Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn 80Hz/4th-order hi/lo-pass; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 mono, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D300Ref SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator +; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Goldmund Job 225; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model One, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; Headamp/DAC: iFi iDSD Pro Signature; Headphones: Final D-8000; Active speakers: DMAX SC5
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl Dp5 transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a; Active DSP speakers: Fram Midi 120
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: $9'400
Das Boot. That takes no German to translate. Submarine. Incoming. Likewise for Le Player 4+. It'll be French of course, at minimum a digital transport in already its 4th incarnation. The '+' should signify additional go-faster features. It does. Nonplussed it's a purist €7.7K CD transport based on the metallic Pro8 top loader from Austria's Stream Unlimited modified by Métronome. Preferred connection to the matching separate Le DAC 2 is I²S via HDMI. The '+' suffix builds the €7K standalone converter's ESS engine and analog RCA/XLR outputs into the transport. USB adds PCfi for political correctness and inclusiveness. Hello all-in-one credo of the musketeers. Still optional is a €1.8K streaming board for the 4th musketeer. It's always part of Le Mét's revised Classica range; how one enters their world. As an upscale brand, this entry is another firm's exit. Run with the big dogs, don't bring a dinky wallet. Of course Métronome's luxury Kalista division still goes to a whole different level. In French car terms, that's Bugatti against which the Classica range might play Peugeot 508 model. For Gallic charm, Le Player 4's touch-sensitive controls have moved from the earlier gen's display to a navbar fronting the disc loading bay. It's a very clean classy look; and très bleu.
With a Sabre 9026 onboard, there's 32/384 resolution over USB and 192kHz over S/PDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink); an optional 75Ω S/PDIF output to bypass the '+' and convert back to pure transport duties; 2.5Vrms RCA and XLR analog outputs; a triple-tranny linear supply with Schaffner filters; dimensions of 45×43.5×11.4cm DxHxW; and weight of 12kg. Adjustable Delrin footers and Métronome's own remote wand are included. The optional streaming module integrates Qobuz, Tidal and Spotify and adds RJ45 and USB A. Finish options are black or silver.
Before you dis(miss) CD as a passé music carrier that's spun only by an endangered species of antediluvian legacy user, according to this John Darko poll, half of his YouTube viewers still do the digital disc. I also concur with his finding that pound for pound, CD sounds better than streaming. Compare a streamer to an equally priced CD player and hear the truth of that claim. CD also spin offline without Big Brother's data mining; rely on no Internet connection; and don't disappear from your library should an artist pull their catalogue from a cloud server.
This short film on the subject in fact presents 15 reasons why the 40-year old CD format remains relevant. That's nine more than the six secrets to better sex. Obviously (cough!) attending Spin Academy 101 with CD is better than sex!
Getting serious again, Le Player 4+ is a costly CDP without SACD. For many that makes it an anachronism. But for enough people—it's why this is far from Métronome's first polycarbonate rodeo—a premium CD player remains the digital source to beat. This review then is specifically for their sort who would also consider a $9K T+A MP 2000R MkII or $9.6K MBL Cadenza C31, both from Germany.
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