Disc Players

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Ed Selley  |  Nov 16, 2011
A heady combination of state of art digital and a valve output results in impressive performance A DAC that offer non oversampling (NOS) output options alongside conventionally filtered ones is a rarity, making the AMR CD-777 – which is both CD player and outboard DAC – an unusual beast indeed. In fact it offers two NOS options, called Direct Mastering I and Direct Mastering II, two oversampling modes, 2x and 4x, and two upsampling modes, to 96kHz or 192kHz. The CD-777’s top plate incorporates the CD mechanism under a sliding panel; a small magnetic puck holds the disc firmly. To either side are ventilation slots.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
Behind the gorgeous, old-fashioned fascia, Accuphase’s DP-510 CD player is even more massively built than you’d expect. Much of its 17. 8kg net weight is accounted for by the hefty base: a sandwich of resin between two steel plates, with cast iron feet. Vibration control measures are also a feature of the transport mechanism, which is founded on a sturdy base with a large rigid bridging cover piece attached and mounted on viscous dampers.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Jul 05, 2009
Our tendency to attribute the revival in separate transports and DACs to the rise of MP3 players, DAB et al, didn’t anticipate Accustic Arts’ flagship models. Its Reference Series’ TUBE DAC II and DRIVE II offer neither USB nor mini-jacks to suggest the welcoming of lesser/newer digital sources. This pair is almost retro, recalling the earliest, most over-engineered high-end transports and DACs, with valves thrown in for good measure. That they’re handsomely-styled, ergonomically intelligent exemplars of Teutonic build quality goes some way toward accounting for painfully high prices of £6150 for the DAC and £6750 for the transport.
Andrew Harrison & Paul Miller  |  Feb 05, 2009
It’s always heartening to find a product that gives a taste of high-end sound performance at a realistic price. And if that’s a giveaway to the outcome of this CD player’s all-important listening tests, so be it. Before we get there though, it’s worth looking over the mechanics of what’s on offer here. Like other products in the company’s range such as the entry-level AT3000 CD player and the pre/power amplifers, the AT3500 is built around a sturdy metal chassis with extruded alloy side panels with a heavy-gauge top plate.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngWith an upgraded specification including an asynchronous USB input with DSD capability, ATC’s CD player/DAC/preamp aims to be a complete system front-end

Is this a new twist on the CD player? Or yet another new variation on the DAC? Well, neither actually, for as that ‘Mk2’ suffix suggests, this is a revised version of ATC’s innovative CDA CD player/DAC/preamp combination, selling for £2950 and designed as the perfect partner for the company’s £3375 P2 power amplifier [HFN Mar ’17], or its range of active speakers.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 13, 2015
Producing a solid-state version of a valve CD player is nothing new for the Minnesota-based company, although, for many, ‘Audio Research’ means valves. But at least the CD6 can be sited in a cabinet or other enclosure with doors, whereas the REF9 CD player/DAC [HFN May ’13] needs ventilation. Both players confront the current need for a plethora of digital inputs and sampling rates with a full complement. The CD6’s four digital inputs comprise asynchronous USB 2.
Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 09, 2019
hfnoutstandingLess of a 'Special Edition' than a cosmetic refresh, six years of continuous production has still brought changes to bear in ARC's flagship digital offering. We investigate...

At this stage in the decline of Compact Disc's popularity, is there still a demand for CD players like the Audio Research REF CD9 SE at a heady £14,500? Apparently so, as the original REF CD9 [HFN May '13] remains popular enough to warrant an update. The addition of the esteemed 'SE' suffix on this occasion, however, does not signal as radical a change as seen, for example, in the move from the REF 75 power amp to the REF 75SE. But what Audio Research has done makes it just different enough to warrant the new badge.

Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
This is a replacement for the four-year-old CD8, which can serve as a standalone player, a transport-only front-end thanks to digital outputs, and – most importantly – a ‘digital media bridge’ of sorts, like the processor-only REF DAC. Looking at it primarily as a CD player, there’s a valve-based analogue section and valve power supply regulation, the tube complement totalling five 6H30s and one 6550C. As it’s a top-loader you cannot put anything on top which would hamper its ventilation. CDs are held in place on the Philips PRO2R transport with a light puck.
Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2017
hfnvintage.pngWith components sourced from Dutch giant Philips, does this slick-looking CD player from 1986 still represent the 'last word' in 14-bit sound? We take it to the test bench

The step change in technology that came with the introduction of CD was too great for all but the largest hi-fi manufacturers to handle alone. As a result, those that lacked the resources to design and produce their own machines had instead to buy completed assemblies from either Philips or one of the larger Japanese brands.

Dave Berriman & Paul Miller  |  Apr 05, 2009
Bel Canto’s little CD-2 strikes an ultra-minimal pose, with its diminutive green display, single rotary knob, brushed solid aluminium front panel and top-loading mechanism. The digital display shows the track number but precious little else, just a pause or play symbol alongside it, but pressing ‘Time’ on the handset, while in play or pause, shows the track time played. The player is more versatile than it seems: the secret lies in the remote handset, which controls or sets everything. The CD-2 can be used without a preamp, as it has a built-in volume control, which can be operated either by the rotary knob, while in ‘Stop’ or ‘Play’ mode, or from the handset.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 14, 2015
Many designers have tried to give their products a unique visual identity, but few have succeeded as well as Dieter Burmester. The 101 integrated amplifier and 102 CD player/DAC comprise Burmester’s current entry-level range, the latter a slim standard-sized unit, which would look conventional if it weren’t for all that chrome. Behind its shiny metal front, the CD drawer has a plastic tray, but it operates with a solid and reassuring precision when you touch the leftmost button on the fascia. The fascia button marked ‘Audio’ switches the player’s upsampling between 96kHz and 192kHz, and another switches between coaxial and optical digital inputs.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 11, 2014
The 111 is Burmester’s take on what a 21st century music centre might comprise, albeit with an eye-watering price tag. It is a high-end analogue preamplifier with a built-in DAC and a slot-in CD drive for playing CDs; it can rip CDs to its HDD, and since it has both Wi-Fi and Ethernet network connectivity it has internet radio functionality built in. Once music is stored as a ‘digital library’ on its internal 3TB HDD, the 111 can further function as a music server to distribute music around a networked home. It’s driven via an iPad that is included in the price (Burmester’s iPad app is attractive and works well).
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  Jan 14, 2012
Featuring a hefty outboard power supply and an elaborate belt-driven disc transport, Burmester’s flagship CD player proves a cost-no-object audio masterpiece Attend any major international hi-fi fair and Burmester Audiosysteme is sure to be wowing the audiophile crowd with its range of opulent, chrome-finished audio exotica. Alongside the likes of Dynaudio and Clearaudio, Burmester is one of Germany’s premier high-end audio marques. It’s a thriving company, its brand name revered among the audio cognoscenti around the globe. Such is its stature in its home market it was even invited to develop luxurious in-car sound systems for Porsche and Bugatti.
Paul Miller  |  Jun 16, 2010
So far there’s been no answer from Yamaha, Pioneer or Sony to the universal Blu-ray behemoths launched by Denon and Marantz. Since they were exclusively reviewed inHi-Fi News [Oct ’09 and Dec ’09], the £4500 DVD-A1UD and £5000 UD9004 have only been joined by slightly cheaper variants from the same stable. Although Marantz’s £2450 UD8004 could hardly be described as ‘cheap’. Instead, the first truly entry-level universal disc player has been launched from leftfield, from where no-one was looking – courtesy of the restless but hugely talented engineering team at Cambridge Audio.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 08, 2011
Well thought out and far more than simply a 'budget' product Designed by The Audio Partnership in central London and manufactured in large volumes in the Far East for distribution worldwide (including an exclusive deal with Richer Sounds in the UK), Cambridge Audio products have become synonymous with good performance at a competitive price. The Azur component range was revamped substantially a couple of years ago. Soon after its introduction we featured this Azur 650C player alongside its partnering 650A integrated amplifier in our Nov ’09 Group Test. To recap, while a bit more expensive than the 640 models they replaced, they featured a fresh-up and wholly improved design with wrap-around casework and substantial alloy fascias that belied their (still modest) price tags.

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