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CD Players - Drives comparison
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CD Transports comparison

This is the configution used for this review:

    * Digital cable: RCA 75 ohms MARIGO APPARITION 3A.
    * Preamplifiers: CONRAD JOHNSON PV11 and AUDIO RESEARCH SP11.
    * Amplifiers: CONRAD JOHNSON EVOLUTION 250 and PREMIER TWELVE XS monoblocs.
    * Loudspeakers: TANNOY GRF et TAD EXCLUSIVE 2401.

1-.MERIDIAN 508 (integrated CD player)

    * The timbres and nuances are beautiful.
    * The overall balance is correct.
    * The soundstage is large but not enough deep.
    * Overall dynamics are good.

2-.JADIS JD2 (integrated CD player)

    * A much better deep of the soundstage.
    * the bass goes deeper and is much more powerful.
    * The acoustic caracteristics of the recording room are much more precise.
    * Excellente dynamique.
    * This device obviously ask for an external DAC...
    * The heavy mechanism (20kg) promises a lot. 

3-.JD2 (drive)

    * It is difficult to explain if the following improvement comes from the Drive or from the METRONOME DAC, but:
    * the bass goes much more deeper.
    * the mid frequencies are wonderful.
    * the soundstage is superb, with a lot of deep.
    * the dynamics are impressive but still offer a sweet enough presentation.

4-.JADIS JD1 (CDM9 Pro mechanism)

    * this drive is too noisy: you can ear it at 3 meters far from it. For a 65.000$ device, it is unacceptable… even if the manufacturer says it is normal, LoL...
    * The soundstage is uncredibly large and deep
    * The bass does not go low enough but is very tight !
    * The overall result is extremely musical, with a wonderful midrange. The voices are supperb, offering a lot of variations and a lot of swing. I remain frustrated by a lack of extreme bass compared with a state of the art analog turntable...

5-.CEC TL1

    * (The review is less precise because the listening sessions were not conducted at home, and because they were shorter).
    * The sound is globally full-bodied
    * The bass is physically here but a little too heavy. I do not like the sound it produces: the extreme bass and high are troncated and the dynamics are not there... I understand the reason it is often associated with a Wadia DAC...

6-.METRONOME TECHNOLOGIE T2A.5 (CDM12 Pro machanism)

    * Total silence of the mechanism, instant access to the vairous tracks.
    * It goes deeper, the bass is more "dry" and the rythm is easier.
    * The soundstage is more or less identical to the JD1.
    * The midrange is full-bodied, beautiful with a of dynamics.
    * There is no doubt that the overall feeling is far better. 
    * It is not as "sexy" as the JD1…

7-.JADIS super JD1 (CDM12 mechanism)

    * Same mechanism than the T2A.5, and same silence. 
    * Compared to the JD1 CDM0, the CDM12 is lighter, the bass goes a little bit lower, the dynamics are a bit better. The CDM12 is more musical. The external power supply is probably a reason for this improvement.
    * The overall result is nevertheless not as good as the T2A.5
    *Regarding the overall building, the JADIS is not mounted on a rigid based (like a LINN) whereas the METRONOME does use a rigid mounting approach (like REGA): provided that the mechanism and the external power supplies are the same, the cause is certainly here.


    * The improvement is related to every domain
    * A lot of information comes from the listening room, with a lot of details. Some singing recordings are impressive in terms of depth. The soundstage is far deeper and far more precise.
    * We can ear a lot more things. The overall balance is much better, full bdied and sweet.
    * The rythm is much easier to follow.
    * The bass goes much deeper. The listening in this domain is much easier. Compared to the JD1 (CDM 9 and 12) the bass is not truncated.
    * The high frequencies goes higher.
    * The dynamics and the punch are better.
    * And there is always this delicious sweet (but not too much) sound.

Is the Kalista the best drive on the planet ?

9-.TEAC P-30.

    * Provides a lot of speed, a lot of dynamics.
    * The soundstage is pushed in the front, towards the listener.
    * There is a lot of details, but the sound is too agressive
    * Not enough deep regarding the soundstage, not enough extreme bass...
    * The listening is too tiring.

10-.TEAC P-70.

    * The listening experience is different than the P-30: the medium is not mushed to the listener.
    * The soundstage is reasonabily deep, with a lot of details.
    * The overall balance is in in favor of the high frequencies (too much), providing a feeling of a lot of air, but there is not anough weight on the sound.
    * Compared with the Kalista, a lot of qualities are missing. Compared with the P-30, it is not tiring, but the overall musicality is not enough.

11-.STUDER A730.

     * The first contact with this device is "special" : we immediately feel that it is robust, designed to cope with the professional conditions of use.
     * The remote is optional and uses a cable.No high speed reading touch, nor back track button. No stop button: you have to open the CD tray to stop the disc.
     * This needs to be turned on for a long period before giving its best. The general Power on/off switch is located on the back panel, so you cannot access it when it is located into a studio rack.
     * The A730 is a serious device: the dynamics are huge, the bass is physically robust, the rythm is surprisingly good.
     * The soundstage is not tall, nor deep, nor very detailed; but when you put a CD in, you lesson it from the begining to the end...
     * It is a very coherent ans consistant player, with a good balance. The music is alive, no matter if it is not very refined.
     * Provided that is value turns around 1.000/1.100€, this transport is a bargain. I very luch prefer this kind of device, instead of the current "modern" DACs that have nothing more to be attractive than their 24bits/192kHz internal chip, providing a super detailed sound... with no life !

