Disc Players

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John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Oct 05, 2009
It’s a fact that McIntosh gear has never been hugely popular this side of the Atlantic as its bold, retro styling appeals only to a minority of European consumers today. If you’re trying to integrate a high quality music system discreetly into a family-friendly living room it’s unlikely you’ll be shopping for a McIntosh. Which is something of a preamble to make the point that McIntosh’s latest MCD301 CD player is every bit a ‘big Mac’, sporting the marque’s traditional livery and looking as ‘macho’ as ever. It’s as American as a Hummer or a Harley alright.
Review: James Parker, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 27, 2021
hfncommendedWell, one thing's for sure: the new SACD/CD player/DAC from McIntosh looks quite unlike any other machine of its kind. So, does the sound live up to the unique style?

Take a quick look at the £4995 McIntosh MCD85, and you'd probably think it was another in the seemingly endless line of amplifier variations emerging from the Binghamton factory in upstate New York. In fact, the first sign that this isn't actually a power amp is the weight. Thanks to their hefty transformers and solidity of build, the company's powerhouses tend to be back-achingly heavy, and arrive on pallets – the new MA1200 integrated amp, for example, weighs in at a shade under 49kg, and the MC901 monoblock is getting on for twice that. By contrast, the MCD85 is a manageable 12.5kg boxed, and a positively featherweight 9.3kg in the buff.

Dave Berriman & Paul Miller  |  Jun 05, 2009
Although CD has improved in leaps and bounds since its introduction, the sound initially disappointed many audiophiles and music lovers. One of the first companies to realise that CD replay could be improved was Meridian, giving rise, in 1984, to the Meridian MCD and MCD Pro. Based on a robust Philips mechanism, but with Meridian’s own analogue circuits and oscillator, the MCD Pro really lifted CD sound and a succession of Meridian CD players have continued to set high standards ever since. The CD-only 808 was launched in 2004, but Meridian has developed its replay technology so far since then that it has significantly re-designed and re-launched it as the 808.
Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 16, 2021
hfnvintageIt may have been based on a machine from Dutch giant Philips but this was the first CD player from a specialist high-end British manufacturer. How will it sound today?

Compact Disc enjoyed a halo of glamour in its early years that the more established formats had lost. Talk of laser beams and digital electronics, those holographic rainbows on the disc surface – not to mention all the smart new hardware – brought an interest in top quality listening to a whole new demographic.

Richard Holliss  |  Nov 07, 2014
Metronome’s T3A Signature CD transport, despite its not inconsiderable price, is substantially more affordable than the company’s ‘sculpted art’ Kalista and Calypso models. It’s a manual top-loader with an integrated power supply, housed in a sturdy chassis with a thick fascia of brushed aluminium available in silver or black. The unit sits on three substantial feet with circular recesses, into which inverted Delrin cones magnetically locate for maximum isolation from any external vibration. Sliding back the top plate cover of the T3A to load a CD reveals its transport mechanism, a Philips CDM12 Pro 2 v6.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 07, 2014
Metronome’s T3A Signature CD transport, despite its not inconsiderable price, is substantially more affordable than the company’s ‘sculpted art’ Kalista and Calypso models. It’s a manual top-loader with an integrated power supply, housed in a sturdy chassis with a thick fascia of brushed aluminium available in silver or black. The unit sits on three substantial feet with circular recesses, into which inverted Delrin cones magnetically locate for maximum isolation from any external vibration. Sliding back the top plate cover of the T3A to load a CD reveals its transport mechanism, a Philips CDM12 Pro 2 v6.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Jan 05, 2009
With its design team headed up by Dominique Giner, Metronome Technologie is a French high-end audio company founded in 1987. Alongside world famous hi-fi marques such as Koetsu, Audio Research, Krell Industries and Sonus faber, Metronome’s products are imported and distributed in the UK by Absolute Sounds of south-west London. Recent visitors to hi-fi shows at Heathrow may have come across Metronome’s magnificent Kalista Reference CD transport with matching C2A two-box DAC making sublime music in one of Absolute Sounds’ ‘Absolute Studio’ demonstrations, partnered with DarTZeel amplification and Magico speakers. While Metronome produces some slightly more ‘real world’ CD spinners such as the CD3 Signature (a mere £6900 for the transport), the Kalista line-up represents Metronome’s no-holds-barred statement products.
Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 11, 2019
hfncommendedThe iconic visuals belie Musical Fidelity's recent change in ownership – so will this familiar M2 series CD/amp combination still tempt the budget-conscious enthusiast?

