A recording by Astor Piazzolla “the single most important figure in the history of tango” will be the first MQA recording to be released on compact disc in Japan. The album is “A. Piazzolla by Strings and Oboe”, recorded by the UNAMAS Piazzolla Septet and mastered by respected producer and mastering engineer Mick Sawaguchi. More »
Chord Electronics’ flagship Reference range and its full-size Chord range is to benefit from a new solid black machine-polished acrylic side panel option. More »
Chord Electronics has added a high-resolution USB Type-B input to its CES-unveiled Blu MkII upscaling CD transport. The USB input takes the place of the optical output seen on the prototype at CES and has been implemented following dealer demand for Blu MkII’s upscaling technology to be available to a wider range of digital devices. More »
Bryston distributor PMC, is introducing the Bryston BCD-3 CD player to the UK audiophile market, to bring the benefits of its “class-leading” CD transport and digital to analogue converter technology to consumers who are still loyal to the CD format. More »
Bryston has announced the introduction of the BCD-3 CD player. The BCD-3 joins the family of digital products in the Bryston lineup, including the BDA-3 DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter). More »
Japanese brand CEC’s belt driven CD transports are legendary in audiophile circles but have had traditionally been out of the reach of most people. The £2600 CEC TL5 CD Transport, sold by Definitive Audio in the UK, puts this exotica much more within the grasp of more people and Janine Elliot couldn’t wait to get her hands on it to review for Hifi Pig. More »
Creek Audio Systems have recently introduced their Evolution 100 range and here we have two of the line-up for review – namely the Evolution 100CD (£1350) and the 100P (£1350) which Lionel Payne will review for Hifi Pig. More »
At £900 for the amplifier and £995 for the CD player these two units from Audiolab are relatively inexpensive but well specified. Ian Ringstead plumbs them into his system and rather likes what he hears. More »
Mitchell and Johnson’s trio of CD Player, Amplifier and Streamer cost a total of £947 which puts them very much in the budget category but can they satisfy sonically? Dominic Marsh finds out for Hifi Pig. More »
Roksan Audio is adding the blak series of components to its portfolio. The blak series is being introduced as an entirely new design for Roksan – both in terms of sound performance and visual appeal. Featuring a robust, industrial design the blak series is the audiophile solution for those seeking “superlative performance and features within a ‘statement product’ aesthetic, but without the esoteric high-end audio price tag” say the London company’s recent press release.
Handmade in the UK and at a specialised facility in Germany, the range is initially launching with an integrated amplifier and a CD player. These will be followed over time a comprehensive range of products that will offer the same performance-for-cost ratio.
Like the K3 range before it, all blak products will be available in three finishes – Anthracite, Charcoal and Opium – and all will be supplied with a stylish and intuitive system remote.
blak Integrated Amplifier
The amplifier section of the blak Integrated Amplifier uses hand- selected audiophile components throughout its circuitry, including high- quality relays. The chosen transformers are also tuned to ensure the best sound quality and current power available. This sophisticated internal design allows the amplifier to deliver > 150W (8Ω) output.
The blak Integrated Amplifier boasts sufficient inputs to cater for almost any high-end audio system. Alongside three RCA pairs, there’s also a balanced XLR pair input for superior source devices. There’s also a Moving Magnet-compatible phono stage inside.
For ease of use, the blak Integrated Amplifier supports wireless music playback via its built-in aptX® Bluetooth module. This allows for up-to CD-quality wireless streaming from compatible laptops and smart devices. For more advanced digital media, the amplifier also boasts a USB (Type-B) digital input for playback from a computer or laptop. The DAC allows for playback of audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz (PCM) or DSD128, offering an exceptional high-resolution performance.
Finally, whereas many other products include headphone inputs as an “extra”, Roksan have gone one step further with blak. Here the headphone amplifier sits within its own dedicated section, with an independent power supply and toggle switch.
