Review: Arcam FMJ-CD23 CD Player

Category: Digital

The Arcam FMJ-CD23 cd player is probably one of the best hi fi deals on the used market. Build quality is exceptional. There is a plastic cd loading tray, but it's not chincy and doesn't feel like it will break with the slightest pressure. It just doesn't feel cheap. Functionally, the remote is useful for extensive adjustment, but the buttons on the faceplate perform all major functions necessary. The FMJ series adds not only an upgraded "full metal jacket" but it also upgrades the power supply over Arcam's previous top cd player. The increase in resolution and decrease in noise are very noticeable. As far as sound goes, the FMJ 23 has a very full sound with quite an impressive soundstage. The bass is extended and tight, and the mids and highs do what they are supposed to, it just plays true music. It isn't too bright, it isn't too dulled over, it's a great all around performer that just plays music for what it is and nothing more or less. In comparison with Sony's DVP-9000ES dvd/sacd/cd player, the arcam is a lot more musical. Both players go quite in depth to the music, but the Arcam just adds that little twinkle that lets you know it is not a DVD player. Overall, I don't think there is much that can compare with the Arcam for around 1200 on the used market. If you are into a real tube sounding CD player, Cary makes some nice stuff, but if you want the overall athlete, the FMJ cd 23 is a great choice.

Associated gear
McCormack DNA 0.5 Revision A
McCormack ALD-1 Revision B
Oskar Aulos Bookshelf Speakers

Similar products
Sony DVP-9000ES
I just posted a comparison of the Arcam CD23 with units made by Cary and Heart. The comparison provides a more in depth look at the qualities of the various players (see link at bottom). Here is an exerpt with my impressions of the Arcam alone - a great CD player:

"The Arcam is very detailed with excellent resolution in the upper midrange and treble. It seems to reproduce this portion of the spectrum both accurately and effortlessly. The bass is also full, effortless and accurate. The upper mid and treble, however, sound slightly distant and thin relative to the other units compared. Certainly more analytical, but comes out smooth and easy. Perhaps a bit brighter than the other units too, lighter on top. I do like the resolution."

The upshot of the comparison, in my opinion, is that the other two units offer more warmth, soundstage and presence - but at the expense of some resolution, clarity and detail. See remaining review at: