The Theta Data Basic's reputation as a classic amongst high-end transports has stood the test of time, and here's the chance to own one that is particularly special for a number of important reasons:
First, I have been its sole owner since buying it new from Sound By Singer in NYC, and it's very rare for a one owner Data Basic to come up for sale any longer. I can tell you everything about its history (details are below), and I can assure you that it has been treated with obsessive/compulsive care throughout its life.
Second, that assurance of great care is not just words. This Data Basic is functionally perfect and its cosmetic condition is just about mint except for a minor scratch on the top cover (see photo below). Again, a unit in this condition is very seldom seen any longer.
Third, this is a rare Data Basic that--in addition to the standard digital coaxial output--also features Theta's proprietary and expensive "Single Mode" optical interface, which was an $800 Theta-installed option. (Which explains the $2450 original price above.) It mates via a special optical cable with Theta DACs that are equipped with the same Single Mode option installed. I had this setup and can tell you that Single Mode made a significant difference (as the reviews at the time attested) in almost every parameter of sound quality. So, if you have a Theta DAC with Single Mode installed, this is a chance to hear it at its best. If not, then the standard digital coax output can be used with any DAC and will definitely not disappoint you.
As for its history, this Data Basic was always mated to a Theta DAC, and I experienced two functional problems during my years of ownership: 1) The laser eventually failed and was replaced by Theta when they were still doing repairs on Data Basics. 2) The drawer gear failed as it did on every Data Basic over time. The problem, if memory serves me right, was that the plastic used for the original gear deteriorated from contact with the plastic gear grease. I had an audio tech replace the gear with a new one made from a revised plastic, and it has been fine every since. Over the last 5-6 years, it has mainly seen light use as a backup transport to my Levinson 37. I've decided to sell now because I'm downsizing the amount of gear I own across my various hobbies.
A few other things I want you to know:
1) The scratch shown in the top cover photo is very light, only at the surface layer of paint--you can't even feel it and it has not penetrated to the metal.
2) Unfortunately, I do not have Theta's original shipping carton, so preference will be given to buyers in the NYC area who can pick the unit up and not risk damage to it by UPS/FedEx handling. However, if I cannot find a local buyer, I am willing to ship and will certainly do my best to pack it as well as possible.
3) Theta advised that it was best to remove the rear rubber feet from the Data Basic and replace them with a special metal spike that they provided which screws into a custom-drilled hole at the center/rear of the unit. This created a triangle of support between the two rubber feet in the front corners and the spike centered at the rear. I have always used it that way and, as a result, lost track of what I did with the two rear rubber feet that I removed. If you want to go back to four-footed support, you'll need to replace them, and there are many sources online for similar rubber feet.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have that aren't answered by this description or the photographs. All photos can be emailed at full resolution. Please add 4% to the purchase price for Paypal payments.
Thank you for looking and happy listening.