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mwoodroof
2006-07-25, 10:56
So, this Transporter thingy. Supposedly for audiophiles. When I bought my SB3 I was under the impression that, if used with an external DAC, it was capable of exceeding very high end audiophile CD players in sound quality.

Can anyone tell me if, in theory, the Transporter should be any better quality than an SB3 with an external DAC of equal or better quality than that found in the Transporter? Or is the Transporter just an "off the shelf" high end version of the SB3 with a better DAC already in it?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

socialxray
2006-07-25, 11:17
Transporter has a much better DAC. It also has 2 displays and some other higher end parts. If you pair the SB3 with a high-end DAC would it be equivelent to the Transporter? Not sure since hearing is believing but I would think that it would be an extremely close contest. Search the web for modded SB2/3s and you will probably see what has been put in the Transporter.

mwoodroof
2006-07-25, 11:45
Fair enuff! That is pretty much what I thought, just wanted to see if that was the general concensus round here...

docbee
2006-07-25, 12:20
I can't find any info about the mentioned "transporter" device via google. Any good link as a starting point would be welcome.

SadGamerGeek
2006-07-25, 12:30
I can't find any info about the mentioned "transporter" device via google. Any good link as a starting point would be welcome.

The "Home" tab at the top of this page is a good place to start.

:)

docbee
2006-07-25, 13:55
Sorry for the silly question. I just directly go the forum without visiting the home section. Anyway, thanks for the answer :-)

Looks much like a studio gadget, but the price is somehow out of bounds... at least for my impression.

Sleestack
2006-07-25, 18:45
Sorry for the silly question. I just directly go the forum without visiting the home section. Anyway, thanks for the answer :-)

Looks much like a studio gadget, but the price is somehow out of bounds... at least for my impression.


I don't think it is a studio gadget at all. It provides the connectivity that many audiophile systems use, it looks amazing and it has a high quality DAC for those who want one. It's really relatively "cheap" as far as audiophile products go and I think it will draw quite a few new customers for SD. As for pairing an SB3 with an external DAC v. the Transporter, I'll have 2 SB3s and 2 Transporters when they are avaialble. I'll run an SB3 through my Esoteric D-03 and let you know how the Transporter stacks up.

JJZolx
2006-07-25, 19:44
I don't think it is a studio gadget at all. It provides the connectivity that many audiophile systems use, it looks amazing and it has a high quality DAC for those who want one. It's really relatively "cheap" as far as audiophile products go and I think it will draw quite a few new customers for SD. As for pairing an SB3 with an external DAC v. the Transporter, I'll have 2 SB3s and 2 Transporters when they are avaialble. I'll run an SB3 through my Esoteric D-03 and let you know how the Transporter stacks up.
What kind of audiophile buys a $2000 source component without hearing it first?

You must have a lot of faith in the designer's ears. Or his oscilloscope. Or something.

Sleestack
2006-07-25, 20:13
What kind of audiophile buys a $2000 source component without hearing it first?

You must have a lot of faith in the designer's ears. Or his oscilloscope. Or something.

Make that 2 $2000 components. I'm buying them for the form factor and the connectivity. I won't be using the DAC. I'm only using them as transports. I'll word synch at least one with an iClock and do everything in FLAC. I'm not sweating the cost of the components when they fit the bill perfectly, and with style.

2006-07-26, 06:41
I'll run an SB3 through my Esoteric D-03 and let you know
> > how the Transporter stacks up.
> What kind of audiophile buys a $2000 source component without hearing
> it first?
>
> You must have a lot of faith in the designer's ears. Or his
> oscilloscope. Or something.

No need to have faith. There's a 30-day money-back guarantee. How many places let you have 30 days to listen to your new audiophile equipment with the rest of your setup for an entire month before you're actually committed to the purchase? (I'm not being sarcastic--I don't live in the audiophile world, but do most sellers let you take something home and use it a month?)

In any case, you don't have to have faith in anything. You get to use your own ears in your own home.

Kevin

fuzzyT
2006-07-26, 07:16
JJZolx wrote:
> What kind of audiophile buys a $2000 source component without hearing
> it first?

It appears that the 30 day trial applies to this product as well. And
how better to try out a component but in your listening room, connected
to your gear?

