Abbingdon music research AMR cd-77 is how good?

The AMR CD-77 cdp got some pretty good reviews from the likes of stereotimes, dagogo, and 6 moons reviewers....

BUT is this cdp a reference cdp or just a small improvement from competitors like Lector 0.6T, Wadia, Meridian G08 or 508.24, Electromcompaniet EMC 1-up..

Just how good is it??
[---------------this good-----------------]

The AMR is one of the most musical and best built cd players on the market.

It is a huge step up from those players I had both the Electro and the Lector.

Please contact me for more details.
I guess it's easy to say something is a "huge step up" when you sell it right oracle?
I view my CD-77.1 as reference class, but admittedly have not heard latest DcS stack and other contenders.
Audiofeil, I've noticed from recent years that you've been a dealer for the AMR as well as the Esoteric SACDPs. Could you compare the AMR with the K-01 and K-03? Thanks in advance.
Washline, you might want to contact the AMR distributor, Avatar Acoustics, to find out who is and isn't an AMR dealer.
Washline, I dropped AMR as there are far better values in the digital arena.

The K-01 and K-03 are state of the art one box players IMO.

Dealer disclosure.
The AMR DP-777 is truly remarkable in my system.
I own a AMR 77.1 and I feel it's okay but I chuckle when now when looking back when some have refered to it competing with the best vinyl set-ups, remarks made suggesting it's as good or better. Really makes me wonder what they were comparing it too, just more marketing hype because no way am I experiencing such.

I have a K-01 coming so I will be able to directly compare.

what do you mean "just okay" in reference to the AMR cd-77? Are you saying it's no better than an Ayon 2, Electrocompaniet EMC 1-up, Lector 0.6t?????????????????

never compared it to any of those specific units you referred to.
what have you compared it to?
I am interested in how it compares to the K-01 (esoteric)
I would like to hear your thoughts on the type of sound produced by the cd-77? what are your thoughts on the 77.1 upgrade?
To be honest Dvdgreco, the CD-77 is a very nice CDP, but I've never owned one. I've heard it on several occasions, but I don't know if I've heard the 77.1 upgrade or not. I've never considered spending that much $$$ on a CDP, as I am an analog first type of listener. Once I re-discovered analog about 11-12 years ago, I have simplified my digital systems. I am quite happy using a highly modifed Marantz SA-11S1 when it comes to digital reproduction. I have heard more expensive players in my system that haven't sounded as good, and though I have heard other digital setups in other systems that sounded nice, none of them made me want to invest more $$$ into digital reproduction. I haven't heard the Electrocompaniet, but I have heard the Lector, Wadia, Meridian, EMM Labs and AMR CD-77. They are nice CDP's, but IMHO, they can be beaten by a $1K analog rig, so why bother?

In essence, I can't be of much help to you. I was just being a smart ass in my first comment because how can you measure how good a product is? By how tall it is? By how much it weighs? By how much it cost? By how good others tell you it is? Just how good it is can only be answered on a personal level, unfortunately there is no substitute for personal audition.
I share John's values as to spending money on digital and would not spend the kind of dinero the AMR costs. Prejudices now noted, I'll say I listened on two different days for an extended period to the AMR player in all AMR system with Rosso Fiorintino speakers at Axpona this year and thought the system was one of the best sounding at the show. But unless you auditioning the player as the only new variable in a system you are very familiar with, it's hard to give meaningful advice. I did have the impression Bill (Audiofeil) mentioned, there were ultimately better values out there. But being more expensive doesn't mean a product lacks merit.
Jmcgrogan2 & Photon46 you have points I agree with:

This is a VERY subjective hobby, each listner has their own perception of what qualities are good/bad and ultimately how a piece or group of peices sound. In my view I would rather audition personnelly before making a decison; however, the ability to auditon various pieces is not always possible and the consencious opinion of many users is helpful.

secondly, analoge is analoge and digital is digital. Whether one sounds close to another or better is subjective. I understand this.. Reading through the weeds of the gon & many reviews on components one can gain knowledge on an item which can't hurt..

