Price Reduced 9/1/2016!
This is Audio Research's top of the line highly regarded reference CD player and external DAC. Its also the current model and this unit is in excellent condition, well cared for, a little more than a year old.
This is an extremely well reviewed disc player and external DAC, receiving a Stereophile "A" grade 3 years in a row. This player makes CD's sound analogue, largely a result of its tube output stage. It also provides lots of digital inputs to use the external DAC with a streamer, asynchronous USB 2.0HS, AES/EBU, coax and optical all 24-bit/192kHz. The player and DAC both up sample and offer user selectable digital filters. Its a veritable digital swiss army knife if a swiss army knife could sound like a heaven.
The unit uses two stereo converter chips in dual-mono configuration with two separate clock oscillators, one for the audio 44.1kHz sample-rate family, one for the video 48kHz one. Outputs can be RCA or XLR (Balanced).
Its no exaggeration to say that this is one of the best and most analogue sounding digital playersI have ever heard. As Ken Kessler said in his review in Hi-Fi News, "This is one of the finest players I have ever heard--textures, space, attack, neutrality-it excels"
This from Audio Research:
People still want to play their CDs, but they also want to add other digital sources such as computer audio to their music systems, so we created the Reference CD9 CD Player/DAC. It combines the best of both, a super high-resolution compact disc player with a super high-resolution digital-to-analog converter that is stunning in its musicality.
The Reference CD9 incorporates four digital inputs: Asynchronous USB 2.0HS, AES/EBU, RCA, and Toslink. All inputs handle 24 bit / 192k resolution. As you would expect, the Reference CD9 retains the Philips PRO2R transport, still the best dedicated CD mechanism available. It is simply unsurpassed for compact disc playback. Benefitting from what we have learned in the development of the Reference DAC and the DSPre, the REF CD9 utilizes quad 24-bit DACs running in mono mode, with dual master oscillators; one for 44.1/88.2/176.4 sample rates, the other for 48/96/192kHz sample rates. Sample rate conversion is selectable for all inputs, allowing playback in native resolution or via upsampling, including compact disc and—for the first time—the USB input. Additionally, there is a selectable digital filter, with either fast or slow rolloff.
On the bench, the bandwidth of the Reference CD9 is five times that of the CD8, with one tenth of the distortion, greater dynamic range, and it is also quieter. Like the Reference 5SE, Reference PH2SE and Reference DAC, the analog section is vacuum-tube, with four 6H30 dual-triodes, and there is vacuum-tube power-supply regulation featuring a 6550WE with a 6H30. The magic is continued. The front panel has the familiar, dimmable CD display on the left side. On the right side there are three vertical rows of LEDs to indicate sampling rate, input selection, filter and power. In addition to the digital inputs, the back panel includes Digital Outputs (AES/EBU and BNC), single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs, and a 15A IEC power connector. Due to its function as a separate DAC, our custom ASIO drivers must be installed in your computer for use with the USB 2.0HS input.
Sonically, the Reference CD9 is in a new class, combining the magical musicality of tubes with new levels of transparency and aliveness. The Reference CD9 sounds “faster” with greater transient speed, improved dynamics from top to bottom, much greater resolution of inner detail, with a focus and purity that is captivating. Rhythm, pace and timing are better than ever, something you must hear to appreciate. It’s time to hear your music in High Definition®.
Player comes with all parts, fresh tubes, remote,, manual, etc. I will also throw in an upgrade tweak, an audiophile fuse from Synergistic Research (Red) that adds a bit more body when swapped with the stock fuse. I am pricing this aggressively, as you can see from other listings. This unit will make someone very happy. For Paypal, please add 2.7%.
I have excellent feedback, so buy with confidence!