Operation of the blak Integrated Amplifier is effortlessly simple either via the supplied system remote or through the front panel. The large, clear to read (yet dimmable) LED display shows the selected input and the over-sized volume knob has a visual indicator around its circumference to indicate the volume level.
blak CD Player
Internally the blak CD Player uses a totally isolated disc mechanism to eliminate vibration. Once extracted from the disc, the digital signal is managed by a DAC chip-set for bit-perfect conversion and an advanced digital clock for optimal performance.
For connecting to an external DAC there are three digital outputs available (S/PDIF, Optical or AES/EBU), or for connecting straight to an amplifier – like the blak Integrated Amplifier – there’s the choice of either unbalanced RCA or balanced XLR outputs. Once connected, the whole player is controlled with the supplied system remote or via the front panel; additional handy information is displayed on the dimmable LED display during playback.
The blak CD Player is available now in Anthracite, Charcoal or Opium finish.
blak Integrated Amplifier
Inputs: 3 x RCA (pair)
1 x XLR (pair)
1 x MM Phono RCA (pair)
1 x aptX® Bluetooth (wireless) 1 x USB Type-B
Phono Stage: MM Input
Gain: 76.75dB @ 1kHz
Impedance: 47kΩ Capacitance: 150pF
Line-Level Input Impedance: 24kΩ (XLR) 40kΩ (RCA)
Gain (at 1kHz, 8Ω): 37dB
THD: (at 1W, 8Ω, 5kHz): <0.02%
THD: (at 12W, 8Ω, 5kHz): <0.035%
Power Output (at 1kHz): 150W (8Ω) 230W (4Ω)
Frequency Response (at -3dB, 8Ω, 12W): <20Hz – >80kHz Channel Balance (at 1kHz, 8Ω): Better than 0.3dB
Cross-Talk (at 1kHz, 8Ω): <-104dB
Signal-Noise Ratio (at 1kHz, 8Ω): >76dB
blak CD Player
Outputs: 3 x Digital (Coaxial, Optical, XLR) 2 x Analogue Pairs (RCA or XLR)
Peak Output: 2.5V
THD (at 1kHz, 0dB): <0.001%
Linearity at 1kHz: >89dB
Signal-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted): >108dB
Stop-band rejection: >100dB
TEAC has launched a compact disc player with a built-in DAB/RDS FM* tuner.
TEAC PD-301DAB – KEY FEATURES
- Precision slot-in CD drive mechanism with quick-loading and automatic playback
· Supports CD-DA, MP3 and WMA files on CD-ROM/R/RW discs
· Front USB Port for WAV, AAC, MP3 and WMA playback
· Built-in tuner supports DAB/RDS FM broadcasts
· 215mm wide and 61mm high, easy to accommodate
One of the most compact CD players available (it measures just 215 x 61 x 232mm), the PD-301 is the latest addition to the Reference 301 series of hi-fi components. A perfect partner for the AI-301DA amplifier, the player features a quick-loading slot-in drive that will also decode home-made discs encoded with MP3 and WMA content.
For those who also want to play back WAV or AAC files there’s a USB slot on the front panel for thumb drives. If your stored songs are accompanied by ID3 tags the song and artists names are shown on the player’s own display (MP3, WMA and AAC files only).
The PD-301DAB features a built-in digital-to-audio decoder (the Burr-Brown PCM5142, to be exact) but it also sports coaxial and digital outputs if, at a later stage, you decide you want to use the player as a digital transport partnered by an external DAC (the Reference UD-301 has built-in 192kHz up-conversion).
As mentioned, one of this player’s headline features is that it boasts a DAB/RDS FM tuner*, complete with 20 presets, ideal if you need to add radio listening to your hi-fi system but don’t want to invest in a separate tuner.
The PD-301DAB’s tuner section also offers upgrading potential. DAB/RDS FM signals received by the unit can be sent as digital signals (using the optical/coaxial outputs) from the player to an external DAC (44.1kHz/16-bit resolution) if you want to enjoy higher performance in the future.
*Both DAB/RDS FM and RDS FM-only versions of the PD-301 are available for purchase in the UK.
