Disc Players

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Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 08, 2019
hfncommendedMarking brand ambassador Ken Ishiwata's 40 years with Marantz, this 'Ruby edition' SACD player and integrated amplifier aim high. How precious are they?

We've been here before: ten years ago Marantz celebrated Brand Ambassador Ken Ishiwata's 30-year tenure at the company with a KI-Pearl pairing of player and amplifier [HFN Aug '09]. So its only fitting that, now he's clocked up another decade, we should have these latest KI Ruby models, limited to 1000 units apiece (500 of each in gold, 500 in black), and selling at £3500 for each unit.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018
A dedicated stack that forms one of the most expensive digital playback systems on the market, Esoteric’s Grandioso P1/D1 is aimed squarely at fans of the SACD format

Let’s not beat about the bush: alongside the top-of-the-range, multi-chassis dCS Vivaldi pile [HFN Feb ’13] – I can think of no others in this category – the Esoteric P1/D1 combination SACD transport/mono DACs package will lighten your Amex by a worrying £49,500. That breaks down to £33,000 for the two-chassis player/power supply and £16,500 for the mono DACs. Oh, and if you really want to go the whole hog then the Grandioso G1 Master Clock, not supplied here, adds another £23,000.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018
Streaming – schmeaming: for many audiophiles CD still rules the high-end digital roost and Métronome’s Kalista division has a champion in the new DreamPlay ONE

Despite being an SACD-phile, I am also a realist: in my library, CDs outnumber SACDs by greater than 100-to-1. In the real world, I suspect that CD players outnumber SACD players by a higher ratio still. So, when Métronome brings out a new integrated model – the Kalista DreamPlay ONE with a price of £32,000 – CD-only capability is par for the course.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 01, 2018
'Bridge' digital sources, the link between conventional physical media and computer-based audio, are very much on-trend at the moment – what can T+A bring to the party?

So, are the twin threats of downloaded music and streaming services putting the final nail in CD's coffin? In the future will our music collections exist only as files on a home server, or indeed not as collections at all – figures seem to suggest downloads are flagging – but rather as infinite libraries accessed on demand from online services?

Review: David Vivian, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngThe company ups the ante by adding a 'just-add-speakers' solution to its Artera series, managing to squeeze streaming alongside CD replay into casework of pert proportions

So far, Quad's Artera family has comprised the Play (a combined CD transport, DAC and preamp) and the Stereo [HFN Nov '15], which is a power amp using the company's Current Dumping topology. Both solid-state components, not only are they compact and dapper but high functioning and lifestyle literate too – a feat that's trickier than it might seem. But not as tricky as folding all of the above (plus streaming) into a chassis with the same proportions as the other components in the Artera range.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngClaiming to be 'the last digital front-end you will ever need', can this combination of wide-ranging compatibility and ongoing upgrades match up to that ambition?

The ever-evolving digital audio landscape has made buyers wary and manufacturers jumpy. It seems that each time a company launches a 'definitive', future-proofed product, some new format or twist pops up for its moment in the sun as the 'must-have' way to store and play music. However, some manufacturers handle this problem better than others, thanks to designs able to deal with every known format of the moment, and having either modular construction or firmware upgradability to keep up with changes.

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.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngHugely flexible, hugely capable and, well, just plain ‘huge’, dCS’s flagship Vivaldi four-box digital stack has been condensed into a one-box solution. So why a limited edition?

There comes a time when you have to pop the champagne cork, relax and have fun. That’s what dCS (Data Conversion Systems Ltd) has done with its new £55k Vivaldi One single-box disc player/upsampling DAC/streamer. It’s a limited edition of just 250 pieces, designed to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. In that time, the company has gone from being an Official Secrets Act signatory supplying advanced radar systems for the RAF towards the end of the Cold War, to one of the most respected high-end digital audio specialists around.

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.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
Back in the 1980s, Compact Disc’s tantalising promise of ‘perfect sound forever’ was taken as gospel in many quarters. However, one man was dissatisfied with its performance and set about improving matters with typical fervour. The engineer in question was Stan Curtis of Cambridge Audio and the result of his labours was the CD1 player. Introduced in 1984, it effectively changed the face of CD reproduction – and not just due to its multi-box construction.
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  |  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.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 13, 2015
Weighing over 20kg, the Loit Passeri CD player is the first product from the talented young designer Lup Yoong Kam of Singapore. Clearly a perfectionist, Kam has come up with a product that simply exudes quality. It is also a great piece of industrial design. At the outset, Kam commissioned well-known Russian designer Artemy Lebedev who envisaged the CD cover as a simple flat disc, ringed by a glow of blue light.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 13, 2015
We were bowled over by the technical performance and subjective sound quality of Simaudio’s Moon 380D standalone DAC [HFN Aug ’13]. The Moon Nēo 260D CD transport with optional DAC is a new addition to this Canadian audio company’s portfolio, so we were keen to get our hands on it for a review. Simaudio’s new Moon Nēo designs are built into casework with sculpted front panels akin to the aesthetics of the firm’s luxurious Evolution Series components. Here we’re assessing it as a CD player which, like the majority of players today, features digital inputs for playing additional sources via its digital-to-analogue converter stages.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
In the early 1970s Sanyo was a UK market leader in the field of music centres that were extremely popular here, but its separate hi-fi units were not as successful. It was intended that the acquisition of the Fisher brand (in 1975) would solve this problem and less than a year after the CD format had first been made commercially available by Philips and Sony, it launched its first machine, offered in the UK as the Fisher AD 800. A vertical front loader, the AD 800 was a confident entry into the digital field. One reason Sanyo was able to bring this model to market so rapidly was its use of integrated circuits made by Sony.

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