Product Review

ONIX CD-3 CD Player

Part I

May, 2007

John E. Johnson, Jr.



● Codecs: Redbook CD, CD-R
● Upsampling to 24 bit - 96 kHz
● THD: 0.002%
● XLR and RCA Analog Audio Outputs
● Output Voltage: 1.8 V
● Output Impedance: 600 Ohms
● Dimensions: 3.8" H x 17.7" W x 14" D
● Weight: 21 Pounds
● MSRP: $999 USA



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 Design

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 room.

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 and detachable.

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 preamplifier.

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 point.

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 chair.

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.

© Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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