Arcam DiVA CD192 review

For the money, the Arcam is a sensational player with bags of sonic appeal. It’s more than capable of mixing it with the big-hitters Tested at £900.00

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

A perfect combination of early Arcam refinement and subtlety, combined with a new-found vitality and freshness

For

  • Snappy, articulate and hugely enjoyable presentation
  • taut, well-defined and musical bass

Against

  • Nothing at the price

Arcam's previous two CD players in this price class – the CD93T and the CD33 – were both solid, four-star performers. The CD192 takes part of the latter's design philosophy, adds some better-quality components and costs the small matter of £400 less. In theory, this product could turn out to be something rather special…

The CD192's impressive internal credentials include improved clocking stability (to minimise digital timing errors), an upgraded chassis and power supply, and the provision of four top-spec Wolfson WM8740 digital-to-analogue-converters. To top all this off, the CD192 includes enhanced 24-bit/192kHz upsampling via an Analog Devices AD1896 sample-rate converter.

According to Arcam, all this high-grade engineering results in a ‘leaner, meaner, faster sound', but does all this technology have the desired effect on the music?

The answer to that one is: ‘absolutely.' Our criticisms of the previous CD93T and CD33 models centred on a lack of sparkle and bite, but the CD192 is in a different class. It's got more sparkle than a room full of disco mirrorballs and more bite than Mike Tyson munching on Evander Holyfield's ear.

Arcam's bad – in a good way
This is definitely a case of no more Mr Nice Arcam: it delivers music with a fine sense of snap and attack, sonically slapping you round the face to make sure it's got your full, undivided attention.

The open and expansive presentation allows you to follow the musical trail easily, while the player's rhythmic ability is also impressive – it keeps an excellent tempo to The Killers' upbeat track Mr Brightside. There's also a welcome feeling of weight and clout given to lower frequencies, as bass notes hit the spot with accuracy and authority.