Resolution Audio - Cantata

Anyone out there heard this player? Very interested in its sound playing regular Redbook cd's. Also any comments on its other digital capabilities would be appreciated. Seems like the perfect unit for now and the future.
I dropped you an email to your question. But for the rest who are reading this thread I thought i would post it here as well.

To your question if I was still enjoying the Cantata:

"Absolutely!!! It is incredible! The sad thing is I have a Basis Debut with Vacuum, Vector arm, Walker motor drive, Koetsu Urishi, Cat Ultimate preamp, and tons of sweet new 45's heavy vinyl reissues, and I hardly listen to them! Ouch! That little dac is that good! It competes with my analog very well. The Basis is a tad better in some ways, but with 2 terabytes of lossless music to plow through on the Cantata it is hard to get up the effort to spin vinyl. I never thought I would see the day... "

It is a must hear piece of digital. I traded my Wadia 860 in towards this because I no longer listened to it. I also record local High School and College orchestras with an Alesis Masterlink at 24/96. I had no idea how much I had captured with my Earthworks mics and Earthworks Mic Pre until I played the tracks back through the Cantata. Wow, I just never thought digital could sound so right. Now my Otari MX 5050BIII sits idle as well. :)

I want one..Maybe I can convince my son not to go to college until next year :-)

I agree with Ken. The Resolution Audio Cantata series products are absolutely fantastic sounding pieces! They look great as well. They sound great for both redbook and computer audio. A couple of weeks ago, I spent an afternoon demoing and comparing the Cantata Music Center and matching C-50 amplifier against the Great Northern Sound Reference modified Resolution Audio Opus 21 & matching S30 amplifier. IMHO, the new Cantata series is about 15% better sounding than the GNSC modded units, which are 15% better sounding than the stock units. I will be purchasing the Music Center in the next month or so.

Jeff Kalt is the Resolution Audio designer. He is an MIT graduate that specializes in high-end audio digital design. Over the years, he has designed digital sections for several well know high-end audio companies including BAT. He designs & makes great sounding gear that is practical and sanely priced. Resolution Audio's Opus 21 and S30 products are fantastic and are "giant-killers". Do yourself a favor and demo the Canata series products.
Long time since I have posted here! I concur with the above comments. I upgraded from the Opus 21 / s30 system to the Cantata system and could not be happier. The amp has a bit more breathing room and openness than the s30, but still retains the musicality of the DNM-based design. I use them with DNM cables and Harbeth P3ESR speakers. A great little (and beautiful) system.
Thanks for your responses. They all are very favorable. Keep them coming.
I just received my Cantata and spent several hours listening to it break in. I was using the Opus 21 prior. The BIG difference between the two while playing CD's is the fact that it actually sounds more analogue that the 21. Keep in mind it will take a bit to break in and should only get better. It accepts a CD easily and looks awesome. It is nice to be able to dim or mute the lights at night also. Awesome unit and it will probably cut down the amount bof time I spend listening to vinyl
Just to "pile on" a bit, I agree with all of the above posters regarding the Cantata. Yes, at $6000 it is not inexpensive, but I have never heard digital sound so involving and musical with detail, deep bass, and enagaing PRAT. While my analog system is very good indeed, the Cantata makes it a very difficult decision as to what to listen to every day. A terrific product, great company, and great customer service!
Don't you all think the Cantata is very noisy when swallowing and spitting out the CD... lots of whizzing & clunking... This is the only aspect that turns me off and is holding me back buying one. Can't Resolution Audio use a more "elegant and refined" drive?

Otherwise, it is a very good sounding player!
Actually there has been an update available for some time to resolve that noise issue on early units. Hamburger, it looks like you are in Singapore and the importer there should certainly have the updated drives installed in demo units by now. Units shipping in the past 8 months or so are extremely quiet when loading, reading, ejecting.


Steve Huntley
North American Sales Director
Resolution Audio
Hi Steve,
Yes I heard one about 4 months ago and it was a noisy drive. I will go to the dealer and listen to the latest version again.

By the way, what speakers were used/partnered to develop the C50 amplifier? What would be good speakers to pair with it?

Thank you.

