Audio Analogue Rossini VT CDRev 2.0 review

It’s really a measure of how competitive this sector is when a player that doesn’t do too much wrong brings up the rear in its market sector Tested at £1199.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It’s really a measure of how competitive this sector is when a player that doesn’t do too much wrong brings up the rear in a test


  • +

    Intriguing valve/transistor innards

  • +

    will sweeten even the bitterest musical pill


  • -

    Soft-centred sound

  • -

    not the easiest or most pleasant player to use

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Heaven knows there's little scope for a Unique Selling Point where CD players are concerned.

So Audio Analogue's marriage of digital technology and vacuum tube (or ‘valve') technology gives the Rossini VT CD Rev2.0 (to utilise its full, laborious name) a dash of the exotic. What's emphatically not exotic is the way the Rossini looks.

Indistinguishable (except for the lettering) from the machine it replaces – itself, let's be frank, no looker – the Audio Analogue is hampered by a small, indistinct display, buttons that are attractively grouped but unintuitive to use, and a remote control of such poverty that we'd prefer to use a stick to jab at the fascia's controls.

Stacked up against those unfortunate USPs, the inclusion of a valve in the player's output stage seems scant compensation.

Errs on the side of caution
Playing a copy of Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out The Lights, the Rossini's hybrid specification is much more influential than its unfortunate ergonomics.

Tonally, the Audio Analogue errs on the side of caution. There's a definite rolling off of the highest frequencies, and just a hint of a soft centre to the bass end.

The distinctive vocals are well judged and come across with plenty of character intact, though there's not quite the bite or bile a divorce album like this one demands.

It's around the edges that the Rossini falls decisively short, though. Compared to the (admittedly startling) precision and authority of the Cyrus CD8SE, the Audio Analogue is just a little soft and blurry; tempos and rhythms can sound uncertain, and there's some vagueness to the way the soundstage is described that is entirely absent from the other three machines on test here.

Mere competence isn't enough
Indeed, there's an inclination to sweeten what should be pretty stark music in a way that could only provoke toothache over time.

It's by no means a lemon, the (deep breath) Rossini VT CDRev 2.0, but rivals such as the Arcam CD37, Cyrus CD8se and the Yamaha CD-S2000, prove that if you want to charge the thick end of £1000 for a CD player, vague competence simply isn't going to cut it.

Unless you intend to partner this player with an amplifier and some stereo speakers of unyielding aggression, it's a struggle to see where the Audio Analogue would fit in to an appropriate system.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test