Disc Players

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 |  Jan 23, 2015  |  0 comments
History appears to be repeating itself. The sound of vinyl never really came good until the format looked distinctly over the hill, and now we see the same thing happening with Compact Disc. As DAC technology gets ever better, suddenly we’re finding that the little silver disc is actually capable of really rather fine sound. Digital-to-analogue converters are at last able to properly do the job they were designed for, and CD is finally beginning to sound right.
 |  Jan 21, 2015  |  0 comments
Now that the CD format appears to be in the twilight of its life Rega has produced one of the most entertaining and enjoyable players I have ever encountered. It’s ironic really that when vinyl was being written off in the eighties folk in the audio business carried on improving and refining turntables and now they are significantly better than they were in the format’s heyday. It looks like something similar is starting to take place with CD. Disc sales are being trampled under the weight of downloads, yet in the last year I encountered the best CD transport ever created in the MSB Data CD IV and now Rega has delivered all the best bits of its phenomenal Isis player in a machine that’ll set you back £1,600.
 |  Jan 21, 2015  |  0 comments
And so it goes. The humble Compact Disc player, once a vestigial box with no inputs and a single pairof analogue outputs is increasingly becoming a preamp with a DAC and optical disc transport built in. Gone are the days when it was seen as an end in itself, now it is to all intents and purposes a digital music centre. Creek’s new Evolution 50CD silver disc spinner is precisely this, and costing under £1,000, is being positioned to take on the market leader, Audiolab’s 8200CD.
 |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
Flashy products come and go, sensations soar up the sales charts and then fizzle away and a procession of award winners fill dealers’ shelves. But amidst all this drama and chaos, there’s one thing about which you can always be sure – Marantz budget separates will always offer quality. Marantz’s entry-level CD playerand amplifier are never going to be stinkers! Nor, to be frank, are they going to be dramatically different from their predecessors, save a tweak here and a feature change there. Residing on the very first rung of the Marantz silver disc-spinning range ladder, the CD6005 doesn’t offer SACD playback functionality.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 13, 2012  |  0 comments
Pre- possession Richard Black tests the preamp-equipped 8200CDQ player/DAC from Audiolab, and finds himself falling in love all over again. . . Audiolab’s ‘basic’ CD player, the 8200CD, already does a lot more than just play CDs, equipped as it is with a set of digital inputs including electrical, optical and USB.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Ray of light How many features can you cram onto a CD player? Raysonic's latest appears to have all the bases covered, says Jason Kennedy The CD 128S is a brightly lit and styled-up player and just a glance at the back panel reveals that it has balanced and single-ended outputs, as well as digital in and outputs of all the key varieties. More importantly, it’s a fully balanced machine with a Class A output stage driven by no fewer than four triode valves, all this in a toploading aluminium chassis. It looks like an awful lot of hardware for the money. The question is, does the sound match the appearance? Electric blue Raysonic is a dedicated to valve electronics and has a wide range of amplifiers and a growing portfolio of CD players.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 30, 2011  |  0 comments
A touch of glass Can this substantial valve output CD player mix it with the hardcore contenders? Jason Kennedy finds out Ayon is an Austrian company that produces sources, amplifi ers and loudspeakers, as well as glass audio components. It makes its own power valves at a facility in the Czech Republic and builds some very high-end products – it’s most affordable power amp, for example, costs nearly £20,000. The CD-07s sits at the opposite end of the scale and looks to be an attempt to break into a sector of the market with more potential buyers. A deeply competitive sector, of course, but this player is heavy on features.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 30, 2011  |  0 comments
