Arcam CDS27 CD-player
Design of the model is quite traditional for Arcam - strictness, solidity and complete absence of any frills. The body is made of metallic grey panels; the facade is designed in the same palette. CD loader tray and two-line monochrome information display are hidden behind blacked-out plastic covers on the faceplate - there again with traditional green symbols. On the right there are power on button and four beads- playback control keys. It is enough for the navigation through CD, but for the control over network library you will have to look for other ways of communication with the device. You can use the remote control - it has the necessary navigation keys over menu. But in this case you will have to read the information from the display on the faceplate of Arcam CDS27 that, firstly, is not very handy, especially if the device is installed in a rack and a sofa or a chair are located at a distance, and, secondly, a two-line display is not the most optimal variant for the navigation through the library, especially in the age of touch screens of high resolution.
So, the best way of control over Arcam CDS27 will be the use of the special app for your smartphone or a tablet. Essentially, you can use any programmed player UPnP, but it would be better to install the branded app - ArcamMusicLife UPnP, available for iOS devices. Surely in order to use a smartphone or a tablet as an advanced remote control you should provide the connection of the player and gadget to one computer network.
It was a surprise to find out the lack of USB on the facade of Arcam CDS27 despite of the fact that the device supports playback of audio from external USB drives. Flash drives and discs will have to be connected to a port, located on the back wall of the body, especially if the component is installed in a rack. There is quite a lot of space inside the body. On the left side there is anoptical disk drive and on the right - power supply board with a small transformer. Two boards with digital and analog circuits are mounted near the back wall. The analog block is maximally removed from the power supply unit. Digital-to-analog conversion is carried out by popular chip -Burr Brown PCM1794 from Texas Instruments. This two-channel Delta-Sigma DAC is able to work with digital stream with the parameters up to 24bit/192kHz. The second chip from Texas Instruments - Burr Brown SRC4192I - is asynchronous converter of sampling frequency and is able to do upsampling of any input signal up to 24bit/192kHz.
Not only the wired interface Ethernet is provided for the integration into computer network, but wireless Wi-Fi networks are also supported. Setup of wireless connection is performed from the system menu and doesn't cause any difficulties.
Arcam CDS27 supports all popular formats of media files, excluding DSD. However, having the ability of the player to play SACD in mind, we can suppose that such possibility can appear in one of the new firmware. The only regret is that the device doesn't support CUE files, so releases, where music album is presented as a single WAV file or FLAC with accompanying CUE file, have to be divided into separate tracks before posting on a network server or on an external USB drive.
In various musical material Arcam CDS27 demonstrated a recognizable presentation, which can be described as British - balanced manner with well thought emotions and accents are combined here with very correct interpretation of rhythmic base, rounded but not muted high frequencies and assembled, elastic bass. We can note a neat relation of the source to the smallest touches of sound canvas, the ability to form a wide scene and quite dense, plastic timbres. In the end, the listening of test tracks, familiar to the smallest details, brought much pleasure.