Canor CD 2.10 CD Player/USB DAC Page 2

True, it doesn't particularly surge through the music, but nor is it so polite that it elicits a yawn during long listening sessions. With my fairly upbeat B&W standmount speakers and some Arcam Class G amplification, the end result was a performance where everything seemed on song and commensurate with the price.

With the concept of digital/tube 'hybrid' bouncing around my brain, I spun up Hybrid Theory, American rock band Linkin Park's 'nu-metal' genre-shaping debut [Warner Bros. Records 9362-47755-2]. The album sounded as over-produced as ever, but the Canor CD 2.10 brought a noticeable sense of well-rounded body to the set's collection of razor-wire riffs and hip-hop-infused beats, while the piano motif in standout track 'In The End' was presented with a rich and resonant tone. It was also cast wide at both ends of the stereo soundstage, seeming to envelop me while the rest of the instruments adopted a more focused, central position.

521canor.remPacked with overdriven guitars and Chester Bennington straining his vocal cords in anguish, Hybrid Theory is the sort of album that can sound bright and brittle in the wrong circumstances. The effect of Canor's hardware was to take the edge off, like a sly G&T at the end of a long day…

A rendition of 'The Boys Are Back In Town' [Thin Lizzy Greatest Hits; Universal Music 9849627], was equally agreeable. This had more of a classic rock vibe to complement the Canor CD 2.1's 'classic' styling, and felt more in its wheelhouse. Bass and drums locked tightly together, beneath a sweet, refined midrange that brought out the subtleties in the track's twin guitar harmonies yet steered clear of becoming clinical. Cymbal hits were well resolved, metallic but not splashy.

Clear And Present
When the song finished I was in no rush to leave Phil Lynott and pals behind, so instead let the entire CD play out, using some of that time to run through the DAC's (analogue) filters. Audible differences from this slow-to-sharp quintet (each is given a name, such as Acoustic Tone or Natural Tone) were, to my ears, extremely subtle, and ultimately I alighted on no overall preference.

Switching from disc to the CD 2.10's USB input, first up was the languid electronic jazz of Massive Attack's 'Blue Lines' [2012 Mix/Master, Virgin; 96kHz/24-bit FLAC], which found Canor's DAC picking out detail with even greater purpose without losing its slightly honeyed tone. Compared to the same track played via CD, the Bristol group's punchy drums, voluminous bass notes and muted guitar lines had a greater presence – everything cut through a little cleaner and pushed forward with more intensity.

Latin Lover
A production trick on 'Blue Lines', whereby multiple vocals take up slightly different positions between the speakers, was beautifully conveyed, while the same group's 'Unfinished Sympathy' let the CD 2.10 flex its musical muscles even more, with opulent strings layered on top of distant-sounding samples.

Better yet was the mixture of crystalline detail and delicacy unearthed in Antonio Forcione & Sabina Sciubba's 'Brasilico' [Naim Label; 192kHz/24-bit FLAC download]. Sitting down to this up-tempo Latin acoustic jam was a sublime experience, with precise imaging, soaring melodies and an utterly convincing replication of a plucked bass string. The CD 2.10 threw a spotlight on minor musical moments – the gentle tap of Forcione's hand on his guitar body, fingers sliding along nylon – and painted a spacious, airy picture that gave Sciubba's gorgeous contralto vocals an almost ethereal feel.


Hitting The Mark
On such a piece, the CD 2.10's somewhat diminished dynamic attack mattered little. Other times during my audition I wouldn't have minded a snappier approach, a little more kick to kick-drums, than the CD 2.10 provides. But this is purely a matter of personal taste, and getting into nit-picking territory.

In the main, while I was waiting for the wheels to fall off the CD 2.10, they never did. Across CD and digital downloads (including an evening of library shuffling via optical from a Bluesound Vault 2i music server), this machine kept hitting its mark. Its performance is almost wholly appetising, from its lush tones and resolution to precise, wide open soundstaging.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
CD isn't dead, it's just resting – and Canor's CD 2.10 hybrid player is here to wake it up. This lush-sounding silver disc spinner, and equally impressive DAC, will suit those who value pure performance over modern styling and operational flourishes. More svelte than its flagship sibling, and considerably more affordable to boot, it should earn the Slovakian outfit a much bigger – and much deserved – fanbase.

Canor, spol. s r.o.
Supplied by: Signature Audio Systems, UK
07738 007776