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Thread: Audiolab CDT 6000 Compact Disc Transport - Review

  1. #1
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 30,770
    I'm Martin.

    Talking Audiolab CDT 6000 Compact Disc Transport - Review

    Seems like there's a few companies still doing CD Transports, Cambridge have one too which appears to be broadly similar to this one from 1980's favourite, Audiolab, which I bought new for 380 a couple of months back.



    Comes available in black or silver. Here's a link to the Audiolab blurb on their site https://www.audiolab.co.uk/6000cdt/

    Who needs a cd transport in this day and age? Well, someone like me who likes to have control over which master/mix of an album I listen to and not whatever a streaming service sees fit to provide.

    People forget or don't know but many music biz execs were very apprehensive about cd back in the early 1980s, as it amounted to giving their master-tapes away. Because that's what they are, unlike vinyl or RTR they are perfect copies of the masters. So there is outstanding sound quality to be had from CD, but it needs to be treated right.

    Now that's all very well but is deploying a 'dedicated' CD transport better than just plugging any DVD or CD player that you have lying around into your DAC and using that as a transport? Well, that's what I wanted to find out...



    The Audiolab seems reasonably well built for the price. It's a slot loader so no disc-drawer mech, it just sucks the disc in, not sure whether I prefer a draw but not had any issues with it. The power switch is am acceptable colour for a power switch (red), although it's on the opposite side of the unit to the standby button which makes no sense to me.

    Disappointingly the alpha-numeric display is blue, but it isn't too bright. It's big and clear too.

    You get a remote which is maybe a bit larger than it needs to be, and there are tiny, inset control buttons on the front panel of the unit too. These are rubberised press-studs but the quality of them feels good. I hate crappy, lightweight tic-tac box plastic switches and buttons, but none of that here.

    Review was done with the following equipment:

    Soncoz SGD1 DAC into either Krell KSA100 or Linn LK100 power amps into JM Lab Electra 926 or Audiovector X3 Super speakers.

    I compared the Audiolab to an Oppo BDT101C Universal Player and a budget Panasonic DVD player. Both SP/dif and Toslink connections were tried.

    I'd previously tried the Oppo and Panasonic as transports and could not distinguish between them. Sound quality with both was acceptable but not impressive, lacking air and space, especially in the top which was over-smooth and blurred, failing to resolve any sort of higher frequency sounds like the ring of a cymbal, even on very well produced 'audiophile' recordings.

    CD done wrong will either sound naff or hard and harsh. This was a sound moving towards the 'naff' end of the spectrum.

    So in goes the Audiolab and straight away there are three things that I notice:

    1) Sounds clearer
    2) Sounds cleaner
    3) Sounds crisper

    And swapping back to the Oppo after several weeks, I hear the same things in reverse. Does the Audiolab give better sound? Yes, and it was pretty obvious too. I'll leave you to search the internet for reasons why one CD transport might be audibly better than another one as I'm not getting bogged down in that here.

    Of course there's always the possibility that there's something fake or false about the sound of a piece of equipment that makes it initially appealing, but after time and listening to a lot of different music it starts to get on your tits a bit.

    Have to say after a couple of months I've not found that. Regardless of whether I play a workman-like digital recording like Simply Red 'Stars' or a (comparatively) primitive analogue recording like The Doors first album, there's a good reproduction of the studio acoustics, tone of the instruments and the general character of the recording.

    Fatigue? Absolutely none, I can and have spent almost whole days listening to CDs via this transport.

    On the whole I'd rate the combined sound of the Audiolab and Soncoz DAC combo as better than any of the (many, many) CD players I've owned.

    The cost of the Transport and Soncoz DAC together was 850 which, when you consider that 'serious' CD players start at well over a grand nowadays, is a bit of a bargain I think. And you could always get a perfectly good DAC for less than the Soncoz SGD1 costs.

    So - if you want to stop messing about getting computer audio to work properly, and then, when you do, having no control or choice over what version of the recording you listen to, get one of these and get your box of CDs back out of the loft!
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Topping E30 * Philips 22AH380 pre-amp * NAD C320BEE power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  2. #2
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 8,698
    I'm Gary.

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    Great write up Martin, and echo's my own thoughts on the Audiolab.
    To add to what you said:

    Clean as a whistle and I'd maybe add that it's a detail monster.
    Doesn't let the side down, even with an expensive Dac, which shows how bloody good the thing is.

