Arcam Alpha 5 Plus CD-player

CD player Arcam Alpha 5 Plus is an improved version of the legendary Arcam Alpha 5. The new model does not differ by appearance and functional possibilities from the old one. The difference is only in the circuit of the clock generator. Significant differences in the sound of Alpha 5 and Alpha 5 Plus allow you to consider the last to be a competent new model. The price has "improved" too - it is $20 higher.

Functional modes of Arcam Alpha 5 Plus are honest-to-God simple: play, pause, fast "run" back-forward in composition, go to the previous or next track, programmed playback (up to 20 tracks can be programmed), repeat disc, repeat track. The ability to turn the display off is provided. The player has fixed analog and electrical (coaxial) digital outputs. Digital-to-analog conversion is multibit with preliminary quadruple oversampling (16 x 4).

During preparation to the listening it turned out that the player is very critical to the phase of power supply. The contact, marked on the FI plug, must be connected strictly to the phase, because at wrong connection the quality of sound noticeably worsens. This is, by the way, a good feature - points to a well-thought scheme.

Arcam Alpha 5 Plus primarily amazed by the fact that it perfectly overcomes woodenness and dryness of digital sound - a unique feature for players of this price category. Arcam Alpha 5 Plus forms images of musical instruments very clearly and makes them materially tangible, giving true picture of their natural sizes. It also demonstrates the overall fusion of sound and excellent detailing; the sound space is perfectly felt.

It's a great pleasure to listen to jazz on Alpha 5 Plus: life of the instruments is intensive and different; you immediately and directly get involved into the world of their passions like in a real concert.

The listening to rock music - "King Crimson", "The Doors", "Led Zeppelin" - brought a lot of delight. The player perfectly coped with attacks, dynamical nuances and contrasts, transferring emotional charge of rock compositions. It didn't lose bass line and didn't destroy the rhythm "armature" even then the drummer of "Led Zeppelin", John Bonham, and the composition "Achilles Last Stand" from the "Presence" album fell by storm on the drums.

The sound of Alpha 5 Plus is not spoiled by roughness or sharpness - you can listen as much as you want without getting tired. This player perfectly matched all the amplifiers. Even connected to the amplifier Yamaha AX-570 with its exaggerated, as it strikes me, dynamics, the player didn't show any aggression, just sometimes found a kind of "maximalism" (which, however, wasn't felt in any musical genres, except classics) - in other words it perfectly controlled the sound. Arcam Alpha 5 Plus was compared with the player of the same price category - Micromega Stage 1. It is hard to say which one is better. The sound of each has its own individual character. Personal taste of the listener decides here. Personally I find Arcam Alpha 5 Plus more advanced: this player is free from artificiality of digital sound that is a great achievement with its price. Alpha 5 Plus can be compared with much more expensive players: even if it comes short of something, his competitors will jump through some hoops, competing with it in transferring of emotions, performing interpretation, individual peculiarities of musicians and the character of instruments.

Arcam Alpha 5 Plus CD-player photo