Based on all reviews and comments from you and alike, the cd-77 is a very good player with sonic similarities to analoge. I and only I can determine if this is good for me. I do NOT believe the more $$ you spend the more you get or better you get. Just look at taxes, they go up but do we get better???????
One other point that would be paramount to me if I were looking at the AMR player and "value" questions is whether I preferred the sound of the AMR to a "better" value like Esoteric. When we were listening in the AMR room, we were rotating sources between a good analog source (forget what it was) and the AMR player. No doubt the AMR had a quite analog like quality to it. I've not heard the particular Esoteric players Bill prefers to sell, but if you don't care for their particular sound vs. the AMR, what's the point of seeking that kind of value? If you're thinking of spending the money it takes to buy at this level of product, time and money spent to attend an audio fair like RMAF or something like it is money well spent. Really helps put things in perspective IMO.
yes if i were spending 5k plus for equipment i would goto a show, prbably the Toronto shw.

How does the toronto show compare too others, less variety of manufactures???
I own the AMR CDP-77.1. It is an outstanding player. My points of comparison were the Wadia CD-302, which was a Wadia entry player at 4500 USD, but considered the more organic of the Wadia players because it had a more holistic presentation without the extreme detail of the higher end Wadia players. That said, it is all about system synergy. The Wadia players are excellent, but that do not sound organic. Organic in this definition means that harmonic signiture of triodes that in the very best set ups imparts both tone and drive.

I have talked to other owners of the AMR CD-77 and they consider the CDP-77.1 a mind boggling upgrade in sonics.

I also had a 2400 USD Musical Fidelity TriVista DAC, which at the time in my system was more organic than the Wadia, but had underlying noise and lack of resolution. The AMR has so much internal power conditioning to stabilize it that the differenced between this and these two sources made me want to get a second one.

Around the same time I invested in about 5 k of Furman Flagship Power Conditioning and this completely changed my system. It took the lesser sources that had noise or grain and eliminated them.

The AMR CDP 77.1 is an outstanding component and is my Reference source. The discussion between Analog vs. Digital really comes down to getting the most out of a medium and presenting a restoration through tubes that imparts a recreation near to life and believabe for that very reason.

Is it over priced? Well I have heard Esoteric players and they sounded harsh to me...but, they were also playing though Musical Fidelity KW equipment and that stuff sounded nail driving to me. Again, all this equipment could sound amazing in other set ups. That part is about system synergy.

If you are looking at the AMR, it is because you are fascinated. If you are buying it, it is because you have made a decision to afford it and it should be combined with only the very best equipment to deliver what it can do.

One last thing. I have played with the various five settings for long periods of times depending on moods, but have come full circle to the Manufacturer's "Digital II" setting as the most natural and organic and best of them all in my system. That said, given system differences, the other processing options may be of assistance and are nice to know they are there if one makes changes.

No. I do not work for the Manufacturer or a dealer. I am simply a hobbiest. Good Luck to you and those of you that find this thread. The player is recommended for those, who choose to afford it. I cannot speak to its comparison to other Hi End players out there...other than to say...this is not for those on a budget. That said, I think you can do "well" also by spending a lot less money. Will it be equivalent? I doubt it. The main thing is that you slow down smell the roses and enjoy the music...whatever audio path you choose! Cheers!!!
the sound of the amr is capacitor and tube dependent. i almost bought one and asked for the mundorf cap and some soft sounding tubes. it was a couple of years ago, and at that time the price was around $8000 +. i think it should be compared to the 20 bit lector (about $4000), the first two chassis player, audio research cd7, zanden combo and perhaps some other tube units.

i decided against buying the amr because i felt and continue to feel that spending more than $5000 for a digital front end is intrinsically a foolish purchase.
This is exactly how I feel about my AMR DP-777. I use it with a PS Audio PerfectWave transport. The DP-777 is supposed to be very close to the CD-77 but since I have not heard the latter I cannot vouch for that. The DP-777 is about $5000. What I can say is that, in my system, the DP-777 dwarfs Berkeley Alpha (series 1) and EMM CDSA SE -- by a country mile.
Mrtennis, indeed. There are arguments to support your perspective. However, remember it is not intrinsically foolish except for you because that is your opinion and perspective. To each his own.

Sabai. Indeed. The DP-777 is very well thought the AMR-CD-77.1 better. I do not personally know. The problem I have encountered with some DACs on occasion is the interface and the digital interconnect from transport to DAC causing degredation to the digital signal that is sonically apparent. That said, I would assume AMR did their part to handle the incoming signal for the DP-777, especially knowing that their product end goal was indeed to produce an outstanding DAC.