    Best CD playback I've had here at Gaz Towers,
    betters my own Oppo too -a modded 203-, as a Redbook transport, even over i2s to the Dac.

    Crackin' review to whet yer whistle if your considering a CD transport.


    And full review:
    https://theaudiophileman.com/6000cdt...from-audiolab/

    HINT: Dont buy a vintage CD Player, get one of these instead.

    Sounds fantastic out the box, but can be given more Fizz with good cabling and isolation.
    Co-ax connection sounded best to my ears, which makes sense as that output has had some time spent on it by Audiolab.
    (coaxial socket is fed from a differential line driver: basically a much lower noise "balanced" connection)

    I think the 6000CDT is a future classic.
    *will be perfectly fine..*

  3. #3
    Join Date: Nov 2013

    Location: HAMPSTEAD

    Posts: 1,158
    I'm brian.

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    Funny it was on my mind the other day to ask how the audiolab was going ?, now I know. Nice write up. Another for the shopping list, funds permitting

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Worcestershire, UK

    Posts: 998
    I'm Rob.

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    I'm really pleased with my CDT 6000 transport bought after reading a few reviews and watching the audiophileman review. Pleased as punch with it. Sound quality is excellent.
    Rob.
    Powered by crossed fingers and clenched buttocks

  5. #5
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 30,770
    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazjam View Post
    Great write up Martin, and echo's my own thoughts on the Audiolab.
    To add to what you said:

    Clean as a whistle and I'd maybe add that it's a detail monster.
    Doesn't let the side down, even with an expensive Dac, which shows how bloody good the thing is.

    Best CD playback I've had here at Gaz Towers,
    betters my own Oppo too -a modded 203-, as a Redbook transport, even over i2s to the Dac.

    Crackin' review to whet yer whistle if your considering a CD transport.


    And full review:
    https://theaudiophileman.com/6000cdt...from-audiolab/

    HINT: Dont buy a vintage CD Player, get one of these instead.

    Sounds fantastic out the box, but can be given more Fizz with good cabling and isolation.
    Co-ax connection sounded best to my ears, which makes sense as that output has had some time spent on it by Audiolab.
    (coaxial socket is fed from a differential line driver: basically a much lower noise "balanced" connection)

    I think the 6000CDT is a future classic.
    It was that review and your own experience of the Audiolab that decided me on trying it. Bought off Amazon so no major hassle in sending it back but knew from the first minute of listening to it that I wasn't going to be sending it back.

    So often I make a change and find myself thinking 'Is it really any different?' When you're thinking that then you know it's not. But not the case here.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Topping E30 * Philips 22AH380 pre-amp * NAD C320BEE power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  6. #6
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 30,770
    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tapid View Post
    Funny it was on my mind the other day to ask how the audiolab was going ?, now I know. Nice write up. Another for the shopping list, funds permitting
    I'm usually reticent about making 'wholehearted recommendations' but not in this case.

    If CD is your only source like it is with me ditch the pre-amp too and control volume digitally with your DAC, that made an improvement too despite the fact that I have a very good pre-amp - which is now surplus to requirements.

    Owned/own a lot of flagship level CD players including Sony X555ES, Technics SLP1200, Cambridge 840C, Parasound CDP1000i, and the Audiolab/Soncoz combo beats them all. You hear the recording, not the system.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Topping E30 * Philips 22AH380 pre-amp * NAD C320BEE power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  7. #7
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,884
    I'm Phil.

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    thanks all for your thoughts , always good to hear more about good transports . is it silent in operation ?
    When words are many , sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise . prov 10

  8. #8
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 8,698
    I'm Gary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    It was that review and your own experience of the Audiolab that decided me on trying it. Bought off Amazon so no major hassle in sending it back but knew from the first minute of listening to it that I wasn't going to be sending it back.

    So often I make a change and find myself thinking 'Is it really any different?' When you're thinking that then you know it's not. But not the case here.
    *will be perfectly fine..*

  9. #9
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 30,770
    I'm Martin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hifinutt View Post
    thanks all for your thoughts , always good to hear more about good transports . is it silent in operation ?
    Yes it is. Nothing like one of those cheap bluray or dvd players that sound like eighteenth century threshing machines.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Topping E30 * Philips 22AH380 pre-amp * NAD C320BEE power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  10. #10
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 8,698
    I'm Gary.

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    TOTALLY silent.

    Except when is hoovering in a CD, even then its "mannered".
    *will be perfectly fine..*

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