What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 7 Sep 2012, 11:05am

Sansui CDD-201V

Tested at £200

The 201V is a decent effort at a sensible price. But it’s not quite an all-rounder

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  • A clean and clear sound
  • good level of detail
  • well-judged tonal balance


  • Lacks a degree of precision and punch
  • noisy transport on our review sample

Sansui CDD-201V

A new budget CD player is becoming an increasingly rare event, so the arrival of Sansui’s CDD-201V is a welcome one.

A partner to the SAP-201V amp (which scored four stars last month) this player makes a fine first impression. It’s solid and well finished, and the controls work with satisfying precision.

Sansui CDD-201V: Poor remote
We’re less pleased by the humdrum remote and relatively noisy transport. Our sample was obtrusively loud at first and reduced to an acceptable (but not inaudible) level after a few hours.

The CDD-201V’s feature count is basic: there are optical and coaxial digital outputs, and a single stereo pair of RCA analogue outputs. That’s pretty standard spec for CD player at this level.

Sansui CDD-201V: Sound quality
Listen to the likes of Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois and this player digs up a decent amount of detail which, combined with precise handling of leading edges to notes, makes it an insightful player for the money.

It’s well judged tonally, too. There’s no hint of undue emphasis at either frequency extreme, and none of the overt richness some rivals impart to the sound to make things sound nicer than they should be.

So far so good, then – but there are some weaknesses. Dr. John’s Revolution from the excellent Locked Down has a rhythm track that charges along like a train, and if a CD player doesn’t get this right then the music’s impact suffers.

And that’s the case here. For all the Sansui’s clarity it doesn’t communicate the music’s momentum in the way it should. We could do with stronger dynamic expression, too.

But let’s not get too negative. Your £200 buys a well-made player that delivers a fine degree of insight and tonal neutrality. It’s significantly cheaper than established machines such as Marantz’s £300 CD6004 too. However, in this case it’s clear exactly where the extra money goes.

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