The C-50 will work well with most any faily efficient non-reactive loudspeaker. Development was largely done with some extremely efficient speakers from France (no longer made) called Rehdeko. The C-50 sounds great on a lot of other well designed but fairly efficient speakers. It's really just a matter of personal taste and proper efficency for your listening style and room.

Hope it helps.
I purchased one 2 weeks ago and have to say it is fantastic. I have a Mach2Music macmini with pure music hooked up via USB and redbook is better than I have ever heard. 24/96 files from hd tracks are stunning. This unit has all the detail and resolution of my Modwright Oppo while taming the highs and sounding more analog-like. Also, with its scalloped solid block aluminum chassis it is a real beauty. More audiophiles should know about this gem.
Auntjenof2, more audiophiles will know about it very issue of Stereophile has a review. Also 24/192k upgrade of the Cantata (for Mac users...licensing for PC compatibility to follow a bit later) will be available as an upgrade in two weeks or less for people like yourself that own Cantata Music Centers now. Price has been set at $250 and the MSRP of the Cantata will go up $500 in the USA, so existing owners are well taken care of in their investment. Overseas Cantata owners can contact their distributor for upgrade details in their location. The 24/192k upgrade of course also allows for 188k file playback as well. Those not interested in this feature can still buy the Music Center as it is today, which supports up to 96k.

Hope it's helpful additional information for those following this thread.
Stereophile has dedicated it's cover to the Cantata music center. It is a very favorable review. It is well worth checking out. I have listened to the Cantata extensively and think that it is really, really good.
I upgraded from a GNSC modded Opus 21 to a Cantata a couple months ago. I thought it would be difficult to substantially beat the sound of the Opus 21, but the Cantata does. The sound stage is deeper and more open, resolution is stunning without being clinical sounding like some high end players I have heard.

Like many others my analog system has been very quiet since I got the Cantata.

I have to agree. Although I often feel, after comparing CD players, that the differences in the best players are small. I have had the opportunity to compare the Cantata to several other similarly priced players as well as the Opus 21 and thought the Cantata was easily noticeably better in all respects. The clarity, naturalness and analog like qualities were very obvious. The RA C-50 integrated amp is outstanding as well.
Well I thought I would chime in here since I have had the Cantata about a year now. I have ordered the 24/192 upgrade but do not have that yet. When I do I will report back on any differences.
But I just wanted to say that I enjoy listening to the Cantata as much today as when I first received that little gem packed in a custom wood crate! I just love this dac! I hate to admit it, but if I had all of my vinyl in the digital format, I doubt I would spin vinyl at all. I do still give the nod to the Basis with the best vinyl. There is room still to improve digital. But this player is so good that I am listening and enjoying a huge range of music daily. In the time I used to spend hunting for a record, I have already lined up a bunch of tracks on the iPad remote. The Cantata has been a game changer. Finally digital sounds like what they promissed back in the 80's. It is big fun. It might not be cheap at 6500.00, but it has become the hub of my high end stereo. Worth every cent. Well that's my 2 cents. :)

I found this blog that has some information about the Stereophile review of the Cantata as well as some other computer audio. I thought the review was pretty good, but could have talked more about the sound of the DAC especially through the USB with Pure Music and iTunes.

The Stereophile review omitted much of any description of how the Resolution Audio Cantata sounded. John Iverson did a good job of checking out all of the different ways in which one can get digital signals to the Cantata and said that all of those ways produced a good result. He omitted mention of how well it performs as a CD player. (I can comment on that: It's a great CD player.)

While it was a great review, I think that Mr. Iverson did not do the Cantata justice in that it is even better than he described. That the Cantata is flexible is pretty obvious. It would have been nice had Mr. Iverson done more to explain the more subjective and less obvious qualities of the Cantata. I think that he would have left an even more positive impression than the already great review.
I felt the same way about the review. Jon Iverson is an experienced reviewer who is well thought of and normally does a fine job with reviews. It is interesting he used a Marantz A/V preamp for listening and comparisons. It would seem there would be much better choices to evaluate a CD player the quality of the Cantata.
Along with using the Marantz AV Preamp for the review I was surprised that the Ayre QB-9 was considered the standard for comparison. I have listened to Ayre, Esoteric, Macintosh, Audio Research, Bel Canto, and other players and have not heard a Player/Server sound as musical as the Cantata. The one area I do agree with John Iverson on is that at $6000 the Cantata is a bargain. I plan to enjoy mine for many years.
Although this is a thread on the Cantata, I wonder what speakers are paired with the C-50.