Price (both models available in either black or silver, available now)
PD-301DAB with DAB/RDS FM tuner – £349
PD-301 with RDS FM tuner – £299
With their latest release, Italian valve specialists Unison Research have produced a source device that brings digital technologies together into one enclosure, offering a complete solution for audiophiles who “want to get the best from their digital media”. The Unico CD Due supports Bluetooth streaming and acts as a comprehensive DAC capable of accommodating any high-end music player, while also acting as a stand-alone CD player. You will be able to see and hear the new unit at this weekend’s Bristol show with Henley Designs in Room 422.
The hybrid Unico range from Unison Research combines valves with other solid state devices. The Unico CD Due joins the range as the new flagship source, and shares the same “three-panel” aesthetic of the range-topping Unico 150 amplifier.
The DAC portion of the CD Due is equipped with USB, S/PDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink inputs, which all route through the built-in ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC chip. The USB input uses XMOS technology to handle PCM signals up to 384kHz and DSD signals up to 11,2896MHz (DSD256), effectively encompassing almost every audio format and sample-rate currently available. The more “traditional” digital inputs handle 24-bit/192kHz (24/96 via Optical) PCM signals, allowing myriad of high-quality sources to be connected with ease.
The CD Due’s Bluetooth functionality allows for wireless streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled smart device. Set-up is said to be simple. Finally, the CD player section uses a premium mechanism and sleek drawer-loading system. Internally, the CD mechanism is shielded by a thick metal cover, to avoid interference.
“What helps the CD Due stand apart from its competitors is not just its feature set, but its rich, enveloping sound; which owes much of its expression to the valve output stage” says the company’s press release. The four ECC83 valves are configured in an innovative totem-pole arrangement with balanced input. This particular layout allows for a high immunity to power supply noise and brings together a “triode” sound with “the drive capability of a cathode follower stage”. The rest of the board also utilises premium components and shorter signal paths. For even more durability you can also use the CD Due as a transport only, utilising the three digital outputs on the back panel to run with another external DAC.
The CD Due is purpose-designed to separate the digital and the analogue portions of the circuitry and the DAC portion has carefully-managed filtered power distribution. The DAC chip boasts a “jitter eliminator” design with a signal-to-noise ratio of 128dB and distortion of 0.0003%. The clock system uses a quartz oscillator with high precision and low phase-noise.
The Unico CD Due makes controlling all its features easy, via the supplied RC2 system remote and its 128×64 OLED screen. With three switchable filters and even the option to bypass the valves with a “solid-state” output buffer – the CD Due can suit any high-end system or sound preference.
The Unison Research Unico CD Due is available in the UK now in Silver finish.
The Unico CD Due can be special ordered in Black for an additional £100.00 (SRP).
Device: CD Player, Bluetooth Receiver, External DAC
Digital Inputs: 1 x USB Type B (supports up to 32-bit/384kHz or DSD256 (DoP))
1 x S/PDIF (supports up to 24-bit/192kHz or DSD64 (DoP))
1 x AES/EBU (supports up to 24-bit/192kHz or DSD64 (DoP)) 1 x Toslink™ (supports up to 24-bit / 96kHz)
Bluetooth Receiver: BT 3.0
Digital Outputs: 1 x S/PDIF
1 x AES/EBU
1 x Toslink™
CD Transport: 8829CD-KHM DVD-Loader (only for audio CDs)
Digital Filters: F1 = high slope and linear phase
F2 = high slope and minimum phase F3 = low slope and linear phase
Digital Stage: ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC with jitter eliminator Ultra-low distortion and ultra-low noise IV converter
Analogue Stage: Double-triode, pure Class A differential totem-pole Valve Complement: 4 x 12AX7 / ECC83
Analogue Outputs: 1 x RCA pair (stereo) 1 x XLR pair (stereo)
Output Buffer: Optional “solid-state” buffer Dimensions (W x D x H): 45 x 38 x 13cm
Net Weight: 10kg
- Compact size and sleek aluminium design suitable for any interior style.
