Vinyl unit sales may have eclipsed CDs in the USA in 2022 but that remains very much not the case in Europe and the UK where the silver disc remains the most popular physical music format amongst the buying public. And anecdotally, the upward trend in new production vinyl pricing is forcing many punters to re/consider the CD as a way to get the hit of a physical format purchase but from half the money.
It’s into this landscape that Cambridge Audio is dropping its new EVO CD, designed as a visual and functional match for the British company’s EVO 75 and EVO 150 super-ingtegrated amplifiers. That means a half-width chassis with switchable side panels…but wait, there’s a twist: one look at the back panel tells us that the EVO CD is not a traditional CD player with internal DAC and analogue outputs. It’s not even a traditional CD transport with coaxial and/or TOSLINK outputs. It’s an EVO-specific CD transport that sends its digital signal to the partnering EVO 75 or EVO 150 over an umbilical link for D/A conversion and corresponding cover art display.
Moreover, this is not a slot-loading CD drive; the EVO CD features a metal tray mechanism that, according to the press release, “extracts every intricacy and detail from the CD thanks to the brand’s industry-leading S5 Servo, with better error correction and faster disc detection. A deep, rich sound with unrivalled clarity, the new CD transport delivers an immersive musical experience in any space, as well as showcasing album art on the Cambridge Audio StreamMagic app.”
CD-R and CD-RW discs are also supported. The presence of CDs from Stereolab and Susumu Yakota in the press shots once again reminds us that Cambridge Audio is not a Diana Krall-type of hifi company.
Pricing? £999, US$1199 or €1199.