CD Player/Transport Reviews

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Art Dudley  |  Oct 16, 2005  |  0 comments
Is it a trend or just a fad? That's what some of us want to know when we stumble over a new way of doing things, the implication being that a trend is somehow better than a fad.
Wes Phillips  |  Aug 11, 2007  |  0 comments
I was stumbling through the Denver Convention Center at CEDIA 2006 when I spotted John Franks, of Chord Electronics, and Jay Rein, of Chord's US importer, Bluebird Music, stranded in the basement purgatory for "niche" products. I couldn't resist asking, "What sin relegated you guys to this little hell?"
John Atkinson  |  Sep 21, 2003  |  0 comments
With Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio four years old as established media this fall, the two-decades-old Compact Disc medium is still well-established as the primary carrier for recorded music. (Yes, it is experiencing a significant threat from downloadable music files, but that is outside my bailiwick as a hardware reviewer.) Stereophile has therefore been paying attention to the high-performance one-box CD players that are available. In May, I wrote about my positive experiences with the $2950 Ayre CX-7 and Brian Damkroger favorably reviewed the $2999 GamuT CD1, after having followed up his April 2001 review of the $5495 Simaudio Moon Eclipse player in April 2003.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 12, 2006  |  0 comments
When, at the beginning of this century, the market profile of the high-end Mark Levinson brand took a dip due to the parent company's reorganization, one of the companies that took advantage of the opportunity was Classé Audio. Founded in 1980 by engineer Dave Reich (now with Theta Digital) and run by engineer-entrepreneur Mike Viglas since the mid-1980s, the Canadian electronics manufacturer's Omega line of high-end amplifiers and preamps had universally impressed Stereophile's scribes, and its Omega SACD player (reviewed by Jonathan Scull in November 2001) was the first such product to come from a North American company.
Art Dudley  |  Jan 22, 2006  |  0 comments
A week with the Cyrus CD 8x CD player
John Atkinson  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  3 comments
It has been 20 years since I first became aware of the British company Data Conversion Systems, which manufactures audio products under the dCS brand. Rather than use off-the-shelf conversion chips, the groundbreaking dCS Elgar D/A converter, which I reviewed in our July 1997 issue, featured a then-unique D/A design that they called a Ring DAC. This featured a five-bit, unitary-weighted, discrete DAC running at 64 times the incoming data's sample rate—2.822MHz for 44.1kHz-based data, 3.07MHz for 48kHz-sampled data and its multiples—with upsampling and digital filtering and processing implemented in Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Oversampling to a very high sample rate allows the word length to be reduced without losing resolution, and use of a low-bit multi-bit DAC makes for very high accuracy in the analog voltage levels that describe the signal. (If this seems like voodoo, for a given signal bandwidth, bit depth and sample rate are related. To oversimplify, double the rate, and you can reduce the bit depth by one bit while preserving the overall resolution.)
John Atkinson  |  Apr 23, 2019  |  23 comments
The good-sounding products that pass through a reviewer's system fall into three categories: those he liked but felt little sense of loss about when they were sent back to the manufacturer or distributor; those he loved and could afford to purchase; and those he loved but that were financially out of reach. The Rossini Player from British company dCS, which I reviewed along with the Rossini Clock in our December 2016 issue, was an example of this last category: the Player costs $28,499, the Clock $7499.
Michael Fremer  |  Aug 18, 2009  |  0 comments
Is anyone in this economy shopping for a four-box, rack-swallowing, two-channel SACD/CD player contending for the state of the art and costing $79,996? dCS is betting that its Scarlatti will attract a small crowd of those wealthy music enthusiasts who, in any economy, reliably pony up for the best. For the rest of us, the Scarlatti will be a spectator sport.
Corey Greenberg  |  Mar 13, 2020  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1992  |  13 comments
My first CD player was a Denon DCD-1800, the grandpappy of 'em all. It was big, clunky, and sounded like, well, you can read back issues to find out what it sounded like. But I was living in a fraternity house at the time, the kind of place where you wake up the next morning after a blow-out to find five plastic cups half full of stale margaritas merry-go-rounding on your turntable because whoever broke into your room during the party snapped your cartridge's cantilever off trying to hear the backwards messages on The Wall and decided to leave you an artistic message to buy a better needle next time, dude.
Art Dudley  |  Feb 02, 2017  |  15 comments
In Stereophile's January 2016 issue, I began a series of reviews of $10,000 CD players and transport-DAC combinations: an informal and serial survey, the goal of which was to gather, over time, the likeliest candidates for one's Last CD Player Ever. My choice of $10,000 as the target price was more or less arbitrary, although, in retrospect, that's about what I've invested in my go-to combination of turntable, tonearm, and pickup head—so, who knows? Maybe my subconscious was acting out.
Stephen Mejias  |  Apr 09, 2012  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2011  |  7 comments
Because I am an audiophile, I want to hear that music through the best possible source component. Lately, I've been enjoying CDs through the Emotiva ERC-2 CD player ($449).

The Emotiva ERC-2 measures 17" (435mm) wide by 4.25" (110mm) high by 14" (360mm) deep and, at 17.5 lbs (8kg), is the heaviest component to enter my listening room since the 25-lb Simaudio Moon i3.3 integrated amplifier ($3300, discontinued). The player's distinct appearance was developed by Emotiva's president and CEO, Dan Laufman, and VP of engineering, Lonnie Vaughn. In building the ERC-2, their goal was to "keep it simple, easy to use, and elegant . . . in a machine-oriented way."

Brian Damkroger  |  Mar 20, 2005  |  0 comments
I've encountered a number of audio products over the years whose thoughtful design and intricate craftsmanship brought to mind the expression "built like a Swiss watch." As often as I'd thought or even written that phrase, however, I don't think I'd ever stopped to seriously consider what an audio component might be like if actually built by the nation that produces Rolex and Breitling wristwatches.
Robert Harley  |  Jun 08, 2009  |  First Published: Dec 08, 1990  |  0 comments
The whole idea that different CD transports have different sonic characteristics when driving the same digital-to-analog converter is a vexing problem. It is easy to prove that even the cheapest CD players recover the data stored on most CDs with bit-for-bit accuracy, thus disproving the widespread and erroneous belief that errors in the digital code are commonplace and affect presentation aspects such as imaging, soundstage depth, textural liquidity, etc (footnote 1). If the datastream driving the digital converter is comprised of the same sequence of ones and zeros, regardless of the transport, what other factors could account for the sonic differences between CD drives reported by many listeners?
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 14, 2007  |  0 comments
In the ongoing debacle that has been the introduction and promotion of high-resolution digital audio and the record industry's struggles to engage the public's interest in it, two recent events stand out.
Martin Colloms  |  Jun 04, 2019  |  First Published: Nov 01, 1997  |  0 comments
Exposure owner/designer John Farlowe graduated from the UK's University of Sussex at the end of the swinging '60s. He put his B.Sc in electronic engineering to use at HiWatt, manufacturers of tube guitar amplifiers. His keen interest in pro audio, particularly in sound reinforcement for rock bands, led him to Midas (studio mixing desks and systems), where, as director and designer, he designed and built mixing desks and got together with the late Dave Martin of Martin Audio. They became heavily involved in sound systems for Pink Floyd. Midas desks and Martin speakers were used at many live venues, including those at London's Rainbow.

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