- Hybrid design utilizing two 12AX7B tubes in the preamp section which TAGA say ensures a very warm, linear and lifelike sound with high dynamic presentation at the same time.
- High power 75W per channel to drive different types of speakers.
- DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) tuner – listen to your favorite radio stations in the best digital quality.
- USB input – quickly and easily play your music from USB flash drivers (MP3 and WMA audio files).
- Bluetooth® wireless audio streaming with aptX® audio codec – stream your music in CD-like quality from any smartphone, tablet, computer or other digital device.
- Equalizer and treble-bass control to perfectly adjust the music to your preferences.
- Sleep timer.
- RCA and 3.5mm (front) stereo inputs to quickly connect external audio devices (smartphones, MP3 players etc.).
- High-end banana speaker terminals accept raw speaker cables up to 10AWG and the most popular types of connectors.
- Fully functional remote controller.
A full size integrated amplifier with phonostage, plus a CD player that is also a streamer for just shy of £1200 seems like a good deal. Stuart Smith investigates. More »
Meridian has introduced the latest generation of the 808, specifically developed to render the very best sound from Compact Disc and network audio. In addition, the 808v6 now decodes Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) sources.
Part of the Reference 800 Series, the 808v6 is the highest performance CD Player ever manufactured by Meridian. The latest edition offers several significant improvements including the decoding and rendering of MQA sources to deliver studio quality reproduction via both digital and analogue outputs.
Meridian strongly believes that CD remains a significant music source, with an impressive depth of recorded catalogue. All the more reason, then, for the company to continue its quest to make Compact Disc replay sound the very best it possibly can.
Meridian 808v6 Signature Reference Compact Disc Player – New Features
Built-in MQA decoder – fully supports Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) encoded music playback, guaranteeing a studio master quality experience
Upgraded S/PDIF and USB receivers – enables USB and RCA inputs to receive up to 192 kHz digital audio
Enhanced DSP chip – offers lip-sync control, DSD playback (DoP) and MQA rendering capability for analogue outputs. The analogue outputs also feature Bass, Treble and Balance Controls
Audiophile CD Player incorporating full controller/preamp functionality with Meridian technology including ROM drive, triple FIFO buffering and DSP apodising upsampling filter to deliver the best possible “high definition” sound from the popular CD medium
Advanced S/PDIF receiver enables Meridian SpeakerLink interconnection for superb quality: twin outputs for simple, robust “home run” installation
Unique proprietary ‘apodising’ upsampling filter provides audibly enhanced performance
Direct connection to a Meridian Sooloos System for the highest possible sound quality digital media playback, with direct Play Queue control
Advanced linear power supply
Available in Black and the complete range of 270 Meridian Select colours
Quad continues to mark its 79th year with the arrival of Artera, their new range of high-performance audio electronics. First to arrive are the Artera Play and Artera Stereo; the Play is a CD player, DAC and preamplifier combined in a single chassis, while the Stereo is a power amplifier sporting Quad’s famous Current Dumping technology.
Quad gave its team of designers and engineers a specific brief for Artera: “combine the qualities that have made Quad one of Britain’s most revered hifi marques for many decades with fresh industrial design and the very latest high-performance audio technologies”. To this end, Quad enlisted the help of Rodney Mead, the man responsible for the styling of many classic Quad products in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, to brainstorm design concepts that would lead to Artera.
Artera have a textured aluminium front panel, thick glass top and CNC-routed heat sinks on either side. The housing provides a rugged structure that resists interference from external vibrations, and the Artera Play’s fascia incorporates a touch-sensitive control.
Quad Artera Play
At the heart of the Artera Play nestles the ESS Sabre32 9018; a 32-bit, eight-channel hybrid multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC. This is Quad’s first component to utilise the ESS Sabre DAC, and external digital sources can benefit from it via a range of digital inputs. These include USB, with support for PCM data up to 32-bit/384kHz and also DSD64/128/256.
