Moon CD.5 review

A classic no-frills player is a performance winner

Moon CD.5
The Moon CD.5 uses a propietary CD transport to help improve sound quality

TechRadar Verdict

Admirably energetic music-making from this rather bare-bones, but well-built, player. Very slight lack of detail does little to detract and images are large and convincing. Good neutral balance.


  • +

    Good neutral balance

  • +

    Admirably energetic


  • -

    Very slight lack of detail

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The CD.5 is a classic no-frills basic CD spinner. It has a simple red LED display, basic connections (digital output is electrical-only) and no enhanced disc compatibility. It is built into a simple, but high-quality case which adds a touch of class and is notably swift to accept commands, making it a good machine for the impatient.

Inside, the theme of simple, but well done continues with a classic audio-only transport and a single circuit board on which are mounted all components, including the toroidal mains transformer and the mains inlet. Almost all components are surface mount types and their number has been kept low by using recent, highly integrated control and decoding chips.

Moon cd.5

NO FRILLS: As you can see, the back panel offers nothing in the way of modern niceties

The actual DAC is a Burr-Brown part which feeds a classic output filter/buffer stage using popular op-amp chips. In its literature, Moon discusses the options of upsampling and oversampling, pointing out that the former doesn't necessarily give better results, but because it is a more recently adopted technique.

Indeed, few current players seem to use it: this one certainly doesn't, sticking instead with classic oversampling for the crucial digital filtering function. The fact is, that the true performance of any digital filter is down to the details, not the overview, of its implementation.

Sound quality

Since Moon has staked pretty much everything on sound, rather than features, in this player, it's good to be able to report that it scores highly in almost all areas. If it has a drawback, it is that there can sometime be a degree of vagueness to the sound, especially when it is richly textured.

Everything is there but it is perhaps a little harder to pinpoint every instrument, every melodic line, than with some other players. But there is much to compensate for that, and in practice one is seldom aware of it because the general feeling of life and energy this player imparts is really very good.

It achieves this not by excelling remarkably in one or two specifics, but by dealing even handedly with tonal, imaging and rhythmic issues. The bass is well-extended with good control and attack, midrange is admirably neutral and treble extends effortlessly upwards with both sweetness and precision.

This is another player that serves vocal lines well. In the Mavericks' track, which is tricky because of the very thick accompaniment, the voice was very clearly presented and also very stable. The accompaniment here was a little less precise than some, but was very well imaged with good extension in both width and depth directions.

The Rachmaninov track also showed how large the CD.5's image can be – indeed, one listener wondered whether it wasn't a little exaggerated. On the whole we'd suggest not: apart from anything else, overdone imaging is usually accompanied by a hole in the middle and there was none of that here. Still, we had little trouble 'seeing' the orchestra well beyond the loudspeakers.

With smaller ensembles, down to lone guitar or piano, images remain steady and convincing. Just occasionally there's a hint of glassiness in the sound on bright recordings, but the over-riding impression one gets from the Moon is one of committed, energetic music-making.

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