Stereophile's Products of 2005 Multichannel Music Component

2005 Multichannel Music Component
Linn Unidisk SC universal disc player ($4995; reviewed by Art Dudley & Wes Phillips, Vol.28 Nos.6 & 7, June & July 2005 review)

Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Arcam DV-79 DVD-Audio player ($1795; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.28 No.12, December 2004 review)
Bel Canto PL-1A universal disc player ($7500; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.28 No.9, September 2005 review)
Denon DVD-2900 universal disc player ($629; reviewed by John Marks, Vol.27 No.11, November 2004 review)
Esoteric X-01 SACD player ($13,000; reviewed by John Marks & John Atkinson, Vol.28 Nos.2 & 5, February & May 2005 review)
Simaudio Moon Orbiter universal disc player ($7200; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.28 No.3, March 2005 review)

Following in the multichannel, multipurpose, multifarious footsteps of last year's winner, the Linn Unidisk 1.1, the more affordable Unidisk SC keeps the winning tradition in the Linn family, and defines a new category of consumer electronics. The SC is for "System Controller." Art explains: "It's a universal disc player that's apparently capable of decoding and playing back virtually any 5" consumer media. But it's also a full-function, five-channel preamplifier, not to mention a modestly comprehensive digital processor capable of decoding Dolby Pro Logic and DTS surround-sound software, among other things."

But when a product offers so much, doesn't something have to suffer? Apparently not. On JA's test bench, the Linn's performance with hi-rez SACD and DVD-A material was beyond reproach; in AD's listening room, it offered CD and SACD sound that was among the best he'd ever heard. In addition, it got Art and the family gathered on the couch with a bag of popcorn for some bluegrass home-theater fun. With the right films, Art admitted, "A product like the Unidisk SC would border on being indispensable, and I would leave that TV set between my Quads."