8200CD user reviews

Audiolab 8200CD

Tested at £800
100100
5

Delivering a very capable sound at a competitive price, the 8200CD will sit pretty with any music fan, especially with those that build their computer library as well as their CD one

Comments

Stop press. My Audiolab 8200cd, according to the manufacturers, is suffering from software corruption. I am awaiting repair and wondering "how can that happen?".

It sounds really good. I bought it two and a half years ago together with the audiolab 8200 amp. However, it's stopped working now, with only a red light to show that there is any life inside there at all. I'm waiting to find out if it's a fuse or software upgrade. Either way, I am not happy.  In over forty years of owning hi fi equipment by arcam, denon, marantz, sony, mission, phillips, pioneer and trio not one problem.  Another reviewer has suggested that audiolab should build things to last. I agree. I'm a pensioner who cannot afford to buy products that are not built to last more than two and a half years!

It may be fixable, it may not. Either way, I am not going to be pleased. I am now eyeing my  amp - is it built the same way with the same quality?  Consider sound quality by all means, but consider build quality too when buying. If anyone were to ask me now to recommend this product, the answer is a simple NO.

Having had this for only one week I'll make a few observations. I'm sure I'll be back later to add more comments. 

Firstly, as this is described as "A DAC with an inbuilt CD player" I expected more from the DAC. Don't get me wrong the DAC is very nice, detailed and breaths new life into tracks that you've listened to for years and thought you knew like the back of your hand.  It sound great as a USB sound card playing 24bit 96khz tracks from the likes of HDTracks.com but that is as high as it will go.  I expected this to work at 192khz over USB2 but it does not. The manual states that this DAC will play 24bit 176.4khz over coax, but not USB or optical. So I am currently regretting my purchase somewhat, as I purchased this as a CD player with a bit of future proofing built in.  

 

Secondly, I would have liked an integrated headphone amp, but there is none, I did know this before I bought it so that's not really a fault. 

 

Thirdly, as I mentioned before the unit has the ability to transform your old CDs, but it will also highlight how badly produced some of the oldest discs are. Not a fault, more of a side effect. 

 

Finaly, be prepared to fall out with the wife over this unit, I've been getting the cold shoulder all week from the mrs over this unit as I have been turning it up too loud and ignoring her. Again this is not a fault of the unit, but a result of it bringing out the extra details in tracks that I never knew was there. 

 

I'll back in a few weeks with a few more observations when it has really has time to bed in. 

 

it's a great cd player, probably the best performer in its' price range. so far i do not find any problem issue with the cd player for just 2 months use.

using Kimber Hero XLR interconnect to my integrated amplifier AYRE 7 series, using Kimber 8TC speakers cables with WBT connectors from amplifier to my Dynaudio speakers DM series, the sounds they deliver surpass my expectation !

previously i have come to know these following cd player,

1. Rega Saturn (was using it with Rega couple interconnect RCA)

2. Yamaha S2000 (was considering it)

3. Rotel Audiophile Edition 991 (was using it with Kimber KCAG interconnect XLR)

while waiting for Rotel RCD 1570 launch in my country, i found this Audiolab 8200CD, simply can not wait bring it home to have details listening. eager also want to compare it to Rotel RCD 1570 in the future. Rotel sounds which i like much are its typical warm characteristics.

based on my experience, never plug silver made materials interconnects to this Audiolab 8200CD, the sounds performance overall become not harmonic, stress high frequencies and blurred low details.

further more, why i claim this Audiolab 8200CD to be a great cd player,

please notice the digital filter button on the remote control panel, it does matter to music reproduction.

you may encounter bright treble sound until you can not enyoy, you may encounter overextended bass until the sound not focus.

the solution is the digital filter function provided by the manufacturer, it's quiet similar to Rotel cd player "dither" function.

the digital filter plays the key role in deliver harmonic sounds, actually nothing is wrong with your cd player or your audio sistem overall.

we have cd collections that come from various recording company, from various sound engineer setting, and all subject to their own standard.

when we play it in our audio system, it bring own character sound setting, in addition then our cables, speakers, amplifier, player, come with their own sound characteristic respectively. imagine these all work together with their own, come out with the sounds through speakers we listen. that's why oftentimes, we play a cd with the sounds reproduction we like the most, but when we change to other cd the sound outcome not as we expected.

so switch the digital filter and you will notice the different sound reproduction outcome without loosing its original superb capability, you will find the harmony of your sounds. this not only apply to cd album but also to interconnects cables.

when using Kimber KCAG i will set the digital filter to "optimal transient", when using Kimber Hero i will set the digital filter to "optimal full spectrum", the same condition applies to your audio system and your taste of sounds, you will find the magic, never doubt Audiolab 8200CD you bought. in fact many of digital filter option you can choose, depend on your taste and your system set, manage from the source - the digital filter.

