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Reviewer: Edgar Kramer
Financial Interests: Click here
Source: AMR CD-77.1 CD player, MacBook with BitPerfect player and AIFF files
Preamplifier: Supratek Sauvignon with NOS RCA and Bendix tubes; NuForce P9, NuForce P20, Musical Fidelity kW Hybrid
Amplifier: NuForce Reference 18 monoblocks; Cymer Audio Southern Star SE-35 monoblocks; Musical Fidelity kW750 2-box power amplifier
Speakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia
Cables digital: Cerious Technologies; Harmonic Technology Magic; NuForce digital cables; analog interconnects - Bocchino Audio Morning Glory; Cable Research Laboratory (CRL) Gold with Bocchino XLR and RCA; Cerious Technologies; DanA Digital Reference Silver; Eichmann eXpress 6 Series 2; ETI Quiessence Reference; Exakte IC; Harmonic Technology Magic and Truthlink Silver; MIT Giant Killer MPC; NuForce IC-700; PSC Audio Monolith AG; PSC Audio Pristine R30 Ribbon; speaker cables - Cerious Technologies; ETI Quiessence Reference; Exakte speaker cable; MIT Giant Killer GK-1 loudspeaker cables; NuForce SC-700; power cords - Cerious Technologies AC; Eichmann eXpress AC power cables; Exakte AC; Harmonic Technology Fantasy; PSC Gold Power MKII; Shunyata Research Diamondback
Stands: SGR Signature racks
Acoustic treatment: Fonic Designer panels
Sundry accessories: Burson Audio Buffer, Bright Star Audio IsoRock Reference 3 and BSA IsoNode feet; Bocchino Audio Mecado isolation diodes; Black Diamond Racing cones; Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions, Shakti On Lines; Densen & IsoTek CD demagnetizer; Auric Illuminator CD Treatment
Room size: 6.4m wide by 7.1m long with high ceiling and narrow cavity behind speakers. Room has been professionally measured and found to be extraordinarily flat and neutral
Review component retail: $38'000 US

Original? Given the current state of digital playback in the 21st century, some would question the wisdom of launching a no-holds-barred CD player. Computer audio and hi-rez downloads are increasingly on the uptake with consumers. The physical disc format will—in the not too distant future—be phased out.

On the surface that may sound like the way the tea leaves read. Thinking about it a little deeper reveals levels of intelligent thinking behind such an endeavour. To start with, long-term enthusiasts may own a large library of CDs which will need a system of replay well into the future. Further, the jury is still out on the merits of computer audio when compared to competent (not even SOTA) CD playback. Further still, what if a player was able to bridge both sides of the chasm? What if a player could wring the best from your long-established CD collection whilst conveniently pointing the way towards the future which rears its head on the horizon?

While not the first, French high-end company Neodio have done just that in the Origine, their all-in-one flagship digital player and DAC. In fact, wise manufacturers are all offering CD players now that accept a digital input of one form or another. In this case the Origine will play your much-loved discs whilst also taking USB and SPDIF to accommodate computer audio playback via either avenue.

The Origine caters for disc playback via a high-quality modified DVD ROM mechanism and in common with other players using similar mechs provides quick access to disc tracks. The DAC is based on a Delta Sigma chip that provides 24/192 asynchronous upsampling. The Origine—as confirmed by Neodio’s Jean-Francois Fronton and company founder Stephane Even—was designed to provide an ‘analog-like’ sound via "phase and band linear analog filters". Equal care was given to the analog section of the design.