Yep, a CD player. A frigging CD player. I thought Parasound's Richard Schram was a little off his rocker when he told me the company was launching a new $4,500 CD player, especially one with no SACD playback and not even a digital input for the internal DAC. But he made a pretty good case for it. "This is totally optimized for [CD quality] 16-bit/44.1-kilohertz audio," he said. "If we wanted to do other formats at this level of quality, we'd have had to basically build another DAC into it." The CD1's guts were designed by the digital experts at Holm Acoustics, who use a CD-ROM drive controlled by a fanless computer. The drive spins at 4x, which Holm considers to be optimum. "The CD system has some capacity for error correction, but you're basically guessing on what should be there," Schram contends. "With the CD1, all data is buffered in memory and read twice. If the two reads agree, it passes. If not, the CD1 re-reads the data a little differently over and over again until it gets it right." Hard to say how successful the technology is without comparing it to something, but it sure sounded good playing through Parasound Halo monoblocks and $20,000/pair KEF Reference 207/2 speakers.
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