I am sure that you have an excellent unit and I would consider this something to keep presumably for a long period of time. These pieces are unique in their engineering approach and resultant sonics.

Back to MrTennis, Yes. Capacitors and tubes do affect sound. My discussion with tube rollers on the AMR CDP-771 is that they after endless tube rolling came full circle back to the stock NOS tubes that are reasonably available.

In fact everything effects the sound of one can go on forever. The CD-77.1 may indeed be able to be tweaked even further with Mundorf Capacitors, but the basic unit is now so good as to make this sort of thing in my book not desirable.

Also, MrTennis makes the logical point of comparing this unit to others in its price class. There are many units in that price class to compare and many opinions. In the end, I did not have the luxury or time to do that comparison.

Like many, who buy at this price point I referred to the insight of a few trusted audiophile friends with "golden ears" and went on their advice. I am not telling anyone else what to do. The units MrTennis mentions are well regarded. I discussed them with people that knew such units and there were many reasons at the time such units were ruled out.

I have been told that SACD sounds better than the AMR CDP-77.1. I haven not performed the comparison. SACD is considered to be superior and I am glad it is still being put out by recording engineers. Yes. There is not the same abundance of Redbook (Regular) CDs, but SACD is something that I do think about possibly expanding into one day, but that is a conversation for another time. The person who told me this was listening to a friends Wadia SACD player on an entirely different set up..I do not think they did an A/B comparison...a business Wadia has quietly discontinued.

That said, there are other manufacturers of SACD players. McIntosh has quite a following for their MCD-500 and now their MCD-1100.

And, of course there are many factors that go into a re-mastered SACD. All of this is subjective, but that could be an alternative to explore with currently less material on that medium.

I do believe that musical sound that is emotionally engulfing/involving can be had for under 5k (for the digital source only part) if you know what to get...but, I will also submit that none of that will sound good IMHO without credible power conditioning...running around 5k USD MSRP again IMHO. And, this assumes you have made serious investments in the preamplification, amplification, and speaker portion of your system.

The above statement is based on my own personal experience, measurements and money spent. It is extremely important to stabilise both the Voltage and have available Current for a system to reach a sonic state of "liquidity" and resolve by also lowering the Noise Floor. The definition of liquidity here is a sonic state, where the music seems to emerge from a sort of "blackness" in an "effortless" (often said to be like flowing water) and dynamically & tonally balanced character that smacks of true to life (I call this "spooky real") as well as evocative of finding oneself mesmerized by the ending and beginning of the next note (Harmonic reintroduction to reconstitute content through an engineering a great Chef, imparting the essences of hidden flavors that emerge as the meal goes on)... ...the elusive holy grail...of hi-end...

Again, this and these statements are merely MHO. So, I am not one to submit absolutes or declare I have the best, rather I would say, "AMR equipment is truely reference class and if you have excellent preamplification and ampplification clarity with resolving and musical speakers as a base, then you can attain a shocking level of musical involvement and pleasure from listening to music as an end in itself.


I want to mention one important experience. DO NOT FALL FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE BENDIX 6900 (trumpeted as a substitute tube for the output stage, even stated in the manual--I disagree in light of my own experiences). I NEARLY LOST THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON PAIRS THAT WERE NOTHING BUT TRASH. I WAS DEALING WITH A TUBE CON. I had my purchase independently tested on the Amplitrex 1000 tube tester and not only were the tubes measured as "used up," but several had measured leakage currents that would damage my system.

The tube dealer that I worked with to determine the condition of my purchase, will not sell Bendix 6900s becuase he has not seen any in years that are not used up, pulls, etc.. or defective. There are approxmately two dealers who sell these. WARNING. DO NOT BUY. It is your money.

I was very excited and was taken in by a skilled con. Learn from my experience and DO NOT BUY THE BENDIX 6900...ever.

The Bendix 6900 is a military hardened 5687 equivalent tube (already a military tube itself with strong emmissions). It has a mythology surrounding it...It is made with "Nomex" Glass that is hard and thick and heavy...something like a borosilicate glass for the temperature stress of rapid temperature changes experienced by ICBMs ascending or descending the upper atmospher and mechanical hardening for its actual application as pulsed radar tube in missle guidance systems. So, now what?

