Abbingdon Music Research CD-77 CD Player

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

However, we can improve things. Despite AMR’s protestations to the contrary, I find that the CD-77 (just like the ARC) does indeed benefit from attention to its support. Inserting three Stillpoints cones to bypass the soft feet opened out the soundstage, improved separation and the focus and solidity of individual instruments and voices and banished most of that hollowness from the tonality. Likewise, leaving the player running for extended periods improves its tonal range, overall fluidity and low-level detail. In this form, the urgency that underpins the Cure’s Seventeen Seconds, the step-change in tempo between ‘A Reflection’ and ‘Play For Today’ is beautifully portrayed, the first deliberate but with a coiled anticipation, the second explosively forceful, forging ahead in a helter-skelter rush. Likewise, the bi-axial juxtaposition that opens ‘M’ works to perfection, the keyboard whoosh that travels left to right having a studied inevitability, an even progress and eventual impact that most players fail to deliver where vinyl succeeds so handsomely. The solid snare and bass drum doublets that characterize the album have real snap and impact to count against the solid thud and weight lower down, driving the track forward. Indeed, this ability to lean into the music is one of the AMR’s real strengths.

With the added temporal and spatial definition delivered by careful siting and long-term use, the AMR’s homogeneity becomes a virtue, offering a combination of evenness and substance top to bottom that is rare indeed. In this important respect it surpasses the Audio Research, whose nicely timed bottom end is nevertheless exposed for its roundness and lack of shape. Nor is this a musical quality that’s exclusively applicable to rock and pop music. Classical music and in particular the wider romantic repertoire really responds to the AMR’s presentation, with orchestral contrasts of dramatic scale and compass. The sense of body and presence platters voices, be they simple girl and guitar or the far more extreme demands of grand opera. Anna Netrebko’s Valentina in the Rizzi/Vienna La Traviata has a range and power that justifies the hype, the CD-77 managing to convey her wonderful voice in all its glory (and Villazon isn’t too bad either!). It’s this ability to rise to meet the qualities in a performance, to match the scale and drama that makes the AMR so special, elevating it into exclusive company indeed. Whether it’s a stretched out, bluesy jazz line, slashing guitar heroics or a beautifully turned orchestral phrase, this player allows the music to deliver, allowing you to relax and enjoy it.

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