Accustic Arts CD Player I MkIII ($8,700) Review on 6moons

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

6moons has reviewed the German-made Accustic Arts CD Player I MkIII ($8,700). Reviewer Frederic Beudot compared it to the similarly-priced Esoteric X03-SE:

All discs sounded warmer than with the X03-SE as though imbued by a gentle golden hue. This golden hue which I could hear on every disc reduced the tonal diversity the AA player would otherwise have been capable of. On the other hand, it was responsible in no small part for its ease of listening and overall enjoyability.

Regarding the price, Beudot commented:

But at $8700 without SACD playback and no digital inputs, the AA CD player is a hard sell…

Read the entire review, then join me in thanking reviewers like Beudot for calling out overpriced equipment when they hear it.

hotbird October 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm

That’s funny, the same player (albeit Mk1) was reviewed in 6moons in 2004, and a different reviewer stated:
” Its quickness, super-dynamic character and attention to musical detail in the upper registers always presented itself without grain, etch or coloration – first rate. However, it sounded rather taut and controlled in the bass – too much so for personal tastes. But then, I like a little coloration in the nether regions. I want to hear it kick. I need the grease of live performance. ”
Extracted from
One says colored, the other says lack of color… so what does these say about the reviewers, they simply cannot agree among themselves. So take the review with a little bit of salt.
With regards to the price, in 2004 it was US$6500 (under a different distributor) and now it’s US$8500. I will attribute it to not only inflation but also to the weakened US dollar which is at its lowest since the intro of the Euro dollar (remember then it was US$1 to EUR1, now it dropped at least 40%)

Also is the addition of extra digital inputs on a high-end CD player a good thing? Not in my books and also’s Charles Hanson’s, please refer to

Mark Wieman October 2, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Good points all around, Hotbird. I have often wondered how different a manufacturer intends successive versions of the same component to sound. It seems to me that a drastic change would not be desirable (no matter which way it goes), else the “sound” of the model would become inconsistent. It may be purely semantic, but I would vote for a new model name if the sound differed considerably. Of course, it could be merely a matter of different hearing on the part of reviewers, as you suggest…

hotbird October 3, 2008 at 3:17 am

Thanks in advance for allowing my comments to be published.
With regards to the different successive versions, from what I know of this CD player, each version is supposed to be a refinement of the previous model, and there was about 2 years or so between each revision.
From reading up various internet literature and reviews, I discovered the following differences between each version.
Difference from Mk1 to Mk2:
“To create a new player that can surpass the performance and value of our Mk1 player, we put a lot of time and effort in designing the DAC board for this new MK2 version, resulting in the use of new DACs.
Instead of the Burr Brown from the Mk1, we now use a D/A converting IC from Cirrus. Through vigorous testing and prototyping, we found this D/A converter to generate a very warm and vinyl-like sound.”
This is taken from a rather glowing review of the Mk2 CDPlayer at

Differences from Mk2 to Mk3
“1.) The Mk 3 contains the latest generation of the CD drive module named CDM Pro2LF
2.) The MK 3 has a completely new design power supply with approx. 50000 μF filter capacity
3.) The MK 3 has an optimized digital line output section (line driver) for more precision of the digital signal when the customer has the wich to connect a external D/A converter later on.
4.) The D/A converter section of the MK 3 is also inproved by using very fine selected components. We kept the general design of 24 Bit / 192 kHz Upsampling technology but we did a lot fine tuning concering sound performance. For that we select most of the used parts by ourselves of that section to precise the performance.
5.) New front design following the design of the DRIVE I – MK 2.
6.) The blue lighting of the drawer can be switched ot now if the customer has the wish.”
This is as extracted after much googling from

Thus as far as I can understand from above, it is actually going forward for Accustic Arts in revising their CD Player from Mk1 to Mk3.

With regards to the difference in opinions between these 2 reviewers from 6moons, I did check out what equipment the 1st reviewer was using as compared to the latter (I leave that homework to the reader). I can safely conclude that the first reviewer had a much more revealing system than the latter as well as being a more experienced reviewer.
Check out
as opposed to