Kinergetics KCD-40 CD player 1993 Associated Equipment
To determine how these one-piece players might stack up against a recognized excellent-value D/A processor and separate transport, I teamed up the PS Audio Ultralink with the Pioneer PD-65 discussed by Sam Tellig in the January issue. The latter was used as a transport only. A Kimber KCAG digital interconnect linked the PD-65 and the Ultralink (footnote 1). This combination was not arrived at through any exhaustive process, but did turn out to be an attractive match.
I did note one problem with this pairing of the Pioneer PD-65 with the Ultralink: a "tick" reproduced along with the music, occurring perhaps once or twice per hour of listening. I have not yet tracked down the reason for this. The Pioneer proved a less adept tracker than any of the other players, judged by playing back the tracking and error-correction bands on the Pierre Verany test disc; it mistracked several bands before any of the others, but still easily met the CD standard.
It should also be mentioned that our sample of the Ultralink is a fairly early version. Later models have some minor upgrades, which we have not yet evaluated.
For most of the tests, the CD player under audition was connected to a Rowland Consummate preamplifier by means of TARA Labs RSC interconnects. The preamp to power amp link was Cardas Hexlink (an appropriate length of the RSC was not available here at the time of the tests). A new Krell KSA-250 performed the amplifier chores. TARA Labs RSC loudspeaker cable connected the latter to a pair of WATT 3s/Puppies, which were linked by their standard MIT Puppy Tail. A pair of Entec L2-F20 self-powered subwoofers filled in below 100Hz, with Entec's passive crossover rolling off the WATTs/Puppies below that point.—Thomas J. Norton
Footnote 1: Unlike most manufacturers of comparably priced (and even much more expensive) Japanese-made players, who seem to feel that Toslink optical is all that anyone could possibly want, Pioneer has thoughtfully provided both Toslink and coaxial digital outputs on the PD-65.—Thomas J. Norton