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Valve specialist's first-ever CD player

EAR and digital: the first time in 30 years

Legendary hi-fi designer Tim de Paravicini of EAR (Esoteric Audio Research) has launched his first-ever CD player in over 30 years of making hi-fi.

In fact, the new acute player is EAR's first foray into the digital domain since its inception in 1976. What sets it apart from the competition is that aside from the Wolfson 24-bit/29kHz oversampling DAC used, everything else is said to be of Tim's own design.

A break from the norm

At £2,700, the new acute is not cheap, but this is no ordinary player, either. Hand-built in Britain and made to sound 'like vinyl', one thing that makes the acute unusual is the use of analogue filters instead of the more common digital variety.

Another is the valve line output stage, which is also found in EAR's pro audio equipment. Both factors will inevitably give the player vinyl-like sound and help the digital newcomer settle into EAR's exclusively analogue product portfolio.

The player also has a 5-volt output so it can be used directly with power amplifiers - the volume being adjusted by the player's front-panel control. Tim has made the acute available in standard 17-inch widths for domestic applications and 19-inch rack-mount widths for studio installations.