Audio Research Reference CD9 CD player/DAC Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Source: VPI Classic turntable & tonearm, Lyra Delos cartridge.
Digital Source: Krell Cipher SACD/CD player.
Phono Preamplifier: Nagra BPS (battery-powered).
Integrated Amplifier: Simaudio Moon Evolution 700i.
Loudspeakers: Revel Ultima Studio2.
Cables: Nirvana
Accessories: Bybee Technologies Signature Power Purifier (not with amplifier or, sometimes, CD players), Black Diamond Mk.4 Racing Cones (sometimes not used), Audio Desk Systeme LP cleaner.—Fred Kaplan

Audio Research Corp.
3900 Annapolis Lane N.
Plymouth, MN 55447-5447
(763) 577-9700

volvic's picture

A very well laid out and thoughful review, enjoyed reading it.  The Audio Research has always been one of the best sounding CD players.  Heard it years ago with Verity Audio speakers and Audio Research amplification and still haven't heard anyting that resembles it for its 3-dimensionality.  A shame therefore that CD players seem to be on their way out, but what a great, last machine to own.  Then again this is the same language that was used in the 90's for vinyl so..........

commsysman's picture

This is ridiculous.

Put this $13000 player up against the $1200 OPPO BDP-105, and it will LOSE..

That is why they did not do the comparison, because it would show how obsolete ANY more expensive player is now. OPPO has blown away the competition.

I will bet that this thing doesn't even get a Class A+ rating in Recommended Components, which the the OPPO and AYRE players have had for some time now.

I got rid of my $6000 AYRE C5xe/MP becuse the OPPO BDP-95 sounds better.

I challenge you; MAKE THE COMPARISON.

It is absurd to do an article like this and not make the comparison; just sticking their heads in the sand,,,,OPPO...what OPPO???


Stephen Mejias's picture

I will bet that this thing doesn't even get a Class A+ rating in Recommended Components, which the the OPPO and AYRE players have had for some time now.

The Oppo BDP-105 is listed in Class A of our "Recommended Components," not Class A+. The Ayre C-5xeMP, however, is in Class A+.

The ratings for SACD and DVD-A players are based on how those players sound with their respective hi-rez media, not CD.

wozwoz's picture

Put it up against any medium price SACD player ... say $999 Marantz or Yamaha or even Oppo) that plays SACDs natively (pure DSD to analog converters) and this CD player will be toast, given a hi-rez recording.

tmsorosk's picture

I've heard the OPPO many times and in different systems , I consider it total junk , it should be sold with a pair of ear plugs . 

Fred Kaplan's picture

Some time ago, I did compare the Krell CD player (in the same league as Audio Research) with the Oppo, with an eye toward writing a piece about it. The Oppo is a fine player for the price, but it was a pale shadow of the Krell, in dynamics, tonal fidelity, bass and treble extension, imaging--in every which way. The difference was so great, it seemed senseless--unfair to Oppo--to compare them.

wozwoz's picture

This CD player seems outdated before birth... what kind of audiophile will pay $12000 for a CD player that cannot even play hi-rez SACDs?  Makes no sense. I'm not even sure that CD counts as an audiophile format anymore. In particular, if a recording starts life as a hi-rez recording (DSD or 24 bit / 96kHz), then the CD format necessarily requires throwing out about 3/4 of all the recorded information ... just to fit it onto a CD (which can only hold 700MB).

CD sales might be in decline, but hi-rez SACDs are flying off the shelves. According to the latest classical charts in the UK, 25 out of the top 100 current classical sellers are SACDs ... vastly in excess to the proportion of SACDs in the marketplace. Certainly tells you what people are buying today. 

hollowman's picture

6moons dived into this cdp a bit further:

The digital section is mechanically and electrically isolated from the analog stage. It mounts on a small separate PCB bolted to the rear and side panels. At the input we have a Burr Brown SRC4391 sample-rate converter followed by two Burr-Brown PCM1792 stereo DAc chips, one per channel. It is these DAC chips that allow built-in digital filter selection. Their stereo channels have been paralleled for mono. The USB input is handled differently. Its PCB plugs upside down into the main board for easy future upgrade. The circuit is based on a Cypress Semiconductor CY7C68013A. Next to it is a Xilinx Spartan FPGA along with two master clocks, one for each sample-rate family. The company literature claims that signal from all sources is reclocked to minimize jitter. I would bet it happens here. All electrical digital inputs as well as outputs feature impedance-matching transformers. The CD drive mounts to a large T-shaped profile machined from solid aluminium and decouples with springs.

hollowman's picture

6moons dived into this cdp a bit further:

The coaxial digital input comes from the same source and is found right next to three other inputs: AES/EBU, Toslink and USB. All accept 24/192. The USB input is of the asynchronous 2.0HS type.