Simply RED!

As you can see from Larry Greenhill's photo, Chord's RED Reference CD player ($28,500) is one sexy piece of kit. The gleaming metalwork, the sturdy clamshell clamp, its swooping lines—it's just gizmoidally drool-worthy.

But that's just the outside—the innards are what's really attractive. Based on Chord's BLU/DAC64, which I will be reviewing in the August Stereophile, the single-box RED employs a Philips CD Pro 2 transport mech, reclocked to a "highly accurate crystal oscillator" and the data are then filtered by a 4096-tap length WTA filter to minimize timing errors and upsampled (or not) to 44.1kHz, 88.2kHz, or 176.4kHz. That signal is then converted to analog using 1024-tap filtering and a 64-bit processing core, seventh-order noise shaping, 2048x oversampling, and improved PWM elements. Chord's John Franks, after downloading all of that data, then leaned closer and said, "And that's all done with Field Programmable Gate Arrays that can be reprogrammed with simple EEPROM chip change."

"Hmmm," I said, unsuccessfully attempting to sound intelligent. I looked at the back of the RED. "Are these digital outputs?" I asked, wondering why anyone would use a CD player with this much processing power for a transport.

"Well, we believe in flexibility, but more importantly, look over here," Frank smiled. "Those are inputs."

Jason Stroud's picture

That Chord makes some blowed out stuff.

Jeff Kalman's picture

I wonder how close to the DAC it is when it has its last timing error filtration performed. If it is a solution where the digital signal is cached (has memory elements onboard) in that 64-bit processing core it would be interesting to see how it measures up jitter wise to other solutions, like Meridian's, that use RAM storage to buffer and reclock the signal immediately before the DAC (or processing core) convert the signal. I wonder what they are planning to reprogram in the future, it seems like they included almost everything you would want to toy with already? Though it is a great thing if any bugs surface, or if some new ground breaking filter/noise-shaping technique is discovered, as you could easily change the programmable portion of the logic. Now if only I could afford one... LOL