The Sound Advocate product of the year for 2020 has named Audio Note’s (UK) CD3.1x/II the victor!
As in our first award listing of 2019, we once again have gathered up, the listening evaluations, thoughts and impressions of all the products reviewed by the Sound Advocate in 2020 The editor has granted this year’s award as “ best product” to AUDIO NOTE ( UK) with their CD3.1x//2 CD player / DAC.
This year it was a close one, to say the least. Our runner up was Wyred 4 Sound’s Special 10th Anniversary DAC and in some ways, this decision could have gone either way, as they are both, without doubt, exceptional products in every respect!
While the Audio Note is somewhat unusual in its design parameters having built-in output tubes, and no oversampling in its DAC section, it has proven time and time again to display the most delicate, natural sound qualities of acoustical instruments when engaging program material consisting as such.
It’s combination of “theatrical” and concert hall ambiance, prodigious dynamic spreads, and its firm bass response are a few of its strong points. The CD3.1/2x delivers to the listener an uncompromising combination of silky acoustical detail and smoothness, authentically natural instrumental tonality and exact stereo image locational effects while never sounding pushed or up front in the sound stage. These intrinsic qualities make it a product (one of many from Peter Qvortrup’s company) that purveyors of “NEUTRALITY” will salivate for. I’m still amazed when switching back to the CD 3.1x/II CD player sophistication and eloquence of the DAC, and how it can provide such enormous levels of resolution, nuance and fundamentally natural sound quality with such soul and musicality!
Here are 2 quotes from my original review:
“What was so particularly special and out of the ordinary with these live orchestral (video) broadcasts with the CD 3.1X/II? As with many other players (DACS) I’ve used, the full orchestra was displayed in its entire stage depth, height, and width, However, this player seemed to give me a sense of a touch more “liquidity” not only in its midrange and high frequencies but it was able to generate an overall systematic abundance of “delicacy” and a serene sense of the musical performance emanating pertinently on the stage before you.”
“All this was captured while never missing a beat of deep bass or mid-bass articulation. The tight and precise bottom end helps to convey the acoustic of the recording and gives the performers a strong physical presence. Again, if your listening room is pretty well reconciled acoustically, certain live performances and impeccably engineered recordings will bring forth a huge amount of detail and spaciousness to the soundstage—while never losing touch of stereo image accuracyfor every soloist and orchestral performer!!” (Separation levels are closely tolerated to within or less than .05db per channel).
Congratulations to Peter Qvortrup and Audio Note!
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