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CD128 vs. CD168 on paper
One BB 1738 DAC chip vs. two BB 1792s. 24/96 vs. 24/192 upsampling. Sony KSS-213Q vs. Philips VAM 1202 top-loading transport. Balanced output stage vs. fully balanced circuit beginning at the converters. Fixed outputs vs. variable outputs. HDCD capability vs. none. Open/close button protocol to capture new TOC vs. auto read-in once cover is placed in transport well. 2.2V vs. 2.3V out. 102 vs. 110dB dynamic range. Permanent vs. optional illumination. 43 vs. 38-watt power consumption. Purely based on published specs, the differences between both machines seem quite minor but a look inside shows up further changes.

Besides layout and other parts changes on the boards, the output capacitors have become Auricaps.

Though Raysonic's initial images showed orange backlighting, the quartet of review loaners sported the familiar blue. A fabulous new feature on the CD-168 is the remote LED off control which extinguishes the illumination in the tube trench, transport well and around the top controls for those serious in the dark sessions.

The variable outputs are bypassed in the Volume Max setting and diminish in single increments from 99 to 0.

Below the capacitive storage board sits another PCB in double decker fashion.

A close-up of the converter stage follows.

The C200 preamp flashes its backlit central volume control for visual status confirmation during the initial warm-up protocol and around back looks just as clean and tidy as upfront.

The innards show substantial choke filtering and trademark Raysonic assembly neatness.

Rubycon and Multicap capacitors on the central board are recognizably audiophile-approved.

The M100 monos sport truly substantial iron on deck and the stacked dress plates remove as single assemblies to reveal the preinstalled 10 tubes each.

From a fit 'n' finish and industrial design angle, Raysonic concedes nothing to the Western establishment and arguably eclipses many oldtimers in metal work execution. This stuff is beautifully built, period.

Like the preamp, the monos practice choke filtering. Unusually, impedance taps on the business end include not just the customary 4 and 8 but also 6 ohms. Input socketry is purely single-ended (as are the twinned outputs of the preamp, making the CD-128 and CD-168 the only Raysonic components with balanced connections thus far).

The company clearly enjoys working with metal. There's plenty of detailed evidence in brackets, mounts and sundry sub plates wherein nicely machined aluminum makes otherwise unnoticed appearances.

With the obligatory "just looking" handled also beneath the bonnet, listening impressions on the final page.