Stereophile's Products of 2007 2007 Digital Source Component

2007 Digital Source Component

Chord Choral Blu CD transport & Choral DAC64 D/A processor ($15,400; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 No.8, August 2007 review)

Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Esoteric SA60 SACD player ($4600; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.30 No.10, October 2007 review)
Logitech Slim Devices Transporter WiFi D/A processor ($1999; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 No.2, February 2007 review)
Marantz SA8001 SACD player ($1000; reviewed by Jim Austin, Vol.30 No.10, October 2007 review)
Muse Polyhymnia universal player ($7150; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 No.10, October 2007 review)
Nagra CDP CD player ($13,495; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 Nos.5, 7, & 8, May, July, & August 2007 review)
Naim CD555 CD player ($30,850; reviewed by Michael Fremer & Art Dudley, Vol.30 Nos.2 & 10, February & October 2007 review)
Rega Apollo CD player ($995; reviewed by Art Dudley & Sam Tellig, Vol.29 No.6 & Vol.30 No.3, June 2006 & March 2007 review)
Simaudio Moon Evolution SuperNova CD player ($5900; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 No.1, January 2007 review)

With a whopping six first-place votes and 22 votes overall, the eye-poppingly gorgeous Chord combo ran away with the prize, topping the second-place Logitech Transporter by a solid 10 votes. Fortunate Wes first encountered the Chord Choral Blu and DAC64 at CEDIA 2006, and it was nothing less than love at first sight: "My eyes widened. My nostrils flared. I did everything short of snort, paw the ground, and run my trembling hands along these products' well-formed flanks."

Alright, maybe that's lust, but you get the point. The Chord combo, each piece a delicate and compact jewel milled from a solid billet of aluminum and anodized in lustrous black, is serene and lovely. More than mere audio jewelry, however, these sexy beasts pack some serious technology. The Choral Blu uses a Philips CD2 transport powered by a switch-mode power supply with its own AC filter, and upsamples digital signals to 88.2 or 176.4kHz before sending them to a Watts Transient Aligned filter. Meanwhile, the DAC64 applies 64-bit, seventh-order noise shaping and 2048x oversampling using Chord-specified Gate Arrays. I know: It almost seems unfair. JA was floored by the Chords' outstanding measured performance.

But it's the sound that we really care about, right? The Chord combo nailed that, too. With an uncanny ability to deliver the "life essence" of music-making, the Choral Blu and DAC64 had Wes shouting, "Hallelujah!"