HiFi Review – Test Report
Sounds So Good It Makes Me Think Twice
Audio Note CD 5.1x Vacuum Tube CD Player

DATE : 12 Nov, 2021
CATEGORY : High-end Audio

“The person in charge of Audio Note’s CD 5.1x must not only understand the interpretation of music, but also know well how music should be replayed…. It made me feel intensely that this is what greatness sounds like, with great three-dimensionality, great musicality, and great enjoyment! … To be able to achieve this is by no means an easy feat that appears out of thin air, it is all based on the knowledge and experience of those in charge, along with an uncompromising stubborness to choose only the best!”

“In terms of appearance, the CD 5.1x chassis design is immediately recognizable from a distance. On the outside, it still has the same minimalist style of Audio Note, but inside there is a different world. Once you open the chassis of the CD-5.1x, the high-fidelity parts inside – their multitude and calibre – are sure to send you into a tizzy. If you are a DIY enthusiast who knows how to pick up a soldering iron, the CD-5.1x will surely keep you busy, check out the components and exploring the circuitry one by one!”

“Audio Note uses classic materials following classical techniques, to produce a batch of capacitors with characteristics comparable to the most beautiful sounding Blackgate capacitors, and named them “Kaisei”. …Since the makers of Audio Note even insist on using the long-discontinued Philips CD Pro 2LF for the pickup mechanism, which is renowned for its beautiful sound, to ensure the supply, they spent a good fortune to buy up remaining supplies. … If you toss in NOS’ assortment of vacuum tubes, the materials used to make capacitors in-house, various transformers wound in-house, and conductive materials such as pure silver or high-purity copper, the total inventory of materials is so large, that from a modern business management perspective, which aims to have low, or even zero inventory, Audio Note is outright crazy!”

“Audio Note firmly believes that music at the end of the day is a stream of continuous signals. Any upscaling, interpolation, re-clocking, noise-shaping, digital filtering, so on so forth, will interfere with the signal restoration of the music. Therefore, Audio Note’s decoding circuit design only lets the native signal passes through, and they believe that the AD 1865 decoder chip has the best sound, even better than the 20-bit version, and the signal is then processed at 1x oversampling rate…All filtering work is left to the analogue level, and it is carried out with an extremely high-quality analogue filter.”

“When I seriously threw myself into the music, it’s amazing! I’ve learned all about the excellent quality of Audio Note’s top-of-the-line standalone transport and decoder previously. Yet this standalone CD player, priced much lower, still managed to surprise me!”

“Upon first hearing, the music sounds pleasant to the ears! The more I listen, not only is the music still pleasant to listen to, I can also feel the vivacity of the music, the rich layers of colours, along with the contrast, separation, resolution, and positioning of the audio picture. It sounds three-dimensional and comfortable, making my “ears” too busy to know where to listen. … It is truly enjoyable to feel the changes in musical energy! …Not only are the tonal and colour variations rich, it also allows me to dig out a lot of detailed changes in the music and performance. For a machine with such high analytical power, there is absolutely no so-called ‘digital’ sound. …Each musical note is filled with energy, with just the right dewiness and lustre, so that the touch of keys, music, and performative interpretation are all three-dimensional and life-like.”

– River Chan
HiFi Review 2021.12

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