NAD 5425 CD-player
CD player is a cleverly engineered design built around a MASH converter. MASH was the first low bit technique ever used in domestic CD players, and it owes its genesis to Technics who developed the hardware in conjunction with Japan's telecommunications industry.
The 5425's circuit topology is NAD's own, and lays particular stress on such parameters as low noise power supplies for the D/A processor, keeping radio frequency noise from the rest of the circuit and the engineering of the analogue output stage, grounding and so on.
RF noise is always much worse from low-bit converters than is the case with multi-bit, and this has a number of important consequences for sound quality, and accounts for the fact that, despite the hype, bitstream CD players often sound worse than the multibit players they replace.
You can buy this player a little cheaper without the remote control as the 5420. The NAD 5425 has a simple and elegantly designed handset, and one of the most attractive and purposeful facia designs on any CD player. Controls cover just basic play functions, plus programming and repeat keys. There is no headphone socket, and no digital output. The display is simple and attractive, though it might prove a little too dim in brightly lit surroundings. Build quality, though price constrained, is as good as there is any right to expect.
Only the transport caused any concern. It was satisfactory with clean discs, but consistently mistracked slightly dirty ones that other players based on different mechanisms sailed though. But this didn't stop the NAD from putting up a marvellous musical performance, yet with critical material a tad more firmly controlled and better separated. Nowhere on test was this more obvious than with the AR jazz recording. Bulfunk has a vivid and strong presence, with excellent imagery in both planes and subtle phrasing reproduced without loss. The bass was strong and well controlled, but the calm, clear treble was perhaps the NAD's most eloquent and impressive feature.
This in short is a consistent all rounder, for once with a sensible set of controls. It is an object lesson in cost-effective CD player design.