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This review first appeared in the July 2009 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this system review in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, 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. - Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
Review system: Go here
Review component retail:
Cyrus CD 8 SE – 5160 zł, PSX-R – 2150 zł, Heed Audio Obelisk Si – 4900 zł, Obelisk X-2 – 2900 zł ,Spendor 5300 zł/pr, The Chord Company Chorus 2 – 1259 zł (1 m), Epic Twin – 1100 zł (2 x 2 m), Furutech Evolution interconnect – 2290 zł, speaker – 2 120 zł (2 x 2 m), Power 2380 zł (1,8 m), Gigawatt PF-1 – 950 zł, LC-1 450 zł (1,5 m)

Audio magazines mostly focus on testing individual components and rarely on pairings like CDP plus amplifier. From the organizational perspective, such behavior is preferable. Contrary to appearances, reviewers in Poland must work harder than their US or UK colleagues and test many more devices or they would not make a living. The ratio could be 5:1 or even 6:1. A lot is also reviewed in Germany and only Japan shows that even more is possible – just look at Stereo Sound  for proof. Not that I complain. I simply state the facts. And I need facts to explain why Polish magazines usually cannot review systems. This reluctance isn’t our specialty but at least in Poland I can see reasons for it. To thoroughly prepare for such an event requires not only the arranging of many components (which must arrive in time at the same time) but one must first perform an intelligent selection. After all, systems are comprised of components, cables and accessories which should work together optimally. It is not about randomness but creating a copasetic combination. Variability is so high that testing a system created by pure chance would have zero value.

These reasons are valid also for our High Fidelity magazine of Poland, hence we don’t often propose such assignments. But for once I could not resist. I prepared (conceived, collected, matched and tested) a system outstanding not only for its price/performance ratio but also in absolute terms. It is special for a second reason, being composed of small elements made for people who do not wish for electronics to dominate their lives or living spaces. But I went a step further still. During the planning stage, I put myself in the shoes of a potential buyer and contented owner of such a system. It turned out that if all this were to make sense, additional factors had to be considered. The first one was so closely related to our hobby that I wondered why I did not think of it in the first place - the possibility to upgrade such a system. We always do this by buying new gear in exchange for old but this is probably the most expensive way of doing it. Yet I assumed that a commendable system needed to be well designed from the very beginning to give its owner maximum satisfaction. This meant that it wouldn’t be easy to swap out individual elements. Whenever we can sell off something without pain, we were not emotionally connected to it and hence didn’t really ‘own’ it. I already wanted the basic system to present something unusual where you would not wish to rid yourself of any of its constituents eventually. This would be both a waste of money and time and also inbuilt optimization. This is why I thought of a system that would look and perform brilliantly and be easily but logically upgradeable if desired. The following is what I came up with:

CD player: Cyrus CD8 SE + PSX-R power supply
Amplifier: Heed Audio Obelisk + Obelisk X-2 power supply
Loudspeakers: Spendor SP1
Speaker cables: Chord Chorus 2/Furutech Evolution
Interconnects: Chord Epic Twin /Furutech Evolution
Power strip: Gigawatt PF-1/conditioner Audience Adept Response aR12
Power cords: Gigawatt LC-1/Furutech Evolution

Discs used for testing: The Pat Morgan Quartet, While At Birdland, Bethlehem/JVC, VICJ-61470, K2HD; Piotr Anderszewski, At Carnegie Hall, Virgin Classic, 267291, 2 x CD; HiQualityCD. Jazz Selection, EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-90010, HQCD + CD; Frank Sinatra, Nice’N’Easy, Capitol/Mobile Fidelity, UDCD-790, gold-CD; Tom Jones, 24 Hours, EMI 64988, CD; Depeche Mode, Sounds of The Universe, Mute/EMI Music Japan, TOCP-66878, CD+DVD.