Aqua Acoustic Quality La Diva M2 CD transport
To paraphrase the a lot misquoted Mark Twain, stories that CD is useless are an exaggeration. It might not be the format of alternative on the excessive avenue however among the many musical cognoscenti, that’s us, it stays a highly regarded format. It’s not arduous to see why; for a begin, plenty of audio fanatics have 1000’s of CDs a lot of which aren’t obtainable on streaming providers. Then there’s the intrinsic simplicity of enjoying them; no want for a smartphone or pill, simply press the button and also you’re away.
The drop in mainstream recognition has had one clear impact, and that’s to cut back the variety of gamers available on the market. Where as soon as dozens had been launched throughout all worth factors yearly now we’re down to at least one a month on the most. So, it’s heartening to see that Italian model Aqua Acoustic Quality has up to date its La Diva CD transport and proceed to supply a top quality disc spinner to the various audio fanatics who benefit from the format.
La Diva M2 appears to be like precisely like its predecessor, which is superb certainly, it merely oozes high quality with consideration to element at a really excessive degree, and match and end within the premier league (music loving footballers take notice). I like the Nextel end on the casework and magnetic puck, and ditto the levers rather than buttons. These function like buttons by bobbing up after they’re pressed, however have a really particular motion and fast penalties when it comes to the transport’s behaviour. This is one thing that CD lovers take without any consideration however is much less widespread on the planet of streaming the place a processor has to leap in with each command.
The transport mechanism or disc drive sits beneath a beautiful sliding lid on prime of the machine. This has execs and cons. On the plus facet, there isn’t a drawer mechanism to go flawed and the method is a bit like enjoying a report. But on the inconvenience entrance, it requires top-shelf positioning if you’re to have the ability to place and extract discs with ease. I’ve a turntable on the highest shelf of my rack and used a fairly excessive (eight-inch) house on the following shelf down. This was a little bit of a fiddle, not least as a result of it is advisable to take away and substitute the magnetic puck. On one event, I wasn’t paying consideration and the disc slid into the machine to the left of the drive bay; it didn’t disappear however I used to be extra cautious thereafter. I assume that devoted CD customers will afford La Diva M2 the highest spot and thus keep away from this type of malarkey.
Aqua is eager to level out that La Diva M2 is a “pure CD machine”; it’s devoted to the standard Red Book CD and doesn’t dally with the likes of SACD and even DVD‑Audio (if anybody remembers that). This is essentially as a result of the latter is useless and buried, and there’s no protocol for digital connections with the DSD format that underpins SACD. La Diva M2 makes use of a modified CD Pro-8S transport mechanism from the optical division of Stream Unlimited, with an aluminium chassis and carbon-fibre turntable. Aqua developed the coding and wrote it to FPGA, which controls sign feed to the varied outputs on the again of the machine, amongst which the AQLink I2S is their proprietary connection for Aqua DACs.
Those with DACs from different manufacturers have a good selection of connections to choose from; alongside S/PDIF on coaxial and (ideally) BNC connectors, there’s AES/EBU on XLR and an AT&T fibre output. It doesn’t have USB output and would in all probability be the one CD transport to take action if it did, however on condition that that is usually the most effective enter on fashionable DACs it’s one thing that could be price investigating. Those on the lookout for final digital synchronicity shall be happy to see a phrase clock output on a BNC connector, in case your DAC has the identical facility that is one space which warrants nearer inspection, that’s if the worth of an honest clock isn’t too scary.
I discussed consideration to element within the look of La Diva M2 so it shouldn’t be a shock to see that this continues contained in the field. Here you will see that a multi-stage voltage regulator for correct disc drive management, monitoring and focus, two low noise energy transformers working the digital and servo sides individually, and absolutely floating galvanically and magnetic isolation between drive system and digital outputs.
