Kinergetics KCD-40 CD player 1990 Test Conditions

Sidebar 1: 1990 Test Conditions

I used the KCD-40 for six weeks of regular listening as well as carrying out rigorous comparisons with other players. The system used for critical auditioning consisted of Celestion SL700 loudspeakers on their own stands, driven by Mark Levinson No.20.5 power amplifiers and biwired with 5' lengths of the latest—½"-diameter—AudioQuest Clear Hyperlitz speaker cable. Though it shares the "Hyperlitz" construction, this is considerably less bulky/stiff than the previous Clear cable and uses "6-nines"–purity copper. There is no doubt in my mind that it is the most musical cable I have yet used between the Celestions and the Mark Levinson amps. In particular, the low frequencies have a weight, even with these diminutive speakers, that has to be heard to be believed. At $50/foot, it is not cheap, but it would be worth playing around with your system to get the power amps as close to the speakers as possible in order to be able to afford to use it.

Preamplifier was a Mark Levinson No.26, which was connected to the power amps first with 5m of Madrigal HPC balanced interconnect, then with 5m of AudioQuest Lapis Hyperlitz balanced interconnect, which has a more natural tonal balance in this system (though some might feel it to be less dynamic). The CD player drove the preamp via 1m lengths of unbalanced Lapis.

For the comparison tests, each of the CD players was fed to a Mod Squad Line Drive Deluxe AGT via 1m lengths of AudioQuest Lapis. (The unbalanced outputs of the Wadia were used.) The Line Drive, with its plethora of inputs, was used to make switching and level matching easy, and was connected to the Levinson's CD input with more Lapis. Levels for the comparison tests were all matched at 1kHz. I know you're going to argue that this is not how any of the players were meant to be heard; however, any sonic degradation (which will be small with the Line Drive Deluxe, particularly as its own Penny & Giles volume pot was all the way up or nearly so) would have been equal for all; rest assured that I also listened to each of them directly feeding the No.26 as a check on my overall conclusions.—John Atkinson