Arcam CD192 CD-player

In case the number in this model's moniker rings bells, it is of course as it really is a common frequency, in kHz, for upsampling converters to use (there's nothing remotely holy about it, by the way - 193kHz would work as well).

And yes, this, Holmes is truly an upsampling player.

The obvious difference is external: DiVA merchandises have less metal and much more plastic throughout the place. It is, nevertheless, still definitely clever, and using its alphanumeric display it supports CD Text. Nevertheless, the smart stuff is inside. Removing the thin aluminium lid reveals an audio transportation, a considerable aluminium screen cover, which hides the upsampling and sound output signal board, along with a main board crossing quite a lot of the case.

That board apart, the player is basically Arcam's most affordable unit, a CD73. But, the upsampling (retro-fittable for existing CD73 owners), using its associated higher-quality DAC and output signal circuits, adds an extra degree of refinement. It runs on the normal upsampling apparatus and no less than four DAC chips to reach its targets, collectively with familiar high quality op amps and passive components.

But beware! The aluminium case that is light generates fairly high mechanical noise: a high pitched hiss that could become annoying.

This looks like a rather warm and 'cuddly' sounding player, if our listeners' notes are anything to go by. The bass weight and tunefulness, married to great extension and, where needed, brought on consistent praise because of its abundant quality.

Frequencies that are higher reap the benefits of a pleasant, clear demonstration with great detail, but there seemed to be some little reservations about how detail holds together when the music complex and gets extremely loud. In the trickiest passages, pictures crowd together only a little and a few of the purity of instrument timbres that are individual is lost.

With music of textures that are simpler that is not such a problem. This appears to be a specially voice- friendly CD player, notably in a tiny number of instruments plus tracks with just voice.

Anything from a simple ballad with guitar to classic 1950s rock advantages from an incredibly educational way of the dynamics that is outstanding and group all round, while listener fatigue is avoided by a lack of any detectable spit in the top reaches.

There's a lot to admire in this player's performance. We would rate it as highly as any for general listenability should it not score for detail - it is both inviting and involving. Richard Black

In the bad old days, CD players had a habit of showing distortion that worsened at low amounts. Sometimes a trace lives and that's the case here, although that distortion is pretty much history, happily. While a few dB below that it vanishes at or near total degree, distortion is quite low. 60dB that is below , though, traces crop up again at levels that just might sometimes become perceptible. It's tough to be sure, though, and if that seems as if we are nit picking, it is probably because we're. Sort of. In fact, it is because we're hard put to locate anything else to complain of except the near-invariable mild aliasing around half the sampling frequency - and even that's not worse than many rival products. Speed precision is more than adequate at 25ppm and is accompanied by vanishing quantities of jitter. Noise output signal level standard, and is exemplary, frequency response across the audio band also.

Arcam CD192 CD-player photo