Revox H2 CD-player
The superbly built and presented Revox H2. It is mainly a system component designed to play a role in the Revox H-Line multi-room system. It is available on its own without a remote control, but you can buy one of a number of alternative Revox remote controls to do the job.
Even with remote control, this is a basic deck that is operationally like an amplifier I reviewed that lacked an input selector despite having a range of inputs. Without the remote it is a true minimalist design with track skip, pause (a two key operation), random play (there had to be one really daft feature somewhere), but no headphone socket and no audible cueing.
The engine that drives the Revox H2 is a Philips Bitstream converter, with peripheral circuitry, power supplies and so on from Revox. Sockets are included for a digital, coaxial output and to interface with a Revox brand system. The display shows just the track number, complete with leading zero.
The Revox possesses a full, warm, slightly fruity bass that proved exciting on a number of occasions, not least during the infectious opening track from the Dire Straits album Calling Elvis.
Its timing is positive and true, which helped make this track sound confident and sure footed. Bulfunk, however, sounded a little restrained. Similarly Katie from Mary Black, though warm and luscious, suffered significant masking of detail and loss of low level clarity.
The Revox H2 impressed as the kind of deck that produces a sophisticated and highly polished sound. It has a silky sheen in the treble that did wonders with orchestral recordings - Respighi's The Birds positively glowed.
At the same time, it doesn't have quite the 'grip' or power of the Marantz PM94II. It frequently sounded a little smoother and more expressive at low levels than that model, but the Revox occasionally also made some finer details indistinct.
This is an excellent deck for those who still find compact disc hard and unyielding, but in the final analysis it can be accused of sanitising the music in a way that some will simply find frustrating.