A star is born Jimmy Hughes believes Shanling’s latest CD player gets closer to SACD performance levels than anything comparable on the market Shanling’s new CD-T2000 shares the stunning aesthetic of the former CD-T1500, but, although superficially similar, the two players are, in fact, quite different. The CD-T2000 is a Red Book CD player constructed around a highquality Sanyo HD-850 transport. It also features a Burr-Brown PCM 1792 24-bit/192kHz upsampling DAC. It has a genuine tube output stage, but no solid-state analogue output.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Flexible friend Audiolab’s superb 8200CD gets new filter options and internal upgrades: Richard Black reckons its value remains unbeaten It’s just a year since we first encountered the Audiolab 8200CD (HFC 340), which we quickly came to consider one of the finest sensibly priced CD players we’ve had the pleasure of testing. Although there’s no hint in the nomenclature that anything has changed, Audiolab has, in fact, recently put a few tweaks and upgrades into the design, so a re-test seemed in order. As the main photograph shows, this is basically a CD player like any other. Take a squint at the back, though, and you’ll see that it’s not quite so normal: it has digital inputs (electrical, optical and USB), as well as the more common outputs.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Far from creeky Simplicity is an admirable virtue, opines Richard Black, as he considers the performance level of Creek’s new Evolution 2 CD player For less than the price of the Evo 2 CD, you can buy a universal disc player that handles all the various flavours of digital discs, reproduces moving and still pictures as well as audio and generally makes this machine look a bit lacklustre. So what’s the point? If you didn’t already know the answer, you probably wouldn’t even be reading this magazine, but there’s more to it than simply knowing that the player has been optimised for one task alone. Just before reviewing this, we had some time with a Blu-ray (etc. ) player and there were times when we could cheerfully have heaved it out of the window.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 08, 2011  |  0 comments
Pushing the limit Jason Kennedy looks at Meridian’s £10,000 top-of-the range CD player and asks if we are approaching the performance limits of Red Book CD Meridian has been at the forefront of CD player technology since 1984 and the 808. 3 is its flagship disc spinner, so no digital stone has been left unturned in the quest to make its third incarnation the ultimate. As early pioneers in technology to reduce the ‘ringing effect’ of conventional digital filters, the 808. 3 makes use of the latest apodising filters and resolution enhancement DSP technology.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Masterful multitasker The new UD7006 universal from Marantz plays just about every digital disc you could name. Richard Black asks if more means merrier The term ‘universal’, as applied to pretty much anything in home electronics, is generally only valid for a few minutes these days. No sooner is a ‘universal’ player on the market than some new format, specification or system is launched which is beyond its ken. That said, we can’t actually think of anything this player won’t do.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Stello CDT100/DA100 Well priced two-box solution does things differently, with superb build and a multitude of inputs and outputs Stello is part of Korean company April Music’s roster and we’ve seen a variant of the DA100 DAC before when Russ Andrews modified it and sold it as the DA-1 alongside a matching pre/headphone amp and power amp. The solid, half-size brick construction remains with this pairing, which by virtue of its two-box nature has the most varied array of socketry in this group. The CDT100 must be the most affordable top-loading transport in the game; it’s well built with a shiny magnetic clamp and acrylic cover that doesn’t need to be in place in use. What differentiates it is the provision of an I 2S digital output on a mini DIN socket.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Densen B-420XS Naim-esque Dane with a sublime design and stunning remote is high on pace and energy In many respects Densen is Denmark’s answer to Naim; it eschews feature counting, but provides upgradeable power supplies on its amplifiers and emphasises that audio components should be all about enjoying the music. We couldn’t agree more with that sentiment, so the question is; does this latest version of the company’s midrange player provide enough entertainment to warrant its asking price? One factor that you have to consider when it comes to price is he remote handset. The Gizmo, as its dubbed, adds £150 to the cost of the player so is not a minor consideration. It is beautiful, but a plastic ‘freebie’ could be just as practical in this day and age.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Unison Research Unico CDE Twin This Venetian charmer isn’t cheap, but it’s superbly built and delivers on romance, atmosphere and musicality Italians seem to love valve equipment. As a nation they produce a broad array of stylish glass- powered electronics; it must be something to do with the romance that valves bring out in music! Unison Research makes a number of amplifiers and three CD players of which this is the top dog. In fact, it’s slightly higher than that because it’s the upgraded DAC-OP2 version of the Unico CDE. This is an optional upgrade to the standard CDE which costs £150 if you fit it yourself, but adds £175 to the price of the normal player.

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