Robert_W
2006-07-26, 07:32
In keeping with the original "Transporter vs SB3" question I also would like to know how they stack up to each other in terms of sound quality. I suppose we'll have to wait for the independent reviews to start coming in but I'd really like to know how the 2 devices sound side by side on the same system.

Also the term "audiophile" gets thrown around a lot and has it's own meaning to every one....very subjective and can't be defined just by price. But just how good of a system would one have to have in the first place in order to be able to hear a difference between the two? I feel I have a very good system, (Axiom M80's , EP600, Outlaw 990 and 7700 with good interconnects)..no, not "audiophile" but it sounds very good to me. Could I reasonably expect to be able to tell the difference between the SB3 and Transporter? Once again realizing that it is subjective.

Or can we expect that this is a device that truly caters to the last 2% of sonic bliss? I've always thought that there was a point reached with audio equipment that was a plateau in the sense that some where between say 5,000 to 10,000 dollars you reach a point of 98% as good as you can get no matter what the price. And yes I've heard 80,000 dollar systems that sounded absolutely wonderful....but that last 2% is REAL expensive. Some day I hope to be able to achive it!

So the bottom line question.....can those of us with a fairly good audio system, not some Joe home owner off the shelf piece of crap Bose from CC or something....but a fairly good system ......Reasonably expect to hear a difference between the two devices?

Any thoughts from those few testers would be great.

Mark Lanctot
2006-07-26, 08:18
It depends how you will connect the Transporter to your system.

If you connect it digitally, you can experience the following benefits:

- lower jitter. Whether you can actually hear this is up for debate.
- better power supply/regulation/shielding. How this affects the digital output is rather controversial.
- 96 kHz playback, if you have 96 kHz sources

So digitally will be better, but whether you can hear the difference may be debatable.

If you connect it via analog:

- you take advantage of the Transporter's SOTA DAC. It's better than the SB3's DAC and probably better than the Outlaw 990's DAC.
- better power supply/regulation/shielding. This may have a larger difference on analog playback.
- 96 kHz playback, if you have 96 kHz sources

Note this all depends on how well the 990 handles analog sources. Its analog implementation may be worse than its digital implementation, which will wipe out any sound gains. This is unfortunately the case with my A/V receiver, see http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=124333&postcount=14 However I remember reading posts on AVS Forum that the 990 does analog rather well.

BTW the Axioms are known for being a little bright (this isn't a disparagement, my Energy Cs are the same way) and the Transporter DAC is known for replicating the high end very well, so it might be a good match - or it could be so bright your ears would bleed... Certainly the Axioms would be capable of reproducing this extra fidelity, the question is whether it would be too much!

What could be a real advantage though is the Transport's digital inputs, which allow you to use the Transport DAC for other digital sources. As I said, the DAC is probably better than the Outlaw's DAC.

Where the Transporter could really shine is if the user has a system capable of XLR inputs, a digital source with BNC or AES/EBU outputs or an external clock source. Those are features hardly anyone else offers, and not at this price point either.

There are other considerations as well. Even though I probably won't be able to hear the difference in my system, and even though I can't afford it right now, I still want one due to the form factor, twin displays and the tactile feedback knob.

GeeZa
2006-07-26, 10:11
Under a properly conducted level-matched A/B/X test I would imagine no audible difference between the Transporter and SB3. There is nothing in the Transporter spec that I can see significantly improving the sound quality for most users. Balanced analogue XLRs are nice but generally not necessary for *most* home audio unless you really do need the interference rejection and are running long cables. Otherwise RCA will give you all the quality you need. The digital connectors are nice but streaming lossless data over Wifi is all I personally use. S/PDIF, yuk. I2S, yum. An outboard DAC might sound different but then it's really a preference thing.

I expect to see a lot of comment from the audiophile community over the coming weeks about how the Transporter is more 'musical', has better 'timing' and 'rhythm' and simply 'sounds like music'. Y'know, that sort of stuff. Or they'll just say it's not much cop. It's a lovely piece of kit but at 2 grand definitely not for me. If they can shove slightly upgraded SB3 internals into that case and charge $600 or something then I'm all ears. A functionally identical product line that now goes from $299 to $1999 with a gaping void in between is frankly silly.

Sleestack
2006-07-26, 10:28
A functionally identical product line that now goes from $299 to $1999 with a gaping void in between is frankly silly.

