In the world of hi-fi, more money doesn't always buy more features. This three-time winner doesn’t feature the rather useful digital inputs of the Audiolab 8200CD nor will it stream music from an iDevice like the Marantz CD6004.
What it does do, however, is play CDs better than any similarly priced player we’ve heard. That’s reason enough for us to give it an Award at this price level for the second year running.
You’d expect any product costing this much to be well made, and sure enough, this Roksan has an immensely solid, well-damped feel that suggests it’ll be working for years to come.
An unusual touch is the softly suspended CD transport, which minimises the amount of vibration fed into and out of the mechanism to the benefit of performance – after all, the less hard the servo mechanisms of the laser have to work, the better the results will be.
And the results really are great. The Caspian delivers a sound that just a couple of years ago would have cost proper high-end money.
A smooth, full-bodied balance
This is a player that majors on character. In some players that could be a criticism, but not here. The M2 deviates from total neutrality by producing a slightly smoother and full-bodied balance than we would normally call ideal.
Luckily for Roksan, however, the deviation is slight, and gives this player one of the friendliest and most likeable presentations we’ve heard at this price. Yes, this Roksan will resolve the tiniest detail. Yes, it will communicate the music’s message beautifully.
But what makes it great is that it’ll make the best of any disc you feed it. Take the most compressed and hard-sounding recording you have, and the Roksan will reveal all that’s good about it.
It certainly won’t hide the flaws in the recording – the M2 is far too transparent for that – but it won’t make a meal of things, and at this price level that’s a rare treat.
Give it a great recording, say The Dark Knight OST, and this Roksan will deliver a combination of detail, dynamics and authority nothing else at this price level can match.
Factor in the Caspian M2’s brilliantly surefooted timing and wonderfully layered and subtle midrange, and you have a top-class player capable of fronting some pretty exotic systems.
That’s why 2012 sees this terrific CD player keeping a firm hold of its Best Buy award for another year.