Soon to be in the market for a new CD transport - maybe the CDT-8?

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Craig B

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My old Rega Planet 2000 has started becoming picky about what discs it will read without skipping or stopping, so it may be time soon to replace it. Toward that end, I'll say I had been looking at the Cambridge CXC V2 and the Audiolab 6000CDT, when I ran across the NuPrime CDT-8 in an Audio Advisor catalog (I'm in the States).

Unlike the other two units I mention, reviews of the NuPrime are rare, and I've scoured the internet (and this forum) for all I can find, and I'm left with some questions I was hoping you folks here could answer. I know the CDT-8 isn't in exactly the same price class as the Cambridge and Audiolab, but if the features/sound/build of the NuPrime are substantially better, I'm happy to spend the extra money. For reference, my DAC is the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell, which has optical, coax and I2S inputs, and I know the NuPrime has matching outputs. I haven't seen I2S on any others close to this price range, so that's definitely in the CDT-8's favor. But that still leaves me with these questions:

1. Have you found noticeable improvements in sound by using any of the CDT-8's upsampled rates, including DSD? The idea intrigues me, but on a very basic level I tend to agree with the logic of the TNT review when it says, "I believe that once the information is lost because of the RedBook format restrictions (16/44) there's nothing on Earth that can recover/improve it." Do you users agree or disagree, and do you find one or more of the upsampled formats good enough that you use them regularly?

2. Similarly, another statement in the TNT review caught my eye: "the 16/44 extracted from a standard CD gets upsampled to megahertz...then you can choose to downsample it to standard 16/44 or try different sampling rates." This suggests that there is no native 16/44 output, straight from the disc, so that even when choosing to output standard redbook, the data undergoes an upsampling and downsampling before leaving the machine. Is this correct, and if so, has anyone noticed any audible artifacts, good or bad?

3. And finally, how would you rate the build quality and general feel/use of the unit?

Any other impressions would be welcome. I appreciate any and all input. I understand neither the unit nor the remote have any direct track access, but that's not a deal breaker for me.

Samoyed

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The build quality is excellent, though the remote is just adequate in design and build. I enjoy the sound and it works perfectly with my Evo DAC.

LostInPA

I had a CDT-8, and was impressed enough to move up to a CDT-10.   Memory is fallible, so these observations pertain specifically to the CDT-10, and probably were similar for the CDT-8.   Yes, the different sample rates are audible, with increasing clarity from a blacker background with each increase.   The I2S output may not work in to all DACs with I2S inputs, as there is no official pinout standard.   Similarly, DoP may not work in to all DACs and, if it does work, there may be a problem with channel swap.   These are not NuPrime faults.   The PS Audio DirectStream DAC and the Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC both upsample inputs to some megahertz range before processing.   These NuPrime transports give you that [or similar] function at the disc transport source, then you can choose the various options for connector type and sample rate converter to suit your DAC capabilities.   Build quality of the CDT-8 was very good, and that of  the CDT-10 is better.   I do not know of any other disc transports, at any price, that give you so much performance and flexibility.   I have had no operational issues with either model, and they play discs that have not read on other transports.   Does this sound like a glowing endorsement?   You betcha!!

rustydoglim

The upsampling to GHz and then down sample technique is only referring to the converter design.  If you don't use the sampling rate converter (personally I find upsampling changes the sound but not for the better, just different), then  CDT-8 doesn't touch the sampling rate. 

From LostInPA: "Build quality of the CDT-8 was very good, and that of  the CDT-10 is better.   I do not know of any other disc transports, at any price, that give you so much performance and flexibility. " 
Thanks! All the CD transport products out there rely on a few suppliers to provide the core transport and decoder board, and then the brand manufacturers design other parts of the system (such as power supply, input/output functions, sampling rate converter (if any), remote control, display, etc). 

