Aside from kitchen worktop brochures, when do you ever expect to read about granite? Probably not on a website more usually devoted to the glossier, shinier and altogether more alluring aspects of home entertainment. Yet here we go, with a 22kg CD player whose chassis is hewn from said rock.
The ART G2's brushed aluminium fascia and the chunky cover over its top-loading mechanism suggest a certain robustness and durability, but are nothing compared to the sheer solidity of that granite base.
Thanks to its density and utter lack of flexibility, granite has long been popular with engineers seeking a plane of reference, and the stability this chassis provides means the ART G2 provides better isolation than most of the kit racks it'll sit on. That said, the manual, top-loading disc mechanism means it's destined for (sturdy) top shelves.
Inside that substantial cabinet there's a raft of sound-enhancing technology: Intelligent Sampling improves digital-to-analogue conversion and an upsampling system to take CD data up to 192kHz/24-bit resolution before conversion, coaxial and USB inputs allow the digital section to work on data from other sources, too.
Poor recordings get short shriftThe Audionet sings in a clean, detailed, uncoloured voice. Whether scaling the dynamic heights of Prokofiev's Montagues and Capulets, unearthing the barely-there details of Kate Bush's King of the Mountain, or charging through The Go! Team's grubby Junior Kickstart, the ART G2 exhibits the sort of unruffled resolve that's the mark of a great player. This is a self-effacing machine, concerning itself solely with extracting and reproducing every last drop of information from a disc.
More after the break
As a result, poor recordings get short shrift from the Audionet, and some might prefer a more characterful sound – but for a crisp, unadulterated presentation, it rocks. This is a highly accomplished player, and a great listen.