The session started with a short presentation by Jon Harker of Oxford Audio Consultants introducing the system which comprised of Aurender W20 Music Server&Player and dCS Rossini Master Clock as the digital front end; EAT C-Sharp turntable with Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge as the analogue front end; Devialet 1000 Pro amplification; Wilson Sasha 2 speakers and Chord cabling. Jon played John Martyn's 1973 album Solid Air, side 1 from Hi-Res Streamed Digital and side 2 from Vinyl LP. Although he made it clear that the reason we were there was not to compare the two playback options but to listen to some good music, I will share my impressions on both.
To my humble ears, for 1/5 of the price, analogue seemed to play with more emotion. Although low end had less articulation, less control and overall presentation was less detailed compared to digital, I felt I was more drawn into the music through the analogue playback. And I know this is a very personal preference. Anyway, both with analogue and digital, the system was well balanced and a pleasure to listen to. I have to confess that I was surprised by the performance of the Devialet's built in phono stage and Ortofon Quintet Black's capability to make music.
Ahmet Kip - Mono & Stereo Senior Contributing Writer