ONIX is one of the brand name product lines
that is carried by AV123, whose President is Mark Schifter.
AV123 has been around since 2000, and began
with a couple of brands.
Now, they manufacture and market several product lines, including
Perpetual Technologies (DACs), Alchemy˛ (digital delay components to fix
audio sync problems in digital displays that have sound), R-DES (Subwoofer
EQ), x-Series (speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers), Rocket (speakers), and ONIX
(Amplifiers and CD Players).
Mark sent us the ONIX H6550 Integrated Amplifier
(review forthcoming by Piero Gabucci), as well as the CD-3 CD Player, reviewed here.
The CD-3 is a single disc Redbook CD player
with upsampling capabilities. It does not play SACD or DVD-A.
In a world of inexpensive CD players ($1000
and less) that weigh about 5 pounds, the CD-3 is a heavyweight at 21 pounds.
The chassis does not rattle like the thin metal chassis of other affordable
units. This one is built like a tank.
The front panel has the Standby/On button on
the left, the tray, then the control buttons, e.g., Open/Close Tray, Play,
Stop, Skip, etc. Readout is via blue LED, and the lettering is a bit small
for my tastes, but then, I like to be able to read panels from across the
The rear panel is Spartan, like
CD players tend to be. However, one thing you don't find on most players is
here, namely, XLR outputs, along with their RCA unbalanced counterparts.
Digital out is through coaxial, rather than the usual Toslink optical.
The main power button is also
here (the front panel offers a Standby/On toggle). The AC input is grounded
The remote control really
surprised me, at least for a sub $1,000 player. It is solid metal and weighs
about a pound. In order to replace batteries, you need to remove four screws
on the back. This reminds me of the remote for my $4,500 Class A tube
The CD-3 has 24 bit - 96 kHz upsampling
capability, and the buttons on the remote include being able to switch the
upsampling in or out of the circuit, even while you are playing discs.
Although the CD-3 cannot play SACDs, there is an SACD button on the remote,
making it seem likely that ONIX will add an SACD player to its line at some
One button missing from the remote is the
Open/Close Tray. It is not a critical issue, but I like to open the tray as
I cross the room to change discs, and to close the tray as I walk back to my
For those of you who hate to see panel
lighting when you are listening to music or watching movies, you can dim the
panel from the remote as well. It's not important to me. In fact, I like
panel lights. It gives me a frame of reference in a dark room. The VU meters
on my McIntosh MC1201 power amplifiers are 6" in width. They give off a nice
blue light, and I would never turn them off, even though there is a
setting on the control dial for that purpose.
Click Here to Go to Part II.