For CD replay, a new slot-loading mechanism buffers data from the disc before feeding it asynchronously (in order to minimise ‘jitter’) to the DAC section. Four digital filter options enable users to tailor the Artera Play’s sound, with both CDs and external digital sources, to suit personal taste and the nature of the source material.
The Artera Play’s preamp section boasts a balanced Class A output stage. Two coaxial and two optical inputs cater for external digital sources alongside the USB input, with a pair of RCA phono inputs handling analogue sources. Analogue outputs are supplied in both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR varieties; a pair of digital outputs (optical and coaxial) and a 12V trigger output complete a comprehensive array of connectivity options.
Quad Artera Stereo
This compact yet potent power amp sports the latest iteration of Quad’s famous Current Dumping topology, first introduced in the Quad 405 – one of the most lauded British audio components of all time and still the only amp design to have earned a Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement.
Current Dumping is essentially a method of marrying Class A amplification with the greater efficiency of Class AB. A high-quality, low-power Class A amplifier provides the signal quality, while a high-power current dumping section delivers the muscle to keep the speakers under control. These two amp circuits are combined via a network to impose the finesse of the Class A output onto the power of the current dumper.
The Artera Stereo’s power output is conservatively rated at 140W per channel into eight ohms and 250W into four ohms, ensuring any speakers – including Quad’s classic ESL electrostatic designs – can be driven with ease. Connectivity options comprise single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, a 12V trigger input and high-quality speaker binding posts.
Speaking about the inspiration behind Quad’s new Artera range, Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Quad’s parent company IAG, commented:
“The traditional spirit of Quad has always been to cater for the latest developments in music storage and playback, whilst continually striving to meet the standards inherent in the company’s motto, ‘the closest approach to the original sound’. Thus, the Artera series of components includes full digital and analogue playback capabilities with the resolution and accuracy to replay all current and future high-resolution audio sources with the most musical presentation.
“However, today’s consumers are often bewildered and confused by the multiplicity of inputs and controls on modern hi-fi equipment. At Quad, we have never believed that you have to be a ‘hi-fi geek’ to be able to play music at the highest performance level. Artera therefore simplifies the user interface, leaving an uncluttered appearance that is welcoming to all users as well as looking beautiful in the home.”
The Artera Play and Artera Stereo are available now, with a choice of black or silver front panels and RRPs of £1,399.95 and £1,499.95 respectively.
Audiolab has announced the hotly anticipated successor to the 8200CD, the 8300CD, which is the first model of their all new 8300 Series. The outgoing 8200 Series contained two CD players: the 8200CD and 8200CDQ, the latter sporting additional preamp facilities. The 8300CD replaces both players, adding full digital preamp functionality (among other things) to the 8200CD’s specification. In an age of streaming and downloads, Audiolab say that ‘many music fans have large CD collections and this will not change anytime soon’. They are ‘dedicated to ensuring that these individuals continue to be well served with CD players of exceptional quality, but without exceptionally high price tags.’
The new model builds on the foundations of the 8200CD and 8200CDQ and retains many of their features, such as the 32-bit ESS Sabre DAC and the Class A analogue stages and sophisticated power supply but is enhanced with new features such as full digital preamp functionality, slot-loading CD transport mechanism, improved high-resolution USB input and DSD via USB. Connectivity options have been further expanded with the addition of an AES/EBU digital input and XLR digital output. These join the full complement of inputs/outputs retained from the 8200CD: 2x coaxial digital inputs; 2x optical digital inputs; 1x asynchronous USB input; 1x coaxial digital output; 1x optical digital output; single-ended RCA and balanced XLR analogue outputs; 12V trigger loop.
Price and availability
The Audiolab 8300CD is available from October in a choice of silver or classic Audiolab black, with an RRP of £999.95.
Goldnote introduce their new 1000 series with the CD-1000 CD player and PA -1175 stereo amplifier, their first stereo amplifier in over 20 years of designing electronics. The overall look has been created by architect Stefano Bonifazi and they are designed and handmade in Florence, Tuscany, Italy.
