[Review] Arcam DiVA CD192 vs. Arcam Alpha 9

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by technobear, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. technobear

    technobear Ursine Audiophile

    Jun 22, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Arcam DiVA CD192 vs. Arcam Alpha 9

    The CD192 has now had a good 80 hours of running in and is sounding very good. It was not so hot straight out of the box. The bass was wooden and lacking in depth and definition so if you are going to demo one of these, make sure it has been well run in.

    I finally got time to compare the CD192 and the Alpha 9 last night. I was going to write about it last night but I was enjoying the music so much...

    Anyway, so as not to bore you all, I'll try to keep this short. The CD192 cedes absolutely nothing to the Alpha 9. It betters the 9 in a number of areas and by some margin:

    1) Treble - the 192 produces more realistic cymbols. You can hear all of the tinkly harmonics and resonances and decay and the sound is really sweet and clean. In fact the 192 is better all round at revealing the subtle details in the music. It sounds a little more natural than the 9.

    2) Stage and Imaging - the 192 produces a wider, deeper, higher, more believable stage than the 9. The image is more solid.

    3) Inky Blackness - the silence between the notes? or dynamic contrast perhaps? When first switching from the 9 to the 192, it seems that the 192 is quieter and there is a temptation to turn the volume up. Extended listening shows that this is not so. The 192 is just as loud but the greater dynamic contrast and the greater depth of the silences make it seem quieter until you reach a crescendo in the music.

    Unlike some other upsampling players, the 192 doesn't seem to lack anything in the groove and involvement stakes. It's every bit as funky as the 9 but also adds an uncanny ability to pull you into the music and make you a part of it. I find myself listening to stuff I had previously dismissed (old magazine giveaway CDs that I was using on repeat to run the player in) and thinking damn that sounds good. It's a seductive performance and a pretty remarkable one for £850.

    The Alpha 9 is still a very good player (and as a 5 year old for around £250 something of a bargain and no mine isn't for sale - not yet anyway) but the 192 is definitely better and will be staying at Technobear Towers :cool:
    technobear, Jul 15, 2004
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