Thanks for taking the time to provide your review and comparisons. You're conclusions about the sound of the Opus 21 are similar to my own. Its a very un-digital sounding CD player, with great musicality and yet lots of low-level detail.
With a lot of players it seems like you get great musicality and pace, but with an inherent lack of detail. Other players are just the opposite providing lots of detail and information, but without much "toe-tapping" going on. The resolution player seems to provide the best of both worlds. My musician friends always comment on how real the instruments and voices sound.
Thanks for the great review! Now I'm even more interested than ever in the opus. I don't suppose you can post a pic of the remote? I'm just curious to know what it looks like.
Thanks for the responses.....Audire, I will try to get a pic, but also go to the RA website and look at the owners manual, a pic/drawing is there!
Platsolos, you've captured the essence of what I hear with the Opus 21 in my system. In particular I like the way the Opus 21 remains uncongested, even on the most complex music, and it's musical drive is outstanding. Similar to Naim players, but with much better resolution and balance across the spectrum.
The Opus 21 replaced a Meridian 508.24 and SF Line 3 combination in my system.
Platsolos--Great review. I couldn't agree more. I've had my Opus for about 3 weeks and love it! Receiving the wooden crate, unpacking the player, examining it, and, finally, simply listening to it, has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience!
The player is very well executed with great ergonomics, simplistic design, useful features, and fantastic audio qualities. In comparison to other players from Ayre and Cary that I have used, the Opus creates a more delicate, gentle sound with taught bass, lively highs, and wonderful emotional impact.
Needless to say, I won't be sending it back to you at the end of the audition period.
Did anyone compare it to Wadia, Audio Areo ?
Sorlowski, this is a little late, but if you click onto another thread: "CD players with volume control ?????" 7-9-03, there's quite a bit of discussion about the Opus, including a comparison to Wadia players.
An excellent review!
I got ahold of an Opus21 late last week and had a chance to directly compare it to 2 Wadia players(A 301 and an 861se). All Im going to say is this: Opus21='s Adcom GCD-750 in terms of SQ with a more elegant 2 part case. Its a really good player, definetly has great clarity, but its still a step below the Wadia 301 and a few steps down from an 861se. For $3500 I would take a stock 301 over it still regardless. And for $3500 a Wadia 301 can be had with a GNSC upgrade package its a no-brainer for the Wadia.
I would like to hear head to head a Wadia 301 vs. an Opus21, both with the GNSC Reference level mod packages though. As I believe Steve Huntley does do upgrades for the Opus player too.
I too compared the Opus 21 to the Wadia 301 head to head. I had a different result in my system than Ritteri. I now own the Opus 21. I wanted to buy the 301 because of my favorite local dealer and all, but just couldn't justify it after I compared the two. The only aspect of the 301 that bested the Opus 21 was in shear authority and drive. Soundstage, clarity of instrumentation, vocals, imaging, all were better in the opus 21. My grading scale ended with 1) Opus 21 2) Ayre cx7 3) Naim 4) Wadia 301
Thanks to Platsolos,
A great review! Scince 3 weeks I am the very happy owner of a Opus 21 Player. I will never give it away again! Sondstage, dimensionaliy, clarity and fine resolution are realy second to non I've heard before.
I criticaly tested the following:
Marantz CD12 Ki
Marantz CD 23 (older Music link special edition)
North Star DAC and Drive
Chord DAC and Einstein Last record player drive
Creek CD53 and CD43 MKII
Opus 21 beats them all, especialy as I am listening classical to rock and pop musik, the combination was always better in every aspect of dimensionality and depth of imaging on stage.
I have checked also the quality of the volume control and found it very good. I also checked direct DIN Fixed output and diden't found any difference.
Fantastic review! Very complete and I especially enjoyed the comparisons. Thanks for taking the time. This is helping me a great deal in my current "shopping" mode.
Great review. Most enjoyable reading. If the Opus has the same sense of rythm and clarity than the reviewer's style, it has to be a must ;)
One question though : any hint about the specific low bass extension and lisibility issue ?
I meant to ask you, if you've run it straight into the amp as well as through a pre-amp and which gave you the best results???
Running the Opus through preamps that were $6k+ was the only thing to improve the sound from running direct. I am considering modifying the Opus, and my thought is that it will smoke anything out there, direct or through a preamp!
can the volume control be bypassed? I use a preamp that is necessary for other sources due to a mixed 2-ch/HT system...
just a short few comments to endorse these frank and honest reviews..
I have to admit I was sceptical after the above reviews and the rave review in What Hi-Fi etc.. However, its all true and the conclusions about the sound of the Opus 21 being very un-digital sounding CD player, with great musicality and yet lots of low-level detail are spot on descriptions...
With a lot of players I've tried it seemed like you get an inhernet "artificial" musicality and pace, but with an inherent lack of detail. Other players do provide lots of detail and information, but with "musicality" missing. The resolution player seems to provide the best of these twop features and is a definite "keeper" as far as I'm concerned.
Like others, this is the end of a CD player quest for me as there is little scope to do better than this at 3 times the price. I will not be chaning mine for anything else as long as I have CD's. I can't endorse it more than this as I feel the digital journey for a top class Cd player is finally over for me..
Its just a great piece of kit...
Has anyone stepped up to the opus from the cd-55. I did a head to head comparison with the cd-55 and my emc1 mk2. Although the cd-55 was very detailed, it was a little harsh on the top end. The emc-1 eleminated this. I can listen with absolutely no fatigue now. I realize system matching is important and my speakers are Dunlavy 4A's which are known for having an above average treble presence. The emc-1 was the definite choice for me. I was curious however if resolution audio had improved in that area with the opus 21.
I like how this thread keeps going and going. I have compared the EMC-1 and the Opus 21 side by side and prefer the Opus 21. It is more natural sounding, more organic if you will. Hey, I love it.
I also found an Audience Au24 DIN-RCA cable to be a worthwhile investment if you want to bypass the volume control within the Opus 21. Really nice.
BTW, I added a review of the RA Opus 21 s30 integrated amplifier in the amplifier reviews section that touches on the Opus 21 CDP. The direct connection really makes the Opus 21 CDP shine!
Nice review, but I should mention that a few owners of Accuphase cd players that were running there units balanced were not taking into account the balance polarity being defferent then USA made balanced pins 2-hot, 3-cold, Japan is 2-cold and 3-hot, thus you have to reverese the speaker cables at the amp end to put the system back into polarity.
The Accuphase DP75V, DP77 and DP85 are just superb, transparent, 3D imaging and yes they are musical, like real music would sound, it really should have body. I owned the top 5 cd players on the market in the 10-15K range and for the money my DP77 is my final choice.
I am done for the next few years or so. Always check polarity, even ac should be checked, the Sony SCD1 is tranformed once the ac plug is reversed.
I have always listened LP's and have gotten spoiled with the analog sound. No matter which CD player I considered for purchase, the Opus 21 edged them all for clarity, musicality, base and emotion. I have stopped searching for a CD player because I heard the warmth of analog and emotion.
Thanks to all of you for guiding me to the Opus 21.
Having at long last heard the Opus 21 CD Player, with its somewhat noisy mechanism. I have to give the edge to the Oracle 1500 CD Player. In my opinion when price to price is compared and both of these are in that $3,500 price range, the Oracle 1500 is superior to the Opus 21 CD Player. Both are overkill redbook CD Players. But to my ears the Oracle 1500 has a decided advantage in overall sonics and build quality and is graveyard quiet compared to the Opus CD 21.
Of course the Oracle 2500 smokes both of these units. It should it is near 10K.