"These thoughts filled my flagging sails with new wind to reissue my Lektor range which the stop of the CD-Pro2 had disrupted. I first found common ground with a shared passion of classic Rock with Gina Yang, owner of Champion H&C Incorporation. Here finally was my chance to progress from Stone to Metal Age in finer style than I could source anywhere in Europe.

"Using excellent Japanese equipment, her small Taiwanese firm is able to create beautifully machined metal assemblies for my new gear. Then Stream Unlimited Optical Storage released the CD-Pro8 designed by the same core team who had developed the original CD-Pro2 to significantly improve upon it.

"We never offered a pure transport before. But with so many very good DACs, amplifiers even active speakers with digital inputs today, a basic CD transport can be the perfect choice. The current Lektor Transport is just the first in a new range of Ancient Audio CD players and transports."

Against this background we now better appreciate why Jarek held on to his original propeller-head concept of nude top loader. It and all attendant cosmetic details are baked into the Ancient Audio brand and have been very consistent design cues from his very beginnings.

We also appreciate that the Gina Yang packaging already accounts for the extra space an on-board DAC will take up to convert a basic transport to full-fledged player in upcoming iterations. Given Jarek's love of tubes, we should probably expect at least one model with a valve output stage and analog volume control to double as a top-quality preamp.

Lectures. They're being held again in the Ancient Audio auditorium of Krakow's Musiversity. To learn more means to actually sit in on a lecture. Having shown you previous Lektor incarnations going back well more than a decade, it seems fair to invoke for the core cosmetic iconic status…

… similar to how, in far more opulent guise, Métronome's sister brand Kalista has achieved unforgettable instantly recognizable cosmetics for its luxury top loaders.

Delivery in a sturdy wood crate with foam braces proved entirely unproblematic if not the last word in unpacking chic. A full-function metal remote in silver not black was included. So was a black-faced CD with Ancient Audio logo and a small puck. This particular disc makes for an attractive dust cover. The floating transport mech is fully suspended so pushing on it shows considerable give. Hence four hard footers. Clearly this design doesn't need an extra soft-sprung suspension by way of viscoelastic supports. Also, the Taiwanese machined aluminium plinth/housing contributes considerable mass and rigidity in a very compact slab. This is a most inert affair so different from typical bolted-up box construction.

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For reasons unknown, Jarek hasn't activated certain remote functions. Repeat only works the current track, not entire disc. Random, program, time and display don't work at all. And the only display mode is current track, time elapsed. No alternate time, remaining tracks or other info shows. Neither is there display dim/off. That's very different from the Denafrips whose remote also works the Lektor with shared Philips code, power on/off excepted.

How much this might bother potential buyers if at all I couldn't judge. To be safe I mentioned it so we can go to sonics. "The Lektor remote is a standardized item with extra controls. But certain of the currently unused buttons will activate with the complete player next month. Remaining time mode was necessary only with cheap boring players where you wondered how long you'd have to wait until a CD would end. Omitting certain extras follows the original Bugatti credo. Maestro Ettore didn't use a radiator fan for example. He thought it unnecessary when his cars were designed to be driven not parked. Seriously though, the biggest issue is I²S which lacks standardized pin assignments, logic level and impedance. What's more, the CD-Pro8 mechanism retains the antique 24-bit serial clock for one audio sample which suited 16-bit converters where many modern converters need 32-bit frames. For stereo the serial bit frequency must be 64 x the sampling frequency but the CD-Pro8 only does x 48. The necessary frame word converter adds complexity and potential jitter. So versatile user-friendly I²S will be more complex. It will be included in the more sophisticated Lektor Transport Plus."