The idea of purchasing a CD player in the age of the digital download might seem anachronistic, but here’s a double-deal that could appeal to those who still want to spin silver discs and have them amplified with quality componentry, all for a song. And it’s not quite the ‘old technology’ you might think – but more about that in a minute.
Onkyo has a low profile here, but the Japanese company has been bringing quality hi-fi to the masses for 50 years. This perfectly matched pair is a great example of Onkyo’s ethos:audiophile quality for well below audiophile price.
Onkyo has some fine home theatre gear in its roster but it all began with audio, and here we are with a couple of slim,well-built and designed entry-level audio products.
The C-S5VL SACD player features a lot of technology (Wolfson DAC converters and something Onkyo calls ‘Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry’, among many other things). What
the jargon means is that we can expect to hear a more natural sound with less distortion and little of the ‘jitter’ common to CD players or their mechanisms.
I tested the C-S5VL on a few SACD releases (including several by Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi, along with reissues by German group Can) and it brought out detail I had never
heard before, all presented with a smooth, translucent lustre. Conventional CDs (which have a lower sampling rate than SACDs) also sounded smooth and super-clear, and the unit was a joy to use with its easy combined remote.
The amplifier may be partially responsible for that smooth sound (or perhaps it’s the combination of two well-matched parts). Unfortunately, imminent deadlines precluded mixing and matching with other components. The A-5VL clearly acquitted itself well, and its relatively low power rating (40 watts per channel) had just enough gumption to drive my huge floorstanders, though I would recommend either more efficient or smaller speakers for this amplifier to save it from an early grave.
Happily, the amp sports just about every connectivity option you could want, with coaxial and optical digital inputs, four line-level audio inputs, and even a phono stage for
old-fashioned gals like me who insist on playing the odd slab of vinyl. Most excitingly, it’s got a digital input designed to work with Onkyo’s ND1 iPod dock; a recently What Hi-fi awardwinner that we will be profiling in Tone 81.
If I were in the market for an entry-level audiophile-grade system, I would have no hesitation in shelling out for this pair,which is very close to being a match made in musical heaven.

ขอขอบคุณ: Tone Test /