The Perfect Read
AMR CD-77, in many ways, realises the dream of meeting the perfect CD

PRODUCT: Abbingdon Music Research CD-77
TYPE: CD Player
PRICE: 7,000 Euro + 22% VAT
Dimensions (WxHxD): 46x16x47cm> Weight: 28kg>
Analog outputs: single-ended RCA, XLR >
Modes of operation: Direct Master I, II, Direct Master, Oversampling 2 x, 4 x oversampling, upsampling 96kHz, Upsampling 192kHz
Moje Audio’s latest offering, Abbingdon Music Research, offers several products built according to the ultimate in execution and original development to the highest level, exuding a desire to overcome stereotypes. In addition to the tested CD player, this London-based company also manufactures an integrated amplifier, the AM-77 with valves in the pre-amplification section (weighing 34kg, and fitted with a 1200VA power transformer) and the bookshelf loudspeakers the LS-77, weighing in at a 70kg for the pair!

The CD-77, is a real-world luxury product, packaged in a convenient metal protective flightcase, suitably equipped with handles, and soft-padded sections for cushioning along with a host of accessories as standard equipment. It should also be pointed out that designed specifically for this player, is a high-quality set of analogue interconnects, part of a future range of cables - which of course does not mean that you cannot experiment with other cables and the like.

The CD-77 Compact Disc Player is a top-loader. The cover was made with care and attention to detail down to the smallest details, which seems the norm for this player.

The design is one of pure refinement. From the solid chassis which is finished with a beautiful outside in a sparkling Champagne casework. The upper casework where the solid CD door is located, is secured by bolts. The CD drawer is opened/closed by hand to expose the CD well.

Apart from the drawer, the topside of this machine sports six (three on each side) pretty large "window", glass elements. These are used for cooling of the internal valves by convection. Top, sides and front are made of thick aluminum, making the whole, rigid and extreme. Placed at the front is a single row of cast light metal buttons, acting by the delicate touch of a finger. Upon activation, the surround is lit in light blue - a simple solution, but highlights the class of the overall construction.

Next is a large acrylic patch from which the display shows the data and selected digital input.

Something else - the selected filter (or its absence)

Indeed one of the most important characteristics of this device is the ability to use of different types of digital filters or their total exclusion.
Available are: I, Direct Master, Direct Master II, 2 x Oversampling, 4 x Oversampling, Upsampling 96kHz, 192kHz Upsampling. At the back we see analogue outputs- high quality RCA and XLR, as well as an input Digital USB.

The interior is divided into clear sections. Located in the middle of the drive are electronics from Sony and Philips, suspended under a heavy, solid element. The entire platform is supported by springs. At the bottom of the plate is the control system CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device) and DSP (Digital Signal Processing), which make the Upsampling and Oversampling, and D / A converter. The latter is another highlight - a comprehensive, 16-bit system, dating back to the beginning of the Compact Disc format: the Philips TDA1541A.

To the sides you see the left and right analogue channels and their respective power supplies.

In the amplification section, triode Mullard ECC81/12AT7 NOS valves and 5687/6900 Philips for the output section from military stocks. Voltage is regulated through EZ80/6V4 Mullard. For the valves, you see the O-rubber rings to minimise microphonics.

"With each valves you can see rubber O-rings to minimize microphonics"
The approach is to use only the best parts such as Mullard, metallized resistors and high quality of power. Voltage is supplied by two large, transformers shielded with 12 secondary windings. A separate transformer is used to power the display, usually most machines do not use a separate item. Nothing is overlooked - each section from the laser lens after the engine, etc., has its own power supply. The remote is metal, made of aluminium with touch screen controls and a few "hard" buttons.

And now a few words about the original digital-to-analogue TDA1541A converter. This Philips chipset launched the golden era of chipsets for CD players CDs, such as the legendary Marantz CD12/DA12 still used by the well-known reviewer, Ken Kessler and treated by him as his reference.

The Philips TDA1541A uses external digital and analogue filters, allowing designers to choose the optimum filter path. This is different from “successors”, as well as modern converters, where the filter systems are built-in and did not give the opportunity to be changed or improved. In addition, such systems often necessitate compromises associated with their size, resulting in higher noise and levels of jitter due to the small distance between each element.

