Review: dcs Puccini CD Player

Category: Digital

I want to start by saying that I usually do not write reviews about audio equipment.

Having the dCS Puccini CD player for almost one month, I feel the urge to share my impressions with you all.

I will say upfront that this player is the best digital sound I had the pleasure to hear in my system and that after previously owning the MBL 1611/1621, dCS p8i, EMM CDSD SE/DCC2 SE.

I would also like to share that I predominantly listen to classical music, jazz and acoustic music.

I was pretty happy with the sound of my system with the MBL set up. However after a year or so, I felt that having a digital front end at a worth of 40K is a bit over my top and I decided to allocate some resources in order to improve other components in my system. The one box dCS p8i had all the resolution one can want with wide sound stage and a very dark background. However I found it to be not as organic or musical compared to the EMM. I then moved into the EMM CDSD SE / DCC SE which retained most of the resolution the dCS p8i had to offer, and in addition add some life to the music event.

I was very curious about what the new dCS Puccini would sound like in comparison to the dCS p8i and the EMM combo.

Reading about the new dCS, I was quite curious to see if they had been able to take the transparency dCS is known for and combine it with a more organic sound.

I will say it right here: The Puccini is by far the best digital system I have ever had in my system. It is a huge step up from the p8i and even from the dCS stack.

It is very transparent and detailed, yet organic and musical in a way I never experienced before.

The sound stage increased in width and depth along with having more of a sense of three-dimensionality or air around each individual performer. The EMM was no slouch in this area, but in comparison to the Puccini, the EMM came in a distant second.

Another aspect that I found amazing about the Puccini was the reference level preamplifier / volume control which sounded as good as my excellent VAC preamplifier.

Associated gear
ATC 100 Active speakers
VAC Renaissance Mk II Preamplifier
Stealth Indra ICs
Kublala Sosna Emotion PCs
SME 20/2

Similar products
dCS P8i
dCS Elgar plus/Verdi/Verona
MBL 1611/1621
E.A.R Acute CD
How did the MBL combo compare to the EMM, dCS, etc?
Did you run the Puccini direct to your ATCs? I've got ATC 150s and i find at 2V output from source i'm needing about 30-40db of digital cut for normal listening levels. Are you using any passive attenuation and if so what? How would you descrive the direct vs preamp sound? thanks!
The MBL 1611/1621 is a great front end. It is musical, involving and detailed. Unfortunately it doesn't do SACD for 40K. I would say the MBL is closer in sound to EMM. The dCS P8i had more micro, macro dynamics and resolution. The soundstage had the same width, but was deeper. The P8i was however less musical and organic then the MBL. The Puccini retains what dCS is known for - best resolution, soundstage, focus and imaging compared to all I have used. However in the new series the sense of musicality and "organic" presentation is presented not only in a better way than their previous models, but superior to all the other front ends I known. I couldn't be happier.
I use the Puccini on 6V. The integral preamplifeir sounds as good as my old Pass X1 and presently the VAC. I kept the pre just for the phonostage. The pre of the Puccini is so much better than the one in the p8i which was ok but not great.
What about the Elgar/Purcell combo?IS Puccini
even better than the dCS's old flagship?(in your system,of caus)
Thanks for the review. BTW, wonder if someone could do A/B between Elgar/Purcell combo and Puccini? Like Lty, I am curious too.