Hot: A wholesome sounding player, presenting the music in a holistic rather than analytical manner. Yet, it unearths the subtler nuances of the recording, and communicates with a great degree of finesse. Well balanced tonally, and the DAC section truly shines with playback of audio files from a computer.
Cold: Filter options may have the finnicky focused too much on the technology rather than the music. Tray build quality seems a bit flimsy.
Encore: A coherent and confident machine, whether playing onboard media or providing the decoding engine for external sources. The DAC implementation is stellar and the flexibility will be greatly appreciated but who don’t want to abandon the CD ship and yet, would like to dip their toes in the growing world of computer audio. Quite possibly a benchmark at its price.
Specs: ESS Technology 32-bit Sabre DAC / 4 selectable digital filters / USB port for linking up with computer media and for firmware updates, 4 digital inputs (2 coaxial and optical each), 2 digital outputs (coaxial and optical) / RCA and XLR analogue outputs / Proprietary master clock / Balanced discrete Class A output stage / Output level: 2.05V RCA, 4.1V XLR / Remote control / Finish options: Black, silver