Well there is good news. The 5687 tube (used in the AMR CDP-77.1 as a standard) is used in the driver stage. The AMR provided JAN Philips 5687 is abundant and absolutely excellent. It is a hardy and excellent driver for a standard minature tube "[that it resembles a 6SN7 (bigger bottle) tube on steroids]" by the accounts of one Principal Engineer designer that uses this tube in their very own equipment as a driver tube for his Parallel Single Ended Triode (PSET) monoblocks.

Good luck everybody... I did not plan to come back to this thread, but saw more stuff written and thought I would respond...and also share this last piece of information.

These are just my opinions and perspectives...I am not telling anyone what to do...we are all adults (or aspiring to be ~ : )) and I trust can make decisions on how we want to shape our system. In fact shaping the system is a huge part of the fun of this often rather expensive hobby.

To determine which is better, the CD-77.1 or the DP-777, it is advisable to audition both side by side if possible. The two are very different products yet cut from the same cloth sonically, bearing comparison against excellent analog playback and live music rather than other digital equipment.

AMR dealer.
your comments are well taken.. I would like your view of my other pieces: Herron Vtsp 1A and Mccormack DNA-1 (silver upgrade).. I am thinking the AMR (source) is superior to the others; however, I am hoping not so much as to reduce the ability to hear the incredible sound of the AMR...

First here is a review you may have seen on the product you have an interest in:

Next, I have been interested in his equipment before and came close to purchasing one of his preamplifiers.

He is a trained engineer and has labored over the years to develop his equipment. The piece you are looking at or own is older generation, which could mean it is time to send it back to Keith Herron for a check out. The only thing would be a capacitor replacement. My conversation with him reveals him to be an honest gentleman. He is not a rip off artist. His equipment is real and he, like all designers makes his own choices. Although, I have not heard his equipment personally, it appears well built and specified.

One thing that is very important to me and very elusive to find is a quality Volume control, and I believe that is what drew me to his preamplifiers at the time I was interested.

Again, it appears he has taken great care to provide a Volume control with sufficient span to accomodate mating with different amplifiers.

The unit you are discussing indicates 14 dB of gain and an output impedance of only 100 ohms with 128 stepped attenuator. I would ask Keith if I were you, by calling, but I can only assume that these steps are lets be conservative and say 0.5 dB increments and not some sort of tapered stepping.

This means you have 64 dB of Volume flexibility and with 14 dB of gain, you have -50dB attenuation at your disposal. I can say that if you confirm what I am exptrapolating above as true, then I recommend the compatibility part of this unit for almost any amplifier with standard impedances (input) of 10 k ohms or greater. I think the rule of thumb is lower than that...maybe...but, that means you should expect no low frequency roll off and full transfer of the signal to your amplifier.

Now, that said, he does use FETs on the input of this preamp. Purists would take issue with that. The review is positive and if you have the opportunity...let your ears be the guide.

Make sure you invest in serious power conditioning with time as your budget affords. I personally endorse the Furman IT Ref class conditioners and the SPRi 20 Voltage Regulator to not only preserve your tubes, but to get the very most from your sound system.

These upper end Furman products are well built and categorically will make a sonic difference.

There is a series one step under the Furman Ref the Elite 20PFi that may be an economical compromise to save money and get you to where you want to go.

I have not heard the Elite series in a system, but they specify in a way that indicates similar circuitry to the Reference series for the functionality they do offer... The Ref series has massive Torroidal Isolation Transformers.

I do not recommend this for a number of reasons, but if you want to experiment (and save money) could add one more box to the Elite Series (if you actually embrace that road)...something like a very large Tripplite (or some other competing well reviewed brand) Isolation Transformer... I cannot tell you whether this will work well, other than in theory it should...and, I can also much of a kluge as this proposal is...I actually think it could work well...this is for you to chew on.

Ultimately, I would steer you to their better units and be done with it.

okay, you ask about the "Mccormack DNA-1" My quick research indicates this is an amp from the 90's.

First, I have indeed heard McCormick amps. They are very respectable and a sold step up from say Rotel RB-1090 (the only Rotel amp that has any merit...but, is only suitable for very specific applications). However,the AMR equipment eclipses them. Since, you are building a system, this amplifier will be your weakest link and get in the way of you realizing the potential of the AMR equipment.

The Herron Equipment is probably good enough to transfer a lot of the goodness of AMR equipment. The McCormick, as respectable as it not in the same league remotely. In addition, you will likely need to re-cap the amplifier due to its age. I would steer you away from it, unless you already own the McCormick. Yes, they do not cost that much used...but, there is no free lunch. Do NOT buy one.