High quality CD player with full resolution 24/192 USB, coax and optical vertically integrated converter. It has a unique modular design providing a variety of external units including two Class-A tube output stages, atomic master clocks and high power supplies. The structure is made of solid machined steel and thick aluminium panels to guarantee low frequency resonance, vibration control and a low magnetic inertial field. There is also an option for a preamp and stereo analogue input stage.
The PA-1175 merges the knowledge of the Goldnote Demidoff single ended amplifiers with a higher power rate, it is a 175Watt per channel @ 8ohm Stereo Power Amplifier bridgeable to have a mono 350Watt per channel. The adjustable Goldnote Damping Factor allows for easy switching between low sensitivity speakers and easy load monitors.
Goldnote have said that they have embarked on a major restructuring of their distribution network and are actively seeking new distributors for foreign markets.
Roksan Audio announce the latest addition to their Kandy K3 series of hi-fi electronics – the K3 CD Di joins the range as a combination CD Player and Digital-Analogue Converter (DAC), opening up a K3 system to more music sources than ever before.
The idea behind the CD Di is to provide audio enthusiasts with a high-quality digital source that will not only play an existing CD library, but will also host an array of other digital sources as one audiophile ‘hub’. By incorporating both the CD player and the DAC into one box, users can both save space by avoiding the need for extra boxes and guarantee consistent audio performance across all digital platforms.
The CD section of the CD Di is based on the established K3 CD (which will remain in the range as a stand-alone CD player).
The DAC section of the CD Di features both optical and coaxial digital inputs that are capable of handling data streams up to 24-bit/192kHz, so a variety of alternative digital players can also be connected to it. The digital inputs are selectable via the use of a three position rocker switch underneath the unit.
Aesthetically the CD Di perfectly matches the rest of the K3 series, except for the inclusion of a bi- coloured LED that sits underneath the front plate. The LED illuminates to highlight which digital source the unit is currently set to (Coaxial = White LED, Optical = Blue LED).
The K3 CD Di brings all your digital music into one place, delivering one consistent, highly-regarded sound performance to your hi-fi system. With a variety of input and output options to utilise, it expands the capabilities of K3 further than ever before.
Operating System: CD Digital Audio System (CD, CD‐R, CD-RW)
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz (± 0.2dB)
Harmonic Distortion: <0.002% @ 0dB, 1kHz
<0.006% @ -30dB, 1kHz
<0.002% @ 0dB, 20Hz
<0.008% @ 0dB, 20kHz
Intermodulation Distortion: <0.0015% @ 0dB S/N Ratio (IHF-A Wtd.): <96dB L&R
Wow & Flutter: Quartz Precision
Channel Separation: 100dB @ 1kHz 80dB @ 20kHz
Output Voltage: 2.2V rms
Digital Inputs: 1 x 75Ω Coaxial (RCA) 1 x Optical (Toslink)
Digital Outputs: 1 x 75Ω Coaxial (RCA), 1 x 110Ω Balanced AES/EBU (XLR), 1 x Optical (Toslink)
D/A Conversion: PCM1730E Advance Segment, Audio‐Stereo DAC
Resolution / Sampling: 24 bit / 192kHz
Oscillation: 3rd Overtone Oscillation
Crystal: Super Precision, Custom Made
Idle Pattern: <‐107dB
L&R Stop‐Band Rejection: <‐98dB
Power Supply: High Performance Toroidal Transformer 7 Fully Regulated Power Rails
Power Consumption: <15W
Dimensions (W x H x D): 432 x 380 x 105mm (Incl. Feet)
Leicester-based Icon Audio have launched their second CD player, the CDX2. Replacing Icon’s earlier, more expensive CDX1, the CDX2 has been specifically designed to deliver comparable sonics but at a lower, mid-range price.
The aim, says Icon’s founder and chief designer David Shaw, was “to craft a CD player with real warmth and dexterity. With that magical ‘vinyl sound’, in other words.”
