CD-player Denon DCD-2010AE

Beautifully built and finished, this SACD-capable CD player sports a classy brushed aluminium chassis, spanning 434x137x336mm and weighing a chunky 13.5kg. The fascia has a USB port to connect an iPod or memory stick, plus a source button. Pure Direct button bypasses much of the internal signal circuitry to enhance the sound quality, so was depressed at all times. Denon has fitted its improved drive mechanism, and the player's so-called Precision Direct Mechanical Ground Construction is used to reduce vibration. Finally, the remote is busy, well made but very useful with plenty of options.

The dramatic quality of the Denon exceeded even that of the Creek Destiny; this is a big hi-fi sounding machine in the classic Japanese idiom. During the Stacey Kent track, the lower midrange felt as if it had been turbocharged, at the expense of a slight lack of vocal finesse. The extra bass definition resulted in unusual details in the mix being highlighted, giving a quite different presentation to most other players here.

When Bruce Springsteen took the stage, the Denon responded with a suitable sense of grandeur; this big stadium rock sound suited the Denon down to the ground. Springsteen's sprawling guitarfed presentation was wholly 'full on'. Okay, the piano sequences weren't picked out with the same alacrity as the Consonance for example, but there was plenty of guts in the guitar solo and the percussion was both punchy and weighty.

Exhibiting a solid, tuneful sax rendition, the music emanating from Fela Kuti combined successfully with the bold and dominant trumpet. This album provided a high energy performance that may have lacked the airy complexity of the Icon Audio, but was still packed with passion.

Via a Tony Bennett SACD, his 'MTV Unplugged' release, the Denon handled SACD with flair, offering a more spacious rendition than much of its CD output while the bass proved firm but measured, rather than bombastic. Detail via SACD was also enhanced, with instruments sounding timbrally more believable. Overall then, the Denon is a fine package with punchy sound, lovely build

Denon DCD-2010AE CD-player photo