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This review first appeared in the October 2011 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Ancient Audio. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player
: Ancient Audio Lektor Air
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, Miyajima Laboratory Waza
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III with Regenerator power supply version II
Power amplifier: Tenor Audio 175S, Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom version
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro
Interconnects: CD-preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp-power amp Wireworld Platinum Eclipse
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2
Audio stand: Base
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD player, Pro Audio Bono platform under CD player
Review component retail in Poland: 48.000zł V-Edition; 40.000zł basic version

My acquaintance with Jarek Waszczyszyn is no secret. We live and work in the same city, had professional interactions for years and from time to time meet at Janusz’ place who is one of our Krakow Sonic Society hosts. Only recently and after at least 10 years of being acquainted we've finally quit calling each other 'sir'. It simply happened. So yes, we know each other very well. I've been using Jarek’s CD players for years. It was a conscious choice I never regretted but over the years I enjoyed their appearance less and less and was pretty sure it should be changed. Nothing is perfect of course.

On the other hand I've never tried to hide my reservations towards his loudspeakers and always pointed out what I liked and disliked about his amplifiers and even CD players. In my opinion only honesty helps a designer make better products. Today’s machine is supposed to take its place in the company's portfolio between Lektor Prime and Lektor Grand SE.

In looks it resembles the former but many technical solutions were taken from the latter. It remains a top loader with tube outputs and an integrated preamplifier function. It still is a unique design that places an exposed CD on top of the player. This solution was originally and simultaneously adopted by Ancient Audio and 47Labs. Later Musical Fidelity’s now discontinued A1008 revisited it as did ISEM, Metronome with an earlier Kalista Reference and so on.

The Air has been part of my reference system for more than a year. I’ve got to know it pretty well. During that time I had a chance to compare it to several other top players where it surprised me with something I'll come back to. I haven't experienced any operational troubles during this entire period and the remote control—albeit quite standard—has proven to be rather handy.

Sound - recordings used in this review: Abba, Gold. Complete Edition, Polar Music International AB/Universal Music [Japan], UICY-91318/9, 2008, 2 x SHM-CD; Beck, Sea Change, Geffen Records/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 780, No. 1837, 2009, gold CD; Brian Eno, Another Green World, Virgin/Toshiba-EMI Limited, VJCP-68658, 2005, CD; Chet Baker, Peace, Enja/World, TKCW-32153, 2008, CD; Clan of Xymox, Darkest Hour, Trisol, TRI 419 CD, CD; Depeche Mode, Everything Counts and Live Tracks, Mute, INT 826.837, 1983, MP CD; Depeche Mode, Personal Jesus, Mute/Reprise, 921328-2, 1989, MP CD; Ella Fitzgerald, Clap Your Hands, Here Comes Charlie!, Verve/JVC, VICJ-011-4052, 2008, XRCD24; Eva Cassidy, Imagine, Hot Records, G2-10075, 2002, CD...

...Frank Sinatra, Nice’N’Easy, Capitol/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 790, gold-CD; Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Pacific Jazz/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-90035, HQCD; JS Bach, Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, Yo-Yo Ma, Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd/Sony Classical, SM2K89754, 2001, 2 x CD; Madeleine Peyroux, Standing On The Rooftop, EmArcy/Pennywell Productions [Japan], UCCU-1335, CD; Mel Tormé, Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire, Bethlehem/JVC, VICJ-61457, K2HD CD; Porcupine Tree, Deadwing, Lava Records, 6793437, CD; The Modern Jazz Quartet, Pyramid, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan, WPCR-25125, 2007, CD; Thom Yorke, The Eraser, XL Records/Warner Music Japan, WPCB-10001, CD.