Denon DCD-1500AE SACD Player

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Denon DCD-1500AE SACD Player
Denon DCD-1500AE SACD Player

Unlike many manufacturers Denon still makes at least some of its hardware in Japan, a fact that certainly separates the company from almost all of its competition in the budget audio sector. It’s remarkable that it can build such competitive products without relying on cheap labour from the PRC. But the DCD- 1500AE is a £500 player with “Made in Japan” written on both box and product – let’s hope it’s not just a case of ‘assembled in’ as can be found with some ‘Made in England’ products. Denon is part of a Japanese conglomerate called D&M Holdings, which also owns Marantz and McIntosh alongside Snell and Boston Acoustics. Being part of something so big must give it opportunities to keep costs down, but given the nature of the organisation profitability is still fundamental. However, despite that reality, this player still cares enough about performance to claim a UK-tuned sound.

Todays DCD-1500AE is an SACD/CD player, but it’s a product designation that many readers will remember from the halcyon days as being a benchmark among mid-market CD players, one of the first 16bit 4x o/s machines and the most affordable player to make serious music. Back then if you couldn’t afford a Meridian 207 it was the DCD- 1500 you aimed for. It even had a variable output option, encouraging early experiments with direct connection to power amps. I have to admit that it’s a name that I had forgotten but a quick search revealed its 1985 vintage and the fondness with which it is regarded is reflected in the fact that people are still using and tinkering with them today. Perhaps oddly it is not referred to on the Denon website which mentions 1982’s DCD-2000 as ‘the world’s first consumer use CD player’, something that Philips and Sony might have difficulty agreeing with! That original DCD-1500 also cemented Denon’s reputation for build quality with its battleship construction. A MkII version was released in 1987 which featured Lambda processing, a pre-cursor to the Alpha processing still in use today so perhaps the nomenclature isn’t as fanciful as it seems.

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