At the end of the day, the Philips TDA1541A offers the possibility of subsequent selection of components for the designer to squeeze the maximum performance from this unique system. A feat that is only possible with this chipset.

CD will never sound like the best analog turntables, but it can be close in many respects.

The AMR CD-77, with a special design and several proprietary approaches, such as Direct Master I (without the digital and analog filters) and Direct Master II (no digital anti-aliasing and analogue filters) can obtain spectacular sound quality, with full and saturated colors.

It is always the case that these devices are high-end products that arouse strong emotions and generate great curiosity. As a rule, from high-end audio components, one expects something that from the first bars will result in music, to set the tone. This compares well to a sports car – a powerful engine and fantastic brakes cause a racing of the pulse with blood pumping in the veins, as it begins to stir our excitement. Our editing team is not short of such people to handle fine audio components from around the world. However, we also have some people that are less fanatical about the subject of audio but with such components as the CD-77, both groups of people we always see their reactions, due to the discovery of something that redefines the norm.Some sound characteristics from our system, which previously was not heard we can now ascertain, in a completely different way. Thus, both sets of testers, as well as observers can make new notes that draw different and sometimes surprising conclusions. In the case of CD-77, this is one such machine that one can ascertain from an early stage that does not identify with the normal adjectives.Once removed from the beautiful metal flightcase and after placing on a suitably solid surface and upon powering on, this player commenced its power pre-conditioning. By pressing play, the mechanical action is as smooth as touching sawdust. One becomes excited one the CD is placed in the transport to create another round of increased tension as one awaits for something spectacular and unique.Once the music commences, we are soothed and gradually begin to take notes during the listening session with our thoughts, comments and observations.

"There is no room for artifacts, adulteration or imposing its own character"
Yes, it happened, but only after a good two hours, this player performs just as well with all music genres! This view remained unchanged after several consecutive days spent listening.

After spending time with the AMR CD-77, any concerns that there are any flaws in this machine are dispelled and we quickly come to one conclusion - without doubt this CD player reproduces music in a most realistic way.

This is an extremely elegant and noble machine. It is not a Ferrari, but a Bentley!

With a natural and extremely smooth transmission it is supported primarily with great musicality and attention to each detail.

So forget about the typical excessive tube warmth and sterile coldness. The color is "natural", which is totally refreshing. There is no room for artifacts or manipulation or imposing its own sound.

This is music in its purest form of bit correct analogue reproduction! It is these associations that bring to our mind, vinyl.

While listening, the AMR CD-77 does not evoke thoughts of various frequency ranges.

"If we know bass, we can only say it just sounds live"

Music emanating from the speaker is of a homogenous form, creating the sensation of freedom and a lack of colouration apparent with typical sources. Of realism, look no further than the full, three-dimensional sound image stereo.

In "Better Be Home Soon "by Andrea Zonn the notes are almost at your fingertips, and the great layering and depth of complex scenes creates a sense of dealing with music as a live event.

There remains a proper balance between size and different types of instruments. Vocals enjoy no less attention - is situated in the center, and is devoid of trace sibilance and consonants are natural. And all comes with reliably placed bass, with a perfect sense of rhythm and operating freely throughout. There is no question of any, thinning of body or even any trace of harshness whatsoever.

When the bass is heard, it simply sounds like it is live. This aspect and other instruments presented by the AMR CD-77 exudes finesse in putting details not only to the extent that color, but also dynamics such as micro scale are not omitted. The devil is in the details, so when we compare the AMR - with any other player from a similar price range, it proves that the CD-77 transmits the music, not so much her interpretation,

which is what differentiates this player from all the others. The sound, the sense of dynamics, in fact, the entire stream of information that enters our ears is in the most homogeneous and purest form. Differences between different instruments are created and communicated clearly, therefore, subject all important aspects: colour, naturalness, clarity and great presence are evident.

The AMR CD-77 has just come in right at the top of our wish list: with its ability to replay CD with an unprecedented level of finesse and musical fluency as if it was performed live.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that most preferred non-oversampling, Direct Master I and Direct Master II, which we consider to be simply magic! HFC


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