believe it or not,

Audiolab 8200CD can be operated by AYRE Metal Remote Control : open and close tray, skip track, switch track direct to numeric button, repeat track and repeat disc. with 1 Ayre metal remote control i can operate my Audiolab 8200CD and my integrated amplifier Ayre AX7e.

and, remote control of Audiolab 8200CD can operate the volume level of Ayre integrated amplifier AX7e.

these all make possible without any programming.

just a recommendation from me, for interconnects and speakers cables, trust Kimber Kable. if you like very much silver material made characteristic interconnect, you can trust Kimber KCAG or Kimber Hero AG. as i mentioned before, this Audiolab 8200CD not really suitable with silver material made interconnects except of Kimber. but if you convince with other silver material made interconnect such as of Silvertech or YBA, make sure your Audiolab 8200CD digital filter being set to "minimum phase".

glad to share my experience to you all

I am very worried about the Audiolab 8200CD.

It sounds great, but...

 

(1) the CD tray tolerances are far too tight - there is a tendency to trap CDs between the tray and the jaws of the opening.

 

(2) the early firmware gave read errors on many CDs.  There were many complaints about this, and customers had to get a firmware upgrade.

 

(3) now its internal fuse is likely to blow.  There are new customer complaints about this, with numbers likely to rise since it appears to happen after 18 months use or so.  The sympton is a dead CD player.   The manufacturer can replace this fuse, but the replacement fuse also blows after another 18 months use or so...

 

What the manufacturer cannot say is why this internal fuse keeps blowing...

 

 

I have faced the same firmware problem recently (unit i 2.5 year old); kept getting "reading error" after the 4th or 6th track of many CDs and the unit refused to play when I switched tracks via the remote.

Brought it back to the agent and it was repaired with a "firmware upgrade". I now have 7 filters (extra 'minimum phase', 'Optimal transient XD', and 'optimal transiet DD') over the original 4. This is the third day I am using the unit. The reading errors have been fixed but the original sound is lost. The player sounds very "thin" (no body) and sharp after the firmware upgrade and the music doesn't seem to integrate quite well. Tried all the filters to no avail.

Any one facing the same problems? 

 

We've used three different samples over the last few years and all have worked well. The only time we've had an issue with the disc being trapped between the drawer and casework is when we didn't place the disc in the right place - can't blame the machine for that.

Haven't had any disc reading issues or fuse blowing issues on our samples either.

I've had the Audiolab 8200CDQ version for about 5 months now.   I haven't had any issues with the tray, although it refuses to read some discs at the first attempt, although pressing play again usually solves it.

However, I am having other problems with a, so far, small number of discs.

The player will suddenly stop playback, or pause - then play - then pause, or start skipping.    Or finish playing the whole disc, but then going into pause mode and not stop.

This has only happened near the end of CDs that have more than 60 minutes of music on them - classical CDs that are brand new!   Searching online, this does appear to be an issue with at least some samples (and mine is the latest spec).   I'm doing some more tests before I get on to Audiolab.

But a bit useless if you can't guarantee it will play to the end of a disc!

 

I've had the Audiolab 8200CDQ version for about 5 months now.   I haven't had any issues with the tray, although it refuses to read some discs at the first attempt, although pressing play again usually solves it.

However, I am having other problems with a, so far, small number of discs.

The player will suddenly stop playback, or pause - then play - then pause, or start skipping.    Or finish playing the whole disc, but then going into pause mode and not stop.

This has only happened near the end of CDs that have more than 60 minutes of music on them - classical CDs that are brand new!   Searching online, this does appear to be an issue with at least some samples (and mine is the latest spec).   I'm doing some more tests before I get on to Audiolab.

But a bit useless if you can't guarantee it will play to the end of a disc!

 

This can't even play hi-rez SACDs.

 

Makes no sense ... audiophiles aren't going to buy a player that only plays low -res CDs ... they will want something that can play hi-rez content on SACD.

Crumpet, your comment makes no sense. 

Audiophiles happily spend thousands of pounds on CD players that don't play SACD! Let's face it, SACD never really took off so why would manufacturer's invest money in it?

Your comments seems very outdated. Who is going to pay thousands of pounds for 44.1kHz / 16 bit technology, when most new recordings are made in hi-rez?  Most audiophile companies, like Mark Levinson, Krell, Esoteric, Goldmund, Ayre, Cary, EMM Labs, Luxman, dCS etc have essentially stopped making CD players and moved to making SACD players that play both the old and the new hi-rez goodies. Some let you use the DACs for playing downloads (basically for free). The Marantz line up is almost entirely SACD players, other than 1 cheapie entry CD model. Even mid-range companies like Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneer and Denon have shifted to SACD. As for SACD 'never really taking off', ... it's obviously the dominant hi-rez format with over 8500 SACDs now released by over 400 labels. That's vastly more hi-rez content than any other format, including DVD-A which is comatose, BluRay Audio (not that different) and downloads. 

