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