Consonance Reference CD 2.2

Model: Consonance Reference 2.2
Category: CD Player/Recorder
Suggested Retail Price: $1900
Description: CD player with tubed output stage
Manufacturer URL: Not Available

Review by dls123 ( A ) on April 15, 2003 at 11:34:30
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Didn't see any mention of this player here yet. I just got it last night and it is beautiful! It replaces an Adcom GCD 750 which is not a bad player in its own right. This one blows it away in every area of comparison! The Consonance has a tubed output stage based on the Sovtek 6H30. It also features balanced outputs, but I believe these bypass the tubed stage - please someone correct me if I am wrong about that! I have it hooked up to a Krell KAV 300i and a pair of Joseph Audio RM25si MkII's. The Krell can be very revealing and a tad bit harsh. Since it has both balanced and single ended inputs I have hooked both of the player's outputs up and can switch between balanced and single ended using the Krell remote. I have left the player on repeat for about 12 hours now. I realize that it is no where near broken in. However, I thought those of you considering this player may want someone's report... My initial impression right out of the box was that the balanced outputs sounded better. The soundstage was more expansive and everything was just a tad bit clearer. However, after an overnight of burning in the single ended is catching up. I notice that it is a bit softer in character, but this is not a bad thing - especially mated to the Krell. The soundstage is a wee bit narrower, but somehow more focused. Female vocals are wonderful. Since I have a totally uncontrolled experiment I have no way of knowing how much of the difference I hear is due to the Consonance or the Krell. Also, the balanced cables are a very nice set of straightwires and the single ended cable is a mid grade Prisma (upgrade on the way). All in all either balanced or single ended is far superior to the Adcom, but I think the single ended is winning me over. As other review snippets have indicated, you simply just want to keep listening to this player! It is very smooth and detailed and throws a wonderful soundstage on my system. To my ears it is very evenly balanced from top to bottom end and the midrange is just wonderful. There is ample bass, but only if it is on the recording. Bass is not boomy, very tight and natural. I hate to use cliches, but it is truly very analog sounding. Instruments sound like instruments should - and the vocals....welllll trust me you will like them. I haven't opened the hood yet, but the thing is built like a tank and the transport is very nice and smooth. The controls are a bit odd, but you get used to them quickly and the little remote works well and is quite neat. The one thing missing is the ability to program a set of tracks, but I am nit picking here. I am in the midst of upgrading my system and I have a JoLida Jd-1000 tubed integrated on the way. It is modified by the Parts Connection and I can't wait to hear it. The Krell was fun for 4 years, but I suspect the fully tubed amp will be a delight, especially with the Consonance player. I will post another review of the player when it is fully broken in. However, if you are considering one of these players and you can't find one to listen to locally and you are wondering whether to "risk it", my advice is to go for it. They can be had for $1600-$1800 on Audiogon. I would be very sure that you won't find anything better in that price range unless it is used and you get one of those steal deals. Again, I know that this thing isn't even remotely broken in yet, but it blows me away! More in a couple of weeks. Happy listening.

Product Weakness: None I have heard so far, ability to program tracks is lacking, but I rarely used it anyway.
Product Strengths: Soundstage, image, and a wonderful, lush midrange. Build quality appears to be superb.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Krell KAV300i
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): none
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Opera Consonance Ref. 2.2
Speakers: Joseph Audio RM25si MkII
Cables/Interconnects: straightwire/prisma
Music Used (Genre/Selections): baroque, jazz, rock
Room Size (LxWxH): 16 x 12 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: not too bad
Time Period/Length of Audition: 1 day
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Chang litespeed
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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