On the way from Audio Research is the Reference CD9 CD player/DAC, which will hit UK shops in March at £11,995.
Building on the success of the Reference CD8, it combines a high-resolution DAC with a top-loading CD transport, can handle data at up to 24-bit/192kHz on all its inputs, and has both selectable upsampling for both CD and digital ins, and selectable digital filtering giving either fast or slow roll-off..
Four digital inputs are provided – RCA and AES/EBU electrical, optical and asynchronous USB – and the CD transport is the Philips PRO2R, which Audio Research describes as 'still the best dedicated CD mechanism available'.
Quad 24-bit DACs are used, running in mono mode, and two master oscillators are employed: one for one for 44.1/88.2/176.4 sample rates, the other for 48/96/192kHz.
As you'd expect from Audio Research. the Reference CD9 has a valve-based analogue section, using four 6H30 dual-triodes, while the power supply regulation uses 6550WE and 6H30 valves.
Digital outputs are available on AES/EBU and BNC connectors, and both single-ended RCA and XLR balanced analogue outputs are provided.
Audio Research is distributed in the UK by Absolute Sounds.