Apr 302010
 

The original review, with the above title was done a number of months ago but was not ideal in several ways. Firstly the machine being reviewed was not very old and had not been fully run in. Secondly the review it’s self was conducted over the course of one day. That did not allow for proper warm up and based on what I have heard about Reimyo digital products the concensus seems to indicate they need a reasonable degree of warm up. So when the opportunity came up to have a new sample (fully run in) loaned for a two week period, I jumped at the offer.

I know many audio enthusiasts are some what cynical or even down right hostile to the concept of component warm up times never mind actual product burn in (just have a look at discussions about these topics on many audio forums to see what I mean. Heated hardly does justice to the flame wars you will read). Well my own experience has always indicated that this is a vital part of auditioning audio equipment be it for purchase or formal reviewing and failing to take this into account means that it is highly unlikely that the listener will truly get a good idea of what these electronics can do.

It is also possible and I have heard this myself, that the, say Cd player, amplifier or even cables (lets not go there at the moment) can undergo a massive transformation in sound quality and not always for the best and this after the break in period is passed, when things should sound at their best. Now I am not just thinking here of things like openness, detail retreval, bass quality but actual changes to tonal balance and presentation. What immediately comes to mind here, as a dramatic example of such a thing, is an amplifier (now discontinued) that sounded natural and just too the warmer side of neutral from new that after a month of run in had become forward and aggressive (to my ears) and not to my taste at all.

My fear with the Reimyo was that I had not really got a handle on all its ins and outs and of how it sounds. Despite the fact that the review was very positive overall there were a few reservations, which at the time I suggested were down to lack of run in. This second visit would allow me to revisit those reservations in the hope they had now gone with a fully run in sample.

This time round there were also a few additional changes in terms of the review system and cabling used. Knowing how fussy Reimyo are about using their cabling that is exactly what I did (something I had not done first time round) as this time I had a full set of mains cables and interconnects supplied with the review CDT-777 Transport and DAP-999 EX DAC. As well as changes in cabling I am also at the present time using a solid state Meridian pre-amplifier in my main system, rather than a valve based one.

This change is down to a mysterious, occasional burping sound that is coming from my Bat VK 31se pre-amplifier (from its right main output). I have tried changing and swapping valves around and so far it does not appear to be down to this. At some point in the future I will get this problem fixed but at the present time I feel the Meridian G02″ balanced pre-amplifier”is a suitable alternative and truth be told its a very nice pre-amplifier.

System Details

The rest of the system used was as follows-power amplification was supplied via the Music Reference RM200 MK1, supported on a Mana Reference top stand. The pre-amplifier had AMR resonator controllers underneath it and all electronics bar the amplifier were supported on Clearlight Audio Aspekt racks. Cabling used, was balanced XLR Atlas Marvos, Rca Atlas Mavros and Atlas Mavros speaker cable.  Digital cabling was Harmonix. The speakers used during the review period, were my Anthony Gallo Ref 3.1’s.

Music Used


Initial listening was done with the supplied Rca to Rca Harmonix Golden Performance HS-101GP cable but I felt that it was not an ideal match for the rest of the cable loom, so I swapped it out in favour of a Rca to Rca Atlas Mavros interconnect. The Harmonix Harmonix X-DC2 1.5m mains cables, (which are supplied as standard with the transport and Dac) and digital cable were still used through out the review period.

One of the main issues from last time was the quality and quantity of bass as you can see from my comments here…. “I became aware of a slight lack of depth and slam in the bass. Was this as a result of lack of run in and warm up ? I suspect so. However on more acoustic music this lack was…well much less noticeable. There was no thinness to the midrange evident on the music I listened to but the lack of bass troubled me.”

( full original review here http://www.adventuresinhifiaudio.com/18/03/2010/the-miracle-dream-the-reimyo-cdt-777-transport-and-dap-999-ex-dac/ )  In order to see if this was still the case I played tracks from Nightmares on Wax-Car Boot Soul namely Les Nuits and Argha Noah then tracks from Afterlife-Afterlife Lounge and Nitin Sawhney-Beyond Skin. I also listened to Tosca-No Hassle which I used during the original review.

It was immediately obvious that there was no bass problems.  The bass was full, deep, richly textured and depending on the recording as light or low as the music contained. The original midrange and treble qualities were still present but overall the sound was fuller richer (though not overly warm) and in terms of imaging and soundstaging this new fully run in pair was incredible. Images stretched well beyond the edges of the speakers and had impressive depth as well, recording permitting. One aspect to this was the total lack of noise that occasionally fooled me into thinking there was a problem when music seemed lower in level or non existent on a particular channel. This was not a problem but simply and I know its an over used term of description but the ability of this Cd player to float sound in and out of a totally black silent back ground. There was no image smearing, each instrument had a believable three dimensional existence and at times, again recording permitting the music sounded live in the room, especially if it was a live recording.

