The CD5004 is a excellent entry level cd player, offering very good performance and
build quality at an extremely reasonable price. It is also well featured with a Headphone
socket (including its own volume control), digital coaxial and optical outputs as
well as the standard analogue outputs, and the obligatory remote control of course.
It is available in black or champagne gold finishes.
Marantz CD5004 CD player: £199.90
Sansui CDD 201V
The CDD 201V is the first CD player from the famous Sansui brand name, marking their
return to the Hifi market in impressive style. Its sound is extremely good for a
product at this price level, in fact I feel it competes extremely well with players
costing £100 more - it has greater timing and clarity than its direct and some dearer
competition, which often sound muddled and soft in comparison. It strikes an excellent
balance, it doesn’t have a cold, strident and forward sound like many traditional
budget CD players, nor does it chose to rose tint the sound in the way that that
some manufacturers use to mask this tendency, instead it has a seemingly neutral
balance with well defined bass and a natural tonality which is very rare at this
It is available in Black or silver finish, and has both coaxial and optical digital
Sansui CDD 201V CD player: £199.00
Project CD Box
The Project CD Box is an absolutely tiny CD player that has a sound that belies it’s
diminutive dimensions (which number just 3.6cm tall, 20.5cm wide and 15.5cm deep).
The small size is explained by the cunning use of a slot loading mechanism (in use
in the picture below) and the unit comes complete with a separate power supply and
remote control. It’s a natural partner for the Project Amp Box S, or in fact any
system where space is limited. It is available with a black or silver fascia (as
Project CD Box CD Player: £300.00
The CD6004 is a remarkably high performing player at a very reasonable price. Typical
of Marantz, it has a lively sound that is balanced by an appealingly warm midrange
along with good detail retrieval. It even caters for ipod connection with its front
mounted USB connector. It is available in either black or champagne gold.
Marantz CD6004 CD player: £299.95
The Teac PD-H600 is an excellent CD player, not only is its all metal case beautifully
built but it has a sound that is sweet, open and airy. It’s a very compact at just
29cm wide and comes with a remove control and coaxial digital output.
Teac PD-H600 CD player £499.00
Project CD Box SE
The Project CD Box SE is a sonically improved version of the standard CD Box detailed
further up this page. It is the same tiny width but taller at 7.6cm and a little
deeper. The CD Box SE is a very impressive sounding CD player, it’s almost difficult
to believe such a big and high quality sound can come from such a small box. It also
has a digital output (coaxial) making it a very good choice for anyone wanting a
high quality and small CD transport. It is available with either a silver or black
Project CD Box SE CD player £500.00
The next version of the Apollo is now here, called the Apollo-R it is housed in Rega’s
new half width case and is available in either black or silver. It features a new
Wolfson DAC (as also used in the Rega DAC) and over its predecessor it has various
refinements to the digital and analogue stages as well as the power supply.
Compared to the excellent previous version, the new Apollo-R offers more resolution,
combined with a more open and lively balance. A little of the analogue-ness of the
original has perhaps gone, as it appears to have a flatter (and probably more accurate)
tonal balance, but the sound remains refined and well balanced.
Rega Apollo-RCD player: £548.00
Consonance CD120 Linear
We’re thrilled to be able to offer a CD player at this price which has dispensed
with the digital filter and over sampling - in fact we believe this is the most affordable
player utilising this sort of wonderful back to basics design that’s normally only
seen in much dearer and more exotic machines.
It uses a pair of 16bit TDA1543 DAC’s and a discrete J-Fet/transistor output stage
(not opamps) with switchable sampling frequencies of 44.1 and 88.2kHz available via
the remote control. The simple output stage and very short signal path that this
allows produces a sound with the characteristically wide dynamic range of a filterless
design, capturing great speed and energy, which are just the sort of characteristics
that makes music really come to life.
If you find most CD players overly sanitised and look for the same adrenalin rush
you get from your vinyl source then this player could be just the antidote you’re
Consonance CD120 Linear CD Player: £795.00
Talk Electronics Thunder 2.2SE
The Thunder 2.2 SE is the latest version of this beautifully made player, the ‘SE’
modifications moving performance even further forward than its predecessor. The end
result is a very enjoyable sound that has an authoritative presentation without loss
of subtle detailing.
The design uses two separate toroidal transformers (see picture below), one for the
digital stages and one for analogue, with a lot of attention paid to the separation
of ground paths between the various stages. It has connections for both balanced
(XLR) and single ended (phono) outputs, as well as optical (Toslink) and coaxial
(phono) digital outputs. There’s also a connector to allow it to be upgraded with
the external whirlwind power supply. It is available in either Silver or Black finish.