Nuprime uses a high end CDT core that is also used by a few other brands costing several times more in price. The next component that determines the sound quality is the power supply and power circuit around the CDT core. That's it, and that's why we can outperform any other transports simply because we just put in the same or better parts and design at lower price.  We don't have a lot of reviews because marketing cost a lot and we would have to double the price of all our products if we do that. 

Craig B

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OK, you've all convinced me to take a shot on this transport. It helped that Audio Advisor had a demo unit they'd knocked $100 off, though it's not my preferred color.  :wink: They have a 30-day audition period, so we'll see how it goes.

Did I read somewhere that it ships with an HDMI cable?

Samoyed

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I sent you a personal message.

Craig B

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I sent you a personal message.

Got it, thanks!

Craig B

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I've had the CDT-8 Pro for about a week now, and it's an interesting piece of equipment. Super solidly built. I haven't had a chance to do any critical listening so far,  but what I've heard while doing other things in the home office/listening room has been pleasant, and at native redbook resolution, it's at least the equal of what I had been hearing from my old Rega. The sample rate conversion has been interesting to play with, including the one DSD setting (256K) that works with my PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell/DAC via its I2S HDMI port. However, there's a slight problem with that setting - I will get random, split-second dropouts. Each one lasts just the tiniest fraction of a second, and they don't happen consistently. Sometimes they'll occur every 5 or 6 seconds, other times I can get through a whole disc without it happening at all, and it doesn't seem to be tied to specific discs, tracks or locations in the tracks. It hasn't happened at any other sample rate setting, or with upsampling switched out. It's proving frustrating. Anyone else run into something like this? I'd had high hopes for that setting, and it might be what tips the scale in my decision whether to keep it or not.

LostInPA

From the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell  DAC/Pre specifications,  "I2S: PCM (384KHz max); DSD64 DSD128"

You are trying to work past your DAC capability.   

Charles Calkins

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   I tried a transport and DAC. The transport does not play SACD discs. Sound comparison between
   the transport/Dac and my Marantz SACD 8004. Both sounded about the same. However I'm sure
   if a Person spent a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ on a trasport/Dac it would or should
   sound better than a good CD player

                                                                        Cheers
                                                                       Charlie

rustydoglim

The CDT-8 is for people who already have a DAC or prefer to mix and match DAC and CDT.
The Marantz SACD 8004 might sound comparable to CDT-8 with a DAC, but the 8004's DAC is not state of the art.  There is always a trade off somewhere.

Craig B

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From the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell  DAC/Pre specifications,  "I2S: PCM (384KHz max); DSD64 DSD128"

You are trying to work past your DAC capability.

Thanks. I should have checked that. Since on some resolution settings (both PCM and DSD) I got no sound at all, and at others, what sounded like music playing behind a wall of noise (white? pink?), I had simply assumed any setting that got clear music, like 256, was working. Dialing it back to 128 seems to have fixed the dropout issue, at least so far (at 256 it was intermittent, so it will take some time listening at 128 before I feel safe in saying it isn't going to happen again).

Craig B

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   I tried a transport and DAC. The transport does not play SACD discs.

I don't think you'll find a separate transport anywhere that plays SACDs, at least not until PS Audio releases their new transport later this year, and my understanding is it will be compatible only with their own DACs. Sony has the format locked down pretty tightly, though some have found home-brew methods to get around it, and there's Geerfab's D.BOB box, but it doesn't work with all setups.

dpatters

I don't think you'll find a separate transport anywhere that plays SACDs, at least not until PS Audio releases their new transport later this year, and my understanding is it will be compatible only with their own DACs. Sony has the format locked down pretty tightly, though some have found home-brew methods to get around it, and there's Geerfab's D.BOB box, but it doesn't work with all setups.

Esoteric if you have the big money.

Craig B

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Esoteric if you have the big money.

At $6500, even PS Audio's new drive will be expensive (though not quite at the Esoteric or Luxman level). And their DACs aren't cheap, either.
« Last Edit: 21 Oct 2020, 04:03 pm by Craig B »