In these evolving days of digital music, cloud storage and online streaming, it might seem counter-intuitive for Musical Fidelity to release a line-only amplifier and 'plain vanilla' CD player. The £799 M2si integrated has no inbuilt DAC, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi and not even a phono stage, or indeed the option of one. And, peer round the rear of the matching £799 M2scd compact disc player, and the only connections you will find are outputs. Once again, it has no digital inputs, no antennae sticking out and no wireless wizardry up its sleeve. What's going on?

Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Jan 05, 2009
Predisposed as I am toward Nagra, the long-awaited CD player presents a quandary: Although this brand has a hold on my heart – I would gladly live forever with their valve electronics – I am increasingly distressed by the ever-spiralling pricing of high-end audio. Nagra, being both Swiss and high-end, is as guilty as any of widening the chasm between reality and sanity. £8500 for any CD player is to take the mickey. Yet something so ‘right’ about the wee Nagra CDP almost makes me want to forgive the pricing.
Keith Howard & Paul Miller  |  Jun 14, 2010
From almost anybody else, the launch of a new outboard DAC would rate as one of the audio industry’s more mundane events. But a DAC from Naim Audio – called, yes, the Naim DAC – is a development of more moment. Not so much for what it is but because it unravels what was, until now, one of the marque’s design dogmas. Naim was late to the digital audio party, launching its first CD player in 1991, almost a decade after Compact Disc’s arrival.
Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 01, 2019
hfncommendedThis French company's 'ecosystem' is founded on an extensive range of power and audio cables, but the brand's design philosophies also extend to an amp and CD player       

The world of high-end audio just wouldn't be the same without products like the Origine S2 from Neodio. It resides in that rarefied section of the hi-fi market where designers get to see their dreams fulfilled in large and beautifully appointed products. Head honcho Stéphane Even has energetically embraced the chance to make leading-edge, premium hi-fi products. As well as purveying expensive cables and isolating feet, his company makes the £15,000 CD player/DAC you see before you, alongside its companion A2 integrated amplifier.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 07, 2014
Oppo’s new BDP-105EU is a universal disc-spinning, network-streaming, digital hub, processor, preamp and audiophile DAC all rolled into one chunky and imposing package. The lush 32-bit ESS Sabre DACs from the BDP-95EU remain, and you can now feed these from the disc drawer, coaxial and electrical S/PDIF digital inputs, three type A USB sockets, front and rear HDMI sockets, wired Ethernet orWi-Fi, using the supplied dongle. While the ’95EU’s e-SATA port has been deleted, this machine now leverages Audio Return Channel to input audio from ARC-compatible devices, such as a TV, connected to either of the twin HDMI outputs. The inclusion of an asynchronous type B USB input allows the ’105EU to be hooked direct to your PC, and the Oppo is capable of decoding pretty much any common audio format up to 192kHz/24-bit FLAC.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Sep 05, 2009
One of my less endearing traits, of which I have several according to my long-suffering wife, is that I’m inclined to show off now and again. So when chatting to an acquaintance on the telephone recently I simply couldn’t resist dropping into the conversation that my living room was currently ‘cluttered’ by two outrageously expensive CD players: the £8000 Wadia 381i [see HFN July ’09] and the new £10,000 Oracle CD2500 MkII. Moreover I was going to have to spend several days listening to music on them, using the familiar Wadia as a point of reference, and subsequently write a critique on Oracle’s new baby. Such is a reviewer’s lot.
Paul Miller  |  Oct 05, 2009
Convergence between national markets is fueling the development of new, one-size-fits-all AV products at an unprecedented pace, often reducing shelf life to a few short months. New BD players are a case in point. Such is the pace of technology, and the scramble to patch both HDMI and Profile standards, that no sooner had we completed our review of Panasonic’s DMP-BD30 Blu-ray player than its replacement, the DMP-BD50, was announced. So one review was shelved and another immediately instigated.
Andrew Harrison & Paul Miller  |  Jan 05, 2009
Italian hybrid amplifier specialist Pathos Acoustic unveiled its first CD player last year, the stylish Endorphin top-loader and has now already followed it up with a lower-priced alternative. Now while no-one could mistake the new Digit in its shoebox aspect case for the sci-fi statement of the Endorphin, Pathos says that the two CD players share the same technology inside, with the differences between them limited to the transport mechanism and the power supply. The Digit is designed to sit alongside the similarly-proportioned Classic One integrated amplifier, itself a more affordable version of the company’s more extended range of high-end valve/solid-state hybrid amplifiers. It’s a cleaner design than the Classic amp, though, without any bright red capacitors or transformer to populate the top board, nor the figured wood frontispiece.

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