Denon DCD-700AE CD-player
Meeting DCD-700AE in life clears any suspicions. We can see a modern, cool device, capable of satisfying any audiophile ambitions.
The shell is traditional - steel relief chassis, strong casing and a massive front panel provide the necessary vibroprotection. The mechanism is an own production of the company. The digital path includes a Denon filter AL24 Processing and 24-bit DAC Burr-Brown PCM1791. There is a Pure Direct mode provided, which bypasses all the unnecessary links and buffers in the path, and switches the synchronization system to a High Precision mode (Master Clock). The outputs are an optic TOS-Link and a linear analogue pair R/L. Moreover, there is a controllable telephone output and even a playback speed control (Pitch Control).
We also liked quick and noiseless transport's work, but were disappointed by the display. It presents lots of information including albums and tracks' names but it is too small and a bit fuzzy.
The sound of discourage as it contravenes to the stereotypes existing. The Denon products (not talking about the audiophile series) have got us used to an accurate technical sound, mostly cold-toned, without any emotional fuse. This time we were ready to hear something like what Denon usually shows - something clear, detailed and emasculated. But DCD-700AE showed something completely different. Not a scent of the cold tones. The sound gained freedom, became more relief and less "lacquered". The top, that was once too detailed, which is generally good for low-resolution system, now is played balanced, and any little nuance has got its form and meaning. The sound became more natural and living, with no tension. Listening to the Denon's new product sound is interesting and pleasant. Harmonic resolution, as well as the sound stage, is quite well. The upper bass is worked and doesn't sound crushingly, lower bass could have some more seismicity. We even did some comparison between DCD-700AE and our reference multiformat Denon DVD-2930 and we have to say DCD-700AE showed better results. Well, it is natural. You can never persuade someone to buy a CD-player as an addition to an all-purpose DVD, if the first has no obvious advantages in the sound.
DCD-700AE also showed some interesting stuff while playing the tracks we used for a subjective test, but converted to mp3 and WMA. The device showed a nice emotional sound, totally non-irritative even on critical volume levels. But if listening carefully through how the figures and complex tones are played, it becomes quite obvious even for high-bitrate tracks that converted version differs from original.