Sonographe SD-22 CD player Aunt Silly Airy Gear

Sidebar 2: Aunt Silly Airy Gear

The player was broken-in for roughly a month before I sat down to listen. I fed it CDs, set it for infinite repeat, and hooked the fixed outputs to a 10k load (you can make this by soldering a 10k resistor between the signal and ground of an RCA plug, or alternately, you can just hook the player up to an input on your preamp, turned all the way down), which ensured that signal would flow through the audio circuitry, output coupling caps, wire, etc. If you leave the output jacks unterminated there's no signal flow, and all you accomplish is a ha'pen'orth's higher electric bill. This is a good way to break in interconnects as well, although an FM tuner set for interstation hiss puts less wear on your player.

Just about the only change I've made to my system has been replacing VTL's Compact 160 monoblocks with their larger KT90-version Deluxe 225s; I need more juice than the 160s were able to swing, and the triode-wired Deluxe 225s are just the ticket. The new 225s extend the virtues of the Compact 160s (triode mode only for these amps) further in nearly every direction, with even clearer midrange textures and Amazing Space. And as the new VTLs are too big to fit on the books I had the 160s sitting on, I've got the 225s up on sky-blue plastic milk crates courtesy of the local Safeway one night when I went to steal them (footnote 1).

Other gear used to evaluate the CD players under review included my own buffered passive preamp, Spica Angelus speakers in cahoots with the Muse Model 18 subwoofer, and the Theta DS Pro Basic and Audio Alchemy DDE v1.0 digital processors for comparison.

Interconnects included Straight Wire Maestro, AudioQuest Lapis, and XLO type 1, while speaker cable remained the Straight Wire Maestro. All gear was plugged into the Audio Express NoiseTrapper Plus and NoiseTrapper 2000 AC line conditioners. The book most often read while listening in order to avert my attention and thus achieve the highest right-brain sensitivity was Greil Marcus's Dead Elvis (Doubleday).—Corey Greenberg

Footnote 1: I'm pretty confident none of our readers are audiophile grocers; if you had to listen to Muzak underlaid with subliminal "Don't Eat Those Ding Dongs And Then Shove The Empty Wrapper Behind Those Cans Of Cling Peaches" messages all day long, the last thing you'd want to hear at quitting time would be music.
Conrad-Johnson Design Inc.
2800R Dorr Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 698-8581

hollowman's picture

I was just looking at the print issue this review was in (Feb 1992).
The Sonograph was one of several CDPs CG and TNJ reviewed in a "shootout" of mid-priced players.
The Sonograph review above makes much more sense in the CONTEXT of ALL the reviewed units.
One important point being that the Sonograph was worst-measuring of the set.
Another important aspect was that each of the CDPs utilized different DAC and DF topologies (Bitstream, multibit, various oversampling rates, etc.).

So ... JA (or to whom it may concern): please publish rest of review! Thx!

hollowman's picture

BTW ... I noticed that Stereophile used to publish squarewave in its Measurements (as in this 1992 review) .
I haven't seen them in over two decades (??). When and why did Stereophile quit this practice?

watchdog005's picture

This CD player is like owning a $20,000 turntable cartridge combo. Sweet sounding analog without a trace of digital harshness. It's rare and it's a keeper. Audio CD's sound better on this unit then they do on an expensive unit that plays SACD's so it makes a great addition to your system even if you own a modern SACD or DVD audio system. These are well built and hard to find so grab it if you can find one.