Review: Tjoeb 4000 CD Player

Category: Digital


Please see the reviews at Audio They are all glowing and the reviewers love this machine. I will say that this CD player with full mods, upsampler and upgraded tubes is the way to go at this price point.

Why screw around? If you are buying this player because of the quality and tube sound you may as well cut to the chase and make it the best sounding player for its price. You won’t be disappointed.

I A/B’d this player with the similarly priced Rotel 991 audiophile edition (thank you to the nice folks at Spearit Sound). The Rotel is a fine player no question.

I had completely burned in the Rotel and was happy with it. I wanted, however, to give the Ah! a try before a final decision. I called Kevin at Upscale Audio and he offered to send me the Ah! with a generous return option. I received the Ah! a day later (boy that’s service) with all of the upgrades and the upsampler but without the tube upgrade. I really tried not to do a comparison without a proper burn-in. After 48 hours though I could not contain my curiosity. The differences with the Rotel were readily apparent even after 48 hours.

The details were much finer with the Ah!. The sound stage slightly wider but the dynamics were sooo much better. I ended the test early even though the Ah! really needs about 250 hours of burn-in (Kevin recommends leaving the Ah! on for at least a week).

I did not compare the supplied DACs and only did a comparison between the two with the Ah!’s upsampler so I cannot tell you how that would have turned out.

The upsampler seemed to do as promised. That is; move all of the digital artifacts and noise, which is normally just beyond hearing frequency, but may not be completely, to a truly supersonic level. This, it is said, explains the benefit of upsampling even though the 24/192 upsampler does not have any additional information to derive from standard 16/44 red book CD’s. The realism of all types of music was phenomenal.

I was not completely satisfied however. I still was bothered by the usual digital “glare” of CDs and digital distortion on “Sss” sounds of female vocals. After consulting with Kevin (at 8:00 PM that evening) about this he suggested warming things up with an Amperex tube upgrade. I received the tubes the next day (how does he do that?). Oh, by the way, Kevin recommends putting a sheet of Dynamat (a damping material obtained from Car Stereo dealers) inside the case to reduce case resonance.

After a quick install of the tubes and an hour warm-up I popped in a CD and.... WOW!

What a difference.

The sound was sooo much warmer and analogue. Record like. The glare was gone. The Ssss problem had almost disappeared. This is a world class player and at about $1000 all-in a great bargain too.

Highly recommended.

Detail, Sound Stage, Warmth, Dynamics. Customer service

None if you go all the way and buy/do all the mods and upgrades suggested and available

Associated gear
Audiomat Apgege, JM Reynaud Twin MKII speakers, DIY power cords and speaker cables, Austrailian interconnects

Similar products
Rotel CD 991
I have the Ah! before the 4000 the Tjoeb 99 I opted for the a/c noise killer & supercrystal & went immediately for the Aperex tubes, Fabulous sound. I have seen & read reviews on the 4000 & would be willing to bet all one would need is the better tubes, still I'm thinking of getting another for different room. By the way I have had the 99 for 2 years now & it still runs strong needs a good 30 minutes to reach full potential
I've also got an Ah! Tjoeb 4000 with upsampling and completely agree with the reviewer's experience (both with the player and with Kevin Deal). I currently have Siemens 6922 (gold pins) tubes in it, and with those tubes the player has not only clean, grainless sound, but also amazing resolution and reproduction of instrumental timber. In my main system I have a Musical Fidelity A3 CD as transport with the Musical Fidelity Trivista DAC, a $3,400 list combo. I pulled the Ah! Tjoeb from my home office system to do a direct comparison and found some interesting results. The MF/Trivista combo is very close to state of the art and produces a combination of high resolution, timbral accuracy and huge soundstage that put my in audiophile nirvanna when I first got it (after lengthy break-in, of course). How did the Ah! Tjoeb, at one third the price, sound in comparison? Surprisingly close. The MF combo certainly had the edge in resolution and sound stage, but I was frankly surprised to find that the Ah! Tjoeb was even in the same ballpark as the Trivista combo. But more impressive, for me, was that the Ah! Tjoeb brought out the beautiful tonal qualities of instruments in a way that very definitely equalled the performance of the 3 times more expensive Trivista combo. I attend symphony concerts in the Kennedy Center on a regular basis, and relish the beautiful sounds a world class orchestra can produce. When listening to a Beethoven or Brahms symphony through the Ah! Tjoeb, I can hear the same burnished quality in the brass, that I hear in live concerts. I was listening to a recent EMI remastering of Stokowski conducting Debussy last night and was stunned by the natural and musical reproduction of the woodwind section (I had to wind the CD back a couple of times to hear it again and again). So while the Trivista is a truly awesome achievement in natural, detailed analogue-like sound, the Ah! Tjoeb, being, to my ears, so close makes it one of the audiophile bargains of all time.
If it takes so long to warm the player up, why would you not just leave it on all the time? Would the tubes burn out faster?
Has anyone tried the Ah! with Telefunken tubes? Either E88CC's or the ECC88's (not the out of this world in price CCa's)? I ask, because I've tried the Amperex BB's in my MF X-Pre and they are good, better than the stock JAN Phillips 6DJ8's, but the Telefunkens - well, now we're talkin'! I just wonder if these tubes would have the same wonderful sound in the Njoe Tjoeb.
My preamp takes 6DJ8 and I settled on Amperex PQ. These are a toss up with Telefunken but a good batch of these Amperex are probably the best I have heard for music. I was considering the Ah 4000 but I found someone to fully mod out my Cal audio player which is why upgrading is so complicated.