The CDX2 features 192kHz 24bit upsampling technology but more than this, Shaw has focused a keen eye on the product’s all-important output stage in order to avoid what he refers to as the “mechanical and soulless presentation” that some CD players have.
“I wanted a more musical presentation, with more warmth and colour. Something incredible easy to listen to,” he adds.
To that end, the CDX2 uses an all triode valve class A output stage using T J Full Music or original Mullard valves. The digital and analogue circuitry is hand-wired using full sized high quality components.
Externally, the CDX2 features a top-loading mechanism, avoiding the usual slide-out drawer. A heavier alloy clamp also acts as a flywheel to increase rotational stability during playback.
In keeping with Icon’s ‘built to last’ philosophy, everything in the CDX2 is serviceable and replaceable and, as with all Icon products, the company is keeps an extensive bank of spare parts, ensuring a reliable product with a long life.
As each CD player is finished in the UK, Icon can offer a range of ‘David Shaw Signature’ upgrades including Jensen copper foil oil-in-paper capacitors and ‘new old stock’ valves.
Icon Audio CDX2 key features
No ‘surface mount’ parts used.
Sanyo CD transport mechanism.
Class A, all triode valve output stage.
Latest 192kHz 24bit upsampling technology.
Coaxial digital output.
Gold-plated RCA sockets.
‘David Shaw Signature’ upgrade options including Jensen copper foil oil-in-paper capacitors and premium ‘new old stock’ valves.
Parts easily maintained and upgraded (valves, capacitors, resistors, etc).
The Icon Audio CDX2 is available now, priced at £995
The K3 Integrated Amplifier and K3 CD Player from Roksan Audio have been designed and built with style, performance and function in mind. Combining visual elegance with audiophile performance inspired by the M2 range; the K3 series offers the “ultimate in musical involvement, audio engineering and user flexibility. Researched and developed over a number of years, these new models employ vastly improved technologies and aesthetics when compared to anything that has come before”. We certainly enjoyed the new range when we got a bit of an exclusive listen a couple of months ago.
The K3 Integrated Amplifier has five Line Level inputs, a Moving Magnet phono stage and superior aptX® Bluetooth technology and is described as an ideal hub for all manner of audio sources. The aptX technology employed allows for high-quality wireless streaming from compatible devices – including tablets, smartphones and computers. Under the cover new op-amps, audio and power supply circuits, and high-quality signal output relays are used to make an amplifier that is said to be very reliable.
The K3 CD Player is based on the well-known K2 design; “but new circuitry and improved components combine to elevate this latest player to a new level of performance”. Usability is said to be simple and intuitive.
The all-new system remote (supplied in each box), is elegant, compact and a perfect accompaniment to the new K3 design. It boasts complete control over all the commands of both the Integrated Amplifier and the CD Player, and the clear-contrast labelling makes usage effortlessly simple.
All K3 electronics are available in three brand new finishes. Charcoal (shown above, Amplifier), Opium and Anthracite (shown above, CD Player).
