Abbingdon Music Research CD-77 CD Player

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Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) CD-77
Abbingdon Music Research CD-77 CD Player

Converter is the established Philips TDA1541A, allowing the use of external digital and analogue filtering, in this case the latest complex programmable devices from TI. This digital combination allows the user to select from six different filter arrangements via a single button on the remote control. Crucially, these options include two that eliminate the digital filter altogether (one with analogue filtering, the other without) along with choices of two or four-times over sampling or up-sampling to 96 or 192kHz – which pretty much covers all the bases, digitally speaking. AMR take great care to optimise the operating parameters of both devices, as well as providing a single, temperature optimised master clock that is different, but crucially in the company’s opinion, all the other clocks throughout the entire system are synchronised to, in order to reduce jitter. Power supply is extensive as you might expect, and heavily regulated too, with a separate power line for each functional block within the circuit. However, what makes it special is that each feed is regulated according to purpose, delivering a supply optimised to the function of the devices in question (low-noise, low-impedance etc). The main supply is itself extremely an sophisticated linear design, providing both filtering of noise and waveform correction, as well as auto-adaptation to any voltage standard connected to it. Internally, component quality is excellent with each individual item carefully selected, heavily plated circuit boards and textbook implementations rather than cut corners. Each mono analogue output stage is a zero-feedback, pure tube design, built around a 6CA4 rectifier feeding an ECC81 gain stage and 5687 output buffer, delivering good linearity and low output impedance. All tubes are NOS. Built into the outer portions of the chassis, the internal sections are carefully divided by solid copper plates, while purposely mixed materials and dimensions are used to further minimize structural resonance. Aerospace isolators are incorporated into the feet to reduce the impact of external vibration and AMR supply single-ended interconnects, a superior mains lead, a USB lead and a burn-in disc, all to help ensure that you achieve optimum performance. They even go the extra mile to make sure it arrives in one piece, packing the whole kit and caboodle in a foam-lined flight case. But the best news of all is that this single-handed assault on the high-end weighs in at what, given its constructional and component quality, fit, finish and presentation, seems like a bargain price. Line this up alongside the vast majority of £10K audiophile players and it makes them look cheap, in some cases downright shoddy. Yet the AMR costs “only” £4400. Not exactly pocket-money I grant you, but definitely material value in today’s market place. So, like I said, it’s ticked pretty much every audiophile box, it looks the part and the price is definitely right, but does the sonic whole add up to more than the sum of the parts? In a word – absolutely. This impressive players steps straight into the slot next to the Muse Erato II as the new benchmark for serious high-end performance. Of course, in doing so it also offers a stark contrast to that machine, its dedicated CD-only stance and heavyweight build as resolutely traditional as the American player’s modular, multi-format approach is current. That fact alone will tend to leave you gravitating in one direction or the other, but the sonic contrast is just as stark, the Muse’s unforced evenness and easy separation of instruments quite distinct from the fuller and more dynamically forceful style of the CD-77.

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