Anyone has a success story to share?
Just reading this thread with gusto!

I received delivery of my Cantata only a few days ago all the way down under in Australia. We only very recently, last month in fact, got a distributor for Resolution Audio down under. Not sure why it took so long.

I have been enjoying my North Star Design USB DAC32 and M192 CD transport utilizing a Revelation Audio Labs iS2 CAT5 link. For the money this is a staggering combination with all the detail, separation and sweetness I could ever want in digital replay. That was until my friend brought over his Resolution Audio Opus 21 GNSC modded unit...

The Opus 21 just sounded more musical and made my NSD combo sound slow and labored in comparison.

I promptly ordered the Cantata and must say it is amazing out of the box.

For current Cantata owners out there, how long is the run in period until the player reaches its peak performance? Is feeding the Cantata a digital stream from my DAB+ radio considered run in? Or is it best to run a CD on repeat for several days.

I have a feeling the Cantata will be my musical companion for many years to come...
Disclaimer: I am a Resolution Audio dealer.

I also at one time had a Northstar combo in which I used the Revelation Audio I2S cable. It was quite a nice digital front end considering I am an analogy person first and foremost. I kept it for a few years until I discovered the Lessloss Audio DAC 2004 MkII and CEC TL51X combo where the transport is slaved to the DAC. I much preferred this combo over the Northstar and it has been my reference digital front end for nearly 5 years now.

I have always had an interest in Resolution Audio and for a couple years wanted to try the Opus 21. Last year I finally had my chance as I was setting up a balanced system featuring the Atmasphere S-30 amp. So I picked up a Opus 21 and ran it direct into the S-30. I was pretty impressed with the sound, much so that I used the Opus 21 in our room at The SHOW Las Vegas last year. It is quite a musical player in stock form and can only imagine how good it is with the GNSC mods. Alas though, in head to head competition with my Lessloss/CEC combo the Opus 21 fell short so I eventually sold it.

Given the evolution of computer audio and not having such a large CD collection (less than 500 CDs) I have been on the fence with computer audio, but realized it was a matter of time before I would want to really look into that option. A while back I had the opportunity to try the Sonic Weld Diverter in my system and was impressed with what it did, just using a basic iTunes interface after loading a couple CDs on my MacBook. I kept that device in the back of my mind, but then along came the Cantata.

The attraction to the Cantata for me is the flexibility. I can still play CDs and use it for computer audio. It also has a nice built in volume control so I can run it direct into the S-30 and have a very simple one source system. I had heard the Cantata at a couple of audio shows and was impressed enough with the sound that I eventually arranged a trial with Steve Huntley and I was not disappointed. From my recollection the Cantata is a noticeable improvement over the stock Opus 21.

The real shocker to me though is how much I have enjoyed using the USB connection to play music off my MacBook. I now use Pure Music as the interface and over the last few weeks have ripped nearly my entire collection of CDs onto the hard drive. The nice thing about the Cantata is that you can do an A/B comparison with the USB and CD inputs on the fly in near real time (a bit of a lag in terms of trying to synch the sources but close enough). In my comparisons to date, I could find no difference in sound quality between the two. I recall being very skeptical about computer audio capabilities for quite sometime even though some people whose opinions I respect and much of what I read about it here and elsewhere have provided solid support for it. Now the Cantata has really convinced me this is the way to go.
Thanks for your detailed thoughts Clio09. I have only compared the Cantata built in CD player to streamed music via my wireless Sonos zoneplayer 90 fed from my Apple lossless itunes file. Without any comparisons the streamed music sounds great. In fact better than I have ever heard before using my previous DACs. But when I compared it to the CD replay yesterday with a few friends there was noticeable differences. With CD replay you could hear the textures of instruments and voices much more clearly. Music had more focus and the soundstage enlarged.
I have yet to compare the direct USB connection from my iMac and using the Pure Music app you mentioned. I am a lazy bugger and don't feel like moving my iMac downstairs to my main system! LOL!
There is so much to read on computer audio these days it is almost impossible to determine where to begin. For me, with a small collection of CDs I ripped them to the HD using XLD and AIFF format. Using some of the tweaks from a few MAC tuning guides I have found and the aforementioned Pure Music interface I have been very pleased with the results.

