Consonance CD 2.2 Linear CD Player

About Consonance CD 2.2 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?

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.

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. For the price the results are simply stunning.

Consonance CD 2.2 Linear Reviews

“In essence, the Reference CD 2.2 Linear carries on from where the CD Linear 120 left off. Both have the choice of 44.1kHz or 88.2kHz sampling, and dispense with the digital anti-aliasing filter on the basis that the cure is worse than the disease. Sonically they’re alike, in so far as both players produce a smooth well-balanced neutral sort of presentation with good definition and detail.

Going from the Linear 120 to the Reference 2.2 Linear, I was initially struck by their similarities rather than their differences. Both offer clear well-balanced sound that’s smooth, natural, and very true to life. There’s nothing flash or exaggerated about the presentation. However, the Reference CD 2.2 Linear seems to offer greater texture and separation. I immediately noticed this while playing a recording of a piano trio; the violin and cello had greater substance and a more full-bodied yet sinuous tone quality. The two string instruments sounded cleaner with greater presence and superior projection.

There was a better sense of the individual tonality of the violin and cello – a greater feeling of bows being drawn across strings – creating a more vivid and palpable sonic impression of real instruments playing in a real space. Although the piano had the dominant part, you could hear the two string instruments come and go as dynamic levels fluctuated. Very impressive! But more impressive was the manner in which detail was revealed – without undue emphasis or exaggeration. Here is a player that gives you the music cleanly and honestly, without over-dramatising things.

This, it seems to me, is the hallmark of the Reference CD 2.2 Linear. It’s not perhaps a player that immediately knocks you sideways. Rather, it caresses and beguiles the ear in ways that are both informative and seductive. The sound is very natural and unexaggerated, very pure and refined. Clarity seems to be greater than the CD Linear 120. There seems to be more space around voices and instruments, creating a greater sense of depth. It’s smoother and cleaner too. But it’s an inner clarity, rather than detail being thrust at you. . The CD 2.2 is a very musical player – very easy to listen to, and extremely enjoyable. It’s deceptively detailed and informative because everything sounds so natural and relaxed. But don’t let this fool you into thinking the presentation is bland or lacking in real detail.

I really liked the creamy smooth refined presentation of the Reference CD 2.2 Linear. Playing Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Teldec recordings of Handel’s Opera Saul, the lovely openness and neutrality of the player really helped with this rather closed-in and slightly boxy Live recording. I don’t think I’d ever heard it sound so beautiful and natural. The voices still had a slightly backward placement in the soundstage, but it just sounded as though the hall acoustics were colouring the sound – not the equipment. More to the point, the musical presentation was very convincing overall. With opera, there can be a tendency just to listen to the individual voices. But, with the Reference CD 2.2 Linear, the voices were not simply backed by orchestral instruments; the orchestra was very much an instrumental voice behind the vocal line – harmonising it exquisitely.

Another recording that benefited from the Reference CD 2.2 Linear’s openness and neutrality – also on Teldec – was the set of Mozart piano concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic. Now these have a fairly full/dark slightly ‘thick’ sort of sound, without much transparency. The orchestra is warm but recessed, without much bite or brilliance. The Reference CD 2.2 Linear did not change the basic presentation as such, but seemed to open-up what had previously been rather thick/dense textures.

It was almost as though the recording was being illuminated from within – if that makes sense. Strings and winds positively glowed, sounding luminous yet sweet and honeyed. I’d never have believed these recordings could be transformed like this. By comparison, The CD Linear 120 was less noticeably transparent and refined – in particular, the upper partials of the violins sounded a tad thinner and more exposed. . When I originally started auditioning the Reference CD 2.2 Linear, I wasn’t initially convinced it was that much better than the cheaper CD linear 120. It sounded good, but I wasn’t bowled over by it. However, the more I listened, the more obvious it became that the Reference CD 2.2 Linear did produce significantly better results than the CD Linear 120. To prove it, just live with the Reference CD 2.2 Linear for a few days, get used to it, then go back to the CD Linear 120 – No Contest! .

While superficially the two players appear to offer a similar sort of overall presentation (smooth, natural, and well-balanced) the Reference CD 2.2 is even clearer and more transparent, with better fine detail and a greater sense of ambience and space. It’s cleaner too, with less high frequency edge and hash. You especially notice this on massed violins, which have a greater homogeneity and tonal allure when heard via this CD player. You get a better sense of the body of sound – not just the bass and treble extremes.

A really good CD player then – one to marry rather than have a fling with. For me, the Reference CD 2.2 Linear’s greatest strength is its sheer easy, unexaggerated naturalness – it does its job effortlessly well. So well, you hardly notice the mechanics of reproduction. In this sense it’s very analogue – even more so than the excellent CD Linear 120.”- HI FI PLUS. JIMMY HUGHES.