Your opinions on "audiophile concerns" would naturally lead you to that conclusion. Nevertheless, I don't think everyone feels that AES digital outputs, the ability to word synch, digital inputs, XLR anlaog outputs, an improved DAC and a vastly superior form factor constitute "funtionally indentical." At the end of the day, they might sound idential or very similar, but for many people all of the added features are a welcome way to increase the versatility of such a device. I'm pretty sure they will eventually come out with a middle tier product. The Transporter might be silly for most current SB3 owners, but IMO they put out the exact product they needed to bring in a new market of customers.

seanadams
2006-07-26, 10:48
There is nothing in the Transporter spec that I can see significantly improving the sound quality for most users.

That is an interesting comment. If not lower noise, lower distortion, higher sample rates etc, what COULD the specs possibly offer that would improve sound quality? Are you asserting that there is no room for improvement in SB3? If so, I'm flattered, but respectfully disagree. :)

GeeZa
2006-07-26, 11:25
That is an interesting comment. If not lower noise, lower distortion, higher sample rates etc, what COULD the specs possibly offer that would improve sound quality? Are you asserting that there is no room for improvement in SB3? If so, I'm flattered, but respectfully disagree. :)
Certainly room for measured signal improvement with the aid of engineering test kit. The noise floor of my room with ceiling fans going isn't great, I run short cables, distortion levels from the SB3 don't seem to hurt me, and I don't need 96kHz myself (ymmv). Whether any of these tweaks deliver genuinely significant (my word) audible improvements for most listeners in most rooms with MP3/AAC/FLAC etc source material is a debatable subject that I prefer not to engage in because I've been there so many times before. If customers hear the difference and need the new cable ports then I'm certainly not going to argue. The SB3 DAC technology for two channel audio suits me fine, I absolutely love it. Maybe the best piece of audio equipment I have ever bought. Sounds as good if not better than my venerable Meridian 508.20 which I've retired to the loft in the 'don't need this anymore' box. :-)

The Transporter is impressive kit, no doubt, it's not for me though, that's all I'm saying really. You still need to provide a non-audiophile version for us mortals though. ;-) Good luck with the product, I'm still cheering for you guys.

sfraser
2006-07-26, 11:36
In keeping with the original "Transporter vs SB3" question I also would like to know how they stack up to each other in terms of sound quality. I suppose we'll have to wait for the independent reviews to start coming in but I'd really like to know how the 2 devices sound side by side on the same system.

Also the term "audiophile" gets thrown around a lot and has it's own meaning to every one....very subjective and can't be defined just by price. But just how good of a system would one have to have in the first place in order to be able to hear a difference between the two? I feel I have a very good system, (Axiom M80's , EP600, Outlaw 990 and 7700 with good interconnects)..no, not "audiophile" but it sounds very good to me. Could I reasonably expect to be able to tell the difference between the SB3 and Transporter? Once again realizing that it is subjective.

Or can we expect that this is a device that truly caters to the last 2% of sonic bliss? I've always thought that there was a point reached with audio equipment that was a plateau in the sense that some where between say 5,000 to 10,000 dollars you reach a point of 98% as good as you can get no matter what the price. And yes I've heard 80,000 dollar systems that sounded absolutely wonderful....but that last 2% is REAL expensive. Some day I hope to be able to achive it!

So the bottom line question.....can those of us with a fairly good audio system, not some Joe home owner off the shelf piece of crap Bose from CC or something....but a fairly good system ......Reasonably expect to hear a difference between the two devices?

Any thoughts from those few testers would be great.

I think you are referring to the "Law of deminishing returns" and I totally agree. Like everything else, selling to audiophiles has a lot to do about marketing.

Personally if I dole out the bread for a transporter, hook it up to my Bryston preamp and due A/B comparisons with my SB2 and don't here a difference, I probably still won't return it. I like the looks of it (from the pictures of course). Am I willing to pay that premium? Not sure yet.

mkozlows
2006-07-26, 12:37
That is an interesting comment. If not lower noise, lower distortion, higher sample rates etc, what COULD the specs possibly offer that would improve sound quality?

You really need something with the word "Xtreme" in it, I say.

ailean
2006-07-26, 23:34
I was definitely drooling when first spotted the 'Transporter' but $2k for a new Slim box that still only does audio? EK! :)

I'd been wishing for a while that Slim would do a full media player with video support as there interface just out does pretty much anything I've seen but at $2k with 'only' audio support seems a bit much. If it maybe had a built in harddisk so could be run without a separate server or even act as the slimserver for the rest of the house as well as being a kick ass high level player then maybe...

