Because it first landed in 1983, CD has had a big impact on how we eat music and through the years, even when the format is considerably dwindling within the face of upsurging recognition of vinyl, streaming and even cassettes. In that point it is honest to say we have been spoiled by some really gorgeous CD gamers.
So to assist us have a good time British Hi-Fi Week, we have been by means of the archives to trace down a number of the greatest CD gamers of British descent to move by means of our take a look at rooms during the last three many years.
There are some severe classics on show right here, from distinctive entry-level gamers to outrageously entertaining high-end machines.
Meridian MCD (1985)
To say the Meridian MCD bore a putting resemblance to Philips’ CD100/CD101 gamers is an understatement.
Meridian took the shell of Phillip’s participant and painted it graphite gray. However that is the place the similarities finish. The MCD’s innards had been a totally completely different matter as Meridian rebuilt the output stage and tweaked the servo and error-correction techniques.
This resulted in a participant with a candy and musical sound, tidy with low frequencies and good with scale. Like many early efforts, it had primary options (no distant, as an example), however the sound was its principal attraction.
Philips and Sony might need invented the CD participant, but it surely was Meridian who executed it completely throughout its early life.
Cambridge CD1 (1986)
Cambridge Audio’s CD1 break the bank after we reviewed it in 1986. At £1500, it was double, if not triple the price of most different gamers available on the market on the time.
It was additionally the primary participant to be break up into two separate bins, the higher half was the place the disc tray and energy provide had been situated. The underside half housed the DAC.
It featured three 14-bit DACs (with oversampling) per channel. Two labored collectively for pace and accuracy, whereas the third smoothed out any errors.
The end result was a broad soundstage with nice depth, house and a great deal of element. It might need been dear, but it surely was head and shoulders above different gamers on the time.
Meridian 200/203 DAC (1991)
Arguably one of the best worth premium participant of its time, we discovered Meridian’s 200 CD transport to have a “distinctly extrovert” sound after we first heard it in 1991.
The soundstage was wider, deeper and extra ahead than its friends. It was daring in the way it attacked a bit of music, and was able to dealing with busy tracks with out tripping over itself.
It was wonderful by itself and even higher when partnered with the half-width 203 DAC (pictured above). The readability of the 200 was match for the hotter sensibilities of the 203 – collectively they boasted an impressively musical partnership.
Arcam Alpha 7 (1996)
Based mostly on Arcam’s landmark Alpha One, the Alpha 7 left the competitors in its wake with a Finest Purchase win in 1996. It was price range king and dominated Group Exams and rival Japanese gamers for generations. Not many British-made gamers can declare such success through the years.
The Alpha 7 featured a modular design, so an improve path was potential. A brand new DAC board and a fast change of badge and your Alpha 7 may very well be reworked into an Alpha 8.
It had a easy, mature and stress-free sound, which made for treble that was softer than different gamers. However the sound had good weight to it, which helped some tracks sound large and substantial.
Meridian 508.24 (1998)
Meridian’s 508.24 was an evolution of its 20-bit 508 CD participant.
On the skin, the additional money purchased you a badge change. In any other case, it had the identical connections, motorised transport and virtually tablet-sized distant.
The actual evolution was the 24-bit improve. It continued Meridian’s custom of belting out wealthy and melodious sound.
Although earlier Meridian gamers faltered when it comes to muscularity, the 508.24 preferred to rock. It produced sense of power with quick, managed bass.
Feed it good recordings and the 508.24 was a really perfect premium CD participant for many who preferred a lush and punchy sound.
Naim CDS3/XPS2 (2003)
This Naim emerged in 2003 and was a part of our reference hi-fi system for one of the best a part of a decade.
Made for many who wished one of the best sound regardless of the value, it was a two-box combo that defied the established knowledge of maintaining delicate circuitry separate. Right here, the transport and DAC had been in a single field with the facility provide hidden away within the different.
The Naim pairing wanted lots of working in – every week! – however each minute was value it. The pair delivered a shocking, finessed sound with nice timing and assault. When in full stream, the Naim carried out on a totally completely different stage to to the rest at or across the cash.