YES, both of these units are not up to the refinement of the AMR equipment. However, the Herron may be more in the bottom running. The McCormick is out. The only think I can think of is a completely new set of insides for the McCormack, essentially turning it into the amp you should buy in the first place...and by the time you do that...if you are fixated on purchasing the need to get an appropriate amplifier in the same league as the AMR or plan/budget for getting the appropriate amplifier in time that can give you all of the AMR goodness.

Your system concept is currently not in balance. It takes one to know. So, nothing wrong just need to bring you system idea into better alignment.

I encourage you to research more to determine some better matches. At this time I will refrain from making any recommendations, because this will turn into a novel. Good luck!!! And, Cheers!!!


To: Essentialaudio, You have disclosed you deal AMR. Thank you for that honesty and please continue to do that, should you choose to post further.

However, IMHO

One last note: The AMR dealer on here. It is good you disclose you are a dealer, but I think you should not be posting to hobbiest forums, when your agenda is to push your equipment, no matter how much I hold AMR equipment in high regard. I just think you need to market another way. It is intrusive. I submit that to your respectfully and ask you to refrain and get customers by working through your own web site rather than push your equipment here. Please, let customers come to you. This is meant to be constructive. Thank you.

We want people to post that do not have an agenda. That way hobbiests can actually just learn from each other in an unbiased manner. Believe me, we will come to you if we have further questions we think you would know the answer to. That said, you are correct mostly in saying that one must listen to the DP-777 and the AMR-77.1 and see for themselves....but, to really do that properly they would need to get units from you on loan and put them in their own system.

Now, for potential customers near Essential Audio, it is unscrupulous to borrow any of his equipment if you do not sincerely plan to spend your money with him. He is a busnessman and if you plan to buy used, please do not waste any dealers' time. I do not ever go into a dealership or ask more than a token question...and usually none, if I plan to buy used. I consider that inappropriate. Yes, I did do this in the beginning of getting into this hobby. I do not do this anymore. It is NOT a good thing to do. Thanks for everyones consideration on my many remarks.
I appreciate your in depth response.. I do currenlty own a Mccormack DNA-1 which has been recenlty updated by Steve & Kris at SMC Audio to the silver + status..

It will be interesteing to see what the set-up sounds like when all together....
Vze739en, you are welcome to post here, as is everyone else. There is no rule against people in the industry posting, although disclosing one's affiliation is appropriate as a courtesy to others. My post did not express an opinion nor was it self promotional beyond saying it is best to hear them side by side, as other AMR dealers and some consumers have both. If my post offended you I apologize, no foul intended.

Who are you? Your user name gives no indication of your identity and location. My chosen user ID makes my affiliation clear, so in the event I omit a dealer disclosure it is still easy for the viewer to see. I can't say the same for a lot of people here, some who clearly have an agenda and fly under the radar, regardless of being registered as private individuals.

All of that said, thank you for your thoughts. I'll continue to post mine, mainly intended as helpful information and clarification rather than being construed as stepping over the line. And I trust you'll try to be equally diligent in policing other threads and posters, regardless of their monikers.
>>07-31-12: Vze739en
We want people to post that do not have an agenda.<<

Have you met Ralph?
Essentialaudio. Your remarks are noted. I think indeed you did not cross the line. I appreciate that.

Dvdgreco. You are welcome. It takes enormous research to find out about different pieces of equipment. It is my hope that some of my discussion will help others in their considerations for their own equipment research. Good luck! Let us know how this goes.

Audiofeil. I do not normally post to threads. I have referred to them over the years a lot and am grateful for those that have really endeavored to give us all information, so when I do feel I am in a position to give back...I am glad to provide feedback on things I have invested in, that were very expensive and may be valuable to others making their own assessments. The AMR is a very unique piece and they really have put something together that is special. That said, my power supply recently failed in the AMR. I will probably replace that module this weekend. It had a cycling fault, unable to obtain stabilization. That said, if one owns almost any equipment long enough...whether we like it or not...occasional issues come up. I still consider this incidental and do not have anything negative to say regarding the AMR. It is not an inexpensive piece and for that reason it is not for everyone...and of course, some can be very satisfied with an old boom box jamming away, while they work on something in their garage, office or wherever. Oh, for those days... ~ ; )