Revox B225 CD player Page 2

There was also some bass range confusion, the CDCGCG quaver bass pedal figure near the end of Carol Rosenberger's La Cathédrale Engloutie performance on Delos merging into a rather undifferentiated LF blur when compared with the performance through my usual Marantz player. However, audio from the fixed outputs was subtly but significantly better than from the variable outputs, and all further comments refer to the B225 used like this.

I would have rated the Hogwood set of the Brandenburgs as almost a C via the variable outputs, for example, the improvement in sound quality to a rating of B being the order of the difference. Certainly I think Revox's decision to use a pushbutton level control rather than a rotary pot, to ensure a continuity of styling between the B225 and their amplifier and tuner models, was a backwards step when it comes to sound quality.

The A/B testing between the Revox B225 and Meridian's MCD was complicated by the fact that the latter phase inverts, so I cannot be certain that the differences I am about to describe may not also have been due to this absolute phase difference. Initially, I heard a consistent difference between the two machines, but this was actually due to a level difference of around 1dB between two of the discs used (due to a recut?). After that experience, I took care to ensure that I was really listening to player differences, but it was nevertheless a salutary lesson in the pitfalls that lie in wait for the hasty.


Lid-off shot of the Revox B225 reveals that the player comprised three sections. The first contained the power supplies and disc servos, the second the drive, and the third the audio boards. The once-familiar Philips 14-bit/4x oversampling chipset was employed here

However, once that problem had been sorted out, the main subjective difference apparent between the two machines, apart from the MCD's slightly veiled high end, was basically in the area of 'dimensionality'.

The English player was just that little bit better in portraying the space in which the recording had been made and how the images of musicians fitted into that space. Laterally, the Revox presented beautifully precise imagery, but that imagery was more flat-perspectived than that of the MCD. For example, the opening to Ella Fitzgerald's superb reading of 'Fascinating Rhythm' on the Verve label's Songbooks collection had that little bit more atmosphere around the drum kit with replay via the MCD.

I admit I am talking about subtle differences here, but, given the price of the Revox, I was hoping for an audible improvement over the MCD of a similar order to that possessed by the MCD over most of the inexpensive Japanese competition.

On The Carpet
Without the MCD to hand for comparison, the Revox would have been thought an excellent CD player. As it was, however, it was revealed as just 'very good'. In this, I was reminded of the sort of differences to be heard between CD and the best of analogue.

Courtesy of Presence Audio's Brian Smith, I was listening recently to the CD of Däfos being played on Audiostatic Monolith Twos, driven by paralleled Beard P100s. If you hadn't heard the LP, you would think that there was no more quality to be extracted from the recording than by the CD. We then played the LP – Le Stad turntable, FR arm and Decca cartridge – and discovered that, indeed, the CD sound could still be bettered by the 'obsolete' technology. This subjective area of 'dimensionality' seems to be where significant differences lie.


Original pages from the Jun '85 issue of HFN which saw John Atkinson get to grips with the Revox B225 CD player. The cover features the Akai CD-A7, which is one of 'a quorum' of CD players reviewed inside

Apart from an exceptional weekend when the static from newish carpets and unprecedentedly dry weather caused a few problems with spurious triggering of play mode with the loading drawer still open, the Revox B225 proved both easy to program and use, and gave no trouble at all. The very fast track access was a joy after the tardy search speed of the Marantz CD63 and Meridian MCD, even though there was a little overshoot and subsequent hunting when the machine was accessing a very short track located near the end of a disc.

If CD sound quality alone is your concern, then the British Meridian player represents such good value for money that its recommendation must be mandatory. However, I must point out that the nature of the sonic differences between the Revox and the Meridian machines, for example, is such that in a less revealing or demanding system, the Meridian MCD's slight sonic advantage could well be outweighed by other factors in the Swiss machine's favour.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, Revox has one of the finest records in the business as far as reliability, build quality, and service back-up are concerned. I have a 12-year-old A77 open-reel machine which, with servicing, is still performing to the standard set when it came out of the carton, and I know of several G36 valve models from the '60s still giving excellent results. I am told by dealers that the British Revox distributors, FWO Bauch Ltd, have a superb reputation for prompt and efficient service, and I have every confidence that a purchaser of a B225 will still be getting the same standard of CD performance well into the 1990s.

Secondly, while the programming procedure may well be daunting on first encounter, with familiarity it proved versatile and unexpectedly easy to use. Personally, such a sophisticated programming facility is beyond my needs, but if you do require it, the Revox B225 can do it. In particular, the ability to set random cursor positions for programming and repeating sections of music would be useful for musicians learning particular passages, as one isn't limited by the track and index positions of the disc itself.

Last, but by no means least, the appearance, size and styling of this unit render it the natural CD player of choice for owners of all-Revox systems, and I suspect that it is these people who will find the B225 to be an essential purchase.