Quad 99CD-P (2003)
Quad’s 99CD-P was a really quirky (and memorable) effort.
Accessing inputs or adjusting the quantity may solely be completed with the distant, and the show was so dimly lit you can barely see what was on it.
It was the primary CD participant we might seen that is also used as a preamp, however solely with sources corresponding to a digital recorder or digital radio tuner.
Nonetheless it was a robust performer, with loads of punch and drive but additionally able to producing a way of heat too.
An odd, however vastly spectacular CD participant that summed up the eccentricity of the Quad model properly.
Publicity 2010s (2005)
Finest identified for its amps, Publicity had proven promise with an early iteration of the 2010, but it surely was the 2005 classic that noticed efficiency attain a brand new excessive.
In comparison with different CD gamers it seemed dated, however enhancements had been revamped the unique. The controls on this model had been extra exact and the casework gave the participant extra of a fascinating sheen.
This participant was all about unearthing the emotion from the music. With a quick and punchy sound, it labored properly with every kind of music, laying naked the element and intricacies inside a monitor.
It made listening to music enjoyable. That is why it was one of the crucial entertaining and musical gamers of its time.
dCS Scarlatti (2008)
Might any CD/SACD participant be value £33okay? When you had been fortunate sufficient to listen to the Scarlatti again in 2008, you’d know the reply – a powerful sure.
Not solely was the value uncommon, however so was the design. The Scarlatti wasn’t only one field, however three: a transport, a DAC and a clock unit extra typically discovered within the professional world. The clock ensured the opposite two labored in good concord.
Stick a CD in and also you had been handled to an unbelievably clear efficiency that was as insightful as they got here, with staggering quantities of element and a superb understanding of advanced, multi-layered tracks.
An exciting high-end participant able to gorgeous high-end sound.
Roksan Caspian M2 CD (2010)
A multiple-award winner, Roksan‘s M2 CD (together with its matching amplifier) dominated better-specc’d rivals for years after it first got here out.
That was principally right down to how good it sounded. It was filled with character, but additionally mixed refinement, chew and rhythmic skill higher than any of its closest rivals.
Its construct and design definitely facilitated its sonic efficiency. The CD transport was softly suspended, a transfer which minimised the “quantity of vibration fed into and out of the mechanism”.
No different participant in its value vary may budge it for a very long time. A very charming machine.
Cyrus CD8 SE2 (2012)
The CD Eight SE was gorgeous. The CD Eight SE2 was even higher.
The SE2 seemed precisely like the unique, however introduced updates that softened the participant’s extra temperamental nature.
It was much less fussy with discs and Cyrus claimed it may extra precisely learn a compact disc’s information. It had a superb a way of organisation, in addition to musicality and punch that was very a lot in Cyrus mould.
Like the corporate’s different merchandise, an improve path was potential. Slot in a PSX-R energy provide and an additional dose of bass weight, authority and finesse had been yours for the taking.
Chord Blu MkII (2018)
Chord’s greatest identified for its Award-winning DACs, however that is one element you will not discover inside this stunningly musical high-end CD transport.
What it does boast is a excessive powered upscaler that options numerous intelligent processing tips to extract CD’s 16-bits of knowledge as precisely as potential.
The top result’s a efficiency that is distinctive at perception and dynamics.
Cyrus CDi (2018)
On the subject of CD gamers, Cyrus’ monitor document is nothing in need of phenomenal. The CDi had large sneakers to fill when it launched, because it changed each the Cyrus 6SE and 8SE, each gorgeous CD gamers in their very own proper.
However, Cyrus completely nailed it. On the time Cyrus claimed it was the corporate’s best-sounding CD participant ever and we struggled to disagree. Its gorgeous rhythmic skill instantly caught our consideration as did the participant’s great sense of agility and superb stage of perception. Even now, it is nonetheless the CD participant to beat at this value.
Learn our full Cyrus CDi review