12-.YBA CD1 Alpha

     * The drive uses a very big external power supply. It needs to be turned on for a long period before providing its best.
     * The drive is provided with the "YBA Diamond"  cables, offering a good manufacturing quality. But the tray and the buttons are not pleasant to manipulate.
     * This drive is charming, delivering the nuances of recording and the noises of the recording room with ease and accuracy. The soundstage has a huge deep. The voices are wonderful, the singers have the adequate power but seem to be 1 meter byong the stage.
     * The nuances are delivered, no matter how small they are, the timbers are beautiful. The listening experience is very very pleasant and relaxing.
     * The main negative point seems to be that it is not enough nervous. It is not a default, it is just a choice to make. The rock is not is favorite kind of music, but the flamenco is a true pleasure...
     * The bass is clean but is not enough nervous or alive.


     * It needs to be on during 2 days before the power supply capacitors are enough filled.
     * The 1st impression is always the same: it breathes !
     * It outperforms the STUDER A730 in the bass: it goes lower in the frequancy domain, it has more energy, it is more alive.
     * The rythm, being a quality of the brand, is still there.
     * The quality of the notes is also far better than with the STUDER, as well as the soundstage deep.
     * The remote control, made of aluminium is very beautiful but the plastic cones are not as good as the metal ones, from a sonic result point of view.
     * The included last generation DAC is surpringly good: I usuallly do not like the 24 bits DAC hips, but this one provides a full bodied sonic presentation.
     * The transport section is very good, allowing to upgrade the system with a state of the art DAC.

14-.dCS Verdi / Delius converter.

     * The manufacturing quality is superb. The top panel is made of mineral glass, the menu is is full of options with a lot of possible customizations. The remote is able to control both the drive and the converter, but it is nt as ergonomic as we would like. The time required to load a CD is far longer than with most of the other players: this might be due to the fact that the dCS Verdi can read CD and SACD. The opening and closing of the tray are processed with silnce, this is pleasant. I have lessoned to the Verdi / Delius during 3 days, and I introduced other trnsports and DACs only after this period, to evaluate the respective qualities od the Verdi and the Delius.
     * When I start listening for the first time, I found the sonic result as extraordinary. Precision, detailed but nevertheless sweet: the opposite of a TEAC... I had never eared so many informations between the notes.
     * The soundstage is extraordinary: deep and precise; but not large and not tall. I felt a sort of zoom effect on the mid/high ranges, but not on the bass frequencies. The singers brieath a lot, probably too much...
     * I felt that the bass / mid bass has not enough weight. This is frustrating because comparing with a Studer A730, it is more difficult to go "into the music".
     * Globally, there is an incredible amount of detail, and the precision is perfect. But unfortunately, the magic is not there and there is a lack of feeling.
     * Replacing the drive by a Studer A730 do not change this overall presentation.

15-.dCS Verdi.
     * In a second phase, I have also tried the dCS Verdi alone.
     * I have compared it to the Studer A730 and to a Metronome Technologie T2A. I have also use it with 3 other converters: Jadis JD1, Metronome C1A and an AudioNote Dac One seriously upgraded. I have used the XLR and RCA outputs. I have not been happy with the musical results...
     * The lack of swing and the lack of life, is due to this device.
     * The overall balance tends to push up the high frequencies. There is no weight and not enough matter on the notes. There is a hole in the low/mid frequencies. Even the Studer A730 used as a "drive only", delivers better results.
     * When I compare it with the T2A, it is a drama...The Verdi is so inferior that it delivers no emotion at all in comparison with the superb performance of the T2A. The soundstage is smaller than the T2A one. The Verdi is out...

16-.COMBAK Relmyo CDP777.
    * Provided its price (15.000€ !), it is not acceptable to get a remote with a so bad level of manufacturing quality. Even a 150$ player gets something better...
    * Contrarily, the mechanism is very fast. It seems that the motor delivers a high torque, so we can expect it to be relialable.
    * The listening experience provides a large soundstage without emphasizing the high frequencies.
    * the bass section is robust, even if it does not go low enough. Compared with the "Studer + Metronome C1A", the Combak does not deliver enough details; this is particularly evident on the voices or on the piano. The bass is always less full bodied than with the Studer. This demonstrates that the sonic esthetism depends on the Transport used (the mechanism of the Combak is a JVC pro).
    * the price is too (too...) high !

This article is written by
Florent , "Provence13" on our Forum.

A dedicated article is opened on our Forum to discuss about this Drives review.

Creation date : 11/07/2010 @ 11:32
Last update : 07/11/2014 @ 23:09
Category : CD Players
Page read 1258 times

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