I don't like the SB3 styling so at least if my SB2 dies I have another SB option that looks good (but at a premium! ;)!.

Not convinced by the DAC either, it seems a common 'mistake' (IMO) by many companies that someone who'd be willing to pay for something this high end, that could actually make use of some of the lovely high end sockets and other features doesn't already have a big investment in DACage! I hate to think of the amount of unused DACs/Scalers etc in my current system (and it's not really audiophile!), probably enough to buy a Transporter or two. ;)

But yes it's a very nice piece of kit and I'd certainly consider it for a pro install, the outputs/inputs would certainly go well with studio/live gear, again if it had a built in server it would be even better suited to this.

325xi
2006-07-27, 02:46
First thing I said when saw Transportes was: "Kudos to Slim Devices".
On the other hand, $2K tag presumes certain level of refinement, not just a bunch of features. When I was buying my $3.5K CD player from SimAudio, I read everything I could about their design approach - and refinement was the keyword there.

Slim Devices web site offers description suitable for under $500 device - nice statements without any explanation why/how, so while they perhaps correct, they look as pure marketing with no real meat behind.

When SD entered multi-thousands territory, they should realize that many of the potential buyers will look very closely and thoroughly on what's behind all those marketing assertions, and lack of meaningful information may play critical role in acception the product.

Mark Lanctot
2006-07-27, 05:44
I was definitely drooling when first spotted the 'Transporter' but $2k for a new Slim box that still only does audio? EK! :)

I'd been wishing for a while that Slim would do a full media player with video support as there interface just out does pretty much anything I've seen but at $2k with 'only' audio support seems a bit much.

Similar comment at http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/slim-devices-transporter-exclusive-first-look-of-the-ultimate-audio-streamer-189484.php , 3rd one down.

The Transporter is an audio player. Slim doesn't even call it a media streamer themselves, they call it a "network music player" (see main page). So why are people upset there's no video??

We never hear comments like this directed at audiophile CD players ("$20K and no video?!?") so why at this device?

If we're going to list the things it doesn't have, it doesn't have steel-belted radials either.

Everyone and their dog does video. Not many companies do audio exclusively, and even fewer do it well.

325xi
2006-07-27, 06:18
Well said, Mark!

Marc Sherman
2006-07-27, 06:39
Mark Lanctot wrote:
>
> If we're going to list the things it doesn't have, it doesn't have
> steel-belted radials either.

I'm pretty sure that it is also completely lacking in ponies.

- Marc

Fifer
2006-07-27, 06:44
I think you can opt for a pony instead of the free SB3. But I agree with Mark. It's a music player, not a Swiss Army knife.

RadioClash
2006-07-27, 08:40
Too much dough

ailean
2006-07-27, 23:53
I think you can opt for a pony instead of the free SB3. But I agree with Mark. It's a music player, not a Swiss Army knife.

My statement was more about how well Slim Devices could do a media player compared to everyone else and there dog, there general architecture and UI are streets ahead of the pack. :-P

On the audio front it's a shame there's no FireWire Audio i/o or even HDMI Audio, AES isn't that common in home audio gear.

But back to the topic ;), it certainly looks the part and compared to the SB3 it's a lot nicer design wise. I never really understood why they went from the minimalistic SB2 form with only the display (the bit you need to see) visible, to the functionally identical SB3 but with a dirty great big bit of silver plastic taking up half the front (other then to give them somewhere to stick a logo so to answer what must a common question from Squeezebox virgins on there first sighting, "Oh Wow! What's that thing?" :).

The SB2 is the only AV component that I don't hide away in the rack now, it makes an excellent clock and weather/info display when not in use and a perfect UI for music playback when it is in use... in fact to be honest if I did have the Transporter, chances are I'd rack mount it and just slave the SB2 to it for a display.

Sleestack
2006-07-28, 00:22
AES isn't that common in home audio gear.


It is in high end and professional installation gear, for which the Transporter is targeted. The addition of word synch also makes it clear that it is geared toward those markets. Not that $2K is an irrelevant amount, but if you think about the cost of some of the gear that is going to share a rack with the Transporter, it almost seems insubstantial.