The 2001 Products of the Year Joint Digital Sources
Accuphase DP-100/DC-101 SACD transport/processor (review) ($27,990; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.24 No.2, February 2001)
Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 3D CD player (review) ($4995; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.24 No.10, October 2001)
dCS Purcell D/D processor (review) ($5995; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.24 No.1, January 2001)
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
47 Laboratory PiTracer CD transport (review) ($25,000; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.24 No.9, September 2001)
Perpetual Technologies P-1A D/D processor (review) ($1099; reviewed by Robert Deutsch, Vol.24 No.1, January 2001)
Perpetual Technologies P-3A D/A processor (review) ($799; reviewed by Robert Deutsch, Vol.24 Nos.1 & 10, January & October 2001)
Philips SACD1000 SACD player (review) ($1999; reviewed by Chip Stern & Kalman Rubinson, Vol.24 Nos.4 & 6, April & June 2001)
Rega Jupiter CD player ($1895; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.24 No.5, May 2001)
Simaudio Moon Eclipse CD player (review) ($5295; reviewed by Brian Damkroger, Vol.24 No.4, April 2001)
Sony SCD-C555ES SACD changer ($1700; reviewed by Larry Greenhill, Vol.24 No.10, October 2001)
Sony SCD-777ES SACD player (review) ($2500; reviewed by Chip Stern, Vol.24 No.4, April 2001)
"What's it take to compete on the bleeding edge of digital?" wondered J-10, circling the Accuphase DP-100 transport and DC-101 SACD/CD converter. "Foresight, commitment of resources, and lots of money." He wasn't kidding—this pair of digital front-end components runs up a staggering bill of $28,000! The DP-100 is based on a Sony transport, and it's a yawn waiting for it to finish reading a disc's Table of Contents. But once things got cooking, especially in SACD, J-10 said he'd never heard ambience like that in his life. The acoustics had an ability to "gently, naturally, relaxedly take over the acoustics of our listening space. The experience was always very circumaural, but never vulgar or cheap in effect." No slouch with "Red Book" 16-bit/44.1kHz CDs either, he said. The dCS Purcell/Elgar Plus still takes the cake for J-10 at 16/44.1 upsampled to 24/192, but for SACD, there's nothing like the Accuphase.
Speaking of which, the second Joint Digital Source for 2001 is the dCS Purcell D/D processor, which received the same number of votes as the Accuphase duo. The Purcell is the audiophile version of dCS's professional 972 D/D converter, "docks" beneath the Elgar D/A, and operates with fewer buttons and less complexity than the 972. It also sports an attractive industrial design much like the Elgar's. The Purcell takes the associated transport's 16/44.1 datastream and bumps it up to 24/192 for the Elgar Plus, or for any other DAC able to ride the high-speed rails. The dCS combo can therefore upsample your entire collection of 16/44.1 CDs now and make every one of 'em sound better. (With SACD, you're stuck waiting for new releases, which seem to trickle out slower than molasses.) The Purcell feeding the Elgar Plus was a expensive combo, J-10 felt, but if you've got the cash, he says, "Live the dream for us!"
The third 2001 Joint Digital Source is the Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 3D. This somewhat flashy-looking, Cartier/Tiffany-styled CD player has an upsampling digital filter, nuvistor tubes in its analog stage, and choke filters in its power supply. It costs slightly less than the other digital lads at $4995, and weighs a hefty 42 lbs. MF thought it an outstanding value that sounded "exceptionally clean and pure." He did notice an emphasis on transparency over solidity, but concluded "I don't see how any music lover, on first listen, will not be taken with the graceful, delicate yet detailed, nonmechanical sound..."