I've had this CD player over a year and can safely say I don't use it as a CD player any more. The CD tray table is awful and brittle looking. The fact that the remote has no power / standby button is annoying. It reproduced better than the Marantz CD6003 it replaced.

But I do use the Sabre DAC acess and connect it to a Wadia i-pod transport on coax with all my tunes encoded in ALAC (apple lossless!!).

The sounds are superb ... I keep it permanently in Optimal Transient and it doesn't offend ... ever.

My conclusion it's really a great DAC with a CD built in ... so buy the entry Cyrus CD transport and buy the Audiolab M-DAC to partner.

Hi. How was the comparison between the CD source to the Wadia dock? Interested in your thoughts. 

I'm thinking of building my system around the Adudiolab 8200 CDQ or DQ and a Dynaudio 110a active powered monitor. I have a Wadia 171i currently. 

Is it just a bad CD source in the Audiolab and the optical inputs are superior, or...?

My friend used to have one. I mean 8200CD. Had a problems with reading  factory made CD's. Sold permanently for half a price. He is very happy now with Creek Evo. No reading probs at all.

Anyway... 8200CD sounds correctly, no less no more when it plays, of course. What a pitty...brilliant idea with below average result.

Not a problem we have encountered over extensive use, Claude. And less of the racist comments, please.

Just installed the latest Mac OS 4.2 and was pleased to see you can now not only play music off your iPad or iPhone through your home Hi-Fi without wires but crucially for me without the computer or TV needing to be on (utilising Apple's Airplay technology).

Excuse my washing machine sound in the background! - www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bzxabOQthc

I'm using the new Audiolab 82000CD to handle the Digital to Analogue conversion via its optical DAC input.

Manufacturers expect us to change our gadgets every year!

Oh yeeeah???

We expect them to build the cd players wich read all factory made CDs. Do we expect too much??? C'mon man, be serious.

Regards,

Rocketride

Had the pleasure to test out the 8200CD this past weekend against my DacMagic and I have to say the 8200 does sound quite a bit better even through my budget Hi-Fi setup.

1) iMac(lossless)+ optical out + DacMagic + Marantz PM6002 + Kef Q10.

2) Audiolab8200CD (compact discs) + Marantz PM6002 + Kef Q10.

It sounds smoother and more organic. With just a little bit more bass as well. Would I get the Audiolab over the DacMagic? Of course, if I had £700 to blow I would. Or if most of my music was on CD, but it's not. So I'll stick to the DacMagic for now.

I had the same problem as Claude777. When playing CD's it would give me read errors on some of the CD-R's, but not all.  Original CD's were fine though.

here is the link to my setup.

http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/610415/1/Hi%20fi?h=476a70

Ta.

I'm not the sort of person who changes or up grades kit unless there is a problem. I say this to underline the fact that until my 15 yr old 63KI finally died a couple of weeks ago I had no idea what was available as a replacement to partner my 15 yr old 8000s. I'm not that brand loyal but the the Audiolab amp won me over in 1995 and has not put a foot wrong since. This last week I have tried and tested Naim 5i, Rega Saturn & Appollo at Gullifords (Exeter), and Kandy 2, Cyrus cd6 and Arcam 37 at Sevenoaks (Yeovil), all with Audiolab amps (8000a & new 8200, and B&W685 speakers (recent replacements for castles that died).I'm also a believer that within reason you learn to "Love the one your'e with", and all of those players whilst significantly different in areas, are great. However the Audiolab 8200CD irrespective of its dgigital flexibility is a great listen, and I'm convinced it would have been my choice in a totally blind listen. When you add in all the future proofing connectivity, and its �700 price being several hundred quid less than most of the others, not a hard decision. I await with interest a review of the 8200 amp, as I thought the two units sounded great when paired in the store. Lastly great patience and service from Sevenoaks in Yeovil. Many thanks!!

About my audiolab 8200cd, beside my little problem, this cd player sounds superb. The audiolab dealer offered me to replace the unit right away.  Andrew, sorry for the racist like comment, you're right.

Just got this new Audiolab 8200CD, sounds great but there is a major problem with it. It can not read some cd's, just showing reading error, and I'm inserting original cd's not computer made ones. I bought this to replace my NAD but I will surely return it to the dealer, even if my NAD does not sound that accurate, at least it can read all my cd's. Chinese fast and too quick assembly shows flaws. Too bad for a unit that is supposed to be the best choice.

