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ONIX CD-3 CD Player

Part II

May, 2007

John E. Johnson, Jr.

 

The Sound

I tested the CD-3 using a Lamm L2 Reference Preamplifier, Lamm M2.2 Power Amplifiers, BAT VK-5i Preamplifier, McIntosh MC1201 Power Amplifiers, Carver Mark IV Ribbon Speakers, and Strata Mini Speakers. Cables were Legenburg.

 

Mozart, EMI Classics, 0-94637-83742-9

"Sinfonia Concertante": Full orchestra has violins in several octaves with woodwinds, all easily distinguishable.

"Violin Concerto No. 4": The soloist's violin exhibited all of its natural harmonics, without any of the harshness of harmonic distortion that can make a CD sound so metallic.
 

 

Michael Camilo, Spirit of the Moment, Telarc - SACD-63653

"My Secret Place": Piano, bass, and drums lay across the entire soundstage, each in its place. There is no merging that would be caused by piling up of midrange THD. I could almost see the drummer with his brushes on the snare drum. This is a very good album for depth imaging, as the drums were clearly to the right and deeper onto the stage than the piano.

 

Schubert, Piano Sonata D958, EMI Classics, 0-94638-43212-8

"Pflicht und Liebe": Ian Bostridge's tenor voice and Leif Ove Andsnes piano formed a perfect duet across the front of the room. Each note of the two artists were separate and detailed, a good demonstration of the very low THD that this player has. Ian was placed towards the center, with the piano behind him.

 

 

Rachmaninoff, Symphony No. 2, Telarc, SACD-60670

Symphony No. 2: The opening bars with several stringed bass playing raised the hackles on my skin with the vibrations of each instrument seemingly individual, rather than simply as a single bass. Then, a moment later, the other strings violin, viola, cello join the melody line to open up the entire room with glorious passion.

Again, no midrange mush even with all those strings playing in numerous octaves. The CD-3 really is a high performance player at a mass market price. It's worthy of any audio system.

These orchestral pieces are perfect to show off the benefits of 24/96 upsampling. As you will see (On the Bench), the noise floor is improved substantially in the high frequencies (called Amplitude Resolution), which will add that extra bit of detail to the leading edges of music, and along with lower THD, will make it sound more realistic (more "you are there").

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