Disc Players

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Ed Selley  |  Dec 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Yamaha CD-S1000 - £899 An impressive audio performance makes this Yamaha a worthy contender with its more illustrious peers As big, heavy and imposing CD players go, this is one of the biggest, heaviest and most imposing, at least among affordable machines. The front panel’s only slightly bigger than most, but the depth of the unit is remarkable and its use of extensive reinforcement in the base makes it quite something to lift. We particularly like the ultra-slim CD tray (which opens and shuts almost noiselessly) and the oh-so-retro mains switch. The insides are surprisingly well filled, too.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
A reason to love CD As Richard Black discovers, Audiolab's new CD player ups the ante with a host of technological innovations Well, it’s a funny old world. Here we are with CD allegedly dead in the water and one of the most keenly-awaited products in a while is a – wait for it – CD player! The experienced audiophile won’t be too surprised at that, given the history of LP replay since the 1980s. And, as for the brand that’s making the splash, Audiolab has been on and off the radar a bit over the years, including the spell as TAG McLaren Audio and is now very keen to ensure a lively future by launching eye-catching products. So just what’s so eye-catching about a CD player? Basically two things: funky new design and internal technology.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 22, 2010  |  0 comments
Hi-fi’s own HD box Theta's Compli Blu is a state-of-the-art universal (Blu-ray) disc player that, says Alvin Gold, brings HDMI into an audiophile context What is your view of the ideal disc player? There are a number of possible answers to this, but definitely high on the list would be those models that bridge the apparently irreconcilable gap that distinguishes the various flavours of both the audio and video disc with the minimum loss of fidelity. Using versatility and performance as yardsticks, this new model from Theta potentially, at least, comes near the top of the list and, perhaps, at the absolute pinnacle. How so? Well this is a high-end transport which can be used as a full standalone player. It’s happy dealing with almost any 12cm disc that is round and silver, be it audio or video.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Bigger on the inside Pro-Ject expands its super-affordable Box Series with a new £300 CD player and Richard Black reckons small is beautiful How small can a CD player be? If it’s a portable with a flip lid and just one mini-jack output, the answer is little more than ten millimetres thick and a fraction bigger than the diameter of a CD. But we don’t reckon front-loading players will ever come much smaller than this Pro-Ject, which has a top surface just 50 per cent bigger than one CD jewel case and height (including feet) equivalent to four of them. It’s magic What’s the trick? The transport is of course a slot-loader, which saves a lot of the space that a tray would take up and the electronics portion is a single board, about 15mm by 150mm – with a grand total of six integrated circuits on it, including power regulators. The slight cheat is the external power supply; Pro-Ject’s usual wall-wart which outputs 16v AC.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Point of reference The CD player we have used as reference for nine years is being replaced by this CD/streamer 'music centre' and Jason Kennedy is gripped Resolution Audio’s Opus 21 has been a reference CD player for us since it’s introduction at the turn of the century. This diminutive two-box unit gives more detail, dynamics and sheer musicality than most and we will be very sad to see it go. Or, at least, we will be, if we can’t get our hands on its replacement the Cantata Music Centre. Because not only does this new player look incredible, it also manages to up the sonic ante to an unprecedented degree.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments
Format specialist Marantz plugs the yawning gap that exists between high-resolution audio and video sources. Alvin Gold may have found 'the one' The idea of universal disc players is not new. They’ve been around in the form of computer drives for a long time, as well as domestic disc players, but the players are usually not quite what you might expect from the description on the tin. The players, for example, have traditionally limited themselves to CD, DVD-Audio and SACD, while computer drives will invariably include DVD-Video, Blu-ray and baseline audio compatibility in the form of compact disc.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 15, 2010  |  0 comments
Audio Analogue Rossini VT 2. 0 - £1,200 The addition of a valve in the output stage gives this player a distinctive character all of its own Version 2 of a product can signify something as trivial as a new front panel layout, but this CD player looks distinctly different internally, from the original Rossini. It’s unique in this group, in that it incorporates a valve; a 6922 twin triode (one section per channel) in the audio output stage, which is likely to give it some degree of distinctive character. In fact, Audio Analogue acknowledges, with admirable candour, that the valve adds some ‘colour’ to the purity of digital sound.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 15, 2010  |  0 comments
Cyrus CD 8SE - £1,300 Cyrus has included its own servo evolution platform, bringing CD replay close to perfection we’ve seen this model before (HFC 310), but it has been very slightly revised, so we thought a re-test might be a good idea. Many of these revisions are cosmetic, including a new window for the display and a redesigned bezel, which fronts the slot-loading transport and puts the mind at rest about scratching discs (not that we hand any such concerns in the first place). But there have also been some changes to the software which controls the disc-reading servo. This servo was the ‘big news’ about the 8SE (the letters standing for ‘Servo Evolution’) and was something of a novelty for a specialist manufacturer such as Cyrus, in that it optimised disc-reading from a high-quality audio standpoint, rather than the more common trade-off between read quality and performance with dodgy or damaged discs.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 15, 2010  |  0 comments
Micromega CD-10 - £820 It has a limited repertoire, but this player still divides opinion on its performance abilities Micromega’s name was made with mid-price CD players, and the company continues to enjoy a high reputation for such devices. As the baby of the range, this model doesn’t do anything particularly surprising, but it’s clearly a carefully designed piece of kit. Micromega makes particular mention of the power supply arrangements, which start with an R-core transformer. The R-core design originated in far-Eastern budget audio, but as Micromega points out, one of its characteristics is a rather narrow frequency band, which isn’t ideal for all applications but, in low-power equipment like CD players, it effectively contributes a degree of mains filtering.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 15, 2010  |  0 comments
Moon CD. 5 £999 Inspired by some cutting-edge technology, the Moon has a few surprises in store Moon’s range extends upwards from this simple and businesslike model to some quite fancy players, including the two-box Andromeda which is well over ten grand’s-worth of cutting-edge technology. While it’s hard to see many physical constituent parts that have ‘trickled down’ from the Andromeda, the design aims seem consistent across the range. For instance, Moon is keen on integer oversampling, rather than the asynchronous ‘upsampling’ which has been in vogue for some years.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 15, 2010  |  0 comments
NAD M5 - £1,600 Judged for its CD performance only, this multi-format player managed to hold its own Here’s a multichannel SACD player, competing on the strength of its CD performance. Although it should be noted that the M5 offers the full gamut of SACD replay, stereo and 5. 1, complete with bass management and a video output for use in setting up (though an external display’s not actually essential). That much will already make it appeal to lovers of true high-fidelity surround-sound, but there’s plenty more behind the attractive all-metal fascia.
Ed Selley  |  Aug 15, 2010  |  0 comments
Roksan Kandy K2 - £899 With a highly competitive price tag, Roksan pushes all the right buttons on this fine player Best known as a purveyor of all things analogue, Roksan has had a CD player or two in its catalogue for many years, the Kandy K2 being the cheaper of the two currently on offer. In essence it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a player at this price – straightforward with no frills. The look is distinctive, though, as is the display, which is indeed a bit of a throwback to the 1990s. We mean that in a good way, as it gives a little more information than most.