The most striking aspect of the Edgar CD-1 is its solid wood front, polished to a very fine finish.

The CD loading tray has a wood trim added too, which on the review sample didn't quite match the rest of the front, and even the power switch is wood-faced.

That much we like, but we're less keen on the display, a frankly 1980s-looking affair that is bordering on naff. Still, it conveys all the information you need.

A basic CD player

The control buttons are another black mark as they are noisy and sometimes unpredictable in operation. The transport, in typical Philips manner, is brisk and efficient though and the remote control is rather classy with its wood sides and heavy construction.

A generously-sized toroidal transformer looks after the basic power requirement. In terms of features, basically there aren't any - analogue output and the most basic programming, being two!

A digital output is about the only thing we'd bother adding. Case construction is very robust, if a little industrial, and felt feet are fitted which can allow the player to slide away if buttons are pressed hard.

Impressive performance

With only the gentlest of criticisms levelled at it, its performance came across as one of the strongest we've heard.

It has a big-hearted, big-scale presentation which rapidly convinces the listener that everything is just so, but in addition it pays due attention to the little details that keep one interested and alert.

It may be a touch over-enthusiastic on the bass but, in general, low frequencies are well extended, well controlled, well timed and above all tuneful.

From this firm foundation rises a neutral midrange, topped off with a natural airy treble that never seems to become harsh or edgy, even with notably difficult sounds like violin or oboe.

An enjoyable experience

We said the midrange is neutral: once or twice it seemed a little over-keen on the presence region, slightly accentuating voices and higher melody instruments. That's very much the exception, though, and most of the time the player is very even-handed.

It has good detail right across the spectrum and very good imaging too, with nicely extended depth and a good lateral spread.

The one time it seemed slightly less in control of things was in the Ian Dury track. This can be a tricky test because the voice is placed significantly forward of the rest of mix, and we felt the Edgar fell into the trap of separating it further rather than making its relation of the backing clearer.

Overall, though, the sound is enjoyable, believable and involving, with plenty of impact and drive, and in addition seems very even-handed in its musical taste.