Audio Aero Capitole CD Player 24/192 Reference

 

 

 

 

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Capitole CD Player Reference : take the redbook CD challenge
The Capitole CD Player Reference has been designed with the idea to equal the SACD and DVD performance. This is the ideal player for discerning audiophiles with a huge CD collection and not willing to go for new digital formats.
First, we selected a high-end laser mechanism from Philips for its excellent playback performance, long lifetime, low play noise and long product life cycle. Supported by a specific aluminium suspension, its excellent readability allows to retrieving a maximum of CD’s data.
Then, we included the state-of-the-art in digital processing : our exclusive STARS ® process (Solution for Time Abstraction Re Sampling), a combination of very high speed 192 kHz RE-sampling (a new jitter free clock is created), 24 bit re-quantization and signal enhancement techniques (extraction of “hidden” information from 16 bit data, improvement of dynamic, precision, soundstage and details), developed for Audio Aero by Anagram Technologies SA.
The core of the system is a 32 bit SHARC DSP which, by performing hundred millions of calculations per second, rebuilds a high precision 24/192kHz signal, independent from the input clock, and keeping total dynamic range in all stages.   Then, after a 1024 times up-sampling on demand, D/A conversion is performed at 6.144MHz by a high performance 24 bit / 192 kHz DAC.
Analogue output stage features sub-miniature tubes and high precision buffer with built-in high quality volume control for a perfect match between high-tech digital treatment and musicality.


Well respected French Hi Fi Magizine review of the Capitole. (The Conclusion is all I could translate effectively)

Benefits: The most important thing is that you can safely continue with your CD collection. There is no need to throw them away to adopt a new format. There is also the substantial economy of a preamp allowing you to buy a better amplifier to partner with the Capitole.
The ability to retrieve, convert and preamplify a digital signal under the best possible conditions. Finally a serious competitor to your best quality vinyl collection. It had to be that this would happen one day... The Capitole is the first CD player to exceed the best vinyl in the accuracy and sumptuousness of the sound. This can be said without even mentioning the magnitude and the realism of the sound, and imaging of a massed orchestra.

Click for review by J. Peter Moncreiff - IAR (USA)

Specifications:

Typical audio performance :   
Frequency range (with 16/44.1 input signal)  7 Hz - 20 kHz (- 1dB)
Frequency range (with 24/96 input signal)  3 Hz - 48 kHz (- 1dB) 
Output voltage   up to 5.0 V RMS 
Output impedance  100 ohms 
Signal to noise ratio  125dB 
Total harmonic distortion < 0,3 %  

Power supply 100 / 120 / 230 / 240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz selected at factory.   
Power consumption 30W 

Technology :
Philips CDPRO2 mechanism for audio CD, CDR and CDRW suspended on aluminum / rubber subchassis 
Exclusive STARS ® process for 24 bit / 192 kHz re-sampling using SHARC DSP 32 bit floating point 
Supported wordwidth (digital input): 16, 18, 20 and 24 bit 
Supported sampling frequencies (digital input) : 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz 
Analog Devices AD1853JRS 24 bit / 192 kHz Digital to Analog converter 
High quality IC analog attenuator 
Balance control 
6021W subminiature tube output stage and high quality buffer 

General :
 Analog outputs  Single-ended RCA and professional line driver XLR  
Digital inputs  BNC, RCA, AES/EBU, AT&T and TOSLINK  
Digital output  inside player or any of the digital inputs by a BNC plug  
Chassis  15/10 steel 
Lid  20/10 brushed aluminum  
Feet Black Diamond Racing Pyramid Cones  
Weight  15kg. / 32.6 lbs. 
Dimensions (W x L x H)  452 x 450 x 120 mm / 17.82 x 17.72 x 4.72 inches  

Greg Osborn comments:

             It took me a long time to get into CDs. I was caught up in the hype of "Perfect sound forever" prior to their release, but early listening tests did not live up to these expectations. I had an Audio Mecca J1 Turntable with an Audio Mecca SL5 linear tracking tone arm with a Clearaudio Goldmund cartridge. This combination just massacred any CD player for musicality and overall performance (background noise excepted) I tried CD player after CD player and DAC after DAC looking for what the format promised until I tried the DAC from the Australian company Music Labs (Now closed down to pursue other challenges) Finally a musical, natural performance which did not fracture your ear drums and could be carefully listened to for long periods. Since that day I have tried many others, sticking mainly to the Redgum DAC/CD Player. This is an exceptional unit which uses a modified Music Labs DAC and a CD Rom to allow CDs to be played, although a quality transport lifts performance markedly.

              I had never heard a player which would encourage me to part with my hard earned cash until I chanced on the Capitol 24/192. This is a close as one can get to the best of analogue. Instruments are separated from each other and surrounded by their own air. Notes decay naturally and just fade out instead of starting and stopping suddenly as a lot of players do. Hall ambience can be felt, and you can hear how far away the back wall is.   

             Comparisons with SACD are almost laughable. Listening to SACD disks against standard CDs on the Capitole results in a collapse of the soundstage, a blurring of instruments and a fog between the instruments.   I was tempted to wait for SACD until I heard this player.
What else can I say. I bought one for myself and wanted to offer this level of performance to my customers and to those with lesser speakers who wanted to extract the very best from them.

           These comments just received from one of my recent Capitole CD player buyers;

The Capitole is sounding great.
I have done back-to-back comparisons with a friend who has an Allen Wright modified Sony SACD player - which sounds better than any (more expensive) stock standard SACD players I have heard by a considerable margin.  We did the comparison using hybrid SACDs and comparing the CD layer as being played through the Capitole with the SACD layer on his unit.
The claims you and Audio Aero have made about the Capitole are true - it sounds better than SACD by a considerable margin - this is not hype. My friend was the first to admit it - the Capitole beat it with a much bigger soundstage, more defined bass and also more detail in the midrange - as well as having a better sense of rhythm and being more musical. He said to me "you don't need to bother about SACD".

David Barnard djbarnard@bigpond.com

Reviews and Comments:
Superceded model)
Le Magazine de son de tres haute fidelite (France) Test on Prima DAC, which is same DAC as in Capitole CD Player