The Audiolab 6000CDT is a white raven. Audio CD transports are a niche product and affordable CD transports are thin on the ground. What do you get for the money?
Everyone knows what a CD player is, unless you are very young and have never held a CD in your hands. A CD transport is a CD player, but without a DAC. They have been around for some time, but often in high-end systems where reading out the CD and converting the signal into a digital-to-analog converter, or DAC for short, is housed in separate components.
Separate DACs or DACs in amplifiers are very common in 2023. You can connect a USB CD reader to a large number of streamers or network bridges and some DACs, but they are usually not optimized for audio use. So a CD transport optimized for music CD playback is not a crazy idea at all. Many people still have a large collection of CDs, streaming is not always the first choice for music collectors and music lovers.
Your author digitized his CD collection when his Densen CD player failed for the umpteenth time, now more than 10 years ago, and switched to streaming music locally. Being able to peruse a large collection of classical CDs prompted the addition of the Audiolab to the system. In addition, it is always convenient for reviews to have a CD transport available.
On the front of the Audiolab 6000CDT you will see a slot loading mechanism for the CD, a clearly readable display and the buttons for operating the player.
On the back, a jack for the power cord and an SPDIF or TOSLink output. A 12V trigger jack, to turn an entire system on or off with 1 push of a button, is also provided. Audiolab supplies a clear remote control with it, with number keys, which can also be used to control other Audiolab devices.
The player is surprisingly heavy. The CD reading unit is insulated to keep out unwanted outside influences and has its own power supply, so the weight is mainly on the left side. The casing is thin, but the device feels robust.
If you look at the specifications, you can see that Audiolab has done some serious work in building the transport. There is a TXCO clock for digitizing the signal, a read ahead buffer so that CDs with a scratch still play well and noise reduction in the signal path of the SPDIF and TOSLink output. And all that for a common market price of around 450 Euro. In advance, it is difficult to estimate what to expect in terms of sound quality, given this price.