CD-player Vincent CD-S6MK

Like all Vincent products, this one is a hybrid that uses valves as well as solidstate devices, and you get the valves on public display in an illuminated window, no less! The remote control has a Dim function, but doesn't toggle valve illumination as on the SV-236 amplifier; instead it's the fluorescent display panel that has Bright, Dim and Off options. The valve is bathed in a strong orange glow from a set of LEDs, illumination being adjustable from bright to off by a four position rear panel switch.

This player uses Burr Brown PCM-1732 DACs with24bit/96kHz resolution, as well as a Pacific Microsonics HDCD decoder, so the smoothness and air with HDCD discs can be fully appreciated. As always, the valves are output devices operating as cathode followers, which provide single-ended Class A operation by their very nature. The Vincent has a headphone output on the front panel.

There's no Direct output that bypasses the valves, but there is a balanced XLR output and measurement of output impedance suggested both this and unbalanced are derived from the output valves, explaining the use of three 12AX7 double triodes and one 12AU7 - four valves instead of the usual two. This is a better arrangement than using a convertor chip to derive a balanced output.

This player was the sturdiest and largest, measuring 430x125x330mm and weighing in at 9kgs.

The CD-S6MK was very 'obvious' in its sound, or characterful I could say. It has solidly delivered, punchy bass and, as measurement predicted, treble that was always bright and sometimes a little prone to sizzle. Playing the treble laden steel string guitars of Steve Earle's 'Copperhead Road' is my test for this and sure enough his close miked vocals hissed whilst the guitars bordered on lacerative. All the same, no one could come away unimpressed by the vast sound stage of this player, and the way drums thundered across it as they were panned. The Vincent puts up a monster of a performance in terms of dynamics and it has great stage depth too.

With CDs having less high frequency energy, the top end emphasis had no effect; Vlado Perlemuter's piano had fantastic scale and a convincing timbre. The CD-S6MK was superb with classical music, sounding smooth and expansive - and convincing.

Vincent CD-S6MK CD-player photo