CD and SACD Player ReviewsUp one level
Recent CD Player Reviews
A CD player with a 3.5mm input and USB port with MP3 playback? For home theater it doesn't really make sense. But with 24-bit, 192kHz-capable DACs, integrated preamp, and a $400 price tag, the Parasound Zcd is an intriguing solution for industry professionals. With its diminutive size (half a rack space wide) and huge feature set, we're betting home theater buffs on a budget might even take a close look at this. Parasound may have designed the Z-line of products with industry professionals in mind but we wouldn't be surprised to see this one jump across the line into budding audiophile. We've seen it happen before.
The new Distinction line from TEAC certainly seems to be well thought out and well matched to each other. The CD-3000, in particular, with its 192kHz upsampling before decoding and dual differential DACs has us excited. But without knowing exactly how the players work (in particular, which codecs are compatible over the USB connection) and if it can put out multichannel over the coaxial input, we'll have to wait to see how it all shakes out. Still, we can't help but think that TEAC will have some winners on their hands here. With prices that range from expensive to OMG!!!! (or, as a true audiophile would rate them, too cheap to be any good to affordable), there is something here for any budding audiophile.
With a similar model number, the CD6004 from Marantz was obviously designed to work with the new PM6004 Integrated Amplifier to provide an affordable but impressive two channel system. All you need to do is provide the speakers. But the CD6004 isn't built with only Marantz's other components in mind, there is a lot more to it than that. With Made for iPod/Works with iPhone certification and front mounted USB port, the CD6004 is more than a simple high-end CD player. For $500, however, you have to ask yourself if the CD6004 does everything you need.
The Vincent Audio C-60 CD Transport takes a Reeses Peanutbutter cup approach to design - they mixed their solid state with their tubes. The C-60 has a solid state/tube output stage that can be selected from the front of the unit or from the least useful remote we've seen in a long time. Will it sell? At $4695 a pop, we're guessing they don't have to sell too many to turn a profit.
Marantz's high end offerings have impressed us in the past. The new line gets away from the unique gold styling that so caught our eye for the more traditional black with blue lights that has been adopted by just about everyone. According to Marantz, they have a "silk-black" finish but that may not be enough to have this gear stand out. The SA-KI Pearl SACD Player is a $3,000 unit that can play stereo SACDs, CD, and CD-R/RW and is compatible with CD-DA, MP3, and WMA files. Of course, the unit is completely overbuilt but is it enough to justify the cost?
Apparently someone forgot to tell the high-end crowd that the CD isn't the pinnacle of all that is good and wonderful in audio. Instead of capitalizing on advanced features like hard-disc media storage and cataloging your entire CD collection in high resolution lossless format, Boulder Amplifiers has gone with an uber-expensive single-disc CD player. The new 1021 Disc Player from Boulder Amplifiers is going to make a lot of people exclaim "you paid HOW MUCH for that?!?"
E.Sound E3 CD Player Review
Arvind Kohli — December 13, 2004 19:00
Arvind Kohli — December 13, 2004 19:00
Trekking a long on my series of disc player reviews, I stumbled a cross a Chinese unit. In a conversation with Mark Levine of Allied TV & Sound (the North American importer), I first heard of this brand. He raved about this unit. My cynical nature and desensitization to the enthusiasm of manufacturers/distributors has resulted in me being almost completely immune to the over-the-top pitches reviewers are commonly subjected to. But with Mark, I had to give his words a lot more credence, since his thoughts on the Cayin 265Ai integrated were on the mark (no pun intended).
After a few phone conversations with Audience's Technical Director Richard Smith, he made a convincing argument about parts selection mass produced players tend to use, which are primarily chosen for budgetary reasons and not necessarily audiophile performance. Rich ard was nice enough to extend me the offer of modifying my stock SCD-CE775 unit in exchange for reviewing the unit on Audioholics.com. I graciously accepted the offer and shipped out my barely-used SACD changer to them.