German high-end audio brand AVM will be bringing two brand new all-in-one players to the fast-approaching Bristol Hi-Fi Show – the Evolution CS 5.3 and the Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition. The models feature all of the hallmarks of the increasingly popular just-add-speakers systems, combining amplification, streaming, a CD player and a DAC all in one unit.
Both models have varying specs and technology powering them, with the Evolution CS 5.3 boasting 350 watts of amplification per channel, while the Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition claims an even more powerful 2x 500W. The new Black Edition further uses carefully selected high-quality components and a special grade of tubes (valves) that AVM says is reserved specifically for this model and “elevates the Ovation tube stage in our flagship All-In-One CS to the next level.”
Both players have a CD player slot, while those that have a hi-res digital library are also catered for. Hi-res audio files up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM are supported, with the Evolution further handling DSD256 files, while the Ovation goes up to DSD128 only.
Tidal Connect, Qobuz and Spotify music streaming services are supported on both units, as are Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth wireless streaming. The units are also Roon Ready certified and you can connect them to your home network using wi-fi or wired ethernet.
In terms of physical connections, the models vary quite a bit. The Evolution model has three pairs of line level and one pair of XLR inputs, an MM/MC switchable phono input, HDMI ARC, two digital inputs (coax and optical) and a USB-A port. The Ovation Black Edition, meanwhile, doesn’t have a phono stage and keeps things simple with one pair of XLR inputs and one pair of line level on the analogue side. It has more digital inputs: two optical, one coax, USB Type B and USB A inputs. Both models also have a dedicated headphone amplifier with a 6.3mm headphone jack on the front panel.
The Evolution does beat the Ovation with regards to speaker terminals, offering two pairs of speaker connections compared with the single pair on the more expensive model.
For the design, the Evolution CS 5.3 provides a choice of either hand-brushed aluminium silver, black or a “CELLINI” chrome front panel (for a fee). The Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition (unsurprisingly) only sports a sleek “night black” finish and a blue graphic display in contrast with the Evolution’s standard white. You can, however, have other “individual finishes” for your Black Edition on request.
Speaking of price, there’s a significant difference between the two when it comes to cost. The Evolution CS 5.3 will set you back £10,495 / €10.090, while the Ovation CS 8.3 Black Edition weighs in at a hefty £18,495 / €16.490.
We're excited to see how these sleek-looking systems sound when we hear them on demo at the Bristol Show. The AVM players are distributed by PMC in the UK, and will be paired with PMC and new Martin Logan Motion speakers at the show this week on February 24-26 (there’s still time to buy tickets).
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