Talk Electronics Thunder 2.2SE CD player: £1,295
Audio Note CD Zero
The CD Zero is Audio Notes smallest CD player, but inside the diminutive case are
two mains transformers and triode based output stage using the 6111WA sub-miniature
valve. As you’d expect from Audio Note it features a non oversampling digital filterless
design based around the TDA1543. It’s available with either aluminium fascia or black
Audio Note CD Zero CD player: £POA at manufacturers request
Product preview: Rega Saturn-R CD-DAC
The Saturn-R is a high specification CD player and DAC offering 192K-24bit asynchronous
USB input. The CD player will benefit from the use of the dual Wolfson WM8742 DAC’s
used in the digital to analogue conversion stage found in the hugely successful Rega
DAC. The DAC section offers 2x optical inputs, 2x Co-axial inputs, 1x USB and 1x
digital output to feed digital processor. The CD section has an independent ‘direct’
digital output from the CD playback section of the player.
We will have one of these on demo as soon as they’re launched (sometime in the second
quarter of 2013), more details to follow.
Rega Saturn-R CD-DAC £1598.00
Consonance Reference CD2.2 Linear
The CD2.2 Linear is a very special player, it uses our preferred combination of non-oversampling
and no digital filter which always results in an exceptional fast and smear free
performance. The output stage uses a 6H30 triode which also gives great refinement
without loosing any of the dynamics or energy from the disc.
It’s possible to choose between sampling frequencies of 44.1kHz or 88.2kHz via the
remote control which makes a subtle difference and allows the user to choose which
sounds best in their system. A coaxial digital input is featured on the latest generation,
enabling the DAC to be used with other digital sources too, which can switched from
the remote or a switch on the rear panel.
The only real negative of this player is it suffers what must be one of the most
protracted burning in period of any player I can think of, and unless it has at least
50-100 hours of use it will not give you the slightest idea of what it’s capable
of. But I can assure you it’s well worth the wait.
Consonance CD Reference 2.2 Linear CD player in Silver with Cherry or Walnut top
Consonance CD Reference 2.2 Linear CD player in Black with Black aluminium top slats:
Below: Finish left to right: Cherry, Walnut, and black metal/fascia.
Audio Note CD1.1x
The very latest CD player from Audio Note. As you’d expect of Audio Note this is
a non oversampling, filterless design (both analogue and digital) based around the
16 bit 1543 DAC. It uses a 6111WA sub miniature triode valve output stage, Beyschlag
resistors and paper in oil coupling capacitors. It offers a sound that’s very difficult
to beat at the price. Available with silver or black acrylic fascia.
Audio Note CD1.1x CD Player: £POA at manufacturers request
Consonance Droplet CDP 3.1 Linear
The ‘mini’ droplet (named as it’s quite a lot smaller than the original Droplet model
introduced a few years ago) not only looks stunning but thanks to its filterless
design and E88CC triode output stage also sounds as good as it looks. The case is
made from a wood, aluminium and ceramic sandwich and discs are top loaded. It features
a Superclock high performance digital clock for low levels of jitter and also has
an coaxial digital input so you can use its internal DAC for other digital sources.
Consonance Droplet CDP3.1 Linear CD player: £2,295
Audio Note CD2.1x/II
The CD2.1x/II is essentially the same as the CD1.1x detailed above, but in keeping
with Audio Note philosophy is features upgraded components including tantalum resistors,
Blackgate capacitors and superior coupling capacitors. The performance of this player
is simply astonishing, it has the superb texture and naturalness, almost reaching
the giddy organic heights of their two box combinations. It is available with either
a silver fascia or black acrylic.
Audio Note CD2.1x/II CD Player: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note CD3.1xV2
The CD3.1xV2 is the first of the larger chassis CD players from Audio Note. It features
a modified Philips cd mechanism, the Analogue Devices AD1865 convertor running without
oversampling and without a digital filter. The output stage uses ECC88 dual triodes,
Audio Note copper foil paper in oil capacitors and tantalum resistors. It is available
with either a black acrylic fascia (as shown above) or silver aluminium (below)
Audio Note CD3.1xV2 CD player: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note CD4.1x
The CD4.1x is a top loading player which effectively combines the CDT Two/II transport
and DAC 2.1x digital to analogue converter into one box (please see the separate
pages which detail these products more thoroughly). To reduce the problems inherent
in one box players great attention has been invested in the power supplies to ensure
that there is minimal coupling between the various stages. This makes the CD4.1x
the ultimate one box solution for those that don’t have the space for a separate
DAC and Transport. It is available with either a black acrylic fascia (as pictured)
or brushed aluminium.
Audio Note CD4.1x CD player: £POA at manufacturers request