Precise and compelling
I’ve to confess that my days of enjoying discs frequently are lengthy gone, however I nonetheless have assortment of CDs and would favor to hearken to rips of these discs than to a streaming service. And going again to spinning polycarbonate proved to be a extremely rewarding expertise, with Aqua’s La Diva M2 delivering a exact and compelling consequence by means of two very totally different digital to analogue converters.
La Diva M2 could be very clear and particular in its presentation; there isn’t a vagueness or blurring of main edges and transients, and it appears much more calm and picked up than the CD gamers I utilized in latest instances. You actually really feel that, on the one hand, the noise flooring is extraordinarily low and on the opposite, that the transport is extracting an terrible lot of what the disc has to supply. CD’s solely actual benefit over streaming is that it doesn’t need to cope with noise coming in from a community connection, the expertise comes from an period when these things didn’t exist in audio and was developed in a cleaner electrical setting. Players nonetheless need to cope with noise on the mains, which has undoubtedly elevated, however you don’t usually discover a streamer with sonic backgrounds which can be as quiet as you get with La Diva M2.
This is superb for producing main edges with out grain or blur, which provide you with all of the assault of a notice in clear and particular style. And that in flip means sturdy timing with none of the digital edginess that may afflict this format. I used to be very impressed with the dynamics on provide from the Aqua; it actually makes probably the most of dynamic contrasts so when a quiet intro is used to present the next crescendo affect you understand all about it. The sound will not be dissimilar to the type of factor you hear in professional audio, it has that no nonsense solidity of supply, it’s a confidence inspiring strategy as a result of it handles transients so nicely, nothing appears to section it.
Keith Jarrett’s reside album Testament was recorded in London and Paris, and recorded very well at that. The piano has actual physique and weight and this a lot is evident on La Diva M2, it provides you a robust sense of the hardwood and metal of the instrument, and of the way in which that Jarrett might mix energy and restraint in his improvisation. All of which is underpinned by compelling rhythm, right here there isn’t a obvious emphasis nevertheless it at all times involves the fore. Something that may fluctuate with totally different DACs after all however one thing that La Diva M2 is clearly very proficient at.
It makes my equally priced streaming supply, a Melco N10 server, sound a bit gentle and laid again, the Aqua having an impetus, a stand up and go that the music recordsdata lack. Each fits totally different tastes and programs after all and as a rule the Melco is mixed with a streamer nevertheless it’s an attention-grabbing distinction. If you wish to really feel the facility and power of a nicely recorded drum set La Diva M2 makes an excellent case for itself, right here the transient velocity and energy of every impulse could be very real looking. The drums on Tortoise’s ‘Ry Cooder’ are all about assault and with this transport that high quality is especially nicely served. On the upbeat ‘Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes’ [Paul Simon, Graceland] the bass line actually pops whereas the voice and guitars are as open as you want, the metal strings have actual zing. The rhythm is after all infectious, don’t even attempt to sit down.
Sticking with the silver disc
CD is clearly in significantly better well being than disc gross sales would counsel, it’s now a format for afficionados who realise that it’s not solely extra easy however fairly probably the least costly possibility obtainable to the sound high quality acutely aware. The Aqua La Diva M2 is an excellent piece of equipment that makes a really sturdy case for sticking with the silver disc, it combines very excessive construct high quality with a robust, compelling sound that few who use their ears might resist.
- Type Solid-state CD transport
- Disc Types CD, CD-R
- Digital Outputs Two S/PDIF (one coaxial RCA, one coaxial BNC), one AES/EBU (through XLR), one AT&T ST fibre optic, one AQLink Pro I2S (through etherCON RJ45).
- Frequency response N/A
- Distortion Not specified
- Signal to Noise Ratio Not specified
- Dimensions (H×W×D) 100 × 450 × 370mm
- Weight 10kg
- Price £8,960
Aqua Acoustic Quality
Elite Audio UK
+44 (0)845 060 9395
0800 464 7274 (UK solely)
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November 14, 2023 at 08:37PM
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