Elegant retro style and exemplary sound quality.
In a similar vein to the Yamaha A-S2000 integrated amplifier, the CD-S2000 is a CD and Super Audio CD (SACD) player that offers up-to-date technology in a retro casing. It’s a huge step up in audio quality from the CD players used in home-theatre systems and DVD units — but you need high-end components to take advantage of it.
- Extremely high precision and fidelity, leaps and bounds ahead of a generic CD player
- Display is a little hard to read at distance
If you’ve got a wide selection of CDs or SACDs, you’ll notice a difference stepping up to a dedicated CD player like the CD-S2000. Of course, just like with other high-end components you need the appropriate system to take advantage of that jump in sound quality.
Styled in the vintage fashion that links Yamaha’s current models to its groundbreaking CA-1000 amplifier from the 1970s, the CD-S2000 has a tastefully small amount of buttons on its fascia. Strangely enough the track skip buttons — which also serve to fast-forward and reverse — are half the height of the play, pause and stop buttons. The only other buttons are the SACD/CD switch and the ‘Pure Direct’ toggle. These buttons are a different shape again, which is slightly confusing. However, what is most important is the wonderful feel and weighting of the buttons.
The ‘Pure Direct’ mode turns off digital outputs and the front display panel. It may sound like just a novelty, but it’s not. The amplifier has separate power transformers for digital and analog output, so switching to ‘Pure Direct’ involves switching off the digital output’s transformer. Less circuit noise within the player is obviously going to increase the performance of the analog outputs. It is this attention to detail which proves the CD-S2000 is a step above its mainstream competition.
The belle of the ball is the CD tray. It has an incredibly smooth and noiseless action, sliding out silently to accept discs. There is no multiple disc changing mechanism or whiz-bang contraption here: this player is designed to accept a single disc, spin it up and capture as much information as possible with the highest degree of accuracy and clarity.
While most common CD audio players use either an unbalanced system (with a mish-mash of components transporting audio) or merely balanced outputs, the CD-S2000 is balanced from start to finish. A completely balanced circuitry system is key to immersive, breathtakingly clear audio.
More attention to detail is evident in the spikes on the CD player’s feet, intended to reduce disruption to the laser's path from outside vibrations. It is probably overkill for most situations, but a bit of extra care from a manufacturer is never a bad thing. Our one annoyance with the construction lies in the size of the dot-matrix display. Characters are only displayed at around 6 or 7 millimetres in height, so the display will be hard to read at longer distances.
While it’s difficult to quantify differences in sound quality without expensive and transparent components, we were noticed the hallmarks of a dedicated CD player in the CD-S2000. Compared to listening through the analog outputs of a Samsung BD-P1000, we were able to hear increased detail and nuance within music — especially audible, as always, in complex music like orchestral tracks — as well as an increased sense of stereo imaging and immersion. Maybe this was in part a placebo effect, but if you’re a dedicated audiophile you may find a new favourite toy in the Yamaha CD-S2000.
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