SRP £1,250.00 (each)
K3 Integrated Amplifier
Inputs: 5 x RCA Stereo Line Level
1 x Moving Magnet Phono
1 x Wireless (aptX® Bluetooth)
1 x Bypass
Outputs: 4 x Speaker Connectors (+/- L & R)
1 x RCA Pre-amplifier
1 x 3.5mm Headphone
Power Output: > 140W (8Ω) / > 220W (4Ω)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > -90dB
Frequency Response: < 3Hz – > 100kHz (-3dB)
Gain: 37.5dB (75x)
Harmonic Distortion: < 0.005% 1kHz – 14W @ 8Ω
Power Supply: 550VA Ultra-Low Noise Toroidal Transformer
5 Regulated Power Supply Rails
Dimensions (W x H x D): 432 x 102 x 380mm (incl. feet)
K3 CD Player
Operating System: CD Digital Audio System (CD, CD-R, CD-RW)
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz (± 0.2dB)
Harmonic Distortion: < 0.002% @ 0dB, 1kHz
< 0.006% @ -30dB, 1kHz
< 0.002% @ 0dB, 20kHz
< 0.008% @ -30dB, 20kHz
Intermodulation Distortion: < 0.0015% @ 0dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: < 96dB L&R (IHF-A Weighted)
Wow & Flutter: Quartz Precision
Outputs: 1 x RCA Stereo Line Level
1 x 75Ω Coaxial (RCA)
1 x 110Ω Balanced AES/EBU (XLR)
1 x Optical (Toslink)
D/A Conversion: PCM1730E Advance Segment, Audio-Stereo DAC (24-bit / 192kHz)
Crystal: Super-Precision, Custom Made
Jitter: < 150psec
Power Supply: High Performance Low Noise Toroidal Transformer
7 Fully Regulated Power Supply Rails
Dimensions (W x H x D): 432 x 105 x 380mm (incl. feet)
The CD i is built around a specially updated version of the company’s proprietary Servo Evolution disc reading system and replaces their two existing integrated CD players – the CD 6 SE₂ and CD 8 SE₂. The new CD player is positioned between the two previous models in terms of price but although positioned below the CD 8 SE₂ in terms of price, Cyrus claims that the performance of the CD i is superior to any integrated CD player they have ever made, putting this is in part to it using the most advanced version of the company’s Servo Evolution disc reading technology so far.
The CD i shares a new LED disc loader and acoustically led circuit design with the company’s flagship CD transport, the CD Xt Signature. A PSX-R port allows users to further upgrade by connecting one of the company’s external power supplies.
Price is £975
New CD player is equipped with a standalone 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analogue converter for each channel, and with a high-quality CD drive with compact disc disengagement bearing driving mechanism.
The Canor CD1.10 inherits the big matrix display from its predecessor, the CD2 VR+ CD player and its appearance fits the design of the Canor power amplifiers.
The digital to analogue converter section of the new CD player includes coaxial, optical and USB 2.0 inputs and also XLR outputs, digital optical and digital coaxial as well as two RCA outputs.
Canor use their patented Canor PCD Milling Technology throughout.
Origine is the culmination of 12 years of work for the company and they say that the CD/Converter offers a “natural listening experience where all the micro information is accurately reproduced”.
The Origine’s multi layer 28kg chassis is assembled from 5 different materials, including copper, HI-MACS and aluminium in an effort to provide an environment without resonance.
ORIGINE is mounted on 3 solid feet machined in stainless steel, floating on ball bearings.
The player mechanism is based on a DVD-ROM modified by Neodio and the 24bit/192kHz converteruses adiscreteanalog clock.
ORIGINE has two digital inputs, SPDIF and USB.
Price is €35 000.
Naim has launched its new entry-level CD player the CD5si. The CD5si is said to be a step forward in performance from its predecessor the CD5i with improvements to several key areas which “significantly improve sound quality.”
The new CD5si design includes the Burr Brown PCM 1793 DAC, which is similar in performance and architecture to the DAC used in Naim’s network players such as the NDX but is more optimised for the fixed sampling rate of CD (rather than the many sampling rates from streamed music). A new higher precision clock supports the new DAC, reducing jitter even further. The analogue output filter has also been improved.
A new high-performance transport mechanism has been fitted to the CD5si giving improved consistency and longevity. The new mechanism is mounted in Naim’s unique improved swing drawer tray giving it a low resonance, stable platform in which to operate. The internal power supply voltage has also been increased, to improve the linearity of the output signal.
Electrocompaniet the Norwegian hifi manufacturer of CD-Players, Dacs, amplifiers and loudspeakers launched the EMP 2 multiplayer in October of last year. Whilst this isn’t up to the minute “news” Hifi Pig thought it worth including in this section of the site.
The EMP 2 is part of the company’s Classic line and is a fully fledged and versatile player with support for all modern audio and video formats and media including Blu-ray in 2D and 3D. CD, SACD, DVD and DVD Audio. More »