Consonance CD-120 Linear

 About Consonance CD-120 Linear

 

Solid State vs Valve, Digital vs Analogue, SACD vs DVD-A, the arguments rage on, with one persons point of view seemingly contradicting others, which is right? Which is wrong? Are there any winners, any losers, or is it down to personal tastes? Now we have opposing technologies in the digital world, Digital Filters vs Filterless Dac’s, Up-sampling vs No up-sampling, Over-sampling vs no Oversampling, how are we supposed to make a decision with so many opposing viewpoints?

There seems to be only one way to decide, and that is with your ears, if you like the sound of the latest technology with 24/192 up-sampling, with brick-wall fliters to block unwanted spurious noise, then that is what you are looking for, if on the other hand you trust your ears to make a buying decision, then the alternative “Simple” approach is worth looking out for.

The Consonance CD 120 Linear and Reference CD2.2 Linear MKII Tube CD Player embody the same design philosophy; non-oversampling and no digital filters.

Consonance CD-120 Linear Reviews

 

“A sound that is detailed without being obvious, rich without being syrupy. But the thing that’s really special, the thing that makes the CD-120 sound so reminiscent of good analogue is its effortless sense of musical flow, the way it integrates its colour and detail into a single, coherent musical whole. Performances are so expressive, they simply make so much sense, that they become seductive, involving and compelling all at once – exactly as they should. Not so long ago you couldn’t achieve this level of performance from CD at any price, let alone well under four figures.”- HI FI PLUS. JIMMY HUGHES.

“I absolutely friggin’ LOVE this CD player! Okay, review’s done. Not quite though; let me at least tell you why. You owe me that for breaking the suspense so early.

Yes, I know a lot of us cyber reviewers seem to love a lot of products. Why, I have three in for review now and, Cub Scout’s honor, all three as you will by turns hear are indeed excellent, or at least very darn good. In our defense though (reviewers—not Cub Scouts), and you’ll have to trust me here, there is an awful lot of good-sounding gear out there these days. What with our sector of the market dwindling and small to begin with, you would expect Darwin to be at work big-time here, and in my experience, he is (well, his theory anyway).

Controversial, non-faith-based scientific theories notwithstanding, the CD 120 Linear is in my view a very special player among price-point (and somewhat beyond) equals. Intelligent Design indeed. Going right for Nora Jones’ Come Away With Me (bad audiophile habit—I know) after warm-up without any break-in whatsoever, I was struck by the totally unassuming, un-hyped, intimate presentation on offer. The bass was present and full. Her voice was all come-hither sex and breath, as it should be on a great system. And most importantly, there was minimal if any loss of fine detail. Now this was a trick!

Alison Krauss’s sublimely beautiful “Ghost In This House” from theirLive CD [Rounder Records] was mesmerizing. It always is, but I really did forget about reviewing the player and just let Alison do her thing. Played disc 2 after that and snuggled with my cutie on the couch. She said “this sounds so nice.” And that’s a direct quote ladies and gentleman. Your move.

The highs on this player are in no way rolled off and are never irritating (except when they are supposed to be) like with some of the well-played but brightly lit string quartet sets I have. No wet-blanket-over-the-speaker “musicality” here, just superbly well-judged and un-hyped playback.

And did I mention the PRaT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing)? No reviewer worth his salt leaves out the PRaT, and let me tell you this player has excellent PraT (read: natural, neither forced or slothful timing). I kept looking for the Naim badge somewhere. Must’ve fallen off on the plane ride over from China.

Five For Fighting’s hit song “Hundred Years” was moving and especially so because the 120 Linear picks up on all the little dynamic shifts, pregnant pauses and piano to forte swells that make this song so compelling. I know a piece of gear times well if I find myself tapping my foot along or thrumming my fingers on the arm of the couch in time to even the ballades.

In terms of tone, through the Hyperion monitors, my favorite countertenor David Daniels as served up by the 120 Linear was beautiful, but not artificially so, as he can be made to sound on some cheap players with tacked on, tubed output stages. I enjoyed the even production of his voice as he emoted his way through Handel aria after Handel aria. There was no syrup to be had; only fluffy Belgian waffles sanspowdered sugar. (Can you tell it’s brunch time as I write this?)”- STEREO TIMES. DAVID ABRAMSON.