Accuphase DP-75V CD player Page 2
Peering inside the unit is a treat---it's full of tasty well-made components. The DAC boards use a substrate of glass fluorocarbon resin, which, it is said, has a stable dielectric constant as well as "superior" heat-resistance and high-frequency characteristics. Gold-plated copper traces further contribute to sonic purity. A pair of potted, classy-looking power transformers sits behind the transport mechanism. To their left, in an integrated assembly, are the DAI encoder/decoder, PLL circuit, and one MDS DAC board for each channel. The option boards sit under a cover to the transformer's right, the drive's control circuitry to the right of the drawer mechanism, the power-supply caps to the left. Everything is neat, orderly, and quite obviously lavishly engineered.
Replace the cover, step back, and the DP-75V looks very suave. Its gold-toned livery and dark-brown chassis cover are very upper-crust, the switches and clicking relays precise to the touch and jewel-like in operation. The nicely machined remote covers all bases with ergonomic thoughtfulness. The comprehensive display indicates all modes of operation, including switching and control of whatever option boards you may be using. (None were installed for this review.)
The DP-75V sat atop a Bright Star Air Mass and Big Rock combo atop a PolyCrystal rack. I wired its analog outputs, both balanced and single-ended, to the preamplifier, and ran the RCA S/PDIF digital output to the dCS 972 D/D converter for quick-switching comparisons. In this way, sitting in the Ribbon Chair, I could switch between both analog outputs on the Accuphase and the dCS Elgar/972 combo. It was pure luxury doing so via the Mark Levinson No.32's remote, its customizable display showing the active input: DP-75V RCA, dCS XLR. The BAT VK-50 preamp (see Follow-Up) also offers an advanced user interface that makes quick-switch comparos a snap, but I spent the majority of my note-taking time with the ML No.32.
24 and 192 to go!
The DP-75V's voice was distinct, and no chore at all to describe. Rather Forsellian in its way, the sound was big, round, airy, bloomy, and utterly musical. As with the dCS 972/Elgar running at a similar 24-bits/192kHz, the Accuphase's playback possessed an important, utterly engaging sense of liquidity. It was as if the output of these high-speed upsamplers fully re-created the waveform down to what seemed the molecular level. At some point along the speed/bit-depth curve, technology fused with something more human and the real music came out (footnote 1).
Some say Homo sapiens sapiens hears with more than the ears; in a profound way, I think, fast processors like this get the music into you more easily, perhaps by moving further away from the mechanical artifacts of reproduction that rob music of its life. That's the "more" and "better" that audiophiles seek in the seemingly endless upgrade spiral. Yeah, audio is hell. But, man, when you get it right...
Given all that, the dCS 972/Elgar has spoiled me rotten---my digital expectations are high, to say the least. But so effective is upsampling's fidelity to the music, so finely able to re-create the original waveform (in that way, perhaps "analog"-like), that I find myself relaxing into digital playback as I never did at 16/44.1 throughput. In fact, I'm listening to a lot more digital than analog these days. (And feeling guilty about it, too.) A lot of that listening has been done---with great pleasure, guilty or otherwise---through the Accuphase.
Footnote 1: I haven't yet heard the latest, lower-cost generation of 24/96 upsamplers, but look for upcoming reviews in Stereophile for the complete hoopy-scoopy!