One of the finest live recordings I know of and regularly use is Hugh Masekela-Stimela (The Coal train), to say this was breathtaking (another overused term) would be, to short change what I heard. The band was in my living room or I there at the concert venue. Every nuance of the performance and audience sound was clearly reproduced but not in a spotlit way but with a wholly organic and natural presentation. To quote a descriptive term of Murray Dick of Ecofan Sound “The thereness” factor was as high as I have heard before from a Cd player.

All the music I played had these qualities again recording permitting. sorry to keep stating this but at no time did the Reimyo transform bad recordings but it did manage each time to find qualities in them I had not heard before and do this without making the music sound bad or totally unlistenable. Early digital recordings like Aliens Ate My Buick from Thomas Dolby (an album which can sound bright, forward and thin on some systems)was obviously not as good as some of the other music I played but still it sounded very good, with tracks like Pulp Culture and Budapest By Blimp sounding amazing. In fact the reproduction of the massed voices on the latter track was as clear and open as I have ever heard.

As I read back through my listening notes the words “I have ever heard before” keep coming up time and time again. Every piece of music I played on this Cd player was amazingly good. I also regularly heard things I had not heard before and little things I listen out for were reproduced spectacularly well. For example at 3 mins and 35 seconds on Les Nuits by Nightmares on wax there is a symbol strike. Well the shape and decay of this was incredibly real. The initial strike and follow through as the sound shimmers and fades was as three dimensionally real as “I have ever heard”…opps there I go again. The same goes for the Afterlife track Love Dub with another piece of percussion at 9 seconds in and in case you think its just percussion, the decay of sax notes on the track Sleazebag was equally as impressive.

Last time round I had used the balanced Xlr outputs and knowing many think that the Atlas Mavros cables are better as an Xlr than Rca interconnect I switched over to the Xlr outputs,I was shocked at the drop in quality ! The openness, clarity and detail as well as the bass quality took a dive, now not a massive drop but enough to make me sit up in my chair and ask the question “what just happened?”

In order to avoid the issue of possible lack of output run in (its my understanding this sample has been used single ended via its Rca outs only) I put a burn in disc on repeat and left the player for a day or so. After doing this and comparing the two outputs (not with both cables connected at the same time. That can sometimes be a factor in reduced sound quality) I was of the same opinion, the Reimyo Dap 999 ex sounds better single ended or at least it does in the context of this system. I never picked up on this first time round as I just automatically used the Xlr outputs. My system is balanced and usually even if a component is not fully balanced they tend to sound better hooked up that way (at least that is what I have found so far); that is with the exception of the AMR Cd77 which sounds better via its Rca outputs.

So where does this leave us ? Well via the Xlr outputs the sound is fatter, slightly less open and detailed with less air and the bass is more rounded, stodgy and less well delineated. The symbol strike on Les Nuits lacked dimension and the shimmer and decay it has via Rca connection; it sounded less real overall. However use the Rca output and the story is very different with an amazing level of sound quality available.

I asked the question during the first review “How much better can this get?” with more run in and clearly the answer is a lot better even the performance via Xlr was better than it had been first time round but via the Rca outputs the sound was staggeringly fantastic. Everything I had hoped for in the Reimyo but felt let down by before was now here, it was by far the best Cd player I have had in my system so far and the closest to the qualities I admire most in analogue; though not quite as good. I have yet (note I say Yet) to hear any Cd/digital source that manages that.

Are there any negatives ? Well Yes. The price is scary at just over £14000, the plastic remote is still a joke at that price point considering what other companies offer at less money, AMR being one example (just look at the AMR Cd77 remote) and sometimes the Cd mechanism was noisy loading up some Cds (my Moon Andromeda uses the same mechanism and is silent in this regard) but not playing them, it was silent doing that. The angle of operation of the remote was a little narrow as well. I am nit picking a bit here, as overall the Reimyo Cdt 777 Transport and Dap 999 ex Dac offered the best sound I have heard from a Cd player to date.

If you can afford the ticket price, then club Reimyo is very much worth a visit….a Miracle Dream indeed !

Neil

Source of Products Loan…… End user owner

Current Retail Prices….

Reimyo  CD Transport CDT-777 Price £7925

Reiymo Digital to Analogue Converter DAP-999 Price £7295

Harmonix Golden Performance HS-101GP Price £1295

Harmonix X-DC2 1.5m Price £715

Harmonix HS-102 Digital cable .75m Price £745

UK Distributor http://www.selectaudio.co.uk/

© Text and Photos Copyright 2010 Adventures in High Fidelity Audio. Except album sleeves, Reimyo header photos and Atlas Marvos Rca cable- Copyright lies with original punlishers.

NB No part or portion of this article may be reproduced or quoted without written permission.

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