dCS Scarlatti review

This amazing Scarlatti is a strong contender for the title of ‘World’s Best CD Player’ Tested at £33000.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This amazing Scarlatti is a strong contender for the title of ‘World’s Best CD Player’


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    Unbelievable sound

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    astonishing build


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    those three boxes take up space

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.

That's right, This dCS really does cost £33,000. Can any CD/SACD player be worth that much money? That's for you to decide. What we will say is that this disc-spinner is the finest-sounding digital player we've ever heard, and we've heard a few over the last couple of decades.

Three-box wonder player

The dCS Scarlatti CD/SACD player is made up of three boxes: the transport (£16,000), digital-to-analogue con-verter (£12,000) and a clock unit (£5000) to ensure the other two boxes work in harmony.

That adds up to a very hefty chunk of money, and plenty of rack space in your listening room.Build quality is as impressive as you'd hope at this price. Every piece is rock-solid and finished to the highest standards.

Well, you'd hope so for this kind of money. Load a CD, and you'll discover it sounds so transparent that any other CD player - including our
Naim refer-ence outfit - sounds crude by comparison. And SACD discs sound even more fluid than CDs do.

Loves high-resolution formats
Regardless of which format you choose, the amount of detail extracted is staggering. Not only is the dCS getting every bit of detail off the disc, it's arranging all this inform-ation impeccably.

It's not fussy about genre, nor does it trade dynamics and rhythmic crispness for its awesome control. It's a cracking listen! Try and catch it out with something complex like the multi-layered mayhem of Battles' Tonto track, and you'll be thrilled at the result. Each layer of instrumentation is perfectly placed, and every note can be picked out cleanly.

Some will never get beyond the price, but we're thrilled this player exists at all.

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.

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