Review: Acurus ACD-11 CD Player

Category: Digital

This is a workhorse CD player that I have owned for a number of years now. I like the Mondial stuff (before they were sold to Klipsch recently) and would buy anything made by them. The sound of this player is totally honest and revealing for an older design. I would be interested in trying the unit with an outboard DAC but do not have the budget to do it yet. It excels with any type of music. It replaced a Rotel RCD-845 player. I have tested it using the Pierre Verany CD test disc and it performs better than most players in the category. If cost were no object I woudl probably own the Electrocompaniet EMC-1 player but for the difference in price I am quite pleased.

Overall, highly recommended.

Associated gear
Aragon pre-amp and amplifier

Similar products
Rotel, NAD
I also own one of these and I think it is a good stand alone player and a great transport ( I have used it as both). Its a bargin at the prices I've seen it for used. TG

Words can not describe my Love Affair with Mondial's Acurus (Budget Audio) products. Even their story is inspiring: A Philosophy Major & an Audio Reviewer think they can build a better mouse trap and start an AudioPhile company together. They build their first AMP, the Aragon 8008(?)  as designed by D'agustino (sic) of KRELL and it flies off the shelf. Instead of going to China and let the cost cutting Chinese dictate what they will build---Mondial Labs hires MILITARY SubContractors at Dobbs Ferry to build their products within a certain price point/profit. No wonder they sound great 23 years later---MILSPEC Parts as MFG'd by Military Sub Contractors!!! FYI, Do you know who designed my RL11 PreAmp? William Snyder of KRELL. There is a reason my little $799 Acurus RL11 PreAmp out performed Krell's $4K PreAmp---he overseen the production of both of them!!!

I was perfectly happy with my 20 year old ADCOM GCD 575 with its insane 23 super glued M&M chocolates buttons until she suddenly gave up the ghost. Then I read the review of an Emotiva CD player against a 1997 Acurus ACD11 player and the Emotiva CD player barely edged out the Acurus. So I looked up the Acurus ACD11...and fell in LUST!!! I made a $20.00 bid for the Acurus and some clown was bumping me by a dollar for three days and with four seconds, he bumped it up by $40.00---Too bad, my reserve bid was $500.00 meaning I walked away with this MINT Acurus ACD11 for $166.00...SWEET!!!

First, that momma be THICK!! Not just curves but 20lbs THICK!!! Second, the Acurus ACD11 looks like a Modern Piece of Art with the sexiest facia I have ever seen on electronics---all of the buttons are arranged in a 1/2 circle and it just shouts EXPENSIVE (1997 Retail Price $799.) The transport is a re-worked SONY with some air cushioning to secure the CD but the drawer mechanism is ROCK SOLID.

Second, although the Acurus ACD11 sounds great OEM DAC, its Burr Brown 1Bit DAC is very dated. So bypass it & update it already!!! Having read both TECHNOs & Z Review's review of the Sub $200.00 SMSL 6th Anno Sanskirt DAC with its Wolfson WD 8340(?) DAC (SOTA 2014), I slapped it into the Acurus ACD11's Digital Out (24bit/192Khtz) with its dedicated Power output (2/3D of a Panda Stack) and the music just BLOOMED!!! So why haven't I upgraded my DAC yet? At 24bit/192kHz throughput from the Digital Out, that is the maximum resolution you are going to get. SACD is DOA, DSD 64-512 hasn't taken off yet and MSQ is just a pipe dream at this point. PCM works, is dependable and will be around for another 3-5 years so stick with your future drink coaster format a little bit longer.

If you see an Acurus ACD11 used on E-BAY---expect to pay out the nose for it (80% of its 1997 asking price). This is the last CD player you will ever own---she's solid, she's sexy and she will submit to all of your Earthly Desires...if you maintain her (in style).