening to Roon or my turntable is.
    Your review got me really curious about CD again!

    Your comments about the Audiolab stepping up with each better Dac got me really interested in the product, let’s see how it gets on with the Directstream, and in comparison to the Oppo as a disc spinner.
    I’ve bought a Wireworld Starlight 8 digital coax to hook it up.

    Lots of variables at play, and will need time for transport and cable to bed in, just going to enjoy the journey and not make a call for a few weeks.

    Thanks again for steering me in this direction, sold a shedload of CDs, but still have a couple of hundred to dip into.
    Fun times ahead! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephane
    22nd September 2020 at 4:43 am

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for the great reviews. I just ordered the 6000a and 6000cdt. I was just wondering: what type of cable would you recommend to connect them, digital coaxial or optical?
    Thank you.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      22nd September 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Coax is the best of the two, Stephane – there’s been some extra work applied to that port by Audiolab too.

  • Reply
    Stephane
    6th October 2020 at 2:49 am

    Hi Paul,
    I have a question somewhat tough. I carefully read your reviews and ordered the 6000A and 6000CDT which I paired with Spendor A2. I connected the amp to the CD transport with an unexpensive (20 US $) but well-rated digital coaxial cable on Amazom.com (Mediabridge Ultra Series). I connected the speakers with the QED Silver Anniversary XT cables, a bit more expensive and very well rated. The weird thing is the following: when I use the bluetooth to stream music from my smartphone (YouTube), the sound is open, the soundstage is large and mids and trebles are very well present. Basically, while it is streamed, it really sounds like a hi fi system. But when I play a CD, the sound is bit muffled. Bass are here but mids and trebles are in the back, not pushed forward compared to streamed music, and the soundstage is very narrow, not open. On the amp, I mostly use the ‘slow’ filter, but it is the same with the two other filters. Actually, I can hardly make a difference between the three filters. 🙁 What would be your opinion on this? Could it be related to the cable between the amp and CD transport? A problem with the amp itself and the filters? Should I try an external DAC? I would very much appreciate your insight on this. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th October 2020 at 11:16 am

      Without knowing any more about your hi-fi and circumstances, based upon what you’re said Stephane, it may be that coax cable which is the bottleneck. Cheap cables introduce lots of high frequency noise into the system which can dull/mask information. I did do a review of a QED coax here: https://theaudiophileman.com/qed-40/ which may be of use but grab the best quality coax you can find.

  • Reply
    Stephane
    6th October 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you Paul. Will do.

  • Reply
    Normand Hamel
    12th October 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Dear Paul, did you listen to the 6000CDT via its own power cord, and if so how does it perform compared to others, providing you did any comparison? I am currently using a PS Audio Prelude on my Audiolab and never dared to listen to the power cord that came with this transport.

    Also, I would like to know if there is a cheap and easy way to improve the sound of any integrated amp that would come with a non-detachable power cord; in other words, is there something on the market that could easily be wrapped around a standard power cord to make it sound cleaner? I did a bit of research and could’t find anything.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      13th October 2020 at 9:53 am

      Hi Normand – yes I used the original power cable for the review but a power cable upgrade will improve matters. You might want to consider isolating the amplifier on low cost sorbothane feet. There are more expensive options too which perform better. Theres an Isoacoustics platform that works well, you put the platform on your shelf unit and the amp on the platform: https://theaudiophileman.com/delos-isolation-shelf-review-isoacoustics/.
      There’s also a grounding option to remove RFI from the amp. Oddly enough, I’m in the midst of reviewing a (relatively) low cost variant of that so you might want to hang on for the review.

  • Reply
    Dan
    20th October 2020 at 5:54 am

    Hi Paul — I hope this isn’t too off-topic. I was wondering whether you’ve had a chance to listen to both the 8300CD and the M-DAC+. I understand the benefit of having separates, but I was wondering whether the two are sonically comparable as DACs (and whether the 8300CD is sonically comparable to the 6000CDT as a transport). I know they 8300CD and the M-DAC+ have similar internals and the same chip, but I also appreciate that other factors may impact the sound. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, Dan

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th October 2020 at 10:18 am

      Hi Dan – after testing a range of integrateds compared to transport/DAC combos I would suggest that the 8300CD won’t be as effective sonically but is still highly recommended as an integrated. If an integrated is your preferred form factor. Linking an external DAC to it will enhance sound quality but the 8300CD won’t be as effective as the 6000CDT or other dedicated transports. As I say, that takes nothing away from the 8300CD as a basic design.

      • Reply
        Dan
        20th October 2020 at 7:03 pm

        Thanks, Paul. Really appreciate the quick reply. And as someone relatively new to the audiophile world, I really appreciate your site and your clear and articulate writing.

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