Audio Note AN-CD1 player

Not lampized circa June 2009.

I will not describe again  Audio Note company, it has been done many times. To make things clear - I admire them as a business, as a concept of marketing, and I love their engineering. I love the sound of their products, the only criticism is the price.

But hey, let's not talk again about Kondo prices - here we have a simple product that any John Smith can afford.


(Wet fire, hot ice, )

This player is very interesting. The whole housing is Audio Note made - with nice elegant face plate and heavy hood. I like it - it is so much better than flimsy boxes of todays DVDs and CD players.

This player is NOT a repackaged stock cheap player - Audio note did a lot of homework and used the minimum necessary amount of off the shelve modules. Not many specialized highenders can say this. Audio Note is not in the business ow window dressing.

The laser assembly and CD mechanism is a ... Samsung. Yes, very rare to find as spares - because Samsung does not produce separate CD players.
I believe this mechanism comes from a decent quality boombox. Thats an indication of CD mechanism that reads everything without complaining.

To move the samsung mechanism we need the samsung servo. So Peter took the Korean  chips but NOT whole PCB. That is nice, thank you Peter. The servo and demodulator chips are mounted on very decent custom made PCB and I like what I see.

The digital signal is then taken to the DAC board - this time fully Audio Note made job. They have a BB PCM1710  DAC and a tube output stage. One tube for 2 channels indicates a triode SE mode, half tube per channel.
I myself often use one tube, skimping on SRPP. So does Audio Note - they use SRPP in their upper players, but in the lower group - they use SE Triode.

Thank God there are NO OPAMPS IN SIGHT. This is the first purely tube player I ever saw from a shop product.  No more of the DAC -> opamp ->  opamp -> opamb -> cathode buffer tube crap !!!

Generally - very honest product. No cheating, no BS, everything is designed to (a very low) price point but Peter does not go below certain level where he really should not go.  I am impressed - the temptation to fool naive people just a little bit is so huge, that many companies go the Goldmund way so to speak. Or Theta way.  We should really take Diamond Way in life.

I havent listened to this player, but its construction dictates that with a NOS tube, maybe a better cap here and there, the purity and simplicyty of this player can make it sing VERY close to the best ones out there. No matter what money, a Burrbrown DAC connected to single ended triode is hard to beat.
What a shame that the unit I have was IRREPAIRABLY BROKEN. The servo chip that burned can not be sourced anywhere anymore.

Please wrire me anybody - how it sounds and maybe someone has the broken chip ?

Above - the servo board with two key Samsung chips mounted underneath. Very good grounding, voltage regulation with heatsinks, nice silkscreen descriptors.

Above the chip that controlls the servo mechanism. All movements of laser and  tracking.

The two chips are in charge of all operations: KS9284 and KA9220B -both from Samsung.

Above is the laser and mechanism, all from Samsung. Bituminous felt is from the owner.

Similar mechanism is to be found in Cambridge players like CA-640.

Above is the output stage board: with DAC chip (underneath), power supplies, tube analog circuit, and the digital output S/PDIF.

The tube amplification stage with Mundorf supercaps as output decouplers.

These KELNA caps are working around the DAC mounted on the other side.
I believe we can upgrade these with oscons.

The mister DAC himself. Very rare DAC among the World CD players and DACs.