consonance cd-120 linear review

Category: Digital

Consonance cd120 Linear Review.

I have had a consonance cd-120 linear for about a year now. It took quite awhile to find a replacement for the Marantz cd63se without costing the earth.
I listen to jazz, instrumental, acoustic, rock.

I am very impressed with the Consonance cd120 linear, it took about 300 hrs to burn in. It is very fluid sounding player - smooth, detailed, very musical and analogue sounding (natural and warm) a large 3D soundstage, quite dynamic and atmospheric, rich and sweet. It has a very fluid sweet musical midband,which is probably its main strength where most of the instruments and voices are, the top end is open sweet and airy, the bass is quite solid. It has a real sense of realness and naturalness to the sound (non-digital in the best sense e.g. harshness). It picks up the interplay between instruments, inflections, singers breathing which adds to the overall musical enjoyment. It times well (PRAT) like a good Naim.

I compared it to the Cambridge audio 640c v2, Arcam 73t, Nad c542, Marantz cd63se, Marantz sacd 7001. None was as musical and enjoyable as the consonance, it was in a different class altogether - you could listen all day without fatigue.

I had a listen to the next level up in a shop, the Creek Evo and the Rega Apollo both very musical machines, the consonance seemed to have a slightly more open soundstage, natural musical mid-band, more balanced. The Rega Apollo seemed a little light in the bass department however its top end is quite magical (sweet open and airy -impressive).

I did also have a quick listen to the meridian cd player on my system (4 x the cost of the consonance), the meridian had a tighter deeper bass, a touch more detailed and refined, slightly more top end air, however I probably preferred the consonance midrange which seemed more musical and natural sounding. The consonance overall came close and was probably nearly as enjoyable.

Good power lead and interconnects also improved its sound. Sit back relax and enjoy - let the music soothe you. It well suited to all kinds of music. It is quite analogue non digital sounding.

One feature it has is selecting the sampling rate. 44.1 brings a little more of the mids out and a touch more livelier and energetic. The 88.2 setting makes it slightly smoother and refined sounding with a touch more air at the top end. The consonance is a nice looking unit which weighs a bit – I think just under 10kg. It comes with an odd shaped but nice heavy metal remote.

To summarise its strengths:
It has a very natural musical sound (sounds real not digital in the worse sense). Large 3D soundstage with real depth, natural on voices and instruments with body to the instruments, sweet detailed fluid expressive midrange and sweet open top end and full warm bass. Quite detailed and smooth quite an exciting vivid sound but relaxing at the same time - quite natural analogue type sound with body to the instruments. Tonally balanced and refined. Good PRAT -times well. A very enjoyable machine that seems to to work well for all genres of music. Sounds better than it should at the price and solid build. Overall very impressive.

Now its weaknesses
Not taking the price into account
Even though it has a full fast bass it can be a touch light in the real low bass and not as punchy as some cd players (improved with power lead and good supports). The top end is really nice and open however slightly rolled off, the last bit of top end sparkle and air. Not as refined or detailed as some machines that cost considerably more. Some of the limitations is probably due to my equipment too (Rotel and Nad power amps, valve pre,reworked B&W 330i speakers, Kimber and nordost leads).

Overall: Highly recommended and would compete with cd players 2x the price. Bought for around $1000.