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Another ecstatic Esoteric DV-50 post

My DV-50 came in today, and since our new house isn't ready, I took it to my brother's house. He has an enormous listening room, and his Paradigm 100s, Bryston 4B-ST and BP-25 with his usual player, the Arcam FMJCD23 produce what I thought was an impressive soundstage. We simply plugged the player in where he usually puts his DVD player - the Philips 963A - and threw on Reference Recordings' RR-95CD, Respighi. I wanted to know if I would regret buying a player without HDCD decoding. Well, I soon forgot about that. The soundstage was simply enormous, the speakers disappeared to an extent I've never experienced and the sound was transparent beyond anything I've previously heard from CD. We played back the first four minutes of Solomon's dream on the Arcam, and it sounded to be struggling by comparison.

We put on the SACD of Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue, and again I was struck by the transparency of the sound. My memory of the same record on my Marantz SA-14 was of a much muddier sound with a flatter soundstage. I tried La Stavaganza as well, and again I had the same impression: while the SA-14 has a warm and dynamic sound, this player has a smooth, clear, dynamic and utterly transparent sound.

The real shocker was The Trinity Sessions. The ambience and the sheer presence of Margo Timmins' voice was as good as anything I've heard from a disc, regardless of format. We threw on Mighty Sam's Journey and listened to There's a New Man in Town, because I wondered whether this player could rock and could it ever. The Hammond organ and the horns in particular exhibited the kind of natural timbre I associate with DVD-A and SACD. I played the stereo track (48/16 PCM) on the DVD-V disc of Rattle conducting Mahler's Fifth on EMI just to make sure the thing could produce a picture, which it can - although it is not obviuosly any better or worse than the Philips 963A.

I used the RDOT + FIR filter setting throughout. I can't wait to get this thing into my new 5.1 system, but I'm a little disappointed by one thing: I'm not sure I can look forward to the usual break-in courtship with this player. I just don't think it will get better. And no, I haven't heard the Meitner equipment, so there is no implied comparison.

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Topic - Another ecstatic Esoteric DV-50 post - Jim Pearce 21:05:00 09/30/03 (37)

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