Now I want to play around with both Ethernet set-ups using the Pont Neuf. Wired or wireless this would allow me to keep the computer out of the main listening room.
Keen to hear how you go Clio09.

No matter what anyone says I think a computer be it PC, iMac or whatever looks butt ugly amongst a fine HIFI setup.
A quick update on my Cantata. I added black diamond racing cones and a hifi tuning fuse to my Cantata. The difference is startling. The organic nature of the Cantata is amplified dramatically and more analog sounding than ever. Soundstage is deep wide and tall with CDs and computer based audio sounding the same. I'm shocked that the Cantata could get better, but it has. Expensive at $6500 this player/music center playAs way above it's price?
In a quest to approach the sound of my analog system, I have owned, and listened to, many top-rated CD player’s and amps including a number of Linn and Naim’s top systems. At the urging of a close friend, I bought an Opus 21 a couple years ago and was extremely impressed with its organic analog-like sound. It was far and away the best CD player I had ever heard…until the Cantata Music Center that is! I bought the Cantata Music Center and the matching Cantata C50 integrated amp and I have been thrilled with both of them! I have spent so much more time listening to my CD collection than I had ever done before. I had several occasions to speak with Jeff Kalt and found him to be a class act. He must be brilliant to design such great sounding gear but he seems so humble and unassuming. Although I have not yet taken the plunge into computer audio, I look forward to enjoying my Cantata system for some time to come and since it appears to be designed to accommodate future updates, I expect I will.
Hi Dfalbaum,
I am curious,
What make of Hifi tuning fuse are you using?
I am using the Hi Fi Tuning Gold. I was skeptical, but it really makes a difference. My Cantata is good, but with the new fuse it seems to do everything better. Still sounds like a Cantata, just more so.
What size fuse did you get and is there more than one to change?
1.6 amp slow blow one fuse.
Thanks, Dfalbaum!
Hi Dfalbaum,
1.6amp fuse slow blow and Your set is USA voltage,

For 220/240 V UK voltage,do u know if 1.6amp fuse slow blow is similarly used?
I looked in the Cantata User Manual and it says 1.6A for 100-120 VAC and 800mA for 200-240 VAC.
Just one comment from a delighted Cantata owner for several years now. The two enhancements I've added both made a big difference in this already great player which I use only as a CD player: a Hifi Tuning Supreme fuse bought from The Cable Company, and a Kimber PK 14 power cord. Talk about cost effective money spent. Greater resolution, lower noise floor, just more beautiful music. I wish somebody'd told me a while ago that these relatively low cost tweaks could create such inordinate improvement in sound quality.
Jim Heckman
also a Cantata owner for 1,5 years now and I must say that I'm very, very pleased. lately, though, I've been starting to think about upgrading, since I had the chance to audition a few other players/dacs.
upnp sounds great now with the last upgrade, but still can't play gapless, so it's a no-go for me.
I'll try taking a look at the Hifi Tuning fuse to see if that helps. I love the HF and LF extension, but I feel that the mids could use some depth. Any other ideas are more than welcome.
Best regards
What issues are you having with gapless playback on the Cantata? I have been playing gapless files on mine.
just saw your answer, Clio09. I guess I just get gaps between tracks, which messes up listening to classical recordings.
btw, changing the fuse made a very real difference in regards to mids. after making the change I stopped wanting to upgrade.
just to follow up: I got things working by changing the android controller to plugplay. no gaps anymore!!!
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I run mine with an Offramp 5 via AES and it made an immediate improvement to the sound. More midrange focus and superior micro detail and soundstage. No problems with gapless playback. Much better than the CD Player and USB input. I am simply blown away by this combination.
Drheadphone, great input. I switched over to using their Pont Neuf about 7 months ago and the sonic improvement over USB was instantly noticeable. However, CD still sound best. How have you connected your Offramp between your ?computer? server? and the Cantata? Need to explore this.