REPORTS of CD’s demise are greatly exaggerated; the format is very much alive and thriving… especially in the realm of The High End. Testament to this comes from Switzerland’s CH Precision, which developed and built its own optical transport mechanism over a decade ago for the D1 CD/SACD player/transport. This has evolved with new developments and technologies to the latest iteration of that mean machine… it’s now the D1.5.
The D1 was a multi-channel capable machine that was user-configurable and upgradable, with a card-cage construction – it set a standard for high-resolution disc replay, despite the growing popularity of high-res streaming among audiophiles.
“With the constant development of new production techniques, materials and even formats, optical disc has never sounded so good. The emergence of Glass CD, SHM discs, UHQCD and new formats such as MQA-CD, has improved performance, giving disc replay a renewed relevance, while millions of existing discs still offer superb performance. But at the same time, the quality of replay hardware has diminished significantly, undermining those advances and masking their real value,” CH Precision tells us.
“To match improving digital standards, we have developed our own, mechanically damped, high-mass MORSe transport mechanism. We have revised the optional on-board upsampling, updating it with our proprietary PEtER spline filter algorithm. We have added MQA replay capability, while also allowing users the choice of optimised MQA digital output when connected to an external, MQA-capable DAC, avoiding on-the-fly sample-rate switching.
“Owners could start with a single-box D1.5 player and grow it by stages and without cost penalty, all the way up to a nine-chassis, state-of-the-art digital front-end! Of course, they can also stop at two-boxes, three-boxes or any number of boxes up to nine – the ultimate example of upgradability.”
Among the key points of the new D1.5 are:
- In-house designed and built Mechanically Optimised Reading System (MORSe) disc transport.
- Optical pick-up and motor are precision-mounted on a machined brass ‘sled that weighs almost 1kg, which is in turn isolated on a sophisticated alpha-gel suspension, fine-tuned to filter vibration down to AC mains frequencies. This prevents vibrations generated by the spinning of the disc from reaching sensitive electronic boards, as well as low frequency vibrations originating in the power supply or chassis disturbing the accurate tracking of the laser mechanism.
- Massive, ultra rigid support frame, constructed from almost 2kg of machined billet aluminium and direct coupled to the chassis base-plate, with its improved four-point mechanical grounding and levelling system.
- Fully compatible with SACD, CD and MQA-CD discs.
- CH Link HD, AES/EBU, S/PDIF and TosLink digital outputs mounted as standard.
- Optional dual mono DACs and Sync IO board allow users to specify or adapt unit for uses as a transport or player, with or without external clocking.
- On-board upsampling employs state-of-the-art PEtER spline filter algorithm for CD replay.
- Users can configure digital outputs to optimise replay of MQA-CDs with an MQA capable DAC, avoiding on-the-fly sample-rate switching.
- Fully compatible with CH Precision’s C1 and C1 Mono DACs, the I1 integrated amplifier, as well as the T1 Time Reference master clock and X1 External Power Supply.
The D1.5 shares an almost identical form-factor and operational interface as its predecessor, but it is a completely different machine inside. Existing D1s cannot be physically upgraded to D1.5 status, but a factory trade-in scheme and compatibility with all existing CH digital products allow existing owners a cost-effective path to the D1.5.
Here are the prices (which may vary depending on country):
D1.5 SACD/CD Transport – US$41,000 / €34,300
D1.5 SACD/CD Player/Transport – US$46,000 / €39,000 per pair (four chassis)