I'm a little puzzled at all this talk of fancy CD transports, fancy digital cables for connecting a transport to a DAC, etc. It seems to me that only the DAC should affect the sound of a CD player. After all, a 1 is a 1 and a 0 is a 0, right? If a transport exhibits a "warm midrange" or something like that, wouldn't it have to be somehow altering the bits on the CD? I'm sure that never happens... after all, your computer's CD-ROM drive reads programs perfectly from CDs all the time. I don't see why an audio CD player would be any worse.
For example, in a computer the hard drive (analogous to the CD transport) has no effect on the clarity of a photo stored on it -- that is determined by the video card. Likewise, your Word documents are always the same, regardless of the digital medium on which they are stored. Computer builders in general don't buy fancy hard drive cables or vibration control systems to preserve the quality of digitized information on the hard drive. Bits are bits... the only thing that affects our perception of them should be the component that translates the bits into some sort of an analog signal.
But this doesn't seem right -- why then would people be willing to spend thousands of dollars on fancy transports? Why do people claim to be able to hear a difference?
What am I missing? Why does the transport affect the sound?