You managed to keep an electronic device for 15 years? Very impressive given that these days manufacturers expect us to change our gadgets every year!

Had an Audiolab 8200CD this weekend at home for testing. I barely couldn't resist my curiousity but before listening the 8200CD I left it playing a CD (repeat)for several hours to heat up.

Then my wife and I fed it a well known CD and the sound we hear was...

...extremely (read: beyond imagine) disappointing!

Waited for another five hours or so, reversed wallsocked connector, changed filtersetting, switched to USB, well I tried and I tried but it just doesn't sing one bit. To desribe it precisely I have to be honest I could hear some detail I had never heard before but it was like a employee in a factory hearing coins falling on the ground when no one else does because he was already deaf and didn't hear all the background noise; I could hear some new detail at the loss of far more other detail. It seems like there is some strong potential but it just doesn't come true; like you are outside and hearing some great sound coming out a window opening of a near by house. Sound was glue-ed to the speakers, absolutely no microdetail regarding room ambiance whatsoever, at one moment I thought this is the sound when I turn my speakers 180 degree around. Pff, it's just january but to me this is already my anti-climax of the year. And I really, really want to like this one!

The good:

Sturdy case, nice remote with option to control USB mediaplayer, rich features

The bad: the sound, the sound, very flimsy CD-drawer, display difficult to read at a distance, did I already mention the sound?

Note: when I read all the above it looks like I'm trashing this machine and/or am a troll but I can assure you I am not (to be honest I took the effort to register here just to express my findings; this is just a strong advise to audition the device at home (as you always should). To me - to put it mildly - it wasn't the relevation that I hoped for but for many others it certainly is. Maybe I had a faulty device or the output stage doesn't match my YBA input stage at all...

Have purchased Audiolab 8200A amp and 8200CD last saturday.Speakers are Monitor Audio RX6.For AV I have a Yamaha 2700RXV which I connected via Pre-Out Fronts to the Audiolab amp.Cables are mid priced 4mm Copper,no Bi-amping and Bi-Wiring,nothing special.

I am very pleased with the setup now,expecially with stereo.Was never really satisfied with the Yamaha in stereo,although it wasnt bad at all.Just a little harsh and not such a good controlled bass as I wished.Also there is a win in surround mode but not as much as in stereo.There is also a huge improvement in media from the computer.I use foobar with wasabi.The Dac of the 8200CD is just great.I connected via optical.Didnt tried via usb and asio4all yet.I am curious if there will be further improvement.Build quality is very good and the looks is beautyfull for me,very subjective I know.

Attention now.The cons are,the cd tray is very flimsy and not accurate with the rest (be carefull),I wished banana and XLR (the 8200CD has XLR) connectivity for the 8200A and I miss codecs like mp3,flac for the 8200CD.

The worst i am dissapointed about is the fact,that the 8200CD has problems with the the CD-Drive.The problems began just the evening I bought it.I had  some reading errors where I couldnt start playing,sometimes the drive stopped itself while playing.Next day it refused all my Cds (I tried about 30) with reading errors.All Cds are original ones.As I read here I am not the only one with this problem.Very disappointing regarding the price and claiming quality standard (award winner?).I never had problems with electronic stuff till now(even with the cheap ones),and believe me I have a lot of stuff standing around here.

Now lets see how rma works,because i intend to keep the equipment;I will report.My advise to you,please let check CD-drive if its working at least for two days. For me its obvious there is a severe problem with some drives/production.    

But the worst is    

I dont know why,but everything is just working and sounding fine the last days.I did give a try again next day and till now the CD8200 eats all the cds which it didnt before.Maybe it had to get used to its new home... just wanted to mention in order to be fair...

Asio4all and foobar works perfect (you can control with the remote) and sounds very good via 8200CD Dac.I dont regret my buy.

I bought the 8200CD and 8200A over the weekend. With a fair amount of playing its proven its quality. i read what hifi as i always do and they do get it right. my last system was a NAD but this Audiolab C player seems like it has a correct balance of middle bass and treble. it took a while to work out the filter adjustments. these are core to its technology as the filter changes emphasis from dynamic to flat and huge detail but like the manual says... that setting even though throws evrything through the convertor is somewhat tiring. so i set it to the transient which it recommends. the default setting no.1 is a bit too dynamic for low vol levels. and to get all detail thru requires too much vol at the amp. although its incredibly sharp. probably classical likes setting 4 and rock more setting 1.

I didnt find problems much in reading CDRs or CDs only 1 had probs at end (jeff waynes war o the worlds CD2)but not surprising as they could be a bit scratched. from bunging around in the car.

overall this is a fabulous british hifi. Also i bought Monitor Audio BX5 floorstanders and they are a great partner and look very nice.

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